Toughie No 130

Toughie No 130 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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

Quite a thought-provoking and entertaining puzzle today from a setter known for producing some very challenging and difficult puzzles – last Sunday’s Enigmatic Variations puzzle of his is one that is certainly worth solving, if you have the time and patience.  I found this a reasonable challenge with several new words and phrases, but it did contain another appearance of the dreaded indirect anagram (see the blog for Toughie 126!).   I thought a couple of clues over-egged the pudding and I am not at all keen on one definition.

This puzzle does rely on a couple of unusual abbreviations, and solvers may be interested to know that there is a very good publication called Chambers XWD by Derrick Knight and Michael Kindred. The book contains an invaluable list of abbreviations used in crosswords andthey are shown both by description and abbreviation. It was available on eBay last time I looked, but Amazon also stock it, and quite a few good bookshops. One of the essentials for those who like to solve the tougher puzzles.

Aesthetic note: 11 & 25 is only shown as containing (7) with the extra (4) shown only at 25. The full letter count should be shown at 11. Likewise 1 down and 23. It might seem pedantic, but it is an unecessary distraction.

[This is the online version, and has been a constant source of complaint.  BD]

Here we go……

1 European Community reversed regulation for “sky blue” (6)
{CERULE} – A word-sum. EC, reversed + RULE. I remember the phrase “cerulean sky” from my schooldays. Probably in some translation of the Aeneid or similar.

4 Money from plays in church? On the contrary (8)
{DRACHMAS} – Money is the definition here, plays = DRAMAS and church = CH. Although you can make a case for reading it as “a word for plays with church in it”, here the setter is telling you to play it straight ie the other way round, with then “On the Contrary” to say it’s the other way round.   Confused? I was for a while.  Leaves a bit of an odd taste in the mouth.

9 You sound very loud in zone 1 gallery (6)
{UFFIZI} –  “You sound” = U, “very loud” = FF (from musical notation) I = in (I’ll return to this in a mo) + ZI = Zone 1.  Chamber’s only gives I’ as “in” (as an abbreviation), otherwise I can’t find I meaning in. It’s an awful word to have to clue, and I’m not sure that the clue strictly works.

10 Relating to ticks, accountant has lowest emotional state in recession (8)
{ACARIDAN} – Nice, sort of topical clue. However here the ticks are not marks in a column, but those little creatures that have a few legs and often bite.  ACA (Associate of Chartered Accountants) + NADIR (reversed).

12 Expressions of good health produced by small frankfurters Down Under (8)
{CHEERIOS) – Simple double definition clue.  Apart from the “farewells”, CHEERIOS are small Australian sausages!  When I was a lad it was also the sauce to put on them!

13 Where Henry was lost among clothes thrown out? (6)
{CLOSET} – This is one of those examples where the whole of the clue defines the word required, with the subsidiary indications there as well.   “Where” would be an unsatisfactory definition; it basically comprises an anagram of CLOTHES without H for Henry (as in physics).  Good clue.

15 Profiteer when tourist acquires collections (5-8)
{ASSET-STRIPPER} – Profiteer = definition, and the clue is made up of AS TRIPPER = when tourist, with a word for “collections” inside.  Acquires is here meaning to absorb.

18 Vitamin’s manufactured from coccidia, innit? (9,4)
{NICOTINIC ACID} – One of those clues you’ll either think is clever, or cause you to suck your teeth.   According to Chambers Coccidia is a type of protozoa.   The “innit” just makes the clue a bit contrived, to my mind.  There are probably better anagrams that could be used. NICOTINIC ACID is another name for one of the B Vitamins, and is also called Niacin.

22 Heartless adolescent is shut up (6)
{IMMURE} – Adolescent = IMMATURE, heartless is asing you to remove the middle, ie two letters) – this will give you a word meaning to shut up (as in behind a wall)

24 Gold for mother and army people who act by routine (8)
{AUTOMATA} – AU is the chemical symbol for gold; TO = for; MA = Mother; TA = (Territorial) Army.  People who do things by rote are said be robot like.

26 Teacher’s ill-mannered to retort about censor (8)
{EDUCATOR} – CATO is a famous Roman Censor, often found in crossword-land, and ill-mannered = RUDE, which is reversed (per use of the word ‘Retort’).  Can’t say I have seen the word “retort” used as a reversal indicator, but according to Chambers, it means “throw back”, so I think it is OK.

27 Retreat of sheep by tree (6)
{ASHRAM} – Simple word sum Retreat (as in monastery, etc) = TREE + SHEEP.  Note the use of the word “by” to indicate it could be either side. Nice clue.

28 Everything possible with kosher cooking follows Torah primarily (3,5)
{THE WORKS} – Everything possible is the definition: The indications lead to (W = with + KOSHER both anagrammed:”cooked”) after T(orah).

29 Recipient of Holy Communion in a hospital? (3-3)
{ASH-CAN} –  I am really not keen on “recipient” as a definition and consider it very unfair, and being used purely for the sake of a decent surface reading. It parses as HC (Holy Communion) inside A SAN (short for Sanatorium = Hospital).


1 & 23   Among Anglicans chorus hum to disconcert poor creature (6,5)
{CHURCH MOUSE}  – Apart from my note about the numbering of the indicator, this is quite a nice clue with the whole sentence qualifying the answer, as well as the definition.  Anglicans = CE (Church of England) with an anagram of CHORUS HUM inside.  The defintion refers to the old saying “As poor as a….”

2     Nervous unit is concerned about cable attached to damaged vehicle (6,3)
{REFLEX ARC}   – Aaargh! The dreaded indirect anagram again.  The clue comprises  RE “concerned about” +  FLEX “cable” +  an anagram of a word meaning vehicle.  Not keen on this device at all.

3     Beneficiary of a miracle is gull in Arizona? Just the opposite (7)
{LAZARUS}  – This is the same device as used in 4 across.  So, it’s not really a word for a gull inside an abbreviation for Arizona – it’s the other way round.

5     Some satiric humour is outrageous (4)
{RICH}   – A simple hidden answer.

6     Player of stringed instrument has return of sickness at heart (7)
{CORELLI} – The definition refers to Louis de Bernières’ Kefalonian equivalent to George Formby!   It comprises a reversal of a word meaning a sickness and attaching it to a word meaning heart.

7     Phrygian king is mad, mad (5)
{MIDAS} – The King with the golden touch.  Nice clue with it leading to an anagram of IS MAD.

8     It is soundness of mind to include a third bit of carbolic to be hygienic (8)
{SANITARY} – Another that some will like, one or two may loathe.  SANITY with A R inside.  R is “third bit of Carbolic”.  Watch those teeth!

11 & 25   Archbishop’s rule for monks is in error about very small item (7,4)
{MORTON’S FORK} – A look at Brewer’s confirms the answer, rather than Wikipedia which would mislead you as the definition is not as full as the big book.   Basically Morton’s Fork was a taxing device which affected both rich and poor alike, and  sort of equated to the phrase “the lesser of two evils”.  I learned some years back that when setting quiz questions, you should not just rely on Wikipedia.  Not sure whether rule is strictly correct; it was more of a device or plan.  This clue works out as an anagram of FOR MONKS with a word inside meaning a very small item.  Chambers defines ORT as a fragment, usually of food.

14    Drink without food can make one arrogant (5-2)
{STUCK-UP} – Straightforward:   TUCK (food) inside SUP.

16    Patricide could perhaps be related to the care of children in America (9)
{PEDIATRIC} – Anagram of PATRICIDE leading to the US spelling of a word meaning related to the care of children.

17    In India one short man is in need (8)
{INDIGENT} – Word-Sum time again.  IND (In India?) + I + GENT   –  Definition is “in need”.

19    In US twister’s making new trouble after corruption is reciprocated (7)
{TORNADO} – This clue parses as “new trouble”  N ADO  following on from a word meaning corruption “reciprocated”, or reversed.  Not heard of that as a reversal indicator before.

20    A variety of sources is needed to discover the King of Lydia (7)
{CROESUS} – An anagram of SOURCES will reveal a king associated with wealth in a famous expression.

21    God’s means of attack in Merchant Navy (6)
{MAMMON} – AMMO inside an abbreviation for the Merchant Navy.

Quite a tough task today.  Thaks to MynoT for the challenge.


  1. bigboab
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed it today but still can’t get 11,25d, some kind of book or work? Apart from that welcome back Tilsit hope you are fully recovered.

  2. libellule
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Bigboab, both Dave and I solved this as the last clue in the crossword. For me it was a phrase I had never seen before. Basically its a phrase meaning a choice between two equally unpleasant alternatives.
    You can find a link to it here.

  3. tilsit
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Hi Boab and thanks!

    I am feeling much brighter and received some good news today which has perked me up.

    Explanation to follow in a second or two.

  4. tilsit
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    The explanation in Wikipedia is not as satisfactory as in Brewer’s which affirms he was an Archbishop, before being the Lord Chancellor. Based on the Wiki entry, the clue would not make as much sense.

  5. bigboab
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks libellule and Tilsit, I would not have got it.

  6. libellule
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Tilsit – you need to follow the link on the name of John Morton for the biography.

  7. Posted April 16, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    As Libellule has said, it was my last clue in this puzzle. What he has kindly omitted to say is that said Cardinal is possibly one of my ancestors, and how often does your own name come up in a crossword!

  8. Posted April 16, 2009 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just said that last week’s indirect anag. was just about excusable, but this one isn’t – you have no way of knowing what kind of vehicle is required except by help from checking letters. Car, bus, van … not that many choices but two is too many.

    Can’t offer anything better on UFFIZI except that ZI is a bit more convincing as Z=zone,I = 1.

    Forgot about Captain Corelli and thought the composer (Arcangelo C) must have played the fiddle. Turns out he did, so the clue works two ways!

    At 17, “Ind” is a poetic name for India.

  9. tilsit
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    Thanks Peter, my concern with UFFIZI was the the first I being used as “In”.

    At 17, I should have clarified the poetic def of IND. Thanks for doing that. The use of “In” at the start of the clue leaves me a little uneasy as well.