Toughie 147

Toughie No 147 by Elgar

Another five star performance from Elgar

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

Once again Elgar serves up a Toughie that is worthy of the name.  Always tough, always enjoyable, each answer has to be carefully extracted.   Even after I had completed it, I still had to sort out the wordplay for four of the clues.


7a Bird and horse in a flash united (7)
{MARABOU} – this bird in the stork family comes from putting ARAB (horse) inside MO (flash) and U(nited)

8a Interrupt periods of sexual excitement, tender, massaging back (7)
{DISTURB} – a synonym for interrupt is cleverly derived from RUTS (periods of sexual excitement in male deer) with BID (tender) around (massaging) and then all reversed (back)

10a In a way, received accepted American seafood (9)
{LANGOUSTE} – inside LANE (a way) you have GOT (received) and then inside that you have (accepted) US (American) to give a spint lobster (seafood)

11a Bottom of Western pit? (5)
{FOSSA} – take ASS {American slang term for bottom or backside) and OF and reverse them (Western – going West – one of the few across-clue only constructs) to get a pit or depression

12a What calms Homer’s rage? (5)
{DONUT} – this cryptic definition will be rather difficult if you don’t follow The Simpsons!

13a They follow the same generation as us after 10, getting hammered (9)
{ENTOURAGE} – these people who follow come from OUR AGE (the same generation as us) after an anagram (getting hammered) of TEN (10) – regular solvers will appreciate the misdirection here: when Elgar puts a number in a clue it is usually a reference to another clue, but not this time

15a In the cold I’ve cracked up bad outside dodgy cafe (3,4)
{ICE FALL} – a steep broken place in a glacier comes from ILL (bad) around an anagram (dodgy) of CAFE

17a Entertainer is tense putting across talent with energy (7)
{ARTISTE} – an entertainer that you get by putting IS and T(ense) inside ART (talent) and E(nergy)

18a One approaching his family with some seriousness (2,7)
{IN EARNEST} – I (one), NEAR (approaching) and NEST (his family) give a phrase meaning with some seriousness

20a On board, game woman with title deserts some European (5)
{CHESS} – this board game is derived by taking (DU)CHESS (woman with title) and removing (deserts) DU (some, French / European)

21a Obsession article (5)
{THING} – a double definition

23a Bridge playing here, warranting caution, takes time (4,5)
{CARD TABLE} – you can play bridge on this – you get it from CARDABLE (warranting caution / liable for a yellow card in football) around (takes) T(ime)

24a On return, poet’s always one boarding train (7)
{RETINUE} – take EER (poetic term for always) around (boarding) UNIT (one) and reverse it all (on return) and you get a train or body of people accompanying an important person

25a Looks new in candies (7)
{GLANCES} – these looks come from putting N(ew) inside GLACES (candies)


1d Relative needing car upholstered (10)
{GRANDNIECE} – this young relative is an anagram (upholstered) of NEEDING CAR

2d Decline fight after live turns (3,3)
{EBB OUT} – this phrasal verb meaning to decline is rather surprisingly not to be found in Chamber’s – put BOUT (fight) after BE (live / exist) reversed (turns)

3d To cut to the chase in this, deranged Old Nick’s here (8)
{NUTSHELL} – when preceded bgy “in a”, this word means briefly or concisely (to cut to the chase) – you get it by taking NUTS (deranged) and HELL (Old Nick’s here)

4d Accepting lecturer that is not doing anything (6)
{IDLEST} – the full Latin term for this is, ID EST< around (accepting) L(ecturer) gives you someone that is not doing anything

5d Rufus anagrams cut out, right? (8)
{USUFRUCT} – two anagrams put together – the first one signalled, very unusually, by anagram is of RUFUS and the second one signalled by out is of CUT – put them together and you get the right to use and profit from another’s property on the condition that it remains uninjured – this one was new to me

6d Suspect Spock’s lead, overpowering Enterprise, say (4)
{SUSS} – a colloquial word meaning to suspect comes from S (Spock’s lead / first letter) then (overpowering) USS (as in the USS Enterprise of Star Trek fame)

7d Potentially “trim” “Ladies’ Man” to be a bad manager (13)
{MALADMINISTER} – this reasonably obvious anagram (potentially) of TRIM LADIES’ MAN giving a word meaning to be a bad manager was what got me going in this puzzle

9d You won’t get sent down with it (13)
{BLAMELESSNESS} – a cryptic definition implying that if you have this quality then you wont be sent to prison

14d What EULC should give retort, rudely? (6,4)
{ANSWER BACK} – if you have CLUE backwards (EULC) then the ANSWER should also be BACKwards, and you then get a rude retort

16d Self-important claim briefly covers name (8)
{ARROGANT} – it took a bit of working out that this synonym for self-important was derived by taking ARROGAT(E) (claim briefly / without the last letter) around (covers) N(ame)

17d A toy has to soften up Achates (5,3)
{ALTER EGO} – take A LEGO (a toy) and put it around RET (soften) reversed (up) and you get an intimate and trusty comrade (Achates)

19d Shun women after artist (6)
{ESCHEW} – a word meaning to shun is delightfully built from W(omen) after ESCHE(R) (artist knocks off early / without last letter) – if you are not acquainted with the works of M.C. Escher then it is well worth having a look

20d The peasant’s too near the knuckle, getting a lift? (6)
{COTTAR} – this is a Scottish peasant, as BigBoab will no doubt tell you, and he is derived by putting OTT (Over The Top / too near the knuckle) in a CAR (getting a lift)

22d What’s written up to you in French letter (4)
{IOTA} – when you reverse (what’s written up) A TOI (to you in French) you get a Greek letter

Well there you have it – a “Clue of the Week” contest all wrapped up in one puzzle.  Please let me know how you got on.  Did you enjoy it as much as I did?


  1. bigboab
    Posted May 15, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found this very hard, especially after yesterdays easy one. I had to cheat for 5d and 11a. I would never have got them. Can I nominate 20d for my clue of the week? The Cotters’ Saturday Nicht being one of my favourite poems.

  2. gazza
    Posted May 15, 2009 at 3:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    We’ve been spoiled today – a brilliant Toughie and an excellent Cryptic! I think my favourite clue in this one (from a long list) is 3d.

  3. libellule
    Posted May 15, 2009 at 4:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    An absolute nightmare, but complete it I did. Good job we are not talking how long :-)

  4. Tilsit
    Posted May 15, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It was a puzzle that lived up to its name. Very clever and tough, but fair.

  5. Posted May 16, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great puzzle. Did no one else spot the cheeky message in top & bottom-row unches? “Genius at work”. Not sure whether MALADMINISTER being opposite to BLAMELESSNESS literally and in the grid is deliberate too.

    • gazza
      Posted May 16, 2009 at 8:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

      “Genius at work” – that’s brilliant and it makes the puzzle even more special!

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