Toughie 1537

Toughie No 1537 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

This was on the easier side for a Giovanni Toughie with only one word (1a) that I didn’t know. In fact, with the possible exception of that clue, I thought that the puzzle could well have appeared in his usual Friday back-page slot.

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 Indigenous language of southern cathedral city, hard for northern town (6)
SALISH – this can be a group of Native American languages but here it’s just a single language spoken by a diminishing group in areas of Montana and Washington state. Start with a cathedral city in Wiltshire and replace the last bit (a town in Greater Manchester) with H(ard).

4a Look to accommodate petition for one of graffiti artist’s needs (5,3)
SPRAY CAN – a verb to look or glance through contains a verb to petition or beseech.

9a Bird liable to accompany duck between rivers (6)
RAPTOR – insert an adjective meaning liable or disposed and the zero-like letter between two abbreviations for river.

10a Sudden attack in the afternoon, so X-ray somehow must be fitted in (8)
PAROXYSM – the abbreviation for afternoon has an anagram (somehow) of SO X-RAY inserted.

11a Rose’s disease in an area noted for trouble (5,4)
BLACK SPOT – double definition, the first a bacterial disease of plants, especially roses.

13a A team thus may be missing one a good deal (5)
OFTEN – … because a football or cricket team normally has eleven.

14a Fellow believer shows heart and is toiling with difficulty (13)
CORELIGIONIST – start with a word meaning heart or nucleus and add an anagram (with difficulty) of IS TOILING.

17a Like firework display going off in a holy precinct (13)
PYROTECHNICAL – an anagram (going off) of A HOLY PRECINCT.

21a Hopeless, immediately having got elected (2-3)
NO-WIN – split the answer 3,2 to get separate adverbs meaning immediately and elected.

23a Very wet day with you finally coming to ground that’s no good (9)
SATURATED – string together an abbreviated form of a day of the week, the final letter of you and a past participle meaning ground or crumbled without its leading G(ood).

24a Local anger with oil being spilt (8)
REGIONAL – an anagram (being spilt) of ANGER and OIL.

25a Fellow getting mellow in conduct (6)
MANAGE – a fellow or chap followed by a verb to mellow or mature.

26a Son with long hair needing to chill out? (8)
STRESSED – the abbreviation for son is followed by an adjective meaning having long locks.

27a The man’s being inducted into lay order (6)
BEHEST – a male pronoun and the ‘S go inside a verb to lay or 22d.

Down Clues

1d Washes in prison (6)
SCRUBS – double definition, the second a familiar name for an adult prison in West London.

2d Entertaining woman in naughty pad grabbed by old soldier (3,6)
LAP DANCER – an anagram (naughty) of PAD is contained inside an old cavalry soldier.

3d It’s a nasty thing — that’s half of what we hear from the preacher about wine (7)
SHOCKER – the first half of what a preacher delivers from his pulpit contains a dry white wine.

5d Put down a fur in royal house (11)
PLANTAGENET – split the royal house 5,1,5 to get ‘put down a fur from a cat-like nocturnal carnivore’.

6d Tenderly conveying a love — but almost completely gloomy within (7)
AMOROSO – if you refer to the musical terms section of BD’s mine you’ll see that this word means ‘in a loving or tender manner’ . Start with A and finish with the letter that resembles zero or love. In between put an adjective meaning gloomy or sullen without its last letter.

7d Weep quietly having little time in place of burial (5)
CRYPT – string together a verb to weep and the abbreviations for quietly and time.

8d Name getting a mention unexpectedly (8)
NOMINATE – an anagram (unexpectedly) of A MENTION.

12d A sect terribly restricted by civil regime denying basic rights (6,5)
POLICE STATE – an anagram (terribly) of A SECT is contained inside an adjective meaning civil or courteous.

15d Everyone I upset and make fun of is feeling uncomfortable (3,2,4)
ILL AT EASE – put together a word meaning everyone and I, then reverse it and add a verb to make fun of someone.

16d Angry, but in a better position to fight than the enemy? (2,2,4)
UP IN ARMS – cryptically this could mean having more weapons than the enemy.

18d A number of academic types? They may get injured on playing fields (7)
TENDONS – a cardinal number followed by university teachers.

19d Anxiety about horse — possible result of terrible accident? (7)
CARNAGE – a word meaning anxiety or trouble goes round an old horse.

20d Like the most reluctant pupil that is having to get a grasp of Latin (6)
IDLEST – the full Latin phrase meaning ‘that is’ contains the abbreviation for Latin.

22d Someone joking with the Queen? It’s a risky business (5)
WAGER – a jokester is followed by the Queen’s cipher.

Top clue for me today was 16d. Which one(s) grabbed your attention?



  1. crypticsue
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    My favourite today was 18d as I know some academics who might well get injured if they ventured onto a playing field so the clue made me smile (a lot).

  2. Lesley
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Same comments as Gazza. Guessed 1a but it was not in my dictionary. A bit disappointing as I seldom have time at the moment to do the toughie and today it was just not tough. Thanks anyway guys.

  3. halcyon
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Same grid as yesterday gave it an oddly familiar feel but I didn’t find it all that easy – spent a while on the last 2 [27a/20d] in the SE corner. 1a also a new one for me [and a nice clue]. Others I particularly liked were 2d [an appropriate image] 20d [once the penny dropped] and 22d [another nicely apt image]. As always with the Don all scrupulously fairly clued.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for a fine blog [loved the pic at 4a]

  4. Shropshirelad
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Very much a Giovanni back pager level crossword. Last one in was 1a and it was the second word in the puzzle that I didn’t know (14a being the other). However, they were both fair and getable from the word play and I thought he may have used the opportunity to include himself in 18d. I will go with 3d as a favourite as it is quite topical.

    Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle and Gazza for his review – loved the pictorial hint for 4a :yes:

  5. dutch
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Can’t believe I considered tap and fan before I got the right kind of dancer (2d). Nice puzzle I thought with just the 1 obscurity (1a), where Giovanni was nice enough to give us a general location for the cathedral city – although I was at first mislead by that. 17a (like fire display) was a very nice anagram, which given Giovanni’s predilection for religious matters also managed to mislead me at first. Favourites include 13a and 20d (seeing as I’m already on Kath’s bad list)

    many thanks Gazza and Giovanni

  6. Jane
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    OK – you’ve burst my bubble yet again, Gazza. I was feeling so proud of myself for getting through a Giovanni Toughie with only one call to Mr. Google (1a) and you just have to rain on my parade!
    Confessions from a parsing point of view – missed the anagram in 17a (how could I) and guessed the fur in 5d.
    Leader board shows 13a&18d.

    Thanks to Mr. Manley and, somewhat begrudgingly, to Gazza for the review. However, you do get full marks for the Ronnie Barker sketch and the restraint shown in the pic. for 2d (bet you found some glorious alternatives for that one!).
    By the way – I wasn’t too happy about the synonym for ‘ground’ in 23a, but doubtless the BRB has it listed.

  7. Hanni
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Well I didn’t find this all that easy. The RHS caused no problems at all, the same cannot be said for the LHS. Like others 1a was completely new to me and like Jane I bunged 17a in without seeing it was an anagram straight away. I’d not heard of the first definition of 11a but got it from the second.

    However I did enjoy it.

    Favourites are 13a, 17a (nice anagram when I finally got it) and the lovely 18d made me laugh.

    Honorary mention to 2d as I smiled when it went in wondering what pic we’d get for it.

    Many thanks to the Don and to Gazza for a great blog.

    The picture for 4a brought a smile.

    • Jane
      Posted January 20, 2016 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for not subscribing to the ‘easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy’ brigade, I feel much better now!
      As for 11a – you obviously didn’t have a Dad who could have his entire weekend ruined by the appearance of same on his beloved roses. Perhaps the Yorkshire rose prefers slightly lower ground than your moors?
      Good to see you having enough time out from the spreadsheets to comment. :good:

      • Hanni
        Posted January 20, 2016 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Certainly didn’t find it easy but Giovanni is invariably fair.

        Gosh no my father was certainly not a horticulturalist at all. On any level.

        Back to the spreadsheets and reports.

  8. Una
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I was defeated by 1a, 6d, and 20d.Otherwise , I’ll have to admit it wasn’t that hard. I liked 18d, and agree with CS.
    15d was my favourite .
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  9. jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    It took me longer to parse the Ronnie Barker sketch than did the crossword.
    Loved the George Raft and Richard III.
    Didn’t realise this was from Giovanni. I thought of Samuel for some reason.
    1a was my last one and never knew the Pend d’ Oreille would speak that language. Mind you I didn’t know the Pend d’ Oreille before that either. Got it from the parsing and only had to check if the result was indeed a language.
    The rest was very much a read and write.
    Just got a mail from Air France telling me that the authorities in the country I am about to visit (which means yours obviously) wants a bit more information about me before I take the flight. Hope I don’t represent a danger.
    Thanks to the one don and to Gazza for the review.

    • Jane
      Posted January 20, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      If you need any personal references, JL, I’m sure we’d all be more than happy to oblige. We can certainly tell the authorities that
      yes – to our delight – you do occasionally visit our sceptred isle but that – sadly – you always depart again.

      • Hanni
        Posted January 20, 2016 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        He does have an excellent pedigree apparently Jane.

        • Jane
          Posted January 20, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          Yes – I seem to recall some comments about that! :wink:

          • jean-luc cheval
            Posted January 20, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for your concern.
            I was watching Question for a Champion or Champignon as I call it as you have to push that mushroom shaped button before you answer. It’s been on French TV for 25 years with the same presenter.
            Learned that Carbon melts at 3500 degree Celsius or was it at 3500 metres. Can’t remember. I’ll check anyway if I lose 20% of my body mass on the plane.

  10. Gazza
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Micawber tomorrow. :good:

  11. Expat Chris
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Apart from 1A, which I failed to solve and have never heard of, for me this was easier than the back-pager. I didn’t have anything picked out as a favorite though. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  12. KiwiColin
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    1a was quite a challenge for me. I got the answer from the checkers and a little help from Mrs B and then had to deal with the geography. Luckily I remembered the northern town from a previous crossword that had something about ‘inter’ in the wordplay and that put me on the right track. All the rest went together without very much fight. Pleasant enough.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  13. Salty Dog
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    I pondered hard on 1a, but didn’t make the connection with Salisbury. I was fixed on something involving S and Ely. I wouldn’t have known the language, even if I had. Otherwise, no real problems: 2*/3* or thereabouts. I very much enjoyed 13a, and 20d wasn’t far behind. Thanks to the Don, and to Gazza for the lowdown on 1a.

  14. Wolfson Bear
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    For once with Giovanni only one unknown word for me – and like many others it was 1a. A touch easy for a toughie but I do not agree it was back-pager standard

    • Paso Doble
      Posted January 20, 2016 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      Nor do we. We really enjoyed this Giovanni and are delighted to be writing on Gazza’s blog about a Toughie instead of Tuesday’s back-pager. Thanks to the Don and to Gazza – nice to see that you have managed to include one of your saucy pictures!

  15. Heno
    Posted January 21, 2016 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the review and hints. I just couldn’t get on with this at all. One of the most difficult puzzles I’ve ever attempted. Needed 15 hints to finish.

  16. Tstrummer
    Posted January 21, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Did this fairly swiftly after this morning’s radio. My only stumbling block was the same as everyone else’s. I got it by the Salis part plus the H, but the Northern town still escapes me. Thanks to Gazze and the Don. 2*/3*

    • Gazza
      Posted January 21, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      The Northern town is Bury, the black pudding capital of the world.

      • Tstrummer
        Posted January 21, 2016 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        Of course it is. Sigh