Toughie 311 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 311

Toughie No 311 by Shamus

A Question of Sport

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

Today we have sporting references in the clues and the answers.  This Toughie is about on a par with a fairly difficult daily cryptic.

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1a    A showery trip rearranged? That’s commendable (12)
{PRAISEWORTHY} – a anagram, indicated by rearranged, of A SHOWERY TRIP leads to a word meaning commendable and gets you off to a flying start!

9a    Unusual green with bend close to hole — and ditch (7)
{RENEGUE} – this time an anagram of GREEN is indicated by unusual – follow that with a U-bend and the closing letter of holE to get a word meaning to ditch, or renounce, that is usually spelt without the U – this difficult word is generously clued, which enabled me to confirm it in Chambers

10a    Bellicose lot no good in front of house ultimately trespass (7)
{IMPINGE} – the bellicose lot are a group of armed Zulu warriors – follow them with NG (No Good) and the final, ultimate, letter of housE and you get a word meaning to trespass

11a    Ignore retrogressive dope getting dressed down? Not half (7)
{NEGLECT} – a word meaning to ignore is built up from a word meaning dope, as in information, reversed (retrogressive) followed by LECT(ured) (dressed down) without the second half (not half)

12a    Term for describing man entertained by English PM once (7)
{EPITHET} – to get an adjective or adjectival phrase expressing some quality of the person or thing to which it is applied put HE (man) inside (entertained by) E(nglish) and PITT (Prime Minister once

13a    German retaining Dutch crew (5)
{HANDS} – this time the German is HANS, not Otto, and he is placed around D(utch) to get a crew on a ship

14a    Venomous sort possibly fed up about craze? Right (4,5)
{PUFF ADDER} – this snake (venomous sort) is built up as an anagram (possibly) of FED UP around FAD (craze) followed by R(ight)

16a    Refined fruit gathered by a Northern type with mechanical efficiency? (9)
{AUTOMATON} – refined here is that old crossword favourite U – follow that with a fruit which is, incorrectly, regarded by many as a salad vegetable and place both inside A and N(orthern) to get a person who acts by routine, without intelligence or feeling

19a    Satirical piece inhibited by endless quibbling (5)
{SQUIB} – a satirical piece is hidden (inhibited by) the rest of the clue

21a    Novelist without energy? No, another (7)
{FORSTER} – the E (energy) is the difference between the surnames of EM FORSTER and CS FORESTER – the presence of the apparently superfluous “No” means that this doesn’t quite work for me

23a    Test in court a rule by the sound of it (7)
{ARRAIGN} – this word meaning to put on trial (test in court) sounds like a reign

24a    Recurrent trouble in payment for car (7)
{RELIANT} – put AIL (trouble) reversed (recurrent) inside RENT (payment) to get the make of Del Boy’s car – at first I didn’t think that recurrent worked very well as a reversal indicator, but Chambers gives one definition as “running back in the opposite direction or toward the place of origin (anatomy)”

25a    NI voter disrupted noted figure on course? (7)
{TREVINO} – an anagram, indicated by disrupted, of NI VOTER gives this former golfer

26a    Late speeches ruined race (12)
{STEEPLECHASE} – we end the acrosses as we began with a long anagram, indicated by ruined, of LATE SPEECHES to give a race for athletes or horses


1d           Hold up smart family consuming good drink (4,3)
{PINK GIN} – reverse (up) a word meaning to smart, as in to feel a stinging pain, and follow it with a synonym for family placed around G(ood) and the result is a drink coloured and flavoured with Angostura bitters – once again one of the words, this time hold, seems to be present to improve the surface reading

2d           A girl’s disorientated touring European capital (7)
{ALGIERS} – an anagram (disoriented) of A GIRL’S is placed around E(uropean) to give a non-European capital city

3d           Rooms, we hear, above entertainment venue — ideal location for a racket? (5,4)
{SWEET SPOT} – put a word that sounds like suite (rooms, we here) above an entertainment venue and you get the part of a tennis or squash racket where, for best effect and control, the ball should ideally make contact

4d           Refrain from taking wife? Sloth leads to virtual estrangement (5)
{WAIVE} – a word meaning to refrain from is built up from W(ife) AI (sloth) and VE (leads to Virtual Estrangement) – fortunately Mrs Bradford, my constant companion, had heard of the three-toed sloth otherwise I might still be trying to finish this puzzle!

5d           Agent left London gallery a copy (7)
{REPLICA} – another word sum – REP(resentative) (agent) L(eft) and the Institute of Contemporary Arts add up to this copy

6d           Journalist to follow hint describing bent figure? (7)
{HUNCHED} – Crosswordland’s ubiquitous chief journalist follows a hint to give an adjective describing a bent figure

7d           Attritional conflict when RAF tracer is deployed (6,7)
{TRENCH WARFARE} – this type of attritional conflict from WWI is an anagram (is deployed) of WHEN RAF TRACER

8d           Ambassador excited by special order in hotel that’s ridiculously complicated (5-8)
{HEATH ROBINSON} – His Excellency is followed by ATHROB (excited) and SO (Special Order) inside INN (hotel) for a welcome reappearance of this zany inventor, last seen in DT 26173 and T 106

15d         Superb worker taken with wine in fine college (9)
{FANTASTIC} – a word meaning superb is built up from one of Crosswordland’s workers and ASTI inside F(ine) and C(ollege)

17d         Pastry later baked during Manx event (7)
{TARTLET} – a small pastry comes from an anagram (baked) of LATER inside the Tourist Trophy

18d         Complaint over old aristocrat? It derives from rotten matter (7)
{METHANE} – put Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (complaint) over THANE (old aristocrat) to give this gas that derives from rotten matter

19d         Bird getting sun on lake before morning is over (7)
{SERIEMA} – a South American bird of the family Cariamidae is built up from S(un) with Lake ERIE and AM (Ante Meridiem / morning) reversed (over)

20d         Unionist is wearing hat for exploit (7)
{UTILISE} – U(nionist) is followed by IS inside (wearing) a TILE (slang for a hat) to get this word meaning to exploit

22d         Glutton tucking into larder at eleven (5)
{RATEL} – this gluttonous honey badger is hidden inside (tucking into) larder at eleven

A few new things to learn in this excellent puzzle by Shamus.

18 comments on “Toughie 311

  1. Enjoyable crossword but too many anagrams. I liked 8d best but struggled with 3d for ages. Nice one Shamus.

  2. Never heard of 19d before… Not sure if I have 4d correct as I cannot see the wordplay. W for wife, leads to.. (V E)..??

  3. Really enjoyed this one. Gives away a few anagrams to get one going and then an accessible struggle.
    Agree about the same as cryptic.
    New words for me at 22d and 19d and 19ac….must get out more….
    Well done Shamus (tho’ I expect some of the experts will say it wasn’t tough enough!)

  4. Liked 3d, but can’t quite see 5d. Agent = REP, then L for Left, ending with A. But why is London gallery IC. Imperial College? Otherwise a good puzzle, at the less challenging end of Toughie.

      1. Thanks, Jezza. A new one on me, but that’s the great thing about crosswords – you never stop learning!!

  5. Nice warm up to the week. Usually when the Toughie is of the same standard as the back page its because the Toughie is not up to Toughie standard. it’s nice for the tables to be turned for once and it is no discredit to this crossword to make the comparison.

    Many thanks to Shamus and to BD for the notes.

  6. Thanks to Big Dave for his excellent blog and all for comments. I enjoyed Prolixic’s accomplished Odd Man Out by the way – thanks to him for mentioning the setters!

    1. No less than you deserve for all the entertainment that you provide. It was great fun, but a little nerve racking, to become a gamekeeper rather than a poacher. Glad that you enjoyed it.

  7. Nice puzzle from The bogus American today.
    I was let down in my knowledge if sloths.
    Also I couldn’t find a reference to ratel and glutton in Thesaurus but that didn’t stop me putting it in.
    Cheers for the review BD

  8. This is first time I have done the toughie. I regularly do the daily and weekend cryptic but I found this a “toughie”. I guess it is about getting used to the style. I thought I was onto a winner with 1a got I immediately follwoed by 5d and 6d….but then have struggles. Thanks to the additional clues I have put in a couple of the across. I will now attempt to do the rest unaided.

    1. Don’t worry about the typos – well done with the puzzle. Although we have said it’s not a difficult one, it’s not easy either.

  9. How on earth did you get “Myalgic Encephalomyelitis” for complaint in 18d? I used to be a nurse/midwife and I would never have thought of ME

      1. Ditto that BD.
        Brenda, That is the sort of distinction that differentiates the Toughie from the DT – thinking a little bit further outside of the box in these situations.

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