Toughie 1793

Toughie No 1793 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Lovely jubbly! Thanks to Elkamere for an entertaining puzzle that’s not too tough but with some of his cunning misdirections.

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

Across Clues

1a Repeat standard drivel (6)
PARROT – charade of words meaning standard and drivel.

5a Headgear almost lost, eh? (5,3)
STRAW HAT – an adjective meaning lost (a domestic animal, say) without its last letter followed by a request for clarification (eh?).

9a Plant pot like this on cooker (10)
AGAPANTHUS – a kitchen pot and an adverb meaning ‘like this’ follow a posh cooker.

10a Craze associated with East 17 (4)
FADE – a craze or temporary fashion and the abbreviation for East.

11a Dance partner — soldier (8)
FLAMENCO – concatenate a lover (often an old one) and a soldier who’s neither a private nor an officer.

12a Pick up purchase, talking through this? (6)
HEREBY – a double homophone (talking) – firstly a verb to pick up or be told and secondly a verb to purchase. How many, as I did, tried initially to make ‘pick up’ the homophone indicator.

13a Gambler’s success with £1000 flutter (4)
WINK – success for a gambler and an informal abbreviation for £1,000.

15a I mean it when I say … (2,2,4)
ON MY WORD – double definition. The second is the preamble to a verbal instruction (e.g. a driving examiner may say “** ** **** ‘brake’, perform an emergency stop”).

18a Weapon carried by very famous scaremonger (8)
ALARMIST – a weapon is contained inside an adjective (1-4) meaning very famous (normally used of top celebrities or those who like to think they’re top celebrities).

19a Look after the dying in Yorkshire? (4)
TEND – this is how a native of Yorkshire may say ‘the dying’ or ‘the demise’.

21a Can supply device to restrain offender (6)
STOCKS – double definition, the first a verb meaning ‘can supply’ or ‘has available for sale’.

23a Love poetry when abroad (8)
OVERSEAS – string together the usual letter meaning love, another word for poetry and a conjunction meaning ‘when’.

25a One bathed in distant light (4)
FAIR – the Roman numeral for one is contained in an adjective meaning distant.

26a MP on trial, so corrupt (10)
LEGISLATOR – another word for ‘on’ in cricket followed by an anagram (corrupt) of TRIAL SO.

27a 4, or 4’s payment to hold party (8)
RESIDENT – what 4d may pay holds a party or faction.

28a Grave site’s empty, see (6)
SEDATE – the outer letters of site followed by a verb to see someone romantically.

Down Clues

2d Change location, finding buried treasure (5)
ANGEL – a well-disguised lurker, indicated by ‘finding buried’.

3d The guy may be my responsibility (4-5)
ROPE-MAKER – cryptic definition. This guy is an inanimate object.

4d Shelter without an occupant (6)
TENANT – a temporary shelter containing AN.

5d Belief in mental faculty? (6,2,7)
SCHOOL OF THOUGHT – definition and cryptic definition, the second possibly being a University faculty.

6d Mother’s gone here, finally? (4,4)
REST HOME – an all-in-one (and rather sad?) clue. It’s an anagram (gone) of MOTHER’S followed by the final letter of ‘here’.

7d Slice chips on this (5)
WAFER – double definition. These chips are not the edible type.

8d Star playing in a real band (9)
ALDEBARAN – an anagram (playing in) of A REAL BAND gives us the brightest star in the constellation Taurus (new to me).

14d On edge, I completely upset kid (3,2,4)
ILL AT EASE – draw together I, the reversal of an adverb meaning completely and a verb to kid.

16d Given support, fight (9)
WITHSTAND – split the answer 4,5 to mean ‘having been given support’.

17d Rising deficit central to club’s collapse (8)
DISSOLVE – reverse a deficit in the middle of a disreputable club.

20d About to leave, ticks off register (6)
CENSUS – start with a verb meaning ticks off or reprimands and take out the two-letter preposition meaning about or concerning.

22d Soldier holding up my dog (5)
CORGI – a US soldier follows an informal (and dated) exclamation meaning “my!”.

24d Behind circling duck, another one in the air (5)
AFOOT – given the checkers I expect I’m not the only one who initially tried to justify ‘aloft’ here. Actually what we need is a sailor’s behind containing the letter resembling zero or duck and another of the same.

It was a close-run thing but, for me, 5d just edged out 12a, 26a and 17d for favouritism. Which one(s) appeared on your betting slip?

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26 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted April 12, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Lovely jubbly indeed – 13a made me smile the most. Thanks to Elkamere for the entertainment and Gazza for the explanations.

    if you want more of Mr Mayer’s clues, his FT puzzle today is trickier than this but equally enjoyable

  2. Verlaine
    Posted April 12, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this but am not *sure* what I think about the setter’s obvious commitment to making the clues as terse as possible – lack of “stuff to go on” meant I kept putting the wrong thing in, for instance DOLL-MAKER at 3dn, COMMANDO for the dance/soldier… I would also have gone down in flames in competition conditions with a completely indefensiblye ALOFT at 24d.

    Thanks setter and blogger for an enjoyable and enjoyably blogged Wednesday puzzle. If anyone is in London and at a loose end tonight, remember there are drinks happening at the George… I believe there will even be some Telegraph bloggers, and not just Timesy riffraff like me, in attendance!

  3. jane
    Posted April 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Tarnation – failed on 20d. As for 24d, I had a far more impolite word for ‘rear’ and bunged an ‘O’ in it which made 28a interesting to say the least. One up to you, Dean!
    So much to enjoy here and hard to sort out the rankings. I think I’ll opt for a top three of 9&12a along with 5d.

    Many thanks to Elkamere for the entertainment and to the lovely knight in shining armour for sorting out the SE corner for me.
    By the way, Dean – you unknowingly helped me out with a recent puzzle. The answer to one clue was ‘open mic’ – wouldn’t have had a clue had it not been for comments you’ve made on here in the past!

  4. dave lawes
    Posted April 12, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    …so 13a , not only have I never heard of the term , still cannot make head or tail of the clue . Other than that a most enjoyable crossword .
    Thanks to Elkamere and Gazza.

    • Verlaine
      Posted April 12, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      I wasn’t quite sure of the definition but I guess both “flutter” and the answer mean roughly the same as “flicker”? The old three-point-turn in a thesaurus…

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted April 12, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Split the answer 3,1 and think of eyelashes.

  5. LetterboxRoy
    Posted April 12, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Quite tough, but very good indeed. Unlike Verlaine, I managed not to get caught out by solving in groups of two or three at a time – much the same as doing the quickie. Knowing 8d & 9a helped, and I used to make marquees once upon a time, so 3d leapt out at me.
    Lots to like, 25a, 23a, 18a, 6d – but top spot is taken by the flat-pack 9a.
    Very enjoyable, thanks to Elkamere and to our venerable Gazza.

    • Verlaine
      Posted April 12, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Yep, not throwing answers in before you’re sure that they work with the crossing answers is a very good rule for solving! And not one an impetuous type like me is good at, alas…

  6. stanXYZ
    Posted April 12, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I arose and was aloft before finally understanding what was afoot in 24d.

  7. anax
    Posted April 12, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Lovely blog, Gazza – thank you very much.
    Bit of a slow day for comments, eh? And not just here. Other blogs, even Facebook/Twitter. Have others been going through the latest Win10 update nightmare? It seems to have started at around 6am UK time, and some people were waiting several hours with it stuck at 30%. Looks like I may have been a lucky boy, although it was bit scary when my mouse/keyboard became unresponsive while I had documents open – had to physically switch off, which I hate doing. But the update only took about 30 minutes.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted April 12, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Still on windows XP.
      No update since April 2014!

    • Verlaine
      Posted April 12, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Pity us poor Mac users, who can’t even get Crossword Compiler…

      • Kath
        Posted April 12, 2017 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        Don’t mention Macs – you’ll upset BD. :negative:

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 12, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Got a bit held up in the NE as I wrote “wedge” in 7d.
    Found the left hand side much friendlier than the right.
    Favourite 17d.
    Thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza.

  9. Tony
    Posted April 12, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    I enormously enjoyed this. I like this style of more succinct clueing because, for me, it gives confidence that every word is likely to have some important bearing on the solution (e.g. 26 ac). Many thanks to Elkamere and Gazza.

  10. JonP
    Posted April 12, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Great puzzle which I thoroughly enjoyed solving.

    Thanks to Gazza and Elkamere

  11. Kath
    Posted April 12, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Tricky enough for me but Elkamere is one of the Toughie setters I usually run away from – very good fun.
    I made life far more difficult than it needed to be with two mistakes.
    Like Jane I had the rather less polite term for the 24d ‘behind’ and for 13a I had ‘wing’ – well, a wing can flutter – sorted 13a but didn’t have the wit to doubt 24d.
    I agree with Gazza that 6d felt very sad, as did19a.
    9a reminded me of the 2K’s – Colin and I agree to differ about them – I think they’re lovely but . . .
    I’m still missing something with 20d – I know I’m being dim.
    I liked most of these but 1 and 12a and 5d stood out.
    Thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza.

    • Gazza
      Posted April 12, 2017 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      20d is CENSU[re]S

      • Kath
        Posted April 12, 2017 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Gazza – I did, eventually, get there ‘all my own self’ having gone all round the houses.

  12. Gazza
    Posted April 12, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Beam tomorrow.

  13. 2Kiwis
    Posted April 12, 2017 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Excellent fun and a clue word count that Beam would be pleased with in one of his puzzles. Having already done our ‘must parse every letter’ thing for the day we just bunged ALOFT in for 24d. That’ll teach us! Plenty to appreciate and enjoy.
    Thanks Elkamere and Gazza.

  14. Salty Dog
    Posted April 12, 2017 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Great stuff. Nicely testing but well worth the effort: 3*/4*. My favourite was 17d, but 26a and 9a were strong contenders. Thanks to Elkamere and Gazza.

  15. dutch
    Posted April 13, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Well if I was going to do one puzzle while on holidays…

    enjoyed this a lot, particularly the all-in-one (though I hope it’s not true) and the flutter.

    I didn’t know the star and had to correct WEDGE. ALOFT was highlighted as a wrong answer when I submitted, knowing full-well I was missing a second O.

    Many thanks Elkamere and Gazza

    recently, when we have had Elkamere on a Wednesday it’s been Elgar on a Friday….??

    • Joehorn
      Posted April 13, 2017 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      Picked up this puzzle today and found it good fun and 3* difficulty but I also went for ALOFT.
      However, I still don’t see SEDATE as a synonym of Grave at 28a.

      • Gazza
        Posted April 14, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

        Chambers lists for ‘grave’ – “sedate;solemn;weighty”.

  16. Posted April 14, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Briefly scanned the blog and didn’t see anybody else mention it so if it’s already been said, apologies. Did anybody else get mislead and went down the golf route at 7 down? I heavy pencilled in “wedge” which was of course disastrous for the northeast corner.