Toughie No 87

Toughie No 87 by Warbler

A little easier than yesterday, but well constructed

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Just a few to be going on with:

4a Ultimately Yank may hang out at US autocross (8 )
I never knew that this was Autocross in the US – here it’s an equestrian event

9a Clear number with grand mal et petit mal (2,6)
Mal is Fr(ench) for ill

10a Daughter’s husband was left in Ontario in a troubled state (3-2-3)
You need easy clues like this to get the puzzle started!!

11a Chef Jamie’s biscuit (6)
And another easy one

12a Stumbling I walk to end of street. Using this much power? (8 )
Quite a good anagram

13a Leaders of off-shore court to rule on international tax (6)
I didn’t know this one, but as it’s the first letters of consecutive words it was easy to derive

15a Label found in plastic kettle (6)
Hidden in the clue

18a Imaginary transmitted influence of English stage included in American theatre award (8 )
Not the Oscars, but the Tony awards

20a Department of FBI centrally expanded (6)
You won’t need to spend long on this one – what does the “B” stand for!

23a German navy has ordered hair to be cut in Eastern port (8 )
A messy clue, part anagram (has), part abbreviations (German and Navy), and the rest a truncated word (hair)

26a Expression of delight from Ko-Ko’s ward (3-3)
And Nanki-Poo fancied her

Some hints for the down clues:

2d Creative labour is devilishly hard I know (9)
An anagram of “hard I know” – I usually look for the anagrams or hidden words if I have difficulty getting started

5d Criminal one, a member of old society (7)
An anagram of i (one) a m(ember) of o(ld) s(ociety, giving a criminal and using criminal as the anagram indicator – I’m open to other interpretations on this one

7d It makes little sense to disturb one in a brown study (9)
Another anagram, again a bit contrived, of i (one) + a + br(own) + study

12d Tom’s heard about first principle – military retreat (9)
Kat (tom heard – cat) + a basis (first principle) – giving a military retreat

14d European agents’ corporation follows time scale (9)
T(ime) + E(uropean) + G Men (agents) + tum (corporation / stomach)

16d Pirate Irish group’s sound broadcast (7)
The Irish group is The Corrs

17d Though not hard that’s a difficult nut to crack (7)
T(h)ough ie (that’s) – a reflexive clue!!

22d Dramatist begins to master instrument (5)
The dramatist is GBS, the instrument is a predecessor of the oboe


  1. John (from Arran)
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Do you think 3d could be a body part?

  2. Big Dave
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    3d Historically a little pan made by two girls (7)

    Yes indeed John – presumably so named because it looks like the “little pan” of the clue

  3. John (from Arran)
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand the clue for 4d. I have the title of a 1939 Vivien Leigh film as the answer but I can’t connect it to the clue.

  4. John (from Arran)
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    For 8a I have the name of the biscuit part of an ice-cream cone. What is the connection with “Hazels horse”?

  5. Big Dave
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    4d Book’s over and done with. Unfortunately nothing’s omitted (4,4,3,4)

    It’s a bit clumsy, but my reading was Gone (over) with (and) the Wind (anagram / unfortunately of “done with”, excluding the “o”)

    8a Hazel’s horse takes the biscuit (6)

    Horse (cob) + nut (biscuit) – according to Chambers, a nut is small, often ginger-flavoured, biscuit or round cake. I guess most of us only know of Ginger Nut biscuits.

  6. John (from Arran)
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Dave. Probably the worst clue of the whole puzzle. I thought 17d was quite elegant, but I couldn’t find my solution to 24a in any reference. I assume it’s a derivative of “enteritis”. OED perhaps?

  7. John (from Arran)
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Ah so “cornet” was wrong after all.

  8. Big Dave
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    24a To go in to the midst of war shows guts (6)

    The easy part was the wordplay – enter (to go) + (w)a(r) – but the result is the plural of enteron – the gut or alimentary canal.

    For anyone seriously doing the Telegraph crosswords, Chambers is essential. I understand that it is beloved of crossword setters because of its rich vocabulary. Some setters do take this to extremes – like replacing an “a” in the clue with “per” – but if you want to solve the puzzle then you need the correct tools. The free, online, dictionary offered by Chambers is only a subset of the main dictionary.