Toughie 240

Toughie No 240 by Notabilis

The Iceman Cometh

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

For some reason I really struggled on both the crossword and on deriving the word play when I was doing the crossword and also when I was writing the blog, and only finished the blog with a little help from Gazza.
Not the sort of Toughie I usually expect to deal with on a Tuesday. However it was enjoyable, and had a number of great clues such as 5d for example. I was particularly pleased when I finished it.

Please let us know what you think via a comment.


7. Grandma keeps clips we rejected; she reads us topical stories (9)
{NEWSWOMAN} – She reads us topical stories is the definition, Fiona Bruce for example. Inside (keeps) NAN (grandma) we need MOWS (clips) and WE reversed (rejected).

8. With ace dispatched, gangster possibly stole (5)
{SCARF} – The gangster is Al ‘Scarface’ Capone, if you get rid of (dispatched) the ACE you are left with another word for a stole, a woman’s long garment of cloth or fur worn about the shoulders.

10. Hugging badger, how lovely is Irish girl? (6)
{OONAGH} – An Irish way of spelling Una is put together by putting NAG (badger) inside (hugging) OOH (how lovely). How many of you have heard of this name?

11. Load start of cipher in additive code (8)
{ENCUMBER} – Place the C from the start of C(ipher) inside the additive code E NUMBER (more strictly defined as the number codes for food additives used within the European Union) and you have a word for to put a heavy load on or burden.

12. Inhabitants of Quebec’re iffy about displaying savagery (6)
{FIERCE} – The rather strange construction of this clue sort of gives the game away. You can find another word for displaying savagery hidden (inhabitents) backwards (about) in “Quebec’re iffy”.

14. Votary, conservative one, meets old pope’s ambassador (6)
{NUNCIO} – NUN (votary – a devoted worshipper or adherent) plus C (conservative), and I (one), then O (old) is an ambassador from the Pope.

16. Woman of little virtue and quiet regret? (4)
{PRUE} – Aargh! Another girls name. A short form of Prudence (virtue) can be made up from P (quiet) RUE (regret).

17. Copper retiring as job not challenging (5)
{CUSHY} – CU (copper) followed by SHY (retiring) is another word for something that is not dangerous and is also easy and comfortable.

18. Check part of flute (4)
{STEM} – Double definition, a word meaning to stop, check, is also part of a glass (or type of glass) commonly used for drinking champagne.

19. In off is where you’ll finish if you do this (6)
{ALIGHT} – If you come IN to land and then you got OFF a plane, you would be doing this. I am not 100% sure that this is exactly what is meant. Comments, better ideas anyone?

21. My mare, mistaken for yak? (6)
{YAMMER} – An anagram (mistaken) of MY MARE is another word for to talk loudly and at length.

24. Knight beset by initially suppressed woes one after the other (2,6)
{IN SERIES} – N (knight – chess) placed inside (beset) MISERIES with the first letter M removed (initially suppressed) gives an electrical phrase for one after the other.

26. Deadlock from record bonus? (3,3)
{LOG JAM} – A cessation of action, a deadlock or impasse can be made up from LOG (record) and JAM (bonus). I am not sure about the use of jam for bonus, but I assume it’s a reference to something desirable e.g. “you want jam on it”.

27. Traditionally, not at all about virtuous person? (5)
{NASTY} – An all in one. NAY (traditionally not at all) placed around ST (virtuous person).

28. Bargain including separate name and identification to go on short free flight? (4-5)
{HANG-GLIDE} – Take HAGGLE (bargain) and then appropriately place inside N (name) and ID (identification) is a mode of flight. Does short free flight really work as a definition here?


1. Not any time to lift part of joint (5)
{TENON} – NONE (not any) plus T (time) reversed (lift) is the other half of mortise, a woodworkers joint.

2. Some contrast at inert entry in periodic table (8)
{ASTATINE} – A radioactive chemical element with the symbol At and an atomic of number 85 can be found in “contrast at inert”.

3. Meeting dietary requirements knocks the woman out (6)
{KOSHER} – KO’S (knocks out) plus HER (woman) for foods that conform to the rules of Jewish religion.

4. Facilitate English in role of European (4)
{EASE} – The definition is facilitate, E (English) AS (in role of) E (European).

5. Title character, primarily one that cometh up? (6)
{ICEMAN} – I liked this clue a lot. NAME (title), plus the first letter (primarily) of C (haracter) then I (one), now reverse the result (cometh up – it’s a down clue) and you have a reference to the title character of a play written by American playwright Eugene O’Neill.

6. Spread around to land between planes, say (4-5)
{TREE-LINED} – An adjective usually relating to roads, that refers to having for example plane trees along either side is made up from TED a verb meaning to spread new-mown grass for drying put around REEL IN (to catch, land fish).

9. Covering little enclosure on outskirts of US prison (6)
{SCANTY} – Put STY (enclosure) around (outskirts) of CAN (US slang for prison) is an adjective for “skimpy”.

13. Try from South Africa briefly put in commentary? (5)
{ESSAY} – Another word for try or attempt sounds like (in commentary) S A (South Africa briefly).

15. Rains lashed around gaunt islander (3,6)
{SRI LANKAN} – An anagram (lashed) of RAINS around LANK (long and thin – guant) is an inhabitent of Sri Lanka.

17. Tuft from tree caught diet doctor short (6)
{CATKIN} – C (caught by – cricket) followed by ATKINS (as in Dr Robert Atkins), then remove the final S (short) for “a crowded spike or tuft of small unisexual flowers with reduced scalelike bracts, found on wind-pollinated plants such as willow, hazel, etc”.

18. Showman at first leaving out sinister hypnotist (8)
{SVENGALI} – You need the first letter (at first) of S (howman) followed by an anagram (out) of LEAVING and you have the name of a person who exerts mental control over another usually for evil purposes. The name originally comes from the evil hypnotist in George du Maurier’s novel “Trilby”.

20. Hospital with reach covering deprived area (6)
{GHETTO} – A deprived area is derived from H (hospital) within (covering) GET TO (reach).

22. A girl facing up to mother in holiday resort (6)
{MALAGA} – MA (mother) followed by A GAL (a girl) reversed (up) is a Spanish coastal city.

23. Composer did not have ‘Unfinished’, penning symphony’s finale (5)
{HAYDN} – An Austrian composer who unlike Schubert, managed to finish all his symphonies can be found from another word for did not have – HADN’T, then remove the T (unfinished) and place inside (penning) the final letter of symphony Y. Hmm shouldn’t this be an S?

25. Haul piped waste with all energy extracted (4)
{SWAG} – Piped waste is SEWAGE, now remove (extract) all the E’s (energy), and you are left with a burglars sack.


  1. gnomethang
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Too Toughie for me today – I got about halfway but would never have got through some of that wordplay.
    I must agree that 5d was a very good clue – even though I didnt solve it.I liked 18d and 28a as well.

    • gnomethang
      Posted October 27, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Forgot to thank Libellule and gazza for sorting this one out – Thanks!

  2. Big Boab
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Pure dead brilliant as they say up here! Loved it!

  3. Nubian
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    You have to admire the compiler and the blogger here.This is premiere league stuff. It has left me floundering like a wet floundering thing.
    I genuflect at the altar of your lateral thought.
    I found myself just staring into space for eons just trying to glean some small clue to get me going, 25d got me started and there I stayed until I dragged my poor dishevelled brain over to the blog and as I read the hints I could feel my ears getting bigger until I let out an EAWW!!! and decided, like golf sometimes being a good walk spoilt, toughies are sometimes a good crossword designed to make you feel very inadequate. As today QED.
    I feel like the HAL9000,,,,,daisy..dasy..give me

    • gnomethang
      Posted October 27, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      “I’m afraid I can’t solve that for you, Big Dave”

      • Nubian
        Posted October 27, 2009 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Laughing out loud !

        • Libellule
          Posted October 27, 2009 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          With some artistic license:
          “I hope you understand now, Nubian. You don’t have to thank me for telling you the truth.”

  4. Posted October 27, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    A superb puzzle, full of challenging clues and lovely constructions. Top drawer stuff.

  5. mary
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    I always knew you were human Libellule :)

  6. Prolixic
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Tough but fun. I floundered on 6d and looking up the hints here found I had mucked up 18a with stop thinking it was part of a musical instrument!

    • Libellule
      Posted October 27, 2009 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      re. 18a I understand the reasoning, because it was the first thing I thought of, then when I did some rationalisation and I realised it was not going to work for a flute….

  7. Posted October 27, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    By the way, has no–one noticed the NINA?

    • gazza
      Posted October 27, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Not until now… “Take it from me – No pain no gain”.

  8. Libellule
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Got it
    damn I missed it.
    TAKE IT FROM ME NO PAIN NO GAIN, all around the outside. Thanks Tilsit.

    • Prolixic
      Posted October 27, 2009 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      Sheer genius. If Notabilis is lurking – top marks for a cracking Toughie.

  9. Kram
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Now that was what I call a Toughie!. It was almost as if it had been compiled by two people, Jekyll and Hyde, the down clues Jekyll almost friendly, the across clues definately Hyde with almost all of them evil in their difficulty! After spending ages on this one, what a sense of achievement on getting the last clue solved, all in all best clue had to be the whole thing.