Toughie 140 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 140

Toughie No 140 by Osmosis

A Toughie to savour

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

You have to work to get the answers in this very enjoyable puzzle.  One or two clues have wordplay that takes a bit of unravelling, but there is nothing here that is beyond the capabilities of the average Toughie solver.


1a Comic character Andy starts to use counterfeit coin, ordering drink (10)
{CAPPUCCINO} – (Andy) CAPP is followed by U C (starts to Use Counterfeit) and an anagram (ordering) of COIN to get the kind of drink you might buy in Starbucks

6a Novelist wrong to reject ending (4)
{AMIS} – no indication of whether this novelist is Kingsley or Martin – either way, the answer is a word meaning wrong without the last letter (to reject ending)

9a Camp fire in regularly torpid state (10)
{THEATRICAL} – this splendid clue is an adjective meaning camp in the sense of affected or exaggerated which is built up from HEAT (fire) inside TRI (regularly ToRpId) and CAL (abbreviation for CALifornia / state)

10a One’s left something to dry, we hear (4)
{HEIR} – this person who is left something sounds like (we hear) air (to dry)

12a Originally combed in an orderly parting (4)
{CIAO} – originally here signals that the first letters of Combed In An Orderly spell out a parting word

13a Family implicated in odd cases following women’s eccentricity (9)
{WACKINESS} – KIN (family) inside (implicated in) an anagram  (odd) of CASES follows W(omen) to give a word meaning eccentricity

15a Card game draw held in toilet (extremely crude) (8)
{PATIENCE} – this fun clue builds a card game that you play by yourself from TIE (draw) inside PAN (toilet) and then CE (extremely CrudE)

16a Mark made on hand, perhaps drumming (6)
{TATTOO}– this is a double definition –  a mark made on a hand (or other part of the body / perhaps) and a military drumming – sometimes a clue looks more cryptic than it actually is

18a Sandy horse keeps cool outside in Exmoor (6)
{GINGER} – a word meaning sandy comes from GG (horse) around (keeps) IN (cool, as in hip) and then the outside of ExmooR – unless I’ve got the wordplay wrong, it might have been better to say outside of Exmoor

20a One reminds man to check middle of crust in cooker (8)
{SOUVENIR} – this item reminds you of somewhere; you derive it by putting SIR (man) around (to check) U (middle of crUst) inside OVEN (cooker)

23a Woman, very large, carries through tricky note exactly, in Carnegie Hall (2,3,4)
{ON THE NOSE} – here you take HEN, that love it or hate it Scottish term for a woman, and OS (very large) inside (carries through) an anagram (tricky) of NOTE to give an informal American (in Carnegie Hall) term meaning exactly – we get a lot of these “in somewhere” constructs like “in Paris” meaning French; what do you think about them?

24a Corner that is not involved in hanky-panky (4)
{NOOK} – this corner comes from removing the i.e. (that is, not involved) from NOOK(ie) (hanky-panky)

26a Unlikely some Classical Latin will be recalled (4)
{TALL} – this kind of story is an unlikely one, and it is hidden (some) inside ClassicaL LATin but reversed (will be recalled)

27a Backpacker perhaps exchanged it with Euros, securing accommodation (3-7)
{ECO-TOURIST} – this possible (perhaps) backpacker is a clever anagram (exchanged) of IT with EUROS around (securing) COT (accommodation)

28a Transport Department tracked non-independent island (4)
{SLED} – this form of transport used in the snow is D(epartment) after (tracked) (I)SLE (isle without the I / non-Independent island)

29a Scottish community enthralled by the man designing sports venue (10)
{TWICKENHAM} – take the Scottish community of WICK and place it inside (enthralled by) an anagram (designing) of THE MAN to get an English sports venue where you can watch Rugby Union international


1d Musical, with soprano moving within players (4)
{CATS} – to get this well-known Lloyd-Webber musical take CAST (players) and move the S (Soprano) along

2d Bet that booze (served in pints) gets thrown up (7)
{PREDICT} – to bet or foretell you need to take CIDER (booze) and put it inside served in) PT (pints), but only after you have reversed it (gets thrown up – yet another down-clue only construct) – slightly awkward construction, which is why the setter put “served in pints” in brackets so that the PT did not get reversed as well

3d Vagrant opens out drug precisely, deeply involved (2,2,4,4)
{UP TO ONE’S EYES} – an anagram (vagrant – I don’t remember that one before) of OPENS OUT then E (Ecstasy / drug) and YES (precisely, as an interjection gives a phrase that means deeply involved

4d Bird nursing is heading for which part of London? (8)
{CHISWICK} – this bird is a CHICK and once you have that the rest is easy as you put it around (nursing) IS and W (heading for West) to give a part of London that is to the west

5d Subtle shade religious member coats a church (6)
{NUANCE} – this subtle shade is derived by taking a NUN (religious member), putting her around (coats) A and adding CE (Church of England)

7d Old actress keeping something woolly amongst sailing gear (3,4)
{MAE WEST} – this famous old actress cropped up as recently as Toughie 140 – put EWE (something woolly) inside (amongst) MAST (sailing gear)

8d Revolutionary centre of zoo probes larvae culture somewhere in France (10)
{STRASBOURG} – put O (centre of zOo) inside (probes) GRUBS (larvae) and ARTS (culture) and reverse the whole lot (revolutionary) to get this French city and seat of the European Parliament (somewhere in France

11d Motorway certain to choke most of December – bad luck! (12)
{MISADVENTURE} – once again, the motorway is the MI, add SURE (certain) around (to choke) ADVENT (most of December) to get bad luck

14d Animal in toilets chewed piece of gristle (10)
{EPIGLOTTIS} – put a PIG (animal) inside an anagram (chewed) of TOILETS to get this piece of gristle – a fun clue for a gristly result!

17d Servant brought up fish, holding new copy of Times (8)
{DOMESTIC} – this servant comes from COD (fish) reversed (brought up) around (holding) an anagram  (new copy of) TIMES

19d Woman from North America reviewed Middle East resort (7)
{NATALIE} – the name of this woman is NA (North America) and then EILAT (Middle East resort) reversed (reviewed)

21d Lifted layer covering ring, and cast light on ancient tool (7)
{NEOLITH} – take HEN (layer) reversed (lifted – down-clues only) and put it around (covering) O (ring) and LIT (cast light on) to get an ancient tool

22d Trim entertaining first to save business capital (6)
{MOSCOW} – MOW (trim)  around (entertaining) S (first to Save) and CO (COmpany / business) gives this Russian capital

25d Couple missed opening of ceremonial mass (4)
{ITEM} – two people (couple) together are this – and you get it from (R)ITE (missed opening of ceremonial) and M(ass)

Back soon with the rest of the down clues.

Here are all the answers:

Toughie No 140 - Answers
Toughie No 140 - Answers

9 comments on “Toughie 140

  1. Probably another Telegraph screw up, but that is not the same puzzle as I was presented with when I got the interactive version from the website.

    1. Rollo

      I know that there are a lot of problems on CluedUp, but you do seem to have more than your fair share. I get occasional glitches, like when I went to do the Sudoku yesterday I got that day’s Cryptic instead, but they tend not to be permanent.

          1. If I try to access it again now I just get the “Loading” square in the middle of the window which never seems to complete.

  2. I liked 23a, but I thought it was Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline they were on about especially with the “hen” part of the clue. I found the crossword very difficult today.

    1. Presumable Carnegie Hall was chosen to follow the surface reading of woman and note through to concert hall, but it does seem a bad choice.

    1. Greenhorn

      The clue says “in Carnegie Hall” which is a well-known concert hall in the USA. By that you are supposed to derive that this is an American expression that could be used by someone who is there.

      Personally I don’t like this kind of construct. It’s bad enough when Paris or Nice is used to indicate a French word. As BigBoab has pointed out, there are several Carnegie Halls, one of them in Scotland.

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