Toughie 1119

Toughie No 1119 by Giovanni

I used to be Snow White, but I drifted

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

This is a fairly gentle Toughie. I was held up a bit by the wordplay in 1d and I had to google the ‘Sir Patrick’ in 26a but, those apart, it was pretty much plain sailing. It does have some inventive anagram indicators.

Do let us know how you fared and please use the star system (below) to rate the puzzle for enjoyment.

Across Clues

1a  Erotic Ms West about to enter place of debauchery (6)
{STEAMY} – reverse (about) the forename of Ms West the actress and insert it in a place of debauchery.

4a  Type of fiction everybody absorbs now – a sign of wintry times (8)
{SNOWFALL} – a 2-letter abbreviation for a type of fiction and a synonym for everybody with NOW inserted.

9a  Stars seen in water in ancient Rome looking across one lake (6)
{AQUILA} – the word that ancient Romans used for water with I (one) and L(ake) inside it.

10a  Many will show common sense stifling hesitation after hesitation (8)
{NUMEROUS} – an informal word for common sense containing (stifling) two different exclamations indicating hesitation.

11a  Sort of employee that’s fiddled till – about that get angry, right? (4-5)
{FULL-TIMER} – an anagram (fiddled) of TILL with a verb to get angry or smoulder and R(ight) around it.

13a  Computer gear – in time odd bits will go missing (5)
{ERNIE} – this is not strictly-speaking a computer but an acronym for the hardware (which has changed considerably over the years) which selects the winning premium bond numbers. Take away the odd letters from ‘gear in time’.

14a  Made to look silly in cafe – even so, ass avoids humiliation (5,4,4)
{SAVES ONE’S FACE} – an anagram (made to look silly?) of CAFE EVEN SO ASS.

17a  Merry  footsie may be played here (5,3,5)
{UNDER THE TABLE} – double definition.

21a  Port wasted, one litre being knocked over (5)
{SPLIT} – this is a port in Croatia. Start with a past participle meaning wasted (milk, perhaps) and reverse the I (one) and L(itre).

23a  Composer, good person to have in cathedral city, showing serious intent (9)
{EARNESTLY} – insert the composer of Rule, Brittania! and the abbreviation for a good and holy person into a cathedral city in Cambridgeshire.

24a  Duke commanding rubbish soldiers may be one who brooks no opposition (8)
{DICTATOR} – string together D(uke), an abbreviation meaning commanding, a word for rubbish or stuff of little value and the abbreviation for ordinary soldiers.

25a  Complaint about home of an earlier civilisation (6)
{MINOAN} – put a complaint or whinge about an adverb meaning home.

26a  Give out, as Sir Patrick in decline (8)
{DISPENSE} – we want the surname of Sir Patrick as sung about in a traditional Scottish ballad. Put it inside a verb to decline or wither away.

27a  King’s companion, traveller originally from Kent district (6)
{THANET} – a king’s companion in Anglo-Saxon times (a word best known to most people, via Shakespeare, as a Scottish chieftain) is followed by the original letter of T(raveller) to make a district (and isle) in Crypticsue’s neck of the woods.

Down Clues

1d  Stone is part of such  supports (6)
{STAFFS} – double definition. The answer here was obvious from the checking letters but my original thought was that the first two letters were the abbreviation for stone (i.e. 14 lbs). However, I couldn’t make the rest of the wordplay work so had to think again. In fact Stone (necessarily capitalised) is the name of a market town in this abbreviated county.

2d  Brought into line, punished, I squealed (9)
{EQUALISED} – an anagram (punished) of I SQUEALED.

3d  Russian statesman in old group in initiative that ignores English (7)
{MOLOTOV} – the name of an old Soviet diplomat (who had a fiery cocktail named after him) comes from inserting O(ld) and a group or set into an initiative or ploy without its final E(nglish).

5d  Heavenly body nature’s torn apart (7,4)
{NEUTRON STAR} – an anagram (apart) of NATURE’S TORN.

6d  Little person with leg obscured in dark coverings? (7)
{WEEPERS} – this is an old word for mourning clothes. An adjective meaning little is followed by PERSON but we have to drop off (obscured) the leg side of a cricket field.

7d  Group of sailors may have put on a party dress (5)
{ADORN} – the abbreviation for our sailors is preceded (may have put on, in a down clue) by A and a festive party.

8d  One following advice lets rein slacken (8)
{LISTENER} – an anagram (slacken) of LETS REIN.

12d  Naughty movies – such I found to be perverted (11)
{MISCHIEVOUS} – an anagram (found to be perverted) of MOVIES SUCH I.

15d  A fellow meeting religious woman full of love? Writer is one (5,4)
{AGENT NOUN} – this is a grammatical term denoting someone or something performing the action of a verb, so writer is a definition by example. It comes from A, an informal word for a fellow and a religious woman with O (zero, love) inside.

16d  Settled with supportive funding, is going into hiding (8)
{SUBSIDED} – remove the IS from an adjective meaning with supportive funding (like The Arts or EU farmers for example).

18d  Artist with suggestion that involves a competitive lifestyle (3,4)
{RAT RACE} – the usual abbreviation for an artist is followed by a suggestion or hint.

19d  I shamble around concealing a deformity (7)
{BLEMISH} – an anagram (around) of I SH(a)MBLE concealing the A.

20d  Young bird that’s cold still round garden’s borders (6)
{CYGNET} – C(old) and an adverb meaning still or up till now go round the outer letters (borders) of garden.

22d  Doesn’t have to be careless in speech (5)
{LACKS} – this sounds like (in speech) an adjective meaning careless or slipshod.

Top clues for me were 1a and 22d – do they match your choices?





  1. crypticsue
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Even allowing for checking on the ‘stone’, this was definitely Giovanni in the wrong envelope as I finished it a lot quicker than many of his backpage puzzles.

    A brief but enjoyable time was had (1*/3*) so thanks to Giovanni and Gazza too. I knew the latter would like 1a

  2. Jezza
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    No obscure words, although I also had to google the Sir in 25a. On the whole, a reasonably straightforward puzzle, but there were a few I needed to think about for a while.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza for the notes.

  3. Wayne
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    This was my first serious attempt at the ‘Toughie’ (I regularly do the ‘Backpager’) and got to within four answers. You can imagine my disappointment when I see it described as “a fairly gentle Toughie” with just ** for difficulty !! Oh well, that’s my moment of elation gone.
    Thanx to the two ‘Gs’.

  4. Posted January 15, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Was I the only one to remember Sir Patrick from schooldays?

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 15, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      I remembered him too. A combination of good education/excellent memory skills perhaps?

    • pommers
      Posted January 15, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      It was only after I’d written the answer in that the name came swimming up out of the depths of what passes for a memory

  5. pommers
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    A Giovanni Toughie with no obscurities? Are we sure that this one wasn’t meant for the back page? Certainly done harder ones there.

    1d was almost a write in for me as I had all the checkers by the time I got to it. My office was on the A34 in that town for the last 20 years of my working life and I lived less than 15 miles away. Have drunk quite a lot of beer in the pub illustrated. :grin:

    Enjoyed the puzzle so thanks to the two G’s

  6. Pegasus
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Gentle fare on offer today, favourites 1a and 6d thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the comments.

  7. Heno
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the two G’s & to crypticSue for her recommendation. I got to within 4 answers of finishing. Needed the hints for 26a ( never heard of him) & 6d, shame I missed the cricket reference, then the other two fell into place with 13a being the last in. Was 3*/4* for me. Most enjoyable, but as others have said, should have been destined for the back page.

  8. Angel
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Giovanni. This can’t be true Toughie standard as I (unusually) completed apart from slight problem in extreme NW corner mainly due to having straps for 1d and consequent error in 11a however Gazza sorted me out. ***/***.

  9. Kath
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    This has taken me a long time and I was defeated by 6d. I needed the hint to explain 1d.
    Briefly, the bottom half was fine and the top half wasn’t.
    I made a mess of 2d – thought it was an anagram (brought into line) of “I punished” meaning “squealed”.
    I liked 22d. My favourite was 17a.
    With thanks to Giovanni and gazza.

  10. Ian
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Only tried this because of Cryptic Sue’s recommendation. I managed it but confess to having put in a few without really being able to parse. Still, a toughie feather in my cap I reckon. Thanks to all.

  11. Miffypops
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    I am down to the last three but not finished yet. Thanks though to Gazza for the Nic Jones song. Great taste shown.

  12. neveracrossword
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Managed to do this after returning from Spanish nightclass. Me gusto el crucigrama. Never heard of 6d.

  13. Miffypops
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    I nearly finished this all but 6d which I would never have got in a month of Sundays. Please Please Please Big Dave, do not ask me to blog a Toughie, not unless you provide the answers very very early. Hats off to those who do.

  14. Miffypops
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    6d beat be although I had the answer but could not justify it. 1d stumped me for a long time until I remembered passing over Stone in a hot air balloon. A very entertaining puzzle which deserved its place on the gentler side of Toughietown but would be too hard for a back pager. IMHO

  15. Catnap
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    This was much easier than yesterday’s Toughie. Even so, I was left with three clues giving me problems. I needed answers and explanations for 1d and 6d. I hadn’t heard of the latter. I needed the explanation for 26a, with which I am not familiar either. Thank you very much for your enlightenment, and for the pleasant ballad, Gazza!

    On the plus side, I encountered no problems with the other clues, and, for once, my parsing of these was all correct!

    Many thanks to Giovanni for an enjoyable crossword, and to Gazza for excellent explanations.

  16. Tstrummer
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Finally got round to this one this morning. I agree with all previous – not too tough, but I was also defeated by 6d and needed the hint. The rest was straightforward. Thanks to Gazza for the tip and DG for an entertaining start to my day. It’s probably all downhill from here.