Toughie 190

Toughie No 190 by Kcit

Elegant and Enjoyable

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

Greetings from a soggy Calder Valley (Hebden Bridge sur mer!) and here are the results of Thursday’s Toughie Jury.   In his various guises, Kcit is one of my favourite setters and like Giovanni produces beautifully consistent and elegant puzzles.  Today’s is no exception and contains clues to make you smile, as well as clues that are technically sound and accurate.

Incidentally some news for those of you who also tackle the Guardian puzzle.  One of their long-running setters, Albie Fiore, who compiled under the pen-name Taupi (and Satori in the FT) died yesterday.  Albie’s puzzles were usually fiendishly difficult, but always fair and contained elegance and wit in every clue.  A sad loss to the world of crosswords.  My condolences to his wife and family.

Don’t forget you can rate the puzzle by awarding it a star rating below left. Your comments are always welcome and positively encouraged.  New posters always take a little longer to appear as the first post has to be approved to check for spammers.


1a    Bombshell not plain and dumb and, like, heartless? That’s quite wrong (8,6)
{PLATINUM BLONDE}  An anagram to get things going today.  Nice surface reading with bombshell as the anagram indicator.  NOT PLAIN DUMB and LE (“like” heartless) needs to be revamped to produce ladies such as Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe.

9a    A number curtailed urge enthralled by playwright with no little power (7)
{INTEGER}  Quite a tough clue to break down.  A number is the definition.  Urge curtailed gives GE and this is inside the name of a playwright PINTER lacking its first letter (no little power).

10a   It’s time to interrupt live performer (7)
{ARTISTE}  It’s time = ‘TIS T inside ARE (live) to give a stage performer.

11a   Foodstuff that’s a lot of use? Not a lot (4)
{TOFU} A statement that some foodies will probably agree with.  The answer is a hidden one (shown by NOT A LOT)  inside  a lot of use?

12a   Mostly had geometry recast as a branch of applied mathematics (4,6)
{GAME THEORY} An anagram (recast) of HA (mostly had) + GEOMETRY reveals another area of maths that deals with probabilities, etc.  Another good surface reading.

14a   Block ears of college fellow about female, not male (6)
{DEAFENBlock ears is the definition.  College fellow = DEAN with FE(MALE) [female, not male].

15a   Part of bill? Chap lied unconvincingly about bill’s first item (8)
{MANDIBLE}  The two parts of a bird’s bill are the upper and lower mandibles.  The works out as MAN (Chap) + an anagram of LIED and B (bill’s first item)

17a   Heath: “I governed, in retrospect, in a confused state” (8)
{DELIRIUM)  Nothing to do with the late, occasionally lamented PM.  It’s  what might be termed a “reverse word sum”.  I struggled to find the definition for the word muir on line using the standard sources ( etc) but after going and getting my Chambers,  I see that it was a Scots word for Heath (Moor).  So MUIR I LED (Heath, I governed) reversed forms a word for a confused state.

18a   Cut back one mammal or another (6)
{WOMBAT)   Cut =  MOW reversed  + BAT = mammal.

Q      What’s the best thing to do with a wombat?

A      Play wom  (Oi thang yew!)

21a   Supplied with booze beside shortened jetty in riverside area (10)
{WHARFEDALE}.  This is a bit of an oddity.  The shortened jetty leads to a word whose last letter could appear in the puzzle, but doesn’t.  So we have WHAR(F) + FED + ALE (supplied with booze).  This leads you to one of my favourite parts of Britain with one of the most amazing walks you can take.

22a   Pop group curtailed promotional material (4)
{BLUR}  Promotional material is BLURB and if you curtail it, you get Mr Albarn’s group.

Probably my favourite Blur track

24a   Claimed Bible was wrong (7)
{AVERREDClaimed is the definition.  Bible here is AV (Authorised Version) and is added to ERRED (went wrong)

25a   Stomach not repelled, swallowing last of meal? That’s me! (7)
{GLUTTON Stomach = GUT + TON (not repelled). Inside this you need to insert L (last of meal).  The whole thing thus qualifies and defines the answer.

26a   This is a great ad for broadcasting – totally honest (8,2,1,3)
{STRAIGHT AS A DIE}  An anagram (broadcasting) of THIS IS A GREAT AD, gives an analogy for being honest.  Another lovely clue.


1d    Post Office suggested ignoring first of letters? That’s telling (7)
{POINTED}  I have spent about an hour convincing myself that there was something wrong with this clue, when the truth hit me in the face like the famous fish-slapping dance.  Post Office suggested = P O HINTED. Ignoring first of letters does not mean remove L, as I convinced myself, but simply remove the first of the letters in the word HINTED.  D’OH!

Speaking of the fish-slapping dance, here it is in all its glory.

2d    Legislation amended after a complaint (3,2,10)
{ACT OF PARLIAMENT}  And not ACT OF SETTLEMENT, which for some silly reason was my first answer.  It’s quite simply a clever anagram (amended) of AFTER A COMPLAINT!

3d    Around start of Act I stab Shakespearean character (4)
{IAGO}  The Evil One from Othello is revealed by taking A (start of Act) and putting it in I GO (I + stab, as in to have a stab at something).

4d    Shunning exercise, superior rower produces row (6)
{UPROARSuperior =UPPER, less PE (shunning exercise) + OAR = a word meaning row .  Another delightfully misleading clue.

5d    Part of car in poor condition? Take in slope softly (5,3)
{BRAKE PAD}  This was a real tough clue to crack.  The answer became obvious through crossing letters.  My first thought was R = take (a common crossword abbreviation from recipe, the Latin command for take) inside BAKE.  However, the penny dropped and I realised that it was RAKE (slope) and P (softly) taken inside BAD (poor condition).

6d    Cartoon he’d redrawn, taking solid form (10)
{OCTAHEDRON} An anagram (redrawn) of CARTOON HE’D to give an eight-sided 3-D figure.

7d    Unsettled dance club, with doubt and blame flying about (15)
{DISCOMBOBULATED}  One of those words you associate with the wonderful Ken Dodd, probably the finest act I have seen live.  It actually looks longer than a fifteen-letter word when I type it.  Dance club = DISCO + an anagram of DOUBT and BLAME.

Speaking of Doddy…

8d    Produce new version of expensive marque after first showing of Rolls (6)
{RETYPE}  A beautifully crafted clue.  R = first showing of ROLLS,  and add to this an expensive marque of a car E-TYPE.

13d   With little hesitation, artist leading company among soldiers going to earth? (5,5)
{TERRA FIRMA}  This is a bit convoluted.    ER (little hesitation) + RA (artist) + FIRM (company) all inside TA (army).  Earth is the definition.

16d   Scots commended, say, about party for disability supporter (5,3)
{GUIDE DOG}  Not a homophone clue.  Commended, i.e. excellent in Scottish is GUID + E.G. (say, for example) with DO (party) inside.

17d   Early morning liquid to drink? It depends on the cow (6)
{DEWLAP} Nothing to do with milk.  Early morning liquid = DEW + LAP (to drink).  And a DEWLAP hangs (in crosswordese, depends) from a cow.  Another cleverly deceptive clue.

19d   Core part of stern audience not half doing for Roman playwright (7)
{TERENCE}  TER = core part(i.e. heart) of STERN + ENCE (half of AUDIENCE). Terence was a Latin poet and playwright who died tragically young.  One famous quotation by Terence reads: “Homo sum, humani nil a me alienum puto“, or “I am a man, I consider nothing that is human alien to me.”

20d   Confrontation about Liberal’s trip overseas? (6)
{FLIGHT}  L = Liberal inside FIGHT (confrontation).  Trip overseas is the definition.

23d   Who’s usually seriously shy, primarily? (4)
{WUSS)  Take the first letters of most of the clue (shown by primarily) to reveal the answer to the question!

Thanks to Kcit for a thoroughly enjoyable and challenging puzzle, worthy of the Toughie title.  Superb stuff!


  1. Lizwhiz
    Posted July 30, 2009 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Having just started doing the Toughie, I amazed myself by finishing it without your help!!! Woop! Woop! Must have been an easy one! ;)

  2. bigboab
    Posted July 30, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Not bad at all, best of the week so far. Favourite was 17a.

  3. nanaglugglug
    Posted July 30, 2009 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Favourite clue was 8d, but 7d made us chuckle because it describes Hotlips totally!!
    Didn’t think it was too easy, but started with a vengeance with the long clues and needed you only to make sense of our answers!