Toughie 1721

Toughie No 1721 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

It’s good to get an Elkamere puzzle on a Wednesday. This is not one of his toughest but I enjoyed it a lot in spite of spending what seemed like ages looking for the names of rappers, only to find that I was on the wrong track.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a Pressure inside sets a broken bone (6)
STAPES – insert the abbreviation for pressure into an anagram (broken) of SETS A.

5a Comic actor faces circling press (3,5)
SID JAMES – a word meaning faces (those of a die perhaps) goes round a verb to press or force.

9a Firm has one year to accept spymaster as post (8)
COLUMNAR – the abbreviation for a firm is followed by a type of year (one lasting approximately 354 days) with the letter used to identify Bond’s boss inserted.

10a Concert will go ahead after run initially cancelled? (6)
UNISON – a phrase meaning ‘will go ahead’ (2,2) follows the word ‘run’ without its initial letter.

11a Weed holding mediocre record in hand? (4,4)
HOME HELP – a verb to weed contains a slang interjection (popularised by The Simpsons) meaning mediocre or indifferent. That’s all followed by the abbreviation for a record format.

12a Copy of newspaper (6)
MIRROR – double definition, the second a UK tabloid newspaper.

13a Falsify info about the writer’s subjects (8)
LIEGEMEN – a verb to falsify and an informal word for information contain the objective pronoun which the writer would use of himself.

15a Stop suffering, you might say (4)
WHOA – this command to stop sounds like a word meaning suffering or misery.

17a Some enormous plateau around mountains (4)
ALPS – hidden in reverse.

19a Good man to furnish town (8)
STAFFORD – the usual abbreviation for a ‘good man’ followed by a verb to furnish or provide. This verb always reminds me of Gerard Hoffnung’s French widow:

20a Occupier, one in temporary accommodation (6)
TENANT – insert an adjective meaning one into temporary accommodation.

21a Fence, wide one perhaps (8)
RECEIVER – this fence is an individual who trades in hot property. If you precede the answer with ‘wide’ you get an offensive (sic) player in American football.

22a Rapper’s partner that is after good dance (6)
BOOGIE – string together a rapper’s partner, G(ood) and the abbreviation for ‘that is’. Although the answer was obvious I had no idea who the rapper’s partner was – after some investigoogling into names of rappers I eventually concluded that what we’re after is a slang term used in rapping (and elsewhere, especially in the southern USA) to mean one’s boyfriend or girlfriend, probably derived from the French word ‘beau’.

23a An American without life support? (8)
AUSPICES – an indefinite article and an abbreviation for American contain a word meaning life or zest.

24a Pretty good UN school, free (2,6)
NO SLOUCH – an anagram (free) of UN SCHOOL.

25a Fork out on engagement rings (6)
DONATE – the word ON contained inside a romantic engagement.

Down Clues

2d Sweeping by, carrying nothing (8)
THOROUGH – insert the letter resembling zero into a preposition meaning ‘by’ or ‘by way of’.

3d Scales maybe overturned, all fruit on top (8)
PRUNELLA – reverse ALL and put a type of fruit on top of it.

4d Least affected after sleep (9)
SINCEREST – join together synonyms for after and sleep. ‘Affected’ here means phoney.

5d Bust confined, short crack in girdle (8,3,4)
STRAPPED FOR CASH – a past participle meaning confined or shut in and a verb to crack or break open without its last letter go inside a girdle or belt.

6d Analytical details rubbish and enormous (7)
JUNGIAN – stick together synonyms for rubbish and enormous after you’ve de-tailed both.

7d Wind that will cover one’s bad hearing (8)
MISTRIAL – a cold wind that blows down Jean-Luc’s neck of the woods contains the Roman numeral for one.

8d Rich kid soldiers almost boot out (8)
SONOROUS – string together a male kid, the abbreviation for non-commissioned soldiers and a verb to boot out without its last letter.

14d Driven away or drowned in cut (9)
EXORCISED – insert OR into a past participle meaning cut or removed.

15d With doctor absent, I refuse to go in it (5,3)
WASTE BIN – start with the abbreviation for with and add an anagram (doctor) of ABSENT I.

16d Small cog integral to very big ideas (8)
OPINIONS – insert a small cog into an abbreviation meaning very big.

17d ‘Thing’ minus 100 as an arithmetical process (8)
ADDITION – start with a ‘thing’ or obsession and remove the Roman numeral for 100.

18d Way old man’s passionate when he’s rejected (8)
PAVEMENT – an affectionate term for one’s old man is followed by an adjective meaning passionate or forceful without HE.

19d Without French club, no new stadium in Milan (3,4)
SAN SIRO – a preposition, from French, meaning without is followed by a golf club lacking the abbreviation for new.

I’ve ticked 10a, 25a and 3d today but my double-tick is awarded to 15d. Which one(s) ticked all your boxes?

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20 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    The toughest Elkamere Toughie for some time – not his toughest but it was only after I sent an email enquiring whether I’d been out of the office more than I thought and ‘was it Friday?’ that Gnome’s Law kicked in and I was able to battle my way to the end. 4*/4* for me

    Thanks to Elkamere for the brain-stretching and Gazza for the explanations

    • Mr Kitty
      Posted December 7, 2016 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      Just popped in to admire Gazza’s always-entertaining pictures and videos, but now I’m curious about Gnome’s Law. I’ve never heard of it, so CS if you’re still around could you please explain it?

      • Gazza
        Posted December 7, 2016 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        Gnome(thang)’s First Law states that one second after you’ve sent an email asking for assistance on a clue the answer pops into your head.

        • Mr Kitty
          Posted December 7, 2016 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

          There’s a Second Law?

          • Gazza
            Posted December 7, 2016 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

            Not yet, but we live in hope.

            • crypticsue
              Posted December 8, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

              There is indeed a second law but that only applies to me, him and the posting of weekend prize puzzle reviews ;)

      • crypticsue
        Posted December 7, 2016 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        When I first became a blogger, gnomethang and I exchanged regular emails. If I composed an email saying that a particular puzzle was hard or I couldn’t get particular clues, as soon as I pressed send, the solution would become obvious, and this phenomenon, which works with ‘post comment ‘ too became known as Gnome’s Law

        • Mr Kitty
          Posted December 7, 2016 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

          That’s great :) I’ve experienced that phenomenon, so nice to know it has a name. Thank you both.

  2. dutch
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant, I enjoyed this tremendously – although I also went rapper hunting. Favourite is same as Gazza, 15d, but plenty more to like, 10a, 6d, …

    My last one in was 11a – I had spotted the answer as a potential grid fill but I was determined to find a weed. I first thought of WAR as the homophone(?) for 15a.. but then found a better word.

    Many thanks Gazza and thank Elkamere

  3. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Found it tough but very pleased to have finished.
    Went down the rapper route too and stopped at Boo and Gotti.
    The homophone in 15a was “war” to me also. Can’t see what other word it could be.
    Last one in was the shrink in 6d.
    A few new words in 9a, 8d and 24a.
    No problem with the GK clues though.
    Thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza.

    • Gazza
      Posted December 7, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Whoa is pronounced to rhyme with foe so the required homophone is woe (suffering, distress).

  4. happy days
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed it, as I always do an Elkamere. My favourite is 16d. Crisp and neat

  5. Gazza
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Beam tomorrow.

    • Kath
      Posted December 7, 2016 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      :smile:

  6. Miffypops
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I found this very tough and didn’t really have time to spend on it. Enjoyable though. I may or may not return to it later. Thanks to
    Gazza for the blog and the humour. Thanks to Elkamere

  7. LetterboxRoy
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I found it rather tricky and got bogged down a bit, couldn’t fathom 8d or 23a by the end of it so I feebly gave in.

    Liked the simple 4d & 7d but today’s winner is 25a for the excellent surface.

    Needed the hints, but still enjoyable. Thanks to Elkamere for the entertainment and Gazza for the enlightenment.

  8. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    We always seem to struggle with Elkamere puzzles and we did with this one too. A few things we did not know like the rapper slang, the Simpson”s mediocre and the Milan stadium but we did eventually get it all sorted which was very satisfying. Plenty keep us smiling and chuckling so we’re happy.
    Thanks Elkamere and Gazza.

  9. Una
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Considerably too tough for me , though I got a few including 5d which was my favourite.
    Thanks Gazza, and Elkamere , you definitely won.

  10. Kath
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Elkamere is usually the Friday Toughie setter – I run like hell from Fridays but I caught sight of Gazza’s introduction which gave me a little bit of hope so I tried.
    I should have gone with my instincts – this was too difficult for me.
    I did manage about half of it, mainly the left hand side, but then gave up and came running for Gazza’s hints and, I confess, a few answers too.
    That’ll teach me – I know my place – it’s well and truly on the back page but if you never try you never know, or learn.
    Of the answers that I managed I liked 24a and 15d.
    With thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza.
    I do think that the difference between the back page crosswords and the Toughies lies in being able to spot the definition – I came to grief with so many today.

  11. Jane
    Posted December 7, 2016 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Goodness, that was really above my pay grade with the last half dozen taking ‘for ever’ and absolutely no hope of parsing 11a.
    I have yet to discover quite what appeals to so many people about the Simpsons – watched it once and that was more than enough.

    15a – I initially decided was ‘wait’ (carrying a weight?) which gave all manner of problems with 16d and I couldn’t figure out the relevance of a tree to the 3d clue – silly, silly girl.
    21a – I parsed in terms of a ‘wide boy’ – sorry, sports fans, but it worked for me. Needless to say, I didn’t know the stadium, either.
    22a – Mr. Google led me to the same duo as JL and I was more than happy with that despite not having a clue who they are!

    Top slot went to 15d with 25a&4a taking second and third.

    Thanks to Dean for a challenge I couldn’t really meet this time and thanks to Gazza for everything bar the difficulty rating! Thoroughly enjoyed the Gerard Hoffnung clip and the obviously much needed reminder of the delightful Mrs. Fawlty.