Toughie 275

Toughie No 275 by Giovanni

On Yer Bike!

(or If you think you have 26ac, you probably haven’t!)

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A solid start to the last week of Toughies for 2009 with Giovanni giving us his usual elegant style to test us. A nice mixture of the teasingly simple through to one clue whose answer I was almost convinced that Clued Up had got wrong until I used TEA and found an alternative that I had not heard of before. Indeed, Had I not had Clued Up today, I would have gone away thinking that I had the right answer. More of that in a while.

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1a    Authoritative realist upset by stargazers (11)
{MAGISTERIAL} Biblical stargazers who carried gifts around this time of the year should be placed before an anagram (upset) of realists to give an adjective meaning “authoritative”.

7a    Support one making a dash across Sweden (7)
{BOLSTER} One who makes a dash is someone who bolts (not the speedy Mr Bolt, as you would be left with an “er” to sort out) with an S (for Sweden) inside. This leads you to a word meaning back up, support.

8a    Fighter — mostly a chum with endless love (7)
{MATADOR} The bullfighter can be found by taking most of a word meaning “chum” (MAT[E]) and adding it to most of a word meaning “love” (ADOR[E])

10a    Discharges bad emotions dancing in cabarets (8)
{ABREACTS} An anagram (shown by dancing in) of CABARETS produces a medical term meaning to release repressed emotions.

11a    Information provided by one American clever clogs (6)
{GENIUS} A word-sum comprising “Information” GEN + “one” I + “American” U S = a clever clogs!

13a    Child with no yen to become captain (4)
{KIDD} This took me a while longer than it should have done. A word meaning a child: KIDDY (I am used to seeing KIDDIE). Take off the Y (yen) and you are left with the famous fictional pirate.

14a    Artist who has drawn a holy loony (4,6)
{ANDY WARHOL} An anagram (indicated by “LOONY”) of DRAWN A HOLY leads you to an artist who made soup cans famous.

16a    The man taking time in public work? It’s too much (4-3-3)
{OVER-THE-TOP) “The man taking time” = HE + T inside OVERT OP (Public work). This leads to a phrase meaning too much.

18a    Warlike god has some good intentions (4)
{ODIN} A hidden answer. Concealed in the phrase “good intentions” is a Norse God.

21a    Circulated edition faded away (6)
{EDDIED} A word sum ED (edition) + DIED (faded away) = a word meaning circulated, spun.

22a    Rushed into hospital with fever, delivering tirade (8)
{HARANGUE} “Rushed” (RAN) into H (hospital) AGUE (fever} gives a word meaning hurl invective, etc.

24a    The devil ending in pit in rage (7)
{TEMPTER} T (the ending in pit) inside TEMPER (rage) gives a word associated with Old Nick.

25a    At home leave chair — almost time for coffee? (7)
{INSTANT} IN (at home) + STAN(D) [leave chair – almost] + T [time] = a type of coffee.

26a    Thermodynamic sequence in polluting vehicle rather than green one (6,5)
{CARNOT CYCLE} So you put Carbon Cycle as well? I could see the CAR (polluting vehicle) and the CYCLE (green one) but the bit in the [near] middle. Hmmmm…. I had never heard of the correct solution, but once you know it, and look at the clue again, it stands out.


1d    Woman not an extreme left-winger? (7)
{MILDRED} The question mark tells us that we need to think outside the box a little here. If someone was an extreme left winger, they would be VERY RED. If they are not so extreme they may be said to be a…… It’s also my sister’s middle name, but anyone who mentions it gets the look of death from her. Don’t tell her I told you!

2d    See 7d for this answer

3d    Secret ruin unexpectedly found — one must have a good look (10)
{SCRUTINEER} An anagram (unexpectedly found) of SECRET RUIN reveals someone whose job is to be precise and check things.

4d    Trees forming line in German town (4)
{ELMS} In Crosswordland, a German town usually has only one or two meanings EMS is one of them, and it’s the one that’s needed here. Insert an L (for line) and you get a word for some trees.

5d    Unstable hat being made secure (2,3,3)
{IN THE BAG} An anagram (indicated by unstable) of HAT BEING gives a phrase meaning secure, taken for granted, accepted.

6d    Short woman and attractive girl like boys who show off (7)
{LADDISH} Short woman = LAD(Y) + DISH (attractive woman – I didn’t like it a couple of weeks ago and still don’t today) = a word of the 21st century meaning “showing off like the boys”, with bravado, etc.

7d & 2d     ‘Exceptionally great cake’ — boastful patisserie may offer it (5,6,6)
{BLACK FOREST GATEAU} An anagram (exceptional) of GREAT CAKE BOASTFUL reveals the sumptuous dessert from the south of Germany.

9d    Spectacular spender lent pots (11)
{RESPLENDENT} An anagram (indicated by “pots”) of SPENDER LENT lads fairly obviously to a word meaning spectacular.

12d    One who loves going to a match? (10)
{PYROMANIAC} The nice thing about Giovanni is that you know cryptic definitions are used sparingly, but are worth the admission money. This one does not relate to a football match, but someone for whom a match would help his extreme feelings!

15d    A v-very old coin? One can guarantee authenticity (8)
{ATTESTER} A very old coin indeed. A TESTER or TESTON is a 16th century silver French coin. As you can see in the clue, Giovanni has indicated stuttering with the “v-very”, so you need to replicate that in the clue. So A TESTER should be A T-TESTER!

17d    Disease and death coming with Eastern rodents mostly (7)
{ENDEMIC} A word-sum. Death = END + E Eastern + MIC[E] (Rodents, mostly)

19d    Plant supposedly poisonous — magistrate has prohibition introduced (7)
{DOGSBANE} one of the most famous magistrates in the word, and found in Venice, is the DOGE and inside you need to add a word meaning “prohibition” inside. This leads you to one of those rural plants that may or may not be POISONOUS, but I don’t think you should try and find out whether.

20d    Analyse carbon a long way out in space (6)
{PARSEC} To analyse a clue (like I’m doing now) is to PARSE and add to this C for Carbon and you’ll get a distance associated with space

23d    Ship from past traversing river (4)
{ARGO) From the past (AGO) with R inside gives you the boat associatd with Jason, the Golden Fleece, and TV films at this time of the year.

Hope you managed to get through today’s Toughie! Thanks to Giovanni for a terrific challenge. See you tomorrow!


  1. gnomethang
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    As a failed chemist I am well aware of the correct 26a answer – Hats Off to the Don for this clue – easily my favourite today.
    I couldn’t decide whether 15d ended ER or OR but otherwise thought that this was a tight, extremely well clued puzzle even though it was not terrifyingly difficult.

    Thanks to Tilsit for the review and Giovanni for the puzzle

  2. Prolixic
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to Giovanni for a treat of a crossword. I too had Carbon Cycle for 26a but the required answer makes much more sense!

  3. LB
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Did manage to finish but thanks for the explanations of 4d and 15d and yes I did put Carbon for 26a.If you need to know more about 26a see attached link( I read it and am still no wiser .)I hope the setter knew all about it prior to cluing as I think it a bit unfair if he didn`t !
    Favourites today 1a and 25a

    • Posted December 30, 2009 at 11:53 pm | Permalink


      I had hoped that Giovanni would be along to tell you himself, but he graduated from Bristol University with a degree in Physics (one year after my Maths degree, but we never met).

  4. Harry Shipley
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I got CARNOT right away, because I had it drummed into me in thermodynamics lectures. An important fact for everyday life is that this gives you the maximum efficiency of any heat engine, which depends only on the temperatutes between which it works; and so limits the amount of electricity you can ever get from coal to (in practice) under 50% of the energy in the coal, the other half going up the chimney (or to the local district heating system). I thought it an excellent crossword.

    Harry Shipley

  5. nanaglugglug
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Belated Seasons Greetings to you all.
    Back (temporarily) at last – no thanks to BT who have left us high and dry over Christmas…….who’d move house?

    Anyway, have been buying the paper and have thoroughly enjoyed doing todays crosswords, only one which really foxed us was CARNOT.

  6. Giovanni
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Sorry — I’ve only just picked this up. As a physics graduate, of course I’d heard of the Carnot Cycle (but 40 years on I’d forgotten exactly what it was!). Thanks for feedback.