Toughie 281 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 281

Toughie No 281 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

If you found today’s daily cryptic a little too easy, then have a go at this one!  Difficult but fair, and very enjoyable. Shamus at his best? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

Tilsit is still unwell, but hopes to be back soon.

You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Search of fort I twice organised? It’s regularly screened (8,2,4)
{CHARIOTS OF FIRE} – an anagram (organised) of SEARCH OF FORT I and I (I twice) gives a very popular film

ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a    Priest taken around a nuclear facility (7)
{REACTOR} – put a priest around A to get an assembly of fissile material with a moderator, in which a nuclear chain reaction is produced and maintained (I hope you understood all of that!)

10a    One in charge of order engaged in fine reasoning (1,6)
{A PRIORI} – put the person in charge of a convent of monks or nuns subject to an abbey inside A1 (fine) gives a Latin term meaning reasoning from cause to effect

11a    Sign of flexibility book exposed? That’s the object (3)
{END} – take a word meaning what you can do to something that is flexible and then drop the B(ook) to get a synonym for an aim or object

12a    Side on pitch clued in and on form? I’m elated! (2,5,4)
{ON CLOUD NINE} – start with the ON side on a cricket pitch and then add an anagram (form) of CLUED IN and ON to get a phrase meaning eleated

14a    Diet followed by a male, small one (6)
{BANTAM} – a weight-reduction diet by avoiding fat, sugar and starch was recommended to the public in 1863 by W Banting, a London cabinetmaker: the first part of this charade is a verb derived from the name of the diet – just add A and M(ale) to get something small (yes, you’re right – I had to look it up!)

15a    Dreary record heard in conversation (8)
{DIALOGUE} – as homophones go, this one is not too bad – a word that sounds like DIRE LOG (dreary record) is a synonym for a conversation

17a    See in part of Ireland horse (8)
{GALLOWAY} – put LO (see) inside the part of Ireland known for its bay and you have a small strong horse, 13–15 hands high

19a    Small house captured by outlaw in kingdom (6)
{BHUTAN} – put HUT (small house) inside BAN (to outlaw) and you get a kingdom in the Himalayas – I wasted ages with HO as the small house!

22a    Short walk around essential feature of hill revealing mayfly (6,5)
{TURKEY BROWN} – put TURN (a short walk) around KEY (essential) and BROW (feature of hill) to get an angler’s name for the mayfly, Paraleptophlebia submarginata
(yes, I had to look this one up as well!)

23a    Rule ignored in spots remains (3)
{ASH} – just drop the R(ule) from (R)ASH to get these remains

24a    Obdurate old musical artist (7)
{ADAMANT} – a word meaning obdurate can be split to give the name of a former pop star (but don’t expect a YouTube link for this one!)

26a    Horse followed with new success? Noted one (7)
{MARENGO} – I loved this clue – MARE (horse) N(ew) and GO (success) combine to give the name of Napoleon’s most famous horse

27a    Stiff feel about second security device (4,4,6)
{DEAD MAN’S HANDLE} – the stiff here is the subject of an autopsy (itself famously clued as a stiff examination!) – add HANDLE (to feel) and put both parts around S(econd) to get this device on an electric train which allows current to pass only so long as there is pressure on it


1d      Elaborate dish cooked backstage at rep (9,5)
{CARPETBAG STEAK} – this elaborate dish is (fortunately, otherwise it would have been very difficult to work out) an anagram (cooked) of BACKSTAGE AT REP

2d      J Stewart’s contemporary occupying office, one offering illumination? (7)
{ALADDIN} – Jimmy Stewart’s contemporary was the diminutive Alan LADD (former father-in law of Cheryl Ladd of Charlie’s Angels fame) – add IN (occupying an office) and you get the pantomime character famous for his magic lamp

3d      Opera showing excited patriot lacking power and lover (2,9)
{IL TROVATORE} – this opera is an anagram (excited) of (P)ATRIOT without the P (lacking Power) and LOVER

4d      African bird in a court fluttering (6)
{TURACO} – this African bird (down boys, it’s not Charlize Theron) is an anagram (fluttering) of A COURT

5d      Musical composition a high point among many in stellar group (8)
{ORATORIO} – a musical composition that is composed of A TOR (a high point) inside ORIO(N) (many in stellar group) – what do you think of “many in” for “most of”?

6d      Some animals in distance (long gone) (3)
{FUR} – take long away from (long gone) FUR(LONG) and you get furred animals, as a group

7d      Band around Greek character mostly involved in disorder? (7)
{RIOTING} – put a RING (band) around most of the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet and the result is a word meaning involved in disorder

8d      A round venue after course? (10,4)
{NINETEENTH HOLE} – a cryptic definition of this jocular term for the bar of the clubhouse on a golf course

13d     Places for swimmers? Hold a pair in ground (11)
{DOLPHINARIA} – places where you will find these particular fish are an anagram (ground) of HOLD A PAIR IN

16d     Bird is a decoration sitting in sporty car with volunteers (8)
{GAMBETTA} – this really obscure name for the redshank is built up from A MBE (a decoration) inside GT (sporty car) with TA (Territorial Army / volunteers)

18d     Dimwit, desperate sort taken in by enticement (7)
{LURDANE} – this word meaning a dull, heavy, stupid or sluggish person is constructed by putting Desperate DAN inside a LURE (enticement)

20d     Disciplined in trade — like a good apprentice? (7)
{TRAINED} – an anagram (disciplined) of IN TRADE gives a characteristic of a good apprentice

21d     Island cut plant in orderly system (6)
{COSMOS} – a Greek island is followed by MOS(S) (cut plant) to get the world or universe as an orderly or systematic whole

25d     Support shown during maiden (3)
{AID} – a word meaning to support is hidden inside maiden

Hard work, but I really enjoyed this one.

21 comments on “Toughie 281

  1. Failed to get over the line but what a cracking crossword!.
    11 and 22a were new to me (the diet bit!) but I had a clue as to the answer.
    Still to finish 16, 18 and 21d and am currently scooby-less.

    27a made me laugh – forgot about the stiff!, and enjoyed 12a, 13d and 15a

          1. //I wonder if it is in the Chambers iPod app?//
            Why I orta!!
            Dunno – I haven’t got one!

              1. I can highly recommend it. Not only do you get the dictionary but it also has word searches and finds anagrams!

                1. Done, thank you!
                  I allowyself this luxury on the Toughie only, and only when I have an inkling!
                  Looks good so far!

  2. I too found this very tough indeed, but got there in the end, understanding everything, I think, with all clues perfectly fair.

  3. Phew – Shamus is on form today. This was challenging and highly enjoyable. I was glad to have Chambers on hand to check the more obscure words. Favourite clues were 1a, 12a, 3d and 16d.

    1. Oh forgot to mention favourite clue has to be 1a – because I was an extra in this film!

  4. Gave up with one to go! Thought the small house in 19a was ‘ho’; did not even consider ‘hut’.

  5. Thanks to BD for blog and others for nice comments. Happy New Year to all and greetings from the winter wonderland of London!

  6. Managed to finish the Toughie for once. More spare time than usual thanks to the snow.
    Favourite clues: 1d, 26a, 27a

Comments are closed.