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Toughie 1941

Toughie No 1941 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Bearing in mind that some solvers may be feeling a bit fragile today Elkamere has given us a fairly gentle puzzle with plenty of ways in. It’s great fun with succinct clues, well-disguised definitions and a barrowload of laughs.

Since this is my last blog of 2017 may I thank Elkamere and all the other setters who’ve entertained us so royally through the year and wish them, BD and all my co-bloggers and all commenters and lurkers a Very Happy New Year.

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

Across Clues

1a Arsenal supporter in stand (8,4)
MAGAZINE RACK: this is nothing to do with football. It’s a charade of a store of arms and a supporting framework.

8a Port with a sharper flavour (7)
TANGIER: double definition, the first a North African port.

9a Bugs, mostly unclassified (7)
RANKLES: with an additional S this could mean unclassified or without a grade.

11a Falls over, about to meet soldiers (7)
NIAGARA: reverse an adverb meaning over or ‘once more’ and add the abbreviation for a branch of our army.

12a Removal firm on time (7)
ERASURE: an adjective meaning firm or solid follows an historical period.

13a Johnson play featured in Staffordshire newspaper (5)
IRENE: I didn’t know this play by Samuel Johnson but its title is easy to spot, hidden in the clue.

14a Like a star that was initially faintest? (9)
TWINKLING: the initial letters of ‘that was’ are followed by a word for the slightest knowledge as in the expression “I haven’t the faintest”.

16a Some farmers run while crossing the road (9)
GOATHERDS: start with a verb to run or “tick over” and follow this with a conjunction meaning while which contains THE and the abbreviation for road.

19a Certainly take top off (5)
NATCH: remove the first letter from a verb to take or grab.

21a Short month’s work for army type! (7)
OCTOPUS: string together the short form of the name of a month and the Latin word for an artistic work.

23a Trendy expression to describe current acting (7)
INTERIM: join together an adjective meaning trendy or fashionable and an expression or phrase containing the symbol for electric current.

24a Man possibly taken in by crazy fool (7)
MISLEAD: what Man (with a capital M) is an example of goes inside an adjective meaning crazy.

25a Free new facilities are in use (7)
UNLOOSE: insert the abbreviation for new and an informal word for facilities or ‘a place to go’ into the word USE.

26a No words are sung in this key (12)
INSTRUMENTAL: double definition, the first a piece of music with no vocal accompaniment like this one …

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Down Clues

1d Staff see instruction (7)
MANDATE: bolt together two verbs, the first meaning to staff and the second meaning to see romantically.

2d Pained expression? I’m in favour (7)
GRIMACE: insert I’M into a word for favour or good will (as in the expression ‘to fall from favour’).

3d Prophet put pig under cross (9)
ZOROASTER: put a word for a pig (based on the way it’s to be cooked) under a hybrid animal (a cross between a yak and a cow, and a very useful word in Scrabble).

4d Foster sister (5)
NURSE: double definition, the first a verb and the second a noun.

5d Managed to fire rifle (7)
RANSACK: concatenate a verb meaning managed and a verb to fire or dismiss.

6d Stones in ring, copper one (7)
CALCULI: insert the chemical symbol for copper into a verb to ring or phone. Finally append the Roman numeral for one.

7d No seats here in second coach (8-4)
STANDING-ROOM: bring together a noun meaning second or substitute (5-2) and a verb to coach or prepare.

10d In prison, creep’s hard to beat (12)
SLEDGEHAMMER: a slang word for a prison contains a verb to creep or inch and the letter that means hard in pencil classifications.

15d Where researcher may be found (9)
INSTITUTE: double definition, the second a verb meaning to found or establish.

17d No power to champion worker (7)
ARTISAN: start with a word for a champion or strong supporter and drop the abbreviation for power.

18d Most in joint will get disease (7)
HIPPEST: a bodily joint followed by a disease or plague,

19d Little number, rough total (3,1,3)
NOT A LOT: append an anagram (rough) of TOTAL to an abbreviation for number.

20d Ditch overturned limo after unsettling noise (7)
TURMOIL: reverse a word for a ditch or furrow and add an anagram (after unsettling) of LIMO.

22d Holy man‘s blue hotel uniform (5)
SADHU: assemble an adjective meaning blue or depressed and the letters that hotel and uniform stand for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

There are loads of ticks on my printout – I’ll just mention 14a, 21a, 16d and 19d. Which one(s) gave you a lift?

26 comments on “Toughie 1941

  1. Perfect, and approximately backpage difficulty which I hope translates to lots of people trying this.

    I liked the long ones, esp 1a and 26a.

    Also 15a (where I first filled in INSCIENCE, thinking it was a somewhat cheeky answer), 21a, 14a, 18d, 24a etc. etc.

    Many thanks Elkamere and Gazza

  2. Goodness, how do you even start to pick a favourite! That was quite excellent and a real tonic on what is a fairly miserable day over here.

    I did need to check on the 3d cross (2-letter words were not allowed in my days of playing Scrabble!) and also the 13a play – which seems to have been less than memorable – but everything else slotted in very neatly.

    All four of the long answers made it to the podium along with 24a and almost every other answer one might care to mention.

    Many thanks to Dean/Elkamere and to the knight in shining armour. All good wishes to both of you for the New Year.

  3. Beaten by 15d. The rest was a tough but enjoyable solve and a perfect accompaniment to the film The Red Shoes on BBC2 this afternoon. Thanks to Dean/Elkamere for the workout and to Gazza for the blog which I am about to read

  4. Not impressed with this! Too many slang words, 16a are nomads not farmers and, to me, 10d is a noun.
    Oh well, better luck next time.
    Happy New Year to Setters and Bloggers.

  5. oops, this was meant to be a reply to previous message, JB@4.

    I think almost anyone who looks after animals commercially may be called a farmer. Few are true nomads. The animals are often on a farm. Would you call the sheep or goose version a nomad?

    And 10d is indeed a noun, but it is also a verb (in equivalence to the last 6 letters, see Chambers). That is not a mistake you’re likely to find in an Elkamere!

  6. Off on holiday so time for the toughie for a change,
    Not too difficult overall, eventually parsed all but the Zo bit of 3d-thanks Gazza. .
    Enjoyable way to sped a lazy afternoon.
    Last in was 19a,a tad slangy for me.
    Favourite was 10d-thanks all,

  7. Thanks to Elkamere for great clueing and Gazza for the above.
    18d was last to go in and 19ac was a bit iffy but the rest was sparkling stuff!

  8. Flew through the first half aided by some conkers (7d, 8a), got 3d wrong (D’oh!), had a laugh at 21a and eventually crawled over the line with a smile. Didn’t know the stones.
    Many thanks to Elkamere and Gazza.

  9. I’d seen that this was an Elk because the setter’s list on the DT site was updated well in advance, and I must admit to lacking confidence that this would really be a Wednesday-level Toughie. I was wrong (it’s ok, I’m used to it!) and found this far gentler than yesterday’s — and a perfect tonic. Thanks Elkamere and Gazza.

  10. Hello Gazza, hello everyone!
    Slang? Hmm. I always prefer colloquialisms; generally safer ground, as slang words – even quite innocent ones – can have unsavoury connotations depending on how we interpret them, so I avoid them if I can. However, call it slang or colloquial, it’s a part of everyday language and, frankly, one of the setter’s most useful tools, as so many examples are ‘standard’ words filched from other meanings (rhino, bread, ready etc for money).
    Obviously, ‘informal’ language will appeal to or appal different solvers, but if that is a conflict it reminds me of the frequent bickering between aficionados of Ximenean/Libertarian clueing styles. The former is very precise, while the latter is based more on “Well, is there enough information for the solver to reach the answer?” and grammar/syntax aren’t the main priority. There is, I think, a misconception that each of the two factions wishes to defeat the other and have it removed from crosswordland. It just isn’t true. Both parties understand that having all cryptics written in exactly the same way would make the world a boring place. We need different styles.
    The same applies to slang, general knowledge, modern/ancient culture, sport… you name it. Some will love and others will hate. But we don’t want a situation where those who love a particular style are denied it because others aren’t fans. It just means the dislikers are probably better avoiding an individual setter whose approach doesn’t appeal to them. The great thing is, there’s a huge amount of choice out there.
    Anyway, enough rambling musings. Have a great New Year everyone!

    • Thanks for dropping in and sharing your thoughts, anax; interesting.
      The mix of the two styles fascinates me every Monday on BD’s Rookie Corner.
      Personally, I like the odd tongue in cheek clue/answer – technically correct or not, so long as the answer can be derived and understood.
      Thanks for all the puzzles.

    • Good of you to pop in, Dean. Hope you got to spend plenty of time with your ‘little’ girl over Christmas.

  11. But of course. Totally forgot about the naturally in 19a.
    The rest was pretty straightforward and very enjoyable.
    Loved the shortness of the clues.
    Haven’t looked at any of the special Xmas puzzles yet but spent 4 days with my entire family in a lovely mas near Nimes.
    Thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for his last blog of the year.

  12. I very much enjoyed this – a perfect level of difficulty for me. I, too, love the shortness of clues. I did not find this as straightforward as others did, however, I did not have any significant hold-ups. Many thanks to all.

  13. On Wednesdays our priority is to complete our blog for the back-pager and then reward ourselves with a no-pressure solving of the Toughie. This was the perfect puzzle for that and we enjoyed it immensely.
    Thanks Elkamere and Gazza.

  14. Thanks and very best wishes for the New Year to Elkamere & Gazza and to all the other bloggers, setters and regulars (and of course Mein Host BD!)

      • Thanks RD, though I’ve unlurked at least 2 or 3 times this year! Will try to do better, but by the time we get round to the need to consult the oracle it tends to be days later! ( our cross word difficulty scale is measured in meals – for ex we managed two puzzles in today’s (27th) 3 meals – not bad for lurkers.)

  15. As a great fan of brevity provided the surfaces are smooth and the cluing accurate this was as close to perfect as it gets for me.

    Many thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza, whose help I needed to understand my answer to 3d.

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