Toughie No 1303 by Giovanni
100 not out
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ****
If you get your puzzles from the paper you’ll have noticed that this puzzle marks Giovanni’s century as a Toughie setter – so congratulations to him.
The reason that I’ve given this four stars for difficulty rather than three is due to a) the length of time it took me to see the definition for 1a, although the answer was obvious and b) the NE corner where I didn’t help myself by writing in the wrong answer for 16a. If I’d spotted earlier that we have a pangram I might not have taken so long to get the right answer for 16a.
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1a Sailors almost smell the moon above?! (8)
CRESCENT – a company of sailors without its final letter (almost) is followed by a smell or fragrance. I spent a long time wondering about the ‘above?!’ at the end before the penny dropped – the definition is the moon shape at the upper (above) part of a question mark.
5a A fellow crossing a river on a ferry? (6)
ABOARD – A and an informal word for a chap containing A and R(iver).
9a Ring discovered in grass set aside (8)
REPEALED – a verb meaning to ring (of bells) inside a type of grass.
10a Thrones maybe set in an entrance to schloss (6)
ANGELS – a verb to set or become more solid goes between AN and the first letter of schloss. Thrones, apparently, are a category of these imaginary beings ranking between cherubim and Dominations (that’s according to one of the many different hierarchies dreamt up over the years – none of them include Charlie’s!).
12a Song that’s mournful, gloomy, with any number joining in (6)
MONODY – this is a mournful ode sung in Greek tragedy. Insert the symbol for an unspecified number in an adjective meaning gloomy or sullen.
13a Member gets to stick around in open space (8)
CLEARING – a body part with a verb to stick or clasp around it.
15a Fairy Queen with little energy is a weedy type (7)
PERIQUE – this is a strongly-flavoured type of weed (tobacco) from Louisiana according to the BRB. String together a fairy from Persian mythology, a 2-letter abbreviation for queen and E(nergy).
16a Hack stone (4)
JADE – having crossed out ‘cope’ (it worked for me) when the crossing letter from 7d meant that it had to be wrong I was forced to think again. It’s a double definition with the first being a worn-out horse.
20a Den gone over for a bit of money (4)
RIAL – reverse a wild animal’s den to get the currency of various Middle Eastern countries.
21a Scamper as childminder — kiddiewink finally tucked in (7)
SKITTER – this is a childminder with the final letter of kiddiewink inserted.
25a Cutting out trying to get fit maybe without hesitation (8)
EXCISING – start with a present participle meaning trying to get fit or working out and remove the short expression of hesitation.
26a Composer to a very large extent a god to many Indians (6)
BRAHMA – five-sixths (to a very large extent) of the surname of a nineteenth century German composer is followed by A.
28a This person’s taking excessively long time to get ideas (6)
IMAGES – the contracted form of ‘this person is’ put into the first person and followed by a very long time.
29a Baddie kept outside French town complained (8)
CAVILLED – a baddie or rotter contains the French word for town.
30a Express in symbols message that would disappoint London’s art lovers? (6)
NOTATE – split as 2,4 this would be a message to disappoint art lovers in the capital.
31a US general is very cold dismissing one (8)
PERSHING – This is a US general of WWI, known as ‘Black Jack’. Start with an adjective meaning very cold and take out the first instance of the Roman numeral for one.
1d Feature of bath taps? Two letters on them, see! (6)
CHROME – the two letters that appear on bath taps followed by the see of the Pope.
2d Old lover, criticised audibly, put on weight? (6)
EXPAND – the usual short word for an old lover followed by a homophone of a verb meaning criticised or gave a bad review to.
3d Author‘s name held in little credit (8)
CHANDLER – this is obviously the Toughie word of the week. Put an informal word for a person’s name inside the abbreviation of credit.
4d Adolescent turning up is one regrettably under-occupied? (4)
NEET – reverse an adolescent to get an acronym describing a young person not in education, employment or training.
6d Prohibition — no climbing tree (6)
BANYAN – charade of a prohibition and the reversal of an old negative response.
7d A cinema star’s latest possibly from Hollywood? (8)
AMERICAN – we’ve reached the nineteenth clue before we get our first anagram. The indicator is possibly and the fodder is A CINEMA and the last letter of (sta)R.
8d Planned performance full of offence — little good in it (8)
DESIGNED – a performance or undertaking containing an offence or immoral act which in turn contains the abbreviation of good.
11d Ostentatious relative in hurry (7)
FLAUNTY – this is an unusual adjective. Insert a relative in a verb to hurry.
14d What Nell Gwyn managed to do, sending a cheeky signal? (7)
WINKING – what poor Nelly managed to do was (3,4).
17d Cow is in fear, having been disturbed (8)
FRIESIAN – an anagram (having been disturbed) of IS IN FEAR.
18d Drunk returned shortly to join chorus (8)
BACCHANT – an adverb meaning returned without its final letter is followed by a chorus.
19d Odd bods long restricted by barriers (8)
WEIRDIES – a verb to long (as in “I’m longing for a cuppa”) goes inside barriers or dams.
22d Appearance of Prince gatecrashing a party (6)
ASPECT – the single-letter abbreviation for prince is inserted in a party or school (1,4).
23d A hundred and rising – I must be hot stuff! (6)
CHILLI – Giovanni is modestly celebrating his century! String together the Roman numeral for a hundred, an elevation or rising and I.
24d Pet — one worshipped friend, jumping up (6)
LAPDOG – a charade of a person or thing worshipped and a friend, with the whole lot being reversed.
27d Mist in wood not beginning to lift (4)
HAZE – a type of wood without the beginning letter of L(ift).
My top clues today were 1a, 15a and 23d. Let us know which one(s) you liked.