Toughie 154 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 154

Toughie No 154 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

A pleasant puzzle that wouldn’t have been out-of-place as a daily cryptic.


1a Island with a snack from the East (6)
{SAMOSA} – take a Greek island (there’s quite a few to choose from!) and add A to get an Indian (from the East) snack

4a Plant firm put back beset by a lot of press (6)
{CROCUS} – this plant is derived by putting CO (firm) reversed (put back) inside (beset by) CRUS(H) (a lot of crush / press)

8a Game finishing early in front of secure prison (8)
{DARTMOOR} – The game that finishes early (without the last letter) is one where you throw arrows at a board; add MOOR (secure, as with a boat) and you get a famous prison

10a Some never mind rats? (6)
{VERMIN} – some here signals that the rats are to be found hidden in neVER MINd

11a Ban circle following old soldier (4)
{VETO} – a straightforward charade puts O (circle) after (following) VET (veteran / old soldier)

12a Shell, maybe, producing scheme with French island (10)
{PROJECTILE} – maybe indicates that a shell is only an example of this; another charade puts PROJECT (scheme) in front of ILE (island, French)

13a Top bank cheat on the loose? Sign of support needed (3,2,3,4)
{PAT ON THE BACK} – an anagram (on the loose) of TOP BANK CHEAT gives us a phrase meaning a sign of support

16a See fried food returned amid fare – fast food? (12)
{CHEESEBURGER} – put an anagram (fried) of SEE and then GRUB (food) reversed (returned) inside (amid) CHEER (fare, food) to get this item of fast food

20a Drink in Parisian eaterie, hearing Spanish cheer (4,2,4)
{CAFÉ AU LAIT} – this drink (that you could get in a Parisian eaterie!) is built up by taking CAFÉ (Parisian eaterie) and AU LAIT which sounds like (hearing) olé (Spanish cheer)

21a Stupid person forgetting wife and friend (4)
{ALLY} – take (W)ALLY (stupid person) and remove the W (forgetting Wife) and you get a friend

22a Took part in tournament without justice and got supplanted (6)
{OUSTED} – a bit like the previous clue! – take (J)OUSTED (took part in tournament) without the J(ustice) and you have a word meaning got supplanted

23a Terrible Saudi scam I exposed in foreign capital (8)
{DAMASCUS} – here terrible tells us that an anagram of SAUD(I) SCAM without the I (I exposed) gives the capital of Syria (foreign capital)

24a A German in lake lacking in strength (6)
{MEAGRE} – put A G(erman) inside MERE (lake) to get a word meaning lacking in strength

25a Smart photo and case for photography (6)
{SNAPPY} – this word meaning smart (which popped up yesterday in a different guise) comes from SNAP (photo) and PY (case for PhotographY / the first and last letters)


1d A provider of room associated with keys? (5,3)
{SPACE BAR} – a cryptic definition of the largest key on the computer keyboard

2d Month associated with German saying (5)
{MOTTO} – M(onth) together with OTTO, that ubiquitous German give a saying

3d Opt to wander in closed athletics event (4,3)
{SHOT PUT} – put an anagram (to wander) of OPT inside SHUT (closed) and you get a field athletics event

5d Painter around island showing coastal region (7)
{RIVIERA} – put the Mexican painter Diego RIVERA around I(sland) to give a Mediterranean coastal region – this is a good example of how you think you have worked out the wordplay while doing the puzzle, then find out afterwards that it doesn’t hang together; I had RA as the painter, filled in the answer straightaway, and moved on

6d School might employ such caution on a trek abroad (9)
{CARETAKER} – a school might employ such person (what a difference it makes leaving out that one word!) and you get him by combining CARE (caution) with an anagram (abroad) of A TREK

7d Protect quiet part of farm after head of farm leaves (6)
{SHIELD} – a word meaning to protect comes from SH (quiet) and (F)IELD (part of farm after F, head of Farm, leaves)

9d Transformation of older Danish state (5,6)
{RHODE ISLAND} – excellent surface reading initially disguises that transformation signals an anagram of OLDER DANISH to get a US state

14d Group required to follow score? (9)
{ORCHESTRA} – nice cryptic definition of a group of musicians – but I’m sure some of you have come across this idea before!

15d First person in Nice with a poor quality not admired (8)
{JEALOUSY} – once again “in Nice” indicates that JE  is the first person singular in French; add A LOUSY (a poor) and you get a quality that is not admired

17d English remedy almost restricting fuss in country (7)
{ECUADOR} – E(nglish) is followed by CUR(E) (remedy, almost) around (restricting) ADO (fuss) to give a South American country

18d Tar in tumble at sea avoiding line (7)
{BITUMEN} – this tar is the dark, viscous type, not the usual sailor; you get it from an anagram (at sea) of IN TUMB(L)E without the L (avoiding Line)

19d Clean area providing free space (6)
{VACUUM} – a word that these days can mean to clean has an original meaning of an area providing free space

21d An attitude turning up in fabulous writer (5)
{AESOP} – A then POSE (attitude) reversed (turning up) gives a well-known writer of fables (fabulous writer)

Shamus is one of my favourite setters, but I think he was a bit too kind to us today!  Maybe we will have a harder challenge next time.

Tilsit will be back on Monday.

Here are all of the answers for those of you that are in a hurry!

5 comments on “Toughie 154

  1. Now you’ve got me worried about Tilsit – have you heard? Anyway, you can tell him its OK because we managed to do today’s Toughie without the site (except for 1d.

    1. Nana

      I have just received an email from Tilsit to say that he missed the hospital so much that this morning he fell over and sprained his ankle just so that he could go back in to see the nurses again!

      1. Oh for goodness sake!!! Well at least its only his ankle – send him my best wishes and a speedy recovery.

  2. Thanks for the blog and comments. I’ll try to make sure I’m a bit tougher next time!

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