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Toughie 1466

Toughie No 1466 by MynoT

A Prial of Queens

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This is the first MynoT puzzle that I’ve blogged for almost exactly two years (since Toughie 1051) – for some reason he’s been avoiding Wednesdays. Around the grid we have references to three of the Queens who have sat on the English/British throne, but strangely there’s no mention of the current one – perhaps MynoT intended to have her on the right-hand side but couldn’t make it work.
I noticed when solving the puzzle that there were plenty of abbreviations used but it wasn’t until I was writing the review that I found out just how often I had to write the word ‘abbreviation’ – I know that this grates on some people.

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 Drunken dean seen in quad entertaining in French? That’s old news (5,5,4)
QUEEN ANNE’S DEAD – an anagram (drunken) of DEAN SEEN goes inside QUAD and a French word for in gets inserted. This is a saying derived from the fact that news of this event was suppressed for political reasons so that by the time of the official announcement lots of people already knew of it.

9a Two sailors in charge of Mongolian (8)
TARTARIC – an informal word for a sailor is repeated and followed by the abbreviation for ‘in charge’.

10a Anastasia captured by secret police? On the contrary (5)
STASI – so the secret police (of the old East Germany) are ‘captured’ by Anastasia.

12a Treacherous character in past this writer’s revealed before (4)
IAGO – an adverb meaning in the past is preceded by a subjective pronoun.

13a Florid appearance in Florida shown by distinctive character; about time! (10)
COLORATURA – start with a word for appearance or complexion as it’s spelt in Florida then add a distinctive character or vibes containing T(ime).

15a Startling, typically French vehicle for a learner (8)
GALVANIC – an adjective meaning typically French (based on the old name for France) has one of its L(earner)s replaced by a road vehicle.

16a Orator in Jersey and Guernsey getting Church on right page (6)
CICERO – string together the abbreviation for Jersey and Guernsey (and a few other islands), an abbreviation for church and the abbreviation for the right-hand page of a book.

18a Drink producing trance? (6)
NECTAR – an anagram (producing) of TRANCE.

20a In short piece, Shakespeare’s found a depository for hogwash (5-3)
SWILL-TUB – Shakespeare’s abbreviated forename is found inside a short piece or truncated remnant.

23a University wise men meeting nasty end never dreamed of (10)
UNIMAGINED – string together an abbreviation for university, the wise men of the Christian nativity and an anagram (nasty) of END.

Scholars have recently discovered that the Biblical Wise Men actually came from Yorkshire, for it is written ‘ Wise men came from the East Riding on camels’.

24a Seaweed found in local garage (4)
ALGA – hidden.

26a African creature‘s vigour died (5)
ELAND – a word for vigour or panache followed by the abbreviation for died.

27a Republican symbol that is often ignored indoors, they say (8)
ELEPHANT – the symbol of the US Republican Party is also used in an expression to highlight the fact that a very big and obvious problem is being ignored.

28a Austere woman troubled journalist that had royal attribution (2,3,3,6)
WE ARE NOT AMUSED – an anagram (troubled) of AUSTERE WOMAN is followed by the usual journalist.

Down Clues

2d English used with advantage to crystallise good news (7)
EVANGEL – bring together an abbreviation for English, a short form of the word advantage (used in tennis) and a verb to crystallise or become clear.

3d Butts with head, a rising blow (4)
NUTS – the reverse of a blow.

4d Drug flowed up opening in centre of the ear (8)
NARCOTIC – reverse a verb meaning flowed or proceeded and add the opening letter of centre and an adjective meaning ‘relating to the ear’.

5d Swindler caught in Corsica heading north (6)
ESCROC – this is a word, from French, meaning a swindler or con man. Insert the cricket abbreviation for caught into the reversal (heading north) of what the Corsicans call their island.

6d Hides label awkwardly in insubstantial garment (10)
DÉSHABILLÉ – an anagram (awkwardly) of HIDES LABEL.

7d Normally a game between South Africa and the French (2,1,4)
AS A RULE – a timely reminder that the World Cup starts this week (though if I’m reading my wall chart correctly the Springboks can’t play Les Bleus until the semi-final stage). Start with A then insert the abbreviation for the relevant game between the abbreviation for South Africa and one of the French definite articles.

8d Inconstant person‘s substitute for bay needs to be cooked (5,2,4)
VICAR OF BRAY – this is a clergyman (possibly based on a real person in either Tudor or Stuart times) who changed his religious beliefs in line with whatever the Government of the time dictated. A deputy or substitute especially in the performance of a religious function (thanks Chambers) is followed by an anagram (needs to be cooked) of FOR BAY.

11d Fifth Tudor untouched piece (6,5)
VIRGIN QUEEN – the description given to the fifth Tudor monarch (if you ignore the nine day reign of the very unfortunate Lady Jane Grey) could be an untouched piece on the chessboard.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

14d Fire iron  one’s found in wetlands? (10)
SALAMANDER – double definition, the first (not a usage I knew) being a poker used red-hot for kindling fires.

17d Second little examination is most gentle (8)
SWEETEST – charade of the abbreviation for second, an adjective meaning little and an examination.

19d Invention made by company in time (7)
COINAGE – the invention relates especially to that of new words or phrases. Start with the abbreviation of company and add IN and a period of time.

21d Natural abilities needed to make drink for one in shades (7)
TALENTS – start with a word for shades or hues and move in an alcoholic drink to replace the Roman numeral for one.

22d French writer on Israeli judge (6)
GIDEON – the surname of André, the French novelist and Nobel Prize winner, is followed by ON to make an Old Testament judge (and the first name of our current Chancellor before he changed it to George).

25d Wife and that man? Fancy! (4)
WHIM – the abbreviation for wife and a masculine pronoun.

The clues which I liked best were 1a and 27a. Which one(s) made you sit up?

38 comments on “Toughie 1466

  1. I did wonder at first whether 1a was going to have something to do with the dratted Reverend Spooner’s toast to the ‘queer old dean’ as opposed to the ‘dear old queen’. A strange mixture of the ancient and modern (how many people will actually remember 8d) which went into ‘toughie’ time with average enjoyment.

    Thanks to MynoT and Gazza.

  2. *****/***


    I struggled beyond belief with this. Needed the hints for 2 (15a and 8d). Just couldn’t see them at all. I’m sure I read that MynoT often has a theme and this helped. Glad I stuck at it.

    Many thanks to MynoT and to Gazza for an excellent and much needed blog. I did laugh/groan at the Wise Men thing.

    1. Btw Hanni – about our chat yesterday regarding scallops and tattie fritters. In Scotland the ‘tattie fritter’ is a thick round slice of potato dipped in batter and deep fried. For some reason I cannot fathom they are known as ‘scallops’ in our local chippies.

      1. Aha! If you’d put ‘tattie’ we’d have all understood you – as it is you put ‘tattle’ and had us all guessing!

        I think they’re called scallops simply because the shape vaguely resembles one.

      2. Ahh now I get it! Think I prefer scallops. Though I’m willing to try anything once. Well maybe not Hàrkal or bungee jumping. That’s just madness.

  3. That was really hard going for me and involved much inspired guesswork and several conversations with Mr. Google.
    Obviously well out of my league, but at least I did have the satisfaction of getting a completed grid without using the hints.
    Bravo to Gazza, CS and everyone else who gets there without feeling that their GK is woefully lacking.

    MynoT – thank you for making it patently clear that I still have a long way to go!

  4. Another one for the Senior Common Room. I hadn’t encountered 1a before and 5d is a new one for me. But all perfectly fair.
    Thanks for the parsing of 21d Gazza – despite 15a being my favourite clue I failed to see the similar construction there.

    Thanks for the blog and thanks to MynoT for the puzzle.

  5. This went swimmingly until I came grinding to a halt with with five entries left, all with meanings that were new to me requiring electronic assistance. They were 5d (swindler – I had first rejected the correct parsing because I did not recognise the word), 8d (though I’m probably old enough), 13a (Florid in Florida), 15a (the “startling” meaning) and the fire iron meaning for 14d (where I find “found in the wetlands” a bit loose).

    The clues that I thought had a good surface were 18a (drink producing trance), 6d (the insubstantial garment – thank you gazza), and 7d (the game between SA and France)

    Many thanks Gazza and MynoT

  6. Learned quite a few new words today, so much so I thought we were in Giovanni territory. The bottom half went in quite quickly but the top proved to be quite a challenge. Remembered 6d from a few previous crosswords and got 2d finally from the word play and all the checkers. 5d was my last one in and I had to check with Gazza’s hint that I had the correct word play. I’ll go with 27a as my favourite today purely for it’s simplicity.

    Thanks to MynoT for the puzzle and Gazza for his excellent review.

  7. *****/****. Found this very tough, but almost as satisfying. The southern half seemed very straightforward, the top half, absolutely ages. 13a was my favourite.
    Thanks to MynoT and Gazza.

  8. Mostly very enjoyable , apart from the ones I couldn’t do. 1a is new to me. 8d I had heard the phrase used but never knew what it meant, well one learns something new every cryptic puzzle.
    I liked 9a,10a,23a, 27a , 28a and 22d
    With thanks to MynoT and Gazza..

  9. I really enjoyed this offering from mynoT – 4 stars for enjoyment.!

    Another 4 French clues for jean-luc! (1a, 15a, 7d & 22d) – and 5d aussi?

    Thanks to gazza for explaining the ones I couldn’t explain and also for the FourThree Yorkshiremen

    “Who’d ave thought I would be sat here nearly finishing a Toughie ….

    1. What I liked most in 1a is the fact that it is equivalent to Duh! for our American friends.
      2d is also widely used in France as the books in the bible are all named: evengel according to Mark or Matthew etc.

    2. Well done indeed, Franco. If you got through this one then I reckon you could tackle any of them!
      By the way – I’m still a bit worried about JL’s comment of yesterday re: your good self and Russian roulette.

      1. I failed to solve it without gazza’s help!

        Яussian Roulette – it’s always good to have few blanks before the final solution?

        Oh! Dear! Hic!

        1. Under those circumstances I think I could live without the final solution (and lit.).
          Most impressed that you can get your computer to come up with a Russian R – despite instruction from the Pommers clan, mine won’t even cough up a French acute accent.

          1. Character Map?

            Anyway far more important things to do now … The Great British Bake Off is about to start!

          2. That’s exactly what I meant about his Russian skills.
            Must have a keyboard configuration for languages.
            I have it on my windows phone but not on my main computer.
            But Ya toja mogu gavaritié paruski.

  10. Learned a few things while solving such as the song in 8d and the expression in 1a.
    15a was my last one as I couldn’t find the synonym anywhere.
    5d didn’t cause any problems however. Didn’t know it was used in English.
    All in all, I really enjoyed this challenge.
    Thanks to MynoT and to Gazza for the review.

  11. Just checking that everyone’s OK over here.
    On the ‘other side’ I’ve so far managed to disappear Maeve, Angel, the ‘reply’ thingy and BD!

    1. We get that sort of problem when someone replies to a comment that is subsequently deleted and the reply becomes an ‘orphan’. You could try deleting all the replies you’ve made to no-longer existing comments.

      1. It’s all a bit worse than that now, Gazza. There’s at least eight comments involved – and counting.

  12. 1a was a totally unfamiliar idiom for us, and having worked out from the wordplay what it could possibly be, Google came to the rescue. Interesting to read all about it, the next challenge is going to be how to work it into a conversation. That shouldn’t be too hard. The type of substitution that we have in 15a and 21d , where three letters go into the place where one was removed, always seem to challenge us, as they did today. Challenging and enjoyable.
    Thanks MynoT and Gazza.

    1. If I were to shoehorn “Queen Anne’s dead” into almost any conversation, I have no doubt that my listeners would conclude that my latent dementia was becoming more threatening.

  13. Today we have admitted defeat on 3 clues and referred to the hints but had an enjoyable evening fuelled by lashings of gin. Surprised no comment about the missing apostrophe in 1a. Cheers to MynoT and Gazza.

    1. I may be wrong but I think apostrophes are considered “giving the game away” in the Toughie. Even hyphens may be frowned upon.

  14. Thanks to MynoT and to Gazza for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one a lot, but needed the hints for 5 clues. These were all clued fairly, but I had never heard of any of them. 13a never heard of. 27a didn’t know it was the Republican symbol. 2d didn’t know it meant good news. 5d never heard of it, nor what Corsicans call their island. 22d never heard of M Gide. That said I really enjoyed the rest of it. Favourite was 20a. Was 4*/4* for me.

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