Toughie 227 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 227

Toughie No 227 by Myops

The Big Stinker!

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

I really struggled with this one – Myops is well known in Scotland for setting the Wee Stinker and this one shows why it is so called.

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1a After Sabbath first stop for Scots lawyer (4)
{SIST} – after S(abbath) put 1ST and you have a Scottish legal word meaning to stop or stay

3a Triple crown: originally the internationally acclaimed rugby award (5)
{TIARA} – the Pope’s triple crown is formed from the initial letters of The Internationally Acclaimed Rugby Award

6a One who may pass exam sits when others leave (4)
{EAST} – when playing bridge this, or any other, player may pass and you can find him by removing the even letters from e(x)a(m) s(i)t(s)

8a Do men ever love PT, working out, bodybuilding? (15)
{OVERDEVELOPMENT} – working out is an appropriate anagram indicator for DO MEN EVER LOVE PT

9a Sebastian and Valentine are contemporary (6)
{COEVAL} – combine Sebastian COE and VAL(entine)

10a Mentally unbalanced puts on airs (8)
{UPSTAIRS} – a word meaning mentally, or in the head, is an anagram (unbalanced) of PUTS followed by AIRS – a minor grumble here as “on” is a construct that should be used with down clues

11a New steel or plastic for mezzanine (8)
{ENTRESOL} – an anagram of N(ew) STEEL OR gives a mezzanine

13a Cossack general’s right behind one setting cap (6)
{ATAMAN} – a Cossack general – see the setter’s explanation below

15a Eighteen holes at the capital of golf. St Andrew’s? (6)
{GROUND} – put a ROUND after G(olf)

17a Topsy-turvification jumbled not quite genuine pennies, old and new (8)
{UPENDING} – the fodder to be jumbled is GENUIN(E) which is then placed around D and P (pennies, old and new)

19a Best name perhaps for servants’ quarters (8)
{BASEMENT} – the servants’ quarters are in an anagram of BEST NAME

21a Mud in your eye? Spatter or spit (6)
{PROSIT} – here’s mud in your eye! – and it’s an anagram of OR SPIT

22a Source of poison spread by Tory gang in Leeds (10,5)
{DESTROYING ANGEL} – this source of poison is an anagram of TORY GANG IN LEEDS

23a Associate with MI6 without modification (2,2)
{AS IS} – combine A(ssociate) and SIS (Secret Intelligence Service / MI6)

24a Vergil’s art first grasped the meaning of the underworld (5)
{HADES} – the Underworld – the first six books of Vergil’s Aeneid are known as the First Writing; Book VI is called Hades Realmsee the setter’s explanation below

25a But’s otherwise butt (4)
{STUB} – this butt is an anagram (otherwise) of BUT’S


1d Picnic food for Delia. Whisky’s mine (6,3)
{SCOTCH EGG} – this picnic food is a charade of SCOTCH (whisky) and EGG (bomb or mine) but the obvious connection to Delia Smith seems to add nothing to the clue

2d Measure of radiation dose it absorbs always when sun is overhead (7)
{SIEVERT} – an SI measure of radiation dose equivalent, equal to one joule per kilogram, comes from IT around EVER (always) and preceded by (overhead as this is a down clue) S(un)

3d In dry area I’ll look for upturn with network of bars (9)
{TRELLISED} – put I’LL into DESERT and reverse all of it

4d Saxe blue turned gold on line that describes cloning (7)
{ASEXUAL} – does blue really work as an anagram indicator for SAXE? – follow that with AU reversed and L(ine)

5d Makes ’oly sounds as means of catharsis (5)
{ALOES} – this purgative sounds (a bit) like (H)ALOS like (H)ALLOWS

6d Glory of drama we directed about — glory! (4,5)
{EMMY AWARD} – this TV prize is an anagram (directed) of DRAMA WE around MY (Glory Me!) – another clue that is not exactly Ximenean, but is fun

7d A ring’s a place to deliver a punch (7)
{SANGRIA} – another somewhat debatable indicator for the anagram of A RING’S A that is needed to get this drink that is similar to punch

12d Tote rules controlled roller tools (9)
{ROULETTES} – an anagram of TOTE RULES gives tools with a toothed disc for engraving rows of dots, for perforating paper

13d A European group assembled for court in Acts (9)
{AREOPAGUS} – an anagram of A E(uropean) and GROUP replaces CT (court) in A(CT)S to give an all-in-one definition of the supreme court of ancient Athens

14d Time to tuck in to well-cooked big lunch? Not here (9)
{NIGHTCLUB} – I love well-cooked as an anagram indicator for BIG LUNCH, just insert T(ime) to get a place that doesn’t usually serve lunches

16d Rabbie’s first with a verse about robbers (7)
{REAVERS} – follow R(abbie Burns) with an anagram of A VERSE to get these Scottish robbers, also known as reivers

17d So Jeddart justice victims were to swing under it (7)
{UNTRIED} – in Jeddart justice the alleged criminals were executed first and then tried afterwards – an anagram of UNDER IT describes them at the time they were executed

18d Epiphany is night for tidying up (7)
{INSIGHT} – an anagram of IS NIGHT gives a word meaning epiphany

20d Methuselah’s father admits pressure to drop name for age (5)
{EPOCH} – start with ENOCH, Methuselah’s father, insert P(ressure) and drop N(ame)

A strong Scottish influence today – maybe BigBoab can unravel those that have defeated me!

T 227 - Answers
T 227 - Answers

31 comments on “Toughie 227

  1. A real stinker indeed! The only one we didn’t get, though, was 6a., and we still think the wordplay here is pretty abstruse. :(


    1. Hi Matička and welcome to the blog.
      I agree on 6a – I couldn’t see how “others” can mean “regulars” or “evens”.

    2. If you put a comma after pass, it becomes a bit easier. When I did this I guessed at the answer, pass being a word often used in bridge.

  2. Glad I am not alone in finding this a hard slog. I got there in the end with help on the last five clues with filling in guesses on Screwed Up.

    In relation to 4d it looks from the clue as though “blue” is an indicator for an anagram of SAXE. I’m not sure, but if it is, it is somewhat more than obscure.

    There were some great clues today – I particularly liked 17a if only for it including the words “topsy-turvivication jumbled”.

    I’m stil trying to extrapolate backwards on 13a and 24a to see how the answers are constructed so look forward to the rest of your hints with bated breath.

    1. Prolixic,
      Yep blue certainly looks like the anagram indicator… thats how I read it anyway.

  3. In 13a. .. {ATAMAN} … “TAM” is a cap, “AN” may very well represent “one” but we still don’t fully understand this.

    For 24a. we have {HADES}, but apart from the obvious underworld connexion, have no idea why!


    1. My exit, stage right, before reviewing 13 across was no coincidence! Thanks for giving me at least a start.

      The others that I am mulling over are 24a and 1d.

      1. On 13a, I thought it referred to “set one’s cap at” which Chambers gives as “(of a woman) to set oneself to captivate (a man)”.
        24a. No idea
        1d. Egg is a slang term for a bomb or mine

  4. From what I can remember I think 24a is a reference to Virgil (Vergil)’s Aenid… where he actually “maps” out the relative geography of Hades.

  5. Didn’t get 6a or 13a. Too many obscure words to be enjoyable. Favourite clues 9a and 4d.

  6. Just got home this evening after a day out in our glorious Capital City (Edinburgh) with a few too many glasses of our National beverage. I thought this was the most difficult crossword I’ve attempted for a long time and I’m afraid I would not have finished it without your assistance. I have never heard of 1a, 13a or 12d. Many thanks yet again for the clues. I liked 16d best.

  7. What a stinker of a Toughie, and well done Dave for the analysis of the devious clues, couldn’t have finished it without Cluedup. Still can’t work out the reasoning behind 24a, art first, a, hs..hoc sensu, in this sense, but where the de comes from!!!. Think Libellule’s reasoning is probably the best.

  8. Probably not much in it, but I reached the answer for 5d from (H)ALLOWS rather than (H)ALOS.

  9. 15a. You don’t normally call a golf course a golf ground, so I think that St. Andrew’s is a reference to the Birmingham City football ground.

  10. Thanks to Big Dave, Gazza, Libellule and Prolixic for their insights (did anyone mention Twelfth-night?); those of the symposium with a sore head should be assured I’m in sackcloth and ashes. The clue at 13 across was awkward but I thought at a man the right words to follow one who sets her cap.
    The puzzle was the outcome of tapsalteerie thinking at different levels (19,15, 11, 10) and all over the place from Athens (Acts 17: 19ff.) to Birmingham and descending to 24’s pit: Aeneid VI, yes, but Vergil’s art is in Latin (sum, es, est/am,art,is) and “grasp the meaning of” is in Chambers (under “have”).

    1. Welcome to the blog John

      You really had us going today. Many thanks for the explanations, particularly 24a which had me completely foxed.

        1. I’m kicking myself for not getting art = es, since it’s something that I’ve seen before (albeit not the Latin version) e.g. French art, and I did take Latin O-level!
          And, as usual, I totally missed the descending levels from overdevelopment down to Hades.

          1. I wonder whether there is any parallel with the journey from Athens to Birmingham that was also mentioned!

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