Toughie 178

Toughie No 178 by Messinae

Just Like That?  Not a Lot!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment *** – (CluedUp Site Difficulty **************)

Very irritating today.  Not the puzzle, but the blooming CluedUp website.  I logged in to do the puzzle and finished it, and was chugging along writing the blog.  Funnily enough at the time I thought that it didn’t feel like a Messinae puzzle.  Visited this lovely site and then saw Gazza’s blog on the same puzzle!  Checked in to Clued-Up again and got a different puzzle!

So we start again, a bit late!  This was a really nice puzzle to solve (unlike his current fiendish Listener puzzle, which is a s*d!) and contains one of the best clues I have seen in a while.  However I think there’s a problem with one of the other clues.

Off we go, let me have your thoughts below.


1a Act as inspiration to puzzle (6)
{BEMUSE} If you play the role of muse, you are inspiring, and to be muse is to puzzle.

4a Fool rejected brand name to gain entry (8)
{PASSWORD}  Fool =  SAP – reversed + SWORD

10a Old singer to show appreciation to little girl one’s taken to heart (9)
[CHEVALIER}  The clue I referred to above as being excellent!  CHEER (to show appreciation) with VAL  (“little” girl) + I (one)   – “taken to heart” shows that it goes inside.  The whole clue could also describe Maurice Chevalier’s famous song from the film Gigi.

11a Servant said goodbye (5)
{VALET} VALE (Vah-lee)  is the Latin way of saying Farewell, although I was taught (by the late and wonderful Gilbert Burrows at Prescot Grammar School) to say my v’s as w’s.

12a Missile just right before disturbance (7)
{PATRIOT}  A word sum.  PAT (just right, as in “off pat”)  + RIOT

13a Batsman who is in and one who is out (7)
{STRIKER}  Double definition.  A striker is at the wicket in cricket or baseball, or not working if on strike

14a In lunch I like hot spice (5)
{CHILI}  A hidden answer.  LunCH I  LIke

15a Reserved: return shortly with very little money (8)
{RETICENT}  RET = return + I CENT (Very little money).  If you are reticent, you are reserved.

18a Meat in sandwich perhaps for American picnic (8)
{CLAMBAKE)  Popular gatherings in the United States.  LAMB (Meat) inside CAKE (sandwich, perhaps = a type of cake).

Clambake was also an Elvis Presley film featuring a young Bill Bixby.

20a Award coming after November (5)
{OSCAR}  Lovely clue.  In the NATO phonetic alphabet, OSCAR = O and of course comes just after N = NOVEMBER.

23a Endless fish is returned as seafood (7)
{SCOLLOP} An alternative spelling of SCALLOP.  Much beloved by TV cookery shows, I much prefer the potato version.  This is a reversal of POLLOC(K) + ‘S (IS).

25a Love orange mixture as flavouring (7)
{OREGANO}  O + an anagram of “Orange” forms the herb often used on pizza toppings.

26a Prepare for battle raging in Marne (5)
{ENARM}  Anagram of MARNE (raging is the anagram indicator).

27a Local with a posh car in story (9)
{NARRATIVE}  A posh car is a Rolls Royce or RR, hence A RR inside NATIVE

28a Edit apparently to get by (4,4)
{TIDE OVER} If you turn the word TIDE over, i.e. reverse it, you get EDIT.  Tied over means to

29a Public school right out of bounds (6)
{FETTES}  FETTERS (bounds) minus  R  gives the name of the Independent Day and boarding school near Edinburgh.  Almuni of Fettes include Tony Blair, Sir Michael Tippett and actress Tilda Swinton.


1d One rugby player over eight is a burden (8)
{BACKPACK} A Back is a rugby player and a group of eight of them is known as a pack.  A backpack is something you carry and thus a burden.

2d Great musicians as merit getting new arrangement (7)
{MAESTRI} The plural of Maestro is Maestri; this is an anagram of AS MERIT.  By the way, did you know that the singular of scampi is scampo?

3d Revolutionary militants rejecting Trotsky initially for this (9)
{STALINISM}  All your bloggers have put their heads together over this.  The clue itself is quite clever and the idea is that you swap a T for an S and anagrammatise it.  However, how do you get the second “S”?  The best we can come up with is that “this” refers to the start of the answer, but if you can’t get the answer how would you find the S?

5d How chess players compete generally (6-3-5)
{ACROSS THE BOARD}  One of those double definition clues where one of the definitions is cryptic.  Chess players normally compete on opposite sides of a board; the use of normally here is important as obviously nowadays people can play chess via computer or in days of yore by post (do people still play postal chess?).

6d River almost cut off (5)
{SEVER}  The river is the SEVERN. Almost means not fully, so SEVER is the answer required.

7d Bribes relatives as protection (7)
{OILSKIN} “Oiling greasy palms” is a slang equivalent for bribing someone.  So OILS + KIN for relatives.  OILSKIN is protection against the rain.

8d Cheat mostly slow old fool (6)
{DOTARD}  To DO someone is to cheat and add to this TARD(Y) for “mostly” slow.  A DOTARD is an archaic name for a fool.

9d Invigorate cops cooking cake (8,6)
{VICTORIA SPONGE}  An anagram of INVIGORATE COPS leads to this teatime favourite.

16d Old comedian scoffed to do what the two Ronnies did (9)
{COOPERATE}  The old comedian is the much-loved and missed Tommy, and scoffed  = ATE..  The famous double act obviously cooperated together.

Any excuse!

17d Prominent sister with Ferdinand in the papers (8)
{PRIORESS}  The footballer with the problem of keeping appointments (RIO) inside PRESS (the papers) gives the leading lady in a priory.

19d Beastly killer paroled, being reformed (7)
{LEOPARD}  An anagram of PAROLED.  Nice surface reading to the clue.

21d Hot car I crashed into old vehicle (7)
{CHARIOT} Another nice surface reading.  An anagram of HOT CAR I reveals Ben Hur’s vehicle of choice.

22d Agree in the form provided (6)
{ASSENT}  Agree is the definition and “in the form provided” it is AS SENT.

24d Wherein one gets leg over? Yes and no (5)
{LIMBO}  One to make you smile to finish.  The whole thing sort of provides the definition, and LIMB + O =  Leg (over)  + O (No )

Thanks to Messinae for the challenge today.  See you next week.


  1. Libellule
    Posted July 9, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Is it me or does 10a have an extra “I” in the explanation. CHEER (appreciation) + VAL (little girl) + I (ones) seems to be the wordplay.

    • Posted July 9, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Permalink | Reply


      • Libellule
        Posted July 9, 2009 at 5:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Mind you Tilsit is right – it was an excellent clue, once I had worked it out :-)

  2. tilsit
    Posted July 9, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I took the “one’s” to mean “one is” rather than multiple ones.

    • Libellule
      Posted July 9, 2009 at 5:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Tilsit, there was a small error in the original explanation where one (I) appeared twice. Not a problem its corrected now.

    • Posted July 9, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You had the “I” in twice, but I’ve deleted one of them!

  3. tilsit
    Posted July 9, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    D’oh! Silly me!

  4. Libellule
    Posted July 9, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Re. 3d (we are one hour + in France and I need to make tea) – Here’s my view on it, the only way this could work and its somewhat tenuous, but hey, so what. Basically the “revolutionaries” post Lenin rejected T(rotsky) for S(talin) where S(talin) is represented as “for this”.

  5. tilsit
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 5:36 am | Permalink | Reply

    I have had contact with the setter who apologies for the clue at 3 down which has an incorrect anagram.

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