Toughie 644 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 644

Toughie No 644 by Giovanni

Wisdom of The Fool

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

This is only marginally more difficult than one of Giovanni’s Friday back-pagers though it probably has more clues where a smattering of general knowledge is useful. As is often the case I got both long anagrams from the enumeration first and worked out the fodder afterwards (which is why I’m not very keen on long multi-word anagrams). There’s a factual error in 2d but that didn’t impair my enjoyment of the puzzle.
Tell us what you thought of it and please remember to indicate how entertaining you found it by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

4a  Break down having received a freebie (8)
{GIVEAWAY} – put A inside a phrasal verb (4,3) meaning to break down (emotionally, under a strain, rather than mechanically) to make a freebie.

8a  Hush around courts? Just a gentle sound (6)
{SWOOSH} – an injunction to hush goes around a verb meaning courts or cosies up to. The result is a gentle noise like a rush of air (or an emblem you may see on your trainers).

9a  Member received by youngster in island town (8)
{YARMOUTH} – insert a bodily member in a young person to make a port on the Isle of Wight (not to be confused with a large place in Norfolk).

10a  Bound to give reason why group consists of old rockers? (8)
{BANDAGED} – a past participle meaning bound (after an accident, perhaps) when split (4,4) could be the reason given why a musical group is populated by wrinklies. I don’t know which group he could be referring to:

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a  Wisdom: sadly possessed by neither woman __ __? (6)
{NORMAN} – Wisdom has to be the first word here to disguise the need for a capital letter.

12a  Old mother’s filling a hobo’s stomach (8)
{ABOMASUM} – this word (previously unknown to me but now filed away to be dropped into a conversation) means the fourth stomach of a ruminant. Put O(ld) and an affectionate term for mother (plus the ‘S) inside A and a dissolute fellow or hobo.

13a  True account by one who found something ‘good in parts’? (8)
{ACCURATE} – the much quoted description of an egg ‘good in parts’ comes from a Punch cartoon showing a young clergyman breakfasting with his bishop but not daring to tell him that the egg he’d been served was off. Put the abbreviation for account next to (by) the junior clergyman to make an adjective meaning true.

16a/18d  Running amok, the perverts go too far (8,3,4)
{OVERSTEP THE MARK} – this is a phrase meaning to go too far (apparently derived from a transgression in boxing). It’s an anagram (running – presumably in the sense of becoming fluid, like soft butter?) of AMOK THE PERVERTS.

19a  Scare father getting locked in a box (8)
{AFFRIGHT} – an old-fashioned verb meaning to scare comes from putting the abbreviation for a religious father inside (locked in) A and a verb meaning to box.

21a  Top grade with maths — odd to make complaint! (6)
{ASTHMA} – the letter used for the top grade (although these days it sometimes needs to be followed by “star” for the real top grade) precedes an anagram (odd) of MATHS.

23a  Discharge river’s thrown back — scatter now? (4,4)
{SEED TIME} – a verb meaning to discharge or spew out is followed by a common UK river and the ‘S. Then the whole thing is reversed (thrown back) to make the planting season.

24a  Short period without sun and Indian city gets disease (8)
{PELLAGRA} – this is a chronic disease marked by wasting and paralysis. Start with a short period without its leading S(un) and add the Indian city where the Taj Mahal is sited.

25a  City dwellers, not academic folk who keep themselves to themselves (6)
{LONERS} – start with inhabitants of a capital city and take out (not) the senior academic.

26a  Frame one deemed to be a traitor (8)
{CASEMENT} – double definition – the frame of a window and the surname of an Irish patriot/traitor (delete according to your viewpoint) who was executed by the British in 1916.

Down Clues

1d  Put total confidence in new brew, say (5,2)
{SWEAR BY} – an anagram (new) of BREW SAY.

2d  Good old Muslim Prince entertaining Eastern head of state once (5,4)
{GOLDA MEIR} – this is the original “iron lady” who was Prime Minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974 (but never President, and therefore not “head of state”). String together G(ood), OLD and the title of a Muslim prince with E(astern) inside (entertaining).

3d  Bits of legs you’ll see in that high street (6)
{THIGHS} – hidden (you’ll see) in the clue, but not hidden in the high street, especially in Summer, are bits of legs.

4d  Autumn days with pages being turned out by author (3,2,10)
{GUY DE MAUPASSANT} – the name of this nineteenth century French author leapt out at me (helped by my having studied a collection of his excellent and macabre short stories for French A-level) and all I had to do then was sort out the anagram. The indicator is turned out and the fodder is AUTUMN DAYS and PAGES.

5d  Woman in charge in Italian city (8)
{VERONICA} – what we want here is a woman’s name (think of Ms. Guerin, the Irish crime reporter who was murdered in 1996 – she was played by Cate Blanchett in the subsequent film). Put the abbreviation for in charge inside the Italian city which was home to Shakespeare’s pair of gentlemen.

6d  Loved one a beauty but heartless girl goes away (5)
{AMOUR} – the definition is loved one. Remove the outside letters of G(ir)L from the start of a word meaning beauty or charm. Unless I’ve misunderstood the wordplay the “a” in the clue is redundant.

7d  An area around theatre’s front entrance (7)
{ATTRACT} – a verb meaning to entrance or captivate comes from A and a large area of land containing the first (front) letter of T(heatre).

14d  Refusing to be temporarily unemployed, is getting stuck in (9)
{RESISTING} – a present participle used (especially by the theatrical profession) as a euphemism for being temporarily out of work contains IS to make a synonym for refusing.

15d  Stifle learner in alien environment (8)
{STRANGLE} – put L(earner) inside (in … environment) a synonym of alien.

17d  Organs getting vicars excited? Ecstasy may be hidden (7)
{VISCERA} – an anagram (excited) of VICARS with E(cstasy) hidden inside produces internal organs such as intestines.

18d  See 16a

20d  Unconvincing money paid to be bolstered by extra pounds (6)
{FEEBLE} – the definition is unconvincing, as a description of a lie for example. Start with “money paid”, and follow by (to) BE with the letter used for pounds sterling an extra ingredient  inside (bolstered by extra).

22d  Room overlooking southern end of the German city (5)
{HALLE} – the room that you normally enter first when you come in by the front door of a house precedes (overlooking, in a down clue) the last letter (southern end) of (th)E to make the name of a German city in the state of Saxony-Anhalt. Confusingly there is a smaller town with the same name in North Rhine-Westphalia which is probably better known to tennis fans as the venue for an annual pre-Wimbledon tennis tournament on grass.

The clues I liked best were 10a and 25a. How about you?

32 comments on “Toughie 644

  1. Only a whisker tougher than a Friday Giovanni for me too. Very enjoyable. I did really like 11a as well as 10a and 25a. Thanks to both the Gs.

    1. I agree.
      And this is why Monday is a poor day for those of us who buy a newspaper and don’t try to use the internet!

      (Sorry Sue. I did the Indy on Monday, because I was ion a train, and someone had left it behind!)

  2. Excellent puzzle so thanks Giovanni.
    Last in was the author as I’d never heard of him but from all the checkers and the anagram fodder I worked out what it probably was and a bit of Google confirmed it. Also needed a bit og Google to confirm the Irish guy in 26a.

    How I knew the cow’s stomoch I’ve no idea. Can only think it’s come up before.

    Thanks for the review Gazza.

      1. Moi aussi! In addition to G de M we also had Balzac, Molière & Racine. What a motley crew for a 16 year old just wanting to learn to speak the bloody language!

        1. We also had Molière, Voltaire and Rostand. All pretty good stuff really, especially Voltaire.

          1. But none of them compare to Eric Cantona’s use of Rambo!

            ps, they should never have been allowed to turn Les Miserables into a musical.

            1. I’ve never seen the musical but it amused me that Frank Muir and Denis Norden always called it “The Glums” – now if it had had Jimmy Edwards in it …

              1. …..playing the euphonium presumably. You’re right, that would definitely have cheered it up.

        2. spindrift, Moi aussi!

          I also suffered at the hands of various seventeenth-century French dramatists – perhaps, add Corneille to the list – can’t even remember!

          Not much fun when you are 16 – and very little help in learning the language!

  3. Practically the same to say as Pommers, and the same favourites as CSue. Oozing in originality today. Many thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  4. Solver friendly puzzle today from the Don, Nevertheless most enjoyable a couple of new words for me 12 and 24a, favourites 10 and 26a thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza fot his comments.

  5. got back pager done quickly this morning so am now putting off the chores by having a go at the toughie. first quarter went in well enough, but I thought I could spend the whole day not hoovering dusting filing gardeniing etc, so used the blog – more to make sure that I was putting the right answers in than anything else, but there are a couple I’d never have got. An enjoyable diversion all in all – I liked 3d! Thanks to G & G

  6. Many thanks to Giovanni for a very entertaining crossword and to Gazza for the excellent review, I needed your assistance for 12a and 24a.

    1. …….. I knew what you meant!
      Another brilliant crossword, and filled the time from Edinburgh to York nicely, thanks.
      Er, I should point out I was on a train, not driving.

  7. Yes, great stuff.

    I loved 10a, 11a, 1d and 2d (even if it was marginally misleading. The constitutions of foreign countries was never my strong point anyway.)

    And, I learned two new words- 12a and 24a.
    Every day’s a schoolday you know. :-)

  8. 11a – Yesterday was the first anniversary of Norman Wisdom’s death.

    Gazza, hope you don’t mind but I’ve lifted your anecdote from the review of DT26363 coincidentally posted a year ago today. New readers of this blog may not have heard it before:-

    Mention of Norman and the sad news, yesterday, of the death of one of our most popular comedians reminds me of a story which I think I’ve told before, but which bears repetition. At a session of the European parliament an MEP from Normandy was holding forth about a problem particular to his region and boasted “Ce problème sera résolu par la sagesse Normande”. He was then astonished by the laughter coming from those listening to the English translation who had heard “This problem will be solved by Norman wisdom”.

    1. Franco,
      I hadn’t twigged that it was the anniversary of Norman’s death, so thanks for pointing it out. The anecdote is well worth repeating!

  9. Enjoyable and meaty crossword from the maestro today. It was not overly long in the solving but never having come across the author meant this was the last one in with a game of guess which order the final unchecked letters fit the word. Many thanks to Giovanni for the crossword and to Gazza for the review.

    1. With reference to the grid – who chooses it – the Setter or the Crossword Editor?

      BD was impressed with yesterday’s Toughie Grid! I only notice the grid when there are lots of “wee stinkers”.

      1. Dunno Franco, but I think the setter chooses but only from a set of ‘authorised’ grids, some of which the DT need to dump! I hate the ones that effectively make the 4 corners into 4 seperate puzzles with very few checkers to link them.

        1. I’m still waiting for a Crossword where all the intersecting letters are vowels! Could the setters be so cruel?

  10. Does the printed version have the same strange punctuation as online for 16a/18d?:

    16 and 18: Down Running amok, the perverts go too far

    If so, why?

Comments are closed.