Toughie No 98

Toughie No 98 by Giovanni

Another enjoyable puzzle

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

A better day on CluedUp, so these are a lot earlier than has been the norm recently.  When I first looked at the puzzle I wondered just where I was going to start, then one or two easier clues came to light and it all fell into place.  As usual, there are several clues where you need to find an answer that satisfies one part of the wordplay and rack your brains to find how on earth it fits the other – 10 across being a good example.  There are a few words which are not in the average vocabulary, but the wordplay points you in the right direction.


4a Coat of tribe with bird shown on the outside (8).
KIN (tribe) with MACAW (bird) outside giving a type of coat

8a ‘Bravo’ when brother comes round for dance (6)
BRO(ther) around (comes round) OLE (bravo) for a Spanish dance, and the piece of music now associated with Torvill & Dean

9a Pilot, ‘terrible’ fellow for getting back to entrance (8).
IVAN (the Terrible) reversed (getting back) to an entrance, giving a word meaning to pilot

10a Great performance? Let-down, the first half! (8).
GIG (performance) with ANTIClimax (let-down, the first half) giving a synonym for great – finding the answer was easy, finding the wordplay was a little more difficult!

11a Nasty rubbish dumped by number (6)
ROT (rubbish) with a number, giving a synonym for nasty

12a Marine animal responsible for garment getting devoured (8).
TUNICATE (a marine creature that I had never heard of) – TUNIC (garment) ATE (getting devoured)

13a Nothing admitted by agent in violent denial (8).
O (nothing) inside (admitted by) an anagram (violent) of AGENT IN, giving a synonym for denial

16a Block far end being sealed off in the wood (8).
FORESTAL (in the wood) – forestall (block) without the last letter (far end being sealed off)

19a Ancient hero longs to restrict evil (8).
ACHES (longs) around an evil giving an ancient hero

21a Remember what happens when dodgy product comes to light? (6)
RECALL – double definition – remember what happens; a request to returnfaulty goods

23a Swelling maiden perhaps gets to lose temper? (4,4)
BOIL (swelling) OVER (in cricket, a maiden over is one in which no runs are scored by the batsmen)

24a Gregory’s saintly brother in charge of a church (8).
Gregory of Nyssa was the younger brother of BASIL the Great, add IC (in charge) and A and you get a church

25a Swindler heading off to become a musical performer (6)
HARPER (musical performer – more usually called a harpist) – sharper (swindler / a person who cheats at cards) without the first letter (heading off)

26a Parts of plant Scot found in his town? (
IAN (in crosswords all Scots are called Ian, unless they are Mac!) inside PERTH (Scottish town) giving a word meaning the calyx and corolla together (parts of plant)


1d Many busy with admissions of debt (7)
COP (busy / affectionate slang for a police detective) IOUS (admissions of debt)

2d Greek character, I subsequently get upset and fight back (9)
ETA (Greek character) I LATER (subsequently) all reversed (get upset) giving a word meaning to fight back

3d Beautiful heiress given a tip about storing gold (6)
An anagram (about)  of A TIP around (storing) OR (gold) giving the heroine of The Merchant of Venice

4d Chaps holding on to companion happy to meet composer in German city (15)
MEN (chaps) around (holding) ON and CH (Companion of Honour) then GLAD (happy) and (to meet) BACH (composer) giving a German city

5d The box holds over the amount of news? (8).
CAGE (the box) around (holds) OVER giving the extent of the reporting of a topic in the media

6d Strong drink no good, obtained in bar (5)
INGOT (bar, usually of gold) gIN (gin -strong drink) without the g (no good) GOT (obtained)

7d Red coat’s unusual sort of design (3,4)
An anagram of RED COAT giving a style of the 1920s and 1930s

14d Story heard – listener’s not interested – back door found! (9)
TAIL (sounds like tale / story heard) BOARD (sounds like bored – listener’s not interested) giving a movable board at the back of a wagon (stretching it a bit to call it a back door!) – two different aural references in the same clue!

15d Horse almost stopping outside ring (8).
STALLIN (stalling without the “g” / almost stopping) around (outside) O (ring) giving a horse

17d Function with speech held outside gym (7)
ORATE (speech) around (held outside) PE (gym)

18d Goddess is put off when this writer enters (7)
DETER (put off) around (when … enters) ME (this writer) giving the Greek Goddess of agriculture and corn – in an earlier puzzle, this setter used his name, Giovanni, as the synonym for “me”; this caused me a little trouble on CluedUp in the early hours of the morning, as the setters name is not published online, only in the newspaper

20d Peak is hard with number sitting below it (6)
H(ard) EIGHT (number)

22d A learner, I pinch one book, making excuse (5)
A L(earner) I around (pinch) I (one) B(ook) giving an excuse – it wasn’t me guv, I was at home with me missus

As always, feel free to comment – share your experiences, don’t leave it all to Peter!


  1. mike
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 4:18 am | Permalink | Reply

    Well done – we’d got the rest, but failed on tunicate and perianth – must have taken a bit of research!

  2. Posted February 24, 2009 at 10:02 am | Permalink | Reply


    Tunicate was a new one on me, but perianth, while not a regular, does come up in other crosswords.

    It’s interesting to think that although crosswords do expand your vocabulary, there is a bias towards words that fit particular letter combinations. Etui is a good example; it is just about the only word that fits E?U? and ?T?I, which accounts for the number of times it appears.

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