Toughie 1394

Toughie No 1394 by Firefly

No Pigtails?

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This is an enjoyable Toughie with a mini-theme relating to animals’ bits (no, not those bits).
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 Party’s lost initially; it’s located in ‘Arrivals’ (8)
CAROUSEL – a noun or verb meaning party with drink and a lot of noise is followed by the initial letter of lost.

5a Flexible insert in ‘Independent’? On the contrary (6)
PLIANT – the abbreviation for independent goes inside a verb to insert (in the ground, for example).

9a Champ’s relation? Bow’s on the way to his home (8)
MUNCHKIN – charade of a verb to champ or chew and someone closely related. The (rain)bow’s seen on the way to the Emerald City.

10a Container, misdirected in Carolina, bypassing Arkansas (6)
OILCAN – remove the two-letter abbreviation for Arkansas from Carolina and make an anagram (misdirected) of what you have left.

12a Check feet also — toe and heel for starters (4-5)
DOG’S-TOOTH – this is a check pattern used in cloth. String together a slang word for feet, an adverb meaning also and the starting letters of toe and heel.

13a Despaired of simple conveyance (5)
MOPED – double definition.

14a Encoded instructions listened to in recess (4)
APSE – this sounds like a short word for programs.

16a Spring in California, with temperature warm at first, and a light breeze (4-3)
CAT’S-PAW – insert a mineral spring between a) the two-letter abbreviation for California with T(emperature) and b) the first letter of warm. I didn’t know this meaning of the answer but it’s there in the BRB as a nautical term meaning a light breeze forming ripples on the water’s surface.

19a Wasp on sorbet — look out and get back! (7)
SPONSOR – look out or select what’s hidden inside the first three words.

21a Allowed to remain in port (4)
LEFT – double definition.

24a Husband arrogating lead from eccentric shows bottle (5)
HOTTY – change the leading D of an adjective meaning eccentric to an H to get an informal term for a type of bottle.

25a Excitedly get out gateleg table; set up for game (9)
BAGATELLE – remove the jumbled (excitedly) letters of GET from (g)A(te)LEG TABLE and make an anagram (set up) of what remains.

27a Fury to last indefinitely? (6)
DRAGON – fury here is a violent, intimidating woman. Split the answer 4,2 for a phrasal verb meaning to last indefinitely.

28a Urgent step by National Trust (8)
STRIDENT – I wouldn’t have said that this adjective means urgent but Chambers disagrees with me. It’s a long, decisive step followed by the abbreviation for the National Trust.

29a Red-letter warning of disc overdue (1-5)
L-PLATE – split the answer 2,4 and you have disc overdue.

30a Interfere at peril; time to step back, offering carte blanche (4,4)
FREE REIN – withdraw T(ime) from IN(t)ERFERE and make an anagram (at peril?) of what remains.

Down Clues

1d Humour this setter, in costume of Buffalo Bill? (6)
COMEDY – a pronoun used by the setter goes inside (in costume of) the surname of Buffalo Bill.

2d Engineer’s heartlessly sacked for default (6)
RENEGE – drop the middle letters of ENG(in)EER and make an anagram (sacked, in the sense of plundered) of the rest.

3d Tuna cooking; hot in there? Lift the lid! (5)
UNHAT – an anagram (cooking) of TUNA has H(ot) inside. I thought that this was a made-up verb but (wrong again) it’s in the BRB.

4d Embodiment of mostly impressive feline energy (7)
EPITOME – string together an adjective meaning impressive or grand without its final letter (mostly), a male feline and E(nergy).

6d Theme foolishly I felt introduces aphorism on Italy (9)
LEITMOTIF – an anagram (foolishly) of I FELT contains a word, from French, meaning an aphorism or pithy saying and the IVR code for Italy.

7d Nearly every officer downs other people’s drinks (8)
ALCOPOPS – string together a word meaning every without its last letter, the abbreviation for the senior military officer in a unit and a verb meaning downs or shoots other people.

8d Moderate D to C, perhaps? (4,4)
TONE DOWN – I initially thought we were dealing with Roman numerals here, but this cryptic definition actually relates to music.

11d Conservative, this style (4)
CHIC – the abbreviation for Conservative followed by ‘this’ in Latin. Can anyone who was taught Latin at school forget the joys of declining ***, haec, hoc?

15d Hedge 16? (9)
PUSSYFOOT – cryptically this could be a 16a.

17d Lily headed up past snake house (8)
ASPHODEL – reverse (up) a verb meaning headed or came first after a small snake and the abbreviation for house.

18d Commercial patronage of sport lacking breadth but therein gaining following (8)
FOOTFALL – a round-ball sport losing the B(readth) but in its place gaining F(ollowing).

20d 3 investigate habit (4)
ROBE – start with a verb meaning investigate or scrutinise and apply the verb at 3d to it.

21d Fire-raiser‘s craft (7)
LIGHTER – double definition, the second a boat used to transfer goods from ship to shore and vice versa.

22d Rob split the Church (6)
FLEECE – a verb to split or scarper is followed by the abbreviation for the established church in England.

23d Did rabbit owner not moan, having regular losses? (4,2)
WENT ON – lose every other letter from three words in the clue.

26d Garbage thrown in tipper less quietly (5)
TRIPE – an anagram (thrown) of TI(p)PER minus one of the letters meaning quietly.

The clues I liked best were 12a, 29a and 23d. Which one(s) appealed to you?

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20 Comments

  1. George
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I started off at great speed – filling in the NW and SE in moments – I managed the NE with the exception of 7d which I have never heard of out here in Canada, but the SW remained a puzzle. I thought 19a would have made more sense with backing rather than back, although it does make sense – after seeing the hidden word it still made no sense to me though when looking at the clue, then I have never heard of 24a which I think must be a UK term, then we don’t have 29a here so had forgotten about that! Didn’t twig 18d at all – so hits the rocks significantly on this one today!

    5*/2* I suppose since I couldn’t complete it!

    • Liverpool Mike
      Posted May 13, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      I too couldn’t get 24a. My edition of Chambers only has the word ending in ‘ie’ rather than ‘y’. Not really even a common UK term.

      • gazza
        Posted May 13, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        My edition (11th) has both spellings.

        • Liverpool Mike
          Posted May 13, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

          I am way behind you. Maybe the latest edition should go on my next Christmas present list.

          • Shropshirelad
            Posted May 13, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

            LM, I think I would wait for the new edition or buy a 12th edition as the newest print has seemingly removed the obscure words (normally in grey/black highlights) much to the disgust of various cruciverbalists. I believe Chambers are in the process of sorting it out, but I don’t know how true it all is as I normally update my BRB about every 3 editions.

            • Physicist
              Posted May 13, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

              Good advice. I bought a 13th edition, and found they had removed my favourite word of all time: “taghairm – divination by lying behind a waterfall wrapped in a bullock-hide”.

              • Jane
                Posted May 13, 2015 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

                I’d love to see the clue for that one!

  2. Pegasus
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one 18d last one to yield, favourites were 12a 15d and 24a thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for the comments.

  3. halcyon
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    A bit lacking in chuckles, though I did like 23d [Did rabbit]. Thanks for explaining 2d Gazza – I had the usual regiment of engineers then spent a while trying to make sense of “heartlessly sacked”! Thanks also to Firefly.

  4. jean-luc cheval
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    NE corner was the hardest as I had play down for 8d.
    Liked the doublé 16a/15d and the clever 23d.
    Also liked the instruction in 19a.
    Couldn’t parse 20d and the second part of 9a although the answers were quite clear.
    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for the explanations.

  5. Shropshirelad
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Like George, I found the NW & SE corners didn’t offer much of a fight. The rest of the puzzle was a tad more difficult but I eventually got there. I also had to check 24a in Chambers (12th) and as Gazza has said, both spellings are there.

    Thanks to Firefly fly for the puzzle and Gazza for the review.

  6. dutch
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Some clever stuff here. The right hand side went in ok, then I struggled with SW: not sure I would have gotten 24a and 19d without the hints, but I did like 29a and 15d. Didn’t get 9a and a few other bits of scattered parsing. Thank you Firefly, good challenge, and thank you Gazza for the enlightenment.

  7. Heno
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for the review and hints. I sometimes despair on the Toughie. Yesterday was ok, but today was completely impenetrable. Never heard of 24a or 18d. Only managed to solve 11 clues . Complete nightmare.

  8. 2Kiwis
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    We worked on this one in little bites over quite a long period of time so very hard to rate for difficulty. Lots of good clues but the pair that raised the biggest smiles and were almost the last in were 16a and 15d. All good fun.
    Thanks Firefly and Gazza.

  9. RogBrown
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Never come across that slang word for feet before.

  10. David
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    This was another pants crossword, not enjoyable at all!

    • gazza
      Posted May 13, 2015 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      This is your second comment and both times you’ve described a crossword as pants. I presume that means that you couldn’t solve it.

  11. Jane
    Posted May 13, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Out of my league, but I did manage the NW & SE corners.
    Funny that 16a turned up very recently – with a totally different meaning!
    From the answers I got, I would pick out 13&29a plus 4&23d for honourable mention and – having now looked at the remainder – 15d would have joined them.

    Thanks to Firefly – even though I did have to ‘look-up’ a couple of words in the clues before I could make a start – and much appreciation to Gazza, who never seems to be defeated by anything that even the Toughies throw at him!

  12. Lesley
    Posted May 14, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Hello bigdave. Have rarely attempted toughie until i found your site. With site help, i have tried for a few weeks now. ecstatic to complete 1395 without hints, but am awaiting reasoning for a couple of answers. now hooked and try most days if not working. Please may i join your illustrious club?

    Yours, lesley

    • gazza
      Posted May 14, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      You’re most welcome, Lesley. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that you’ll be a regular commenter.