Toughie 167

Toughie No 167 by Excalibur

More of the same

+ – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment **

My dislike of puzzles from this setter is well-known, so I will let you decide for yourself.  I wonder if visitors to the Excalibur household are asked “Tea, a cup of, would like you?”.


1a Not now and not in there. I am changing (7,4)
{ANOTHER TIME} – a phrase meaning not now is derived by putting NOT inside an anagram (changing) of THERE I AM

9a Concealing in it a love letter (4)
{IOTA} – placing in IT A, O (love) to get the 9th letter of the Greek alphabet – well that’s how the clue reads, just to be able to get love letter into the surface reading

10a Very little dance music (6,5)
{MINUTE WALTZ} – a cryptic definition of an old-fashioned dance – would have been a good clue if it was original, but it isn’t

11a A dog’s tail, boy, shows it’s happy (4)
{GLAD} – G (a doG’s tail) and LAD (boy)

14a Go off in step, prepared for the march (7)
{PROTEST} – ROT (go off) inside an anagram (prepared) of STEP – one of the better clues

16a Make it hard to get gun he brandished (7)
{TOUGHEN} – TO with an anagram (brandished) of GUN HE

18a Fly across to the hill top (5)
{HOVER} – OVER (across) following H(ill)

19a Only off for a time (4)
{NOON} – the assumption here is that if there is NO ON then there must only be off

20a At ‘soft drink’, blanch (4)
{PALE} – P (softly in music notation) and ALE (drink)

21a About royal jewels, they’re sickening (5)
{GERMS} – around R(oyal) we have GEMS (jewels)

23a Do contrive to contain a raging fever that wasn’t starved (7)
{OVERFED} – the only anagram (contrive) of DO is around (to contain) an anagram (raging) of FEVER

24a Making small talk, turn the sprinkler on (7)
{SPATTER} – S(mall) PATTER (talk)

25a Sees how many children there are? (4)
{TOTS} – a cross between an all-in-one and a double definition that doesn’t seem to work for me

30a Hard work earning the wages of sin? (5,2,1,3)
{DEVIL OF A JOB} – a cryptic double definition

31a Let out in the back stretch (4)
{EMIT} – back indicates that another word for a prison sentence (stretch) is to be reversed

32a Catch up, darn it! (5,3,3)
{CLOSE THE GAP} – a part cryptic double definition – note it says dam and not, as you are supposed to think, damn


2d Collar that’s liable to scratch (4)
{NAIL} – a double definition – collar in the sense of to catch, and liable to scratch in the sense of a fingernail

3d So shout out ‘Nothing is missing’ (4)
{THUS} – a synonym for so that is an anagram (out) of SH(O)UT without the O (nothing is missing)

4d Nonsense. As he chops, bring the wood inside (7)
{EYEWASH} – a word meaning nonsense that is an anagram (chops) of AS HE around (bring … inside) YEW (wood)

5d Go to pieces and run (4)
{TEAR} – a double definition – more rip to pieces than go to pieces, but then that would spoil the surface reading, and we can’t have that, can we?

6d Killer in tangle, taking a gun back (7)
{MATADOR} – a bull-fighter (killer) that is a charade of MAT (tangle) A and ROD (gun) reversed (back)

7d Nice to Americans, not very friendly to us (4)
{COOL} – a transatlantic double definition

8d Honestly hiding a card (4,2,5)
{HAND ON HEART} – a part cryptic double definition, put your HAND ON this playing card to hide it

12d Prepared to eat, though astonished (4-7)
{OPEN-MOUTHED} – another part cryptic double definition

13d Getting into extra big, is unhappy (6)
{MOROSE} – putting inside MORE (extra), OS (big)

15d Loathsome person said to have exercised pull (5)
{TOWED} – a TOAD (loathsome person) sounds like (said) a synonym for to have exercised pull

16d Swarms prepared to transport me back (5)
{TEEMS} – SET (prepared) around (to transport / carry) ME all reversed (back)

17d They are almost all running to get warm (6)
{HEARTY} – an anagram (running) of THEY AR(E) (almost all of they are) gives a word meaning warm, in the sense of a warm greeting

21d Be sensible and don’t buy artificial (3,4)
{GET REAL} – another part cryptic double definition – don’t buy artificial, buy genuine

22d Talk about batting to play for time (4,3)
{SPIN OUT} – SPOUT (talk) around IN (batting)

26d Follow and shoot (4)
{TWIG} – surprise, surprise – it’s a double definition

27d Plans, when I’m through (4)
{AIMS} – these plans come from AS (when) with I’M inside (through)

28d Bloody few and far between! (4)
{RARE} – we haven’t had a double definition for at least two clues, so here’s another – either the best way to order your steak or unusual

29d In a balloon going inside the island (4)
{IONA} – IN A with O (balloon) inside gives the Hebridean island on which St Columba founded a monastery

Your comments are more than welcome.


  1. bigboab
    Posted June 19, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    enough said!

  2. nanaglugglug
    Posted June 19, 2009 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    4.45 – just going to start – will let you know how we get on…..oh dear, he’s put the cricket on!

  3. john middleton
    Posted June 19, 2009 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    32 across catch up, darn it (not dam it)

    • Posted June 19, 2009 at 5:08 pm | Permalink


      Thanks for that – it’s not the first time that I have read rn (RN) as m (M) and I doubt it will be the last!

  4. nanaglugglug
    Posted June 19, 2009 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    We must definitely be in the minority – we quite enjoyed that! Clues like 10a gave us a good start and we have taken 30 minutes in spite of the cricket

  5. tilsit
    Posted June 19, 2009 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    I thought Monday’s Telegraph puzzle was tougher.