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Toughie 319

Toughie No 319 by Cephas

Saturday’s Prize Puzzle?

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

A very pleasant puzzle which shows us what Cephas, our regular Saturday setter, can do. At the lower end of difficulty for a Toughie, a puzzle like this would make a lot of sense as a Prize Puzzle.

Cephas has made pangrammatic puzzles a bit of a trademark in recent months, so you won’t be surprised to see all 26 letters of the alphabet in this one.

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    Livery of ambassador having soft touch while in charge (7)
{HEPATIC} – livery here is an adjective meaning relating to the liver – you derive it from a charade of the form of address for an ambassador, a soft touch (perhaps on the head or back) and the abbreviation for In Charge

5a    Cut crosswise badly, we won’t be involved (7)
{SCISSOR} – to cut, with a pair of these, is an anagram (badly) of CROSS(W)IS(E) without the letters of WE (we won’t be involved)

9a    Expose oneself? Not half! (5,2,3,5)
{STRIP TO THE WAIST} – a cryptic definition – to remove just one’s upper garments

10a    Prince or king cobra appearing alternately (4)
{IGOR} – the Prince from the eponymous opera by Alexander Borodin comes from the even letters (appearing alternately) of king cobra

11a    Rush charioteer really heartlessly (5)
{HURRY} – a word meaning to rush is a combination of charioteer Ben and really without the middle letters (heartlessly)

12a    One bird going forwards or a number going back (4)
{SKUA} – this bird, when reversed (going back), gives a number of a different type of bird

15a    Isn’t allowed to include electronic sheet (7)
{NOTELET} – NOT (isn’t) and a synonym for allowed are placed around E(lectronic) to get a small sheet of writing paper

16a    Upgrade one member with dog with no tail (7)
{IMPROVE} – a word meaning to upgrade is a charade of I (one) with a Member of Parliament and a name often given to a dog, but without its last letter (with no tail)

17a    Not the real reason expert suffered taking time (7)
{PRETEXT} – an ostensible reason, put forward to conceal the real one, is an anagram (suffered) of EXPERT placed around (taking) T(ime)

19a    Going round New Jersey first support dog (7)
{BASENJI} – around the abbreviation for the US State of New Jersey put BASE 1 (first support) to get a smallish, erect-eared, curly-tailed African hunting dog

21a    Attempt to circumvent initial oil film (4)
{TROY} – put an attempt around O (initial Oil) to get, among other things, a film

22a    Couple’s short time in cathedral (5)
{DUOMO} – a pair of, say, musicians is followed by the colloquial abbreviation for a very short time to get an Italian word for a cathedral – I once climbed the 467 stairs to the top of the one in Florence!

23a    Goddess was present more than once (4)
{ISIS} – this ancient Egyptian goddess comes from a word meaning exists (present) twice

26a    Heartland fraud’s breaking rigid regulation (4,3,4,4)
{HARD AND FAST RULE} – nonsense surface reading is often a good sign that an anagram is in the offing – breaking HEARTLAND FRAUD’S gives a rigid regulation

27a    Speaker, one making birdlike noises? (7)
{TWEETER} – the speaker in this double definition is the one that isn’t a woofer!

28a    Not in favour of a little work, having been a model (7)
{OPPOSED} – a word meaning not in favour of is a charade of a little work and what a model will have done(having been a model)


1d    Cloth vanishes mysteriously, first bit of velvet left (7)
{HESSIAN} – this cloth is an anagram (mysteriously) of (V)ANISHES without the V (first bit of Velvet left)

2d    Links what is to be expected there (3,3,3,6)
{PAR FOR THE COURSE} – a phrase that describes the expected score for a hole of golf (on the links) – is it me, or is this a bit clumsy?

3d    Party-pooper’s bloomer! (4)
{TYPO} – this bloomer is hidden inside the first two words

4d    Game, North American game in court (7)
{CROQUET} – this game is built up from a North American version of the same game (but played on a walled, hard-surfaced court) inside CT (court)

5d    Last character in assortment of riches made lively movements (7)
{SCHERZI} – put Z (last character) inside an anagram (assortment) of RICHES to get lively movements (the plural of the more familiar musical term)

6d    Resistance three times leaving belligerent warrior state (4)
{IOWA} – take R(esistance) away from (leaving) WA(RR)IO(R) three times and then an anagram (belligerent) of what is left gives this US state

7d    Refuse to change one’s resolve not to disarm (5,2,4,4)
{STICK TO ONE’S GUNS} – a double definition of this phrase

8d    Artillerymen follow scramble to get on (3,4)
{RAT RACE} – a charade of Crosswordland’s usual gunners is followed by a word meaning to follow, as in to track, to give a scramble to succeed

13d    Not being so well, grain processor did not start (5)
{ILLER} – a word meaning not being so well is derived by removing the first letter from (did not start) a person whose job it is to process grain

14d    Second one’s during afternoon having sudden convulsive action (5)
{SPASM} – start with S(econd) and then put A’S (one’s) inside the abbreviation for afternoon to get a sudden convulsive action

17d    Undeserved criticism having trophies recently stolen (3-4)
{POT-SHOT} – a word meaning that means undeserved criticism is a charade of trophies and recently stolen

18d    Weather report (7)
{THUNDER} – this loud noise (report) could be in a weather report

19d    Mammal twice changing sex becoming fish (7)
{BUMMALO} – start with a mammal often associated with the Wild West and change each F(emale) into M(ale) (twice changing sex) to get a small Indian fish from which the delicacy Bombay duck comes

20d    Single new position as alternative (7)
{INSTEAD} – a charade of I (single) N(ew) and STEAD (the place, function, role or position of another) to get an alternative

24d    No end of spicy food for one from Riga perhaps (4)
{BALT} – remove the last letter (no end of) a spicy food from Birmingham to get someone from Latvia (one from Riga perhaps) or any of the other countries surrounding the same sea

25d    She arranged to leave tumbledown teashop at the peak (4)
{ATOP} – another subtractive anagram – take the letters of SHE away from T(E)A(SH)OP and then an anagram (tumbledown) of what is left gives a word meaning at the peak

A gentle romp, rather than a tough struggle!

8 comments on “Toughie 319

  1. I agree with the sentiments BD – not particularly tough but some very pleasant clues and a new word for me (the fish!).
    I liked 1a, 9a and 17d but like you thought that 2d didn’t quite work as a clue.
    Thanks for the review!

  2. Enjoyable crossword without too much taxing of the old brain, great fun! Thanks again for a great review Dave.

  3. The 4 long clues were all pretty straight-forward, and gave plenty of checking letters. A very enjoyable puzzle, and thanks for the review BD – fully agree that it’s about the right level for Saturday. Should we start a campaign, or did you already?

    1. I have been campaigning for a puzzle worthy of the prize status since the blog began.

      I will say that they are a lot better than they used to be, and have been saying so for some time now even though certain people who don’t actually read the blog properly have been saying otherwise (they know who they are!).

  4. Did both Ray T and Cephas early on before a six hour meeting on sunny Leeds on the niceties of legal taxonomies. Having lost the will to live, a brieft post to say thank you to Cephas and Ray T for the the highlights of the day!

  5. Liked this one, and learned a few new words into the bargain (19a and 19d). Seem to be seeing a lot of 23a in crosswords just recently – getting almost as bad as OTTO! Favourite clue 9a.

  6. Didn’t quite finish it last night so went on this morning. First got the four 15ers out of the way.
    I liked 1a, 11a, 12a, 19a & 22a. 18d & 19d.

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