Toughie 1157

Toughie No 1157 by Firefly

Wot no Elgar!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

While not particularly difficult, I thought that several of the clues were unsatisfactory, albeit easy to guess. Certainly not up to the standard we have come to expect on a Friday.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

Across

1a & 4a    Stunner seen on Eurostar maybe engenders unwavering concentration? (6,6)
{TUNNEL VISION} – this “stunner” could possibly be seen while under the English Channel

4a    See 1 Across

9a    They say indistinct sign creates uncertainties (8)
{VAGARIES} – a syllable that sounds like (they say) an adjective meaning indistinct followed by a sign of the zodiac

10a    Chain mariners operated is metres (nine, initially) short (6)
{SIERRA} – this chain of mountains is an anagram (operated) of (M)ARI(N)ERS without (short) M(etres) and the initial letter of Nine

11a    Charge borne by the Telegraph? (4)
{ONUS} – split as (2,2) this could mean borne by the Telegraph – perhaps they are buying a round of drinks!

12a    Surface tension’s beginning to supply current to barrage (10)
{TARMACADAM} – the initial letter (beginning) of Tension followed by a verb meaning to supply weapons, Alternating Current and a barrage

13a    Diva’s denture’s broken — that’s not broadcast (12)
{UNADVERTISED} – an anagram (broken) of DIVA’S DENTURE

16a    Jack could be required to make merry! (5,3,4)
{RAISE THE ROOF} – it’s possible that a jack could be needed for this

20a    Bright idea given support by institute — gold medal for a start (10)
{BRAINSTORM} – a support garment followed by INST(itute), the heraldic term for gold and the initial letter (start) of Medal

21a    Repeated enquiries from backers in Gulf, Syria, Iraq and Emirates (4)
{FAQS} – the final letters (backers) of four words in the clue

22a    Heep, briefly found in barrel, gets hiding (6)
{BURIAL] – most of (briefly) the first name of Charles Dickens’ Mr Heep inside B(arre)L

23a    Waiting, having docked earlier (8)
{PREPARED} – split as (3-5) this could mean docked or trimmed earlier

24a & 25a    Mask reality of chain reaction (6,6)
{DOMINO EFFECT} – a charade of an old-fashioned mask covering the upper half of the face and a word meaning reality

25a    See 24 Across

Down

1d & 19d    One on Salisbury Plain, for example, has curious giant ring encircling (8,6)
{TRAINING GROUND} – an anagram (curious) of GIANT RING followed by a word meaning encircling

2d    Characters (regularly under arrest) make approaches (5)
{NEARS} – the even characters of two words in the clue

3d    Maybe Paul’s in Palestine under siege? A number missing (7)
{EPISTLE} – an anagram (under siege) of P(A)LESTI(N)E without (missing) the A from the clue and N(umber)

5d    Lodges among hedges, we hear? (7)
{INSTALS} – split as (2,5) this could be a word meaning among and what sounds like (we hear) a verb meaning hedges or prevaricates

6d    Kind of European figure skater? (9)
{ICELANDER} – is this really a figure skater if split (3,6)? Ok, after a jump the skater must be this, but it seems very weak to me

7d & 15d    William’s acquisition — Quran — connotes start of Mohammed’s movement (6,8)
{NORMAN CONQUEST} – an anagram (movement) of QURAN CONNOTES and the initial letter (start) of Mohammed

8d    Stripe spoilt colour scheme — an afterthought? The feeling’s mutual! (6,2,5)
{ESPRIT DE CORPS} – an anagram (spoilt) of STRIPE followed by a colour scheme and an afterthought at the end of a letter

14d    Speciation theory right — success lies in restraint (9)
{DARWINISM} – R(ight) and a success IS (lies) in a restraint which holds back water – I’m not happy about the way that “IS” is included in the wordplay

15d    See 7 Down

17d    Hormone in agitated solution too complex to extract (7)
{INSULIN} – IN followed by an anagram (agitated) of S(O)LU(T)I(O)N from which the assorted letters (complex) of TOO have been dropped (to extract)

18d    Fantastic Flemish Master? (7)
{HIMSELF} – an anagram (fantastic) of FLEMISH

19d    See 1 Down

21d    Structure of DEFRA meaningless (5)
{FRAME} – hidden (of) inside the clue

Unless there is more to some of the clues than I have been able to find this is a disappointing end to the week.

8 Comments

  1. BigBoab
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    One of the easiest toughies for some time but I quite enjoyed it, thanks to Firefly and to BD for the excellent review.

  2. Pegasus
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Possibly the least difficult Toughie this week, thanks to Firefly and to Big Dave for the comments. Dave 15d needs minor adjustment.

    • Posted March 21, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Sorted, thanks. I was losing the will to blog.

  3. neveracrossword
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Easier than usual for a Friday. I agree there were some weakish clues (10a and 6d, for example). Still, at least I could solve it.

  4. Expat Chris
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t find this easy. I was slow to get started and needed a couple of hints to finish. All in all, a bit of a slog for me not very enjoyable, I’m afraid. Nevertheless, my thanks to Firefly and my appreciation to BD for the review and assistance.

  5. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    10a was the last one to yield. Took a while to sort out the word play from the definition which is not the first synonym that came to mind for chain. 12a kept us guessing for some time too. We enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Firefly and BD.

  6. andy
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Somewhat red faced, all went in quite nicely until 5d, it took me at least 3 times as long to get the homophone than to complete the rest of the grid. Share reservations about 6d . Nevertheless thank you to BD and Firefly

  7. Salty Dog
    Posted March 21, 2014 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    When l came back to it after the back-pager it didn’t seem so tough. 3*/3*, l suppose. I made a tired, illogical and misleading stab at 24/25a with “Armani effect”, which held me up for a while, but otherwise OK. VMT Firefly, and BD for the hint which eventually put me straight.