Toughie No 1579 by Elkamere
Hints and tips by Kitty
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
April Fool! Today coming to you in the shape of your most junior blogger. With Dutch in Dutchland I foolishly agreed to attempt a Friday Toughie blog. I wouldn’t even have dreamt of doing such a thing if it wasn’t for the support of my fellow “hinty people” who offered to be lifelines if necessary. I’m very happy that in this instance I didn’t need you but even more happy and grateful that you were there – thank you all.
As I have only very recently started attempting the Toughies regularlyish, I am completely uncalibrated and so the ratings are more a case of “you tell me” and may be altered accordingly.
There seemed to my mind to be a bit of a crime and punishment vibe today. With an abduction, and a 27a entering through a 19d to make off with a 20d. 26a, that hurts! A risky undertaking which may have been 25a. If caught, a good defence will be needed. It’s enough to make you 6a. Will there be 10a to pay?
I have tried as always to be technically correct in the hints. Please do let me know of any errors, omissions or dud explanations.
The definitions are underlined in the clues below. The answers are hidden under the Click me baby! boxes. The exclamation mark is not an imperative – click only if you wish to reveal the answer.
I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. Do leave a comment telling us how you found it and what you thought.
1a Expert groups sign document, finally being in credit (5,5)
THINK TANKS: An informal word for sign (a contract perhaps) plus the final letter of documenT, all inside credit or recognition
6a Whale gutted, record blubber (4)
WEEP: The outer letters (gutted) of WhalE and then a type of record. This clue wins my nerve-calming award for the year, being first in
9a Fluffed a recording? Edits needed (10)
CORRIGENDA: An anagram (fluffed) of A RECORDING. These are corrections to be made, typically in a book, and a new word for me
10a Awful place that man is going to (4)
HELL: A phrase (2,4) for “that man is going to,” contracted (but leaving out the apostrophe because it’s a crossword)
12a Huge game bird (6)
OSPREY: Take the two letter abbreviation for huge as seen on clothes labels and add game or quarry to find a large raptor who often flies through crosswordland
13a Partners after plaice, battered fish (8)
CAPELINS: A couple of bridge partners after an anagram (battered) of PLAICE. Not fish I’ve knowingly encountered before
15a Pulled off top (12)
ACCOMPLISHED: Two definitions. The first meaning did or achieved (I do apologise for sniggering here) and the second an adjective meaning skilled
18a Over the moon but supported by atmosphere? (7,2,3)
WALKING ON AIR: The literal interpretation of this phrase would imply treading on the atmosphere; figuratively we’re over the moon or on cloud nine. Hey diddle diddle
21a Info that is primarily for opening present (8)
BRIEFING: “That is” and then the first letter (primarily) of For, all inside (opening) present, as a verb
22a Get energy through power (6)
DERIVE: The letter used to symbolise energy inserted into (through) propel or thrust. My last one in – I felt powerless in the face of the vowel checkers until I engaged what was left of my brain
24a Voice of racial tolerance (4)
ALTO: It’s a lurker, the answer spanning the last two words of the clue
25a Hairy bird eating hot dog naughtily (5-3-2)
TOUCH-AND-GO: A bird with a distinctive colourful bill contains (eating) H(ot) and is followed by an anagram (naughtily) of DOG. Another very evocative surface
26a In a fix, curses (4)
DARN: A very mild swear word is also what people used to do to mend socks before we entered the age of the throwaway society
27a Robber, easier to catch, given a month inside (4-6)
SAFE-BLOWER: Easier to catch in the sense of having less speed, containing A from the clue and a month
1d Who’s that keeping business after time? (6)
TYCOON: A poetic word meaning that (not one I knew) contains (keeping) our usual crosswordland business, all after T(ime)
2d Break in Ireland game, both sides to profit (6)
IRRUPT: A charade of pairs of letters: abbreviations, first for Ireland, then a game played by men with funny shaped balls, then the outer letters of (both sides to) ProfiT
3d Rock band‘s amp is covered in bits of cloth (6,6)
KAISER CHIEFS: The amp here is the unit of electrical current which is further abbreviated. This, together with IS from the clue, is inside (covered by) square bits of cloth. I spent a long time convinced that the definition was rock and the second word was cliffs. Lovely moment when I saw the light – or rather, heard the music
4d Before kiss, take off top (4)
APEX: A word for take off or copy comes before the letter used to signal a kiss. As suggestive surfaces go, this is up there
5d Abduction reversed with breaking out? (10)
KIDNAPPING: A three letter word for with reversed and inside (breaking) out, as in asleep
7d Faculty sure needed to crack the next clue (8)
EYESIGHT: Sure or indeed inside (needed to crack) the next clue – not the words therein or the answer, but its numerical identifier
8d Defence of royal adviser, you might say (8)
PALISADE: A fence forming an enclosure is also a homophone (you might say) of a royal helper: PALACE AIDE, (6,4)
11d Old merchants and new mostly do exercise with this (8,4)
MEDICINE BALL: A family of powerful merchants and bankers prominent in 15th century Florence followed by all but the last letter (mostly) of the fourth word of the clue. Finally, the do is a swanky party. The answer is a heavy orb tossed and caught for exercise
14d Cheese or nutty filling giving pleasure shortly (10)
GORGONZOLA: OR from the clue and a US slang word for nutty or absurd inside (filling) most of a word for giving pleasure (as in **** tidings)
16d Put away cereal, demoting top variety of produce (3-5)
OWN-BRAND: Put away here means swallow whole. Follow this with the hard outer layers of cereal grain and then take the first letter and move it to the end (demoting top). My original take on this was put away meaning defeat (the first word is an informal word for this often used on the internet) then the cereal and the first letter of Demoting. I’m relieved I saw the right interpretation, but this one did amuse me
17d Varied relics to hide (8)
CLOISTER: An anagram (varied) of RELICS TO
19d Light breeze that hurts! (6)
WINDOW: A breeze or blow and then an exclamation of pain. The answer is an opening which is a source of natural light
20d Artist on film, rarely happy (6)
RENOIR: On, or about, then a genre of film which is rarely happy, but characterised by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity
23d Top marks one’s secured (4)
ACME: A unit has inside it (secured) the former German currency. The highest point
Top marks to Elkamere for a puzzle which was hugely enjoyable. It required thought while being solvable, which made for a very satisfying experience. Added to this there was creativity and humour in abundance, and plenty of cheekiness which is always appreciated. All of which made it an absolute pleasure to blog – thanks.
I’m hard pushed to single out a favourite. 15a for brevity? Maybe 18a for appropriateness, or 25a for the very funny surface. Perhaps the clever semi-all-in-one, 7d? The silky 11d? Nope – I just can’t decide. Which clue(s) made you purr?
This being a very definite case of the commenters being the experts here, not me, please do give your opinions and comments below.