Toughie 315 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 315

Toughie No 315 by Campbell

Games People Play

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

A much better puzzle from Campbell today, this one took me nearly twice as long as the last two or three. Not yet a difficult Toughie, but definitely a step in the right direction.

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Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Coach station, one in game preserve (4,6)
{POST CHAISE} – a carriage, usually four-wheeled, for two or four passengers, is built up from another word for a station followed by I (one) inside CHASE, an unenclosed private game preserve – nothing to do with a game of chase, as I first thought!

6a    Pack needing to pull after onset of snow (4)
{STOW} – a verb meaning to pack comes from TOW (to pull) after the first letter (onset) of Snow

9a    Opera singer, Tony, character in love with Rosalind (7)
{ORLANDO} – I puzzled a ove the wordplay until I realised it was a triple definition – an opera by George Frideric Handel; Tony, a singer, best known for “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree”; and Rosalind’s lover in “As You Like It” – I saw the singer in question back in the early sixties, he was on tour with Bobby Vee and Clarence “Frogman” Henry and on the same bill were the Springfields, featuring a brunette Dusty Springfield

ARVE Error: need id and provider

10a    Third of Harold Pinter plays in further edition (7)
{REPRINT} – not one-third, but the third letter of HaRold is followed by an anagram, signalled by plays, of PINTER to get a further edition of a publication

12a    Bars said officer from tribunals (6-7)
{COURTS-MARTIAL} – bars, in the legal sense, followed by a word that sounds like (said) marshal gives these tribunals – I thought that a bar was a rail marking off a space at which prisoners are arraigned, but Chambers says it can be the whole of the place in question (you learn something every day)

14a    Hacienda in Spain, say (6)
{ESTATE} – the IVR code for Spain is followed by a word meaning to say to get this property (in Spain!)

15a    A Marx Brother almost landed on river, going west in balloon (8)
{ZEPPELIN} – having first considered Groucho, Chico and Harpo I realised that the fourth brother was required – drop the last letter from his name and follow it with an African river reversed (going west, one of a handful of across-clue only constructs) to get a rather large balloon

17a    Belted earl’s to cage a pointer (5,3)
{LASER PEN} – belted here indicates an anagram of EARL’S is to be followed by a cage for animals to get a device used as a pointer

19a    Sprite in the form of a horse or sheepdog (6)
{KELPIE} – a double definition – a malignant water sprite in Scottish folklore, haunting fords in the form of a horse, or an Australian breed of sheepdog

22a    Name of a pub game? (4,3,6)
{HARE AND HOUNDS} – another double definition – the name of many pubs and a paper chase game

24a    Arrived at set to make a musical (7)
{CAMELOT} – a charade of a verb meaning arrived at and the area around a film studio used for outside filming leads to a musical about King Arthur

I know this is not the right musical, but who cares:

ARVE Error: need id and provider

25a    Indisposition, cold, small child’s shaken off (7)
{ILLNESS} – this synonym for an indisposition is derived by removing CH (small Child is shaken off) from a word meaning cold (not a word that I use very often!)

26a    Film and play opening in Stratford-upon-Avon (4)
{TOYS} – this film is built up from a word meaning to play and the first letter (opening) of Stratford-upon-Avon

27a    Actor depicted in ‘The Lighthouse’? (4,6)
(JACK WARNER} this actor is rather obliquely defined as a something that alerts a sailor to danger – the film for which he was best-known was “The Blue Lamp”, which led to the long-running TV series “Dixon of Dock Green”


1d           An arm and a leg? (4)
{PROP} – a weak double definition

2d           Ask for it after oil’s sprayed on top of car (7)
{SOLICIT} – a word meaning to ask or request is made up from IT preceded by an anagram (sprayed) of OIL’S and the first letter (top) of Car

3d           What may have electrified two guards? (9,4)
{CONDUCTOR RAIL} – the electrified part of the track is made up from a guard on a train and a bar that guards (two guards)

4d           A disease I got from this rodent (6)
{AGOUTI} – a charade of A with a disease in which excess of uric acid in the blood causes swelling, especially of the big toe, and I – the result is a small South American rodent related to the guinea-pig

5d           What can make borders ultimately neater? (8)
{STRIMMER} – a tool for making the borders of the lawn neater is constructed from S (borderS ultimately) and a word meaning neater in this all-in-one clue which has to be my favourite

7d           One against appearing in case of little importance (7)
{TRIVIAL} – I (one) and V (Versus / against) are inserted inside (appearing in) a court case to get a word meaning of little importance

8d           Weak type, complete killjoy (3,7)
{WET BLANKET} – the same definition twice? as pointed out below, this is a charade of WET (weak type) and BLANKET (complete, as in blanket coverage) to give a killjoy

11d         Equipment Ian and Raphael flogged is below standard (13)
{PARAPHERNALIA} – this equipment is an anagram (flogged) of IAN and RAPHAEL below (as it’s a down clue) PAR (standard)

13d         Bet he’ll act riskily and attempt something formidable (4,3,3)
{BELL THE CAT} – an anagram (riskily) of BET HE’LL ACT leads to a phrase that means to attempt something formidable, from the fable of the mice who proposed to hang a warning bell round the cat’s neck

The Mice once called a meeting to decide on a plan to free themselves of their enemy, the Cat. At least they wished to find some way of knowing when she was coming, so they might have time to run away. Indeed, something had to be done, for they lived in such constant fear of her claws that they hardly dared stir from their dens by night or day.

Many plans were discussed, but none of them was thought good enough. At last a very young Mouse got up and said:

“I have a plan that seems very simple, but I know it will be successful. All we have to do is to hang a bell about the Cat’s neck. When we hear the bell ringing we will know immediately that our enemy is coming.”

All the Mice were much surprised that they had not thought of such a plan before. But in the midst of the rejoicing over their good fortune, an old Mouse arose and said:

“I will say that the plan of the young Mouse is very good. But let me ask one question: Who will bell the Cat?”

It is one thing to say that something should be done, but quite a different matter to do it.

16d         Feud may mean ruin for all in Mediterranean capital (8)
{VENDETTA} – this feud is derived by taking VALLETTA (Maltese / Mediterranean capital) and replacing ALL with a word meaning ruin

18d         Make out, round about, Bacardi and cider (7)
{SCRUMPY} – take SPY (make out) and put it around C (circa / about) and RUM (Bacardi) to get this rough cider

20d         Advertisement on new gate (7)
{POSTER} – put a POSTER (advert) on N(ew) and you get a gate

21d         Jester, one with Charlie entering royal house (6)
{YORICK} – alas, this poor jester is fabricated by putting I (one) and C (Charlie in the NATO phonetic alphabet) inside the royal house of the white rose

23d         Seaman getting hold of head of squadron leader (4)
{TSAR} – one of crosswordland’s sailors is placed around (getting hold of) S (head of Squadron) to get a Russian leader

A few weak clues, but overall an enjoyable puzzle

23 comments on “Toughie 315

  1. Dave,
    re 27a “this actor is rather obliquely defined”, is to put it mildly. I wondered if it was the actor referred to, but couldn’t put the two togther. I guess I should have typed it in to CluedUp and checked.

    1. Agreed – I suppose that if a lighthouse warns jacks (sailors) its a Jack Warner (appalling pun) but the clue is growing on me!

  2. Excellent toughie today, I really enjoyed it, I liked 12a,22a,19a and 3d. Thanks to Campbell and to you Dave.

  3. Much more the stuff from Campbell today. Favourite clues were 16a and 21d. Many thanks to Campbell and to BD for the notes.

  4. I got myself into a right pickle today and reached for the ‘Blog at lunchtime.
    I had SOPRANO at 9a (Well I liked it!!) and didn’t even notice that my ‘Call the Bet’ had ‘bet’ left unchanged!.
    Not really thinking straight!.
    Having reviewed I can see that on another day I would have been fine.

    Thanks BD for the review and Campbell for the puzzle.

    1. Thinking about it, that was probably exactly where Campbell wanted to take us.

  5. 8d Isn’t this a charade of WET (weak type, as used by Mrs Thatcher) and BLANKET (complete, as in blanket coverage)?

  6. Similar stuff gnomethang I had Domingo in for 9a and side for 1d and ditto call the bet for 13d.

    Thanks for the hints would still have been here next week without help.

  7. re 27ac there is an actor called Mark Warner which actually might be better than Jack…..

    1. Would that be a better actor or a better answer?

      The answer given is correct, according to the CluedUp online website.

      1. Of course, a better answer or maybe not. …..(I don’t have Clued Up) ….Never heard of the fellow as an actor but he does exist…..Been on lots of his ski holidays tho’..

        1. He popularised the catchphrase “Good evening all”. It’s a pity they don’t show repeats of Dixon of Dock Green (they probably didn’t keep them).

          1. I remember the tune so well….
            I meant that I had not heard of Mark Warner as an actor only as a ski company whereas I grew up with Jack on the box.

  8. Well I tried it today for a change and got quite a few and then had to resort to your review.

    I was ready to ask for an explanation of 13d (got the anagram and knew it was right from clued up but didn’t know why).

    Thanks for the review Dave.

      1. Thanks Dave – I don’t usually have time to do the Toughie – or my brain doesn’t react to it as well so that’s my excuse. Will keep it in mind though.

  9. From the awful (26a) through the average (15a) to the awesome (21d). Agree with BD’s 3/3 assessment & thanks for “Campbell’s Challenge”. And had to “cheat” on 13d – had not heard that expression before.

  10. I found this hard going, not helped by putting C inside GOTHA for 21d. When I checked later, of course, there is no noun usage for GOTCHA, but it is nearly there, I think.

    Harry Shipley

  11. Liked thtis one even though I couldn’t finish it. It would have helped if I could spell parap……. (11d)

    Thanks again for your explanations.

  12. Yes pretty challenging…not helped by the fact I put star instead of tsar for 23d….so thanks for the hints Big Dave!

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