Toughie 323

Toughie No 323 by Citrus

Return of the Grumpy Old Man

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment **

What could have been an entertaining puzzle was, for me at least, spoiled by some of the constructs. I was particularly unhappy with wasting a lot of time on 13 across, only to find out that you had to solve one homophone before tackling the next.

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    Battle ground? (8,6)
{STAMFORD BRIDGE} – a battle fought on 25th September 1066, between an English army under King Harold Godwinson and an invading Norwegian force led by King Harald Hardrada of Norway, is also the name of Chelsea’s home ground

10a    Doctor treats iris mostly for inflammation (9)
{ARTERITIS} – an anagram, indicated by doctor, of most of TREATS IRI(S) gives one of the many types of inflammation that end in the same four letters – this one is the inflammation of a blood vessel

11a    Through the length of a pine (5)
{ALONG} – a word meaning “through the length of” is a charade of A and a verb meaning to pine

12a    Up to mature husbandry (7)
{TILLAGE} – this time a charade of synonyms of “up to ” and “mature” gives husbandry, in the agricultural sense

13a    Report of straight banker! (6)
{BARING} – first we need strait, a homophone of straight, then find a strait, and then find a banker (as in banking for a change) that sounds like that strait – if you’re still awake, I’d like to know what you think of a single homophone indicator doing double duty; is it fair or unfair?

15a    Architect with a mother (4)
{ADAM} – this architect is a charade of A and a mother, usually of cattle, horses, etc. – being particularly grumpy today, I don’t like “with” separating definition and wordplay

17a    Finest mill made early entertainment (6,4)
{SILENT FILM} – made indicates that an anagram of FINEST MILL is required to get this early entertainment

18a    Soured ale put in middle of remedy (10)
{EMBITTERED} – a word meaning soured is built up by putting a pint of one of my favourite tipples inside the middle letters of rEMEDy

20a    Churchman’s small valley (4)
{DEAN} – a double definition

22a    Garnish half of deer in pantry (6)
{LARDER} – to a word that can mean to garnish add the latter half of (DE)ER to get a pantry

23a    Sportsman’s a dull regret when retiring (7)
{AMATEUR} – to get this unpaid sportsman, string together A, dull (as in flat, and usually spelt with the last letter repeated), and to regret, the last of these being reversed (when retiring)

26a    Coin, one found in Italian town (5)
{PAISA} – a coin from India, Nepal and Pakistan, worth 1/100th of a rupee, is obtained by putting A (one) inside the Italian town with the leaning tower

27a    Some sorrow at sea god seizing island (9)
{ATTRITION} – to get a word meaning a defective or imperfect sorrow for sin take AT and a mythological Greek god, the son of Poseidon, who is the messenger of the sea and put them around I(sland)

28a    Simplicity of solution, in fact never claimed by Holmes (14)
{ELEMENTARINESS} – a word meaning simplicity of solution alludes to a saying that never appeared in any of the sixty Sherlock Holmes novels


2d           Child almost entirely complete (5)
{TOTAL} – a small child and most of a synonym for entirely gives a word meaning complete

3d           Fatal lesson takes time (6)
{MORTAL} – fatal, in the sense of a fatal wound, is constructed by putting T(ime) inside a practical lesson that can be drawn from an experience

4d           Enjoy yourself where birds might sit (2,3,5)
{ON THE TILES} – this phrase meaning to enjoy yourself came up recently and is usually precede by “a night” or “out” – some birds might sit here, I suppose

5d           This does for treatment? (4)
{DOSE} – in this all-in-one clue, the answer is an anagram of DOES

6d           Study likely to apply again (7)
{READAPT} – a charade of words meaning to study and likely

7d           Reduce eddies swimming with one ox (9)
{DEOXIDISE} – to reduce, in the sense of to remove oxygen from, is an anagram of EDDIES I (one) and OX – with my grumbling hat back on, the anagram fodder contains indirect content (one = I) and I’m sure Anax would have disallowed this in the DIY COW competition!

8d           It may precede union battle with clique of antique dealers (10,4)
{ENGAGEMENT RING} – an old chestnut that I was writing in before I had finished reading the clue – an item that is usually given before a union / wedding is a charade of a battle and a clique of antique dealers – the idea being that members of the ring or cartel didn’t bid against each other at an auction and then they met up in a local hostelry and divvied up the proceeds

9d           Phenomenon seen in clips? (7,7)
{PARTIAL ECLIPSE} – this phenomenon occurs when the sun “clips” the moon, or vice versa, but it seems a poor clue to me – I told you I was in a grumpy mood today!

14d         He gives beef can to right rogue (10)
{BENEFACTOR} – an anagram (rogue) of BEEF CAN TO and R(ight) – although this would work as an anagram of beef can followed by to r(ight), the positioning of the anagram indicator makes this another part-indirect anagram

16d         Inn introduces one new vegetable (9)
{AUBERGINE} – put I (one) and N(ew) insie (introduces) a continental hotel to get a vegetable

19d         Support new generation of youngsters (7)
{TEENAGE} – a charade of a support for a golf ball, N(ew) and a generation gives a word meaning “of youngsters”

21d         Miserable specimen, one on fixed allowance (6)
{RATION} – another charade, this time a miserable specimen of humanity is followed by I (one) and ON to get a fixed allowance

24d         Sends out Times for distribution (5)
{EMITS} – enough chestnuts to fill a bag today – an anagram (for distribution) of TIMES

25d         Inclination to use specialised jargon (4)
{CANT} – double definition

That’s all folks!


  1. BigBoab
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I enjoyed this very much, I even quite liked 13a but my favourites were 7d and 27a.

  2. gnomethang
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I missed 13a amongst a couple of others and looking at it I think it is a tad oblique. Otherwise found it quite enjoyable – I liked 27a, 11d and 9d. Learned a new word at 26a and thought that 28a was a bit of a mouthful!!.
    Thanks to BD and Citrus.

  3. Rishi
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Re 26a: PAISA.

    Oh yes, paisa is one-hundredth part of a rupee in the decimal system that we have now.

    Except that if one wants to see it, one might have to be in Pisa!

    Prior to the decimal currency, one paisa was a very small part of the now-extinct anna.

    Nowadays, the least coin in any transaction in India is 50 paise. Twentyfive paise coin is still in use but people sneer at it. For a two-rupee bus ticket if you offer twenty-five paise coins, the conductor may not accept them. (Drivers don’t issue tickets here; nor are there any ticket dispensers.)

    When the decimal system was introduced, we had even 20-paise and other lesser value coins (including one-paisa coin) but they are now dead as the dodo.

    From what I have written above, you must have gathered that paisa is singular and paise is plural.

    stepping down from the podium

    • Posted March 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for that elucidation, Rishi.

      I guess the 25 paise coin was a bit like our (now defunct) halfpenny coin.

  4. Posted March 23, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Would have given it 4*, but dropped to 3* as I too spent ages on the last clue to go in,13a, before giving up and yielding to the Font of all Knowledge. Still not sure I understand it fully, but thanks for the explanation BD

    • Posted March 23, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

      STRAIGHT is a homophone of STRAIT and the BERING STRAIT sounds like BARING, as in BARINGS the now defunct bankers

    • Posted March 23, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      What I mean is, I understand “BERING Strait” / “BARINGS Bank” (that was Nick Leeson as I recall?) and “BEARING” as in a straight line between 2 points. But the clue over-complicates things in my view.

      • Posted March 23, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

        BD – my appendix and your explanation crossed in the post, so please delete mine.

      • Posted March 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Permalink | Reply


        I have left your comment as it raises an interesting point. I did look initially at the straight line / bearing option but could not make it work.

        BTW I have expanded you comment – it’s ok to discuss answers and wordplay in full for the weekday puzzles.

        • Posted March 23, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

          BD – thanks. I’m still learning the ropes. BTW, we’re both dropping “ells” today. (explanation / expaned)

          • Posted March 23, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

            I’ve corrected both, but mine was a “D” that was missing which changes the sense quite a lot!

  5. Prolixic
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Intertesting. 13a was more of a word association – straight, strait, bering, baring which i thought was asking a bit much of the solver. In addition to other top clues, I thought that 19d was a nice clue. Many thanks to Citrus and to BD for the notes.

    • gazza
      Posted March 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think it was made more difficult still by the fact that the bank was called (as BD says) Barings rather than Baring and, strictly-speaking, it should be described as an ex-banker. Although, thinking about it again, perhaps banker refers to the name of the founder of the bank rather than the bank itself.

      • Posted March 23, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I think this was made a lot harder still by the checking letters – ?A?I?G – which give very little help

  6. Prolixic
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    For 9d, I took the clue to refer to clips be a partial [e]clips[e] – if that makes sense.

    • Posted March 23, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

      In a word – no!

      I was going to write that I could see the clips in the answer but not the other way around. I just don’t think that the clue works – if the answer was CLIPS then it would be a little better.

  7. Chris
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Another one who didn’t get near the 13ac answer….got stuck on “saying” and tried to find a river called “aying”!
    Quite liked 28ac ‘cos it was first to go in…but not really a toughie clue….
    Also thanks to the grumpy BD for blog

  8. Anax
    Posted March 24, 2010 at 2:09 am | Permalink | Reply

    Coming to this thread very late after a band rehearsal, the indirect anagram content at 7d and 14d is interesting. Fundamentally, I’d disallow 7d and allow 14d.
    7d – for ONE to equal I the solver has to regard ONE as being a potential interpretation (effectively a definition) of I. This makes it very much an indirect anagram. HOWEVER – it isn’t a difficult one; the ONE=I device is used very frequently in crosswords so most solvers may not be troubled by it even if it breaks the rules.
    14d – standard abbreviations are generally OK when the shortened form of a word in the anagram fodder is what’s needed. R=right is very direct; far more questionable would be “against” for V instead of the far more acceptable and immediate “versus”.

    There’s always one other consideration to bear in mind. The main newspaper heavyweights have different house rules which contribute to their series’ unique flavours. Allowing (or not) indirect anagrams is just one facet of those differences. For most of us “first person” to indicate the first letter P would really raise the hackles, but there are some well-established and highly popular crossword series in which such “sins” pass with no adverse comment.

  9. Posted March 24, 2010 at 9:35 am | Permalink | Reply

    ……….probably too easy….!!

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