Toughie 152

Toughie No 152 by Citrus

A not-so-Toughie from Citrus

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

An enjoyable puzzle that could just as easily been a normal daily cryptic.  Some slightly tricky wordplay on a couple of clues pushed it from two star difficulty into three.  This would make a good puzzle to start on if you usually struggle with the Toughies.


1a He charges coppers in a tree (7)
{ACCUSER} – this person who makes charges against someone is derived by putting CUS (Cu – chemical symbol for copper, kind of pluralised) inside ACER (tree)

5a Extraordinary score by American plutocrat? (7)
{CROESUS} – I guess we would all like to be as rich as this famous plutocrat; extraordinary signals that an anagram of SCORE is to be followed by US (American) in order to get him

9a Friend with stricken side is paralysed (7)
{PALSIED} – follow PAL (friend) with an anagram (stricken) of SIDE to get a word meaning paralysed

10a Positively declare generation’s mean (7)
{AVERAGE} – to positively declare is to AVER, follow this with AGE (generation) to get a synonym for mean, in the mathematical sense – once again ScrewedUp has a misprint, this time of generationÕs

11a Mostly keep Spanish river flowing back into tank (9)
{RESERVOIR} – to keep is to RESERV(E), so take most of it and add RIO (Spanish river) reversed (flowing back) to give a tank

12a Deliberately avoid station’s second sidetrack (5)
{SHUNT} – put SHUN (deliberately avoid) in front of T (sTation’s second letter) and you have to bypass or sidetrack

13a Colleges that limit discharge (5)
{EGEST} – limit here signals that a word meaning to discharge is contained inside collEGES That

15a Spoons etc, to bale water spilt (9)
{TABLEWARE} – the etc. here includes knives and forks – all together they can be derived from an anagram (split) of BALE WATER

17a Obi-man uses these dark skills (5,4)
{BLACK ARTS} – an Obi-man is one who practises witchcraft and poisoning in the West Indies and Guyana – synonyms for dark and skills give a word that describes those acts

19a Stone thrown for famous seafarer (5)
{DRAKE} – this stone is thrown as part of a game of Ducks and DRAKEs, and is also a well-known seafarer – like most of us I played this as a child without ever knowing what it was called, so thank you Libellule for enlightening me

22a One puts back Buddhist shrine (5)
{STUPA} – A (one) and PUTS are reversed (back) to get this Buddhist shrine

23a French chalk polluted teaspoons (9)
{SOAPSTONE} – this French chalk is an anagram (polluted) of teaspoons

25a One allowed in heat running? (7)
{ATHLETE} – LET (allowed) is inside an anagram (running) of HEAT to give one who runs

26a A prison sentence is past (3-4)
{ONE TIME} – ONE (A) and a word used to mean a prison sentence gives us a phrase meaning in the past

27a Will’s tinker closes trade quickly (7)
{SMARTLY} – William Shakespeare’s tinker in The Taming of the Shrew was Christopher SLY; put him around (closes) MART (trade) and you get a word meaning quickly

28a A waster after reform becomes most informed (7)
{AWAREST} – an anagram (after reform) of A WASTER gives a word meaning most informed


1d Slander from rude speakers without a hint of kindness (7)
{ASPERSE} – a word meaning to slander comes from an anagram (rude) of SPEA(K)ERS (speakers without the “K” / a hint of kindness)

2d After work’s carried out telescope adjusts to sky-blue (7)
{CELESTE} – another where you have to remove something before resolving the rest of the wordplay – take OP (work) away from TELESC(OP)E and then find an anagram (adjusts) to get a synonym for sky-blue

3d Sportsman hit high in the air (5)
{SKIER} – a double definition – a winter sportsman or a cricket ball hit high in the air – pronounced differently but spelt the same, which makes them homonyms

4d With radar around it’s nothing to refocus on astronomical object (5,4)
{RADIO STAR} – put RADAR around an anagram (to refocus) of IT’S and O (nothing) to get an astronomical object

5d Richard’s endlessly working being in charge of meetings (5)
{CHAIR} – by now you should be used to these partial anagrams – this time the anagram (working) is of (R)ICHAR(D) (Richard’s endlessly) and it gives a word meaning to be in charge of meetings

6d Excessive outlay proves awkward to terminate (9)
{OVERSPEND} – this excessive outlay that we have all been guilty of at some time is an anagram (awkward) of PROVES followed by END (to terminate)

7d St Paul wielded a cooking implement (7)
{SPATULA} – I hope you are good at resolving anagrams today! – wielded signals this one of ST PAUL to give a cooking implement

8d Symbol of authority and respect possibly (7)
{SCEPTRE} – this anagram (possibly) of RESPECT gives a symbol of authority

14d Invitation to sit? (4,1,4)
{TAKE A SEAT} – a definition, hardly cryptic, of this phrase

16d He directs a young star in dance (5,4)
{BOSSA NOVA} – he who directs is a BOSS; just add A NOVA (a young star) and you get a dance

17d It should help you travel to resort in Dutch vessel (3,4)
{BUS PASS} – this permit to travel comes from putting SPA (resort) inside BUSS (a small Dutch vessel, used in the herring and mackerel fisheries)

18d Pillow torn inside in the style of Ireland’s darling (7)
{ACUSHLA} – I’m not too keen on CUSH(ion) as pillow, torn; put it inside A LA (in the style of and you get an Irish word for darling – what do you think of the first part of the wordplay?

20d Poison, one finds it in an ice cream cornet (7)
{ACONITE} – this poison, which can be obtained from wolf’s-bane or monk’s-hood, is innocently created by putting IT inside A CONE (an ice cream cornet)

21d Among the world’s severest challenges (7)
{EVEREST} – an all-in-one clue that hides the world’s highest mountain

23d Recording that’s pronounced shabby (5)
{SEEDY} – this word meaning shabby sounds like (that’s pronounced) CD (recording)

24d Allows to climb a stone slab (5)
{STELA} – LETS (allows) reversed (to climb – one of those down-clue only constructs) then A give an upright stone slab

What did you make of this one?  I thought that only the couple of lesser-known words and the occasionally tricky wordplay distinguished it from the normal daily cryptic.  Having said that, a number of the clues gave me that “smile” factor :-).



  1. nanaglugglug
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Yes, 19a made us smile, but as for 18d – well we’d have been here all week without your site. Other than that we could work the answers out from the clues, which I suppose makes it relatively easy.
    Why, in 20d, is the answer always the same when the clue refers to poison?
    We’re definitely improving!

  2. libellule
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    14d – Perhaps this would have been better as “Steal a car”?

  3. Bellringer
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    It must have been one of the easier puzzles. I finished it without help.