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Toughie 1295

Toughie No 1295 by Giovanni

More Sherry, Vicar?

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

This one from Giovanni was not too tricky apart from one unknown (to me) word at 18d, which was difficult to solve without a bit of trial and error. At one stage I thought we were getting a theme based on songs about young ladies but two isn’t really a theme – although I did end up humming the tunes all morning.

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

3a Colour of a stream containing radioactive element (6)
AUBURN – A and a small stream in Scotland with the chemical symbol for a radioactive element inserted.

6a Fairy‘s courage warding off evil ultimately (4)
PUCK – start with a word meaning courage or nerve and remove the ultimate letter of evil.

8a Poet wants house by sea in Nice (5)
HOMER – the abbreviation for house followed by the French word for sea.

9a Sharp tool to get me at! (4,7)
MEAT CLEAVER – if the second word of the answer operates on the first you get ‘me at’. The surface doesn’t mean a lot.

10a Fellow penning English? He wrote in another language (5)
GENET – this is a twentieth century French novelist and dramatist. Another word for fellow contains E(nglish).

11a Interrupting day, Walter stands at back of a home decorated with panels (11)
WAINSCOTTED – the surname of Sir Walter the Scottish novelist follows A (from the clue) and an adverb meaning at home. Then all that gets inserted (interrupting) in the short form of a day of the week.

16a Harry spies gent issuing dope (6)
MOLEST – spies who insinuate themselves into important positions are followed by what’s left of gent after the dope or information is removed.

17a Club bungled changes while admitting nothing (8)
BLUDGEON – an anagram (changes) of BUNGLED with the letter that resembles zero inserted.

19a Inn is given such signs of approval for new initiatives (8)
OVATIONS – if INN is followed by the answer you get new initiatives.

20a Maiden without partner, sweet girl in the capital (6)
MALONE – the cricketing abbreviation for a maiden over is followed by an adverb meaning without partner or on one’s tod. This sweet girl sold her wares in the fair city of Dublin.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

22a Grab dross here and there, pocketing second motley collection (11)
SMORGASBORD – an anagram (here and there) of GRAB DROSS containing an abbreviated word for a second or instant.

25a Support prickly plant that’s been clipped at the front (5)
EASEL – clip the initial T from a prickly plant.

27a Material that’s tough and coarse — you’ll have worn it loosely outside (7,4)
WROUGHT IRON – start with an adjective meaning coarse or crude and arrange an anagram (loosely) of WORN IT around it.

28a Amusing toy toddler finally swallowed (5)
DROLL – a toy containing the final letter of toddler.

29a Flowing water finishing off ‘my darling’, by the sound of it (4)
TYNE – this flowing water is an English river which sounds like the final syllable of the name of the darling daughter of a miner in the 1849 gold rush in California. She was a large-footed lass who eventually drowned, so the surface here is quite apposite.

30a Foreigners are not about to be given rights (6)
ALIENS – A(re) without the preposition meaning about or concerning is followed by legal rights.

Down Clues

1d Bird  that gets stuck in pipe (4)
SHAG – double definition, the second a coarse type of pipe tobacco. I suspect that Paul may have clued this differently!

2d Drink that could make lad emotional, headless (11)
AMONTILLADO – an anagram (that could make) of LAD and (e)MOTIONAL without its first letter.

3d Form of persuasion to get member dancing (3-8)
ARM-TWISTING – a charade of a bodily member and dancing in a style of the 1960s.

4d Black amphibian without tail turned up in the country (6)
BRAZIL – the abbreviation for black followed by the reversal of an amphibian without its final letter.

5d Way to get last mineral (4,4)
ROCK SALT – treat the answer as an anagram indicator and fodder.

6d Intend over time to achieve growth (5)
PLANT – a verb to intend or envisage followed by T(ime).

7d Island area not in fashion (5)
CRETE – a verb meaning to fashion or manufacture without the A(rea).

12d Strange lover of Chopin finishes up presenting a miscellany of pieces (4,3,4)
ODDS AND ENDS – a charade of an adjective meaning strange or weird, the surname of George the French writer with whom Chopin had a relationship and a verb meaning finishes up.

13d How he’s got on, being funny in radio programme (3,4,4)
THE GOON SHOW – an anagram (being funny) of HOW HE’S GOT ON.

14d One to debunk  a measure of fineness (6)
DENIER – double definition – it’s the fineness of yarn that this is a measure of.

15d This writer’s getting loads of money — lines and lines having to be written for such? (6)
IMPOTS – this is school slang for punishment tasks imposed by a teacher or prefect – I’m not sure if they’re still used. The contracted form of ‘this writer is’ is put into the first person, then we need an informal word for large sums of money.

18d Lotion is dissolving chemical compound (8)
INOSITOL – the BRB tells me that this is ‘a lipid that is essential for the formation of cell membranes’. It’s an anagram (dissolving) of LOTION IS. Never having heard of this word and with all the consonants in place from checking letters I had to play around with the order of the vowels until I hit on one that Chambers approved of.

21d Soap in basin (6)
CORRIE – double definition. The first is an affectionate name for a TV soap based in Manchester and the second is a Scottish word for an indentation or hollow on a hillside.

23d Fish in ethical manner without using lines (5)
MORAY – start with an adverb meaning in an ethical manner and remove the two single-character abbreviations for line.

24d Ruddy rascal a bit twisted inside (5)
ROUGE – start with a rascal or scoundrel and swap the order (a bit twisted) of two of the internal letters.

26d Female pop singer wailed, not half, having turned up (4)
LULU – we need a verb meaning wailed in grief or keened. Drop the second half of it then reverse (having turned up) what remains.

My favourite clues today were the two song-related ones, 20a and 29a. Let us know which one(s) you liked.

29 comments on “Toughie 1295

  1. Plenty of unusual wordplay in this puzzle which made it truly enjoyable for me. And as a bonus a few new words for me that were gently introduced. I knew the chemical in 16d, but had not heard of the scottish word for small river, the basin, the measure of fineness or the school slang in 15d which was my last entry.

    I did wonder whether “my darling” was a bit of a stretch to find a homophone for tine, but I did get it straight away.

    Favourites were 9a and 19a (for wordplay), 3d and 4d and I was definitely smiling as I entered 12d, where I first thought the radio programme was indicating a homophone.

    Many thanks Giovanni and Gazza for excellent review

  2. Fairly gentle fare on offer today. favourites were 14d 16a and 29a( last one to yield) thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the comments.

  3. Quite a tough toughie from Giovanni. A few new words to add to my vocabulary which I might use one day such as wainscotted oh dear, my automated spell check says there’s only one t in this word. Have to check further. As for Impots, that’s a word we often use in France as we even pay impot on the impot. Thanks to Gazza for the great help and to Giovanni for the clever clues.

    1. Bonjour Jean-Luc! Just paid our Impots – taxe d’habitation! How clever of you to tackle the toughie. Just been through it with Gazza’s excellent help – many thanks for this. Still have not given up hope of one day being able to have a good successful bash at it. Finished the Cryptic without any problems. Clicked on your photo and discovered Gravatar. Amazing what one discovers with this blog!

      1. Sometimes I find the back page is harder to solve than the cryptic apart from Elgar of course. I often use the Julie Walters technique from acorn antiques when I read the clues. She once said: What was it muesli? Before rectifying: What was it? Muesli? It’s true that when you know what to look for it’s only word play.

  4. I had no idea about 21D. The last time I saw Coronation Street, I think Ena Sharples was still alive. Otherwise not too bad apart from trying various letter combinations before resolving 18D and guessing 15D. I did like 20A and 29A. Thanks, Giovanni and Gazza.

    1. Now I have this picture in my mind of her mummified and propped up at her table in the Rover’s with a ‘stiff’ drink in her hand!

    1. I must admit that I thought that amphibian just meant ‘able to live on land or in water’ – I didn’t realise (until I’ve just looked it up) that amphibians are a specific class of creature and that reptiles are a different class.

  5. To be honest I thought 75% of this was standard Giovanni Friday fare with a few obscurities thrown in. Monty Python fans will have no trouble with 11a and as gazza said 18d was a question of arranging the Is and Os to make a plausible looking word.

  6. With 4d we happily put in the correct answer without questioning it until we looked back after completion. This prompted us to do a bit of researching and we could not find any justification for a lizard being called an amphibian, so it looks to us like an error in this clue. We enjoyed the puzzle, particularly 20a and 29a.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  7. I’ve just tried to post a comment but it seems to have fallen between the cracks. Its essence was: 3*/3*, favourite 14d, and VMTs to Giovanni and Gazza.

  8. This all started off really well but then went a bit wrong with the last few – if it’s called a Toughie I just can’t do it, even if gazza gives it a 2* for difficulty.
    I should have managed some that I couldn’t get answers for – see previous sentence – if they’d been on the back page I’d have got them.
    I don’t want to be dim here but even with gazza’s hint I don’t get 19a.
    I didn’t know 18d either but it was very clearly an anagram and I stuck the letters in front of husband and he got it.
    I’ve never heard of 15d.
    I think that Giovanni likes Lulu – she often seems to turn up somewhere in his crosswords!
    My favourite was 29a.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to gazza for sorting out all the answers I couldn’t . . .

    1. 19a If you add the answer (OVATIONS – signs of approval) to INN you get INNOVATIONS (new initiatives).

  9. Thanks Gazza ,last one in 18d despite the checkers ,favourite by quite a margin 29a
    Thanks also to Giovanni (aka Lizard !)

  10. I got 19A, but I thought we had a ‘rule’ that the definition of the answer was at the beginning or end of a clue ? Does this not apply to toughies?

    1. My downfall at the Times Crossword Championships was a clue where the definition was in the middle – this caused lots of discussion on other forums but the conclusion was that the definition can be anywhere in the clue

    2. the “such” points to the definition – if you leave out “such”, the clue works just as well but would not be kosher in my opinion.

  11. I guess ‘such’ is an indication, but it is the first clue I have come across where the definition is buried.

  12. Sat morning – very late in the day, even for me but I just couldn’t let this one get away. In the end was defeated by IMPOTS – a new word which on checking in the BRB I was amazed to see (school slang) in italics next to the definition. Have never come across this clarification in Chambers before. Also beaten by 19a, which was very cunning. My favourite though was 9a. What sort of fiendish mind dreamt that one up? ***/*** for me. Now, on to Friday’s, I think. Sh-Shoney.

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