Toughie 348

Toughie No 348 by Shamus

Shaken but not Stirred

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Not for the first time Shamus gives us a Toughie on the day after his Daily Cryptic. This was pretty much a middle-of-the-road Toughie for me – not too easy, not too difficult, with some nice clues, but overall nothing to get too excited about. What do you think? Leave us a comment!

Across Clues

1a  Record roles played around university? A revelation (10)
{DISCLOSURE} – the definition is revelation. Start with another word for record (the musical kind) and follow this with an anagram (played) of ROLES around U(niversity).

6a  Fix special academic stream (4)
{SCAM} – this fix or fraud is S(pecial) followed by the river that flows through Cambridge (academic stream).

9a  In general, hesitate having lost sight of English port (2,5)
{LE HAVRE} – how many ports can you think of that fit 2,5? It’s a French port constructed from the main Confederate general in the US Civil War around a verb meaning to hesitate or vacillate without the E (having lost sight of E(nglish)).

10a  Acrobat switching directions to make cart (7)
{TUMBREL} – start with another word for acrobat and swap the L and R around (switching directions) to get the sort of crude cart which transported the French nobility to their appointment with Madame La Guillotine during the French Revolution.

12a  Barely funded — how one might describe sole British singer round back of bar? (2,1,10)
{ON A SHOESTRING} – we want a phrase expressing how someone who’s very short of cash (barely funded) might live. Start with how the location of a sole (or a heel) might be described and follow up with the stage name of the British singer Gordon Sumner round the last letter (back) of baR.

14a  Live fairground entertainment catching last of the sun (6)
{RESIDE} – the definition is a verb meaning to live or dwell. Put a moving fairground attraction around the last letter of thE and S(un).

15a  Director putting film music around timeless film locations (8)
{SCORSESE} – the surname of the director associated with many films starring Robert de Niro is formed by putting the music composed for a film around SE(t)S (film locations without T, i.e. timeless).

17a  Careless person getting recurrent fine in country (8)
{SLOVENIA} – put a word for a careless or untidy person ahead of a grading meaning very good (fine) which is reversed (recurrent) to get the name of a Balkan country (formerly part of Yugoslavia) whose capital is Ljubljana.

19a  Slam beef, latest in defective meat (6)
{CARPET} – the definition is to slam, in the sense of reprimand or censure. Put a verb meaning to beef, nag or moan ahead of the last letters (latest) of defectivE meaT.

22a  Demented hounds twitter nervously (5,3,5)
{ROUND THE TWIST} – we want an informal phrase meaning demented and it’s an anagram (nervously) of HOUNDS TWITTER.

24a  Titanic obstacle beginning to impede Anglican composer (7)
{ICEBERG} – the obstacle that got in the way of RMS Titanic is constructed from the first letter (beginning) of Impede, the abbreviation for Anglican or Church of England and the surname of an Austrian composer.

25a  Leaders in dispute eager to eliminate needless tension engaged in this? (7)
{DÉTENTE} – a semi all-in-one, with the answer made up of the leading letters (leaders) of seven words in the clue.

26a  Wine enthusiastically imbibed (4)
{ASTI} – crosswordland’s favourite wine is hidden (imbibed) in the clue.

27a  Union I cast wrongly as unconcerned (10)
{INSOUCIANT} – an anagram (wrongly) of UNION I CAST produces an adjective meaning unconcerned or indifferent.

Down Clues

1d  Attractive young woman producing laughter when ignoring rule (4)
{DOLL} – we have to put a notional “is obtained from” between woman and producing to understand the wordplay. Something that produces laughter is DROLL – now take out (ignoring) the R(ule) to leave a slang term for an attractive young woman.

2d  Castle in southern Switzerland facing damage (7)
{SCHLOSS} – the German (and Swiss-German) word for a castle is constructed from S(outhern), the IVR code for Switzerland and a synonym for damage or cost.

3d  Detail even I’d confused after opening to long film (4,3,3,3)
{LIVE AND LET DIE} – start with the first letter (opening) of L(ong) and add an anagram (confused) of DETAIL EVEN I’D to get the title of the eighth James Bond film in the never-ending series and the first not to star Sean Connery (it’s not a coincidence that it was around this time that I stopped watching them).

4d  Boil first of eggs in group associated with nameless bird (6)
{SEETHE} – a verb meaning to boil or be filled with anger is formed by putting the first letter of Eggs inside another word for group and adding HE(n) (bird without name).

5d  Cut back sides of rare fish round river (8)
{RETRENCH} – a verb meaning to cut back or reduce costs (which I first came across in my favourite Jane Austen book Persuasion) is formed from the outer letters (sides) of RarE followed by a freshwater fish of the carp family which includes R(iver).

7d  Coastal road bypassing hotel? It’s seen at top of building (7)
{CORNICE} – start with the name of a coastal road built along a cliff-face and remove the H (hotel) to leave a projecting moulding along the top of a building.

8d  A visitor avoiding square in Mediterranean island for seeds (10)
{MALAGUETTA} – put the name of the Mediterranean island which was awarded the George Cross around A GUE(s)T (a visitor with S(quare) removed) to get pepper seeds which are also called grains of Paradise and which come from West Africa. I spent a long and confusing time reading different parts of Wikipedia to try to differentiate between this and the very similarly named chilli used in Brazil, since the spelling of both is varied and overlapping.

11d  Friend with nervous habit hoarding currency abroad is this? (13)
{MATERIALISTIC} – a description of someone who has an excessive fondness for worldly goods is constructed from a synonym for friend and a convulsive twitch (nervous habit) between which we need to insert the monetary unit of various Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia (currency abroad) and IS.

13d  A prison rep reformed underworld leader (10)
{PROSERPINA} – make an anagram (reformed) of A PRISON REP to get this Roman goddess, daughter of Jupiter. She was abducted by, and married to Pluto and thus became queen of Hades.

16d  State aiming for change to embrace China (8)
{MICHIGAN} – this US state is an anagram (for change) of AIMING around (embrace) CH(ina).

18d  Rolling work unionist provided (7)
{OPULENT} – the definition is rolling (i.e. extremely wealthy). Start with the usual abbreviation for work and add U(nionist) and a verb meaning provided on a temporary basis. Lovely bit of misdirection.

20d  Plant, favourite one bordering educational body (7)
{PETUNIA} – put PET (favourite) and A (one) around (bordering) an abbreviation for university (educational body).

21d  Film company boss with idol regularly (6)
{STUDIO} – put a boss or knob in front of the odd (regularly) letters of IdOl to make a Hollywood-style film company.

23d  Neat pottery left out (4)
{DEFT} – start with the name of the distinctive blue and white pottery named after a city near Rotterdam and remove the L (left out) to leave an adjective meaning neat and skilful.

The clues I liked included 9a, 12a, 19a and 2d, but my favourite is 18d. Tell us what you thought of it in a comment.


  1. Posted May 5, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Pretty much in agreement with the difficulty, quite a fun puzzle. My favourite was 2d as I enjoyed the wordplay and surface reading. I had to dig the Chambers out for 8d and to confirm 13d.
    Thanks to gazza and Shamus

  2. Posted May 5, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It’s interesting that Prosperina, one of the alternative names for 13d, is an anagram of the other.

  3. BigBoab
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Quite enjoyed this one but found it very difficult in parts, liked 12a. By the way, is everyone having to fill the fields in prior to posting at the moment or is it just me doing something wrong as usual?

  4. Prolixic
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks to Shamus for an enjoyable puzzle and to Gazza for the notes. I agree that this was a gentle Toughie with some nice clues with 15a being one of my favourites today along with 2d.

  5. Shamus
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Gazza for the blog and others for comments. Will try to supply more fireworks on my next Toughie outing!

  6. nanaglugglug
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Finished it with the exception of 8d, so Thanks for that Gazza – never heard of it! Shamus, we really enjoyed it!

  7. Posted May 5, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Did this one rather early this morning, and it just so happened that my completion time was within a few seconds of someone on CluedUp called BigDave ( absolutely the same for both puzzles today – same sort of time). So, after yesterday’s difficulty discussions, I could take another look. Agree with both today – Shamus, I enjoyed this puzzle – some clever stuff & much appreciated. BUT, I am someone who likes to tackle crossword puzzles of around this standard – fun, clever, and I don’t need my brains mangled. Perfect Toughie for me, because I really can’t be bothered with stuff that’s loads too much harder.
    Gazza – have to confess, though, that my two favourite clues of the day were both from Chifonie in the Grauniad -13d and 15a…….

    • Posted May 5, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

      13d was certainly a fine clue for Chifonie (particularly with Champers!).
      My eye was drawn, however to 5d since it was word of the week in the DIY COW some time before Christmas:

      Showing wilfulness, the gods ran amok (10)

      I am not sure that it beats ‘Determined pervert gets hard on. (10)’ but there ya go!

    • gazza
      Posted May 5, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I agree that those two clues were better than anything in the Telegraph today, and I think it’s worth bringing 13d to a wider audience:
      One giving money for champers is hit of a Tory assembly (5,5)

  8. mark
    Posted May 6, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for this review Gazza. I have been tackling the Toughie sometimes, but found this one easier than some (ie I could do some of it). I enjoyed 12a.

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