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Toughie 2176

Toughie No 2176 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I thought that this was a bit stiffer than the usual Giovanni Toughie but I did enjoy the tussle. There were a few words I didn’t know but no religious obscurities. Thanks to Giovanni.

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

Across Clues

1a In speech nails a few words (6)
CLAUSE: this sounds like nails or talons.

4a Mark made by caveman, made but half obliterated (6)
STIGMA: start with the name of the caveman in a children’s novel by Clive King then append just half of the word ‘made’.

8a Hope maybe to acquire expensive stuff, making uncertain movement? (8)
BOBBLING: I spent some time trying to find out if Hope was the name of a literary hob(goblin) before the penny dropped. Put together the forename of a comedian called Hope and an informal word for showy jewellery.

10a Someone in field having party — there’s slight resentment about that (3-3)
MID-OFF: this field is a cricket field. Our usual festive party is surrounded by a word for a slight feeling of resentment.

11a This writer making comeback — this writer’s getting award (4)
EMMY: reverse the objective pronoun identifying the writer and add the possessive adjective meaning belonging to this writer.

12a Joke act, duet being funny, given marks (10)
PUNCTUATED: stick together a verbal joke and an anagram (being funny) of ACT DUET.

13a Trifle recipe for getting lad fed? (6-6)
FIDDLE-FADDLE: this is an old word for a trifle or nonsense. It’s a reverse anagram which leads to ‘lad fed’.

16a Unstable type, artist taking drug, one with nothing, is given therapy inside (12)
RADIOISOTOPE: bring together our usual abbreviation for a recognised artist and a slang word for an illegal drug. Inside that we have to stuff a) the Roman numeral for one, b) the letter that resembles zero, c) IS and d) the abbreviation for occupational therapy.

20a What could get one avoiding a subject ultimately? (10)
DIVAGATION: this was a new word for me, defined by the whole clue. It comes from an anagram (what could get one) of AVOIDING A and [subjec]T.

21a River and lake subside (4)
FALL: append the abbreviation for lake to a river in Cornwall.

22a Good weapon — it has a metallic lustre (6)
GLANCE: the abbreviation for good and a long weapon. The answer (another word I didn’t know) is a shiny black sulphide ore of lead, copper or other metal.

23a See 7 Down

24a Teacher shortly gathering chaps not initially held in music class (6)
TENUTO: a private teacher without his/her last letter contains a synonym for chaps without its first letter. The answer (a word I had heard of, but without knowing what it meant) is an adjective meaning sustained (of a note or chord).

25a Swear as member drowning in beer (6)
ALLEGE: insert a bodily member into a type of beer.

Down Clues

1d Dog beginning to munch a foreign dish (4,4)
CHOW MEIN: join together a dog of Chinese origin, the first letter of munch and ‘a’ in a foreign language.

2d Cornered in a seaside borough, soldiers needing to escape (2,3)
AT BAY: start with A and a South Devon seaside borough then eject the abbreviation for rank-and-file soldiers.

3d Second drink? It may make you see spots (7)
STIPPLE: the abbreviation for second and an informal word for an alcoholic drink.

5d Person briefly in the office gets man captivated (7)
TEMPTED: stitch together an informal word for a non-permanent office worker and an abbreviated male name.

6d Sponsor wanting party on the up, what you’d expect in civilised chap (9)
GODPARENT: reverse a festive party (the same one that we attended at 10a), add a noun meaning standard (what you’d expect) then put all that inside an informal word for a civilised chap.

7d/23a Across Hatred and rage Left conjured up for monarch (6,3,5)
ALFRED THE GREAT: an anagram (conjured up) of HATRED RAGE LEFT.

9d A record is kept by French author who may explore a particular line (11)
GENEALOGIST: insert A, a systematic record and IS inside the surname of a twentieth century French author.

14d National guards would be organised by Louis and me? (9)
D’ARTAGNAN: a clever semi-all-one incorporating a compound anagram (would be organised) of LOUIS and the answer (i.e. ‘me’) giving ‘national guards’. This person served King Louis XIV as captain of the Musketeers of the Guard.

15d Scavenger’s beginning to make off with waste material (8)
SPILLAGE: the first letter of scavenger and a verb to make off with or plunder.

17d Darling daughter, serious but heartless (7)
DEAREST: the abbreviation for daughter and an adjective meaning serious or solemn without its central letter.

18d Northern city characters turning up to eat a northern fish (4,3)
SAND EEL: reverse the name of a Yorkshire city (it’s northern as far as those in the South of England are concerned – I’m not sure that a solver in Glasgow, say, would regard it as northern) and then insert A and the abbreviation for northern.

19d Remove certain content from paper containing bad English (6)
FILLET: the abbreviation for the pink newspaper contains a synonym of bad and the abbreviation for English.

21d Skill rendering sort of musical passage (5)
FORTE: double definition, the second being a loud musical passage.

I ticked 12a and 13a but my favourite was the splendid 14d. Do let us know which one(s) you admired.

16 comments on “Toughie 2176

  1. I’m so glad to see the difficulty rating as the response to my usual ‘is it me or Mr M?’ email seemed to suggest that it was me, although the sending of that email did allow Gnome’s Law to kick in.

    Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni

  2. Pleased that you enjoyed it, Gazza, it was just a hard slog here!
    Things I had to either guess or look up included 20,22&24a along with the definition of a 16a and the name of the French author. I also double-checked on the spelling of both 9&14d before committing pen to paper.

    I do like a little more humour in puzzles but, nevertheless, thanks to DG and appreciative thanks to Gazza for the blog.

  3. I’m afraid I am in the slog column on this one. In the end I was defeated only by 20a, that I hadn’t heard of, 14d, I would never have come up with the right Louis context, and 22a that I had penciled in but I did not know, nor could I find, the reference to metallic lustre. I am sorry, but I was left with more of a sense of disappointment than accomplishment. A pity because there were some wonderfully constructed clues – 16a as prime example. Many thanks to all.

    1. The second meaning of glance (22a) in the BRB is “a black or grey mineral with metallic lustre ….. eg redruthite”.

  4. Got bogged down in the SW because of 20ac and 14dn. Managed to guess 14dn from the hints but don’t understand the parsing! Had to confirm 22ac and 24ac. Tough (the cat didn’t help Jane😿).

    Thanks DG and Gazza

    1. 14d is a compound anagram. If you make an anagram (organised by) of LOUIS and D’ARTAGNAN (i.e. the answer, indicated by ‘me’ in the clue) you get NATIONAL GUARDS.

  5. Much the same as Jane. For me, it’s not so much that the clues are particularly hard or clever, just all the mostly ancient references which I find a little tiresome.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  6. 8a. I thought the whole point about “bling” is that it isn’t expensive.
    17d was difficult as first I thought of Grace Darling and then the darling daughter who couldn’t go near the water. Complicated!
    Finally, 16a refers to a stable element not an unstable one – or am I missing something?

    1. BRB isn’t too specific about bling, but the ODE defines it as “expensive, ostentatious clothing and jewellery”.

      Giovanni has a physics degree so should know about 16a. I have no idea but BRB says it is “a radioactive isotope of a stable element”. On the other hand the International Atomic Energy website says “radioisotopes are the unstable form of an element that emit radiation to transform into a more stable form”. Take your pick!

  7. We had to reach for the dictionary for exactly the same clues as Gazza did but in each case it was for confirmation rather than searching, which is absolutely fine in our view. Not a quick solve for us and we appreciated it.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  8. Always learning new things when solving a Giovanni.
    The newly independent borough in 2d, the old king in 7d and the music direction in 24a were new to me.
    Needed the review to understand the parsing of the first part of 4a and the therapy in 16a.
    Had to check if I had the letters in the right order in 20a and my French dictionary was more helpful than the BRB.
    Favourite 13a.
    Thanks to the Don and to Gazza for the help.

  9. Usually I like to leave confirmatory checks until the end, but not today! Needed to look up 22a to check that definition before constructing 14d who I didn’t know. Failed on 20a which I had to dig out using the brb’s search function. That’s always a bit of a grr, but still satisfying to get most of the way there.

    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  10. Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the review and hints. This was mostly completely beyond me. Especially 14d, but thanks for the explanation of a compound anagram. Had never heard of it, but at least I’d heard of the answer. Was 6*/2* for me.

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