Toughie 1769

Toughie No 1769 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

There’s nothing to terrify the thoroughbreds in this pleasant puzzle from Samuel. I didn’t know the Hobbit or the French composers but in both cases the checking letters and the wordplay soon sorted me out. Thanks to Samuel.

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

Across Clues

1a Outsiders on pole caught obstructing racing driver’s view (8)
PROSPECT – the outer letters of pole and the single-letter abbreviation for caught go inside the surname of a former French racing driver.

5a Supply ammunition to one penning article for designer (6)
ARMANI – a verb meaning ‘to supply ammunition to’ and the Roman numeral for one contain an indefinite article.

9a Bashful going to bed (8)
RETIRING – double definition.

10a Hobbit cut short quiet farewell (3,3)
PIP PIP – this is an informal and dated way of saying farewell (so dated, in fact, that Chambers has forgotten all about it) which I got from the checkers because I’ve never managed to get beyond the first few pages of any Tolkien book. Google assisted in finding the Hobbit’s name – we have to drop his final N and add the musical abbreviation for quiet.

12a Jobs perhaps almost degrade retiring docker (9)
STEVEDORE – the forename of the late Mr Jobs followed by the reversal of a verb to degrade or wear away without its final letter.

13a Playwright left cover (5)
SHAWL – append the abbreviation for left to the surname of an Irish playwright.

14a Swapping PC Plod’s head? (4)
CAPE – start with a verb to plod or walk and swap the letters P and C.

16a Convey, avoiding motorway travel (7)
TRANSIT – a verb to convey or communicate without the abbreviation for motorway.

19a Schedule includes love, one might crow (7)
ROOSTER – a work schedule containing the letter that resembles love or zero.

21a Shack is bolted — Russian’s certainly out (4)
SHED – start with a verb meaning bolted or rushed and remove the Russian word for yes.

24a Mug chef, 20? (5)
STEIN – double definition, the second (a chef whose forename is 20d) also appeared in last Wednesday’s Toughie.

25a Crooked dealer maybe offering vehicle with copper instrument (4-5)
CARD-SHARP – a charade of a vehicle, the rank of a police officer and a musical instrument.

27a A smaller amount nine French composers grouped together (3,3)
LES SIX – this is the phrase used in France for a group of composers who worked in Paris around 1920. Put together a word meaning a smaller amount and the Roman numeral for nine.

28a Evil, evil, evil rites (8)
SINISTER – a word meaning evil or wickedness is followed by an anagram (evil) of RITES.

29a Salt mark (6)
RATING – double definition, salt being a sailor.

30a One renting with journalist and academic (8)
LETTERED – a person who rents out and the usual abbreviated journalist.

Down Clues

1d Read an application (6)
PERUSE – an alternative word for ‘an’ in a sentence such as ‘we averaged 40 miles an hour’ followed by a synonym for application or employment.

2d Start shop with son taking over at No. 4? (6)
OUTSET – start with another word for a shop or selling place and change its fourth letter to S(on).

3d Analyse standards on base (5)
PARSE – a word meaning standards or averages followed by the letter used in maths for the base in logarithms.

4d Prisoner with acceptable excuse (7)
CONDONE – concatenate the short form of a word for prisoner and an adjective meaning socially acceptable (as in ‘the **** thing’).

6d Bring back checks on gallery (9)
REINSTATE – a verb meaning checks followed by the usual art gallery.

7d Evaluate program upgrade (8)
APPRAISE – an abbreviation for a computer program is followed by a verb to upgrade or boost.

8d The setter’s humourless, healthy and rude (8)
IMPOLITE – string together the setter’s way of saying “he’s”, an adjective (often followed by –faced) meaning humourless and advertising-speak for healthy or low in calories.

11d Stop on street (4)
REST – a preposition meaning on or concerning and the abbreviation for street.

15d Notice a pressure in the ear? (9)
ATTENTION – A followed by what sounds like a word for pressure or stress.

17d One fights with others joining the French Resistance (8)
WRESTLER – assemble the abbreviation for ‘with’, a word meaning others, a French definite article and the symbol for electrical resistance.

18d Bath’s location very close to gas meter that’s damaged outside (8)
SOMERSET – start with an adverb meaning very then insert the closing letter of gas into an anagram (that’s damaged) of METER.

20d Stack unlimited building-blocks (4)
RICK – remove the outer letters from building-blocks.

21d This fish, blue when cooked, could be undesirable (7)
SARDINE – ‘undesirable’ can be made from a compound anagram (when cooked) of the answer plus BLUE.

22d Ridicule getting stake in old train company (6)
BANTER – insert a gambling stake into our old nationalised train company. I think that the answer means good-natured chaffing rather than ridicule but the BRB disagrees with me and calls it ‘humorous ridicule’.

23d Saved one from terrible despair (6)
SPARED – an anagram (terrible) of DESPA[i]R after we’ve taken away the Roman numeral for one.

26d Change key (5)
SHIFT – double definition, the second being a key on a standard keyboard.

28a, 8d and 18d are the contenders for best clue for me today. Which one(s) would you expect to pull out of the sealed envelope?

27 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure which favourite I’d expect to appear out of the sealed envelope but I do wonder if this particular, enjoyable, puzzle got put into the wrong envelope before it was posted to Telegraph Towers

    Thanks to Samuel and Gazza

    • Una
      Posted March 1, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Now that we know that wrong envelope days actually happen in real life , you could well be right.

  2. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Quite a lot of old chestnuts today: 6d (bring back) 19a ( schedule includes love) and the academic in 30a to name a few.
    The chef in 20d/24a is flavour of the month too.
    Knew of toodle pip but the answer in 10a was new to me.
    28a favourite.
    Thanks to Samuel and to Gazza for the review.

  3. jane
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks, Gazza – I needed your help to justify 14a&2d.
    Goes without saying that I didn’t find it as easy as CS did, but I definitely enjoyed working my way through.
    Top three for me were 28a plus 1&7d.

    Thank you, Samuel – nice to see that you own up to your Toughies without being prompted!

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 1, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      I wasn’t the only one whop thought it a wrong envelope day – I always check to make sure it isn’t ‘just me’

      • jane
        Posted March 1, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        Trouble is, CS, that I suspect the other person you ask is in the same league as yourself when it comes to solving! I’m not complaining, just rather envious of your expertise.

        • crypticsue
          Posted March 1, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          I couldn’t possibly say but I would say that you’d be surprised how often our opinions of puzzle difficulty differ, hence the need to check ;)

  4. Expat Chris
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    More time spent post-parsing than filling in the grid today. I still had several question marks that were resolved by the review. I do dislike that 4-letter abbreviation for healthy that comes up so frequently in crossword land because all too often products so labelled are loaded up with other stuff to compensate for reduced taste. Overall I enjoyed the solve, though no stand-outs for me today. Thanks Samuel and Gazza.

  5. dutch
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Well this took me a while (3* time), a quadrant at a time, but I did enjoy it.

    Didn’t know the racing driver and couldn’t think which county Bath was in, but the rest was fine. First one in was 3d but NW was my last quadrant.

    I quite liked the French resistance fighter, as well as the chef. 23d was good too.

    Many thanks Samuel and Gazza

  6. Jarman Island
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Jane here. Got there bar 11 but needed Gazza’s help to fully parse seven clues. Much harder than Samuel’s usual. Very enjoyable, though and some good light bulb moments when I read Gazza.

    Thanks to both!

  7. RayS
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Reasonably straightforward, but enjoyable, for a Toughie. */*** 2d was my last in – had a doh moment when I finally tumbled. So 2d was my favourite.

  8. Kath
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t find this one very easy and got stuck several times before finishing it eventually with several ?’s about why, or even if, my answers were right.
    I didn’t know the racing driver, the Hobbit, the French composers or the last letter of 3d but they were easy enough to look up.
    29a and 18d were my last ones – dim – not the two trickiest clues by any means.
    I don’t think I would ever have sorted out 21d for myself.
    I liked 27 and 28a and 15 and 17d. My favourite was 8d.
    With thanks to Samuel for the crossword and to Gazza for several explanations that were needed.

    What do you put into Google to get a translation into a foreign language – not being fluent in Russian I had no idea what ‘yes’ was and didn’t get very far with it.

    • jane
      Posted March 1, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Put into Google either Russian to English or vice versa, depending on which word you actually know! Same process for other languages.

    • Expat Chris
      Posted March 1, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      I just put in “What is the [language you need] word for [word you need to translate]? That usually works.

    • Kath
      Posted March 1, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      I thought that was pretty much what I did but obviously not as all I ended up with was a load of hieroglyphics – oh dear – try again.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted March 1, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        кириллица очень легко.

  9. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Two of the pesky little four letter words were where we got held up. We spent quite a lot of time trying to justify PATE for the head in 14a before we thought of the geographical head and then with 21a we were looking to put something inside the answer word instead of at its beginning. We did enjoy 24a and its linked clue 20d but plenty of others to keep us smiling too.
    Thanks Samuel and Gazza.

  10. Gazza
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Kcit tomorrow.

  11. Posted March 1, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    It felt wrong seeing Samuel on a Wednesday! But when I was slow to get going (slower than yesterday) I thought maybe there was a reason after all … After a while, however, things started to fall into place and then it all came together without any tearing out of hair. (My difficulty rating would probably be a star above Gazza’s.)

    A nice change to be able to do one of these with no pressure, and it provided Samuel’s usual entertainment value too. The same things were new to me as Gazza, but the clues took me to the finish before reaching for any references so I’m a happy bunny.

    Many thanks Samuel and Gazza.

  12. Una
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was a right envelope day myself as I needed a few hints . And how beautifully crafted those hints were , thank you Gazza.
    I also loathe The Hobbit and all other Tolkien books.
    Despite the fact that I couldn’t quite finish without nudges, I enjoyed trying.
    I still haven’t a clue how 21d works , despite Gazza’s explanation.
    !2a is my top pick .
    Thanks also to Samuel.

    • Gazza
      Posted March 1, 2017 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      This is what’s known as a compound anagram, where part of the fodder is in the clue and part is the answer. So for 21d you have to replace ‘this fish’ by the answer, i.e. SARDINE, then make an anagram (when cooked) of SARDINE and BLUE to make UNDESIRABLE. One way to tackle a clue like this is to recognise that BLUE is part of the anagram fodder so you remove the letters of BLUE from UNDESIRABLE leaving you with NDESIRA – you then make an anagram of that to give you the answer, SARDINE.

      • Una
        Posted March 1, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        Jeepers creepers, I have a lot to learn. Thank you for this tutorial.

      • Una
        Posted March 1, 2017 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        I’ve read and reread your solution/ tutorial and really the answer would seem to be guess the fish and work out why backwards. Or else I am ( probably irreversibly ) thick.I’ll probably never quite make it as Toughie solver.But thank you anyway.

  13. LetterboxRoy
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t know 12a, 10a reference or 27a. Agree totally with Expat re ‘lite’ @8d. 15d best d’oh and 21d is almost too clever by half.
    Fave 17d. Many thanks to Samuel and double thanks to Gazza.

  14. Salty Dog
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Just into 2* time, 3* for enjoyment. My favourite was either 1a or 28a. 10a made me smile – not something today’s weather in SE Cornwall has given me much cause to do. Thanks to Samuel and Gazza.

  15. Jon_S
    Posted March 1, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    The top half flew in at a time on a par with the back pager, the SE corner held out at a pace a little more suited to a Toughie, with the SW much as I expected the puzzle to feel. 14ac bemused me, I must admit, but seeing it explained think it’s very clever. Enjoyment value? Top marks.

  16. Tstrummer
    Posted March 2, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    With some time to spare after this morning’s radio, I thought I’d tackle this as I had noted that Gazza had intimated that it was a piece of cake for a Toughie. Hmm. I found it hard and needed G’s expert help to justify more bung-ins than I can remember from previous Toughies. So TVM for that. And to Samuel. What I need is more Goldilocks puzzles. Some back pagers I find too easy and many Toughies too difficult. Maybe that’s why I enjoy Jay so Mutch