Toughie 298

Toughie No 298 by Shamus

A Drawn Out Saga

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

Really, really sorry but an unexpected trip to A&E caused me a huge amount of chaos.  Everything is OK now, but it has meant that I missed posting deadlines quite badly, so sincere apologies.  – T

A nice puzzle to end the week from one of my favourite setters.  Good solid clues that do exactly as they say on the tin with 1 across quite a clever clue that may need a bit of explaining, as well as a couple of new words on me.  13 across has baffled me a bit.  A number of the clues are of the  “whole thing defines it, and the clue is made up of the indications” type and are nicely constructed.

Hope to see some of you at Parsons Green.

As usual, feel free to have your say after the review.


1a  It’s to hold a doctor travelling around? (6)
{TARDIS}  this is a rather complicated clue, TIS =  It’s With A RD (A DR –doctor “travelling round).  This will give you the home of the medic from Gallifrey.

5a  Question posed by one working hard, not a very collaborative type (8)
{QUISLING}  A word-sum.  QU (Question) + I + SL(AV)ING (working hard minus AV) gives that evil chap from WW2 from Norway.

9a  Architect showered in praise (8)
{PIRANESI}  Had to use my TEA for this.  An anagram (indicated by “showered”) of IN PRAISE gives this Italian artist famous for his etchings.

10a  Preserve element from muscle? An element (6)
{PECTIN}  Muscle = PEC + TIN (element) leads to the setting agent used in jam-making.

11a  Bit of wood? One found in order, we hear, for rodent (8)
{CHIPMUNK}  A small bit of wood off the old block? Add to this a word that sounds like a man who lives in a monastery and you get the animal also known as the ground squirrel.

12a  A new well-kept part of province (6)
{ANTRIM}  Another word sum  A N  (a new) + TRIM (well kept) = Part of the NI province.

13a  Uphold again body of law in official business (8)
{REAFFIRM}  Not sure how this works out.   I thought that FIRM was the business part but as for the first half I am stumped. [It’s A (middle letter, i.e. body, of lAw) inside REF (official) followed by FIRM (business)  Gazza]

15a  European lawyer penning start of defence? It’s a saga (4)
{EDDA}  E DA  (European lawyer / District Attorney) with a D (start of defence) inside gives the name of the old Icelandic sagas.

17a  Dry and withered bits of shrub eventually removed easily (4)
{SERE}  Take the first letters of the last four words (“bits of…”) to get a short word meaning dry and withered.

19a  Refined taste he revealed taking in opening of exhibition? (8)
{AESTHETE} This is one of those clues where the whole definition is the clue.  An anagram (indicated by refined) with E (opening of education) inside.

20a  Train renovated by yard? Work accumulates there (2-4)
(IN-TRAY)  Similarly, an anagram (renovated) of TRAIN with a Y tacked on leads you to where most of your work is stored.

21a  Old prisoner in denial after start of enquiry noted deliverer of weapon? (5,3)
{ENOLA GAY}  O LAG (Old prisoner) inside E NAY (denial after the start of enquiry) leads to the name of the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.  I think it was named after the pilot’s mum.

22a  Stadium without sides and money? Here’s symbol (6)
{EMBLEM}  (W)EMBLE(Y) + M = the word for a symbol.

23a  Supermarket’s stocked with tacky stuff? Virtually (2,4,2)
{AS GOOD AS)  GOO (tacky stuff) inside ASDA’S (supermarket) leads to a phrase meaning virtually, almost.

24a  Event held by students with revolutionary bible? It destroys current order (8)
{RAGNAROK}  Students’ charity fund raising week is called this (RAG) and add the word for the Moslem Bible reversed (revolutionary).  This gives you a word for the Armageddon associated with the Norse gods, their Götterdämmerung. Surprised this wasn’t linked to the EDDA.

25a  Record in bars? A disappointment for art lovers maybe (6)
{NOTATE}  If you write a musical score, you do this.  If there wasn’t an art gallery, then there’d be * *  * * * *!


2d  A force possessed consuming drug? (4-4)
{ACID-HEAD}  A CID (A [police] force) +  HAD (CONSUMED) with E (drug) inside.  The whole thing provides a definition of an acid-head.

3d  A good fellow largely blocks charitable money raised for popular movement? (8)
{DIASPORA}  “A good fellow largely” A SPOR(t) inside a reversal of AID.  This gives one of those words that came into vogue a few years back and originally described the flight of the Jews but now refers to those Jewish people living in communities outside Israel.

4d  City university lecturer in sudden rush to theorise (9)
{SPECULATE}  EC (City, as in city of London postcode) + U (university) + L (lecturer) inside SPATE (a rush) gives a word meaning to theorise.

5d  Prompt to act like a Europhile once in Frankfurt bank? (5,3,3,4)
{QUICK OFF THE MARK}  A nice cryptic definition with Europhile meaning lover of the Euro currency.  You would get marks once in a Frankfurt bank.

6d  A bone? Three in total (7)
{STERNUM}  I was quite surprised to see Chambers define TERN as “a group of three” [incidentally it can also be a winning group of three numbers in a lottery!] and here the word goes inside SUM to form a word for the breastbone.

7d  Most of surfing area around East gets one in a captive state? (8)
{INTERNEE}  Most of surfing area =  INTERNE(t) with E (for East) inside, forms a word for a captive.

8d  Name kept by colourful old Persian cupbearer (8)
{GANYMEDE}  N (name) inside GAY MEDE (colourful +  Mede, an old inhabitant of Medea) reveals the cupbearer to the Gods in ancient Rome.

14d  Scan reported above liver, say — notes come from it? (4,5)
{REED ORGAN}  “Scan reported” = a homophone of read = REED +  LIVER (example of a bodily organ, hence “say”).

15d  Scheme produced by Northern earl in English reign becoming unstable (8)
{ENGINEER}  An anagram of E REIGN has NE (Northern Earl) inside and this produces a word meaning design or fix or manipulate.

16d  Jack’s carrier? Tag by it slipped below top of dresser (5,3)
{DITTY BAG}  After D (top of dresser) and anagram of TAG BY IT produces a container for a sailor’s (Jack’s) things.

17d  Attack best deployed to hide a way of escape (3,5)
{SET ABOUT}  An anagram of BEST with A inside and add OUT to give a phrase meaning attack.

18d  Something to lighten relative? A kiss given by six-footer! (8)
{RELAXANT}  A word sum  REL (relative) + A X (a kiss) + ANT ( a six-footer, an insect!) = something to lighten things. Have you noticed that in today’s puzzle every use of A is important to the clue – other setters take note!

19d  Walk in the style of frisky dame (7)
{ALAMEDA}  A LA (as in “a la mode” in the style of) + an anagram (indicated by frisky) of DAME.  This produces the name for a covered walk, especially covered by poplar trees.

Thanks to Shamus for a terrific puzzle and to you for your patience.  Back next week!


  1. gazza
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m afraid that there’s still no sign of Tilsit’s review, but that should not stop any discussion of the puzzle. I thought it was excellent and my favourite clues were 1a, 5a, 13a, 21a, 4d and 5d.

  2. Prolixic
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks to Shamus for a fantastic crossword today. It was a joy to wrestle with and satisfying when the final answers popped into place. Hope that Tilst has not been detained by the nurses again.

  3. gnomethang
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 11:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hurry back Tilsit!
    I must agree with the pair of you.
    Firstly, cheers to Prolixic for 8d – that was the spur to complete a shaky NE corner for me.
    Secondly, 5a was an absolutely superb clue! ‘not a very’ was completely inspired in my opinion since without it the definition becomes the opposite.
    1a made me laugh (eventually!), 21a was funny and sound.
    15a was an old definition treated in a new way and I can only conclude that Shamus has been on holiday to Scandanavia after getting 24a!! – anyone fancy clueing Kalavala without using balaklava?
    Top marks to Shamus.
    Finally – assuming that gazza is Gazza on the Clue Of the Week site then I should bang your heads together and get two reasonably sized offerings between you both.

  4. Chris
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    no where near this one……a whole step up from the ordinary…..
    what is 21ac about….
    so many clues which were way beyond my ken…….nice boy ken………actually I haven;t got a boy Ken….

    • Big Dave in South London
      Posted February 6, 2010 at 1:21 am | Permalink | Reply

      21 Old prisoner in denial after start of enquiry noted deliverer of weapon? (5,3)

      The wordplay is easy enough – O(ld) LAG (prisoner) inside NAY (denial) and preceded by E (start of Enquiry)

      The definition is the B-29 Superfortress bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb, code-named “Little Boy”, in the attack on Hiroshima, Japan on 6 August 1945.

  5. unmann
    Posted February 6, 2010 at 9:08 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi, I’m a nube (as my kids would say) and really struggled with this puzzle but I did get 21a and a few others. I think the “noted” in the clue refers to the Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark song of 1980.

    • gazza
      Posted February 6, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi unmann – welcome to the blog.

  6. Derek
    Posted February 6, 2010 at 10:30 am | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable! A bit Latinised at 19d with mixed French and Spanish!! Ever been to Granada? Or Los Alamos?
    My best clues were : 5d, 7d 14d & 19d plus 1a & 15a. 24a is a new word for me – must be getting old!

  7. gnomethang
    Posted February 6, 2010 at 10:36 am | Permalink | Reply

    Glad your back, Tilsit. Don’t worry, we can talk among ourselves in the interim!

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