Toughie 1438 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1438

Toughie No 1438 by Messinae

Only one beef today

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

Thanks to Messinae for a very pleasant puzzle with some good surface readings and several d’oh moments.

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 Singer gives support for plain folk? (5-5)
GRASS-ROOTS – someone who sings (to the police, say) followed by a verb meaning gives support or cheers on.

6a Some colossal bones (4)
OSSA – hidden.

9a Cut leading sportsmen (7)
TOPSIDE – split the answer 3,4 to get a leading team.

10a Resolution to knock off to get train before new job (7)
RESKILL – the abbreviation for resolution is followed by a verb to knock (or bump) off.

12a Bemoan atheist’s appalling suffering likewise (2,3,4,4)
IN THE SAME BOAT – an anagram (appalling) of BEMOAN ATHEIST.

14a Continue being out of mind (6)
EXTEND – a prefix meaning ‘out of’ followed by a verb to mind or look after.

15a Model office worker departed (8)
TEMPLATE – charade of an office worker who may not stay long and an adjective meaning departed or deceased.

17a Tramline winds up here (8)
TERMINAL – this is a semi-all-in-one. It’s an anagram (winds up) of TRAMLINE.

19a Cram studying books when one’s left for university (6)
ENGLUT – this was my last one in and I definitely needed the checking letters. Start with the abbreviation for an academic subject (3,3) which involves a lot of reading, then replace the Roman numeral for one with U(niversity).

22a Singapore went crazy for Nick once (7,6)
NEWGATE PRISON – an anagram (crazy) of SINGAPORE WENT. Nick is falsely capitalised.

24a Audio unit‘s message requesting reply (7)
PHONEME – I’ve come across this word in a crossword before but I had to look it up to check what it means – it’s the smallest significant unit of sound in a language (not the same as a letter – for example f, ff and ph in English can all sound the same). Split the answer 5,2 to get a message requesting a reply.

25a Glower was worrying young baby (7)
NEONATE – glower here is something that glows, so it’s a type of light. Add a verb meaning was worrying or was gnawing at.

26a Steal  recording (4)
TAKE – double definition, the second being an amount of film or music recorded in an uninterrupted episode.

27a What holds name in bad esteem unfortunately (10)
DEBASEMENT – another semi-all-in-one. An anagram (unfortunately) of BAD ESTEEM contains (holds) N(ame).

Down Clues

1d Draws  bottle (4)
GUTS – double definition, the first has the meaning of draws as in ‘hanged, drawn and quartered’.

2d Settle with a large beer round river (7)
APPOINT – put a large glass of beer (1,4) around an Italian river.

3d Estimating pig to be about double (8,5)
SPITTING IMAGE – an anagram (to be about) of ESTIMATING PIG.

4d Cook maybe being more honest? (6)
OPENER – double definition. I know some people who won’t like this clue but it is appropriate for the first day of an Ashes Test Match. Cook is not only the England captain but he bats at the start of an innings.

5d Like Sikh from town beset by rowdy youngster once (8)
TURBANED – an adjective meaning ‘from town’ is contained inside a rowdy youngster from the 1950s.

7d Philosopher takes short drive round South Africa (7)
SPINOZA – the name of this 17th century Dutch philosopher is built from a short drive for pleasure, the round letter and the IVR code for South Africa.

8d Plots to get army surrounding them informally, number killed rising (10)
ALLOTMENTS – an army here is a multitude of insects. Put them round the reversal (rising) of an informal contraction of ‘them’ and a word for the number killed in a natural disaster, say.

11d A couple of streets round Essex town this person means to cross (8-5)
STEPPING-STONE – put two abbreviations for street round a market town in Essex (best known outside Essex for having a forest), then finish with the pronoun used in formal speech to mean this person or the person speaking.

13d Perhaps Smith can put on good snooker shot for the Crucible? (7-3)
MELTING-POT – string together the forename of the late comic actor Mr Smith, another word for can, G(ood) and a (normally successful) snooker shot. Crucible is falsely capitalised to mislead us into thinking of the venue in Sheffield where the World Snooker Championship is held each year.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

16d Yankee Doodle heartlessly played with absence of instruments (5,3)
NAKED EYE – an anagram (played) of YANKEE and the outer letters of D(oodl)E.

18d Wise one with hazard to shipping around gets support for boat’s propeller (7)
ROWLOCK – a creature deemed to be wise goes inside a hazard to shipping. The propeller here is what’s used to propel a rowing boat.

20d Bond‘s occupation including killing and gadgets primarily (7)
LINKAGE – a word for occupation or profession includes the primary letters from three words in the clue. Good, funny surface.

21d Brainboxes sought office in US protected by secret service (6)
CRANIA – a verb meaning sought office or stood as a candidate goes inside a US government agency or service that operates clandestinely. The clue implies that the verb meaning sought office relates to the US and Chambers does say it’s North American, but it’s certainly used here – perhaps it started over there and floated across the pond.

23d Let  rip (4)
RENT – double definition, the first what someone purchasing a ‘buy to let’ property is intending to do.

There are some good clues here – I’d pick 10a, 17a, 13d and 20d as the best of them. Which one(s) took your fancy?

38 comments on “Toughie 1438

  1. I’m ashamed to admit that I needed gazza’s hint to understand the Cook in 4d – I’ve been watching the cricket all morning!

  2. A bit more of a challenge than yesterday. 4d and 19a were the main problems. After struggling to justify Oliver as the cook I decided it must be a cricket thing. Not sure I’ve ever come across 19a but the penny eventually dropped – if it were not so obscure it would be my top clue but as it is my award goes to24a.

    Thanks to Gazza [particularly for the parsing of 8d] and to Messinae for the puzzle.

  3. I also opted for Oliver for cook until proved otherwise.I found it very challenging and used all the help I could find.I needed the hints for 10a and 19a.
    24a is also my favourite.
    Thanks Gazza and Messinae.

  4. The NW corner gave me the most trouble, but once I broke in, I couldn’t see what took me so long! 10A on my printout has a big ‘Ugh’ by the side if it. What a horrible word. I needed the hints for 16D (missed the anagram completely) and 27A. For 27, I had figured out the bits needed for the anagram, but with just D, B, E, and S to place, I just couldn’t get to the finish line. Pitiful. My favorite today is 9A, though I liked 1A and 1D a lot, too. Thanks to Messinae, who made me work, and to Gazza for the blog and hints.

  5. Very enjoyable solve. My last one to parse was 10a (resolution to knock off), I think “to get” is quite clever. I really liked 14a (Continue being out of mind), which will be my favourite. I was happy to recognise the audio unit (24a) but even with the answer it took me a while to parse 19a(cram studying books). Other ones I liked include Yankee Doodle (16d), where it took me a while to dishearten correctly, and 18d (wise one…) where I enjoyed “boat’s propeller”.

    Great stuff, many thanks Messinae and Many thanks Gazza

  6. Two beef for me. The menu in Nick Jones’ café bohème in soho had rib of beef with bone marrow but they wrote ossa moelle instead.
    A bit of GK was needed today for 22a and the Essex town in 11d but nothing too dramatic.
    Didn’t like the word in 10a at all.
    Loved 5d and 16d.
    Thanks to Messinae and to Gazza for the review.

    1. Expat Chris didn’t like 10a either.. But surely it can be positive? if the alternative is to give up on life, I would welcome it., but I’ve never been there, except, sort of, now.

      1. It’s not the concept, it’s the word itself. Is “to skill” an acceptable verb these days?

          1. I was hoping to find that “Pfft” was in the BRB.

            Maybe next year … or maybe I should get the latest version?

        1. Like many other horrible words, it gets thrown around in corporate environments a lot

                1. ……….and don’t forget brainstorming sessions or team building exercises – the latter always filled me with unspeakable dread.

                  1. Ahh the days of playing w**k word bingo. “Results driven and client-centric”, were my favourites.

        2. Virtually any noun can be turned into a verb these days. During the Olympic Games I heard of competitors who had medalled and others who had podiumed.

  7. Found it tough going, but very enjoyable. When I realised I had the wrong Smith for 13d things became more clear. ***/***.

  8. Been hanging around this morning and cannot believe we finished it before lunch. We liked 1a, 4d and 5d especially, and enjoyed sorting out the elements of 8d. 19a involved an unfamiliar term and 11d included a redundant A which created a small glitch. Many thanks to Messinae for a fine puzzle.

  9. Thanks to Messinae and to Gazza for the review and hints. Too tough for me. Did some of it, then came to a halt. Couldn’t get another answer. Needed 13 hints to finish. Favourite was 13d. Was 5*/2* for me.

  10. About as difficult as I can manage without giving up completely. 24a is definitely a new one, 18d and 19a were dragged from memory banks. Then double checked with the blog. Knew that 16d was an anagram but couldn’t see it and just guessed. Feeling particularly dumb about that. Didn’t like 10a.

    That feels like I didn’t enjoy the crossword but I truly did.

    Many thanks to Messinae, I’ll improve for your next one, and to Gazza of course for sorting out my mistakes.

  11. Solo solve for me with this one. The last one to have its wordplay sorted out was 19a as I kept thinking it was one word to be adapted and not a 3,3. A nice balance of accessible clues that gave checkers, and stiffer ones, to keep the flow of answers coming steadily. Good fun.
    Thanks Messinae and Gazza.

  12. In hospital coming out of the anaesthetic, after a minor “go faster” modification (think about it, gentlemen!). I’m a bit off the pace, and needed 3 hints to complete, but 3*/3* seems about right. To be fair, l wouldn’t have got 25a anyway. 4d definitely my favourite – today of all days. Many thanks to Messinae, and Gazza for review and hints.

  13. Total failure for me – me, not the crossword.
    I’ve now read gazza’s hints and because they’re so clear, as always, managed to fit in all my gaps without needing to look at any “click heres”.
    I would never have got lots of them – particularly 4d – no surprises there!
    I’ve never heard of 1a meaning what it does here – to me it’s an expression used in a meeting meaning getting back to basics – maybe I’m wrong – it has been known! Hopeless!
    As I wrote in ‘terminus’ for 17a I did think that it wasn’t really very cryptic – oh dear – hopeless again.
    And so it went on . . .
    What I managed I enjoyed. I liked 5 and 23d. My favourite was 20d.
    With thanks to Messinae and to gazza.

    1. Me too, Kath……….think I’ll just slink back off to the relative safety of the back-pagers.
      Did rather like 15a!
      Thanks to Gazza for the extra set of clues – much needed – and to Messinae for the absolute trouncing!

      1. Don’t go, either of you! Persevate as Mary would say. I’ve stuck it out, been annihilated more times that I care to remember, and I’m getting better slowly. Besides, I need the company.

        1. Oh dear, Chris – I hate to think of you being lonely.
          I’ll take a sneaky look tomorrow, but I seem to recollect that Dada’s puzzles have been alien territory for me in the past.

  14. Last in by quite a margin 19a ,Favorite by a similar margin 5d ,thanks Messinae and yet again Gazza .

    1. I hadn’t come across the 5d word before and it bothers me that, to get the correct pronunciation, it seems to need two Ns. No doubt it doesn’t, but it just looks wrong!

  15. Blimey, that was a struggle, I’ve taken several days and several goes…thanks to Messinae for a cracking puzzle, and to Gazza of course, without reading the hints I’d not have understood my answer for 3 down, if I can’t see an obvious anagram like that perhaps I should give up!

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