Toughie 1223

Toughie No 1223 by Firefly

Norra Lorra Laughs

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

For me this was not one of our more stimulating Wednesday Toughies (although there was a laugh, probably unintentional on the setter’s part, at 4d). There’s a theme in the puzzle based on various meanings of the answer at 26a.

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Across Clues

1a Somewhere like Japan can rule anew with price control over prime items from other nations (7-4,4)
{NUCLEAR-FREE ZONE} – an anagram (anew) of CAN RULE is followed by a pegging of prices containing (over) the initial letters of O(ther) N(ations).

8a Through North Germany to get a loaf of bread, maybe? (5)
{VIAND} – string together a preposition meaning through, N(orth) and the IVR code for Deutschland.

9a 26 that in L’Opera enters scene mysteriously (8)
{SEQUENCE} – this is the first of the various meanings of 26a scattered through the puzzle. Insert the word for ‘that’ in L’Opera (and elsewhere in France) inside an anagram (mysteriously) of SCENE.

11a Carried on getting grass, consuming whole lot (7)
{RESUMED} – a type of grass contains a total.

12a In backward parts of central US, nickels may be withdrawn (7)
{INSULAR} – hidden (parts) and reversed (backward) in the clue.

13a Sophisticated science a knockout with EU executives (2-3)
{HI-TEC} – a charade of a blow (which could be a knockout but more often than not isn’t) and the abbreviation for the EU executives who’ve just got a new president in spite of Dave’s opposition.

15a Turn out in uniform, classy, to appear in gallery (9)
{EVENTUATE} – start with an adjective meaning uniform or unfluctuating and then insert the letter used to mean upper-class in a London gallery.

17a Limited coalfields in production — no end of grief involved (9)
{LOCALISED} – an anagram (in production) of COAL(f)IELDS without the final letter of grief.

20a Faith Carter, oddly, joins party (5)
{CREDO} – the odd letters of Carter followed by a festive party.

21a Singular conclusion in favour of 26 (4,3)
{SEND FOR} – string together the abbreviation for singular, a conclusion and a preposition meaning in favour of.

23a More than a room needed for this kind of delivery (7)
{OVERARM} – a charade of a preposition meaning more than or in excess of, A and the abbreviation for room. This is the standard way of bowling in professional cricket (except for one notorious example by the dastardly Australians in 1981).

25a/26a Faultless Nick‘s sweet harmony? (5-3,5)
{APPLE-PIE ORDER} – a sweet or pudding followed by today’s theme word, here meaning harmony or symmetry. The falsely capitalised nick is a slang term for condition as in the phrase ‘in good nick’.

26a See 25a

27a Note: people in office for profit have Scott upset with outlay for subs (11,4)
{REPLACEMENT COST} – subs here is short for substitutes rather than subscriptions. This is a charade of a) a note in tonic sol-fa, b) people appointed to positions in government for personal profit often as a reward for political support and c) an anagram (upset) of SCOTT.

Down Clues

1d Elevenses could be about right hour for all that (12)
{NEVERTHELESS} – an anagram (could be) of ELEVENSES containing the two-letter abbreviation for right and H(our).

2d 26 carat girl? (5)
{CLASS} – the abbreviation for carat followed by a girl.

3d ‘Extensive clean’ is dreadful; around half … (9)
{ENDEMICAL} – an anagram (is dreadful) of CLEAN containing a word meaning half.

4d … what’s left is dire — Sue, to work! (7)
{RESIDUE} – the surface evokes an amusing image of crypticsue’s boss pleading that the remaining crosswords in her pile are not worth doing and urging a return to work. It’s an anagram (to work) of DIRE SUE.

5d 26 about ancient vocal group? (7)
{REQUIRE} – a preposition meaning about or concerning followed by the obsolete spelling of a group of singers.

6d Not hard for masons to make vessels (5)
{EWERS} – a word for cutters or shapers without the leading H (not hard). Isn’t it time this word was put out to grass?

7d Swing, like songstress during old set revitalised (9)
{OSCILLATE} – an old screecher from Merseyside goes inside O(ld) and an anagram (revitalised) of SET.

10d Honour of 26 worth something? (5,2,5)
{ORDER OF MERIT} – start with 26a (not a synonym, the actual word itself) and add a phrase meaning worth something or having value.

14d Electronic music in college — nothing from current charts (9)
{TECHNOPOP} – the short form of a type of college is followed by a phrase (2,3) meaning nothing of the type of music currently in the charts.

16d Exhaust starts to teeter under car — key external rivet’s at fault (6,3)
{TUCKER OUT} – the starting letters of six words in the clue followed by a word meaning at fault or mistaken.

18d With a short 26 clears up doubt (7)
{SCRUPLE} – 26a is being used here as an anagram indicator so we want an anagram (26a) of CLE(a)RS UP without the A (with A short).

19d See medic? ‘E’s on Ecstasy when touring institute (7)
{DIOCESE} – string together a familiar abbreviation for a medic, E’S from the clue and E(cstasy) and insert (touring) I(nstitute).

22d Composer includes hint of ‘Lohengrin’ in refrain (5)
{FALLA} – this Spanish composer comes from putting the first letter of L(ohengrin) into what (2,2) the BRB defines as syllables used as a refrain.

24d Gold and diamond moon shown in reproduction (5)
{AUDIO} – bring together the chemical symbol for gold, D(iamond)? and one of the moons of Jupiter. D stands for the card suit diamonds but not, as far as I am aware, for the singular diamond.

Top clue for me today was 25/26a for its misdirection but I also liked 4d for the amusing (for readers of this blog anyway) surface reading. Let us know which one(s) you enjoyed.

31 responses to “Toughie 1223

  1. Not the most exciting or amusing toughie but I found myself feeling quite pleased when I finished it, I thought it quite difficult. Many thanks to Firefly and to Gazza.

  2. Had it been nearer nine o’clock I might well have obeyed the instructions in 4d as I didn’t particularly enjoy this crossword – it almost falls into the category of ‘tough for the wrong reasons’. Thank you Firefly but the only one I laughed at was ‘my’ clue.

    Thanks to Gazza too.

  3. Couldn’t quite finish on my own. Nearly got there but not quite.

    But can someone please tell me. I think I’m the only person on the planet who doesn’t know, but what’s the BRB?

    PS thanks for crossword and review. Enjoyed both.

  4. I can’t say I enjoyed this very much, struggling to find a favourite but if pushed I’d opt for 18d thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for the comments.

  5. Having only managed the top left corner I sneaked in here to grab a hint (and answer I’m ashamed to say) for 25/26a as I was clearly getting nowhere fast without it – thanks, gazza.
    That helped a bit but I didn’t finish this one by quite a long way – I thought it was really difficult – OK, I know it’s meant to be – it’s a Toughie.
    I liked “Sue’s clue” and 1d.
    Thanks to Firefly and gazza.

  6. Glad it wasn’t just me! A struggle and rather boring. It’s a good idea, in a themed puzzle like this, to make the theme clue a particularly good one. Sadly not the case here.

    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza.

  7. At least I could finish it without too many problems, helped by the theme word. Thx to setter – and to Gazza for explaining a couple of the answers.

  8. A tough toughie, got in or about half.Thanks for the hints, Gazza and Firefly.
    Which was Sue’s clue ? 9a or 25a ?

        • Forgive me if I’m stating what to lots of us is obvious.The point is that CS does lots of crosswords at work. She gets there very early so that she has the time to do them, and lots of the reviews that we all enjoy – Saturday prize puzzles and some NTSPP’S etc. Having read my load of rubbish now read gazza’s hint again.

  9. I know I’m a relative newcomer to Toughies but found this one beyond Tough even with help from Gazza. After only getting 20a, 4d, 1d and first bit of 1a, I looked at the hints and then the answers. No fun. Perhaps I’ll enjoy the back page more.

    • I’m not even a relative newcomer to Toughie-land. I’ve been trying to get to grips with these for quite a long time. In general and with a lot of help,encouragement and hints I can usually get a fair way into them even though I very rarely, if ever, manage to finish them. I couldn’t do today’s at all.

    • NJoy keep at it, you’ll get there. A lot of us had to start somewhere, me personally from looking at the hints and working backwards if you know what I mean.

    • You probably didn’t watch enough B-feature Westerns in your youth. Somebody could always be relied on to say “I’m plumb tuckered out”.

  10. Having struggled with this for an hour very early this morning, and completing only 12 and a bit, I had to put it aside until now (6 PM EST). So I’m avoiding looking at the hints in the faint hope I might get a few more on my own, with the help of a libation. I think (hope) that I have 25/26 across though.

  11. Well, I got two more…1D and 8A. This was what my Mum would have called “too clever by half” and she would not have meant it as a compliment. I don’t mind being defeated by a fair Toughie but this seemed to me to be a very smug “bet you can’t solve my clever clues” offering. Thank you Gazza for the review.

  12. Thanks Gazza for all your help but I sort of agree with Expat Chris’s comments. I had solved 4 0r 5 of the clues and the hit on 1a which opened up the top half nicely even getting 2d without solving 25/6a. Didn’t help much!. 15a and 16d were new expressions to me. A few others I solved without knowing why but I thought overall very obscure. I am as yet somewhat of a novice on toughies.

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