Toughie 1422 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1422

Toughie No 1422 by Elkamere

Grot? Not today

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

So, what have we today? Lots of containment-type clues, lots of reversals, exactly six anagrams (as is usual from this setter), smooth surfaces and some beautifully disguised definitions – it all adds up to a very enjoyable puzzle from Elkamere.

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 A meal a day’s included, correct? (8)
ADMONISH – A and a prepared meal with the short form of a day of the week inserted.

5a Greek characters in stone and rock (6)
SCHIST – this is a type of metamorphic rock (not a word that I knew). Insert the plural of the twenty-second letter of the Greek alphabet in the abbreviation for stone (i.e. 14lbs).

9a Trouble over door tampered with by second most important servant (5-4)
MAJOR-DOMO – reverse (over) a spot of trouble or tricky situation, add an anagram (tampered with) of DOOR and finish with a short time or second.

11a For one horse, backward shove (5)
NUDGE – string together ‘for one’ and a horse of a greyish-brown colour and reverse it all (backward).

12a Scholar blessing monkey (6)
BABOON – a pair of letters awarded to someone who’s studied at university followed by a blessing or godsend.

13a I refuse to return, admitting mum was left (8)
REMAINED – reverse (to return) someone who refuses to accept and insert an affectionate term for mother.

15a 4 more than one 6 (6,7)
SQUASH RACKETS – this is quite tricky. I’ve underlined the 6 as the definition but what I’d really have liked to do was underline just the second half of the 6 because the definition is just the second word of 6d. A verb to 4d or wreck is followed by the plural (more than one) of another word for the first bit of 6d. I found this more difficult to write the hint for than to solve.

18a Free burst lip for cutting remark (13)
COMPLIMENTARY – insert (for cutting) an anagram (burst) of LIP into a remark or account.

22a Local map-makers will keep off island (8)
BARBADOS – a local or watering-hole and the abbreviation for the UK’s mapping agency contain (will keep) an adjective meaning off or rotten.

23a Bloke finishes in the civil service (6)
CHAPEL – another informal word for a bloke followed by the final letters of two words in the clue.

26a Unfinished version of ‘Relax’ – D minor (5)
CHILD – an informal verb to relax without its final letter is followed by D.

27a Crack troops in alien kit (9)
EQUIPMENT – a crack or witticism and ordinary troops go inside Crosswordland’s favourite alien.

28a Screw unfortunately gets turned, extremely risky (6)
SALARY – reverse (gets turned) an exclamation meaning unfortunately and add the outer letters of risky.

29a Former international body’s without worth (8)
EMERITUS – the abbreviation for an international body that the UK is a member of (for the moment) and the ‘S go round (without) a word meaning worth or distinction.

Down Clues

1d Military HQ bombed as may be harbouring resistance (4,4)
ARMY BASE – an anagram (bombed) of AS MAY BE containing the abbreviation for electrical resistance.

2d Perrin’s boss in company that pays little (5)
MCJOB – I didn’t get where I am today by not remembering the identity of Reggie Perrin’s boss. Insert his initials in a company or crowd. The answer means a low-paid dead-end employment and the company on which the word is based tried very hard to get its definition altered in dictionaries.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

3d Sweating over running in rising sun (7)
NERVOUS – an anagram (running) of OVER in a reversal of sun.

4d Bar sinks when inverted (4)
STOP – a verb meaning sinks a ball in snooker or billiards gets reversed.

6d With me in tow, dance the hustle (3,4)
CON GAME – a dance with the participants in single file having ME on the end.

7d Home help returned to protect one’s country (9)
INDONESIA – an adverb meaning at home is followed by the reversal of help or assistance containing ONE’S.

8d Hear nurses butt in (6)
TRENDY – a verb to hear in court contains the butt (of a cigarette, say).

10d Broken  hammer? (8)
OVERCOME – double definition, the first an adjective meaning broken or crushed emotionally and the second a verb to defeat or hammer an opponent. I’m not overly keen on this one – the two definitions are really two parts of speech from the same verb.

14d Author to appear unsteady through drink (8)
TROLLOPE – a verb to move in an unsteady way goes inside a verb to drink heavily. The author could be either a nineteenth century English novelist or his descendant famous for her Aga Sagas.

16d Cold rain, cloud, winds (9)
UNCORDIAL – an anagram (winds) of RAIN CLOUD.

17d Yes, I’m worried about inflamed back problem (8)
MYELITIS – an anagram (worried) of YES I’M goes round ‘inflamed’.

19d Burning up after grasping snake (7)
MEANDER – reverse an adjective meaning burning (from too much exposure to the sun?) and precede it with an adjective meaning grasping or parsimonious.

20d Darling’s upset over a failure (2-5)
NO-HOPER – reverse a shortened informal term of endearment (darling) and add the cricket abbreviation for over and ‘a’ (as in ’50p a kilo’).

21d Sailor given bill, plus 40 per cent for using calculator (6)
ABACUS – string together an abbreviation for a sailor in the Royal Navy, an abbreviation for a bill and the first 40 percent of ‘using’.

24d Piano allowed to introduce a flute (5)
PLEAT – the musical abbreviation for piano and a past participle meaning allowed with A inserted.

25d University in publication about island (4)
GUAM – reverse (about) the abbreviation for a publication (often glossy) and insert U(niversity).

Lots of likes today – 26a, 27a, 16d – but favourite has to be 15a. Which ones made it to the top of the charts for you?

28 comments on “Toughie 1422

  1. Surprised to see only 3* for difficulty – I did ‘phone a friend’ and confirm that it wasn’t just me. A proper Elkamere Toughie where you start off and then have to keep sneaking it out from under work until all the wonderful d’oh moments sort themselves out. Even if I’d been able to do it all in one go, I’d still have given it 5*/4*.

    Thanks to Elkamere for the workout and Gazza for the workings out.

  2. “I didn’t get where I am today” by failing to finish an Elkamere puzzle!

    I even managed to parse the solutions that I have never heard of before (17d, 2d & 5a)

    Favourite 22a – because of the “map-makers”.

    Thanks Elkamere and gazza.

  3. Did get in a bit of a mess trying to use OWN TIME as an anagram (dance) of ME IN TOW(6a), thinking this could be an expression for dubious income, but this was finally corrected by 5a. Also took me stupidly long to see 25d.

    As always, brilliantly disguised definitions, immaculate wordplay and fantastic doh and PD moments (oops, almost said pdm moments). I’m a fan of the way Elkamere uses cross-referencing to fit seamlessly into the clue, so I loved 15a. Loved 18a (free burst lip), 26a (relax d minor), 28a (screw unfortunately), 8d (hear nurses butt in), 16d (cold rain), 21d (sailor given bill), but they were all great (with the possible exception of 10d, which for me fell in the category of pesky double definitions that have you searching for matching vague synonyms without a laugh to reward success)

    Many thanks Elkamere and thanks Gazza for the review

  4. That’s cheered me up – I misinterpreted CS’s reply to me in the ‘other place’ and thought that she meant it wasn’t tricky.
    I bunged in 15a because it fitted with everything else, not because I understood it having thought that the 4 and the 6 were references to crickety stuff!
    I’ve absolutely never heard of 2d and had no idea who Perrin’s boss was, or is but Mr Google knew – I’ll remember that one.
    I really enjoyed this even though I found it very difficult – just beginning to know how to switch off the little voices in my head that say, “It’s a Toughie and you know you can’t do them.
    I liked 17 and 19d. My favourite was 16d.
    With thanks to Elkamere and to gazza.

    1. You asked if you were the only one having trouble with the Toughie and I said no (you weren’t) albeit using a slang, originally American emphatic

      1. I know but, in my head, I’d asked if anyone else was having trouble with the Toughie so I just read your reply and thought it was one of those “just me then” days. If in doubt read the question before reading the reply!! Oh dear!

  5. Wow! I finished it, though it was slow going to be sure. I needed the review for parsing of 15A, 22A and 20D and I had the right letters in the right order for 2D but needed google to make sense of it. no an expression I’m familiar with. Gazza, I still don’t understand how the whole of the 15A answer can be defined as a game.

    Many thanks to Elkamere, and of course to you, Gazza.

    1. I think that 15a is the formal name of the game that is usually abbreviated to the first word.

    2. The ‘proper’ name for the game of squash is squash rackets or squash racquets.

    3. I only knew the 2d term because it’s the first entry on a page of my edition of the BRB and therefore in bold type at the top. I noticed it some time ago when looking at that page for something else, became curious about it and did some investigoogling.

      1. So much that I don’t know! (But I did know 5A since my work involves that kind of stuff)

            1. I’m doing the back page and it just clicked. 22d surely is the same as 5a here?

              1. No it isn’t, unless this is another case of me misunderstanding something. Apart from anything else 22d in the back page has five letters and 5a here has six.

                1. Thanks Kath,
                  What I meant is what we call gaz de schiste is the equivalent of shale gas over here.
                  But we need Expat Chris professional opinion.

                  1. At least I was right about something – total misunderstanding! I’m a bit dim today!

                    1. Not at all.
                      I was surprised that Gazza mentioned that he didn’t know that rock.
                      Being bilingual did help in this case which is not the norm, I assure you.
                      But the connection between the two was very obvious to me.
                      Thanks to Chris for the enlightenment.

                  2. I am not an expert on soils and rock classifications by any means! I leave that to the engineers I work with who provide the basic technical information for whatever I write. I do know that schist is metamorphic rock and shale is sedimentary rock. The big gas deposits that are being recovered by fracking in the US are in shale. I have not heard of the term schist gas. It does seem, though, that gaz de schiste and shale gas are different names for the same product.

  6. 4* difficulty for me too, but immensely enjoyable. In fact, the extra time to solve it just made the enjoyment last a bit longer. Two very minor quibbles [as usual] “running” as an anagrind in 3d and 40% “for” in the otherwise excellent 21d. I bet Elkamere cursed the fact that “of” isn’t the same as “off” when he was writing that clue.
    Favourites, whittled down from a long list, are 22a [map makers] 26a [D minor] 8d [terrific clue] and 19d [snake – who else spent a while trying to fit a word for “after” round “asp”?

    Many thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for the blog.

  7. Spend far too long on this one.
    Specially as I thought 9a was major body (an anagram of door and by). Great misdirection indeed. But the Y as a first letter in 10d proved ridiculous.
    Surprised you didn’t know that rock, Gazza, with all that fracking about.
    Gaz de schiste is probably the worst idea ever.
    Could 20d be also a reference to the Hon of the right honorable Alastair Darling.
    Liked 1a and 23a the most.
    Thanks for the clip of Leonard Rossiter and the explanations for 29a (a right bung in )
    Thanks to Elkamere and sorry if your grid ended up full of strawberries but No1 only daughter insisted I prepare a Charlotte.

  8. Excellent fare from my Sunday Times nemesis – I always seem to find him easier as Elkamere (not that this was a stroll in the park by any means). Perhaps it’s just a mind thing. Immensely enjoyable with far too many great clues to single out a clear favourite, so I shall abstain from selecting one. Although……. perhaps not, as I’ve just noticed Kath’s post and I’m sure she’ll be keeping a close eye on things. (btw – keep up the good work, 1987 was my last puff of the coffin nails although I don’t think I could afford them now)

    Thanks to Elkamere for the puzzle and Gazza for confirming my parsing on a couple of the clues.

    On another topic – BD is it possible to have a list of the subscribers’ non de plumes? I only ask to see if a puzzle could possibly be constructed after my comment yesterday (in Excel if possible). TVM

    1. I think your Rookie Corner idea is a good one and, yes, I’m keeping a very close eye on everything! Thanks also for the comment re cigs!

  9. Very enjoyable solve where I needed Gazza’s hints to parse a few that I’d bunged in from definition and to answer a couple that I simply couldn’t work out myself. Nearly did it solo though, which I’m pleased about (especially as my confidence took a whack in the Solar Plexus after struggling mightily with the Everyman crossword on Sunday.. – but I digress…). Thanks to Gazza and to Elkamere; whose style I’m very slowly starting to “get”.

  10. Found 2d fascinating as the first word of the clue happens to be the maiden name of someone who is very closely related to me by marriage. Said person had opted out of the team for this solve. I found it quite tricky but ultimately solvable apart from fully parsing 22a where I had not got the map-maker bit. It makes sense now. Too many good clues to pick a favourite, but the association between 4d, 6d and 15a is certainly in the running. Much enjoyed.
    Thanks Elkamere and Gazza.

  11. Got there in the end, just.

    I spent quite a while trying to make an anagram of ‘lea+co’, for 2d. Lea as in Lea & Perrins. Nuff said.

    Many thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for an excellent blog.

  12. After a break of a couple of weeks a comment from me. Work and other things conspired to create a backlog of Telegraph puzzles for a while. I have finally caught up and this one was, for my taste, a really nice toughie. I would certainly rate it as harder than 3* but a definite 5* for enjoyment. I was surprised on looking at the blog this evening that I got them right – there were three I was rather uncertain of and another 2 that I was confident of the answer but without a full understanding of the reason why.

    Splendid stuff so thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for enlightenment on some of the clues

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