Toughie 1829

Toughie No 1829 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

We’re having a spell of glorious weather in Devon at the moment and Shamus has contributed to the feeling of well-being with a very pleasant and not overly tough puzzle.

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

Across Clues

1a Upper-class toff with refined virtues escaping attention? (11)
UNOBTRUSIVE – string together the letter that’s used for upper-class, a toff and an anagram (refined) of VIRTUES.

9a Go by club losing source of real enthusiasm (7)
PASSION – a verb to go by or elapse followed by a golf club without the first letter of ‘real’.

10a Greek character leads insignificant rebellion (6)
MUTINY – the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet precedes an adjective meaning insignificant or negligible.

12a Pupil’s here to bear investigation? Nonsense (7)
EYEWASH – the organ where you’d find a pupil is followed by an informal verb to bear investigation or pass muster.

13a Support perhaps Arab League finally — close to a majority? (7)
TEENAGE – assemble a support on the golf course, what an Arab is an example of and the final letter of league.

14a Ditch by a lake and waterway (5)
CANAL – start with a slang verb (mainly North American) to ditch or halt and add A and L(ake).

15a Feel bitter with following court professionals currently (2,7)
AT PRESENT – a verb meaning ‘to feel bitter with’ follows the initials of the organisation that runs men’s professional tennis.

17a Spooner’s creator of rugby formations — whence comes dirt? (4-5)
MUCK-RAKER – Spooner might have said this was someone forming a sort of loose scrum in rugby.

20a Test requirement in court (5)
PROOF – I think that this is meant to be a double definition where the first can be either a verb or a noun. The two meanings are very similar.

22a What remains round parking area — or something similar (7)
REPLICA – put a word meaning what remains or survives round the abbreviation for parking then add A(rea).

24a Native expression with credit limited — senseless! (7)
IDIOTIC – start with an expression native to a language or group of people and an informal word for credit (in the monetary sense) then drop the final letter of both words.

25a Caribbean cyclist with day off is more flexible (6)
WIRIER – the abbreviation for the Caribbean area is followed by a cyclist (or possibly a horsewoman) with the abbreviation for day removed.

26a My wine quietly drained — lack enough? (2,5)
GO SHORT – an exclamation of surprise (my!) is followed by a fortified wine without the musical abbreviation meaning quietly.

27a Spotting gas that’s exploded in flying facility (7,4)
STAGING POST – an anagram (that’s exploded) of SPOTTING GAS.

Down Clues

2d Novelist gets fix about French city (7)
NAIPAUL – the name of this Nobel-prize winning author comes from a verb to fix or fasten containing the name of a French city at the foot of the Pyrenees.

3d Magistrates note point of reference (9)
BENCHMARK – concatenate a metonym for magistrates and a verb to note or pay heed to.

4d Scope in pastime recently taken up (5)
REMIT – a reverse lurker.

5d Drunk attending whether you like it or not! (2,5)
SO THERE – charade of an habitual drunk and an adverb meaning attending or present.

6d Name adopted by fruit producer of a pedigree (7)
VINTAGE – insert a name or label into a fruit-bearing plant.

7d Excessive on reflection, a Merc flying is caught by it? (5,6)
SPEED CAMERA – this is an all-in-one. The reversal of an adjective meaning excessive or intense and an anagram (flying) of A MERC go inside a two-letter abbreviation meaning ‘it’.

8d It’s behind a top German magazine (6)
ASTERN – A followed by a top-selling German news magazine.

11d Complicated craft I cite with English in official declaration (11)
CERTIFICATE – an anagram (complicated) of CRAFT I CITE followed by E(nglish).

16d A piece at college getting more colourful? (7,2)
PERKING UP – weld together a 3-letter preposition meaning ‘a’, a chess piece and an adverb meaning ‘at college’.

18d Islander in yard detained by copper upset over disorder (7)
CYPRIOT – the abbreviation for yard goes inside the reversal of a copper’s rank. That precedes a word for disorder or violent disturbance.

19d Trouble amid sign of age barrier (7)
RAILING – a verb to trouble goes inside a sign of age (in a tree).

20d Persist with unpredictability in service providers (7)
PRIESTS – an anagram (with unpredictability) of PERSIST.

21d Choice drink after switch at start (6)
OPTION – start with a drink or draught and switch the order of the first two letters.

23d Way of expressing interest about part of stage (5)
APRON – the abbreviation used to define the interest rate (on a loan, say) followed by a preposition meaning about.

12a and 16d vied for favouritism but my verdict has to go to 7d. Which one(s) had you nodding in approval?

19 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted June 14, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I took a while to get started on this one but finished in 2* toughie time I didn’t mark any particular favourites

    Thanks to Shamus and Gazza

  2. ShropshireLad
    Posted June 14, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    This was certainly a crossword of two halves – the top half went in amazingly quickly – the bottom half proved to be very stubborn indeed. I’ve had a real treat today with a first class puzzle from Shamus to tackle (I even quite liked the dreaded Spoonerism), a pleasant back-pager to solve and blog and am now sitting in the garden with an excellent glass of Pinot Grigio. What more could I ask for :)

    Thanks to Shamus for the fun and to Gazza for his review.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted June 14, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Sounds idyllic, and well deserved SL. Relax and enjoy! :good:

      • ShropshireLad
        Posted June 14, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Thanks LR. Unfortunately I think the weather here in Shropshire must be far too hot as the wine has quickly evaporated – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it :cool:

  3. LetterboxRoy
    Posted June 14, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Nothing too crafty from Shamus today, but engaging nevertheless. Didn’t bother writing 2d in – names in crosswords are my pet dislike.
    No outstanding clues, but 22a & 23d deserve a mention. As CS notes, for a Toughie **/***
    Many thanks Shamus and Gazza for the review.

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted June 14, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    This was my kind of Toughie – reasonably challenging, particularly in the SE corner, but very enjoyable.

    I’m not 100% convinced by 24a as “limited” needs to be applied twice. That apart, this was an excellent puzzle with 7d my favourite.

    Many thanks to Shamus and to Gazza.

  5. Tony
    Posted June 14, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I found this a very enjoyable solve. Sadly, I had heard of neither the novelist, nor the French city, and so even with all the checkers, suspecting correctly what the ‘fix’ was, and Gazza’s hint, I was defeated by 2d. Many thanks to Shamus and Gazza.

  6. jane
    Posted June 14, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Like Tony, I didn’t know either the novelist or the French city so had to resort to Mr. Google for help with those – I’m also rather ignorant about German magazines but managed that one through the wordplay.
    Think I was a little unsure about 25a = more flexible but the shining knight obviously thinks it’s OK so I bow to his superiority.

    Podium places went to 10,13&17a plus 5d.

    Many thanks to the little leprechaun and to Gazza, particularly for reminding me that IT = SA!

    • Gazza
      Posted June 14, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      I looked up wiry in the BRB, Jane, and the second meaning given is ‘flexible and strong’ so I thought that ‘more flexible’ was ok for wirier.

      • jane
        Posted June 14, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Apologies, Gazza – I didn’t look far enough down the ‘wire’ related entries.

  7. JB
    Posted June 14, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Just beaten by 25a. Not impressed by it. My favourite is, I think, 10a. Simple yet elegant.

  8. Posted June 14, 2017 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    We also hate obscure names in our criptic crosswords (or we’d be buying the Times). However, from some vague interest in the Tour de France, I came up with a suggestion for the French place (although wasn’t sure it was a city) and Gavin had actually heard of the answer.
    15a remains unwritten for us as we refuse to google to confirm things.
    So it’s thanks in the main to Shamus and thanks as always to Gazza.

  9. Gazza
    Posted June 14, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Firefly tomorrow.

  10. jean-luc cheval
    Posted June 14, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m so ashamed.
    Failed on 16d.
    Didn’t think of Gazza’s A as I call it.
    Before that, the toughest part of the crossword was in 18d and 25a for me.
    Thanks to Shamus and to Gazza.

  11. Kath
    Posted June 14, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    That was far more than 2* difficulty for me but most of the back pagers by Shamus would fall into ‘Tougie’ territory for me – wave length I think.
    I did eventually finish it and really enjoyed the whole thing.
    Thankfully I did get 1a quite quickly and easily – without that I think I might have been a bit sunk.
    Where to begin with the rest of it – who knows?
    I still don’t quite get 12a – I know that I’m being dim here but I just don’t get it – neither do I get 7d.
    I spent ages looking up Caribbean cyclists – wrong again.
    27a took me ages even though I could see that it was an anagram.
    I did know the 2d French city – one of my umpteen nephews lived there for a year.
    I could go on but . .
    I liked the 17a Spoonerism – I know that I’m in the minority here but I always like them, and I understood it.
    Thanks to Shamus and to Gazza.

    • Gazza
      Posted June 14, 2017 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      12a is EYE (where you’d find a pupil) + WASH (to bear investigation, as in ‘that alibi won’t wash’).
      7d is DEEP (excessive or intense) reversed + anagram (flying) of A MERC all inside SA (abbreviation for sex appeal or ‘it’).

    • Kath
      Posted June 14, 2017 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Gazza – how many more times am I going to be fooled by the SA part of 7d.
      I should have understood 12a – off to the dim corner.

  12. Expat Chris
    Posted June 14, 2017 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Not been in the crossword zone at all today. London has been much on my mind. I had four unsolved and I honestly don’t think I would have got them without the hints. Thanks Shamus and Gazza.

  13. Salty Dog
    Posted June 14, 2017 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    This took me just into 3* time, but only because l was too dense to spot 2d or 6d. I enjoyed 5d. Thanks to Shamus and Gazza. Devon was indeed lovely today. I planned to sail up the Yealm – one of my favourite days afloat – but lost the breeze south of the Mewstone so tried (unsuccessfully) for some mackerel instead. The view was utterly beautiful, though.