Toughie No 109

Toughie No 109 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

This one is not as difficult as yesterday’s. I was held up on 19d because I initially read the last word of the clue as TURN rather than TUM. It’s an easy mistake to make with lower-case letters, but I’ll have to get new glasses!

Across Clues

6a  Men of initially high station suffer ruin in play (5,2,6)
{TIMON OF ATHENS} – an anagram (suffer ruin) of MEN OF STATION plus H (initially high) gives the title of a Shakespeare play.

8a  In Texas watch one rolling along (6)
{ANALOG} – A (one)  plus an anagram (rolling) of “along” produce a type of watch (one with hands) but spelt the American way (in Texas).

9a  Sadly old, old friend is mentally unbalanced (8 )
{DOOLALLY} – an anagram (sadly) of O (old) plus the word OLD plus ALLY (synonym of friend) produces a colloquial term for mentally unbalanced.

10a  Antelope running back through jungle (3)
{GNU} – a hidden word (running) reversed (back) in “jungle” gives a type of antelope beloved by schoolboy punsters.

11a  Distinction? Extraordinary result (6)
{LUSTRE} – we’re on the fourth anagram of the day already, this time (extraordinary) of result to give a soft glow or distinction.

12a  Stevenson’s island hoard (8 )
{TREASURE} – double meaning – the island of Robert Louis Stevenson’s exciting adventure story and a hoard or trove.

14a  Somewhat dismal black pestilence engulfs island hospital (7)
{BLUEISH} – black is B and a pestilence is lues (now confined to syphilis). Insert (engulfs) an I and append an H to get a word meaning somewhat dismal.

16a  Best time to see feathers (7)
{PLUMAGE} – first the name of an oval fleshy fruit which also means the pick or the best of something, then a word for a period of time – join the two together to get a synonym for feathers.

20a  Key American’s reportedly settled for adventure (8 )
{ESCAPADE} – look at the top left-hand corner of your keyboard to get the name of the key, then add A (American) and a word which sounds like (reportedly) settled up or settled a debt to generate a word meaning an exciting adventure.

23a  Is sufficient for repairing our Northern street (4,2)
{RUNS TO} – an anagram (repairing) of OUR, N (northern) and ST (street) which produces a colloquial phrase meaning “is sufficient”.

24a  Brother is starting to behave badly (3)
{SIB} – an anagram (badly) of IS and B (start of behave) forms a word meaning brother (or sister).

25a  The place to find cowboy’s stew (4,4)
{WILD WEST} – the answer is where you would find a cowboy (at least in the movies) and the answer is also the definition of an anagram leading to the word stew [some people do not like this sort of convoluted wordplay, but I love it].

26a  Public speaker delivers moral stories without false smiles (6)
{ORATOR} – an anagram (delivers) of “moral stories” once the letters of “smiles” have been removed (without) to form a synonym for public speaker. I take the use of “false” here to mean that the letters are not in order – can you provide a better answer?

27a  Being naturalised British natives naughty girls query orders regularly (4,9)
{GREY SQUIRRELS} – yet another anagram (naughty), this time of “girls query” plus the even letters (regularly) of “orders” to form bushy-tailed rodents from abroad which have settled here (naturalised British natives) and have virtually driven out the indigenous variety.

Down Clues

1d  Savoury dish is essentially homely and better (8 )
{OMELETTE} – essentially means here the core of, so string together the inside letters of homely and better to cook up a savoury dish.

2d  Laughs at confusing signs in German. Quite the reverse! (8 )
{SNIGGERS} – an anagram (confusing) of signs inside (in) GER (German)? But it’s the other way round (quite the reverse) to produce a word meaning laughs at.

3d  Official service is not working (3-4)
{OFF-DUTY} – put together the abbreviation of official and a word for service or vocation and you end up with a term meaning “not at work”.

4d  Light bubbly sorbet (6)
{STROBE} – an anagram (bubbly) of sorbet produces a word meaning a type of light which flashes intermittently.

5d  In Avignon I suffered a touch of sunstroke in holy wars (6)
{JEHADS} – this has the feel of a hidden word clue but it isn’t. It starts with the French for I (In Avignon I) then there is a word meaning suffered or experienced and finally the initial letter (a touch) of sunstroke. The whole is the plural of the transliteration of the Arabic word الجهاد  meaning holy war against the infidels which is based on the verb meaning to struggle or strive. The second letter of the word is more accurately given as I rather than E, but either is acceptable since the three basic vowels in Arabic do not map precisely on to our five (or six).

6d  Maybe French language almost includes a quiet reprimand (6-7)
{TONGUE-LASHING} – another term for a language (maybe French) then an informal word for language with its last letter dropped off (almost) containing A and an admonition to keep it down (quiet!) produce a term for a severe scolding (reprimand).

7d  Hypocritical, wasting time, hosts guilt-free trips (4-9)
{SELF-RIGHTEOUS} – we’re back to anagram territory again and this is an anagram (trips) of “hosts guilt-free” without one of the Ts (wasting time) which produces a term for believing oneself to be morally superior or being hypocritical.

13d  Bay usually contains sweet fish (3)
{AYU} – this is a hidden word (contains) in “bay usually” meaning a small edible Japanese fish also known as a sweetfish.

15d  Emperor beheaded solicitor (3)
{IMP} – an abbreviation of the latin word Imperator (emperor) which used to appear on all our coins (“Ind. Imp.”) from the time Queen Victoria assumed the title Empress of India in 1877 (in her case it stood for Imperatrix) up until the time India gained independence. The answer is also the last letters (beheaded) of a word meaning someone who solicits clients for a prostitute.

17d  Left dead animal drowned in fat (8 )
{LARBOARD} – a synonym for fat with an animal inside it (drowned) giving a term for left or port-side. The use of the word dead is slightly odd, since, although these wild animals had been wiped out in Britain by the seventeenth century, they still exist in many parts of the world, and wild breeding populations have recently returned in some areas of Britain following escapes from farms.

18d  Shark meat cooked with a new European recipe (3-5)
{MAN-EATER} – think of the shark in “Jaws” here! The term is made from an anagram (cooked) of MEAT plus A, N(ew) E(uropean) R(ecipe).

19d  Gadfly upset sore tum (7)
{OESTRUM} – another anagram (upset) of “sore tum” giving a word for gadfly and also meaning a regularly occurring period of fertility and sexual receptivity in the reproductive cycle of most female mammals. The final M in the answer is more usually an S.

21d  Confused tot went ahead (6)
{ADDLED} – a verb meaning to tot up then a term for “went ahead” combine to form an adjective meaning muddled or confused.

22d  Despoiling images is a form of discrimination (6)
{AGEISM} – we finish, as we started, with an anagram, this time (despoiling) of “images” to produce a form of discrimination which we may all suffer from if we live long enough.

Well, what did you think of it? Please let us know via a comment. I thought that there were too many anagrams – I counted 13 in the 28 clues. But there were some satisfying clues; my nomination for “clue of the day” is 20a, with 25a and 2d both “medalling” as the American Olympics commentators might say! Let us have your selections.



  1. Posted March 11, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Permalink


    I too read “tum” as “turn”. I think it is the typeface used on the online screen that causes the problem (or maybe it’s trying to keep both eyes open in the early hours of the morning!).

  2. bigboab
    Posted March 11, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I found yesterdays a lot easier than todays, in fact without your assistance today I would have been totally at sea, thankyou.

  3. Posted March 11, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Permalink


    I saw you sneak on to another site yesterday!!

    The review is usually ready a bit earlier when someone else, like Gazza, does it.

  4. Posted March 12, 2009 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t quite match your anag tally but agree that it’s too many. Lues, Ayu and oestrum=gadfly were all new.

    27 seems to be a compound anagram (anag. of A less anag. of B = C), so two anag indicators seems OK. Less happy with the interpretation of “native”. As I understand the term when applied to animals, if the first of your species in your location was introduced by man and hence non-native, so are you – whether this happened last year or thousands of years ago. So “naturalised British natives” is a contradiction.

    Equally puzzled by ‘dead’ in 17.

  5. nanaglugglug
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Well, we’re getting much quicker – was today particularly easy? we did this without any help from either you or alchohol!!

  6. nanaglugglug
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Scratch that last comment – I was talking about 110 – this one was horrible!