Toughie 1219

Toughie No 1219 by Elkamere

Where’s The Monkey?

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

When I did an initial scan through the across clues I didn’t get a single answer so I thought I was in for a stiff challenge. However, the down clues were much more amenable and it all got resolved in a reasonable time. All very enjoyable but not as tough as Elkamere’s previous puzzle (1207) of three weeks ago in my opinion – feel free to disagree (I already know someone who does!).

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 Two seconds into Michael Jackson song, strange kick (4,4)
{BASS DRUM} – luckily what we want here is one of the few Michael Jackson songs I’ve heard of. Put the abbreviation for second twice inside it then add an adjective meaning strange or odd. The result is a musical instrument of which a ‘kick’ is one type.

6a Badger that man caught next to rock (6)
{HECTOR} – a charade of a male pronoun, the cricket abbreviation for caught and a rocky peak.

9a Sound of shot muffled in battle (6)
{SHILOH} – a battle in the American Civil War sounds like two homophones – a) a shot or attempt followed by b) an adjective meaning muffled or faint.

10a It seems rocks around lake to be permanent (8)
{TIMELESS} – an anagram (rocks) of IT SEEMS containing L(ake).

11a Respirator I have switched on for ages? One switch needed! (4,4)
{IRON LUNG} – I have switched on for ages could be ‘I run long’. Switch the vowels round.

12a Bad shilling not cut short (6)
{SINFUL} – the abbreviation for shilling followed by a phrase meaning ‘not cut’ (2,4) without its last letter (short). If you weren’t sure of the Michael Jackson song in 1a there’s a strong hint here.

13a Actor cut BBC series, ‘Land Larks’ (5,7)
{BRIAN BLESSED} – an anagram (larks) of BB(c) SERIES LAND produces an actor who first came to notice as PC ‘Fancy’ Smith in Z Cars.

16a Some criminals call 24 in order to see 19 21 (5,7)
{ORGAN GRINDER} – insert a criminal group and a verb to call on the phone (modified as directed by 24a) into ORDER.

19a Urban engineers should have let it stand on the perimeter (6)
{STREET} – the abbreviation for the Royal Engineers with around it (on the perimeter) the instruction written on a printed proof to let something stand or leave it unaltered.

21a As a player I am in such short supply (8)
{MUSICIAN} – an anagram (supply) of I AM IN SUC(h).

23a Someone who doesn’t dreamnot as before (2,6)
{NO LONGER} – double definition – the first, cryptically, someone who’s not into dreaming or yearning.

24a As good as a spymaster in TV series (6)
{ALMOST} – start with A then insert James Bond’s boss in an American TV series about the survivors of an aircrash.

25a Strike force vacated France when opening front (6)
{AFFECT} – insert the symbol for force and the outer (vacated) letters of France inside (when opening) a front or pretence.

26a Guide‘s frightful ordeal crossing 19 (8)
{LODESTAR} – an anagram (frightful) of ORDEAL containing (crossing) the abbreviation for 19a.

Down Clues

2d Stick plug in this location (6)
{ADHERE} – a charade of an abbreviated plug or puff and an adverb meaning in this location.

3d Odd characters in small-town social event (5)
{SALON} – the odd letters of small-town.

4d Moving? What, moving walls? (9)
{REHOUSING} – a terse request for something to be repeated (what?) is surrounded (walls) by an adjective meaning moving or stirring.

5d Changing agent, as Greek character changing agent (7)
{MUTAGEN} – this substance is something that changes the genetic material of an organism (thanks to Wikipedia). The twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet is followed by an anagram (changing) of AGENT.

6d Fundamentalist group is obliged to imprison old lady (5)
{HAMAS} – a verb meaning is obliged or must with the affectionate term for old lady or mother inside it (to imprison).

7d One’s part of the settled establishment : one’s royalty (9)
{COLONISER} – pay particular attention to the punctuation in the clue – now add the Roman numeral for one, the ‘S and a top member of our royalty.

8d Work’s not started? Better to be hidden (8)
{OBSCURED} – string together another word for work or employment without its first letter (not started), the ‘S and a synonym for better or restored to health.

13d Supporter wants reason to protect old college (9)
{BRASENOSE} – the usual female support garment is followed by a word meaning reason containing (to protect) O(ld) to make this Oxford college.

14d Chap’s dismay on breaking dresser (5,4)
{LADY’S MAID} – start with a chap or bloke and follow with an anagram (on breaking) of DISMAY.

15d Forget about sarcastic VIP, say (5,3)
{WRITE OFF} – this sounds like a sarcastic or sardonic VIP or upper-class individual.

17d 12 10 10? (7)
{IMMORAL} – the answer is a synonym for 12a. Start with a word meaning 10a then take away one letter according to the instruction in 10a. Very clever.

18d Sodium-taking leads to a sickness (6)
{NAUSEA} – another way of saying sodium taking (2-3) employing the chemical symbol is followed by A.

20d Well oiled but unlikely to come loose (5)
{TIGHT} – double definition.

22d Climbing tree, he pondered the human condition (5)
{CAMUS} – reverse a tree that grows in temperate regions (various bits of which can be used as a spice, a dye and, in the past, a medicine) to make the name of a French-Algerian writer and philosopher. In his youth he was a goalkeeper – a fact that occasionally crops up in quiz questions.

Taking the prizes for me today were 4d, 7d and 17d. Let us know which one(s) you enjoyed.

13 thoughts on “Toughie 1219

  1. I found this difficult and indeed needed a touch of Gnome’s Law before the final three pennies clanged to the ground. I did enjoy the fight so would give it 4.5*/5*. I might have disagreed with Gazza about this one being more difficult than the last Elkamere but I do agree with his list of favourites. Thank you to him and to Elkamere for giving us a Toughie worthy of its place in the middle of the paper.

  2. 4*/4.5* for me, My last one in, which help me up for quite some time was 9a.
    Many thanks to Elkamere for a super puzzle, and to Gazza for the review.

  3. I also found this tough, 9a being the last to yield, favourites were 7d 16a and 22d thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for the comments.

  4. At the risk of sounding completely hopeless this one was way beyond me.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    I don’t think I even managed half the answers and, of those, I needed gazza’s help to understand several.
    I think not my day just about covers it. Oh dear!
    With thanks to Elkamere, even if I wasn’t up to the challenge, and to gazza for all his clear explanations.

  5. I must have got on the right wavelength because I didn’t really have any difficulty with this but I did find it immensely enjoyable, my thanks to Elkamere and Gazza.

  6. We are still feeling very grumpy with the Telegraph. We printed off the puzzles at the usual time and then discovered that we had the day before’s Toughie. Kept checking the site until, at last, about 10 hours late, just before bed-time here, it appeared. At least we had an enjoyable Paul prize puzzle from the G to console us.
    So attacked this one late at night and enjoyed it. Lack of time meant we had not parsed a couple completely, 11a and 16a but did have correct answers. Needed Google help for a couple too. Thought that 17a was the most clever amongst a plethora of really good clues.
    Thanks Elkamere and Gazza.

  7. 4* 4* from me. 17d is indeed very clever. If I had not spent so long totally misdirected by 24a things would have been so much easier elsewhere. 11a took me a while. Many thanks Elkamere and Gazza as always

  8. Completed with one eye on the Netherlands game ,and unfortunately I now have to endure extra time ,same as I had to with 9a , favourite 16a but perhaps it should have gone to penalties as there were so many inventive clues in a very enjoyable puzzle
    Thanks Gazza and Elkamere .

  9. Wednesday’s Toughie is about my level of tussle. Pleased that I got nearly half in before I turned to Gazza for help. Thank you Elkamere. I loved the use of other clues although 24a was one of my last!!! 17a my favourite.

  10. Agree the down clues were generally easier but needed GAzzas help on about half the clues either to solve or understand the rationale.
    Neverthe less very enjoyable and clever clues> Really didn’t like 24a and 25a and 26a was a new word for me.
    help

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