Toughie No 1776 by MynoT
Hints and tips by Kitty
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
Hi cutie-pies! Today’s puzzle is very special for it is the 444x4th Toughie. By some amazing mathematical coincidence, it is also the 4x444th Toughie. That’s NumberWang! If you notice something else odd(er than usual) about today’s blog you might like to pay attention to the date, or refer back to my blog of a year ago.
All of which means that I am delighted MynoT has obligingly included some nicely numerical nuggets. He’s mixed these with plenty to drink, so I’m left a little pie-eyed.
I had a quick starter of the right hand side of today’s puzzle, which slipped down easily in a 1*-ish manner and left me time to chew on some of the meatier morsels later, including a couple of new ingredients. Not wanting to linger too long over dessert, I used the dictionary at the end, so have a little pie on my face.
The definitions are underlined in the clues below, and you’ll find the answers inside the boxes. The exclamation mark is not an imperative – click only if you wish to reveal all.
Do leave a comment telling us how you found it and what you thought.
1a Prince of Wales familiarly preceding Her Majesty’s horse (6)
CHASER: A nickname derived from Charles comes before 2 letters which stand for our current queen
4a Flatterer is one among grown-up men (8)
ADULATOR: One (1) inside mature and then some military men
10a She sings about Chinese hair (9)
CHANTRESS: Join together a single letter abbreviation for about, the dominant ethnic group in China and a lock of hair. I couldn’t decide which of these songs to use, so have given you 2 4 1
11a Requirements of river running from south to north, and east to west (5)
NEEDS: Start with the abbreviations for south and north and insert a river between them, so that the river can be said to be going from the one to the other. Then write the whole lot backwards (east to west)
12a Soul to play in a lively manner (7)
ANIMATO: Soul (5) and the TO from the clue leads us to the musical instruction underlined above
13a OR to go too far? (7)
OVERRUN: In a reversal of the common cryptic method, this time we take words for which O and R are (separately) abbreviations and write them out in full
14a Raise the spirits of the dead after beginning of Easter (5)
ELATE: After the first letter (beginning of) Easter we have an adjective meaning deceased
15a Finished lamb – I should get a different meat product (8)
PASTRAMI: A charade of over or finished, a male ovine creature and the I from the clue leads us to a meat product which isn’t lamb
18a Clergyman’s symphony (8)
PASTORAL: Two definitions really, though I decided to underline only the more straightforward one. Of a member of the clergy or Symphony No. 6 by Ludvig Van B. (Incidentally, if I ever own a Turkish Van cat I’d call him Ludvig, and if he has a sister she’d probably be Dee Light. I have a vision of having a swimming pool and one or two of these to join me in it. Pure pie in the sky of course.) I won’t give you my favourite definition of this word, but you can probably find it in the Uxbridge English Dictionary (or guess).
20a Live and be a success lacking nothing (5)
DWELL: Live or reside: be a success (2,4) minus a zero-shaped character
23a Charged and doomed? That’s not right (7)
ACCUSED: Another deletion of a single letter: this time we want to remove R(ight) from the middle of a word meaning doomed
25a Be a mite fussy; it keeps rafters together (3,4)
TIE BEAM: An anagram (fussy) of BE A MITE, though there’s less shuffling about of letters than ideal for one of this clue type.
26a Number one isn’t in also (5)
ETHER: This number isn’t mathematical but chemical, and it will numb your senses and put you to sleep. Again, we’re taking out a single letter (one denoting 1), and we’re taking it out of a word which can mean each of two, as well as one of two. I’m still struggling a little to equate it to also though, so I’d welcome further input from you: can you come up with a sentence where the two can be interchanged?
27a Axes cut and perfect this instrument (9)
XYLOPHONE: These axes aren’t for cutting, and they’re not instruments either, but two of the fixed reference lines on a graph. Follow them with cut (3), and perfect/sharpen (4). I’m toning down the cattitude temporarily, but the answer can hardly be illustrated other than with this famous animal (click the picture for more) …
28a Ewe’s pail must be positioned vertically (8)
PALEWISE: The letters of EWE’S PAIL are to be anagrammed (must be positioned). The letters are arranged horizontally, for it is an across clue, but the answer is upright like the stakes of a type of fence (one you probably wouldn’t want to be beyond)
29a Stop to liberate worthless person? Not right one initially (6)
FREEZE: To liberate is followed by a worthless person / nothing, minus the initial letters (initially) of right and one
1d Chicken helped, we hear, wore a rosette (8)
COCKADED: A male chicken we’ve seen a bit of recently with, at its tail end, a homophone (we hear) of helped/assisted. Another alternative definition arises fit for the UED; again, you will be able to work that out for yourselves
2d A male titan with no limits on lethal danger if knocked back (7)
AMANITA: Putting together the A from the clue, a male human, and the innards of the word titan forms a hitherto unknown to me (though now I see that it’s the iconic toadstool) genus of poisonous mushrooms. I managed to misinterpret the wordplay so this one really did a number on me. Anyone for some mushroom pie?
3d Sociable, lively person unusually Green (9)
EXTRAVERT: Beyond the usual, (5) + green (4) (French, but also in heraldry, saving the setter the need for a French indication). The less usual spelling of this word didn’t wrong-foot me as I’ve encountered both variants. Being the antonym, that is what I shall illustrate
5d Very sadly put record on so recently (14)
DISCONSOLATELY: A mournful charade of a musical record (4), ON and SO (from the clue) and recently (6)
I’m in a 10der mood 2day
& feel poetic 2;
4 fun I’ll just – off a line
& send it off 2 U.
I’m sorry U’ve been 6 so long;
Don’t B disconsol8,
But bear your ills with 40tude
And they won’t seem so gr8
6d Knight sacrificing great deal to get weapon (5)
LANCE: One of the Knights of the Round Table has lost the last 3 letters of his name to produce this stabby weapon
7d More to be broadcast after article’s proposition (7)
THEOREM: This mathematical proposition = an anagram (broadcast) of MORE placed after the definite article
1. The Ham sandwich Theorem
2. The Killing–Hopf theorem (originally phrased “there exists a method by which to kill Hopf and get away with it”)
3. The Ugly duckling theorem
4. The Non-squeezing theorem
5. The Cook–Levin theorem, which gives the most efficient way of cooking Levin.
6. The Buckingham π theorem
7. The Hairy ball theorem
8d Feel bitter about gift with top missing (6)
RESENT: A gift of a clue. Remover the first letter (top, in a down clue) from a present
9d Logical dilemmas of Buddhist over small bit of text – it is written up after party (5,9)
ZENO’S PARADOXES: Lots of ingredients to assemble: firstly, a branch of Buddhism, single letters for over and for small, and an abbreviation for a distinct section of writing. There’s more: it/the other goes up (written up, in a down clue) – after a common crosswordland party (2). This is a set of paradoxes, the most famous one being Achilles and the tortoise
16d Revolutionary to look about very softly in Cayenne (3,6)
RED PEPPER: A left-wing revolutionary + look narrowly or closely around (about) the musical symbol for very quietly
17d Shopping centre with roof brought down by you twice? Nonsense! (3,2,3)
ALL MY EYE: A (principally N American) shopping centre has its “roof” – the first letter – brought down (remembering this is a down clue) to the end of the word. Afterwards we have two instances of an archaic/dialect/poetic word for you
19d Fish in every spirit (7)
ALCOHOL: A type of fish I had to check but is now ringing faint bells (a campanologist fish?) inside every (3) gives us something to drink. Anyone for a pie and a pint?
21d Have a look at love-god – uplifting or ugly sight? (7)
EYESORE: Have a look at (3) and the reversal (uplifting, in a down clue) of a Greek love god
22d Suffer to get out of bed and call to account? (4,2)
HAVE UP: Suffer/endure (4) + out of bed (2) = call to account, perhaps before the courts
24d One locks up gang led by son (5)
SCREW: A slang term for one who holds the prison keys is reached by adding a gang or team to the abbreviation for son
Thanks to MynoT. I was delighted to see 9d feature today. I also smiled at 21d and 14a raised my spirits (no fish in my 19d 1a) as well as a few more of the grid entries as they went in. After the last one of those, it only remains for me to ask: how was it for you?
(I’ll shut my pie hole now … )