Toughie 157

Toughie No 157 by Cephas

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

There are two French phrases in this one, which may re-open the debate about how legitimate this is – feel free to contribute your views via a comment. There are also several obscure (to me anyway) words included, but you would not want a Toughie to be too easy would you? On the plus side it contains several very entertaining clues and I enjoyed it.

Across Clues

1a  In spite of that Mr Perrin shortly has a way with Lesley South (10)
{REGARDLESS} – take the shortened forename of the Mr Perrin so brilliantly played by Leonard Rossiter in the classic comedy series (and drawing a veil over the recent remake), add A RD (a road, a way) and LES(ley) S(outh) to form a word meaning “in spite of that”. Big Dave has a view that every puzzle should be allowed one naff clue, and this is it! I suppose if you have to have one, then you might as well get it out of the way as early as possible.

6a  Shantytown problem inexperienced driver included (4)
{SLUM} – problem is SUM – include the symbol used by a learner driver to get a synonym for shantytown.

9a  Serve salad that had been prepared with Italian sauce (5,5)
{SALSA VERDE} – this very neat clue uses an anagram (prepared) of “serve salad” to make an Italian sauce containing olive oil, garlic, capers, anchovies, lemon juice and parsley.

10a  Leader took viol round ancient city (4)
{GURU} – this word for a Hindu or Sikh spiritual leader is constructed by placing GU (a primitive stringed instrument used in the Shetland Isles) around UR (an ancient Biblical city on the river Euphrates in what is now Southern Iraq).

12a  Not in agreement with a surgeon trapping fox (2,4)
{AT ODDS} – put A DS (a doctor of surgery) round TOD (a Scottish word for a fox) to get a phrase meaning “in disagreement with”.

13a  Blissfully unenlightened (8 )
{IGNORANT} – to be in a state of blissful ignorance is to be completely unaware of something unpleasant.

15a  I don’t know what’s special in France (2,2,4,4)
{JE NE SAIS QUOI} – this is a French phrase, literally meaning “I don’t know what”, which has crossed the channel and is used to refer to a special elusive quality (“she has a certain .. .. …. ….!”).

18a  Accessible to all reproducing red tinctures (12)
{UNRESTRICTED} – an anagram (reproducing) of “red tinctures” leads to a word meaning that there are no access restrictions.

21a  Frank embraced individual who was more emaciated (8 )
{SKINNIER} – the frank required is the comedian Frank SKINNER – put I (one, individual) inside to get a comparative which means more emaciated.

22a  Type of blue round object given to one officer — there’s no justice (6)
{COBALT} – I tried for some time (in vain) to make C = round and OB = object, but eventually discovered that COB actually means  a rounded object – add (given to) A LT (a lieutenant, one officer) to form a word for a blue pigment (type of blue). That’s all very well,  I hear you cry, but what is the significance of “there’s no justice” (and is the double dash meaningful, or is it just a typo?) – well I don’t know – if you know, or if you just have an idea, please leave a comment!

24a  Notice it leaving another formerly (4)
{ONCE} – remove “it”  (it leaving) from “notice” and make an anagram (another) of the remaining letters to produce a word meaning formerly.

25a  Is braver in converting drainage area (5-5)
{RIVER BASIN} – an anagram (converting) of “Is braver in” produces a term for the area drained by a river.

26a  Where squirming pike might go (4)
{KIPE} – this is a clever clue which relies on the fact that the name of an osier basket for catching pike is an anagram (squirming) of pike.

27a  Milk maids feel it’s a way to get rich (5,5)
{MIDAS TOUCH} – put together an anagram (milk) of “maids” and a synonym for feel to get a phrase meaning to make money easily, named after a king of Phrygia whose touch turned everything to gold.

Down Clues

1d  Rogue sailor changed sides (6)
{RASCAL} – a dated term for a sailor from S-E Asia is LASCAR – swap the Left and Right (changed sides) to get a synonym for rogue.

2d  Prisoner turned up with old books, clumsy fellow (6)
{GALOOT} – a favourite term for a prisoner is LAG – reverse it (turned up) and add O (old) and OT (books of the Old Testament) to get a Scottish and North American word for a clumsy fellow.

3d  Setting right notice that had been included when attending to problem again (12)
{READDRESSING} – setting right is REDRESSING – insert AD (notice that had been included) to form a word meaning attending to a problem once more.

4d  Collie fetched contents willingly (4)
{LIEF} – hidden (signalled by “contents”) inside colLIE Fetched is an archaic adverb meaning gladly or willingly.

5d  Right way to look at allusion? (4-6)
{SIDE GLANCE} – a phrase meaning a passing allusion is also a brief look to the right (or to the left!).

7d  Some applaud a number a number (8 )
{LAUDANUM} – a hidden word (some) in appLAUD A NUMber is a number (i.e. something that numbs).

8d  Horse at home going round a wild Irish pasture (8 )
{MOUNTAIN} – horse is MOUNT and at home is IN – include (going round) A to get a familiar word which, in Ireland, can mean wild pasture land.

11d  Both comrades injured and won’t fight (4,2,6)
{HORS DE COMBAT} – a very neat anagram (injured) of “Both comrades” produces a French phrase meaning out of action (normally due to injury) and unfit to fight.

14d  A disordered residence, and I court order (6,4)
{DECREE NISI} – a court order that grants a provisional divorce is formed from an anagram (disordered) of “residence” and I.

16d  Shooter in part or in quantity? (8 )
{GUNSTOCK} – double definition, one cryptic – this is both the support to which the barrel of a firearm is attached, and, cryptically, the whole quantity of weapons that a supplier has.

17d  Drink from orange mug (5,3)
{FRUIT CUP} – we need to put together the type of food that an orange is and a synonym for mug to form a refreshing drink.

19d  Ship in North American gold to make capital (6)
{NASSAU} – insert SS (Steam Ship) inside NA (North American) and AU (chemical symbol for gold) to construct the capital of the Bahamas.

20d  A number in southern Switzerland smell (6)
{STENCH} – put the number TEN inside S (south) and the International Vehicle Registration code for Switzerland to form a nasty pong.

23d  Queen had hard time (4)
{HERA} – hard is H and time is ERA – put together they make the name of the queen of heaven in Greek mythology.

So, which were your most and least favourite clues? My favourites included 15a, 27a and 11d, but my clue of the day is 9a.


  1. bigboab
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Quite liked 2d and 16d, on the whole not a great crossword though.

  2. libellule
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 4:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Gazza, I don’t think you can complain about the french phrases. Both are well known, and also used in “english”. I get a bit worried for example when you are supposed to know what the french word is for dragonfly is for example :-)

    • gazza
      Posted June 3, 2009 at 5:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

      libellule, I wasn’t complaining – I’m quite relaxed about it – I was just interested in other views.
      Even with individual foreign words, would “libellule” be any less fair than, say, “gu”, “tod” and “kipe” – all of which occur in this puzzle? You have to look them all up (or at least I do), so does it matter whether they’re Scottish, French or Serbo-Croat?

    • nanaglugglug
      Posted June 3, 2009 at 9:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

      What is the French word for ‘dragonfly’, just out of interest?

  3. libellule
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Gazza point taken. I think European languages are fair game. So long as we don’t have to deal with Japanese or Chinese glyphs…..

  4. nanaglugglug
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well, we had a Eureka moment tonight, the only one that really foxed us was 12a.
    Really enjoyed it!

  5. Posted June 6, 2009 at 7:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As already indicated, the French phrases weren’t the hard bit! I remembered the gu from scrabble and barred-grid puzzles, plus tod = fox, but not the kipe – wrongly guessed that the pike ended up in a kepi – Fr. military hat. When there’s another word that exists and fits the fodder and checking letters, an anagram clue seems a bit poor …

    Only idea for 22A is that there might once have been such a thing as a “lieutenant justice”, but not in Chambers. Google locates some references to a “lieutenant justice of Chester” but a mighty long time ago! Cob=round object was new too, but recognisable from the odd word “cobby”, as in “The British Shorthair [cat] has a compact, cobby, well balanced, strong body …”

  6. Posted June 6, 2009 at 8:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Regarding 22 across, at the time I read this as C (circa / round) OBJ (object) A LT (one officer) without the J (justice).

    Both obj. and J. are verified by Chambers.

    I would have mentioned this earlier, but I have only just got around to reading all of the blog.

    I could be wrong, but I suspect that there was some late tinkering with this clue and COB was the setter’s original intention.

    • gazza
      Posted June 7, 2009 at 8:33 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Dave, That’s obviously the correct reading. It was just a bit unfortunate that COB means a rounded object!

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