Toughie 1107

Toughie No 1107 by Warbler

What the Dickens?

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

After last Tuesday’s mixup, normality returns with an easy straightforward puzzle. As befitting the date there is a seasonal flavour to the two long across clues.

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Across

1a    Scholar crams it almost all ingeniously into novel (1,9,5)
{A CHRISTMAS CAROL} – the wordplay here seems to have one letter too many – it’s an anagram (ingeniously) of SCHOLAR CRAMS IT A(LL) but almost suggests that the final element should be AL(L)

8a    Black bird‘s prey (5)
{RAVEN} – the name of this large black bird can also be a verb meaning to prey

9a    Around start of holidays imps are transformed into perfect angels (8)
{SERAPHIM} – the initial letter (start) of Holidays inside an anagram (transformed) of IMPS ARE

11a    City and lake in clover? (7)
{LUCERNE} – two definitions (or maybe three!) – a city that stands on a lake of the same name and another name for the purple medick, a plant resembling clover

12a    Happiness cut short by house’s rejection (5-2)
{HEAVE-HO} – a word meaning happiness or bliss without its final letter (cut short) followed by HO(ouse)

13a    Virile sort of chief, shunning public notice (2-3)
{HE-MAN} – a chief or leader without (shunning) AD (advertisement / public notice}

15a    Destroyed padre’s name almost & character (9)
{AMPERSAND} – an anagram (destroyed) of PADRE’S NAM(E) without the final letter (almost0 – did you spot the significance of & in the clue?

17a    Fish pasty temptation (9)
{WHITEBAIT} – an adjective meaning pasty or wan followed by a temptation (of the kind that might tempt a fish)

20a    Initially char leaves everything as new (5)
{CLEAN} – the initial letters of five words in the clue

21a    Judge delayed raise expenditure (7)
{REFLATE} – a judge or assessor followed by an adjective meaning delayed or overdue

23a    Closely examine torn label after end of the year (7)
{EYEBALL} – an anagram (torn) of LABEL after the final letter (end) of thE and Y(ear)

25a    At sea Maria, going aft, caught a large squid (8)
{CALAMARI} – an anagram (at sea) of MARIA follows (going aft) C(aught) A L(arge)

26a    The Spanish fish is cut off (5)
{ELIDE} – the Spanish definite article followed by a fish closely related to the chub gives a verb meaning to cut off a syllable in verse

27a    Sober geezer once reformed as protagonist in 1A (8,7)
{EBENEZER SCROOGE} – an anagram (re-formed) of SOBER GEEZER ONCE

Down

1d    Rainy spells bringing forth flowers in May proverbially (5,7)
{APRIL SHOWERS} – according to the proverb these rainy spells bring forth May flowers

2d    In Latin this edition of the Bible brings chaos (5)
{HAVOC} – the Latin for this (can you ever forget learning hic, haec …?) around the abbreviation for the Authorised Version of the Bible

3d    Lack of education in English can go right if corrected (9)
{IGNORANCE} – an anagram (corrected) of IN E(nglish) CAN GO R(ight)

4d    Small piece of mosaic being inserted into mobile art (7)
{TESSERA} – a word meaning being or existence inside an anagram (mobile) of ART

5d    Dirigible looks trendy (7)
{AIRSHIP} – a charade of some looks or bearings and an adjective meaning trendy

6d    Frank film director‘s salute to origins of realistic acting (5)
{CAPRA} – the surname of the director of It’s a Wonderful Life is derived from a verb meaning to salute by raising an item of headwear followed by the initial letters (origins) of Realistic Acting

7d    Repeat new ariette about the Queen (9)
{REITERATE} – an anagram (new) of ARIETTE around the Queen’s regnal cipher

10d    Travel league to lair and plunder Argonauts’ target (6,6)
{GOLDEN FLEECE} – a charade of a two-letter verb meaning to travel, L(eague), a lair and a verb meaning to plunder or rob

14d    Criminal mafia men run powerful computer (9)
{MAINFRAME} – I’ve worked on a few of these in my time! – an anagram (criminal) of MAFIA MEN R(un)

16d    Capone, for one, causing uproar always (9)
{RACKETEER} – a charade of an uproar and a poetic word for always

18d    Hail storm’s prevailing (7)
{AVERAGE} – a Latin greeting (hail) followed by a verb meaning to storm or fume

19d    Absolutely worst person possible is ridiculously pettish (3,4)
{THE PITS} – how John McEnroe addressed the umpire, spectators and reporters at Wimbledon is an anagram (ridiculously) of PETTISH

22d    Quickly stripping away top three parts of shell (5)
{APACE} – start with thick hard shell of the crab, tortoise, turtle, etc. and drop (stripping away) CAR (top three parts)

24d    American soldier rises to meet old friend (5)
{AMIGO} – AM(erican) followed by the reversal (rises in a down clue) of an (American) soldier and O(ld)

Merry Christmas to all. If everything goes to plan I’ll be back with the Saturday Hints, if not it could be sooner!


19 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    The easiest Toughie ever but when it is by the lovely Warbler and it is Christmas-themed, who cares!

    I was too busy ove- multi-tasking to notice the extra L!

    Happy Christmas and thanks to BD and Warbler too.

  2. warbler
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    A very Merry Christmas to you, Dave, and all of your contributors. Your comments are always appreciated.

  3. bifield
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Must have been easy, the first toughie I’ve completed without needing hints, Thanks to Warbler and to Big Dave for the review.

  4. Heno
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Warbler and to Big Dave for the review and hint. A very nice themed puzzle, the setters are being very kind this Christmas Eve. My third ever Toughie completion. Favourite was 26a which was a new word for me. Last in was22d. Me rry Christmas and a happy New year to all.

  5. Pegasus
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Nice gentle fare for a Christmas Eve, coincidentally I’m watching at this moment the film mentioned in 6d, thanks to Warbler and to Big Dave for the review.
    May I take this opportunity in wishing each and everyone associated with this wonderful site a Happy and peaceful Christmas.

  6. Miffypops
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Miffypops has once again joined The Toughie Club or should it be The Not So Toughie Club. Hello to everybody here. An enjoyable solve done whilst working. A Merry Christmas to one and all.

  7. Una
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Fabulous puzzle, thanks to Warbler and Big Dave, I hope you get your well deservred break.

  8. Jezza
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Fortunately a gentle one today (what with all the background noise in our household). Many thanks to Warbler for a year of fine puzzles, and a very big thank you to Big Dave, to whom it must be said, if I’d never found this site, I’d still be treading water on the back-page puzzles! Happy Christmas to one and all, although I am sure I will poke my nose in sometime tomorrow :)

  9. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    A couple in the SW corner, 21a and 22d where the only two that caused any delay in what, to us, was a very pleasant solve.
    Thanks Warbler and BD.
    Merry Christmas.

  10. Dickiedot
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Waltzer through this quicker than the cryptic…………………..Oh boy, doubt very much being able to say that again. Thank you Warbler, it was good fun and BD for the review
    Merry Christmas one and all

  11. Outnumbered
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Surely a bit too easy to be a Toughie, even on Xmas eve? Apart from that, 1.5*/***

  12. neveracrossword
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    My third Xmas-themed crossword in 2 days. A bit like turkey dinners in the run-up to Xmas – very enjoyable, but after a while you look forward to something different. This deserved more than one plaudit, however.

  13. andy
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much Warbler, Like CSue who cares if your Toughies are regarded as easy, they are always 5 star enjoyment imho. Bring on more please.

    • pommers
      Posted December 24, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      Couldn’t have put it better! Thanks Warbler and a Merry Christmas to you and yours.

      Can’t stay to chat as pommette wants to put the sprouts on, after all we are an hour ahead of you guys :lol:

  14. Catnap
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks, Warbler, for this most pleasurable puzzle. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif
    And many thanks to Big Dave for excellent hints and delightful illustrations. And very big thanks, Big Dave, for this wonderful blog.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif Have a most enjoyable break.
    Very happy Christmas to you all.

  15. Vigo
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for a lovely puzzle and delightful blog. Merry Christmas one and all. V x

  16. BigBoab
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    A lovely wee Christmas toughie, a bit on the easy side but very enjoyable. Many thanks to Warbler and Big Dave and a very Merry Christmas to everyone connected with the best crossword blog in the UK.

  17. Only fools
    Posted December 25, 2013 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    A delightful (as always) puzzle from Warbler for which many thanks ,
    The merriest of Christmases to all involved with the blog ,As I have said before it really is quite remarkable .
    Keep happy .

  18. Tstrummer
    Posted December 26, 2013 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    Finally got round to this on Christmas night after all the hullabaloo was over and I could sit down quietly with an Xmas malt. I agree with all those before me. Not too tough and thoroughly enjoyable – and not overly festive, thank goodness. Happy days (and nights) to you all