Toughie 1159

Toughie No 1159 by Messinae

Shurely Shome Mishtake

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BD Rating – Difficulty **/***Enjoyment ****

This was a very pleasant if not over-taxing Toughie, although the diminutive female in 1a was completely new to me.

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 Clues

1a  Servant to work in Foreign Office with little Mary (8)
{FACTOTUM} – the answer here is fairly obvious from the remaining wordplay but I didn’t know little Mary and had to look it up – it’s a slang term derived from the J M Barrie play “Little Mary” in which it transpires that the title is a euphemism for stomach. Insert a verb to work or perform in the abbreviation for Foreign Office and finish with a childish word for little Mary.

6a  In rough sea, fun is dangerous (6)
{UNSAFE} – an anagram (rough) of SEA FUN.

9a  Becomes a zombie apparently in clothing not normally seen (6)
{UNDIES} – a zombie is a corpse coming back to life – this could be a cryptic description of what he or she does.

10a  Judge to change arrangement around front of court (8)
{RECORDER} – a verb to change the arrangement of something contains the first letter of court.

11a  Vehicle left overturned gets royal distance without current providing power (8)
{MILLRACE} – reverse (overturned) a vehicle and L(eft) and outside it (without) put the “Royal” route in Edinburgh from The Castle down to Holyrood Palace.

12a  Celebrity split almost immediately being covered up (6)
{RENOWN} – a word for a split or tear without its final letter (almost) contains (being covered up) an adverb meaning immediately.

13a  Delay frivolous charge with impediment (6-6)
{SHILLY-SHALLY} – start with a charade of an adjective meaning frivolous or foolish and a charge or sortie. Then modify what you have to how Sir Sean Connery would say it.

16a  Where a lot will get squiffy with gin? (8,4)
{WATERING HOLE} – this is a very good all-in-one clue. It’s an anagram (will get squiffy) of WHERE A LOT and GIN.

19a  Like liberal TV presenter not on the level (6)
{ASLANT} – string together a preposition meaning like, the abbreviation for the Liberal Party and one of the pair of TV presenters who are apparently joined at the hip.

21a  Head of Enterprise perhaps nobody detains a short time (4,4)
{NOSE CONE} – Enterprise here is one of the space shuttles (or possibly Captain Kirk’s vehicle). Insert the abbreviation for a short period of time into a synonym for nobody.

23a  For trattoria, say, prepares tomatoes and minor items (8)
{SUNDRIES} – split this as (3,5) to make how the proprietor of a trattoria, for example, prepares his tomatoes.

24a  Money received in church securing honour (6)
{INCOME} – IN and an abbreviation for church with an honour or gong inside.

25a  Most recent bank getting electronic for a time (6)
{NEWEST} – the name of one of our high street banks with the A and T(ime) replaced by E(lectronic).

26a  Detective Her Majesty left in surprise (8)
{SHERLOCK} – insert Her Majesty’s cipher and L(eft) in a surprise or revelation.

Down Clues

2d  A free version of BBC (6)
{AUNTIE} – A followed by a verb to free. Bit of an old chestnut.

3d  Work round wide cloth (5)
{TWILL} – a verb to work the land containing the abbreviation for a wide in cricket.

4d  Conductor takes opera to Northern Ireland twice (9)
{TOSCANINI} – the name of an Italian conductor comes from a Puccini opera followed by the abbreviation for Northern Ireland repeated.

5d  Something splendid by Lake Poet (7)
{MARVELL} – this 17th century satirical poet is something splendid or wonderful followed by L(ake).

6d  Terrible clue right cause of suffering (5)
{ULCER} – an anagram (terrible) of CLUE precedes R(ight).

7d  A gherkin’s pickled, getting smaller (9)
{SHRINKAGE} – an anagram (pickled) of A GHERKIN’S.

8d  The ability to choose to skip the end of a film about a whale (4,4)
{FREE WILL} – drop (skip) the final letter from the title of a film about a whale. It’s not Moby Dick so it must be the other one.

13d  Requested to leave first and go off — like this? (9)
{SKEDADDLE} – a verb meaning requested without its first letter is followed by a verb to go off or become rotten to make an informal verb meaning to go off in a different sense. A slightly odd clue and I wasn’t sure what to underline.

14d  It may provide deal to get tax back (5,4)
{SCOTS PINE} – a charade of an old tax and the central feature of your back.

15d  Rubber glove finally in widespread application (8)
{MASSEUSE} – put the final letter of glove inside a phrase (4,3) meaning widespread application.

17d  See sign misspelt name of group (7)
{GENESIS} – an anagram (misspelt) of SEE SIGN.

18d  Coming out with pithy saying (6)
{GNOMIC} – a semi-all-in-one. This is an anagram (out) of COMING.

20d  Request for another card from fool holding spades (5)
{TWIST} – what you’d say to the dealer if you wanted another card (in pontoon for example) dealt face up is an informal word for a fool with the abbreviation for spades inside it.

22d  Maybe Rhodes scholar’s second with infestation turning up (5)
{CECIL} – the second letter of scholar is followed by the reversal (turning up) of parasitic insects.

Quite a few clues made my shortlist but I’ve chosen 16a for my top spot with honourable mentions for 13a and 18d. How about you?

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16 Comments

  1. BigBoab
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Superb toughie and review, many thanks to Messinae and Gazza, i particularly liked 13a.

  2. Expat Chris
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Well, that was interesting. I thorougly enjoyed most of it but the 11A clue was really convoluted and I would not have resolved it in a month of Sundays. What is a lim? 1A was obvious, but the tum baffled me. And although I solved 25A the bank reference eluded me (being an expat). But I loved the rest and have four…count ’em, four…favorites: 13A, 21A, 13D and 15D. Many thanks to Messinae and to Gazza for sorting me out.

    • gazza
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      The long road in Edinburgh is called The Royal Mile.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. I just looked at the clue again and suddenly all was clear. Now feeling rather stupid.

  3. spindrift
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Apparently when the muppets at 19a are photographed Ant is always on the left. Please don’t ask me how I know – it’s one of those useless pieces of information you think you’ll never use…

  4. Pegasus
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Good enjoyable puzzle, favourites were 13d 14d and 21a thanks to Messinae and to Gazza for the comments.

  5. Kath
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this a lot even though I was defeated by 21a and didn’t understand my 25a answer.
    9 and 13a and 13d made me laugh so my favourite is one of those. I also liked 16a.
    With thanks to Messinae and gazza.

  6. JB
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m not likely to forget the expression “little Mary”. My mother-in-law’s name was Mary and how she HATED it when my father-in-law referred to his stomach that way. His stomach was quite imposing!

  7. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    A couple of new things to sort out, Mary’s stomach for 1a, and the presenter in 19a, but we did get them. Solving today’s puzzles was a very welcome break from setting up and finding our way round a new computer. Very stressful, but like the crosswords, successfully completed. Enjoyed the puzzle.
    Thanks Messinae and Gazza.

  8. halcyon
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this a lot. Started well then found the SW corner somewhat tougher, not helped by failing to spot the anagram at 18d [nice clue]

    Not sure about 13a but amused by the definitions at 21a and 14d. Other favourites 16a and 13d [quirky but it works for me].

    Thanks to Messinae and Gazza

  9. gazza
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Warbler tomorrow.

    • andy
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

      Whoop whoop

  10. Una
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Lots of fun clues, thanks Messinae ! And thanks Gazza for the hints (some of which were needed) and explanations.

  11. andy
    Posted March 26, 2014 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed this, 13d was indeed slightly strange to parse. Thanks Gazza and Messinae

  12. Salty Dog
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    More like 4* for me, but l don’t think l’m on Messinae’s wavelength. 13d was very clever, and l needed Gazza’s help to crack the SW corner.

  13. Catnap
    Posted March 27, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    This was thoroughly enjoyable! Fave was 13a, but I also liked many others, including 4d and 5d.

    Most of this posed no problems, but I needed hints for three clues, 14d, 15a, and 16a. (I thought 16a was an anagram but still managed to miss it.) I also needed the explanation for 1a. Never heard of it!

    Many thanks to Messinae for a lovely puzzle. Many thanks to Gaza for invaluable enlightenment.