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Toughie 1392

Toughie No 1392 by Elkamere

A Dictionary in the Corner

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

On the easy side for a Friday Toughie – kinda Anax-lite. As usual Elkamere relies on colloquialisms in both clues and answers. Overseas solvers may struggle with the Countdown reference.

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2a    Minister, perhaps unorthodox priest, nearby (12)
PRESBYTERIAN: an anagram (unorthodox) of PRIEST NEARBY

8a    Recalled funny story (4)
SAGA: the reversal (recalled) of funny, as in “it’s (1,3)”

9a    Beginning game, I’m hugged by lady with dictionary (8)
RUDIMENT: start with the two-letter abbreviation for a 15-a-side game then add I’M inside the surname of the delightful Susie from Countdown’s Dictionary Corner

10a    Motorway access from Petticoat Lane? (4,4)
SLIP ROAD: combine a petticoat with a lane

11a    Green energy’s failure to keep working (6)
ECONUT: E(nergy) and a failure, perhaps of electric power, around (to keep) the two-letter word for working

12a    Simple accommodation? One books into dive first (5-5)
IDIOT-PROOF: some accommodation, as in “having a (4) over one’s head”, preceded by I (one) and dome books of the bible inside a verb meaning to dive or plunge into water

13a    By instalments, fine assumes trust, I see (2,4)
ON TICK: a two-letter word meaning fine or satisfactory around (assumes) the National Trust, I and the letter that sounds like see – I did wonder whether this needed a homophone indicator, but Chambers gives “see (noun) the third letter of the alphabet (C, c)”

16a    Conservative’s shock conduct (5)
CHAIR: C(onservative) followed by a shock or mane gives a verb meaning to conduct a meeting

17a    Treatment player has, yet still is out initially (6)
PHYSIO: the initial letters of six words in the clue

18a    Dwarf who drove a buggy around back of circus (10)
OVERSHADOW: an anagram (buggy, a new one for me) of WHO DROVE A around the final letter (back) of [circu]S

21a    Left the pits, right? (6)
LAWFUL: L(eft) followed by an adjective meaning “the pits” or abysmal

23a    Axe for old lady to sell (8)
TOMAHAWK: a two-letter word meaning “for”, as in “a contribution for the book” followed by the old lady or mother and a verb meaning to sell

24a    Israeli city maps are needed in North (8)
NAZARETH: some books of street maps and ARE inside (are needed) N(or)TH

25a    Parisian airport links for Lyon (4)
ORLY: hidden (links) inside the clue

26a    Criminal or not, did they double-cross? (2,3,5,2)
DO THE DIRTY ON: an anagram (criminal) of OR NOT DID THEY


1d    Weak sunshine over cover (6)
PALLID: a sunshine or chum followed by (over in a down clue) a cover for a jar

2d    Deliriously happy person is calling from them? (9)
PAYPHONES: an anagram (deliriously) of HAPPY followed by a three-letter word for a person and S (‘s / is)

3d    Politician starts to exploit usual caper (4-2)
EURO-MP: the initial letters of two words in the clue followed by a caper

4d    Likes a sitcom (5,2,1,7)
BIRDS OF A FEATHER: likes or people of similar character is the name of a sitcom about people of similar character

5d    Stir fried, too hot (2,3,3)
TO DIE FOR: an anagram (stir) of FRIED TOO gives hot or highly desirable

6d    Lover runs rings round me (5)
ROMEO: R(uns) followed by two ring-shaped letters around ME

7d    Reveal a little bit in conversation (8)
ANNOUNCE: sounds like (in conversation) a little bit or a small amount (2,5)

14d    Most of the parts to test available for three races (9)
TRIATHLON: most of TH[e] inside (parts) a verb meaning to test followed by a two-letter word meaning available for

15d    Opponents to capture after old battle (3,5)
THE ALAMO: opponents, as in “us and (4)” around (to capture) a preposition meaning after or “In the manner of” and followed by O(ld)

16d    My boy carries explosive collected with this? (4,4)
COOL HEAD: an interjection similar to “my!” and a young boy around (carries) High Explosive – keep this in order to remain collected or unruffled

19d    Is about ready to drop English cloth trade (6)
SIMONY: the reversal (about) of IS followed by some ready or cash without (to drop) the E(nglish) to give the buying or selling of an ecclesiastical benefice (trade in “the cloth” / “the clerical profession”)

20d    Blair sees troops in good health (6)
ORWELL: the name adopted by Eric Blair comes from a charade of some troops and an adjective meaning in good health – how many of you thought this was a reference to a war criminal?

22d    Mo Farah’s first cat (5)
FLASH: the initial letter (first) of F[arah] followed by a cat-o’-nine-tails

Tricky in places, but clued fairly throughout

11 comments on “Toughie 1392

  1. I really enjoyed this – I don’t usually attempt to solve Elkamere’s puzzles because I generally fail miserably, but this one I found to be very accessible. Thanks to BD and Elkamere for the enjoyment (definitely 4* + for me.)

  2. Extremely enjoyable, and proof that clever construction need not be diabolical. I am happy this puzzle was “very accessible” (thanks JonP, perfect description) in the hope that more people will have a go and enjoy a quality and originality so infinitely better than today’s back-pager.

    First one in was the long 4d (likes a sitcom), which was a big help. Last one in was 15d (battle); I had the answer but it took me a while to parse.

    Best ones for me were the brilliant 2d (deliriously happy..) and 5d (stir fried, too hot). I also really like 9a (lady with dictionary), 25a (parisian airport), 26a (criminal or not), 19d (cloth trade!), and 22d (Mo Farah’s cat).

    Many thanks Elkamere and Big Dave

    oh, 13a, apparently the phonetic spelling of all the letters in the alphabet is fair game (from a discussion I had on the guardian site), and can be found in brb.

  3. I’m feeling pretty good because the only one I missed out on is 11A. I did need the review for the parsing of a couple. I didn’t know the dictionary lady, of course, but I did have the correct answer. I had heard of the sitcom. 20D has come up in another puzzle recently, has it not? My favorite is 19D. This was a new word for me and I was pleased to work it out correctly. I also liked 3D, 16D and18A. Many thanks to Elkamere and Big Dave.

    I am going to suffer later for staying un until 1AM EST to watch the election result and then having to be up at 5AM today.

  4. I agree it’s Anax-lite [eg 17a, 25a, 22d] but there are enough of Elkamere’s trademarks [cunningly hidden definitions/ indicators and the use of English as she is actually spoke] to warrant at least 4* for fun. Not being a daytime TV person I failed to parse all of 9a.

    Favourite clues include 12a, 18a [buggy] 5d and 15d. Last in was19d [I was sure “ply” = trade was in there somewhere]

    Thanks to Elkamere and to BD for the blog

  5. Took a while to finish that NW corner.
    Couldn’t see the politician with just the E and O as checking letters. Until the penny dropped. Then got 12a for which I also had only three letters and finally 1d.
    Loved the buggy as an anagram indicator in 18a and the homonym in 7d.
    The soap was also one of the first one in after 2a.
    Thanks to Elkamere for the great fun and to BD for the review.

  6. A most odd Friday for me – I finished the back pager and the toughie pretty easily and had time for other things before resuming work. Odd because this does not happen often and odder still because it is Friday and also odd because I got engrossed in election night and had forgotten to sleep. For once I agree with Deep Threat on the GIovanni but was surprised the toughie got 3* for difficulty. Yesterday I struggled with the back pager and found the RayT toughie the easier of the two. Hopefully next week the toughies will bite back

    I was ignorant of the Countdown connection – we make jokes about it at work being a programme for those after retirement

  7. An enjoyable puzzle which took us ages to complete and we were very disappointed to find out that 19d (last one in) was wrong. Otherwise, no problems.

    Thanks to Elkamere and obviously, Big Dave.

  8. I ran out of steam with 5 clues still unsolved, and resorted to the hints. Thus armed, l completed (albeit shamefacedly). 4*+ by my standards, but l liked 5d very much. I don’t think I’ve ever completed an Elkamere unaided, so l’m not too downhearted. Still, something to aim for, eh? Ta to Elkamere, and to BD.

  9. Pity more people didn’t have a go at this. Better to have tried and come up short than never to have tried.

  10. At last found some time when we were not too tired to tackle this delightful puzzle. The dictionary lady was new to us but not a problem. Spent some time trying to justify ‘simply’ for 19d. A good fun puzzle that we really enjoyed.
    Thanks Elkamere and BD.

  11. Several weeks behind as usual, but many thanks to BD for sorting a couple of parsings. I’ve never got more than half-way through an Elkamere puzzle before but managed to complete this unaided. Many thanks to him as well for an excellent workout.

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