Toughie No 133

Toughie No 133 by KciT

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

This is a fairly tough Toughie with a few obscure words. I liked some of the clues and disliked others, but the whole thing was certainly an enjoyable challenge.

Across Clues

1a  In leaf where one starts to surf (4,4)
{HOME PAGE} – we begin with a cryptic description of the first screen you see when you launch your browser, and from which you start surfing the internet; it’s made up of HOME (in) and PAGE (leaf).

5a  Original border claimed by China? (6)
{PRIMAL} – forget the large Asian country, this china is cockney rhyming-slang for mate (china-plate) and we want a synonym for mate which includes (claimed) RIM (border) to produce a word meaning first or original. No wonder the compiler added the question mark!

9a  How to make gale stir into life? (5,1,3)
{SHAKE A LEG} – this is a beautifully constructed clue, asking how do you make “gale”? – well, the answer is to construct an anagram of A LEG and the anagram indicator that we have to use is SHAKE. The resulting phrase means hurry up or stir into life.

11a  One moves to forefront of singers, producing heavenly stuff (5)
{ICHOR} – singers is CHOIR. Move the I to the start (one moves to forefront) to get a word meaning the fluid which was supposed to flow in the veins of the Greek gods.

12a  Current measure blocking a treat (6)
{PAMPER} – the current measure is AMP and this is inside (blocking) PER (“a”) to produce a verb meaning to indulge or treat somebody. The legitimacy (or not) of using PER for “a” has been debated before; basically, it’s equating “80p per kilo” with “80p a kilo”.

13a  Corporation engaging right fellow to provide spice (8 )
{TURMERIC} – corporation is TUM which includes (engaging) R (right), then add ERIC (fellow) to produce a bright yellow spice. The use of an arbitrary name, which cannot be established from the wordplay (which occurs in 10d as well as here) has been criticised before – luckily in both cases the name comes at the end of the answer, and is fairly obvious once the other letters have been established.

15a  Reports urge economy by Society (5,8 )
{PRESS CUTTINGS} – urge is PRESS and economy is CUTTING (relevant on Budget Day?). Add S (Society) to get a collection of articles culled from newspapers and magazines (reports).

18a  Susceptible to changes in character, affecting key events? (4,9)
{CASE SENSITIVE} – this is my favourite clue, being a cryptic definition of how whether the “caps lock” is on or not (changes in character) is significant when keying in (affecting key events) data.

22a  Rescue service’s boost, carrying last of antidote (snake) (8 )
{LIFEBOAT} – Not the rescue service itself, but the craft which it uses to save people in distress at sea, is formed from LIFT (boost) which contains (carrying) E (last letter of antidote) and BOA (snake).

23a  Toper throttling glutton for source of booze? (6)
{SPIGOT} – toper is SOT which includes PIG (glutton) to make a small peg which fits into the hole of a cask and thus can be used to control the outflow of booze.

26a  I run to secure French company, adopting extra formality (5)
{ICIER} – I and R (run, in cricket) surround (secure) CIE (standard abbreviation for a French Compagnie) to form an adjective meaning more aloof or more formal.

27a  Lead and tin-ware shipping fluid litre? (5-4)
{TITLE-ROLE} – TOLE is a word meaning painted tin-ware and this includes (shipping) an anagram (fluid) of “litre” to make the part in a play or film from which the work’s title is taken (i.e. “the lead”).

28a  Dressing heartlessly in bright colours (6)
{GARISH} – dressing is a GARnISH – remove the middle letter (heartlessly) to leave an adjective meaning gaudy or in bright colours.

29a  Two railroads running behind Army pub (8 )
{HOSTELRY} – army is HOST and running behind this we have two railroad abbreviations, firstly EL (an elevated railway in the U.S., especially the one in Chicago) and then RY. Added together they form another name for pub.

Down Clues

1d  Source of water making footwear squeak? (8 )
{HOSEPIPE} – a charade of HOSE (footwear) and PIPE (squeak, speak in a shrill voice) produces a source of water.

2d  Foul smell is located in US city mostly (5)
{MIASM} – the US city is MIAMI – drop the last letter (mostly) and include S in it (“is located in” – S is being used as a shortened form of “is”, as in “it’S abbreviated”) to form a word meaning an unwholesome or foul smell.

3d  Crowd around church is to wobble (7)
{PRECESS} – crowd is PRESS which includes (around) CE (Church of England) to make a verb meaning to wobble.

4d  Try to sell up, producing nervous response? (4)
{GULP} – to try to sell, or to promote a product, is to PLUG it. Reverse this (up) to get a nervous response.

6d  Kurosawa film overwhelms peculiar main Oscar winner (4,3)
{RAIN MAN} – the Kurosawa film is RAN – include in this (overwhelms) an anagram (peculiar) of “main” to get the name of another film which won four Oscars in 1988.

7d  Guru: mother and Arab enthralled by his greeting (9)
{MAHARISHI} – start with MA (mother) then add HIS HI (his greeting) and include (enthralled) AR (Arab) to end up with the title of a Hindu spiritual leader or guru.

8d  Heartless lady upset gent, penning first of cruel words (6)
{LYRICS} – take the outside letters of LadY (heartless) and add to it SIR (gent) reversed (upset) including (penning) C (first letter of “cruel”) and you eventually end up with the words of a song or musical.

10d  What’s long filling stomach on a man? (8 )
{GLUTTONY} – this is an attempt at an “all-in-one” type clue where the whole clue is both the definition and all the wordplay. Put L (long) inside (filling) GUT (stomach) and add TONY (a man) to get one of the seven deadly sins. I’m not very keen on this clue, not only because of the use of an arbitrary name, but also because, as a definition, it does not really work – what do you think? – leave us a comment!

14d  Powerful cat nipping one soldier (8 )
{PUISSANT} – cat is PUSS which includes I (nipping one) and is followed by ANT (soldier) to produce an archaic word for powerful.

16d  Chef with food that is eaten by the Queen (9)
{ESCOFFIER} – a clever clue with the name of a famous French chef being constructed from SCOFF (food) and IE (that is) being surrounded (eaten) by Elizabeth Regina.

17d  Wary accepting battered hat of durable material (8 )
{LEATHERY} – wary is LEERY which includes (accepting) an anagram (battered) of “hat” to form an adjective meaning hard-wearing or durable.

19d  Problem turning up among regular payments from non-central areas (7)
{SUBURBS} – regular payments are SUBS (subscriptions) and inside (among) and reversed (up) is a word for problem which originated from Hamlet “Ay, there’s the rub”. The resulting word means the outlying areas of large cities.

20d  I remain in possession of politician’s expenses payment (7)
{IMPREST} – a very topical clue with I REST (I remain) around (in possession of) MP (politician) to form a word meaning money advanced as expenses.

21d  Wild behaviour involving unknown trips in planes? (6)
{FLYING} – a short period of wild behaviour is a FLING. Include Y (the second unknown quantity in an algebraic expression) to get a word meaning trips in planes.

24d  Extend length to show aggression (5)
{GROWL} – extend is GROW and the abbreviation of length is L. Put them together to form a verb describing how dogs, or humans, show aggression.

25d  German guy in gambling game, losing head (4)
{OTTO} – LOTTO is the name of a children’s game here but a lottery (gambling game) in North America. Take off the first letter (losing head) to leave a common German forename.

The clues I particularly liked included 9a, 8d and 16d, but my “clue of the day” is 18a. What do you think? – leave us a comment!


  1. bigboab
    Posted April 22, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Really did not like 5a, loved 16d, very enjoyable.

  2. Posted April 22, 2009 at 9:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I struggled with most of this one, as there are very few “easy” clues with which to get started. I submitted it without fully understanding the wordplay of 26 and 27 across – so thanks for that Gazza.

    The EL railway has come up before, and is worth remembering as it is certain to come up in a future puzzle.

    Peter B has commented on proper names in DT Cryptic No 25906 – Hints and will put forward his ideas on what should be allowable in tomorrow’s review of this puzzle.

    I am happier with these names being part of the wordplay than I am with them being the answer – but this debate will probably rumble on for a while yet!

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