Toughie 1462 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1462

Toughie No 1462 by Giovanni

Too Much Looking Up

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

I prefer Toughies with complex wordplay to those with many obscure words and no less than five of the answers today were words that I didn’t know. For most of them the wordplay was pretty straightforward, but it still meant that I had to look them up in Chambers to verify that I’d got them right and to check their meaning. For me this constant need to refer to the dictionary detracts from the enjoyment of the puzzle. It’s lucky that I’m working from home with the BRB to hand – if I’d been on a train with no dictionary I would probably have thrown in the towel. None of the words seem to be suitable for dropping into a conversation down the pub so I’ll almost certainly have forgotten them all by next week.

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Across Clues

1a Seeds a member of American family laid down by spade? (8)
CARDAMOM – A and an American parent follow what a spade is an example of.

9a They suit particular environments, yet copse may be tricky (8)
ECOTYPES – an anagram (may be tricky) of YET COPSE.

10a Shock putting off a returning European (4)
LAPP – a verb to shock or horrify without its first A gets reversed.

11a An adjective maybe that could describe ‘Ladies and gentlemen…’ (4,2,6)
PART OF SPEECH – another example might be ‘Friends, Romans, countrymen…’.

13a Passions indicated by doubling of energy in casual affairs (8)
FEELINGS – the abbreviation for energy is doubled and inserted into brief casual liaisons.

15a The writer’s flower put back in a sort of sheath (6)
MYELIN – how the writer would refer to something belonging to him is followed by the reversal of a long African flower. I have to refer to the BRB for the meaning of the answer – it’s ‘the substance forming the medullary sheath of nerve-fibres’.

16a Going back over part of Dante’s Inferno here? (4)
ETNA – hidden and reversed in the clue.

17a One on track to be happy person, no leader (5)
MILER – someone showing signs of happiness on his or her face without the leading S.

18a Material in holy book not hard ultimately (4)
MICA – an Old Testament book named after a minor prophet without the final H(ard).

20a Animal in stories, gee-gee, getting into row (6)
TIGGER – insert the letter G twice into a row or rank. Picture specially requested by crypticsue

21a Insertion of paintings into book is involving hard work (8)
TOILSOME – insert types of paintings into a large book.

23a Looking out additional account (12)
EXTRAVERSION – split 5,7 this could be an additional account or explanation.

26a Brassy type full of wind? The reverse wanted for neighbour (4)
ABUT – reverse a large brass wind instrument.

27a Attach too much importance to cricket statistic (8)
OVERRATE – split the answer 4,4 and we have a measure of the productivity of the bowling side, usually expressed as ‘so many … per hour’.

28a Terrible ado with messy dogs (8)
SAMOYEDS – an anagram (terribly) of ADO and MESSY.

Down Clues

2d Stories the old man set out in a bit of poetry (8)
ANAPAEST – this is a type of metrical foot. String together a word for a collection of someone’s stories or memorable sayings, an affectionate term for one’s father and an anagram (out) of SET.

3d Double peril surrounding silly people inadequate and not much good (12)
DOPPELGANGER – a word meaning peril or hazard contains an anagram (silly) of PEOPL(e) (inadequate, i.e. without its last letter) and not much (in fact just a single letter) of the word good.

4d Mark married a close friend, not unknown character (6)
MACRON – the abbreviation for married and A are followed by a close friend without the final letter (one of the mathematical unknowns).

5d This person to be given second or minute? (4)
MEMO – the objective form of a personal pronoun followed by an abbreviated word for a second or short period of time.

6d Light and energetic person entertaining large number turning up (8)
GOSSAMER – a word for an energetic person (or a person, especially a woman, who’s promiscuous) contains the reversal of a large number of people crowded together.

7d Entrance to tent blocked off — there’s a piece of fencing (4)
EPEE – take away the first letter of a Native American tent. I’m not sure how the definition works – a piece can be a firearm but not, as far as I’m aware, any other type of weapon.

8d Debility at that time within continent (8)
ASTHENIA – this is a medical term meaning loss of physical strength. Insert an adverb meaning at that time into one of the continents.

12d Charity’s excited by real money, yes? (12)
ELEEMOSYNARY – even though I knew this was an anagram and I knew what the fodder must be and I had all the checkers in place I still had to scrabble around in the BRB to get the answer. It’s an anagram (excited by) of REAL MONEY YES and it’s an adjective meaning relating to charity or almsgiving.

14d Share wasted after internal upset (5)
SPLIT – reverse two letters in the answer (after internal upset) to get a past participle meaning wasted or allowed to flow or drop out.

16d Part of hospital with lush revolutionary storehouse (8)
ENTREPOT – the usual hospital department is followed by the reversal of a lush or hard drinker.

17d Church member to grumble about sitar player? (8)
MORAVIAN – a verb to grumble or whinge contains the forename of the most famous sitar player. I need to quote the BRB again – this is ‘a member of the Unitas Fratrum or United Brethren, a small body of Protestants of extraordinary missionary energy, founded in the 15c’. I’d never heard of them but the wordplay is clear, or at least it became so after I stopped reading the last two words of the clue as ‘star player’ – I really need to go to Specsavers.

19d Roommate for example in prison complex (8)
COMPOUND – double definition, the first being a definition by example of a word assembled from two or more other words.

22d With maiden to come later, I wait in the same place (6)
IBIDEM – the cricketing abbreviation for maiden is preceded by I and a verb to wait or remain.

24d River plants not needing river (4)
TEES – a river in the North-East of England comes from large plants without the R(iver).

25d Astronomer seen as wise person on reflection (4)
REES – reverse a wise person or forecaster to get the surname of the current Astronomer Royal.

The clue I liked best was 26a which made me laugh. Which one(s) amused you?

26 comments on “Toughie 1462

  1. Thank you for the picture of the ‘proper’ 20a. I took just over 2* Toughie time – I even had 12d lurking in the back of my memory banks somewhere so once I had the checkers….

    Interesting to note that there’s muttering over on 15sq about Mr Manley’s use of his Book of Obscure Words for Crossword Setters in today’s Graun puzzle too.

    Thank you to Giovanni (any puzzle that has 20a in is alright by me) and to Gazza for the unenviable task of sorting it all out. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

    1. “I wonder what tomorrow will bring”?…

      In my case a headache if today’s anything to go by.

      I’m sure I had a 20a toy as a child.

  2. ****+/***


    Words I didn’t know…2d, 8d, 16d and the ‘what the heck’ 12d. In fact I assumed I invented that word.

    Had to double check the biblical ref for 18a. Kept wanting to have ‘NT/OT’ in there before the penny dropped.

    Liked 11a and 26a.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for a great blog as always. God that was hard.

    Edit..I walked part of 24d on Sunday. It’s also known as the ‘Steel river’.

  3. In this one it was 2d and 10a that let me down.
    Even with the hints, I still had to reveal the answer. No reflection on your splendid review Gazza.
    Learned a few new words but remembered 15a from another crossword.
    Thanks to the Don and to Gazza for the help.

  4. More ecumenical and other obscurities from a scrupulously fair setter. One can’t really complain [though 12d is pushing it] but why is it always more of a chore than fun? Compare with yesterday.
    16a is sort of apt and 5d works well [I was held up by failing to think of the 3rd meaning of minute].

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for blogging it.

  5. Well I could guess what was coming so I relaxed with my Chambers app ready, and steadily worked my way through. All the wordplay seemed accessible enough, and am delighted to have learnt 7 new words from the down clues – now to try and drop them into casual conversation without sounding a prat. They were 2d, 4d, 8d, 12d, 16d and 17d, as well as the word for “stories” in clue for 2d. This made 2d a hard clue for me – I don’t mind new words in the answer or in the clue but when they’re in both…. luckily the word was defined by the checkers. I also had to look up 6d to remind me that as an adjective this word means light or flimsy. As a statistical anomaly, I had no problems with the across clues.

    Many enjoyable clues. I liked 11a (An adjective maybe), 13a (passions..), I thought Dante’s Inferno was very clever (16a), 28a (terrible ado with messy dogs), 14d (share wasted), 22d (…i wait in the same place).

    I thought “animal in stories” (20a) was a slightly disappointing definition for such a great character, a missed opportunity perhaps – maybe a fun word for a clueing challenge

    Many thanks Giovanni and Gazza for the review

    1. £10 to the charity of your choice if you can get them all in the same conversation…to a non cruciverbalist.

  6. Thanks for feedback. I learnt 12D from a book of Guardian crosswords in the sixties, though I cannot remember the clue. I’d like to think that ( despite the usual moans about ‘obscurities’ here and elsewhere) there were a few solvers around who liked to expand their own vocabulary and knowledge through our great hobby. Those who don’t are well catered for in other puzzles of course. Variety is the spice of life..

    1. Many thanks Don for dropping in, always highly appreciated. I think by now we know to have the dictionaries ready when one of your toughies comes around. Don’t know where I’d be without my brb…

    2. Thanks for stopping by, always good to see the setters comment. I’ve no objection to learning new words…and 12d is definitely new.

  7. I did know 12d, because many years ago I wrote a pastiche Sherlock Holmes story, and searched in the BRB for a word to use instead of “elementary”, as I knew he never said “Elementary, my dear Watson,” in the canon. At the end of my story, Watson remarks to Holmes that he hasn’t charged his usual fee for the case, and Holmes replies “Eleemosynary, my dear Watson.” I’ve never had occasion to use it since, so I was delighted to see it today. Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the review.

  8. I managed all but 2&12 down and yet I feel a complete outsider as I don’t even know what a BSB is.

  9. There was a team of three working on this one. Me, BRB, and Mrs B. Between us we crossed the finishing line. We appreciate the different characteristics the different setters bring to puzzles and don’t find any problem with discovering new words through Giovanni Toughies. It is true though that most of our solving happens at home within easy reach of reference books. I enjoyed working through this one.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

    Ps This comment was sent via our reinstalled Widows 7.

      1. I’m afraid I’m a bit too sleep deprived to think up a suitable rejoinder.
        Trying to go back to sleep just as the sun was rising did not work at all so might as well go and play golf instead.
        It is good to have a working laptop again, despite having an older OS.

  10. Not a hope with this one.
    I failed on a few – the main obstacles being 2 and 12d as the letters in them made me think that lots of my other answers had to be wrong – they weren’t but 2 and 12d were answers that I was never going to get.
    I thought that 3d was clever and that was my favourite.
    With thanks to Giovanni and thanks, well done, admiration and a to gazza for sorting all this out.

  11. Having expanded my vocabulary I suspect I will never find an occasion to use it .I also smiled at 26a , last in 2d .Much thanks Gazza and I hope Norman enjoyed it Giovanni

  12. Only a month behind, but I hope Gazza and the setter read this….I loved this crossword. Scrupulously fair clues as always, and having spent the last nearly 60 years reading everything I could get my hands on, including Chambers dictionary, there were actually no new words for me – that’s not a boast, it’s just to point out that some of us know lots of words even though we can’t do cryptic crosswords terribly quickly! (Or if they are Elgar, not at all.) So as usual, many belated thanks to all on this site.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Molly. I can’t speak for Giovanni but the blogger always get notified of every comment, no matter how long after the date of publication.

  13. Having got up early to view Venus, Jupiter and Mars in our little bit of France, we decided to dig through our printed stack of crosswords and start the day with a bit of brain exercise. Blimey! Not quite ‘all Greek to us’ but lots of new stuff as all your other commentators noted. Couldn’t even find ‘ana’ in our brb. Christmas present idea peut-être?

    1. Welcome to the blog, Suejack. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that you’ll become a regular commenter.
      I’ve checked the oldest BRB I have (7th edition, 1990) and ANA is in that so your BRB must be pretty old. :D

      1. You’re absolutely right. ‘duh’ moment for us newbies. Need to put less (or maybe more!) coffee in the cafetière.

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