Toughie No 127 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 127

Toughie No 127 by Warbler

One of the Tougher Toughies!

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

I presume this puzzle was especially selected for the Bank Holiday on the assumption that most readers would have more time to solve it.  A number of words that were new to me, and some new meanings of familiar words made for an interesting puzzle.


6a Devious old CIA spies on American stars (10)
{CASSIOPEIA} – this constellation (stars) is one of the easiest to spot in the night sky: devious signals that an anagram is in there somewhere, and soon you can work out that O(ld) CIA SPIES and A(merican) add up to the required 10 letters

8a Snake’s infection is eradicated (4)
{SEPS} – a very venomous snake mentioned by classical writers comes from SEPS(IS) (infection, IS eradicated)

9a Unbalanced by confinement czarist rule collapsed before end of century (4,5)
{STIR CRAZY} – sent mad by spending too long in prison (unbalanced by confinement) is derived as an anagram (collapsed) of CZARIST R(ule) then Y (end of centurY)

11a Round spot left in hair cut (4)
{BLOB} – a round spot is made up of L(eft) inside a BOB (haircut)

12a Weight’s satisfactory (3)
{OKE} – a double definition – a Turkish weight of about 1.3kg and a clipped form of OK (satisfactory)

13a Here maple’s flourishing is short-lived (9)
{EPHEMERAL} – this synonym for short-lived (literally, existing only for a day) is an anagram (flourishing) of HERE MAPLE

16a Complete last of deals with hot money (4)
{DOSH} – DO (complete) S (last of dealS) with H(ot) gives a slang word for money

17a Scottish Premier League’s drive to spend a lot (7)
{SPLURGE} – SPL (Scottish Premier League) and URGE (drive) give a word meaning to spend a lot

18a Officer returned wearing pale-coloured blanket (7)
{WHITTLE} – LT (officer, lieutenant) reversed (returned) inside WHITE (pale-coloured) gives a word meaning a blanket or a woollen shawl – the first of those new meanings for familiar words

20a Things containing foul-smelling resin (4)
{HING} – this foul-smelling resin, also known as asafoetida, is hidden in tHINGs

21a Argument after Belize took in Uzbekistan with fashionable jargon (9)
{BUZZWORDS} – WORDS are said (argument) after BZ (Belize) around (took in) UZ (Uzbekistan) to give fashionable jargon – all of these IVR codes for countries are in The Mine!

23a Little girl’s noisy without a smidgin of doubt (3)
{LOU} – LOU(D) is noisy without the D (a smidgin of Doubt) – clever because noisy usually signals a homophone

24a Aim to replace institute with ordinary theatres (4)
{ODEA} – take IDEA (aim) and the I(nstitute) with O(rdinary, as in blood groups) to give the plural of Odeum (a theatre in ancient Greece and Rome, also called an Odeon)

25a Blue, perhaps, intense almost and packed with swear words (9)
{COLOURFUL} – combine COLOUR (blue, perhaps) with FUL(L) (intense almost) and you have a word meaning packed with swear words

29a Leaders of African nations tighten security for soldiers (4)
{ANTS} – these soldiers come, rather obviously, from the first letters (leaders of) African Nations Tighten Security

30a In due course endless tour run finally stops for temporary residents (10)
{SOJOURNERS} – combine SO (in due course) JOURNE(Y) (endless tour) R(un) and S (finally stopS) for temporary residents – while sojourn is quite a common word, this derivative is less so


1d Male hoists weapons (4)
{GATS} – these weapons come from STAG (male deer) reversed (hoists – yet another down-clue only construct)

2d It helps to make fantastic wine (4)
{AST} – this wine ids hidden (It helps to make) in fantASTIc

3d Sweet old tailless monkey (4)
{DOUC} – DOUC(E) (old word meaning sweet, tailless) gives a variegated monkey of SE Asia – another one that was new to me

4d Fury when game’s up on time (7)
{MEGAERA} – one of the Furies of Greek mythology (not yet in The Mine, but soon will be) is an anagram (up) of GAME followed by ERA (time)

5d Purgative special soap smelt off (5,5)
{EPSOM SALTS} – this well-known purgative is derived from an anagram (off) of S(pecial) SOAP SMELT

7d Re-knitted handy wool without special care (3,3,3)
{ANY OLD HOW} – re-knitted here signals an appropriate anagram of HANDY WOOL to give a phrase meaning without special care

8d Deskman scattered doubters around Italy (9)
{SUBEDITOR} – the desk this man sits at is in a newspaper office, and he comes from an anagram (scattered) of DOUBTERS around I(taly)

10d At first Ramsay used expletives. Pity (3)
{RUE} – this word meaning pity is found by taking the initial letters (at first) of (Gordon) Ramsay Used Expletives

13d Feeling of waste after fine MP is sacked (10)
{EMPFINDUNG) – this German word for feeling comes from DUNG (waste) after an anagram (is sacked) of FINE MP – one of those words I learned today (you and me both Nanaglugglug!)

14d Wild rough girl is slim-waisted (9)
{HOURGLASS} – wild is the signal here for an anagram of ROUGH GIRL is slim-waisted

15d Processed game and deer making lots and lots of money (9)
{MEGABUCKS} – for the second time we have an anagram of GAME to give MEGA, but this time it is followed by BUCKS (deer) to give us lots and lots of money

19d Endless loud European jazz nearly shattered tile (7)
{AZULEJO} -an anagram (shattered) of LOU(D) (endless loud) E(uropean) and JAZ(Z) (jazz, nearly)  and you get this word for a Portuguese tile

22d Do you hear? Every last one’s belonging to us! (3)
{OUR} – take the last letters (every last one’s) of dO yoU heaR and you have a word meaning  belonging to us

26d Some flout usual Maori settlements (4)
{UTUS} – you can probably guess that these Maori settlements are hidden (some) in floUT USual

27d Spark a panic (4)
{FUNK} – this double definition contains not one but two lesser known meanings of the word

28d What a surprise! Look! Road’s empty (4)
{LORD} – this exclamation comes from LO (look) and R(OA)D (road’s empty)

Nobody told me when I started blogging that Bank Holidays and weekends were to be a thing of the past!

A mixed bag of mundane through to excellent clues.  I’m not a great fan of clues that use initial or last letters unless they are well concealed (it seems a cheap way of building a clue) and these came somewhere in the middle.  I agree with BigBoab about 27 down – the use of two obscure definitions of a word means that you probably have to, like I did, guess the answer and look it up.  Today was not a day to be without the faithful Chamber’s!

Here are all of the answers:

2 comments on “Toughie No 127

  1. I found it not too bad except for the three I’d never heard of before. (hing, empfindung and azulejo) I liked 9a and 3d particularly. I don’t like 27d at all! Have a lovely Easter.

  2. Can’t wait for your explanation for 13d – thought it was a German word? A bit too clever for me! Have a good Easter!

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