Toughie 301 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 301

Toughie No 301 by Warbler

Almost perfect!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Tilsit was rushed into hospital by ambulance, with the blues and twos working overtime.  He’s back home now, but not yet fit enough to file his review.

I know it’s a bit late but I have put something together.  As I mentioned in the comments, for me this was so very nearly a five-star puzzle – a handful of weaker clues held me back from that accolade.  It was very nice to be able to welcome Warbler herself to the blog – one of only two women currently on the Telegraph panel of cryptic setters (and I’m sure we all know who the other one is, so I won’t be holding my breath for an appearance!).


1a           One who treats hip with manipulation (9)
{THERAPIST} – an all-in-one clue that is an anagram (with manipulation) of TREATS HIP

9a           Part of contract must have principle written in Latin. Quite the reverse! (6)
{CLAUSE} – this part of a contract is formed by putting L(atin) inside a principle rather than the other way around

10a         Stormy ice blast engulfs a body of water (6,3)
{BALTIC SEA} – an anagram (stormy) of ICE BLAST is placed around (engulfs) A to get a body of water

11a         Mountain linnets display intelligence stopping group reversing (6)
{TWITES} – these little-known mountain linnets come from WIT (intelligence) placed inside (stopping) SET (group) reversed

12a         See mouse’s tail caught by frisky terrier dog (9)
{RETRIEVER} – put V (vide / see) and E (mousE’s tail) inside an anagram (frisky) of TERRIER to get another kind of dog

13a         Up North mate has his first quarrel (6)
{MARROW} – a Northern name for a mate (or so it says in Chambers) is derived from M (mate has his first) and ARROW (quarrel) – I was not too sure about taking a part of the definition and using it in the rest of the wordplay – what do you think?

17a         Active species of snake (3)
{ASP} – combine abbreviations for A(ctive) and SP(ecies) to get a snake

19a         In a manner befitting Socrates one loyal Polish chap’s not acting rashly (15)
{PHILOSOPHICALLY} – a word meaning in a manner befitting Socrates is an anagram (rashly) of I (one) LOYAL POLISH CH(A)P without one of the A’s (not acting)

20a         In combination living organisms contribute to symbiosis (3)
{BIO} – a prefix (in combination} meaning living organisms is hidden inside (contribute to) symBIOsis – this disturbing new trend has a prefix pretending to be a word

21a         Knocking back drink’s fine for S African native (6)
{REEBOK} – reverse (knocking back) BEER (drink) and add OK (fine) to get a S African antelope – not a pair of trainers!

25a         Alternative rendering of Handel’s anthem (9)
{ALLELUIAH} – an alternative spelling of Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus – I thought this was a very weak clue: it cried out for a wordplay which gave all of the letters

26a         After dismissal of fellow hesitates to make changes (6)
{ALTERS} – (F)ALTERS without the F(ellow)

27a         Get richer working with real energy (9)
{WEALTHIER} – you get a word meaning richer as an anagram (working) of WITH REAL and E(nergy)

28a         It’s immature to rush into one in Paris (6)
{UNRIPE} – a word meaning immature is obtained by putting RIP (rush) inside UNE (one in Paris / French)

29a         What a bighead! Come again? Rephrase that! (9)
{EGOMANIAC} – a name for a bighead is an anagram (rephrase that) of COME AGAIN – does rephrase work as an anagram indicator?  I’m not sure


2d           Angry male’s date misfired (6)
{HEATED} – a word meaning angry is formed from HE (male) and an anagram (misfired) of DATE

3d           Turner could make a profit (6)
{RETURN} – an anagram (could make – I’ve seen worse) of TURNER produces a profit

4d           Fairy queen’s become wrinkled (6)
{PUCK} – a charade of PUCK (fairy) and ER (queen) gives a word meaning to become wrinkled

5d           Director never gets excited about glib story book (6,9)
{STEVEN SPIELBERG} – this film director is an anagram (excited) of NEVER GETS placed around SPIEL (story) and B(ook)

6d           Boring month for such a walk (4,5)
{SLOW MARCH} – put together SLOW (boring) and MARCH (month)

7d           For example goat’s sly stroke (9)
{BUTTERFLY} – another charade – BUTTER (goat, for example) and FLY (sly) together give a swimming stroke

8d           Having lost a stay, sea wall almost collapsed however (9)
{LEASTWAYS} – an anagram (collapsed) of ST(A)Y SEA WAL(L) without an A (having lost A) and the last letter of wall (wall almost) gives a word meaning however

14d         Film featuring singular role about Catholic American (9)
{SPARTACUS} – this classic film is built up from S(ingular) PART (role) A(bout) C(atholic) and US (American)

15d         Clergyman involved in self-build perhaps gets a guide (9)
{DIRECTORY} – put RECTOR (clergyman) inside DIY (Do-It-Yourself / self-build) to get a guide

16d         Record crime in Ghana in systematic account (9)
{MONOGRAPH} – combine MONO (a type of record that wasn’t in stereo) ith RAP (crime) inside GH (the IVR code for Ghana) to get a systematic account

17d         Last items on agenda? So dumb! (3)
{AOB} – the last items (on the agenda) are A.O.B. (any other business) and the last letters of agendA sO dumB  are also A.O.B. – but surely the enumeration should have been (1,1,1)?

18d         Some slurp hot noodle soup (3)
{PHO} – excellent surface reading for this Vietnamese noodle soup that is hidden (some) inside slurP HOt

22d         Plot to escape madhouse (6)
{BEDLAM} – combine BED (plot) and LAM (an American term meaning to escape – “Marge on the Lam” is a well-known episode of The Simpsons) to get a madhouse – those who put asylum in here obviously failed to find any wordplay!!

23d         Continue cooking nosh-up (4,2)
{PUSH ON} – proving that some of the easiest clues can be found in the south-east corner, a word meaning to continue is an anagram (cooking) of NOSH-UP

24d         Convoluted American trial might be heard thus in this (6)
{CAMERA} – an anagram (convoluted) of AMERICAN gives IN CAMERA, a way in which a trial might be heard is IN + this answer – does this construct work?  The jury is out

A word about apostrophes.  While I have an intense dislike for the use of apostrophes to improve the surface reading, something strange seems to happen to them on CluedUp.  There are two types of apostrophe – those that show up in CluedUp and those that don’t.  When they don’t show up they can make for some irritating clues.  Can you tell the difference between this one (‘) that did show up in 12a, 19a, 21a, 25a and 28a and this one (’) that didn’t show up in 2d, 4d and 7d?  Well you may not be able to, but I wish that they would always use the one that works on CluedUp!

42 comments on “Toughie 301

  1. Failed on the mountain linnet and had flat instead of slow.
    Thought that the rest was very nice.

    1. I actually did get those two gnomething, admittedly linnets with help from my crossword dictionary :) manged all top half an about half of the bottom half, must say for me it is a 4* :)

      1. A very good effort then, mary!. To be honest I put ‘flat march’ in very early on so when I became stuck on _t_t_s at for the linnet clue I could only get States or Status. With the ‘group back’ = TESbeing obvious I am a bit annoyed that I didn’t realise that the problem was with ‘flat’. I was a bit careless in not checking this – I really should have known better because when you feel that something is wrong then it probably is!.

        Having said all of that I was not aware of the word and would probably have checked up in Chambers.

  2. Cracking puzzle from Warber today and truly deserving the title Toughie. It took patience and perseverence to complete and was highly enjoyable. I would say **** for difficulty and ***** for enjoyment.

    1. I meant to remove the ratings – They are awaiting Tilsit’s review. For me it was ****/****. Would have ben ***** but for the iffy clues.

  3. After help with 7d it all fell into place and was a rewarding solve.
    At nitpicking level I thought 25 across either began OR ended in H….not both.
    11ac was new to me but all the rest was accessible.
    Could you explain 13ac for me?

        1. Thanks from me too – I have heard of the word and stuck it in but didn’t get the significance.
          Unfortunately I left the paper at work so cannot peruse the clues to add to any wordplay without potentially making a mistake.

  4. I enjoyed this one, but 4d wordplay left me a bit confused. Wrinkled, as in the clue, would lead to an answer of puckered. It seems to make more sense to me if the clue read ‘fairy queen’s become wrinkle’. Or am i missing something obvious?

    Oh, and I love the film at 14d.

    1. Tilly
      The definition is “become wrinkled”. The “apostrophe s” stands for “is” not “has”.

      1. Thanks, Gazza, Brain a bit addled tonight thanks to a very early start today. It makes sense now!

      1. Twit – I had written over the number on the puzzle. Record = MONO, Crime = RAP. Put this inside GH (IVR for Ghana) to give MONO + G +RAP + H

        1. Thanks Chris (et. al.!)
          I didnt look up mono in Chambers to find “A monaural gramaphone record”. I didn’t even realise the etymology of ‘mono’. I thought it was just the opposite of ‘stereo’!.
          Looks like I have been kippered in the same way as others in the DT who missed the ‘Static’!

  5. Got 17 and 18d but don’t know what they are? Also never heard of MARROW as a mate, and me a northerner too!!

      1. Thanks, Gazza, I kind of worked out how, just not what these words mean – sorry, really limited internet at the moment so am relying on you guys!!

  6. I enjoyed reading today’s comments. Especially the one from Prolix.
    It is quite difficult to judge the difficulty of one’s own puzzles.
    I am pleased that some solvers appreciate my clueing.

    I read your Toughie comments on a daily basis and learn a lot from them in terms of what your regular solvers enjoy.


    1. Hi Warbler – welcome to the blog and thanks for the puzzle. It’s great when setters pay us a visit!

    2. …and thanks for a good work out!
      If there was nothing to talk about it wouldn’t have been worthwhile!

  7. I got SPARTACUS for 14 down ‘cos it fitted all the letters I had but I still do not quite see why! I have anagram of STAR and CUS from catholic american but can’t quite make it all out

    1. Welcome to the blog James

      14d Film featuring singular role about Catholic American (9)
      S(ingular) + PART (role) + A(bout) + C(atholic) + US (American) should do it!

    2. Not quite though STAR is a good idea.

      The answer is made up from S (singular) + PART (role) + A (about) + C (Catholic) + US (American).

  8. Great crossword, really enjoyable solve. But I hated the cornery grid. Usual problem, 4 small crosswords in one.

  9. I found this to be a rather weird puzzle – I agree with Libellule that is in fact a 4-in-1 job or almost 5-in-1 as the small square in the centre was easy. I started well with the NW corner then did the SW and then the SE. Got 5d out from “spiel” after studying the central square and realising that the operative word in the clue was “Director”. Became stuck with the NE
    corner bit had to abandon after a telephone call from my daughter to remind me of arrangements for today – my son-in-law’s birthday! So am now deicing the car.

    I liked 10a, 12a (though don’t get the V in a mouse) & 25a. Also 14d, 15d & 16d.
    Also is “pho” supposed to represent the sound of the slurper cooling the soup?

    1. Derek
      In 12a the V comes from the latin vide meaning see.
      Pho (according to Chambers) is a Vietnamese noodle soup.

  10. Couldn’t get the TWITES or MARROW at all (thought perhaps JARROW – “up North” but couldn’t think why the “J”) not heard of the word in that context, being a southerner and all that!. Enjoyed it though – a real brain twister!

  11. Understand the take out for 18d, but what does PHO mean please ? In OED (thats what I have at work, no chambers) it says an exclamation expressing contempt or making light of.

  12. Gazza.
    Many thanks for your elucidation of V and Pho.
    I looked up Pho on Wikipedia and on seeing the various dishes recalled a Vietnamese restaurant in Saint-Aygulf in the Var where we used to eat occasionally and I now remember
    the soup.

    Also I did some research on E-lister yesterday and there is a device for computers for multilingual tabulation but I don’t think this was relevant to the clue of yesterday.

Comments are closed.