Toughie 468

Toughie No 468 by Shamus

Put your back into it!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

We have a pleasant challenge today, not a piece of cake but not mind-blowingly difficult – just right for a freezing Wednesday. Let us know what you think of it in a comment and please take the time to click on one of the stars below to show how you rate it.

Across Clues

1a  Examine light tanker right near front (6)
{BROWSE} – a light tanker (the type that you might see refuelling a plane at an airport) has its final R (right) moved to near the front to make a verb meaning to examine.

5a  Queen enters museum facing hotel and gallery (8)
{VERANDAH} – put the Queen’s initials inside the abbreviated name of a London museum and finish with the letter that hotel stands for in the Nato alphabet.

9a  A racist or ruffian held around middle of electoral count, maybe (10)
{ARISTOCRAT} – maybe indicates that count is just an example of this. It’s an anagram (ruffian?) of A RACIST OR around the middle letter of electoral. We get used to seeing some very odd anagram indicators and ruffian joins the list.

10a  Slight alteration wife ignored in wood (4)
{TEAK} – start with a minor adjustment (slight alteration) and remove (ignored) the W(ife) to leave a hard wood.

11a  Part of cleaning material producing complaint in front of old lift (8)
{FLUORIDE} – the cleaning material referred to is presumably toothpaste. Start with the common abbreviation for a viral infection (complaint) and add O(ld) and a synonym for the sort of lift that a hitchhiker is seeking.

12a  Truly how one might describe words allowing property transfer? (6)
{INDEED} – double definition, the second (2,4) semi-cryptic.

13a  Foundation? One’s missing singer (4)
{BASS} – remove I (one) from a synonym of foundation to leave a male singer.

15a  Wine that’s mature, not soft drink (8)
{RIESLING} – remove P (not soft) from a word meaning mature, then add a sweetened drink of spirits (normally gin) and water. You should end up with a dry white wine.

18a  Ruin left after two rivers cover top of walkway (8)
{DOWNFALL} – the definition is ruin. Put L(eft) after two rivers (there are a number of rivers with the first name, including one in South Yorkshire; the second is a Cornish river). Finally insert the first letter (top) of W(alkway).

19a  Animal hunted in sunless capital (4)
{MINK} – remove S(un) from the capital of Belarus to leave a small carnivorous mammal which was once hunted for its prized fur but is now more likely to be bred on a farm.

21a  Lace is caught in entrance (6)
{DOCTOR} – lace here is a verb, not a noun. Put one of the abbreviations used for caught (in cricket) inside an entrance.

23a  Director once entertained by foreign banker, florid sort? (8)
{OLEANDER} – put the late (once) director of Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia inside a major European river to make an evergreen floral shrub.

25a  Gandhi? Fellow followed by liberal mass around India (4)
{FILM} – the question mark indicates that Gandhi is just an example of this. The answer is made up of four single-character abbreviations.

26a  Unionist in comradely society, obscure figure hugging good official near pack? (5,5)
{TOUCH JUDGE} – the comradely society is an international movement founded by the Reverend Tubby Clayton. Put U(nionist) inside it, then move on to the second word which is the name of the Obscure hero of a Thomas Hardy novel around (hugging) G(ood). You should now have one of the officials at a rugby match, although how near he is to a pack of forwards will vary, depending on where the action is on the pitch.

27a  Luxury fish? Leader in theatre keeps tons (8)
{STURGEON} – put T(ons) inside the main operator in a hospital theatre.

28a  Ingenuity encapsulating top broadcasting figure close to expensive gismo (6)
{WIDGET} – a synonym for ingenuity goes round (encapsulating) the abbreviation of the title of the top man at the BBC and the last letter (close) of (expensiv)E.

Down Clues

2d  Industrial region overlooking hard city to the north in country (5)
{RURAL} – the definition here is not a country but in country. Drop H (overlooking hard) from the major industrial region in Germany and add the abbreviation for a major city on the west coast of the USA, which has to be reversed (to the north, in a down clue).

3d  Caribbean prisoners detained in wrong state (9)
{WISCONSIN} – to get the name of a US state start with the abbreviation for the area around the Caribbean and add an abbreviated term for prisoners inside (detained in) a synonym for a wrong.

4d  One dumped in hearing from afar? (6)
{EXOTIC} – there’s a nice bit of misdirection here – “in hearing” tempts us to look, in vain, for a homophone. Start with an abbreviation for one who may have been dumped (or who may have done the dumping) and add a word meaning relating to the ear. This should produce an adjective meaning of foreign origin.

5d  It’s essential to back convert with umbrella in trouble (9,6)
{VERTEBRAL COLUMN} – an anagram (in trouble) of CONVERT and UMBRELLA leads to an essential part of one’s back which is very appropriately positioned right down the spine of the grid.

6d  Merchant in flap not working after payment devoid of note (8)
{RETAILER} – start with a payment (for accommodation, perhaps) and remove the N (devoid of note) then add an aeroplane flap without ON (not working).

7d  Famous denial given to old premier? (5)
{NOTED} – a synonym for famous could also be (2,3) a denial to a Prime Minister of the 1970s.

8d  King soon touring school getting TV award? Not half (9)
{AGAMEMNON} – we want the name of a mythological king who was commander-in-chief of the Greek forces in the Trojan wars. Put a synonym for soon around (touring) a school of whales and the first two letters (not half) of a US TV award.

14d  One defending most of rationale in a job (9)
{APOLOGIST} – someone who argues for the defence is all but the final C of a synonym for rationale inside A and a job.

16d  Male in Spanish city with Asian discussed foodstuff (5,4)
{LEMON CURD} – in the mistaken belief that we wanted a homophone of an Asian city I originally put sole (Seoul, get it?) as the second word, which should actually be a homophone (discussed) of someone from a people who live mainly in parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Before that put M(ale) inside a Spanish city.

17d  One often exhibited steel product lately in West perhaps (8)
{MAGRITTE} – this Belgian surrealist artist is often exhibited. Put a synonym for steel or determination followed by the last letter (lately) of (produc)T inside Ms. West of “is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?” fame.

20d  Retired writer cut relative (6)
{NEPHEW} – reverse (retired) a writing instrument and add a verb to cut.

22d  Flower turning up in diagram, a tulip (5)
{TAMAR} – hidden and reversed (turning up) in the clue is a South-West river.

24d  Achievement by one on course keen largely to retain lecturer (5)
{EAGLE} – a synonym for keen without its final R (largely) has L(ecturer) put inside (to retain) to make the name of a hole shot in two strokes under par on a golf course.

The clues I liked included 5a, 15a and 2d, but my favourite today was 17d. Let us know what you liked in a comment!



  1. Posted December 1, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I thought that this was first rate. I took a while to get going but after a spot of panic buying at the shops everything fell into place!. The NW corner was last in for me and 3d was my favourite. Thanks for explaining the Comrade Society gazza and my thanks to Shamus for the entertainment

  2. crypticsue
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Great fun as a Shamus Toughie usually is. I did need the assistance of my fellow Advanced CC members with some hints and the Law of the Gnome – to be fair I did help them too! Agree with your favourite clues, Gazza and thanks for the review. Thanks to Shamus too for a very entertaining Toughie.

  3. Prolixic
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Excellent crossword – many thanks Shamus. Favourite clues were 3d, 5a, 2d and 21a. Thanks too to Gaza for the review.

  4. honestjohn
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyable puzzle with nothing too difficult although 21a took a while (which also held me up on 17d). Some very good clues – I think my favourites were 26a and 17d although there were plenty of others.

  5. BigBoab
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Shamus for a cracker of a crossword, thanks Gazza for a great review and thanks Gnomethang for the copies. Loved 5a and 21a.

  6. Upthecreek
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Another great puzzle with lots of interesting clues. Too many good ones to mention but my favs were 9 and 11. Got stuck on 17 but finally saw the light. Didn’t realise he forged banknotes but I suppose its one way of making money.