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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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.
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?