Toughie 166

Toughie No 166 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

A fairly entertaining challenge from Shamus, who always provides puzzles that are both fair and a reasonable test for solvers.  I have to say I found this one a little easier than his usual challenges, but it did contaion  things that made me reach for the Chambers.

Shamus is one of Azed’s band of solvers from the Observer every Sunday, and regularly appears in the prize winners for his monthly clue writing competition.   Solvers may be interested to know that another of Azed’s band of regulars sadly passed away the other day.  Dorothy Taylor, who was 98, had a rather particular claim to fame.  Dorothy used to enter puzzles under her sister’s name Mrs B Lewis and her name was used, along with that of another eminent solver, Sir Jeremy Morse, by Colin Dexter, himself a regular Azed prizewinner. And so Morse and Lewis became famous.

[You can see a picture of Dorothy, with Sir Jeremy, in this post on Derek Harrison’s Crossword Message Board.  The following entry in the same thread has a picture of her with Colin Dexter and Don (Giovanni) Manley .  BD]


1a Lift from which exits central character, compere (4)
{HOST} A straightforward start today.   Think of a word for a type of lift with five letters and remove the middle letter.

3a Nightclub found in Sheffield is cosy (5)
{DISCO} A hidden answer:  SheffielD IS COsy

6a Beautiful school bordering lake (4)
{GLAM}  Quite a tough clue.  You need a word for a school or group of fishes and insert an abbreviation for Lake. The word required goes with Rock to make a phrase associated with Pop Bands of the 70’s such as The Sweet, T Rex and Wizzard.

8a Novel warfare? Same toll after an exchange (1,8,2,4)
[A FAREWELLTO ARMS}  An anagram of WARFARE SAME TOLL reveals a famous Hemingway novel.

9a Second piece about one in Alpine pursuit? (6)
{SKIING}  S (for second) + KING, piece on a chess board with one inside.

10a Devotion I hear shown around wizened old American (8)
{IDOLATRY} I worked this out from crossing letters.  I think it’s I’D TRY around OL’ A (wizened i.e. with tail removed OLD American).
I TRY (I hear) around an anagram (wizened) of OLD plus A(merican). [Thanks Gazza]

11a Mischievous song about male with no experience (8)
[ARMCHAIR)   Mischievous song (ARCH AIR) with an M inside.

13a Duck, perhaps, from tailender in squad supported by lad batting (6)
{DONALD) Nice cricketing analogy here.  D (tailender in squad) + ON (supported by) + ALD  (LAD batting, i.e. an anagram)

15a Nick beginning to transmit energy in busy place (6)
{THIEVE} A similar structure to 13.  T (beginning to Transmit) + E (energy) inside  HIVE ( a busy place)

17a Cavalier’s challenge? (4,4)
{ROAD TEST}  The Cavalier here is a Vauxhall Cavalier!

19a Minor alarm possibly after consuming drink (8)
{MARGINAL)  Minor is the definition.  An anagram of ALARM with a type of drink (GIN) inside.

21a Disruptive figure in queue, not Jack — a stable type? (6)
{OSTLER}  Someone who disrupts a queue may be a JOSTLER, so if Jack (J) leaves, you get someone who looks after horses.

22a Gated marble ruin restored in mysterious area? (7,8)
{BERMUDA TRIANGLE}  Aaargh!  I now have a Barry Manilow earworm!  An anagram of GATED MARBLE RUIN will reveal the name of an area off the coast of Florida where things are  reported to have vanished.  It is also one of Barry’s songs.

23a Anna, say, having company at home (4)
{COIN}  Here Anna refers to the Indian money.  A short abbreviation for company (CO) + a word for at home (IN).

24a London suburb deprived of hospital having last bit facing you? (3,2)
{END ON}  The London suburb is HENDON, and removing the H (for hospital) leaves you…..

25a Some humour that’s black about society (4)
{JEST}  Think of a black mineral (or the name of Paul McCartney’s dog (allegedly) that he sang about), and insert an S.


1d Reaction to toss-up? Pro gets early advantage (4,5)
{HEAD START} Made me laugh out loud.   Think of what you call at a toss-up and add to it a word for a pro (yes, that sort of pro!).

2d Arena, a little one engaged in wrestling mostly (7)
{STADIUM}  A word that means a little (TAD) and add I for one; this needs to be placed inside a type of wrestling (SUMO), but as the clue says “mostly”, you only need the first three letters.

3d Belittle sad member of broadcasting family? (9)
{DOWNGRADE}  Belittle here is the definition.  Sad =  DOWN and for the member of the broadcasting family, think of one of the most famous TV dynasties (DIMBLEBY doesn’t fit in here!).  This one comprises Lord Lew, Leslie and latterly Michael who has been at the helm of C4, BBC and ITV.

4d Maybe, private institute? Join at the margins (7)
{SOLDIER}  “Maybe private” is the definition.  Institute can be the letter I and this needs to be placed inside a word meaning join.  Think joining with lead and using a heated iron.

5d Dutch officer’s head under striking cap (5)
{OUTDO}  DO =  Dutch officer’s head.  This needs to go under a work meaning “on strike” (OUT)

6d Treat unfavourably lecher pocketing profits (2,7)
[GO AGAINST}  A word for a lecher is GOAT and inside this you need to place a word meaning Profits (GAINS)

7d One taking ultimate responsibility for ratings? (7)
{ADMIRAL} A cryptic definition here.  Nothing to do with TV ratings, more the naval kind.  Who would have ultimate responsibility for naval ratings?

12d Minister starts to encourage regular exercise among Celtic group (9)
{CLERGYMAN}  “Starts to” means the first letters of, so here it’s E and R, added to a word meaning exercise, or where it takes place!  Put all this inside a Celtic family group (CLAN)

13d Very severe medic with a look over Scot (9)
{DRACONIAN} A word sum. Medic is DR + a look A CON + “Scot” in crosswords usually means the name Ian, and it does so here.

14d It puts off cleaner? Right for good! (9)
{DETERRENT}  Here you need a word for a cleaner – think washing powder!  Then swap the G for R.

16d Pitch above house getting dismissal (5-2)
{HEAVE HO}  To pitch or throw is to HEAVE and a short word for House is HO.  If you are dismissed you get the old…..

17d Rector full of joy is among family? (7)
{RELATED}  A word sum.  R for Rector +  ELATED full of joy.

18d Echo hint about record, poetic work (7)
[ECLOGUE}  An Eclogue is a type of rustic poem.  E (for Echo) + CUE (hint) with LOG (record) inside.

20d Reminder from new shift without leader? (5)
{NUDGE}  N for new +  (B)UDGE (shift without leader)

Thanks to Shamus for an enjoyable romp.


  1. gazza
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I think that the wordplay for 10a is:
    I TRY (I hear) around an anagram (wizened) of OLD plus A(merican)

    • tilsit
      Posted June 18, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Gazza

      You are absolutely right. I really didn’t see it..

  2. bigboab
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Most enjoyable, my favourite clue today was 11a.

  3. nanaglugglug
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 5:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Only sticking point today was 17a, (Hotlips never did like Vauxhalls!!) otherwise really enjoyable.

  4. anon
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 9:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I was undone by the top right corner. I had “be against” instead of “go against” with beast as the lecher and thus spent half an hour trying to convince myself that the answer to 6a was beau with eau meaning water as in lake etc.

  5. Shamus
    Posted June 18, 2009 at 11:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Tilsit for the blog and to others for comments. Hope everything was self-explanatory!

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