Toughie No 107

Toughie No 107 by Shamus

Shamus sets another relatively easy puzzle

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

After yesterday’s epic, today we have a much easier, but nonetheless enjoyable puzzle.  If you are new to Toughies, you should start with one like this.  I should point out that the difficulty ratings that I give are relative to the type of puzzle, so three stars here would be at least four on a regular cryptic.

I’m sure you realise by now that I enjoy creating the linked material.  If you only follow one link for this puzzle, then let it be 7 across!


7a Daily journalist reflected about a pretence (7)
{CHARADE} – the cleaner (daily) and the editor (journalist) reversed (reflected) around A give a pretence which is often played as a game

8a Challenger, perhaps, put back prize garment (4,3)
{TANK TOP} – a Challenger could be (perhaps) a type of military vehicle; follow this with POT (prize) reversed (put back) and you get a garment

10a Note inch I shifted in a vulnerable position (2,4,3)

{ON THIN ICE} – an anagram (shifted) of NOTE INCH I put you in a very vulnerable position

11a NZ region given name in middle of book (5)
{OTAGO} – the name here is not the usual “N”, but TAG, put this inside OO (middle of book) and you have a region in New Zealand

12a Time hard to manage in retreat (5)
{EPOCH} – H(ard) then COPE (to manage) reversed (in retreat) gives a point of time made remarkable by some great event

13a Island firm touring Channel Islands for composition (9)
{CAPRICCIO} – the island which was famous as the home of Gracie Fields then CO(mpany) around (touring) CI (Channel Islands) gives a kind of free musical composition

15a French writer about river just after estuary (7)
{GIRONDE} – a  French writer who is little-known, despite winning a Nobel prize in 1947,  around R(iver) ON (just after) giving an estuary in France

17a Refugee and actor once following road (7)
{MIGRANT} – the road is the M1 again, and that is followed by (Cary) GRANT (actor once) to give a refugee – can anyone tell me at what point an illegal one of these becomes an asylum seeker?

18a Car keys lost? Endless argument takes place in this sacred site (5,4)
{AYERS ROCK} – an anagram (lost) of CAR KEYS around (takes place in) RO(w) (endless argument) gives a famous Australian landmark

20a Fuss in wake of advertising for gallery (5)
{PRADO} – ADO (fuss) after (in wake of) PR (advertising) give a famous museum and art gallery in Spain

21a It’s contracted in Yorkshire Dales (5)
{HIRED} – the weakest clue by far has the answer hidden somewhere in the Yorkshire Dales

23a Pay chap or otherwise get some unofficial books (9)
{APOCRYPHA} – an anagram (otherwise) of PAY CHAP OR  gives some unofficial books which are usually excluded from the Bible

24a Old court star around four returns for comeback (7)
{REVIVAL} – (Rod) LAVER (old tennis court star) around IV (four in Roman numerals) and then all reversed (returns) gives a synonym for a comeback

25a Greatest time with group in river (7)
{EXTREME} – T(ime) and REM (group) are both inside a river in Devon


1d Tour base developed on largely modern resort (10)
{EASTBOURNE} – an anagram (developed) of TOUR BASE then NE(w) (largely modern) to give a not-so-modern resort

2d Free can is put in front of hotel (6)
{LAVISH} – LAV (lavatory / can) IS H(otel) giving a word that is a sort of synonym for free – the slightly risqué nature of the clue more or less compensates for the licence used for the synonym

3d Rather poor creed I’m reworking? Nothing in it (8)
{MEDIOCRE} – an anagram (reworking) of CREED I’M includes O (nothing) to give a word meaning rather poor

4d Titled figures rose around theatre’s entrance for actress (6)
{STREEP} – PEERS (titled figures) reversed (rose – down clues only!) around T(heatre’s entrance) for a famous actress

5d GP soon in after surgery? That’s being nosy (8)
{SNOOPING} – an anagram (after surgery) of GP SOON IN giving a nosy action

6d School missing old Australian, source of fiery outpourings? (4)
{ETNA} – that well-known public school, minus the O(ld) and plus an A(ustralian) gives a volcano in Sicily (source of fiery outpourings)

7d I arrange steps? (13)
{CHOREOGRAPHER} – a cryptic definition of someone who arranges a dance routine

9d Reasonable for head to include speech giving out answer (13)
{PROPORTIONATE} – try to stay awake while I explain this one! – PRO (for) then PATE (head) around OR(a)TION (speech, giving out Answer / without the A) giving a synonym for reasonable

14d Fruit and a roll supplied by place in crescent (4-6)
{CRAB APPLES} – this one has A BAP (a roll) then PL(ace) all inside CRES(cent) to give a fruit usually only eaten by animals – our dog loves them!

16d Video sent endlessly for broadcast showing steep plunge (8)
{NOSEDIVE} – an anagram (for broadcast – this often signals a “sounds like” construct) of VIDEO SEN(t) without the “t” (endlessly) gives a steep plunge

17d Terminate, as it were, change in appearance (4,4)
{MAKE OVER} – almost the end of the puzzle, and here is our first double definition – a cryptic definition and a change in appearance so beloved of  Trinny and Susannah!

19d Rowing boat about to leave? It’s an infallible indication (6)
{ORACLE} – a small rowing boat without C (circa / about, to leave) gives a shrine at Delphi

20d Talk foolishly about institute operating illegally (6)
{PIRATE} – PRATE (talk foolishly) around I(nstitute) and you have an illegal radio station that became famous in the sixties

22d Noble disregarding bishop in party (4)
{RAVE} – a synonym for noble, without (disregarding) the B(ishop) giving a wild party which, despite the implication in its name, was usually organised

A paucity of double definitions and only a couple of weakish clues make for a crossword that was a pleasure to do – and Shamus is even forgiven for inventing a new synonym for free!  [Shamus points out that it is in Chambers – see below – but it foxed not only me but expert cruciverbalist Peter as well!]


  1. Posted March 6, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Couldn’t find LAVISH in my too-rapid scans of the possible 1st and 3rd letters in ?A?ISH, and eventually plumped for BANISH, with ban=can=stop something, and BANISH=get rid of=free somewhere of something or someone. But one of the best clues of the day for those who got it. Monsieur Gide was in the Times earlier in the week too – he’s quite useful as a clue component. Good to see Otago defined right – scandalously mistaken for a town once, in a Times eliminator I think.

  2. Posted March 6, 2009 at 6:07 pm | Permalink


    Calling Otago a town is not quite as bad as last Monday’s Herculis describing Los Angeles as “The second largest state in the US”.

  3. Shamus
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks once again for your outstanding blog and the positive comments. It’s very helpful to get such detailed feedback on clues.

    LAVISH is given as one of the meanings for FREE in Chambers dictionary so don’t think I was being unduly inventive!

    Keep up the great blogging.



  4. Posted March 6, 2009 at 7:49 pm | Permalink


    I stand corrected – Chambers has FREE -> LAVISH, but not the other way around!


  5. bigboab
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Thanks yet again, I just couldn’t see “lavish”, however, what a good clue.

  6. Nigel
    Posted March 7, 2009 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Hi Dave,
    Re 17a, the query on refugees, made me wonder, so I found a good explantion by googling save the children/legal definitions.
    I only wish I had your skills to attach a link.

  7. Posted March 7, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    The question was made somewhat tongue-in-cheek! Only a few years ago you only ever heard about illegal immigrants – today they have all miraculously become asylum seekeres, when in reality they are mostly economic migrants.

    It is quite hard to explain html on a site that converts it all, so I will email you the information that you need.