Toughie No 2427 by Giovanni
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment **
Last week I commended Serpent for giving us a Toughie where the difficulties came from tricky wordplay rather than obscure vocabulary but this week we have just the opposite. The wordplay is pretty straightforward but the puzzle is laced with obscurities. To be honest the constant need to check things meant that I found it difficult to work up much enthusiasm for it.
Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle.
Do leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a What’s not good about novel being hit? (6)
BASHED: the opposite of good contains the name of a novel by Rider Haggard.
5a Support good queen going about old city keeping dry (8)
BUTTRESS: the ‘good queen ****’ of Tudor times contains our usual old Biblical city which in turn holds the abbreviation for dry or abstaining from alcohol.
9a Spoil charlady naughtily, rendering love songs maybe (13)
RHAPSODICALLY: an anagram (naughtily) of SPOIL CHARLADY. I can’t see how the answer (an adverb) matches the definition grammatically.
10a Explosive claim of someone who has annexed territory? (4,4)
LAND MINE: this could be a laconic statement of success by someone who has annexed a territory. The explosive is normally a single 8-letter word.
11a Very little desire in these people losing heart completely (6)
TITCHY: a desire or longing goes inside a pronoun identifying ‘these people’ without its inner letters.
12a Record kept aboard ship — one’s showing presence of deadly bacteria (6)
SEPSIS: put an old record format inside the abbreviation of a steamship then append the Roman numeral for one and the ‘S.
14a Number joining bishop in time to join eastern ritual before Easter (8)
TENEBRAE: start with a two-digit number and add the chess abbreviation for bishop inside a long period of time. Finish with the abbreviation for eastern. The answer, apparently, is what Roman Catholics do with candles just before Easter.
16a Was glitzy snow vehicle seen outside recreation area? (8)
SPARKLED: a vehicle for use in snow contains a recreation area in which we’re currently allowed to exercise but not congregate.
19a Erotic little woman at end of street meeting male finally (6)
STEAMY: the name of one of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women follows the abbreviation for street and the final letter of ‘male’.
21a Previously travelling nowhere without husband (3,3)
ERE NOW: an anagram (travelling, in the sense of ‘moving around’) of NOW[h]ERE without the abbreviation for husband. The answer could also be obtained by ‘cycling’ but I think that Giovanni intended it to be an anagram.
23a Complaining about parking becomes addictive (8)
GRIPPING: a present participle meaning complaining or whingeing contains the abbreviation for parking.
25a Few OK, struggling with hard time? That’s far from the truth (4,2,3,4)
WIDE OF THE MARK: an anagram (struggling) of FEW OK and HARD TIME.
26a Gelatinous substance from a fish? A fish! (4-4)
AGAR-AGAR: stick together A and a freshwater fish then repeat the exercise.
27a Ecclesiastical offence is about cash — curate finally put away (6)
SIMONY: reverse IS and append a synonym of cash having deleted the last letter of curate.
2d One destined to succeed, just as reported? There’s a price for being on the up! (7)
AIRFARE: bolt together two homophones (as reported) – the first of a person due to succeed or inherit and the second of an adjective meaning just or equitable.
3d To compile difficult? Nothing in it! (5)
HOARD: a synonym of difficult containing the letter that resembles zero.
4d Rejection upset boy — is girl hiding? (9)
DISMISSAL: reverse another word for boy and insert IS and the title of a girl.
5d Lying as the solution to one sort of problem? (3,4)
BED REST: rather weak cryptic definition of what a doctor may recommend to one suffering from an illness.
6d Church involved in something tacky gives request for silence (5)
TACET: one of the usual abbreviations for church goes inside something that’s tacky or shoddy to make a musical instruction to be silent (new to me).
7d Story in the Spanish inn that’s uplifting and that can be told (9)
RELATABLE: string together a Spanish definite article and a type of inn with a synonym of story inserted. Reverse the lot.
8d Yacht is at sea in ancient region (7)
SCYTHIA: an anagram (at sea) of YACHT IS gives us the name of an ancient region of SE Europe and Asia (another answer I’d never heard of).
13d Dear seen to be excited by player finally — has he succeeded? (9)
SERENADER: a semi-all-in-one. It’s an anagram (to be excited) of DEAR SEEN followed by the final letter of player.
15d Unpleasant quality of wine going to the head after end of luncheon (9)
NASTINESS: Crosswordland’s favourite sparkling wine and a synonym of head or cape follow the last letter of luncheon.
17d Beautiful female, wife with one good hairpiece (7)
PERIWIG: knit together a beautiful fairy from Persian mythology, the abbreviation for wife, the Roman numeral for one and the abbreviation of good.
18d Bad person’s object of worship set up as one outshining the rest (3,4)
DOG STAR: rivet together the slang word for a bad or contemptible person, the ‘S and something that’s worshipped then reverse the lot.
20d Bird with supposedly supernatural power over family (7)
MANAKIN: charade of a word (from Polynesia and other places) for a supernatural power which can supposedly be inherited and a term for family produces a small, brightly-coloured bird from Central and South America. Needless to say I didn’t know either the supernatural power or the bird.
22d What rowing may become when ego is let loose! (5)
WRONG: remove the pronoun corresponding to the Latin word ego from ROW[i]NG and make an anagram (what … may become) of what remains. I don’t really understand the definition or why there’s an exclamation mark.
24d Note Mahler maybe failing to finish song (5)
PSALM: start with the abbreviation for a note or afterthought and add the forename of Mahler (that’s Frau, not Herr, Mahler) without her last letter. The lady led rather a racy life and here’s what the great Tom Lehrer had to say about her:
My favourite clue was 2d. Which one(s) 16a in your eyes?