Toughie 141

Toughie No 141 by Campbell

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

This is an average sort of Toughie with a man’s name, a woman’s name, a river, an English town, a couple of Greek mythological characters, a historian, a poet and a festival all making an appearance. As usual you can reveal the answer by selecting the white space between the curly brackets if my hints are not good enough.

Across Clues

1a  River Bude winding round one (6)
{DANUBE} – an anagram (winding) of “Bude” includes (round) AN (one) to form the name of a European river.

4a  Mysterious man after key to boozer (8 )
{ESOTERIC} – an adjective meaning secret or mysterious is formed from E (musical key), SOT (drunkard, boozer) and ERIC (man).

9a  Fine player’s agent (6)
{FACTOR} – start with F (fine) and add ACTOR (player) to get the term for an agent who buys and sells goods on commission.

10a  Admits ciphers must involve New Church (8 )
{CONCEDES} – ciphers are CODES – include (must involve) N(ew) and CE (church of England) to get a verb meaning admits.

11a  Tin medals forged for groundhog day (9)
{CANDLEMAS} – an anagram (forged) of “medals” comes after CAN (tin) to form the name of a Christian festival which falls on 2nd February, which is also, in North America, Groundhog Day, when the woodchuck is supposed to emerge from hibernation and give a weather forecast (the Michael Fish of the animal world!).

13a  Word describing element of heat (5)
{THERM} – “word” is TERM which includes (describing) H (hydrogen element) to get a unit of heat.

14a  Amusing poet describing English coastal worker, perhaps (13)
{LIGHTHOUSEMAN} – amusing is LIGHT (as in light opera) and the poet is Housman. Include (describing) E(nglish) to get the name of a coastal worker (who no longer has a job since all the lighthouses have been made automatic).

17a  I grip banknote tightly, showing such a level of stress? (8,5)
{BREAKING POINT} – an anagram (tightly, presumably in the sense of drunkenly) of “I grip banknote” produces the term for a critical level of stress, both literally and metaphorically.

21a  Lives next door to woman with children (5)
{ISSUE} – “Lives” is IS which is followed by (next door to) SUE (woman) to get another word for children.

23a  Attention given to female in pub, incessant talker (9)
{EARBASHER} – “Attention” is EAR (as in “to offer a sympathetic ear”) which is followed by SHE (female) inside BAR (pub) to produce someone who talks non-stop.

24a  Mournful song Rodney composed on Thursday (8 )
{THRENODY} – an anagram (composed) of “Rodney” follows TH (the standard abbreviation for Thursday) to produce a song of lamentation.

25a  Escort taking carriage to capital, once son’s dropped off (6)
{GIGOLO} – this word for a paid male escort is formed from GIG (a light two-wheeled carriage) followed by OsLO (capital) with the S (son) dropped off.

26a  Old PM’s back seen first by doctor, to add strength (8 )
{EMBATTLE} – the old Prime Minister is Clement ATTLEE – take off the final letter and move it to the front (back seen first) and immediately after it (by) insert MB (one of the standard abbreviations for “doctor”). The resulting verb means to fortify a building or place against attack, hence “add strength”.

27a  Has dispersed, essential fruit of a tree (3-3)
{ASH-KEY} –an anagram (dispersed) of “has” is followed by KEY (essential, as in “key worker”) to get the winged fruit of an ash tree, growing in clusters resembling bunches of keys. (I’d never heard of this term, so I’ve learnt something today!).

Down Clues

1d  Failing to change sides (6)
{DEFECT} – double definition – a fault or failing and to change sides (for example, from one political party to another).

2d  Take a letter about Latin film star (4,5)
{NICK NOLTE} – “take” is NICK and a letter is NOTE – include (about) L (Latin) to get the name of this film star.

3d  Supply loot in barrels, for example (7)
{BOOTLEG} – this is a nice example of an all-in-one clue (where the whole of the clue is both the definition and all the wordplay). Put an anagram (supply, I presume with the meaning of very supple) of “loot” in between B (barrels) and EG (for example) to get a verb meaning to smuggle illicit goods (usually, but not always, liquor, so “loot” just about works in the definition).

5d  Appears with good sort of act getting prolonged applause (4,7)
{SHOW STOPPER} – “Appears” is SHOWS and this is followed (with) by TOPPER (someone who is very good) to produce the sort of act on stage which gets prolonged applause. (I’m not totally convinced of the wordplay here – is it “good sort” or “sort of act”? – I’ve gone with the second – give us your view!).

6d  Historian understood by you and me (7)
{TACITUS} – my old Latin master used to go on at length about this Roman historian whose writings were apparently quite rude. His name is a combination of TACIT (implicitly understood) and US (you and me).

7d  Hog’s back, a cold place when Fahrenheit’s dropped (5)
{RIDGE} – a cold place is a fRIDGE – drop the F (Fahrenheit) to leave a synonym for hog’s back.

8d  Bond securing a second frame (8 )
{CASEMENT} – to form a bond is to CEMENT a relationship – insert (securing) A and S (second) to get the frame of a window. tilsit has pointed out that the surface reading has snooker connotations with (Nigel) Bond (a snooker player I must admit I’ve never heard of) and “frame”.

12d  Star – not the morning star, and not the evening star! (7,4)
{MATINEE IDOL} – … so he must be the afternoon star, a dated term for a handsome actor, especially popular among women.

15d  Weapon child found in county town (9)
{MATCHLOCK} – the county town of Derbyshire is MATLOCK (and not Derby as might be thought). Put inside it CH (child) to get an old type of musket.

16d  A bishop’s vice, the drink (8 )
{ABSINTHE} – a charade of A, B (bishop), SIN (vice) and THE leads to an alcoholic spirit so potent that it was banned in many countries.

18d  Number having sly look over angler’s accessory (7)
{KEEPNET} – number is TEN, add (having) PEEK (sly look) and then turn the whole thing upside down (over) to get this angler’s accessory.

19d  Character of myth, one taken in by another (7)
{ICARIUS} – ICARUS was a character from Greek mythology who flew too near the sun and was killed when the wax attaching his wings melted. Include an I (one taken in) to get another mythical Greek character.

20d  Religious house in earlier years (6)
{PRIORY} – a small monastery or nunnery is formed from PRIOR (earlier) and Y (years).

22d  Brush or brushwood? (5)
{SCRUB} – a double definition – to brush vigorously and vegetation consisting mainly of brushwood.

I don’t think that there is one outstanding clue today, but the ones I liked included 25a and 3d. What do you think? – leave us a comment!



  1. tilsit
    Posted May 6, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I think the surface reading in 8d alludes to Nigel Bond, erstwhile snooker player.

    • gazza
      Posted May 6, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that tilsit – I completely missed it.