Toughie No 1444 by Elgar
Chasing chickens in Scotland
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BD Rating – Difficulty ***** – Enjoyment *****
It is almost two months since we were impaled on a Friday (Toughie 1420 on 26 June) but Elgar is back with a typical brain-stretching (or do I mean ‘mangling’) exercise in the art of solving a proper does-what-it-says-on-the-tin Toughie crossword. It seems to have more than its fair share of compound anagrams, requiring you to remove some letters, rearrange the rest, and then have a lie down in a darkened room, but looking back on the process, I did enjoy my holiday treat.
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1a See 7 Down
9a Agreed, it’s too much to nurture a cut in starvation (2,1,4)
OF A MIND Insert (to nurture) almost all of a period of starvation into an abbreviation used when one has taken an excessive amount of something.
10a Monstrous faux pas is her undoing (7)
OGREISH An abbreviated way of referring to a faux pas quite often committed by a footballer, followed by an anagram (undoing) of IS HER.
11a Last of quarter-finalists to change ends before a meal (4,3)
HIGH TEA If you were the last person in a quarter final, what place would you be in? Swap the positions of the first and last letters (change ends) and then follow with A (from the clue).
12a Boozy reaction after having knocked back wine as nutrition (7)
TROPHIC An adjective meaning relating to nutrition is a reversal (knocked back) of a type of fortified wine followed by an involuntary interjection quite often as a result of having had too much alcoholic refreshment (boozy reaction).
13a Senior commando following strip-act? (5)
OLDIE Simply strip off the outsides of a serviceman such as a commando.
14a Go on chewing an international sausage (9)
PEPPERONI Insert another way of saying for each person (an) between an informal noun meaning go or life and ON (from the clue), then finish with the abbreviation for International.
16a Skewer’s great for spearing all but the head of jerk chicken (9)
ORPINGTON A small skewer and the two-letter abbreviation for Great ‘spear’ or go into the middle of a jerk or stupid person with its first letter (all but the head) removed.
19a ____ is repeatedly given out by emissions? (5)
MESON This atomic particle is obtained from a compound anagram of EMISSIONS once you have removed the two IS (IS repeatedly given out).
21a Expanding, I do corollary of ‘Live Today’ for the listeners? (7)
DILATOR Something that expands is a homophone (for the listeners) of the corollary of ‘live today’.
23a City once fashionable, in a contrary sort of way (7)
CHICAGO This American city is obtained by changing the order (contrary) of another way of saying once, and a synonym for fashionable.
24a Perhaps a conventional state recital of love poetry he wrote? (7)
NUNHOOD A homophone (recital) of not one (love) followed by the name of an English poet. I particularly like the conventional state!
25a Solver’s Last Hurrah rating: Mark’s bound to be first in race (7)
ABRAHAM The last letter of solver and another way of saying hurrah are ‘bound by’ or inserted between the abbreviation for a seaman (rating) and the abbreviation for Mark – the final part of the clue being a reference to the lovely Mark Goodliffe who always wins the ‘race’ to be the Times Crossword Champion.
26a See 4 Down
1d Before landing on Germany agent active around west sounded local (7)
TWANGED Before ‘landing’ on the IVR code for Germany, you need to make an anagram (active) of AGENT and insert (around) W for west.
2d Stroppy son not given to politeness, crude in communication (7)
EPISTLE An anagram (crude) of POLITENESS minus (not given) an anagram (stroppy) of SON.
3d Treatment for Royal course favourite (3,6)
RED CARPET Something laid out for a Royal visit would if changed to 6, 3 be the name of a Teesside racecourse and another word for favourite.
4d and 26 Across: Cut, cut 20 out from 1 Across — unfortunately returned with elevens? (5,4,3,5)
SHORT BACK AND SIDES This haircut is obtained by firstly removing from the solution to 1 Across an anagram (unfortunately) of the letters in the solution to 20d. Reverse (back) the remaining letters to get the first word of this solution, which should be followed by AND (with) and what elevens are in games of football or cricket.
5d Leeds runner needing short short break stopping for breather? (7)
AIRHOLE Insert a very abbreviated way of referring to a break such as I’m enjoying at the moment into a river (runner) that runs through Leeds.
6d Boring! Boat Race crew’s No. 5 being chucked in water? (5-2)
HEIGH-HO An exclamation expressive of weariness – typical Elgar-induced d’oh moment for the ‘water’ element of this clue – remove the fifth letter (no 5 being chucked) from the number of people in a Boat Race crew and insert (being chucked into) into the way one might explain the chemical formula for water.
7d and 1 Across: Park in which Scotch landholder shoots man wandering about? (4,6,3,3,9)
LOCH LOMOND AND THE TROSSACHS An anagram (wandering about) of SCOTCH LANDHOLDER SHOOTS MAN
8d No good if new choirmaster is outside soprano range (3,10)
The online clue was subsequently changed to No good if new choirmaster is outside range (3, 10)
THE CAIRNGORMS An anagram (new) of CHOIRMASTER goes outside the abbreviation for No Good. If only I’d known that the soprano had sneaked in without permission before I started with multiple combinations of the anagram fodder all over a large piece of paper trying to work out where to put her abbreviation!
15d Craftily win scrap, subduing Union conflict (5,4)
PUNIC WARS This very old conflict is an anagram (craftily) of WIN SCRAP ‘subduing’ or having inserted U (union).
17d What’s potential with Italian cooking? (7)
POLENTA Yet another compound anagram – this time the informal way of referring to Italian vermouth is taken out of POTENTIAL, the remaining letters are an anagram (cooking) of a staple Italian food.
18d Could it be BBC One? More than that, twerp gathers (7)
NETWORK BBC is one provider of broadcast television. – A slang term for an idiot (twerp) ‘gathers’ or has inserted a number more than one.
19d One crosses ____ that’s ____ in 3 to find one waiting (6,1)
MAITRE D The first missing word in the clue is a smaller version of the second word in 3d with an I inserted (one crosses) that’s ____ [the first word in 3d] and split 6,1 to find a head waiter.
20d Injures queen, small whip being raised (7)
SCATHES As often happens in Crosswordland, ‘queen’ is a female feline – Take another way of referring to her and the abbreviation for Small, and move the ‘whip’ that shares the feline name further up the word.
22d Kiss I’m famous for put end to one row before the next begins (5)
RODIN The sculptor famous for The Kiss is obtained by removing the last letter from ROW (put an end to one row) and then following with another sort of row (a noisy one). When we saw this sculpture ‘in the flesh’ Son No2 was intrigued by the fact that our sculptor apparently took a lot more care with the female body than he did with the male.
Thank you to Elgar for a properly proper tough Toughie, to BD for offering me the chance to review it, and to my lovely sister who gave me the time to do so by making her (apparently famous) crab pasties for lunch. I’m going to finish sorting out the review, and then go and find out whether they live up to their reputation.