Toughie 1378 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1378

Toughie No 1378 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I’m giving this three stars for difficulty with an optional additional one if I count the extra time I spent trying to parse 19d (and I’m still not sure that I fully understand it).
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

7a Very reasonably, sonar’s on the blink in 10 (3,1,4)
FOR A SONG – an anagram (on the blink) of SONAR goes inside one of the meanings of 10a.

9a Oscar is tough at heart, but one of the best (6)
ARISTO – hidden at the heart of the first three words.

10a Notes separator causing worry (4)
FRET – double definition, the first being one of the ridges on the neck of a guitar, say, used by the player to fix the position of the fingers in order to produce the required notes.

11a Trouble for me plotting ‘The Crucible’ (7-3)
MELTING-POT – an anagram (trouble for) of ME PLOTTING.

12a Twin sons welcome credit for basic furniture (6)
STICKS – S(on) and S(on) with between them (welcome) an informal word for credit.

14a Old coin (English) stuck between points; trains … (8)
EDUCATES – an old gold or silver coin used in Europe and E(nglish) go between two cardinal points.

15a … jerkily moving, shoot back into station initially, then proceed (4-2)
STOP-GO – reverse (back) a verb to shoot something for dinner, say, and append it to the initial letter of station. After that we need a verb to proceed or travel. The answer normally describes an economic policy where demand is alternately restricted and stimulated.

17a T, maybe, sadly lamented -– not this setter! (6)
DENTAL – this is a noun, used in phonetics for a consonant produced by moving the tip of the tongue against the upper front teeth or gums. It’s an anagram (sadly) of LA(me)NTED without what the setter calls himself.

20a Crystal mainly negative about beginning to signal openness (8)
GLASNOST – drop the last letter (mainly) from what crystal is a superior type of, then add a negative indication containing the beginning letter of S(ignal).

22a Harbour hurt at article (6)
MARINA – charade of a verb to hurt or spoil, a preposition that can mean at and an indefinite article.

23a Litter scattered in charades (5,5)
SEDAN CHAIR – an anagram (scattered) of IN CHARADES.

24a Figure indicates economic collapse (4)
BUST – double definition, the first a figure or sculpture and the second what often alternates with ‘boom’.

25a ‘Grass‘ is fine for king in recovery (6)
FESCUE – start with a recovery or saving from danger and replace the single-letter abbreviation for king with the abbreviation for fine.

26a Exercise little — it can be boring (5,3)
DRILL BIT – bring together a training exercise and a small amount.

Down Clues

1d Note: bangers may incorporate sage from Greece (8)
SOCRATES – a note from tonic sol-fa followed by an informal word for bangers or old and dilapidated vehicles.

2d Plump around stomach? Just a bit. This might help (4)
FAST – an adjective meaning plump or well padded goes round just the first letter of stomach.

3d Every second, in echoes, a moon’s embodying creation (6)
COSMOS – every second letter in “echoes, a moon’s”.

4d Guy one has to heal, giving attention to extremities (8)
MANICURE – string together a guy or bloke, the Roman numeral for one and a verb to heal.

5d Sauron, maybe, who cracks the whip? (10)
RINGMASTER – double definition, the second the chap who cracks his whip in a circus ring. I did consult Google as to who Sauron might be but as soon as I saw the dreaded word Tolkien I stopped reading.

6d Galumphed and trampled in midst of Japanese garden (6)
STRODE – insert a verb meaning trampled or crushed between the central two letters of ‘Japanese garden’. Isn’t galumphed a wonderful word?

8d Proof of legality? Unfortunately it’s missing (6)
GALLEY – what we want here is a printing term for a trial impression (proof). It’s an anagram (unfortunately) of LEGAL(it)Y without the ‘it’.

13d One of 16 where husband for Penny is put in shade (10)
CROSSHATCH – start with an ill-natured person (a singular form of 16d) and replace the P(enny) with H(usband). I had this the other way round, i.e. I had ‘one of 16’ as the definition, until I was shown the error of my ways by the on-line site.

16d Bellyaches and coughs RE are suffering (8)
GROUCHES – an anagram (are suffering) of COUGHS RE.

18d Outfit for a beanpole showing talent? (4,4)
LONG SUIT – cryptically this could be an outfit for a beanpole or tall person. I knew what the answer means in a card-playing context but I didn’t know that it can also mean (thanks to the BRB) “a particular talent, good quality, or advantage that one has”.

19d Frontispiece, that’s read when spaced out, in maroon? (6)
STRAND – I’m not totally convinced that I’ve got this right but I think what we’re meant to do is space out frontispiece into 5,2,5 which gives us two further meanings (in the first and third words) of the answer. That would make the clue a triple definition. If you have a better explanation or can explain how the ‘is’ fits in do let me know.

21d Songs which will be written by Ed, reportedly (6)
LIEDER – these German songs sound like the editorial that an editor may write in his newspaper.

22d Sea roamer Clay’s home … (6)
MARLIN – charade of a type of clay used as a fertiliser and an adverb meaning at home. I’m not sure who the falsely-capitalised Clay is meant to be in the surface – perhaps this naval officer?

24d … trunk to deliver, we hear (4)
BOLE – this tree trunk sounds like a verb to deliver a cricket ball.

The clues I liked best today were 1d and 2d. Which ones impressed you?

26 comments on “Toughie 1378

  1. I quite enjoyed this one, favourites were 1d and 24d thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for the review.

  2. An enjoyable, if a little tricksy, offering from Firefly. I’ve learnt a couple of new words in the course of solving it (8d, 18d & 25a) but I am totally baffled how to parse 19d – so, sorry Gazza, I can’t help. I liked 6d and 9a (well hidden word) but my favourite is 26a as I tried to make an anagram (exercise) of LITTLE IT – D’oh!

    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza. I hope someone sheds light on 19d.

  3. For me it was definitely 4*+ for difficulty.
    17a took a while as everyone should know that a T is a Deaf Dental Occlusive Consonant. Well not me anyhow but the parsing was quite simple.
    Still managed to write Crosspatch in 13d even as I knew it was the other way round.
    Got the marooned bit in 19d but the clue didn’t really make sense either.
    Liked the Tolkien reference in 5d.
    And got 10a from the fog of 7a.
    Haven’t found any to put in my favourite list.
    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza.

  4. As regards 19dn- ‘front’ could be sea-front or promenade,’piece’ could be a hair or part of a rope or wire and maroon is abandon , don’t see where the ‘ in’ fits though. A normal standard for mid-week, thanks to Gazza and Firefly.

      1. With a double definition you could have X is Y, so I guess with a triple you could have X is Y [and some other link to] Z???

    1. Strand can also be the edge or margin of a sea or river… a stretch of sand or promenade…..seafront(is piece)?

  5. When I looked at this blog the first thing I went to was the hint for 19d to see if there was any better explanation than the almost triple definition I had settled for. Apparently there is not. It also took me some time to understand why SE was a Japanese garden, Google did not help me much there. The last to go in the grid were the two little 4 letter words in the NW although I cannot now see why they should cause delay. A pity that an R in 2d did not fit the wordplay. Good fun to solve with a couple of real head-scratchers.
    Thanks Firefly and Gazza.

    1. So you’d have preferred the clue for 2d to be something like:
      Bloated around rear? Just a bit. This might help (4)

  6. I found this one quite tricky and I gave up without getting 22a or 22d. I had to make educated guesses at 25a, 8 d and 24d because I didn’t know those words, and I did not properly parse 6 or 21 d. Favourites were 5d and 13d.

  7. I finally managed to finish this, but needed to use the hints rather copiously. I was completely outfoxed by 20a. I really liked 4d, 5d, and 11a. 1d gave me quite a bit of bother as I was convinced that ‘sausages’ was the answer…… Even had the sage bit in it …..didn’t it? Well, that’s what we were supposed to think, innit? .. Had to use the hint eventually as I got stuck in that corner. Anyway, enjoyed it….***/*** for me. Thanks to setter and to Gazza for the hints……couldn’t have finished without them.

      1. Yes, can’t understand it…….unless I may have been kidnapped by aliens and given a brain transplant? Won’t last, I’m sure.

  8. I really enjoyed solving the 65% of the clues, or thereabouts, though it was long and hard work at the hairdressers.Anyway , it was much better than reading about people I have never heard of getting married or divorced or having a child, in the mags that are usually supplied.

    1. Great you managed that much at the hairdressers…..I usually have to go into solitary confinement to allow the brain cells freedom to roam….too easily distracted otherwise!,.

      1. the truth is that the hairdressers was more or less empty, we are supposed to be having a 5 % increase in economic growth. My hairdresser is in a prosperous area.

  9. Needed the hints for 17a and 24a. Agree with the rating, and also can’t really parse 19d…

  10. Not my sort of puzzle! Unlike yesterday I did get them all right today but with much more doubt & uncertainty. All difficulty in this puzzle seemed to come from vocabulary unfamiliar to me – even reading the blog I do not know which meaning of “fog” relates to 10a!
    I would give it 3*/0.1*
    Must be due a RayT on the back page tomorrow

    1. One of the meanings of fret (the answer to 10a) is a mist coming in from the sea or a sea fog.

      1. Yes, we get loads.of those up here on the North Norfolk coast……often a couple of miles inland the sun is glorious, but we’re are shrouded in what is locally known as a ‘Haar’ not sure that’s how it’s spelled (spelt?).

  11. I found this very, very hard going yesterday and put it away. Then, wide awake at 1am today, I picked it up and almost finished it. I did not get 9A, 17A, 25A or 6D and had several answers I didn’t really understand. In truth, I didn’t enjoy it much because of the struggle, but I seem to be in the minority so maybe I am just having a particularly dense week. Oh, well. Hopefully I will fare better today.Thanks Firefly, and much appreciation to Gazza for the review.

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