Toughie 189

Toughie No 189 by Campbell

A Delight for the Polymath

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BD Rating – Difficulty **** Enjoyment ***

Having completed this puzzle, I felt that it had taken me longer than it should have done. It’s a good solid Toughie with a couple of new words (to me, at least) thrown in, and enough classical, literary, floral and geographical references to delight any polymath. There is an error in the version on Clued Up which has the wrong length for 9d.
Please take the time to vote for the entertainment factor by selecting and clicking on one of the stars at the bottom of the review. As always we’d be delighted to get your comments.

Across Clues

1a  Jellyfish petrifying woman (6)
{MEDUSA} – double definition – a jellyfish, and one of the three Gorgons in Greek mythology, who had an unusual hairstyle and whose glance turned to stone anyone who looked at her.

4a  Presents proposals at university (6,2)
{OFFERS UP} – double definition, one cryptic.

10a  ‘Gypsy’ in rep (9)
{TRAVELLER} – double definition, rep here being short for a sales representative.

11a  Employ old man on return ferry (5)
{APPLY} – another word for employ, in the sense of put to use, is made up of PA (old man) which is reversed (on return) and followed by PLY (make regular journeys, ferry).

12a  Humorous company doctor (7)
{COMEDIC} – a synonym for humorous is constructed from a charade of CO (company) and MEDIC (doctor).

13a  Peculiar periodic social function (7)
{ODDBALL} – an informal term for peculiar or bizarre is made from a charade of ODD (periodic) and BALL (social function).

14a  Stupid person, to demand payment from the Church (5)
{DUNCE} – the verb meaning to demand payment is DUN – add one of the standard abbreviations for church.

15a  Craftily done in my novel (8 )
{ENDYMION} – the answer is an anagram of DONE IN MY, but is the indicator craftily or novel? I initially thought that I was looking for a type of ship (craftily) but actually what we want is a novel by Benjamin Disraeli.

18a  Centre window (5-3)
{BULLS-EYE} – double definition – the middle bit of an archery target or dartboard, and a round window.

20a  I grumble about Campbell (5)
{NAOMI} – given the name of the setter this is a witty clue which attempts to misdirect – the Campbell that we actually want is the long-legged fashion model.

23a  A shore, very large and seasonable (7)
{APROPOS} – a charade of A, PROP (shore up) and OS (very large) produces a word meaning pertinent.

25a  Holds back favourite — here’s a piece of news (7)
{SNIPPET} – reverse (back) PINS (holds or fastens) and add PET (favourite) to get a piece of news.

26a  German city judge? (5)
{TRIER} – the oldest city in Germany, situated on the Moselle, is a word which could be applied to someone who tries cases.

27a  Plain, greenest I suspect (9)
{SERENGETI} – an anagram (suspect) of GREENEST I gives us the name of the huge plain in Tanzania where countless gazelles and wildebeest have fallen prey to big cats in many wild-life documentaries.

28a  Grace, British novelist (8 )
{BLESSING} – a synonym for grace (short prayer of thanks before or after a meal) is made up of B(ritish) and the novelist (Doris) LESSING.

29a  Sad, losing heart in Adriatic port (6)
{TRISTE} – the Adriatic port that we want is TRIESTE – remove the middle letter (losing heart) to leave an adjective, from the French, meaning sad.

Down Clues

1d  Agent that kills arachnids and mice? Di worried about it (8 )
{MITICIDE} – an anagram (worried) of MICE DI around IT produces a poison which kills spiders.

2d  Truck driver in enclosure over by cove (7)
{DRAYMAN} – a truck driver (whose cargo is normally barrels of beer) is made from YARD (enclosure) which needs to be reversed (over) followed by MAN (cove).

3d  Put one’s foot down on top of spring flower (9)
{SPEEDWELL} – to put one’s foot down is to SPEED – add WELL (spring) to get a blue flower.

5d  In favour of suitable amount as a bonus (3,4,7)
{FOR GOOD MEASURE} – double definition, the first literal, the second a phrase meaning something extra or above the minimum necessary (bonus).

6d  Last in line put down beast (5)
{ELAND} – put down here relates to an aircraft touching down.

7d  Small work conducted by orchestra’s lead singer (7)
{SOPRANO} – a type of singer is constructed from a charade of S(mall), OP (work), RAN (conducted) and O (first letter of orchestra).

8d  Bribe a US actress back in Penn (6)
{PAYOLA} – Penn is a common way of referring to Pennsylvania (which was founded by the Quaker William Penn) – what we need is the standard abbreviation for the state, PA, and inside this we have to put A and a reversal of the actress (Myrna) LOY to get a secret payment or bribe.

9d  Flower border stocked by servant girl (5-4, 5)  [incorrectly shown as (10,5) on Clued Up]
{BLACK-EYED SUSAN} – border is BED – inside this (stocked) put LACKEY (servant) and add a girl’s name at the end to get a flower.

16d  Quixote’s battle over name appearing in Russian? (9)
{MONSIGNOR} – the reference to Quixote does not relate directly to Cervantes’ classic work but to a novel by Graham Greene. Start with MONS (the site of the first battle fought by the British Army in WW I) and follow this with IGOR (Russian male) with N(ame) inside it.

17d  Face endless people giving abuse (8 )
{DIATRIBE} – the face required is a DIAL – remove the last letter (endless) and add a group of people of common descent.

19d  Universal approval gives lift (7)
{UPRAISE} – a charade of U (film classification) and PRAISE (approval).

21d  Discourage squash after work (7)
{OPPRESS} – a charade of OP (work) and PRESS (squash) normally means something a bit stronger than “discourage”!

22d  Worker in taxi from Cambridge (6)
{CANTAB} – put ANT (worker) inside CAB (taxi) to get the shortened form of Cantabrigiensis (relating to Cambridge or its university).

24d  Legendary prince had left Indian assembly (5)
{PARIS} – an Indian council or assembly (from the Sanskrit, meaning to sit around) is PARISHAD (a word which Chambers does not seem to recognise!) – take off the HAD to leave the mythical prince of Troy.

My clue of the day is 20a – what do you think? Leave us a comment, and don’t forget to cast your vote for the entertainment factor below!


  1. Harry Shipley
    Posted July 29, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Here the fact that the printout from the website still does not give the setter’s identity was helpful; We weren’t misled in 20A. Yes, a good little puzzle.


  2. Libellule
    Posted July 29, 2009 at 12:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The Clued Up letters for 9d were somewhat annoying, since that meant leaving the clue, until I had some checking letters to give me some idea of what I was looking for.
    Just to make things even better, if you have keyed this puzzle into Clued Up this morning, you can key it all in again. My fastest ever time for a Toughie – 2 minutes 11seconds. About the same time as Puzzle_Tester.

  3. bigboab
    Posted July 29, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I enjoyed this one, after the rest of the week it was a welcome change. I liked 26a best.

  4. Lizwhiz
    Posted July 29, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I liked the anagram of I moan for 20a!

  5. nanaglugglug
    Posted July 29, 2009 at 8:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Favourite 1a, but hated 8d -too convoluted. Bit more difficult than yesterdays

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