Toughie No 92 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 92

Toughie No 92 by Firefly

A challenging puzzle

+ – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I was racing through this one, with thoughts of a relatively early night, when suddenly I hit a brick wall in the bottom right hand corner.  At least three out of the five difficulty stars are for this corner – see what you think.

Across hints, to let you out of your agony!!

1a Scheme to bring rock to Beds? (9)
Strata (beds) gem (rock) – intentionally misleading; my first thought was rock meaning strata, but it doesn’t quite work out with one singular and the other plural

9a Definitely not number of Listener (2,4)
An enjoyable clue – N(umber) of ear (listener)

10a Unusually portative boats (9)
A neat anagram (unusually) of portative – these boats are found in Venice

11a Rotter pinching Ivor’s first girl (6)
The rotter is a louse

12a Remain in gushing good humour (4-5)
Be (remain) in welling (gushing)

13a Bully off in the orchard? Not difficult (6)
This is an anagram (off) of “the orc(hard)” – “not difficult” meaning without the word “hard”

17a & 20a Girl votes against parties (3,3)
Bea (girl) nos (against) – giving beanos (parties)

19a Bail Rod, canoeist misusing drug (8,7)
A silly anagram (misusing) of the first three words – I say silly because it is obviously an anagram and very contrived

21a Norwich School luminary’s Rector here in Norfolk (6)
(John) Crome was a luminary of the Norwich School of Painters; just add R(ector) and you have a town in Norfolk – my favourite clue in this puzzle

25a Independent? Not even a single copy printed (3,3,3)
Odd (not even) one (a single) out (copy printed)

26a Worker let out in hurry (6)
Bee (worker) and an anagram (out) of let

27a Mum caught a nameless boy in tree (9)
Spent a lot of time on this before the penny dropped – Ma (mum) c(aught) a damia (Damia(n) – (n)ameless boy) giving a tree

28a Examination of remarkable Velazquez held back somewhat (1-5)
Hidden, backwards (held back) in the clue

29a Vestiges of disease on hands and feet, partly (9)
Another tricky one – ME (disease) men (hands) toes (feet, partly – yuk!)

Down clues (sorry for the delay):

2d Tenor receiving artistic support’s a prickly one (6)
T(enor) easel (artistic support)

3d One once worshipped a Neapolitan chicken (6)
A pollo (Italian for chicken)

4d River in Buxton, say, up in the Peaks (6)
Exe (river) inside aps (spa reversed)

5d It’s between English and the French to end certain misdealing (7,8 )
E(nglish) and le (the, French) around an anagram (misdealing) of “to end certain” – a nice example of an &Lit clue, as discussed in the DT 25847 comments

6d Palm Medoc company off with end of grape run (4,2,3)
An anagram (off) of medoc co(mpany) with e (end of grape) and r(un), giving a type of palm tree

7d Erring and straying? (9)
Deviation – double meaning

8d Unrestricted interchange of improvised jazz supported by Earl (4,5)
Free (improvised) trad (jazz) E(arl)

14d Vessel carrying alcoholic drink? It may be on the table (5,4)
Sauce (according to Chambers, “the sauce” is an informal American expression for an alcoholic drink – what more can I say?) boat (vessel)

15d Kitchen appliance shade short on power, having feet missing (3-6)
Canop(y) ener(gy)

16d See blonde dressing – a sanguine experience! (9)
An anagram (dressing) of “see blonde” – what could happen after the wife punches you  in the face when she catches you with the blonde!!

17d Bishop in gaol (3)
B(ishop) in – hardly worthy of a Toughie clue

18d A second son for simpleton (3)
A s(econd) s(on) – much like the previous clue

22d Plant acquires nothing about law officer (6)
Love (acquires nothing) about AG (Attorney General) – see Peter’s comments below

23d Academic forces Master into tantrum (6)
Ed (editor / the setter’s master) inside pant (tantrum) giving a person who values academic learning too highly – I’m open to better interpretations of this one
Dan (Chambers:  title of honour equivalent to Master or Sir formerly applied especially to monks, and by the poets to great poets, etc.) inside pet (tantrum – Chambers again: a slight or childish fit of aggrieved or resentful sulkiness) – I knew there was a better explanation – thanks Firefly

24d Girl grips fastener on the back (6)
An easy one to finish off the puzzle – Sue (girl) around pin (fastener)

Apologies for the delays today – taking on the blogging of two puzzles in a day is one thing, but on a day when I had other things to do, it was a bit of a strain.  Help is, however, at hand for Thursday and Friday, leaving me free to do only the Toughie on those days (more about that later).

5 comments on “Toughie No 92

  1. I had a look at some of the early toughies but haven’t tried one for a month or two. Gave up on this after 20 minutes with 29 and 22 left. 29 I should have seen, but 22D still has me stumped.

    In fact I had the whole puzzle done but for 22/23/27/29 in about 10 minutes. I think the toughie puzzles would be a lot better with grids that were less “one corner at a time”. In this one, it’s only the crossing 15s that hold the four corners of the grid together. This, combined with low rates of checking (4 letters of 9 in 12 answers today) make the toughie tough by what feels like slightly unfair means.

    Are the toughies in the paper still credited to setters with pseudonyms? If so, it would be nice to see who it is each day. (As far as I know, the pseudonynms never appeared on the CluedUo site.)

  2. Peter
    They are credited, but, for some reason, not on the online site. This was particularly annoying a few weeks ago when the setter used his own name in a clue.

    22d is a stinker – love (nothing) about AG (Attorney General) giving the plant lovage – I’m sure you didn’t need the explanation, Peter, but others almost certainly will.

    It is nice seeing an English law officer, rather than the ubiquitous District Attorney!!

  3. I was thinking of SOCAGE – O=nothing, C = about in SAGE. But the def didn’t fit so I’m glad I was wrong. Sour grapes maybe, but I don’t really think “acquires” is a fair link between def and wordplay, though AG makes a nice change as you say.

  4. Delighted to find your new website, Dave, and to be an early “subject”. Wishing you all success.

    [23d is Dan in pet]

    Kind regards


  5. Firefly
    It’s taken two hours for the penny to drop!! You caused us all a lot of problems today, but thanks for taking the trouble to look in – you are welcome back any time.

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