Toughie 1291 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1291

Toughie No 1291 by proXimal

Getting Off at Haymarket

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

Thanks to proXimal for an enjoyable puzzle and one with no obscure words. It took me longer than it should have to unravel a few bits of wordplay.

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 Polish car with rag initially in neutral area (6,5)
BUFFER STATE – a verb to polish followed by a type of car with the initial letter of rag inserted.

10a Open conflict of 2 characters (5)
UNBAR – an anagram (conflict?) of the letters in the answer to 2d.

11a Trivial being duck, small bird in big city (9)
NONENTITY – a word meaning nothing (a duck in cricket) is followed by a small songbird inside the abbreviation for a big US city. It took me ages to sort out the wordplay because I originally assumed the city was the first and last letters.

12a Length cut back on edge to make key parts (9)
LINCHPINS – start with L(ength) and add a verb to cut or clip reversed (back) following (on) a verb to edge along slowly and tentatively.

13a Vehicle about to drop off in northern area (5)
ARTIC – the northern area of our planet with the single-letter abbreviation for about or approximately dropped.
Royal Mail Articulated lorry

14a Give confidence to don, having right to succeed master (6)
ASSURE – start with a verb to don or put on (a disguise, for example) and change the M(aster) to R(ight).

16a Container of mouth organ snags grand clothing (8)
HEADGEAR – the part of the human body that contains the mouth and a bodily organ contain (snags) G(rand).

18a Drug mostly employed in theatre (8)
WARFARIN – this anticoagulant drug is all except the final letter of a present participle meaning engaging in hostilities (this theatre being a scene of military action rather than surgery).

20a Ferrari’s entry, not fully developed (6)
ARISEN – hidden (not fully) in the clue.

23a One on bail prepared defence (5)
ALIBI – the Roman numeral for one follows (on) an anagram (prepared) of BAIL.

24a Passage about man getting cut — medic’s former province (9)
LANGUEDOC – a narrow passage or thoroughfare contains an informal word for a man without its final Y (getting cut). After that we have a common abbreviation for a medic.

26a Show frustration filling in manifest, making careless mistake (9)
OVERSIGHT – insert a verb meaning to give voice to frustration into an adjective meaning manifest or unconcealed.

27a Character in voice-to-text conversion of browser (5)
HEART – I think that this is just a homophone (voice-to-text conversion) of a male adult deer.

28a Theatre with instrumental piece in which cast performed (11)
REPRESENTED – the informal word for a type of theatre with a permanent company of actors is followed by the vibrating piece of a musical instrument inside which we have a verb meaning cast or directed.

Down Clues

2d SA city, no capital city (5)
URBAN – SA here is South Africa. Remove the capital letter of a city there. SA is an abbreviation for South Africa but not (as far as I can see) for South African, which is what is really needed here.

3d Hearts given access to returf ground to help forward (7)
FURTHER – the abbreviation (in card games) for hearts is inserted (given access to) in an anagram (ground) of RETURF.

4d Possibly the best new writer (6)
RANKIN – the best would be the top level (4,1) – add N(ew).

5d Metal container with good catches mounted (8)
TUNGSTEN – string together a large container for beer or wine, G(ood) and the reversal (mounted) of a verb meaning catches or captures.

6d Vessel, ship moving out east for a day (7)
TANKARD – start with a large commercial ship, change the E(ast) to A and add D(ay).

7d What could be devastating characteristic of charmer? (7,6)
NUCLEAR WEAPON – what’s at the centre or nucleus of chARMer?

8d Ill-prepared shopper is so unenthusiastic (8)
LISTLESS – a shopper without the essential aide-memoire could cryptically be this.

9d Southern yard and northern yard admitting persistent Italian is coincidence (13)
SYNCHRONICITY – we need abbreviations for southern, yard, northern and yard again with, between the last two (admitting) an adjective meaning persistent or incurable and the abbreviation for Italian vermouth.

15d Soldiers carrying on about racket game (8)
SARDINES – this children’s game comes from the abbreviation for our elite soldiers containing the preposition meaning about or concerning, which in turn contains a racket or loud noise.

17d One forcibly taking one beer after another, endlessly (8)
PILLAGER – put one fizzy beer after another with the first losing its final S (endlessly).

19d A paper under discussion (2,5)
AT ISSUE – split (1,6) this would be a paper.

21d Make coarse mat layer with ordinary inlay (7)
ROUGHEN – put together a mat and a female layer then insert (with … inlay) the abbreviation for ordinary.

22d Distinguished men on board listened to allies (6)
UNITES – the letter that’s used to mean distinguished or upper-class is followed by what sounds like (listened to) men on a chess board.

25d Ancient mariner‘s bird (5)
DRAKE – double definition, the ancient mariner being an Elizabethan sea captain and explorer.

My favourite clues today were 4d and 7d. Let us know which one(s) you liked.

20 comments on “Toughie 1291

  1. Good puzzle with some clever surfaces, favourites were 1a 4d and 17d thanks to proximal and to Gazza for the dissection.

  2. thanks for revue – I found this one v tough in parts , I still can’t pretend I understand 7d, have I missed something ?

  3. Missed the wordplay on 15d, 14a, and 7d! I’m still not sure i get 27a. So quite tough!

    I really like 10a (open conflict), 23a (one on bail) and the 2 beers (17d).

    thanks proximal for the stretch and gazza for the enlightenment!

    1. 27a Heart is character or fortitude. It sounds like (in voice-to-text conversion) HART (a deer which browses or grazes).
      That’s how I read it anyway, unless anyone has any better suggestions.

      1. Thanks – I hadn’t made a hart / browser connection – hadn’t realised that is what browsing means! overtaken by current usage…

  4. I confess myself defeated by 27a and needed Gazza’s excellent analysis to understand both 7d [very cunning – worthy of the hob-nailed one] and 18a [where I was playing with warfare and IN from the clue, having completely forgotten the existence of warfaring as an adjective] heigh ho.

    As well as 7d favourites are 11a and 15d, both have clever wordplay disguised by smooth surfaces.

    Thanks [and respect] to proXimal and gratitude to Gazza for making it all clear.

  5. Failed miserably in the SE corner … apart from that a very enjoyable Wednesday Toughie.

    Getting Off at Haymarket – I have absolutely no idea what this refers to?

    {Never end a sentence with a preposition – Hope that Rabbit Dave isn’t listening!)

    1. I first came across the phrase ‘Getting off at Haymarket’ in one of Ian Rankin’s Rebus stories and I’m always reminded of it when Rankin or Rebus is mentioned. Haymarket is a railway station about one mile from the terminus (Waverley Station) so if you travel to Edinburgh and get off at Haymarket you’re not going all the way. The phrase is used in Edinburgh, therefore, to mean coitus interruptus.

  6. Totally defeated in the SE corner. With 27a had picked that it was probably a homophone but got no further than that. No excuse for not getting 25d though. Have not seen 12 across spelt with an I before but it had to be to fit the wordplay. Quite a challenge for us.
    Thanks ProXimal and Gazza.

  7. Had time after the back page, so toughie it was, found it difficult to get started but gradually managed to complete it, For the life of me I failed to see the significance of ‘charmer’ was thinking of sub atomic particles and charm-thanks Gazza for putting me out of my misery! glad you gave it ***/**** ,did enjoy the puzzle and*** fine for me, not much point really in having an easy toughie.

  8. Thanks to ProXimal and to Gazza for the review. Beyond my meagre capabilities. Couldn’t get any, so copied in all the definitions, which yielded another 5. Got 4 from the hints and had to look up the rest. Totally bewildering.

  9. Quite a few new words to add to my memory banks. Warfarin, heart for a character, Mr Rankin who is unknown to me, artic for an articulated lorry and I always thought nonentity was split in two. For 7d I was first looking for something snakes for the reference to the charmer. So thanks to Gazza for the clear explanations (even if I had to reveal half a dozen answers). And to proXimal for the clues.

  10. Didn’t get far with this last night, but went through it at a decent clip this morning. I often find that – either the old grey matter works better then, or there are too many distractions in the evening. Anyway, 4*/3* for me, and 7d favourite clue. I filled the grid correctly but often using inspiration rather than cold logic, so needed some of Gazza’s hints to see how I should have done it! VMTs to ProXimal and Gazza.

  11. A day behind as usual but I got there with a bit of help from Gazza. 7d defeated me as did 24a and I can’t make neither head nor tail of 28a, even with Gazza’s explanation . Didn’t enjoy it as much as usual, although I can’t say why. This was a 3 1/2*/2* for me. Thank you Gazza for your explanations and also thank you to proximal for constructing the puzzle. Sh-Shoney.

    1. 28a Theatre is REP, the piece of a (musical) instrument is REED, inside which we have SENT (cast or propelled). so it’s REP RE SENT ED.

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