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.
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.
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.