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Toughie 1278

Toughie No 1278 by Giovanni

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment *

It is rumoured that Giovanni has strong words to say about crossword blogs in the forthcoming update of his beloved manual.  If he continues to produce puzzles like this one then it is not surprising that the Arsène Wenger* of Crosswordland gets bad reviews.

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.


1a    Model about to be caught by runner, a wild beast (6)
COYOTE: the reversal (about) of an adjective meaning model or miniature inside (to be caught by) the surname of a former Olympic Champion runner

4a    A writer to entertain this writer — altogether subhuman types? (6)
APEMEN: the A from the clue and a writing implement around the first person objective pronoun (this writer)

8a    An ornament or two by phone knocked over (8)
BRACELET: a pair of, for example, pheasants followed by the reversal (knocked over – more a down clue construct than an across clue one) a three-letter abbreviated form of a phone

10a    Party game’s ending with implanted label — another opportunity for childish behaviour? (6)
DOTAGE: a two-letter party and the final letter (ending) of [gam]E around (with implanted) a label

11a    Second item to be knocked down in window (4)
SLOT: S(econd) followed by an item to be knocked down in an auction

12a    Accommodation for which no estimate is possible (10)
MAISONETTE: an anagram (possible) of NO ESTIMATE

13a    Is in France facing mountains with soldiers — time for isolation (12)
ESTRANGEMENT: the French for “is” in the third person followed by a chain of mountains, some enlisted soldiers and T(ime)

16a    Go away thinking about section of the organisation? (12)
DEPARTMENTAL: a verb meaning to go away followed by an adjective meaning thinking or intellectual

20a    Dad with bad hesitancy in speech must swallow liquid medicine (10)
PAINKILLER: a two-letter word for dad, an adjective meaning bad and an indication of hesitancy in speech around (must swallow) some liquid used for writing

21a    A bit of wood in the hairpiece he removed (4)
TWIG: T[he] and a hairpiece without (removed) the HE

22a    Article penned by tearful Communist (6)
MAOIST: the indefinite article inside an adjective meaning tearful

23a    They go on the snow and jump, given shouts of approval (3,5)
SKI POLES: a word meaning jump followed by some shouts of approval at, say, a bullfight

24a    Folk with jobs largely gone — youngsters needing to be heard (6)
MINERS: sounds like (needing to be heard) some youngsters

25a    Head of State within military establishment could be this (6)
DESPOT: the initial letter (head) of state inside a military establishment gives this person who has been invested with absolute power


1d    Irresponsible embrace in which ‘love’ is devoid of content (8)
CARELESS: an embrace around L[ov]E without its inner letters (devoid of content)

2d    Boat with children in river capsized (5)
YACHT: CH(ildren) inside the reversal (capsized) of a Scottish river

3d    Supportive figure, male turning up carrying weight around (7)
TELAMON: it wouldn’t be a Giovanni puzzle without at least one or two obscure answers – this man’s figure used as a supporting pillar is derived by putting the reversal (turning up in a down clue) of MALE inside a heavy weight

5d    US employer using office assistant, lazy type (7)
PADRONE: here’s the second obscure answer! – the two-letter abbreviation for an office assistant followed by a lazy type

6d    Shabby mother not right to meet a cardinal (4-5)
MOTH-EATEN: MOTHE[r] without (not) the R(ight) followed by the A from the clue and a cardinal number

7d    Thing unfolded with day’s ending? (6)
NIGHTY: an anagram (unfolded) of THING followed by the final letter (ending) of [da]Y – we criticise rookies who use the same construct more than once in a puzzle, yet here the self-proclaimed expert setter is doing the same thing

9d    Right, briefly I’ll test loo out — for its essential requirements (6,5)
TOILET ROLLS: an anagram (out) of R (Right briefly) I’LL TEST LOO gives essential requirements for a loo

14d    Flag‘s new image nation finally accepted (3,6)
RED ENSIGN: a new image around (accepted) the final letter of [natio]N

15d    Fellow I give big meal to, though without a show (8)
MANIFEST: a fellow or chap followed by I and a big meal without the A

17d    One attached to craft as decorator? (7)
PAINTER: two definitions – the first being a rope used for fastening a boat

18d    Pot of soup to spoil little child (7)
MARMITE: this lidded metal or earthenware cooking pot, especially for soup, is a charade of a three-letter verb meaning to spoil and a little child

19d    Form of greeting has upset mum unfortunately (6)
SALAAM: the reversal (upset in a down clue) of words meaning mum and unfortunately

21d    Old village in which pagan god would have power (5)
THORP: a pagan god followed by P(ower)

Toro’s contract in Malawi has been extended, so it will be a few weeks before he returns.

* Arsène Wenger – a football manager who is renowned for whingeing about referees, opposing teams etc.

21 comments on “Toughie 1278

  1. I can’t believe I’m the first to comment; it was quite easy, after all. I thought it was fair enough for this stage of the week, although l agree that 5d is obscure. 2*/3* by my reckoning. I was pleased to solve 3d, having plucked up the name from reading the Iliad long ago, but pick 12a as favourite because one of these was our first married home – a so-called “Moon City” married quarter in Helensburgh in 1975. Thanks to Giovanni, and to BD for the review.

  2. Super puzzle, the first Toughie I have ever finished.
    Many thanks to my favourite crossword setter and for the hints to 22a and 19d.

  3. I am enormously grateful to BD for his kind comments and for taking on the self-appointed role of referee (and for plugging my new ‘beloved’ manual out on 31 October), which gives this blog some free publicity and actually says some quite nice things ) — and of course even more grateful to Brian and those goodly souls in the terraces who gave me four stars for enjoyment on the Telegraph website.

    1. I know it’s a bit of a cheek but could you let me have a link to purchase your new manual.

  4. Hmmm. Not that difficult and for me not that enjoyable either because of a couple of irritations. I’ve never seen 7D spelled that way. Yes, I know it’s in the BRB but any woman will tell you it ends in “ie”, not “y”. I thought ‘ink’ for ‘liquid’ was a stretch too far in 20A. And 5D earned an ‘ugh’ from me. Strictly speaking more broker than direct employer, I would have thought, and so outdated that even what’s left of the Mob probably doesn’t use it.

    Nevertheless, I appreciate the setter’s skill elsewhere in the grid. Thanks to BD for the review.

  5. I enjoyed this puzzle!

    I do not understand the disparaging remarks from BD.

    But, Giovanni, he refuses to even look at a puzzle from Excalibur! Count yourself lucky!

    1. I imagine we all have setters we prefer and those we don’t like much for one reason or another. I’m not a fan of the Monday puzzles. I find them a bit flat and though I do them I rarely comment these days. But Rufus is a big favorite with others. That’s just human nature and that’s OK with me.

  6. As is so often the case, we agree totally with Big Boab’s comment above. A well put together puzzle that we found a pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and BD.

    1. I can only second that. I always enjoy the challenge of a Giovanni puzzle and my enjoyment was none the less this time. I have to admit to needing a couple of hints – for 11 across & 19 down, though after getting the two answers I felt ashamed with myself for needing them. 24 across was my last one in . . . . . after much thought. Thanks to the Don and to BD.

  7. I normally really enjoy Giovanni puzzles, some times they are as good as it gets. Today there were more than the usual number of new words for me, 3d (supportive figure), 5d (us employer), 21d (old village), and I do remember the other meaning of 17d that is attached to a boat, but didn’t remember it very quickly and was searching for ways to insert an i into something, not sure what. Anyway, was easy enough to confirm the new words were right.

    I did think that in 23a “getting stuck in snow” might perhaps have been a fairer and more imaginative description of what these things do.

    Favourite clue was 7d – (thing unfolded) – I’m not sure I understand BD’s comment about a repeated device, this is a beautiful all-in-one definition. Also 3d ( the supportive figure), which despite being obscure is another very nice all-in-one.

    Thank you Giovanni and BD for the review

      1. thanks BD. yes, I see now, that is using the same indicator and it would have been trivial to change which isn’t good form. I missed it because i was looking for a slightly worse crime where the exact same construct was being used to get a last letter, e.g. “day’s ending” twice. Learning a lot from this blog, thanks!

  8. I don’t often attempt theToughie but thanks to Giovanni for today’s gentle exercise and BD for helping me out with 1a and 8a. I am encouraged to have another go in the future.

  9. Certainly one of the easiest toughies I’ve attempted and as I finished it I enjoyed it. I found it easier than the back page one today.

  10. A rare visit to the Toughie for me too, and I’m very happy to report that I finished it unaided with a nice sense of satisfaction and the bonus of learning a couple of new words along the way.
    Thank you to Giovanni for the enjoyable challenge and to BD as ever for the review and this site in general.

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