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Toughie 2324

Toughie No 2324 by Messinae

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Thanks to Messinae for a pleasant and fairly gentle puzzle. I would have given it two stars for difficulty but my struggle with 5d (see below) earned it an extra half star.

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

Across Clues

1a Apply restraint after pound is in a poor state (10)
RAMSHACKLE: a verb to apply a restraint or fetter follows a verb to pound or smash.

6a Intermittently visible Neptunian mountain (4)
ETNA: hidden alternate letters.

9a Camp has nothing standard (5)
OFLAG: stick together the zero-resembling letter and another word for a standard or ensign. The answer will be familiar to those who read stories of POW escapes from Germany in WWII – it’s short for Offizierslager (officers’ camp).

10a Skill people used in fitting pad (9)
APARTMENT: synonyms for skill and people go inside an adjective meaning fitting or suitable.

12a Fling tadpoles out, reducing stress (4-9)

14a Non-experts united in shaking a master (8)
AMATEURS: insert the abbreviation for united into an anagram (shaking) of A MASTER.

15a A cross that’s primarily protection against evil (6)
AMULET: knit together A, a cross or hybrid animal and the primary letter of ‘that’.

17a Support king in northern town (4-2)
BACK-UP: I can imagine the 2Kiwis tearing their hair out at this one. I worked in NW England for a long time so I knew the small Lancashire town (Bacup) – just insert the chess abbreviation for king. The Telegraph is meant to be a UK paper but it tends to forget that there is life beyond Watford – for lots of its potential readers (in Glasgow, for example) the town is definitely not northern so ‘town in northern England’ would be much preferable.

19a Bird has soft gold crest (8)
PORRIDGE: tether together the musical abbreviation for soft, our usual tincture of gold and a crest or hilltop.

21a Misanthrope often portrayed in play but not rep strangely (5,2,6)
TIMON OF ATHENS: this is an all-in-one clue. Remove the shuffled (strangely) letters of REP from an anagram (portrayed in play) of MISANTH[r]O[pe] OFTEN to get a Shakespeare play.

24a Pop fan’s hit from 1970s (5,4)
DADDY COOL: join together another affectionate word for pop or father and a verb to cool to get a Boney M hit from the 1970s which I’d just about succeeded in forgetting.

25a Picture that is providing cover for periodical (5)
IMAGE: the abbreviation meaning ‘that is’ contains a short word for a periodical.

26a Bovine holds source of carbon gas (4)
YACK: a domesticated ox contains the first letter of carbon.

27a Shepherd’s concerned to find this, it’s said, really (8,2)
STRAIGHT UP: this sounds like a lost male sheep (5,3). Hurrah, a homophone that works.

Down Clues

1d Cross over in switch (4)
ROOD: insert the cricket abbreviation for over into another word for a switch or cane.

2d Aimless drifting girl (7)
MELISSA: an anagram (drifting) of AIMLESS.

3d Husband querying chef recklessly cycling a lot (4-9)
HIGH-FREQUENCY: the genealogical abbreviation for husband is followed by an anagram (recklessly) of QUERYING CHEF.

4d Cold picnic item’s accompaniment? (8)
CHAMPERS: the abbreviation for cold followed by what you might carry your picnic in plus the ‘S.

5d Familiar dobbin shedding coat of dapple-grey (5)
LIARD: this was my last answer and even knowing three letters out of five I still spent an age on it, including trying to come up with a pet name for a horse. Finally the penny dropped – it’s a hidden word (d’oh) – all that remained was to check in the BRB that it means dapple-grey.

7d Article leads to check for American cop show (3,4)
THE BILL: charade of a definite article and what we ask for in a restaurant when an American would request a check.

8d Buff leather got buckles (10)
ALTOGETHER: an anagram (buckles) of LEATHER GOT.

11d Turn for instance taking in money making cold calls? (13)
TELEMARKETING: a type of turn performed on skis is followed by the abbreviation of ‘for instance’ containing an informal word for money.

13d Had babysat having arranged time off work (7,3)
SABBATH DAY: an anagram (having arranged) of HAD BABYSAT.

16d Mexican food producing injury, adult taking sick (8)
TORTILLA: injury is being used here in its obsolete sense of an offence. Put together another word for an offence or wrongful act and the abbreviation for adult then insert a synonym for sick. Were this a Rookie Corner puzzle Prolixic would probably advise the setter that ‘definition producing wordplay’ is the wrong way round and it should be ‘wordplay producing definition’.

18d Company doctor is good for a laugh (7)
COMEDIC: weld together the abbreviation for company and an informal word for a doctor.

20d Style of singing succeeded, being brought in by pair on TV (7)
DESCANT: insert the genealogical abbreviation for succeeded into a well-known pair of TV presenters but with their names ordered differently to the way they are normally written.

22d Sort of gaff comprises ordinary item used by fisherman (5)
FLOAT: another word for a type of gaff or a 10a contains the abbreviation for ordinary.

23d Knowing about line in musical film (4)
HELP: a slang term meaning knowing or well-informed contains the abbreviation for line.

My top clues today were 19a and 27a. Which one(s) floated your boat?


24 comments on “Toughie 2324

  1. I found this pleasant and relatively undemanding for a Toughie, apart from two new words for me in 9a & 5d.

    15a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Messinae and to Gazza.

  2. I tried Chambers online and was told there is no entry for LIARD. Nor could I find a definition anywhere on the internet other than it meaning a small French coin.

    1. It’s in Chambers 13th edition as an adjective meaning grey or dapple-grey (as well as the old French coin).

      1. Collins only gives the European coin and a Canadian river that rises in the Yukon. Is lexicocentric a word in Chambers?

        1. :D
          I suspect that the setter painted himself into a corner and didn’t have any other options for the L?A?D pattern.

    2. I was the same, I worked out it was a lurker quickly enough, but all I could find in the dic was the french coin.

  3. I learnt the same 2 words as RD. I liked the word play in 4d. 7d made me smile as I have a production script for one of the big episodes signed by the writer. I was absolutely on this compiler’s wavelength and enjoyed this enormously. I don’t often have time for the toughie so this was great today. Thanks to all the usual suspects

  4. One of my email correspondents and I agreed that this was very acceptable back page crossword – even the ‘grey’ was helpfully clued although it did take me an age to spot it lurking away, despite having the three checking letters. I did think of RD when solving 2d and wonder if ‘drifting’ would count as nebulous as far as the girl was concerned ;)

    I too noted that the TV presenters were the ‘wrong way round’ – the clues I liked the best were 24a and 26a, even if the former did leave me with an ear worm

    Thanks to Messinae and Gazza

  5. I agree with Gazza on the **/***/**** ratings, certainly not too difficult.
    5d defeated me, I will try to remember it in future.
    Good cluing all round , I was initially mislead with 19d -should have known better.
    liked 27a and 20d and enjoyed the solve.

  6. One of the most enjoyable for a while; 17a & 19a were favourites although I did want to put Bra Cup in 17a!! Overall 3*/4* for me; thanks to setter for excellent puzzle.

    1. Bra cup fits the definition and wordplay well (if not the enumeration) and would have been a much easier answer to to provide an illustration for!

  7. I’ve filled the grid, but I did have to use some outside help. Never heard of 5d of course, nor the ‘knowing’ in 23d and the play at 21a.

    Apart from those, quite straightforward.

    On checking my BRB for 5d, I opened it roughly in the middle (for a word beginning with L), and it opened at the necessary page!

    Thanks to Messinae and Gazza.

  8. Many more than 2 new words for me in this (both in definitions and parts of the wordplay) which significantly added to the challenge. I eventually got there in the end with 5d as my last in (very reluctantly without being able to find any reference to the grey). Thanks to Missinae and Gazza.

  9. As ever, undone by my seemingly very limited vocabulary, but I got close.
    Irritatingly, I could not get 1a (dim as Kath would say), for which there is no excuse. Otherwise I may well have completed.
    Thanks Gazza and setter.

  10. Thanks for thinking of us with 17a. As it happens we had got that one relatively easily from definition and checkers so just a shrug and a sigh as we checked in Google. Like everyone else 5d was our nemesis. Certainly looks like a ‘painted into a corner’ clue.
    Plenty of chuckle inducing clues with the best one for us being 27a.
    Thanks Messinae and Gazza.

  11. Solved in bits and pieces as I’ve been out for most of the day. Several things I didn’t know – 9a, 5d, the ski turn and that ghastly number at 24a.
    Have to confess to using an anagram solver for 12a & 3d.
    Favourite was 15a.

    Thanks to Messinae and to Gazza, particularly for explaining the parsing of 11d.

  12. I managed about 75% of this today – not really on the setter’s wave length. Enjoyed what I could do, though. In fact, I’m almost disapoointed if I can solve a Toughie unaided It means I’m not being stretched. My stretching has definitely improved my solving over he last couple of years since I found this site.

  13. Well, that was very enjoyable. A nice mix of clueing and a bit of GK.

    We didn’t spot the lurker in 5d (not alone there) and thoroughly enjoyed the shepherding homophone.

    Thanks to Gazza and Messinae. Incidentally, does Messinae actually mean anything?

    1. Surely you’ve heard of Globigerinelloides messinae – it turned up in a Friday back pager recently… :lol:

  14. No chance to do yesterday, but finished it quite smartly this morning, apart from the dreaded 5d. Lots of good clues 1a, 19a, 8d and 27a, in particular.

  15. Thanks for responses re LIARD. I did eventually find LYARD in the full OED cross referenced to ‘liard’. I love crosswords, hours of our lives drifting away. Crosswords and Wikipedia – where does the time go?

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