Toughie 1446

Toughie No 1446 by Kcit

If in doubt say nowt

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

I can’t say that I enjoyed the process of blogging this one very much. There weren’t many laughs and there seemed to be an awful lot of ‘fiddly’ bits involving reversals, insertions, deletions and truncations. There was also a fair amount of repetition in the indicators used. The long multi-word answers more or less wrote themselves in and it was the short 4-letter answers that put up a bit more of a fight.

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 Interrogate youngster about money (4)
PUMP – a young boxer, for example, contains the abbreviation for money.

3a Mystic‘s cursory description of Scientific American? (5)
MAGUS – split the answer 3,2 and you have a terse abbreviated description of what Scientific American is.

6a Wine barrel mostly rolled over (4)
SACK – a barrel with the first three letters reversed.

8a Rarely, as soon as I’m clutching nebula shot, nothing’s working (4,2,1,4,4)
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON – start with a conjunction meaning ‘as soon as’ then add I’M containing an anagram (shot) of NEBULA. Finish with the letter resembling zero or nothing and an adverb meaning working.

9a Those people vulgarly scoffing stewed lamb and preserve (6)
EMBALM – a common way of referring to ‘those people’ contains an anagram (stewed) of LAMB.

10a Design of office to start with computer network after power’s installed (4-4)
OPEN-PLAN – a verb to start and the abbreviation for a computer network that operates within a restricted area have P(ower) inserted.

11a Flowering plant that’s requiring a switch in types of weather (8)
CLEMATIS – start with the types of weather prevailing in a region then swap the positions of two of the vowels (the vowels being the abbreviation for “that’s” or that is – Thanks Halcyon)..

13a Knocked back some lemonade — not squiffy or under the influence (6)
STONED – hidden (some) and reversed (knocked back).

15a Booze in France he’s knocked back, meeting enough voters without hesitation (6)
LIQUOR – the French pronoun meaning ‘he’ is reversed (knocked back, for the second successive clue!) and followed by the minimum number of voting members required at a meeting to make it valid, but without the expression of hesitation. Apart from the sloppy repetition of ‘knocked back’ the surface here doesn’t make a great deal of sense.

17a Limits to plague, with vermin mostly spreading everywhere (8)
PANDEMIC – the outer letters of plague (1,3,1) followed by most of some vermin. This is the second use of ‘mostly’ to mean drop the final letter.

19a I must leave divers around river in misty conditions (8)
VAPOROUS – divers here is an old adjective meaning several or sundry. Take out the I and insert an Italian river.

21a Reason Government will lead sequence of discussions (6)
GROUND – the abbreviation for government followed by a sequence of discussions or negotiations.

22a What good listeners know, lesson that’s gone over with diligence (7,2,6)
SILENCE IS GOLDEN – this is an anagram (gone over) of LESSON and DILIGENCE.

23a Direct line seized by attention-seeker (4)
HELM – the abbreviation for line goes inside a short cough-like interjection designed to attract someone’s attention.

24a Nothing taken off house’s extent (5)
RANGE – the house is a European dynasty, which lent us a king in 1689 and the name of which is still used by the royal family of the Netherlands. Take away the letter that resembles zero or nothing.

25a Explain losing prisoners for real (4)
TRUE – start with a verb to explain or interpret and take away the first four letters which are an informal word for prisoners.

Down Clues

1d Confirmed US state language (9)
PROVENÇAL – charade of a past participle meaning confirmed or authenticated and the 3-letter abbreviation for a US state.

2d The old woman’s concern about book of horror stories? (7)
MACABRE – bring together an affectionate term for one’s old lady and a word meaning concern or solicitude containing the abbreviation for book.

3d Fellow rebuilt remote pressure gauge (9)
MANOMETER – a bloke followed by an anagram (rebuilt) of REMOTE.

4d Substantial upset over heartless fake description of some moonshine? (7)
GIBBOUS – an adjective meaning substantial or large gets reversed and that precedes an adjective meaning fake or sham without its middle letter.

5d Brass and copper amongst most of rest turning up (5)
SAUCE – insert the chemical symbol for copper into a word for rest or relaxation without its last letter. Now reverse it all.

6d Signal support about energy plan (9)
SEMAPHORE – a word for support or buttress contains E(nergy) and a plan or chart.

7d Contralto’s sound accommodating alternative musical form (7)
CHORALE – the abbreviation for contralto is followed by an adjective meaning sound or healthy containing a conjunction used to identify an alternative.

12d Gold only to be used in mother’s tomb (9)
MAUSOLEUM – the chemical symbol for gold and an adjective meaning only or solitary go inside an informal word for mother.

13d Religious centre keen to follow religious transgression in radio broadcast (9)
SYNAGOGUE – a homophone of keen or very eager follows a homophone of a transgression involving the coveting of one’s neighbour’s ass, for example.

14d Several years pleasant (though not one showing decline) (9)
DECADENCE – a word for several years (more than nine) is followed by an adjective meaning pleasant without the Roman numeral for one.

16d Island source of silver holds silver — fancy! (7)
IMAGINE – an abbreviation for island and where silver gets extracted containing the chemical symbol for silver.

17d To die will involve this person in martyrdom (7)
PASSION – a euphemistic phrasal verb meaning to die contains the subjective pronoun identifying the speaker or writer.

18d In the morning, heading north supporting ramble (7)
MAUNDER – reverse the abbreviation meaning in the morning and follow this with a preposition meaning supporting or subordinate to.

20d Be repeatedly cold in time, not hot (5)
OCCUR – the abbreviation for cold gets repeated inside a period of time without the abbreviation for hot.

The best clue for me today was 3a. Which one(s) got you going?

20 Comments

  1. jean-luc cheval
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Nice to see 1d. Not spoken very often nowadays.
    Think that 6a is a bit poor as it’s almost an indirect anagram.
    11a was quite clever though.
    13a quite topical. No wonder I like Shakespeare.
    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review.

  2. Expat Chris
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this for the most part, and checked 3A, 15A and 4D. Needed the review to parse 8D. My creativity really came to the fore in 5D, though. I had ‘scute’…CU inside most of the letters of rest scrambled up. Well, it is an old coin according to the BRB, and coins are brass aren’t they? Thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

    • Kath
      Posted August 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      So did I for 5d – what’s the expression, “Necessity is the mother of invention” or something like that!

    • Jane
      Posted August 12, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      And me. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • Expat Chris
      Posted August 12, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Great minds, ladies!

  3. Hanni
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Definitely above 2* difficulty for me.

    Few write ins and lots of scribbles around my crossword.

    For 4d I was looking for something to do with the drink ‘moonshine’! Just ridiculous of me.

    I couldn’t parse the last bit of 3a at all.

    As normal I didn’t spot the hidden reverse in 13a and just bunged it in.

    Plenty of other struggles. Today is not my day.

    Many thanks to Kcit for the challenge and to Gazza for the very helpful blog.

  4. Kath
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    This was more than 2* difficulty for me too. I think I enjoyed it more than 2* worth as well.
    I needed gazza’s hints to explain quite a few of my answers.
    I’ve never heard of 4d and, like Hanni, was thinking along alcoholic lines.
    I liked 3 and 19a (once I’d realised that the ‘divers’ were not frogmen) and 1d.
    With thanks to Kcit and to gazza.

  5. halcyon
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Took a while to get going but then it yielded without much of a struggle. Favourite clue 11a and I think there’s a bit more here than you give it credit for Gazza – the vowels to be reversed are specified by THAT’S requiring a switch.
    Thanks for an excellent blog and thanks to Kcit for the puzzle.

    • gazza
      Posted August 12, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Thanks – blog updated.

  6. Shropshirelad
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    An enjoyable solve only partially spoiled by a few too many ‘fiddly’ clue bits (as Gazza has already said). Both 8 & 22a were virtual write ins which opened up many avenues as the checkers were not of the usual ‘A’ and ‘E’ variety. I think it’s been said before quite recently that a few setters seem to be flirting with the dreaded ‘indirect anagram’. However, I don’t think 6 & 11a are, in fact I will go for 11a as my favourite of the day – a very clever peice of word play.

    Thanks to Kcit for the challenge and Gazza for his review.

  7. Jane
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Only 2* for difficulty, Gazza? Not in this house it wasn’t. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    3a – well, it could have had something to do with Mystic Meg and I’d never heard of the US publication.
    6a – don’t think I’d heard of the drink before but had a good try for ‘saki’.
    10a – didn’t know the computer network.
    19a – spent a long time with the wrong ‘divers’.
    23a – right answer, but apparently wrong parsing. As a Mum, I was thinking of small children grabbing one’s hem to attract attention.
    4d – I was with Hanni, looking for a type of drink!
    5d – I was in the currency ‘gang’.

    I did get there in the end but it was definitely more of a 3.5*/3* for me.
    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza – despite bursting my bubble with the difficulty rating!

    • Jane
      Posted August 12, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      By the way – I do hope MP pops in to listen to the Tremeloes. It will make his day! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  8. Owdoo
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Wow, the toughie completed two days in a row. Things are looking up, although this took substantially longer than yesterday’s and didn’t do much for my productivity at work as I was determined not to resort to the hints!
    Last one in was 19a which took me ages as I did not know that meaning of divers. My favourite was 11a which was very clever wordplay I thought.
    Thanks to both Kcit and Gazza.
    4*/4* from me as a toughie irregular.

  9. crypticsue
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Firefly tomorrow

  10. neveracrossword
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    3*/3* for me. Filled the time nicely for me during a train journey. Thank you Gazza and setter.

  11. 2Kiwis
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    While noting that the criticisms Gazza has made of this puzzle are valid, we still enjoyed working with it. Tricky enough in places to need a bit of work but not too taxing. Just right for a Wednesday for us. 3d gets our vote for best clue.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

  12. Salty Dog
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Right on the 2/3* cusp, and l made it 4* for enjoyment. Lots of good clues to choose from, out of which l go for 12d. Many thanks to Kcit, and to Gazza for the review.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted August 12, 2015 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

      Ahoy there shipmate, I do hope you’re well.

  13. n0vus
    Posted August 12, 2015 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Biffed “meander” at 18 which held me up briefly at 21, was stumped by 1d even though I had the state, and gave up on both 6s and 7. Otherwise it yielded gradually over the course of an evening at work. Enjoyed 11 and 19 but I think 13d was my favourite, if I’d been 13a I would have been giggling for some time. Despite my (relative) youth I have of course had 22 in my head all evening. Thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  14. Tstrummer
    Posted August 13, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Did this one after the morning radio while gazing out the window at the lashing rain that threatens to dampen my walk to the station later. It may be because I’m still half asleep, but I didn’t enjoy it much. I don’t mind the odd fiddly clue, but there were too many of them for me, and I ended up bunging in when I had some checking letters and relying on Gazza to tell me why afterwards. So thanks for that G. 3a and 1d were good though, so thanks to Kcit for those, at least. Off to read some Robert Frost, because I have miles to go before I sleep