Toughie 161

Toughie No 161 by Messinae

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

This is a good solid Toughie with some very entertaining clues and nothing too obscure. I enjoyed it a lot.
For newcomers to the site can I point out that the answers are hidden inside the curly brackets. If you need to see an answer just select the white space inside the brackets.

Across Clues

1a  Corrupt odd characters in boats in river (6)
{DEBASE} – corrupt is not an anagram indicator but the definition – we need to put the odd (i.e. non-even) characters of BoAtS inside a river.

4a  Light colour deflecting from cue-ball (3-5)
{OFF-WHITE} – a charade of deflecting from and the colour of the cue-ball in snooker produces a light colour.

10a  Execute turn with back of foot (5)
{WHEEL} – a verb meaning to carry out a turn is made up from With and the back of the foot.

11a  It can dissolve metal as used in many tanks (4,5)
{AQUA REGIA} – put EG (for example, as used) inside the sort of tanks used to keep fish in to form a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acid which can dissolve metal. I presume that “many” which appears to be redundant is there to reinforce the fact that we need the plural of tanks.

12a  Who’ll tell future for friend with obscurity (7)
{PALMIST} – She (it’s normally a female) will tell your fortune.

13a  This could give you nasty lesions (7)
{LIONESS} – an anagram (nasty) of LESIONS produces a big cat.

14a  Where to do early business with e.g. electricity cut quickly (5,9)
{POWER BREAKFAST} – a high-level business meeting held over the cornflakes and orange juice is formed from a charade of energy, cut and quickly.

17a  Cheese stall with starter portions of feta, Edam, Neufchatel wrapped in film (5,9)
{BRIEF ENCOUNTER} – the cheese is BRIE – add a synonym for stall and insert (wrapped in) the initial letters of the cheeses mentioned to get the name of a famous 1945 film which was shot largely at Carnforth railway station.

21a  Potentially ratable land (7)
{ALBERTA} – an anagram (potentially) of RATABLE produces a Canadian province.

23a  Watch outside broadcast function (7)
{OBSERVE} – a synonym for to watch is made up from OB (outside broadcast) and a verb meaning to function as.

24a  Fork point snags a North German fruit (9)
{TANGERINE} – the prong or point of a fork is a TINE – include in this a shortened form of North German to get a fruit.

25a  Put by the main track (5)
{ASIDE} – double definition (the track required is a music track on one surface of an old pop single).

26a  One starting as worker after University in arrears (8 )
{DEBUTANT} – a word meaning someone starting out is constructed by putting ANT (worker) after DEBT (arrears) with U(niversity) inside.

27a  Scattered right round in all directions (6)
{STREWN} – take all four points of the compass (all directions) and put RT (right) reversed (round) inside to get a synonym for scattered.

Down Clues

1d  Shut up swapping components for item of plumbing (8 )
{DOWNPIPE} – shut up is PIPE DOWN – swap the bits round to get the plumbing item.

2d  Complain and look grumpy making a bloomer (3-6)
{BEE-FLOWER} – to complain is to BEEF – add LOWER (to look sullen or angry) to get a bloomer.

3d  One went in to join up (7)
{SOLDIER} – this is a really good all-in-one clue – put I (one) inside a verb meaning to join with a low-melting alloy.

5d  Careful of upsetting mate, one may be lucky (4,4,6)
{FOUR LEAF CLOVER} – follow an anagram (upsetting) of CAREFUL OF with a synonym for mate to get something regarded as being lucky.

6d  Conflict to remove Parry (4,3)
{WARD OFF} – a charade of a serious conflict and an old word to raise (remove) ones hat produces a term meaning to parry or keep away.

7d  Something to keep one warm – undergarment short at both ends (5)
{INGLE} – the undergarment that loses a letter at both ends is a SINGLET.

8d  Pass silently asleep, tossing (6)
{ELAPSE} – an anagram (tossing) of ASLEEP gives us a verb meaning to pass silently.

9d  Scruffy person, awfully maltreated one in a fashion (14)
{TATTERDEMALION} – a splendid term for a scruffy person is constructed from TON (fashion) with an anagram (awfully) of MALTREATED and I (one) inside.

15d  Rested funerary vessel in earth grave (9)
{SATURNINE} – string together SAT (rested), a container for the ashes of a cremated person, IN and E(arth) to get an adjective meaning grave or sullen.

16d  Large plant producing drug in Tennessee (4,4)
{TREE FERN} – put an informal term for a cannabis cigarette (drug) inside the standard abbreviation for Tennessee to produce a large plant.

18d  Give attention to home – it’s serious (7)
{EARNEST} – a charade of EAR (attention, as in “she offered a sympathetic ear”) and NEST (home) gives us a synonym for serious.

19d  Newcomer’s got celebrity awfully put out (7)
{UPSTART} – celebrity is STAR – put around it (out) an anagram (awfully) of PUT to get the type of newcomer who is a bit pushy.

20d  Had been unruly youngster in the 50s, high on drugs (6)
{WASTED} – a slang term for being under the influence of drugs is constructed from a description of someone who was a Teddy Boy in the 1950s. A lovely clue!

22d  Place providing accommodation with fairly low council tax (1,3,1)
{B AND B} – double definition – a simple but very amusing clue to finish.

I very much liked 25a, 3d, 15d and 22d, but my clue of the day, by a short head, is 20d. Whether you agree or disagree, or if you have any comment on the puzzle or the review, please leave a comment.


  1. nanaglugglug
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Thank goodness for the Toughie when we’re sitting here waiting for a plumber on a very wet Wednesday morning!!
    We loved 6d and 4a but don’t recognise your definition of ‘fashion ‘ as ‘TON’ in 9d?
    Hotlips has now gone looking for his crepe soled shoes in homage to 20d.

    • gazza
      Posted June 10, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Hi nanaglugglug
      There were Teddy Girls as well you know – I’m sure that you can come up with a suitable outfit!
      Ton is a noun meaning fashion or people of fashion (Chambers). It’s from the French where the phrase “donner le ton” means to set the fashion or be a trend-setter.

      • nanaglugglug
        Posted June 10, 2009 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that, Gazza – incidentally the Teddy Girls were a bit before my time – I was cradle-snatched!!

  2. bigboab
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Super crossword though I had not heard of “ton” before, thank you for the explanation.Agree re 20d.

  3. Posted June 10, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Funny that two of my favourite contributors should both comment on “ton” as “fashion”.

    This has come up several times recently.

    Two examples:

    DT 25917, 21across – University learner bowled over by fashion in town (5)

    DT 25926, 21across (again!) Two rivers? One’s in fashion for strenuous activity (8 )

  4. Posted June 14, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Similar solving time to an average Times puzzle – so not that tough. There’s an unfortunate possible wordplay element at 11A – QUA is Latin for “as”, which makes the rest of the clue very hard to analyse!

    22D was maybe my favourite – “Band B” was a simple idea, but it seemed to be a new one.