Toughie 1382

Toughie No 1382 by proXimal

“I am not strange. I am just not normal.”

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I thought that this was spot on for the level of difficulty for a Wednesday Toughie and I enjoyed solving it. There may, possibly, be a Nina in the grid – see hint for 6d.
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 Snatcher with crew put time into con (12)
WEIGHTLIFTER – W(ith) is followed by the traditional number of oarsmen in a rowing crew. After that insert T(ime) into a long-term convict.

9a Maestro knocked back lush cold sandwiches, abandoning piano (9)
TOSCANINI – reverse a lush or toper and add C(old) and Italian-style sandwiches without the P(iano).

10a Toddler does this better after outsiders leave (5)
AMBLE – toddler here is not necessarily a young child but anyone who toddles or saunters. We have to remove the outside letters from a better (one who likes a flutter).

11a Being married in ill-will must become ultimately repellent (6)
ENTITY – start with a word for ill-will or antipathy and change the M(arried) into the ultimate letter of (repellen)T.

12a Around fine iron, seal gift (8)
OFFERING – put a type of seal or gasket (1-4) around F(ine) and the chemical symbol for iron.

13a Helping to squeeze uniform that’s really wet (6)
SLUICE – a helping (of pie or cake, say) goes round the letter that uniform represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

15a Interjection of joy interrupting old master from island (8)
TAHITIAN – an interjection of joy goes inside a 16th century Italian painter.

18a Disorganised start to school fair opened by knight (8)
SLOVENLY – the starting letter of school is followed by an adjective meaning fair or good-looking which contains (opened by) the chess notation for knight.

19a Disclose revolutionary French article after work pressure (4,2)
OPEN UP – reverse one of the French indefinite articles after the usual abbreviation for an artistic work. Finally, add the abbreviation for pressure.

21a I slap leg wound, causing upset (8)
SPILLAGE – an anagram (wound, in the sense of meandered) of I SLAP LEG.

23a Swimmer’s opening letters of abuse thrown in water (6)
SUBSEA – the opening letter of swimmer is followed by an anagram (letters of … thrown) of ABUSE. The answer is an adjective used in the oil industry, for example, to describe offshore operations.

26a Busy boss, possibly? (5)
MANIC – split the answer 3,2 and it could describe a male boss.

27a Note height borne by tag on collar (9)
APPREHEND – a note from tonic sol-fa and H(eight) go inside a verb meaning to ‘tag on’.

28a Try avoiding a number gripped by clear primal urge (4,8)
HERD INSTINCT – a verb to try, as a judge, loses its A. Follow that with an adjective meaning clear or well-defined containing the single-letter abbreviation for number.

Down Clues

1d See weight condition when topless (7)
WITNESS – W(eight) is followed by a word for condition or physical trim without its leading letter.

2d Ready after hip implant (5)
INSET – an adjective meaning ready follows an adjective meaning hip or trendy.

3d Consider characteristic of Dali’s Agony of Love (9)
HEARTACHE – charade of a verb to consider or adjudge and an informal term for Dali’s most notable facial characteristic. Superb clue!

4d Left hand spread on a surface (4)
LAID – L(eft) and a (helping) hand.

5d Slight criticism when each son gives way to female deception (8)
FLIMFLAM – start with a charade of an adjective meaning slight or slender and an informal word for harsh criticism. Now replace each S(on) with F(emale).

6d Hail upset daughter on eastern bypass (5)
EVADE – reverse (upset) the Latin for hail (the greeting, not the little white balls) and add D(aughter) and E(astern). While we’re doing Latin translation I’ve noticed what may be a Nina (or may be a complete coincidence) in rows 6 and 8 of the grid where we have the Latin for welcome and what looks like a person’s nickname.

7d Double vision could result from rum used with such forgetfulness (8)
OBLIVION – what we have here is a compound, or composite, anagram. If you make an anagram (rum) of USED plus the answer you may end up with ‘double vision’. An easier way to get the answer is to remove the letters of ‘used’ from double vision and make an anagram of what you have left.

8d Going north, say, in European city to find another (6)
BERGEN – insert the reversal of ‘say’ in a Swiss city to make one which is indeed further north, in Norway.

14d Idealists cast out instruments with no love (8)
UTOPIANS – an anagram (cast) of OUT followed by musical instruments without the letter that looks like love or zero.

16d Fresh sandwiches lead to red rash (9)
IMPRUDENT – an adjective meaning fresh or lippy contains (sandwiches) the leading letter of red.

17d Dinosaurs go off with adult, after shaking T Rex died (3,5)
OLD GUARD – an anagram (off) of GO and ADUL(t) (after shaking off the T) followed by abbreviations for Rex and died.

18d Part of code for opening  plant (6)
SESAME – double definition, the first being part of the magical phrase used to open the cave of treasures in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

20d Acclaim place to be above scrutiny (7)
PLAUDIT – the abbreviation for place (as a street name) precedes a scrutiny, usually one of a financial nature.

22d Philosopher to engage in conversation (5)
LOCKE – the surname of an English philosopher sounds like a verb to engage or fasten.

24d Gangster nearly covers back (5)
STERN – it’s noticeable how often there’s a hidden word to be found, as here, amongst the last few clues.

25d Drive second leg (4)
SPIN – I did so want this to be moon, but I couldn’t make that mean drive. The drive is actually what you may take the car out for – it’s S(econd) followed by an informal word for a person’s leg.

I liked 10a and 27a but the standout clue for me is 3d. Which ones ticked your boxes?

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14 Comments

  1. Pegasus
    Posted April 22, 2015 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Terrific puzzle, loved every minute, favourites were 5d 7d and 26a thanks to Proximal and to Gazza for the review. I also considered moon for 25d.

  2. Hanni
    Posted April 22, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Having had so much fun with the back page I was cautious of trying this, very glad I did. Not least because I could solve it.

    I did need Gazza’s help unravelling some of the word play, particularly 9a and 15a. Missed the hidden word for 24d for quite awhile. Ridiculous as I was determined to get them today.

    5d was my last in, good grief that had me stymied.

    Very glad to have finished so many thanks to ProXimal and to Gaza for your much needed help.

  3. crypticsue
    Posted April 22, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    The splendid 3d was my favourite too – thanks to Mr X and Mr G

  4. eXternal
    Posted April 22, 2015 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I am a bit flabbergasted you spotted the Nina, Gazza. It’s the first one I have ever put in a puzzle, not really my sort of thing. My Latin teacher Mr Thompson used to give us a clue from the DT cryptic each day to tackle before class, by way of a warm-up. That was my introduction to crosswords. I have recently been back in contact with him to tell him I now compile crosswords, hence the Nina. I now provide the clues and he does the solving.

    Thanks for the blog, Gazza. Vale!

    • Hanni
      Posted April 22, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Swings and roundabouts. What a wonderful turn of events. Does he critique you now that you are a setter?

      Well done to Gazza on spotting the Nina. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

      I never do.

      • eXternal
        Posted April 22, 2015 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        To tell you the truth, he was more miffed about shelling out for the price of the paper on a teacher’s pension. Apparently, The Times was tuppence ha’penny to an undergraduate in his college days.

        • Hanni
          Posted April 22, 2015 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

          As an undergrad, many years ago, the library or our professor’s got the daily papers, saving me money.

          I am sure he is proud of his former pupil, teachers can be ‘hesitant’ in giving praise even years later.

  5. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 22, 2015 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Was left with 26a and 22d unfortunately. I am not very knowledgeable on philosophers even if in France the philosophy subject of the Baccalaureat always makes front page news. In fact I thought of LEESE who seems to be a minor philosopher and a homophone of LEASE which appears to be a synonym of Engage.
    Well all that to say that I had to admit defeat.
    I also loved Dali’s moustache. I remember going to the very modern Beaubourg Centre in Paris in 1979 to see his fabulous exhibition. Suspended Traction Automobile with a huge spoon under, an upside down café terrace, a carpeted bath tub in the middle of a paddling pool, a dark room with soft walls and all the beautiful jewelry of a palpating heart made of rubis and diamond elephants with bird legs. I just love the man.
    But 7d is my favourite for the quality.
    Thanks to Proximal and to Gazza salvator meus.

  6. gazza
    Posted April 22, 2015 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Shamus tomorrow.

  7. 2Kiwis
    Posted April 22, 2015 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Really struggled with this one and finally gave up with 23a still unsolved. Looking at it now after a night’s sleep it is hard to see why we found it so difficult. Think we must just have been a bit puzzled-out after blogging the backpager.
    Just loved the setter’s story about the hidden NINA, well done Gazza for spotting it.
    Thanks ProXimal and Gazza.

  8. andy
    Posted April 22, 2015 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed this. Noticed the line 6 first part of Nina but thought it must be a fluke how wrong can one be. Did wonder if 23a was actually a word before confirming. Loved 3d. Thanks to External, Gazza and Mr Thompson

  9. Wolfson Bear
    Posted April 22, 2015 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Quite tricky but a good toughie puzzle. I did not have the opportunity to google but like others spent a while trying to think why “moon” might mean “drive” without success. Oddly I had never seen the short form for Dali’s famous facial feature written before – always assumed it was “tash”. It took a long while for the penny to drop! 23a caused pain – a bit of an odd word and my last one after spending ages failing to spot the hidden word for “back” which I had suspected was the answer for quite a while to 24d. 5d was a new word for me that I guessed eventually – hopefully this obscurity was not a casualty to force in the nina – which is why I hate ninas, themes and any other constraints that drives a setter to unnecessarily use words most people (and my pocket OED) have never heard of .
    Thanks to Proximal and Gazza

  10. Only fools
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Loved every hour of it , favourite 5d ,solved shortly before surrendering ,thanks EXternal for me a puzzle which as always I found quite (understatement) difficult . Ninas are for the more observant such as Gazza to whom many thanks yet again

  11. Beet
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for the lateness of the comment – it took me the commute home last night, the commute in this morning and a couple of stragglers polished off at lunchtime so I’ve only just completed it. 3d was a joy.