Toughie No 128

Toughie No 128 by Osmosis

Tough, but not too Tough

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

I made steady progress through this puzzle – very few easy clues, but only one or two really difficult ones.


1a Box, consumed by booze, with right arm (10)
{WINCHESTER} – this box is inside some booze, in my case a nice bottle of claret, and is followed by R(ight) to give a rifle, or firearm

6a Lacking electronics, correspond with one Asian city (4)
{AGRA} – take a word meaning to correspond or concur and drop the final two Es (lacking electronics) and add A (one) to get an Indian City, the site of the Taj Mahalthat’s the real one, not your local Indian restaurant!

9a Patient, regularly ingesting opposite, splits drug (7)
{ASPIRIN} – the even letters (regularly) of pAtIeNt around (ingesting) RIPS (splits) reversed (opposite) give a very well known drug – a bit contrived, it’s one of those where you get the answer first, then work out the wordplay

10a Vigilant head of army invades foreign ground (2,5)
{ON GUARD} – this phrase meaning vigilant comes from A (head of Army) inside (invades) an anagram (foreign) of GROUND

12a University professor’s first to enter non-academic building alone (13)
{UNACCOMPANIED} – U(niversity) then P(rofessor’s first) inside (to enter) an anagram (building) of NON-ACADEMIC gives a word meaning alone – as I have said before, although the wordplay says to put the U first and then put the P inside the anagram, these are best worked out as a single anagram of all the letters involved

14a Note Ethel, hiding what babies naturally do (6)
{TEETHE} – this thing that all babies naturally do is hidden in NOTE ETHEL

15a Morecambe welcomes such extremists in the occult (8)
{ESOTERIC} – ERIC (Morecambe) is around (welcomes) SO (such) and TE (extremists in ThE) to give  an adjective meaning inner or secret (occult) – watch the clip and eat your heart out, Ant and Dec, you’ll never be this funny!!

17a Some of water extremely hazy – doctor round with details (8)
{HYDROGEN} – this element which, with Oxygen, forms the molecules of water comes from HY (extremely HazY) DR (doctor) O (round) and GEN (details)

19a Old monastic manuscript, about the French, not available for restoration (6)
{ANSELM} – once again, don’t be misled by the surface reading – this Old Monastic was once Archbishop of Canterbury, and he is derived by putting MS (manuscript) around (about) LE (the, French) and adding NA (not available) then reversing all  of it (for restoration)

22a Scottish engineer catches fish with palm? An ancient way (7,6)
{WATLING STREET} – (James) WATT (Scottish engineer) around (catches) LINGS (fish, plural) with TREE (palm) to give an ancient way – I thought that the use of fish as a plural was a bit sneaky!

24a Perhaps contacts unknown member of the flock occupying organ (7)
{EYEWEAR} – perhaps contact lenses – Y (unknown, in algebra) and EWE (member of the flock) inside (occupying) EAR (organ)

25a Can business imports corrupt art? (7)
{LATRINE} – this word meaning a toilet (can) comes from LINE (business) around (imports) an anagram  (corrupt) of ART

26a Destructive bed-hopper? Old Conservative oozes sensuality (4)
{LUST} – this insect, highly destructive to vegetation, loses O(Old) and C(onservative) to give a word meaning sensuality

27a Daughter, during Rag Week, attacked with poles a London landmark (3,7)
{KEW GARDENS} – D(aughter) inside (during) an anagram (attacked) of RAG WEEEK is followed by N S (poles) gives a London landmark which has extensive gardens and botanical glasshouses


1d Glasgow’s latest amateur band (4)
{WHAM} – W (GlasgoW‘s latest) and HAM (amateur) give a band formed by George Michael and Andrew Ridgely – don’t worry, no YouTube link for this one!

2d Heavenly body training on bend in English river (7)
{NEPTUNE} – this heavenly body is PT (Physical Training)  and U (bend) inside NENE (English river)

3d Male and female from tiny island designed period hat (13)
{HERMAPHRODITE} – this creature, which unites the characteristics of both sexes, is a combination of HERM (tiny island) and an anagram  (designed) of PERIOD HAT – here, especially for you Hotlips, is a picture!

4d Exhibition site disturbs the main orator (6)
{SENECA} – this Greek orator, familiar to many crossword solvers, is found by putting NEC (National Exhibition Centre / exhibition site) inside (disturbs) the SEA (the main)

5d Untidy notes hamper this person on special school course (4,4)
{ETON MESS} – an anagram (untidy) of NOTES around (hamper) ME (this person) on S(pecial) to give a dessert named after a school – it’s one of Mrs BD’s specialities, so I’ll get her to add the recipe next time she prepares it

7d Tradesman beginning to grow more work-shy (7)
{GLAZIER} – this tradesman sets glass in window frames and comes from G (beginning to Grow) and a word meaning more work-shy

8d Military officer declined idea to promote staff in data processing (4-2-4)
{AIDE-DE-CAMP} – an anagram (declined) of IDEA then MACE (staff) reversed (to promote) inside DP (Data Processing) gives an officer who acts as a personal assistant

11d Toothless creature entertaining at a complex, in shifts (5,8)
{GIANT ANTEATER} – this toothless animal is an anagram (complex) of ENTERTA(IN)ING AT A without the IN (in shifts) – well done if you spotted the anagram before getting the answer; I had Giant Tortoise at first, and considered Giant Silkworm before sussing the wordplay

13d Associate on the wagon saw villain driving (2,3,5)
{AT THE WHEEL} – easy when you know how! – a charade of A(ssociate) T T (TeeTotal / on the wagon) HEW (saw / Chamber’s: to shape, fell or sever with blows of a cutting instrument) and HEEL (villain) give a phrase meaning driving – another one where you guess the answer and then work out why!

16d Constant sharpness about curry-house’s latest dish (8)
{KEDGEREE} – another tricky charade – K (the Boltzmann constant) EDGE (sharpness) RE (about) and E (curry-housE‘s latest) give this fabulous fish dish

18d Director on Tate’s east wing, in review of Hirst, cannot decide (7)
{DITHERS} – messy rather than difficult – D(irector) then E (TatE‘s east wing / final letter on the east (right) of the word) inside an anagram (review) of (Damien) HIRST gives a word meaning cannot decide

20d Lace ten jars with alcohol (7)
{ENTWINE} – a synonym for (inter)lace comes from an anagram (jars) of TEN then that nice bottle of claret (alcohol) making its second appearance today

21d Camp volunteers left trapped by sink (6)
{STALAG} – a prison-of-war camp that is created by putting TA (Territorial Army / volunteers) and L(eft) inside (trapped by) SAG (sink)

23d Jewellery, for example, reflected on department store (4)
{GEMS} – we finish on one of the very few easy clues – some jewellery from EG (for example) reversed (reflected) on MS (Marks & Spencer / department store)

Another excellent Toughie – did you manage to fight your way to the end without any help?  Your experiences, questions or any other comment are, as always, welcome.


  1. nanaglugglug
    Posted April 14, 2009 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    When you do your hints for 3d Hotlips would like a picture please

  2. bigboab
    Posted April 14, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    absolutely not, I needed help with ” Anselm, Seneca ( I did get it but had no idea why) and, of all things for a Scot to admit, Kedgeree” thanks for this fabulous blog yet again

  3. nanaglugglug
    Posted April 14, 2009 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, BigDave – Hotlips wants to know if its one of your holiday snaps!! Joking apart – thanks once again for the help – I feel the Toughies are getting Toughier

  4. Posted April 14, 2009 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    What holiday would that be Nana? I don’t have time for such luxuries.