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Toughie 1233

Toughie No 1233 by Elgar

Kipper Me Capstans!

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

Tilsit is on his hols giving me a rare opportunity to tussle with Elgar – and a thoroughly enjoyable tussle it was. He’s possibly not yet back to full ‘Cloggie’ mode but this puzzle is chock full of wonderful penny drop moments.

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/26a Opportunity for all (but nothing for one retired) given to you by Bill King, financier (10,2,3,9)
CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER – start with an opportunity or possibility then reverse (retired) FOR ALL first replacing the A (one) with what looks like nothing. Now (after taking a deep breath) add an old word for you, the mathematical symbol meaning ‘by’ or times, what North Americans call the bill in a restaurant (but not spelt the way they would) and an abbreviation for king.

8a Pluck possessed by nurse finally lacking bottle (7)
AMPULLA – a verb meaning to pluck goes inside a nursemaid without the final H (finally lacking).

9a ECB distracted in desire for Cambridgeshire town (7)
WISBECH – an anagram (distracted) of ECB inside a desire.

11a Take food fish to be stuffed in new arrangement (5-2)
SHAKE-UP – a dated verb to eat has a fish stuffed inside it.

12a Lilac band, say? One’s depressed about it (7)
SYRINGA – this is a lilac plant. A band or circle has SAY placed about it but the letter that can mean one (the same one referred to in 1a) is demoted (depressed) to the end. Depressed would probably be more meaningful in a down clue.

13a Another beer needed, evidently — and some wine! (5)
PINOT – if there’s nothing in your tall glass then you’re obviously in need of a refill.

14a Property viewed on sarcastic flier at Newmarket? (4,5)
GOOD START – what a horse getting out of the stalls at Newmarket races very quickly may be said to have made is a charade of property or chattels and an adjective meaning sarcastic or cutting.

16a Des, it could be, charged by constables wanting claim back (9)
REPOSSESS – in estate agents’ jargon what invariably goes with ‘des’ contains (charged by) constables or groups of citizens brought together to enforce the law.

19a Feeling of slight resentment, seeing this 30-0 scoreline (5)
PIQUE – double definition – the second (which I didn’t know, never having played this game) is the scoring of 30 points without response in a card game for two people.

21a Vigilant amateur breaking new ground (2,5)
ON GUARD – the abbreviation for amateur goes inside an anagram (new) of GROUND.

23a For Cambridge University, it’s difficult to accept limited change (7)
HARVARD – an adjective meaning difficult contains a verb to change without its final letter (limited).

24a Con out of Cup, maybe, having rand planted in players’ coach (7)
TRAINER – start with what a cup is an example of, take away the CON and insert R(and).

25a From back of menu, put in order still in fridge? (7)
UNEATEN – the final letter of menu followed by a verb to put in order.

26a See 1 Across

Down Clues

1d/17d Horatio of the high seas was patching up a junk (7,7)
CAPTAIN PUGWASH – this cartoon pirate (first name Horatio) is an anagram (junk) of WAS PATCHING UP A. The popular belief that the names of the characters in these programmes all had rude double meanings is, alas, totally untrue. For example the cabin boy was called Tom, not Roger.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

2d Trouble caused by numbers ten and eleven? Ten’s first to be dropped (7)
AILMENT – having discarded clues 10d and 11a and then the addresses of 1a/26a and his boss I finally got round to cricket. It’s a cryptic description of numbers 10 and 11 in the batting order with the first letter of T(en) dropped to the bottom.

3d Reported fraud, suffering: whine emitted? (9)
CHAMPAGNE – lots of homophones here. This is a type of what sounds like (emitted) whine and it’s a charade of homophones (reported) of a) a fraud or pretence and b) suffering or discomfort.

4d Detective show‘s obscene ending is replaced (5)
LEWIS – an adjective meaning obscene with IS replacing its end letter.

5d That’s inferior, being slightly unwell, missing out (2,5)
OF SORTS – as it stands the answer means inferior or not quite up to the mark in a slightly disparaging way (‘he was an actor ** *****’) but preceded by OUT it means slightly unwell.

6d/20d In 4, with 5 lined up — as single comic narrated about (3,3,1,7)
ONE AND A QUARTER – if you write down four as a number with five underlined up above it you have a vulgar fraction equivalent to the answer. A conjunction from Latin meaning as or in the capacity of has around it an adjective meaning single or sole and an anagram (comic) of NARRATED.

7d Old hat mostly covered versatile opener (5-7)
PASSE-PARTOUT – start with an adjective meaning old hat or no longer in fashion. If something is mostly covered then a bit of it is exposed so add a phrase (4,3) to this effect.

10d Have news viewed by many on Twitter that’s very sad (5-7)
HEART-RENDING – a charade of a verb to have news or be informed is followed by a term used by the Twitterati to mean popular or viewed by many.

15d Wet spots finally turning up in which you may stay drier with hood (9)
OASTHOUSE – wet and fertile spots in the desert with their last two letters reversed (finally turning up) contain (in which … may stay) an old word for you. Chambers gives the answer as two words rather than one.

17d See 1 Down

18d Abuse on tour of Northern Ireland turning to cheers for The Dubliners (7)
SLAINTE – a verb to abuse or criticise harshly contains (on tour of) the reversal of the abbreviation for Northern Ireland.

19d Normal rendezvous banning a European arriviste (7)
PARVENU – string together a word meaning normal or standard (especially on a golf course) and a rendezvous without one of the E(uropean)s.

20d See 6 Down

22d Party wealth cut by this man’s order (5)
DORIC – a festive party followed by another word for wealth with the final three letters (a contracted form of ‘this man has’) cut off.

It’s difficult to pick out individual clues but I’ll choose 2d, 4d and 5d as the ones I liked best. Let us know which one(s) you enjoyed.

21 comments on “Toughie 1233

  1. A great end to the Toughie week, very entertaining but not Elgar at his most difficult which suited me just fine as I have a very busy day today. Lots of lovely d’oh moments and some great wordplay, not least because who can resist a crossword that contains 1/17d. I agree with the BD ratings.

    Thanks to Elgar for the fun and to Gazza for the explanations – I only needed the one for 19a – I really must persuade the boss that the office needs a copy of the BRB!

  2. Sue, don’t do anything about the BRB until the total mess that is the 13th edition has been resolved.

    1. Perhaps I’ll just bring in one of my copies from home – I have the 11th and 12th and a 1949 version!

  3. I have a feeling of slight resentment in that gazza can solve such crosswords and I CANNOT!

    Thanks to gazza for the review and also to Elgar for the challenge..

  4. Gazza, thanks, glad to be here at last.

    The 13th edition has been called a ‘ghastly error’ and there has been some talk of pulping it. Part of the trouble is that there is an interregnum between managements at Chambers, and so probably nobody properly oversaw it.

    There is an enormous number of words missing – to the extent that a free supplement containing them is envisaged.

    It seems that all the highlighted words from the 12th edition have been omitted from the dead tree edition.

    Did someone say ‘remove all the highlighted entries’ – unlikely. More probable is that someone said remove the highlighting, and was misunderstood And as the work may well have been done by a freelance, therein probably lies the heart of the matter

    1. This is rather alarming: I was planning to get a copy.

      Oddly, I’ve found nothing online – Googling Chambers Dictionary 13th edition errors – to suggest that the problem is widely known.

  5. Living in Kent I can assure you 15d should be two words.

    What’s this about the 13th edition of the BRB? Having just bought it I hate to think it is a total mess. I should stick to my 1956 edition with all the pencilled notes by my mother in its margins!

    Coped with the right hand side of the puzzle but the left side defeated me. I thought 7d was sticky tape or the man from Around the World. “Versatile opener” escapes me.

    1. Passe-partout can be a master key – hence versatile opener.
      See Conrad’s follow-up – that’s news to me. I was just thinking about getting it – may hold off for a while.

  6. Got there in the end but it did take two sittings, 6&20d held me up for ages till the penny finally dropped, favourites were 2d 13a and 18d thanks to Elgar and to Gazza for the dissection.

  7. Deep T – there is a thread over at the Crossword Centre, which I have tried to summarise here.

    It’s up to you what you do, but personally I think now that my £35 would have been better spent on some decent malt, or a lot of curries.

    Meantime I struggle to use a disintegrating 11th edition.

    The 13th edition meanwhile is busy pressing flowers for my live-in Nina spotter.

    1. Thanks for that, Conrad. I’ll hold on to the cash, and keep using my 2003 edition.

      Incidentally, it helps to keep a thread together if you click on the ‘Reply’ link at the top of a post rather than starting a new thread each time.

  8. I’m afraid that I found this reasonably gentle for Elgar but as ever extremely entertaining, many thanks to Elgar and Gazza.

  9. We found this one a real struggle (perhaps a few too many local references for us) but did get to the end with a bit of electronic assistance along the way. There were also a couple where we had not worked out the finer points of the wordplay. Appreciated the work-out.
    Thanks Elgar and Gazza.

  10. I managed seven answers. Ah, well. Tomorrow is another day. Respect to Elgar and thanks to Gazza for the solutions.

  11. Just as yesterday I was left with two that I wrote in and had know idea why. Seeing the hints for them I’m not sure I would ever have got the parsing correct. Hat doffed to Gazza for the enlightenment. The 1/17 clue was a belter. Thanks Gazza as always and Elgar

  12. Typical Elgar fare here. Some brilliant clues [13a, 23a, 2d, 3d, 18d] and a couple of stinkers [6/20d – any idea what the surface means? and 12a – I recall another setter recently having a star deducted for confusing his down and across indicators].

    But it passed the time [quite a lot of it] well enough.

    Thanks to Elgar and Gazza.

  13. Astonished that I completed correctly ,two clues took an age ,and many inserted on definition with only the vaguest idea why particularly 6/20 .Hats off to those who sluiced through this .OK smiled at 1/17 but largely devoid of entertainment for me .
    Wonderful review Gazza and thanks Elgar for the challenge .

  14. I got there eventually, with a lot of Googling; this was a ***** for me, though, and very worthy of its setter. I liked particularly 18a (although I had to look up the Irish word for ‘cheers,’ I’m sorry to admit.) 10d was great; also 2d, when I eventually worked it out, and 1d is a very clever and well-concealed anagram. Congrats to Gazza for solving it much quicker than I could !

  15. Far to difficult for me. Having looked through all the clues twice my score was zero. Having resorted to help from Gazza and getting 6d I managed to fill in another 5 without help. After more help with 1d I managed 2 more then threw in the towel. And just when I thought I was getting on quite well with toughies!

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