Toughie 1733 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1733

Toughie No 1733 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment **

We’re now into Crimbo Limbo, the hiatus between waving farewell to the last scrap of turkey and the breaking of the first New Year’s resolution, so many solvers should have plenty of leisure time to tackle the Toughie – this one, however, shouldn’t take very long at all.

Thanks to Warbler and all the other Toughie setters for their puzzles over 2016 and Best Wishes to them, fellow bloggers and all contributors to the blog for a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared with today’s puzzle and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

5a Huge bird caught in area going west (7)
TITANIC – start with a songbird then reverse an abbreviation for caught, IN and the abbreviation for area.

7a On reflection, sketches green turf (5)
SWARD – reverse a verb meaning sketches.

9a Name originally used by Prince for conscription (4-2)
CALL-UP – join together a verb to name, the original letter of ‘used’ and an abbreviation for prince.

10a Spanish fighter travelled quickly by damaged road (8)
TOREADOR – a verb mean travelled quickly followed by an anagram (damaged) of ROAD. ‘Spanish fighter’ somehow sounds noble but this character is anything but.

11a Instruments used when fires, reportedly, circle pub on outskirts of Eccles (10)
SAXOPHONES – lots of lego pieces to assemble here – a homophone of a verb meaning fires or dismisses, the circular letter, the abbreviation for pub, ON and the outer letters of Eccles.

13a/16a/18d Around the beginning of October Keith met Lois in motion picture (4,4,2,3)
SOME LIKE IT HOT – an anagram (in motion) of KEITH MET LOIS contains the first letter of October.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

14a Gin, say, with dessert can be pleasant but brief (5,3,5)
SHORT AND SWEET – assemble what gin is an example of, a conjunction meaning with and another word for dessert.

16a See 13a

17a Displaying dislike, trick to conceal one course of action (10)
ANTIPATHIC – a trick or prank contains the Roman numeral for one and a course of action. I had to check with Chambers that the answer without ‘et’ is actually a word.

19a Yankee Doodle’s feather? You could eat it! (8)
MACARONI – double definition. What Yankee Doodle called the feather in his cap means something fanciful and extravagant. This usage derives from the eighteenth century when young men went on the Grand Tour of Italy and developed a liking for the foodstuff so that the word became associated with dandies who dressed in high fashion.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

20a Hot number makes summit (6)
HEIGHT – the abbreviation for hot and a cardinal number.

22a Poem for example written in cathedral city (5)
ELEGY – the abbreviation of ‘for example’ goes inside an English cathedral city.

23a Cooked fruits crammed with energy in excess (7)
SURFEIT – an anagram (cooked) of FRUITS contains the abbreviation for energy.

Down Clues

1d Bleat about leaving leader with others (2,2)
ET AL – an anagram (about) of [b]LEAT without its leading letter.

2d Take two photos yet end up with just one (8)
SNAPSHOT – two words for a photo are stuck together to make a third.

3d Egyptian god‘s extra-large flag (6)
OSIRIS – an abbreviation meaning extra-large followed by another name for a flag plant.

4d Though unusually smart he’s an annoyance (10)
HARASSMENT – an anagram (unusually) of SMART HE’S AN.

5d Tenor initially rehearses in the manner of a hum (3-2)
TRA-LA – string together the abbreviation for tenor, the initial letter of rehearses and a preposition (1,2) meaning ‘in the manner of’.

6d Extraordinary escalation in punishment, ultimately — with this? (3-1-4-5)
CAT-O’-NINE-TAILS – an anagram (extraordinary) of ESCALATION IN and the final letter of [punishmen]T.

8d Cross over dull person offering little resistance (7)
DOORMAT – reverse the sort of cross found in a church and add an adjective meaning dull or lustreless.

12d Old region developed early. It’s above the earth (5,5)
OZONE LAYER – start with O(ld) and a synonym for region then finish with an anagram (developed) of EARLY.

14d Ground needs time to produce green fodder (7)
SOILAGE – charade of another word for ground or earth and a period of time. I didn’t know this word for green fodder – it seems to have the same meaning as the same word without the ‘O’, although the two have different roots.

15d County’s housing application, in stone (8)
SAPPHIRE – a word for a non-metropolitan English county contains the short word used for a computer application.

17d Soon unknown male gets pen name (6)
ANONYM – bring together an archaic synonym for soon, an algebraic unknown and M(ale).

18d See 13a

21d Fateful day in Rome that is cut short (4)
IDES – the Latin (in Rome) phrase meaning ‘that is’ without its last letter. ‘in Rome’ could be either part of the definition or, as I’ve taken it, part of the wordplay.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

My favourite clue today is 8d. Which one(s) bucked you up?

21 comments on “Toughie 1733

  1. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed. This felt more like a back-pager and was completed in about the same time. The only one that gave me any pause was 14D, and the BRB soon clarified that. Oh, well. I can always go back to the Elgar doubler where I have precisely one answer to date! Thanks to Elkamere, and thanks to you, Gazza, and Happy New Year!

  2. This was very pleasant but took less time than today’s back-pager. 14d was new word for me but obvious from the wordplay and confirmed in the BRB. My last one in was 5d, which puzzled me for a while until the penny dropped. 1d & 21d were the clues I liked most.

    Many thanks to Warbler and to Gazza.

  3. 14a reflects this offering from Warbler.
    6d is my favourite.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for all the help over 2016. Stick around, I’ll probably need your wisdom in the years to come. Have a great time.

  4. Definitely 14a .I won’t pick a favourite as I liked it all , except 14d.
    Thanks Warbler and Gazza.

  5. So now I’m stuck with humming Yankee Doodle for the rest of the day. Not to worry, I enjoyed the puzzle.
    Had to check with the BRB over 17a and briefly wondered whether the 14d I already knew could be spelled with a double ‘L’ – apparently not but, in any event, that wouldn’t have fitted with the wordplay.

    I was rather taken with 11a (love their sound as well) and thought 20a was a neat 14a.

    Thanks to Warbler and to our one and only Gazza – hope to see you again soon.

  6. Gentle and pleasant sums it up for us too. Biggest smile came with 11a.
    Thanks Warbler and Gazza.

  7. Easy peasy for you Toughistas I’m sure.
    Being tested by Gazza’s * & yesterday’so near miss I managed to solve my seconomic Toughie unaided & in reasonable time.
    So for me **** pleasure.
    Thanks to Warbler & Gazza for the prompt to have a go.

    1. Well done, Labsrok – hope you’ll continue to have a go on the ‘dark side’. I’m very far from being proficient, but – as with the back-pagers – the more you attempt the better you become.

      1. Thanks Jane. It’s the balance of telling myself that practice makes perfect against the feeling “I’ll never get my head round this” that I struggle with.

  8. A steady and unspectacular solve. Agree with 14a as COTD. Found the back/pager a shade more challenging and enjoyable. Sorry, Warbler, but thanks anyway and thanks to Gazza for the review. 1.5*/2*

    1. Thanks LbRoy one of these days…… a *** Toughie unaided that’s a New Year resolution I hope to keep.

  9. Well, not so very easy from some of our points of view! – and very enjoyable. Thanks Warbler and Gazza.

  10. It was only mulling over 14d that took me (just) into 2* time; l was surprised to discover the word – it sounds like the way they might say “silage” in the more remote parts of the South-West! I enjoyed 8d, though. Thanks to Warbler, and of course Gazza.

  11. Eldest daughter visiting at the moment, just enjoyed a nepalese dinner after successfully finding our way out of an Escape Room in Macclesfield with an Amazonian theme – thereby depriving the cannibals from their intended meal. All credit goes to the kids, who just seem endlessly capable of the winning combination of trying everything possible and lateral thinking.

    enjoyed this puzzle though it was over fairly quickly.

    Many thanks Warbler for all of your puzzles during the year, and of course thanks Gazza

  12. I do like a Warbler puzzle and this one was really no exception. Not the most challenging of Toughies – very 14a – but there were quite a few smile moments along the way. The NW corner held me up as I couldn’t get ‘Sign Up’ out of my head for 9a – D’oh! Really should have known the difference between ‘joining up’ voluntarily and being ‘conscripted’.

    Thanks to Warbler for her puzzles throughout the year and to Gazza for his review. So wanted Gloucester to win at Twickenham.

  13. Thanks for the hints, Gazza, I have often wondered what the word ‘Macaroni’ was doing in the song ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’, so thanks!!

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