Toughie No 132

Toughie No 132 by Shamus

A Potpourri of a Puzzle

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

This puzzle draws on a wide variety of words – two cities, a Scottish town, a Shetland fire festival, food and drink, a lake, an American President and a type of railway.  All of the proper nouns are well-known apart from the fire festival, but I enjoyed reading about it.

Today is the big day when I am entitled to collect my pension, so it is a bit hectic here at the moment!  The hints and tips may take a litle while to complete, but I will get them done.


1a Liqueur? Teacher sure to be tipsy draining last from bottle (10)
{CHARTREUSE} – this liqueur is an anagram (to be tipsy) of TEACHER SUR(E) without the E (draining last from bottlE) – it seems that Shamus has been sharing a bottle of this with today’s daily setter!

6a Leader leaving island – Oliver? (4)
{CHEF} – the leader is a CH(I)EF and if you take away the I(sland) you get (Jamie) Oliver – it took me a while to realise that I had to take the island from leader rather than the leader from island

9a Roadside establishment essentially acceptable to most on reflection (5)
{MOTEL} – if ever you visit this roadside establishment, make sure it’s not the one run by Norman Bates! – it’s hidden (essentially) in acceptabLE TO Most, but reversed (on reflection)

10a Possibly unfair to include mostly select form of railway (9)
{FUNICULAR} – this type of railway, of which the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway is an example, is an anagram (possibly) of UNFAIR around (to include) CUL(L) (mostly select)

12a An Irishman on fringes of normal political machine (7)
{APPARAT} – A PAT (an Irishman) around (on fringes of) PAR (normal) gives a political machine of the Communist Party in Russia

13a A dessert brought back is cold (5)
{ALOOF} – A then a dessert, typically made from gooseberries, reversed (brought back) gives a word meaning cold or distant

15a Enliven number in excellent end to game (7)
{ANIMATE} – a synonym for enliven is built up from N(number) inside AI (excellent) followed by MATE (end to a game of chess)

17a Sum of money around revolutionary period in tower (7)
{MINARET} – this huge sum of money is around ERA (period) reversed (revolutionary) to give one of those mosque towers so beloved of crossword setters

19a Carpet felt new around much of elevated room (4,3)
{TELL OFF} – cleverly this is carpet, not as in floor covering, but as in reprimand – it’s an anagram (new) of FELT around LOF(T) (much of elevated room)

21a Scottish place some rule terrible (and not posh) (7)
{MELROSE} – put in especially for BigBoab – this Scottish town is an anagram (terrible) of SOME R(U)LE  without the U (and not posh) – Chamber’s gives U as a synonym for upper class

22a Stick in school a thinker (5)
{LATHI} – I quickly spotted the stick hidden in this clue, then realised that lath was only 4 letters – a search through Chamber’s then turned up this Hindi word for a long, heavy stick used as a weapon

24a Mother at home tucking into eggs and lettuce (7)
{ROMAINE} – follow the instructions carefully – put MA (mother) and IN (at home) inside (tucking into) ROE (eggs) and, hey presto, you have a lettuce

27a A ceremonial burning’s involved in this neglected heap usually (not American) (2-5-2)
{UP-HELLY-AA} – this Shetland fire festival (ceremonial burning’s involved in this) comes from an anagram (neglected) of HEAP (US)UALLY without the US (not American) – even though I didn’t know about this before, this was my favourite clue

28a English city? Get day in the worst parts (5)
{LEEDS} – this English city is easily derived from D(ay) inside the sediment (the worst parts)

29a Uniform shown by Eastern archdeacon (4)
{EVEN} – this word meaning uniform is a simple charade of E(astern) and VEN(erable /  archdeacon) – and should have been a gimme for most of you

30a Tar was here unsettling seabird (10)
{SHEARWATER} – a straightforward anagram (unsettling) of TAR WAS HERE gives this seabird


1d Search thoroughly item associated with locks (4)
{COMB} – this is a double definition – there’s not a lot you can say about it other than for locks read hair

2d A clerk at first hearing about unionist, one concerned with risky calculation? (9)
{ACTUARIAL} – A C(lerk, at first) and TRIAL (hearing) around U(nionist) and A (one) give a word meaning concerned with risky calculation

3d Without doubt, pitiful thing that’s largely out in Holland? (5)
{TULIP} – an anagram (thing that’s largely out) of PIT(IF)UL without the IF (doubt) give something certain to be found in Holland – as a regular solver, I always admire a new clue for an old favourite

4d Impress English association ultimately favouring Anglicans (7)
{ENFORCE) – a synonym for impress comes from E(nglish) associatioN (ultimately) FOR (favouring) and CE (Church of England / Anglicans)

5d South African politicians with time probed amount in holy place (7)
{SANCTUM} – ANC (African National Congress / South African politicians) with T(ime) inside (probed) SUM (amount) all go together to give a holy place – clever misdirection; I had already pencilled in SA for South African before the proverbial penny dropped

7d Magazine and books boycotting play (5)
{HELLO} – this magazine is derived by taking away (boycotting) OT (Old Testament / books) from (OT)HELLO (Shakespeare play) – yes, BigBoab, it really is a magazine but if you haven’t seen it, don’t worry, you haven’t missed anything

8d One very high up a tree given warning by priest (10)
{FOREFATHER} -this one is very high up in the family tree – FORE (given warning by a golfer) and FATHER (priest)

11d Source of perfume enveloping last of women in passage (7)
{CHANNEL} – Marilyn Monroe’s favourite perfume around N (last of womeN) give a passage

14d Not a place cultivated around middle of grounds for fruit (10)
{CANTALOUPE} – an anagram (cultivated) of NOT A PLACE around U (middle of groUnds) gives us this melon (fruit)

16d Solitary note kept in a popular uprising (7)
{ASOCIAL} – a synonym for solitary is derived by putting SO (note) inside (kept in) A and LAIC (popular) reversed (uprising – another of those down-clue only constructs) –I was happy with this when I did the puzzle, convinced that laic would turn out to mean popular as well as relating to people who not members of the clergy, but now I am not so sure – what do you think?

18d President fantastically loves to read? Not half! (9)
{ROOSEVELT} – not one but two American presidents for the same price – an anagram (fantastically) of LOVES TO RE(AD) without the end of the last word (not half)

20d Writer having river around sides of study (7)
{FORSYTH} – the author of The Day of the Jackal comes from a Scottish river (near where BigBoab lives!) around SY (sides of StudY)

21d Second business student overlooks it in African city (7)
{MOMBASA} – MO (second) MBA (business student) then (overlooks) SA (sex appeal / IT) to give an African city

23d A house in time I’m missing – and lake (5)
{TAHOE} – another one where if you follow the instructions carefully you get the answer – A HO(use) inside T(IM)E without the IM (I’m missing) and there’s the lake

25d Relation favoured learning, we hear (2-3)
{IN-LAW} – this relation is fairly easy to guess – then you can work out that IN (favoured) and LAW sounds like (we hear) lore (learning)

26d Authority religious follower endlessly promoted (4)
{TSAR} – this authority is a RAST(A) (religious follower) without the A (endlessly) and then reversed (promoted – down clues only) – these days this word is used for the head of a Quango who deflects the flak away from the  Government on the sensitive issues of the day

Suitably refreshed by washing down a takeaway Thai meal with a delightful 1993 Pauillac that I had been saving for a suitable occasion (no, there isn’t any left Nanaglugglug!), it’s now time to put my feet up.  Shamus is one of the Toughie setters that I always enjoy, and today was no exception.

BigBoab should have been OK with 21 and 27 across today, no excuses will be accepted!  And Shamus, if you are watching, can you help me out on 16 down?

Toughie No 132 - Answers.JPG

Toughie No 132 - Answers



  1. bigboab
    Posted April 21, 2009 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi Big Dave, I agree no excuses would have been acceptable, however the clue which really pertained to me was 20d as I live right on the Forth. a nice crossword all in all but I did not get 7d, I assume “hello” is some sort of magazine?

  2. nanaglugglug
    Posted April 21, 2009 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday BigD!! We got off to a good start then it all went downhill!! Too difficult for us so we’re not happy!
    First time I’ve seen the same answer in both the cryptic (18a)and the Toughie (1a)on the same day. Whats going on?

  3. Shamus
    Posted April 21, 2009 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your excellent blog, Dave, and kind comments. Hope the puzzle went well with the dinner and wine!

    With regard to 16 down, yes, I was using laic as a synonym for “lay” or “popular” as in non-clerical. With regard to nanaglugglug’s comments, hope the difficult parts eventually got easier. The coincidental appearance of 1 across in another place was not something I knew about (even if you might think all Telegraph setters are obsessive about their liqueurs!)