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Toughie 1330

Toughie No 1330 by Elkamere

A Gaggle of Old Comedians

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Elkamere has given us a proper Toughie today packed with his usual sneakiness. I really enjoyed it but I wonder whether the inclusion of two comedy acts from about 25 years ago (who weren’t that well-known even in the UK) was really fair for expats and non-Brits solving the puzzle on the DT Puzzles website.

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 Free to start in 24, it ends in 2015 (14)
TRANSPORTATION – 2015 here means 20a/15a. It’s an anagram (free) of TO START IN and the answer to 24d.

10a 15 13 – stupid clue (9)
MINUSCULE – the word for the mathematical sign ‘-‘ followed by an anagram (stupid) of CLUE. I’ve reproduced the clue here as it appears in the paper – in the online version there are two ‘-‘ characters instead of one which confuses the issue.

11a Note it could be 1 millimetre (5)
MINIM – split the answer 1/2/1/1 and obey it to end up with the abbreviation for 1 millimetre.

12a Diamond-shaped crib, broken in short parts (7)
RHOMBIC crib is being used twice here. The answer is an anagram (broken) of CRIB with what crib is an informal word for  a word meaning ‘in’ (e.g. “I’m in to visitors”) without its last letter (short) getting inserted (parts). [Thanks to BD for sorting this out]

13a Not much is heartfelt till partly rejected (6)
LITTLE – hidden (partly) and backwards (rejected) in the clue.

15a Going topless all the same (4)
VERY – an adjective meaning all goes without its first letter.

17a Rab C’s little princess almost helped out (3,4,3)
DID ONE’S BIT – if Rab C (the Glaswegian character played by Gregor Fisher) had a daughter named after the Princess of Tyre in Greek mythology this would be her name (4,7) but we have to drop the last letter (almost).

18a Using best pipe to chase work-shy? Not quite (10)
OPTIMISING – a verb to pipe or warble follows the abbreviation for an artistic work and an adjective meaning shy without its last letter. The surface is not great.

20a In shop, they were all behind me, facing the wrong way (4)
DELI – if everyone lagged behind me then … (1,3). Reverse it.

22a Work is accepted by film’s number one fan (6)
EGOIST – a verb to work or function and IS go inside the usual Spielberg film.

23a Fine European soldier will hold on (7)
ELEGANT – E(uropean) and the usual soldier insect contain another word for the on side in cricket.

26a No right to make certain of result (5)
ENSUE – a verb to make certain of without the R(ight) gives us a verb to result.

27a Where to eat cheese, keeping protest short (9)
BRASSERIE – a French cheese contains a verb to protest or be insistent without its last letter.

28a In clink, anger of criminal being held to account (5,9)
FINAL RECKONING – an anagram (criminal) of IN CLINK ANGER OF.

Down Clues

2d One of The Management has to play a piece of music (5)
RONDO – The Management (also known as The Two Rons) were characters played by the comedians Hale and Pace in their TV shows in the 1980s and 1990s. Follow one of their names with a verb to play or perform.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

3d When to invade Newcastle area in battle (6)
NASEBY – this was a very significant battle in the English Civil War. Insert a conjunction meaning when into the area of England where Newcastle-upon-Tyne is found. Finish with a preposition that can mean ‘in’ (‘It looks lovely in moonlight’, for example).

4d Fattest man/woman admits desire to eat, but starter’s off (10)
PAUNCHIEST – I spent ages trying to parse this utilising a verb to eat a meal at midday – wrong! It’s a 3-letter forename which can apply to either a man or woman containing (thanks to the BRB for this) a slang term for an alcohol- or drug-induced craving for food without its starting letter. I’m not sure that this is entirely fair because the BRB says that this desire to eat is preceded by ‘The’.

5d One of two in a 25‘s study, say (4)
REED – this sounds like (say) a verb to study.

6d A monarch’s silk in fancy wardrobe (7)
ARMOIRE – string together A, a single-letter abbreviation for a king or queen and a silk fabric with a rippled effect.

7d As one being lit, perhaps? (9)
IGNITIBLE – a semi-all-in-one coming from the Roman numeral for one followed by an anagram (perhaps) of BEING LIT.

8d Where there’s little this might be unlucky (6,8)
NUMBER THIRTEEN – where might you find ‘little’ in the grid?

9d To get better life, move 21 out (7,7)
IMPROVE ONESELF – an anagram (out) of LIFE MOVE and the answer to 21d.

14d Return to normal pad? (6,4)
BOUNCE BACK – if you apply the second word of the answer to a synonym of the first you end up with pad.

16d Reason French guards pick up a killer (3-6)
RAT-POISON – the French word for reason contains a reversal (up) of a verb to pick or choose.

19d Right hand that isn’t spread across one’s diamonds (7)
MISDEAL – the definition here is somewhat Yoda-ish – it’s a hand of cards that’s not been distributed correctly. Put a spread or repast around the Roman numeral for one, the ‘S from the clue and D(iamonds).

21d A child or anyone else (6)
PERSON – a preposition meaning ‘a’ (as in ’50p a kilo’) followed by a male child.

24d A voting system, when standing (5)
APRON – standing here means the hard-surfaced place where planes are parked on an airfield. It’s a charade of A, a voting system much favoured by the LibDems and a preposition that can mean when.

25d Order that secures old musical instrument (4)
OBOE – an order commonly said to stand for Other Buggers’ Efforts contains O(ld).

I liked 20a and 7d but my favourite today was 22a. Let us know which one(s) earned your plaudits.




23 comments on “Toughie 1330

  1. A proper toughie on a Wednesday – what a treat – 5*/4* for me – thank you Elkamere and Gazza too.

  2. Very tough for a Wednesday, I got 4d but couldn’t parse it, favourites were 10a 14d and 17a thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for the unravelling.

  3. Very good toughie. Even though I was a bit lost on the NE corner.
    Didn’t need to reveal any answer as Gazza’s explanations are very clear.
    Funny that getting 9d helped me get the answer to 21d as I only had the S and N at the time and was looking for a word starting with A.
    Had raunchiest first for 4d but remembered Arachne with Hilary which can be a first name for a man or a woman. Don’t know anybody called Rat do you?
    Had Lightable also for 7d. Ever since I’m a kid, I used to invent words when playing Scrabble with mu mother. Why should it stop now?
    But suddenly 1a appeared to me and put things back in order.
    I did know the 2 Rons from Hale and Pace and the Caps on The Management helped a lot. Remember Rab C Nesbitt also with his one strand of hair flying in all directions.
    Liked 8d very much.
    Thanks to Elkamere and Gazza.

    1. Just realised that the character played by Gregor Fisher I was describing was from that great series “Naked Video” : Baldy Man and not Rab C Nesbitt. Surprised I didn’t get a telling off.

  4. A good Wednesday Toughie – got the brain cells marching about! Thought 28a was a very clever anagram but my favourite was 10a. Thanks to Elkamere for the puzzle and Gazza for his usual excellent review.

  5. Well I completed this but missed the odd bit of wordplay – many thanks Gazza for filling me in, all very elegant. I missed the references to 2015, minus, munchies and clue 13, and I wasn’t aware of The Management. I’m plenty pleased at having managed the rest!

    Exquisite wordplay as always with Elkamere and a joy to solve. I like the disguised definitions very much (right hand that isn’t, etc). Favourites – well most of them really, but I think 17a (Rb C) 22a (number one fan) 5d (25’s study), 16d, (reason french guards) and 19d (right hand that isn’t). Of course the ones I didn’t parse correctly are also outstanding (1a,10a,4d,8d).

    Great puzzle. Many thanks Elkamere

  6. Not really 5* for difficulty tbh CS but some parsing took some wheedling out.
    Are the Management Ron and Ron that obscure now? Must be getting old

  7. A hard slog but I managed to finish in the end. I had to look up the wardrobe as I have not heard the word before. I always struggle with Elkamere puzzles (5* difficulty for me) but in a different way to Elgar. With Elgar it takes me ages to get started then progress gets steadily faster. With Elkamere I start quickly and then steadily slow down and often I fail totally to get the last two or three.

    A very enjoyable puzzle so many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the blog which for once (with this setter) I did not need

  8. Phew, what a corker. Even with Mrs H’s help it has taken until now to crack this so and so. Some absolutely blinding, Elkamere signature clues – 11a, 12a, 17a, 22a [what a definition!], 21d, etc, etc. Not so sure about 14d which combines an arcane construction with an even more arcane usage [dap??] but one can’t have everything.
    Perfectly happy with munchies in 4d [and one would have thought “Happy Daze” would have been familiar with it.]

    Many thanks to Elkamere [Friday next please Ed] and to Gazza/BD for figuring it all out.

  9. I managed all but five without hints, and am happy enough with that, if CS reckons it was ****

    Good puzzle and thanks for the hints.

  10. Solved without reference to assistance so there were a few fingers crossed writings in before access to the hints possible, my knowledge of said Rab C didn’t run that far. Favourite 18a Spent as long trying to solve the entire puzzle as I did parsing 14d. Thanks to Gazza and Elkamere

  11. Brilliant Toughie which I was pleased and relieved to finish after several attempts throughout the day. The interconnected clues were ingenious, especially 1a/24d/20a/15a. Incidentally I parsed 11a as Mini (I.e. form of transportation, as in 1a) plus M for millimetre. I did manage to work out 2d and 17a without much knowledge of the comedy shows concerned, so no complaints, although these clues weren’t as satisfying as most of the others.

    1. I don’t think your parsing of 11a works because the abbreviation for millimetre is MM not M.

  12. I could have plugged away at this for the next six months and still have been no further forward. I managed just half a dozen answers. I don’t even understand some of the answers when given the hint and then revealing the word itself!! What is 1A all about? Ah, well. Some days are stones…or great big boulders in this instance. I’ve beaten myself up enough. Time to move on and see what Sparks has to offer. Many thanks, Gazza, and hats off to all who managed this and still have some hair that isn’t torn out!

  13. I managed to do about three quarters of this even if I didn’t really understand quite a few of my answers.
    I’ve now read gazza’s hints and untangled the ones I either couldn’t do or couldn’t explain – just about see them all now but this one was really a very long way beyond me.
    I liked 4d and the 13a/8d connection, possibly because I did at least understand those!
    Thank very much to Elkamere and to gazza for providing the ‘training exercise’.

  14. This was no pleasure for me at all and I threw it away without looking up all the answers in the end. Some of the clues were beyond comprehension even with the hints – and sometimes even with answers! I think this crossword should be in a special category. A thoroughly disheartening experience that has left me feeling down in the dumps. There must be better things to do in the mornings. ********/nil for me! Sh-Shoney (feeling glum).

    1. Sh-Shoney,
      If there’s anything in a blog you don’t understand do please ask rather than getting disheartened.

      1. Thanks for that, Gazza. I’m sure I’ll feel better tomorrow and anyway I couldn’t really abandon the DT puzzles! Sh-Shoney.

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