Toughie 1458

Toughie No 1458 by Notabilis

Other Fish to Fry

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

A warm welcome to Notabilis for his surprise visit to the midweek slot. Perhaps this one is not as tough as some of his Friday puzzles but it is very enjoyable indeed with lots of penny drop moments. When I submitted my completed grid to the online site’s scrutiny I was surprised to find that my answer to 11a was rejected – I’d caught the wrong fish (although I believe that my original answer is justifiable).

Notabilis very often incorporates a Nina in his puzzles. I can’t find one here, although a couple of 4-letter words (not that sort) do appear – if your search has been more successful than mine do please let us know.

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 Grammatically analysed, keeping Mrs Behn’s name in other words (11)
PARAPHRASED – a verb meaning grammatically analysed contains the forename of Mrs Behn, the Restoration playwright. I hadn’t heard of Mrs Behn.

7a From period of education one drops horse initially and backs motor transport (7)
SCOOTER – start with a period of education that typically lasts about 14 weeks (6,4) and drop the initial letter of horse and the last letter (backs) of both words.

8a Boarding house where there’s a small charge added to writers (7)
PENSION – append a small charge to writing implements. I’m not sure that the last bit of the answer strictly means a small charge but I’ll leave it to those of a more scientific bent to confirm or deny this.

10a Facilitator of talks with receivers investing flight capital ultimately, mostly in bonds (8)
CHATLINE – insert the ultimate letters of flight and capital into a past participle meaning in bonds or in shackles without the last letter (mostly).

11a One has scaled back etc, having difficulty withdrawing autonomous software (6)
BURBOT – reverse a difficulty (as experienced by Hamlet) and add a computer program designed to carry out routine tasks with some autonomy. As I wrote in the prologue I originally had a different fish – well a rut’s a difficulty isn’t it? It certainly is in the roads round here.

13a Mischievous character  that’s dropped in a face-off (4)
PUCK – double definition, the second being what’s dropped on the ice at the start of a game of ice-hockey.

14a The ancient peer’s land, lacking British attention, showing annual differences (4-2-4)
YEAR-ON-YEAR – string together an old word for ‘the’, the estates of a lower-ranked peer without the B(ritish) and a word for attention or willingness to listen.

16a Coach limps off to manage (10)
ACCOMPLISH – an anagram (off) of COACH LIMPS.

18a Saving the overture till last, an informal concert is a light-hearted outing (4)
ROMP – start with an informal concert and move the first letter (the overture) to the end.

21a Bullring occupant has raced and run round (6)
TORERO – bring together a verb meaning has raced or rushed, the cricket abbreviation for run and the round letter.

22a Singer stifled giggle, choking a note back (5,3)
GREAT TIT – a half-suppressed or stifled giggle contains (choking) A and that’s followed by a musical note. Finally reverse it all (back).

24a Send up seconds after convenience food for party (7)
CANAPÉS – a verb to send up or parody and the abbreviation for seconds follow a slang, mainly North American, term for a convenience.

25a Virgin Trains carrying youth past Oxford University (3,4)
OUR LADY – an abbreviation for trains or rail transport contains a youth and that all follows the abbreviation for Oxford University.

26a Return too badly hurt to accept explanations for one-sided battle (6-5)
TURKEY-SHOOT – string together TOO and an anagram (badly) of HURT, then reverse (return) it and finally insert a word for explanations (e.g. of symbols used on a map). The answer is a US slang term for a battle involving the large-scale killing or destruction of easy targets.

Down Clues

1d Workaday career people turned spies (7)
PROSAIC – the short form of a word meaning people who make their living from a specific job or activity (as opposed to others who do the same thing as a hobby) is followed by the reversal of the US spying agency.

2d Remember Attlee’s part in flap (6)
RATTLE – hidden (part) in the clue is a transitive verb meaning to flap or fluster.

3d Italian writer polled unexpectedly about part of Middle East (10)
PIRANDELLO – an anagram (unexpectedly) of POLLED contains a Middle Eastern country.

4d Slightly unwell with disorder when hospital department’s unavailable (4)
ROPY – drop the usual hospital department from a word meaning a measure of disorder.

5d ‘Red‘ name in Red October, say, vessel at end of hunt (8)
SUNBURNT – insert N(ame) into the type of vessel that Red October is in the Tom Clancy novel and subsequent feature film. Then add a small vessel or container and the end letter of hunt.

6d Suppressing painful cry, jostle winger going up to move with ball (7)
DRIBBLE – a verb to jostle or nudge without the short cry of pain is followed by what can cryptically be called a winger. Now reverse it all (going up).

7d Doctor in cosy patch tending to fawn (11)
SYCOPHANTIC – an anagram (doctor) of IN COSY PATCH.

9d Up to beat United, Rovers’ man crosses road for alternative medicine (11)
NATUROPATHY – reverse (up) a verb to beat or thrash and add U(nited) and the forename of the comic-book footballer who played for Melchester Rovers containing (crosses) a road or track.

12d Singer cheers ordinary people (5-5)
GRASS-ROOTS – charade of a singer (to the police, say) and a verb meaning cheers or supports.

15d Spontaneous performance cut short, for each is indecent (8)
IMPROPER – the abbreviation for a spontaneous and unrehearsed performance loses its last letter and is followed by a preposition meaning ‘for each’.

17d Fancy individual item on head of tsarina? (7)
CORONET – this is an all-in-one clue. Start with an exclamation of surprise (fancy!) and follow that with an individual item and the top letter of tsarina.

19d Endure more than former seaman’s sword, over time replacing edges (7)
OUTLAST – a type of sword used by seamen in times past with its outer letters replaced respectively by the abbreviations for over and time.

20d Tough love in which one is cut? (6)
HAIRDO – an adjective meaning tough and the letter resembling zero or love inside which is found the Roman numeral for one.

23d US court star in the role of ambassador? (4)
ASHE – a preposition meaning ‘in the role of’ is followed by the abbreviation for the title awarded to an ambassador.

Top clues for me were 11a, 24a, 12d and 17d. Which one(s) appear in your list?

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23 Comments

  1. Expat Chris
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I needed to goggle Mrs. Behn and I had the wrong first letter for 11A. Needed the review to parse 6D. Otherwise OK. I liked 13A, 24A and 26A in particular, though I think Rabbit Dave might not approve. Thanks to Notabilis and to Gazza.

    • gazza
      Posted September 2, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Too much goggling is bad for you. :D

      • Expat Chris
        Posted September 2, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  2. elcid
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I put in the wrong fish at 11a and needed your hint for 5d even though I knew the vessel. Being an ice hockey fan, my favourite has to be 13a. Thank you to Notabilis and to Gazza for the hints – I agreement with your ratings for difficulty and much enjoyment!

  3. Franco
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    i was using the wrong bait … so I didn’t catch the right fish in 11a.

    I wonder if I should read one of Mrs Behn’s works? Probably not!

    Thanks to gazza for explaining all the inexplicable bits!

  4. Jane
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Well, I staggered across the finishing line albeit it in the company of the wrong fish for 11a and minus the first word of 26a.
    I won’t embarrass myself by confessing how many of my answers needed Gazza’s expert parsing, but there were quite a few!
    I think I’ll swop one of Gazza’s asterisks across to the other side and give this a 5*/3*.
    Thanks to Notabilis and most definitely to the knight in shining armour. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  5. dutch
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Just finished watching jurassic world at the imax, needed recovery time afterwards. Can’t be good for the heart.

    Enjoyed this quality puzzle very much this morning, saw the fish selection and decided on rub, though it was close. I liked 25a (Virgin trains), 5d (red october), 6d (move with the ball), 23d (the court star) 20d (tough love) and the all-in-one at 17d – and many more, a delightful puzzle which unfolded slowly and steadily with some great aha moments – and I liked that often the answer was a simple word that had been cleverly disguised

    People do get particular that an ion is a charged molecule rather than the charge itself, and tend to suggest “a small charged something” or similar would get around that.

    Many thanks Notabilis for a most entertaining puzzle, and thank you as always Gazza for a great review

  6. Una
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful stuff, even when I needed a number of hints .I never got 11a at all, even with the hint.
    I spent a considerable amount of time trying to find an old communist whos name ended in “tov “, for 5d.
    I liked 1a and 3d among a great many other clues.
    Thanks Notabilis and Gazza for his much needed assistance.

  7. JonP
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyable puzzle for which I needed a couple of hints in the SE corner (and a few explanations of answers). Thanks to Gazza and Notabilis for the brain Zumba.

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Always read the blog. That’s my advice.
    Otherwise I would not have noticed that I had the wrong fish too.
    I can’t boast about completing this one correctly.
    Never mind. I thought it was great fun
    Favourite is 25a.
    Thanks to Notabilis and to Gazza for putting us on the right tracks.

  9. 2Kiwis
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Yes we had the wrong fish for 11a and, as it fits, and we have never heard of the one with B, have decided that we did have a successful completion, despite what the Telegraph might say. We did so want to put an S on the end of 10a from bonds that a fair amount of head scratching needed there. We thoroughly searched for a Nina and found nothing. A real challenge and most enjoyable.
    Thanks Notabilis and Gazza.

  10. Liz
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Would never have finished this is a month of Sundays without copious use of the hints and the help of my trusty crossword gizmo! But no mind, got there in the end. And that was After having such a triumph yesterday in managing to finish the Toughie all by myself….ah well! Thats how it goes. I had never heard of the fish at 11a, which is a bit academic as I had to look up the hint Anyway, so wouldn’t even have got ‘the wrong fish’. Never heard of the Italian guy in 3d, although was on the right track…..just couldn’t make anything of ‘polled + Aden’…. Apart from Padendello…..but no such person existed on Google. ..Completely forgot about Iran! However I quite enjoyed the challenge even though this was somewhat above my usual level…onwards and upwards!! 4*/4* thanks to Notabilis (I’m on to you now!) and to Gazza for the very much needed hints.

    • Jane
      Posted September 2, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Hi Liz,
      Glad to see that you’re joining those of us who are starting to dabble our toes into Toughie territory. I still find them very hard but am managing on a more frequent basis to find the answers for myself rather than resort to the hints – although the same is often not true of the parsing!
      A lot of the GK I have to ask Mr. Google about – it’s sometimes not very ‘G’ if you see what I mean!
      Anyway, we’ll keep plodding on. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    • Posted September 2, 2015 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      About 25 years ago I was lucky enough to see Richard Harris in Pirandello’s Henry IV, so that one was easy for me.

      • Jane
        Posted September 2, 2015 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        The pinnacle for me was seeing David Warner play Hamlet – that was rather more than 25 years ago!!!

        • Liz
          Posted September 2, 2015 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

          I saw Derek Jacobi’s ‘Hamlet’ yonks ago at the Thestre Royal in Norwich. I think Glen Close was Gertrude, but not absolutely sure. It was excellent..I was ‘doing’ Hamlet for A level at the time. Don’t get around much any more!

      • Expat Chris
        Posted September 3, 2015 at 12:16 am | Permalink

        Only seen one stage production of a Shakespeare play and that was more than 50 years ago at the local theatre in my home town. It was Julius Caesar, with the wonderful Valentine Dyall, if anyone remembers him. I did see the Branagh Henry V film, though.

  11. Kath
    Posted September 2, 2015 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    I have to confess that this one was way beyond my ability.
    I did about half of it and then came running for the hints – thanks gazza.
    I thought that getting the long answers at the top and down each side was going to help but . . .
    Another time, perhaps – oh dear, generally. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    Thanks anyway to Notabilis for putting me well and truly in my place and to gazza for digging me out of the mess that I’d got into.

  12. Shahriar Bader
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Re 11a, Same wrong fish, but Hamlet?

    • gazza
      Posted September 3, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      “Aye, there’s the rub” – the use of ‘rub’ to mean difficulty was first used by Shakespeare in Hamlet’s ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy.

  13. Notabilis
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Just noticed this, as I was on holiday at the time. Thanks for the comments.
    In 8ac, ION is defined by “where there’s a small charge”, not just “a small charge”.
    I can’t find a Nina, either.