Toughie No 1437 by Giovanni
Hints and tips by Dutch
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment *
Giovanni offers us a Pangram today, though the combination of unusual words and ultra-loose definitions made it hard for me to enjoy this puzzle as much as I did last Friday’s. It took me a while to find all the answers, hence **** for difficulty, but for me this was difficulty for all the wrong reasons. I’m afraid the definitions didn’t ring my bell, and I can’t claim I fell off my chair laughing, hence from my perspective it’s * for enjoyment. I’m hoping there will be others who enjoy this more. Below you’ll find hints and tips for the wordplay, and I’ve also tried to add some clarification to some of the definitions.
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1a Something wrong? Give therapy to three successive characters (6)
DEFECT: Three consecutive letters in the alphabet followed by the abbreviation for ElectroConvulsive Therapy
4a BBC man once broadcast item on Remembrance Sunday? (6)
WREATH: A homophone (broadcast) of the man who became DG of the BBC in 1927 gives us a ring of flowers used as a tribute, possibly on Remembrance Sunday.
8a Bit of a log that could be chopped up in Satanism (8)
MANTISSA: An anagram (that could be chopped up) of SATANISM gives us this fractional part of a logarithm
10a Rubbish provided by foreign friend? Cast it on to the floor (6)
TATAMI: A 3-letter palindromic word for rubbish followed by the French word for friend gives us a Japanese mat made from rice stalks.
11a Reluctant bunch, the last of such trailing behind (4)
LOTH: A 3-letter word for bunch, piece of land or fate, followed by (trailing behind) the last letter of (suc)H.
12a Common sense going by car – it keeps little woman independent (10)
AUTONOMOUS: A 4-letter word for common sense or intellect follows (going by) the 4-letter abbreviation for AUTOmobile, and contained inside all of this (it keeps) we have a two-letter abbreviation (little) of the woman’s name MAUREEN (nothing to do with Louisa May Alcott’s book “Little Women)
13a One Leeds gal’s fantastic soprano (2,3,7)
DE LOS ANGELES: Anagram (fantastic) of ONE LEEDS GAL’S gives the name of a Spanish soprano
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16a Giovanni came across half-hearted crowd, including writer hard to make out (12)
IMPENETRABLE: Replace Giovanni with a 1-letter personal pronoun, add a 3-letter verb meaning came across, followed by a 6 letter word for a disorderly crowd or mob from which one of the identical central letters is omitted (half-hearted), all surrounding (including) a 3-letter writing implement gives a word that can mean unyielding or hard to understand.
20a One settling in courtyard — or, for instance, a Paris street (4,1’5)
QUAI D’ORSAY: The Roman numeral for one is placed inside (settling in) a word for courtyard (remember we have a pangram), add OR from the clue and a 3-letter verb meaning for instance, to give us the street in Paris on the left bank where the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is located and many artists come to paint.
21a Filthy place by river (4)
STYX: A filthy place fit for pigs plus a letter denoting “by” as in “multiplied by” gives the mythological river that forms the boundary between earth and the underworld.
22a Broadcaster outside pub in need of a good meal? (6)
SKINNY: A popular satellite TV and Internet broadcasting company written around (outside) another word for pub
23a A kid’s off, having packed his fancy shirts (8)
DASHIKIS: Anagram (off) of A KID’S into which is inserted (having packed) an anagram (fancy) of HIS gives a word for colourful African shirts.
24a I had to get stuck into problem – not hard, going with the flow (6)
TIDING: Think ebb and flow. Take the contraction of I had, and insert (to get stuck into) into a word for problem (or obsession, or object) from which the letter H has been removed (not hard)
25a Devise home with provision for flow of air (6)
INVENT: The usual crossword-land word for home, plus a 4-letter word for opening or a provision for the flow of air
1d Fish escaped? There’s expression of annoyance about that (8)
DRAGONET: A 4-letter past participle meaning escaped or is no longer there (as with money after a night out), surrounded by (about that) a 4-letter expression of annoyance, giving us a tropical fish
2d Female with desire to appear in fur (5)
FITCH: The abbreviation of F(emale) plus a 4-letter word for a desire (the kind you want to scratch) gives us the fur of a polecat
3d Idiot fed to moggy a very cold food (7)
CASSATA: a 3-letter word for idiot or donkey is placed inside (fed to) our favourite kind of pet to give you an Italian type of ice-cream.
5d Membrane’s genuine but reinforced with metal (7)
RETINAL: 4-letter word for genuine surrounds a 3-letter metallic element to give an adjective meaning of the tissue at the back of the eye.
6d Plant needs a bit of music when invaded by nasty mites! (9)
ARTEMISIA: a word for a song in an opera (a bit of music) contains an anagram (nasty) of MITES
7d What you hear from bee and insect is something sweet (6)
HUMBUG: The sound a bee makes and a generic word for insect (or wiretap), gives a sweet that Scrooge precedes with Bah!
9d Provoked worker suffered anguish (11)
ANTAGONISED: a 3-letter social worker of the 6-legged variety followed by an 8-letter word for suffered anguish,
14d Having very strong views or nothing fixed? (9)
OPINIONED: The letter that most resembles zero or nothing, followed by an 8-letter word for fixed as in having restrained someone to the ground by holding their arms and legs.
15d DJ may be given this audible instruction to put on Hungarian composer (8)
PLAYLIST: This refers to a series of requests you might give to a DJ, though these days if you have your own you may not need a DJ at all. Split (4,4) this can be read as homophone (audible) of a request to put on (a record for example) anything by a famous Hungarian composer. Hope that makes sense.
17d Supporting Conservative, that poetic star (7)
PROCYON: 3-letter prefix mean supporting or for, the abbreviation for C(onservative), and a poetic version of that which is a short form of yonder, gives the brightest star in Canis Minor.
18d Message from tempter full of power – it has a bodily effect (7)
TRYPSIN: What a tempter might say to encourage you to attempt something wicked (3,3), surrounding (full of) the abbreviation for P(ower) gives you this digestive enzyme that, apparently, you can take as a supplement,
19d Rubbish film – sweet stuff (6)
JUNKET: 4-letter word for rubbish that could be another man’s treasure, followed by a favourite crossword-land movie by Spielberg, gives a sweetened and flavoured curds and cream mixture – also means a jolly by officials using public funds
21d Get hold of third-rate characters, as you might say? (5)
SEIZE: Homophone (as you might say) of a group of the third letter in the alphabet
The clue that raised a smile initially was 22a (…in need of a good meal), until I realised that many such people would likely be offended at the suggestion. Please let us know what you thought of this puzzle, and do let us know which clues you enjoyed most.