Toughie 145

Toughie No 145 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

A definite toughie today with several words which were new to me and a couple of familiar words with meanings that I did not previously know. All in all it is a fair and entertaining challenge. It definitely helps a lot if you can crack 5d and 9d early on.

Across Clues

1a  Bill’s job is on the outskirts of Exeter (6)
{POSTER} –Job is POST – add the outside letters (outskirts) of ExeteR to get a flier or advert (bill) which is displayed in public.

4a  Standard time left in reserve? Just a bit (8 )
{PARTICLE} – standard is PAR, time is T and reserve is ICE. Insert L (left) to get a small amount.

10a  Eg sewing fancy frock with raw taffeta initially (9)
{CRAFTWORK} – an anagram (fancy) of “frock” and “raw” with the first letter of Taffeta produces a generic term for producing things by hand, of which sewing and weaving are examples.

11a  French tenor’s a nuisance (5)
{TRIAL} – double definition – a French tenor with a special aptitude for comedy, and a troublesome thing or nuisance.

12a  Country giving hand to district (7)
{FINLAND} – the name of a Scandinavian country is formed from FIN (a type of hand) and LAND (district, region).

13a  Waiter’s assistant returned loan in month (7)
{OMNIBUS} – a loan is a SUB – follow this with IN and MO (month) and then reverse the whole lot (returned) to form a word one of whose meanings is a waiter’s assistant.

14a  In hotel Chinese ambassador makes an appearance (5)
{ELCHI} – hidden (makes an appearance) in “hotEL CHInese” is a word derived from Turkish meaning ambassador.

15a  You heard the French diet is modified at this feast (8 )
{YULETIDE} – a syllable that sounds like (heard) “you” is YU – add the French definite article and an anagram (modified) of “diet” to produce a term for the time around Christmas.

18a  Sun’s best journalist clashed (8 )
{SCREAMED} – string together S (sun), CREAM (best) and ED (journalist) to form a verb form with a colloquial meaning of clashed or was not harmonious (of colours).

20a  E African shrub’s unknown to a Russian girl (5)
{KATYA} – KAT (also spelt KHAT) is a shrub cultivated in East Africa and the Middle East – add Y (the second unknown quantity in an algebraic expression) and A to get a Russian female name.

23a  Spiritual yet oddly pushy style (7)
{PSYCHIC} – take the odd letters of PuShY and add CHIC (style) to form an adjective meaning spiritual.

25a  We made start to tidying wild moorland grass (7)
{MATWEED} – an anagram (wild) of “we made” plus the first letter (start) of Tidying gives us a type of moorland grass.

26a  Group of musicians orchestrated contest; not New Style (5)
{OCTET} – New Style is abbreviated to NS – take these letters away (not) from “contest” and make an anagram (orchestrated) of the remainder to form a group of (eight) musicians.

27a  Vaguely amusing or simply a rude person (9)
{IGNORAMUS} – an anagram (vaguely) of “amusing or” produces a term for an uncultured (rude) and ignorant person.

28a  Key American on endless ski run’s a Walter Mitty type (8 )
{ESCAPIST} – the required key is ESC (at top-left on your keyboard) – add A(merican) and PISTe (ski run without its last letter) to get a synonym for a fantasist like Walter Mitty.

29a  Book of songs (6)
{PSALMS} – double definition – a Book of the Old Testament and the songs (based on the contents of said Book) which can sometimes be heard at Jewish and Christian worship.

Down Clues

1d  Dummy is faster to grasp uncertainty (8 )
{PACIFIER} – this synonym for a baby’s dummy is constructed from PACIER (faster) with IF (uncertainty) inside it (to grasp).

2d  Recycling tin cans made from the same material (7)
{STANNIC} – a nice surface reading leads to an anagram (recycling) of “tin cans” to form an adjective meaning made of tin.

3d  Former customers hold on to it to hand over to foreign power (9)
{EXTRADITE} – “former” is EX and “customers” are TRADE – include (hold on to) IT to get a verb meaning to hand someone over to a foreign government for trial or punishment.

5d  Thanks to Government we lack men with new dimension unfortunately (14)
{ACKNOWLEDGMENT} – an anagram (unfortunately) of TO, G(overnment), WE LACK MEN, N(ew) and D(imension) produces a noun meaning thanks (as in a foreword to a book expressing the author’s thanks to his publisher, etc., for example). I salute you if you worked out the answer from the anagram, rather than (as I did) getting the solution first then working out which letters fitted it. Even when I had the answer it took me some time to work out exactly what was being anagrammed.

6d  Zeus, for instance, concealed it in bark (5)
{TITAN} – the bark of the oak tree is known as TAN – insert (concealed) IT inside it to get the name given to the elder Greek gods.

7d  Wept about books being stolen (7)
{CRIBBED} – “wept” is CRIED – insert (about) BB (books) to get a verb meaning plagiarised (stolen).

8d  Join up middle of pattern below wiggly lines (6)
{ENLIST} – an anagram (wiggly) of “lines” is followed by T (middle letter of patTern) to form a synonym for join up (in the military sense).

9d  Work intricately groomed by carpenter (7,2,5)
{GOODBYE MR CHIPS} – an anagram (intricately) of “groomed by” is followed by the nickname of all carpenters to form the title of a 1934 novel about an old school teacher, later filmed several times.

16d  Rebuilt Utah tankers participate in rotation (4,5)
{TAKE TURNS} – an anagram (rebuilt) of UT (abbreviation for the US State) and “tankers” produces a phrase meaning participate in rotation.

17d  Pesky ads disturbed counters (3-5)
{PAY-DESKS} – an anagram (disturbed) of “pesky ads” describes the sort of counters where you queue up to hand over your money.

19d  Secret underground cell in Cuba (7)
{CRYPTIC} – “underground cell” is CRYPT – follow it with I(n) and C(uba) to get an adjective meaning hidden or secret.

21d  Warm interpretation of Mahler following Tchaikovsky’s First (7)
{THERMAL} – the first letter of Tchaikovsky is followed by an anagram (interpretation) of Mahler to produce an adjective meaning warm.

22d  The old question a soft attitude (6)
{APPOSE} – an old verb meaning to examine or question is made up of A, P (soft, in musical notation) and POSE (attitude).

24d  Short, straight and thoroughly angry (3,2)
{HET UP} – a word for straight (as in sexual orientation) is HETEROSEXUAL – truncate this (short) and add UP (thoroughly) to get a slang term for angry. Chambers does give “thoroughly” as one of the meanings of “up”, I presume in the sense that “full up” means thoroughly full.

I liked 1a, 17d and 21d but my clue of the day is 2d – agree or disagree? – leave us a comment!


  1. libellule
    Posted May 13, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Gazza, is it me or is 6d actually incorrect? Surely Zeus was one of the Olympians. i.e. The 12 6d’s preceded the Olympians and were in fact overthrown by them…

    • gazza
      Posted May 13, 2009 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      I’m far from being an expert on Greek mythology, but as far as I could make out there were 12 original Titans whose children were also known as Titans and Zeus was the son of Cronus, one of the originals, so could be classified a Titan.
      Perhaps Warbler will follow Giovanni’s example and give us a definitive answer?

  2. doctoroctagon
    Posted May 13, 2009 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    I think 6dn is wrong, also the definition for 23a is too loose in my opinion. A very hard one for me too!

    • Posted May 14, 2009 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Life has become a fair bit tougher for Telegraph setters since I started this blog. I’m not sure that I would have liked the intense scrutiny of my work that is now applied to theirs.

      I think 6 down is an understandable mistake, and I didn’t pick it up myself when doing the puzzle.

      As far as 23 across is concerned, I can see nothing wrong with it – in fact I quite liked it.

  3. Rollo
    Posted May 14, 2009 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I think that there is a danger of getting too pedantic over the interpretation of clues and the correctness of definitions they contain.

    We have all heard of “Poetic Licence”, and I believe there should also be a degree of “Cryptic Clue Licence”.

    After all, these are crossword puzzles, just a bit of fun.

    As to “psychic”, I note that my copy of Chambers gives “spiritual” as one of the definitions, but not vice versa. There are many instances where this happens. So I can’t agree that the definition given is loose in any respect.

  4. doctoroctagon
    Posted May 14, 2009 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Actually, having thought about it, there is nothing wrong with psychic being spiritual – I was just thinking of psychic in overly narrow terms, ie. of esp powers, but in amore general sense, if psyche is soul, spirit or mind then obviously spiritual is a fair definition. I apologise for that.

    Titan is still wrong though, and though it was easy to get what was meant, I think if there are blogs on the puzzles they are bound to be subjected to scrutiny.

  5. Posted May 14, 2009 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    A good tough challenge. It’s a pity that there was a French tenor called Georges Thill. Not having heard of Trial, I gambled on the known person being more significant than the known meaning of “trial”.

    I’m surprised not to have seen (tin cans)*=stannic before – a very good bit of spotting.