Toughie No 1895
Hints and Tips by Fred and Ginger
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BD Rating – Difficulty ***** – Enjoyment *****
It has been a while since Fred and Ginger last danced their way onto the Toughie blogging floor, but with the start of the Strictly season under way, it seemed a good time for us to collaborate and work out what Elgar had in store for us with his 121st Toughie. We’re a bit miffed that we didn’t get a spot on Strictly, Fred had his eye on Len’s job and I fancied partnering one of the celebs. But hey ho, maybe next year!
You’ll need to look carefully at the clues and remember your times tables to get the Nina – although Ginger would like to point out also that Across row 10 does misleadingly contains part of the first line of Psalm 121 – strange the things you find when you’re desperately seeking Nina!
As usual there’s no quarter given by Elgar, it’s a top-end Toughie and was certainly a challenge to work through and to work out.
Across Hints by Fred
1a Suspect seen burying thief’s knife (11)
SNICKERSNEE We bet you’ve never heard of one of these. It’s a type of carving knife. You’ll need to take something that is a slang word for someone who steals and add a possessive ‘s’. Place this inside an anagram (suspect) of SEEN
8a This twisted, one-sided crowd with my team in a sort of spirit (6,5)
MÖBIUS STRIP A word for a crowd of people which has how we describe our team, plus an anagram (sort of) of SPIRIT with a possessive word for a group will, all in all lead to the name for a one-sided loop.
11a Score-draw leaving sides 10th in table? (4)
NEON Here the table is the Periodic Table, so you are looking for the tenth element listed. This can be found by taking the lowest score draw, 1-1 and dropping the first and last letters (leaving sides).
12a Lustful desire harboured by male chauvinist (4)
LECH A word for a carnal desire is hidden inside maLE CHauvinist.
13a Arts graduate’s presented with a ____ headscarf (7)
BANDANA Say what you see. If you get a degree in art you would get this, add a joining word inside the degree and add A to get a type of headscarf.
15a Clubs, on the subject of 6, split (7)
CREVICE A word for a split is found by taking the abbreviation for clubs in card games, then add a short word meaning ‘about’ and adding something that means the same as the answer at 6.
16a, 27a & 19a Athletic but not best, hence it’s us here for kick-off? (2,3,11,5)
ON THE SUBSTITUTES’ BENCH. This is an all-in-one clue where the whole thing defines the clue and provides the indicators. An anagram (athletic) of BUT NOT BEST HENCE IT’S US, plus H, the first letter (kick-off) of HERE.
17a & 21a Having seen better days, good morning interrupts obvious suffering (4,3,4)
OVER THE HILL A phrase that means having become past it. Place a short way of saying ‘good morning!’ between (interrupts) something that means obvious and a word for suffering.
18a & 22a Perhaps Methuselah’s coming in for infantryman (4,7)
FOOT SOLDIER You may have to think a fair way outside the box for this one! A cryptic definition of Methuselah (where you’ll find him, in short, and what he’s known for – think the name of a Richard Ingrams magazine that came after Private Eye!) and place all this inside FOR. This gives another name for an infantryman.
19a See 16
21a See 17
22a See 18
23a See 19 Down
26a See 20 Down
27a See 16 28 Western Sydney area’s toasting this first? (3,5,3)
NEW YEAR’S DAY A sort of all-in one clue, with a shortish definition qualified by the first part of the clue. An anagram (toasting) of W SYDNEY AREA gives an occasion when the answer is celebrated by that place earliest.
Down Hints by Ginger
2d In business, succeeding #12 (4)
NOON An adverb indicating working (in business) goes after (succeeding) the abbreviated word which # represents
3d Company bathing topless sure good in Calais, but who gains? (3,4)
CUI BONO The abbreviation for company ‘bathing’ or going round two French words (as spoken in Calais), firstly one meaning sure (yes) without its first letter (topless) and another meaning good
4d The first of two opposite points of view (4)
EAST Look carefully at the last word of the clue and you’ll spot two points of the compass. The solution is the first of the two
5d ‘Yah boo!’, the sign by regular’s bar stool? (2,5)
SO THERE Split your solution 3, 4 and you’d get something to put on a sign by a non-teetotal pub regular’s seat
6d Stirring up, making mischief (4)
EVIL A reversal (up in a Down clue) of another way of saying stirring or active
7d Is it useful to shrink lamb’s fleece? After fight over, knit woolly clothes (3-4,4)
INK-BLOT TEST The ‘fleece’ of LamB goes after a fight (3,2) and they are then reversed (over) and ‘clothed’ by an anagram (woolly) of KNIT
8d Volcano hunter unveiled in flash picture puzzle (5,6)
MOUNT EREBUS Here the ‘unveiled’ tells us we need the inside letters of hUNTEr which should be inserted between a very short time (flash) and a type of picture puzzle
9d Complaint malevolent being has to protest about (11)
PERITONITIS A beautiful malevolent being, TO (from the clue) and a reversal (about) of a type of protest
10d Not the first to see 10.30 ruined everything (3,8)
THE ENTIRETY Write down the numbers 10 and 30 in words, remove the first letter of sEE and then an anagram (ruined) of the 11 letters will give you your solution
14d Backer in film doctor strove to get around? (5)
ANGEL If you know your Peter Sellers’ films you should know there’s one with Doctor in the title. The person who backs theatrical productions can be found lurking inside STROVE to make the second word of the film title
15d Head of Charterhouse School upset over cuts in tuck-shop stock? (5)
CHOCS The ‘head’ of Charterhouse and a reversal (upset) of the abbreviation for school, the latter having O (over) cutting in
19d & 23a I say nothing, busy working with revolting smells (5,2,4)
BLESS MY SOUL The solution is an anagram of O (nothing) BUSY and SMELLS – working indicates the need to rearrange BUSY and revolting does the same for SMELLS
20d & 26a Poor 23 – in short, what’s made public on 28 (7,4)
HONOURS LIST – An anagram (poor) of the solution to 23a plus IN and SHORT (from the clue)
24d It’s blown by Scandinavian decoy (4)
LURE A long curved Bronze Age trumpet of a style still used in Scandinavian countries for calling cattle; a decoy or bait
25d Where the Sphinx is an old man, according to rumour (4)
GIZA A homophone (according to rumour) of a slang term for an old man
26d Mother of twins and Head of Broadcasting (4)
LEDA The mother of the twins Castor and Pollux sounds like a homophone (broadcasting) of a head of an organisation
In case you haven’t spotted it, today’s (real) Nina is here.
There are 11 eleven-letter answers. What does 11 x 11 make? Add to this (on the) SUBSTITUTES’ (bench) for the twelfth man!
Fred’s off to administer the sedatives in Bruno Tonioli’s tea and happy pills in Craig’s Pimm’s No 1. Ginger’s going to start working out Nina possibilities for the number 122 ready for next time. We’ll see you soon!