Toughie 485

Toughie No 485 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I had no real problem with filling in the grid but I had to think hard to work out some of the wordplay. I worked it all out except for 21 down. Big Dave couldn’t help but Gazza and Tilsit came up with the explanation.

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1a    Detailed plea in small house for fish (7)
{HALIBUT} Here “detailed” means “de-tailed”, i.e with the last letter removed. So remove the last letter from a plea (of having been elsewhere) and put it inside a small house to get a large flatfish

5a    Live broadcast held during start of year? It’s competitively pitched (7)
{JAVELIN} An anagram (broadcast) of LIVE goes inside the abbreviation for the first month of the year to give a light spear thrown in a sporting activity

9a    Raise a hat that’s slightly altered for flier (9)
{COCKATIEL} To raise (or make upright or erect) + A + a slang word for a hat with the last two letters transposed gives a small Australian parrot

10a    Association left out a name for islander (5)
{CUBAN} An association with L (left) removed + A N (name) gives an inhabitant of a Caribbean island

11a    Smooth line taken in religious area by king (5)
{SLEEK} L (line) inside a religious area (diocese) + K (king) gives “smooth”

12a    It might be left to front ace bakery, prepared with no end of aplomb? (5,4)
{LAYER CAKE} L (left) + an anagram (prepared) of ACE BAKERY without the B (end of aplomb) gives something that is prepared by baking

13a    Complete aim on course, we hear, before singular drink (9)
{WHOLESALE} A homophone of “aim on course” (where the course is a golf course and you’re playing your final shot) goes before S (singular) and a drink made without hops

16a    Roman writer favoured in work (5)
{PLINY} a 2-letter word for “favoured” goes inside “to work” to give a Roman writer (who may be either the Elder or the Younger)

17a    Choral composition (not mass) consuming college musicians in group (5)
{OCTET} Remove M (mass) from a polyphonic choral composition. Put this round C (college) to get a musical group of a certain size

18a    Write ‘senior’ in another form? (9)
{PENSIONER} “Write” + an anagram (in another form) of SENIOR gives a synonym for senior (as a noun)

20a    Eastern wilderness with no outward signs of rain might produce plant (9)
{EDELWEISS} E (Eastern) + an anagram (might produce) of WILDERNESS with RN (outward signs of RaiN) omitted gives a small flower well known to devotees of The Sound of Music

23a    Black phase man on board reported (5)
{NIGHT} A homophone (reported) of a chess piece (man on board) gives “black phase”

25a    A feast put in front of navy deck (5)
{ADORN} A party + the Royal Navy gives “to deck”

26a    I celebrate fashion around liberal area in capital (9)
{ISLINGTON} I + celebrate + fashion goes around L (liberal) to give a London borough (home of The Angel for you monopoly players)

27a    Burden shown by brother in control (7)
{REFRAIN} A burden (part of a song) is a word for brother derived from Italian inside control (e.g. a horse)

28a    Money abroad pocketed by accomplished lady of standing? (7)
{DOYENNE} The standard monetary unit of Japan goes inside “accomplished” to give the most senior lady


1d    Journalist mentioned distressing and cutting item (7)
{HACKSAW} A journalistic drudge + a homophone (mentioned) of “distressing” gives something used for cutting metals. This is another homophone that doesn’t work in my native accent

2d    Temptation trapping Conservative is sordid gain (5)
{LUCRE} A temptation (enticement) goes round C (Conservative) to give sordid gain (that’s often filthy)

3d    Book launch initially by a Scot maybe about bank upset expert in some arts? (5,4)
{BLACK BELT} B (book) + L (launch initially) + A + an inhabitant of parts of Britain (e.g. Scotland) goes round a reversal of BK (bank) to give an expert in various martial arts

4d    Birdsong excited emotion? Not hard (5)
{TRILL} H (hard) is removed from a sudden feeling of excitement to give birdsong

5d    Sweet girl holding box disregarding first bachelor (5,4)
{JELLY BEAN} A girl’s name goes round the box (TV) without it’s first letter and B (Bachelor) to give a kind of sweet

6d    I see in department one of authority in service? (5)
{VICAR} I C (see) goes inside a department of SE France (which I’d never heard of) to give someone who conducts a church service

7d    One under sign keeping up publicity for a manager of loans? (9)
{LIBRARIAN} A person born between 24 September and 22 October goes round a reversal of “publicity” to give someone who works in an establishment where certain items are loaned out

8d    Clare’s haunt? (7)
{NUNNERY} Clare belongs to a Franciscan order and this is where she lives

14d    Moving tone unusually about Henry beginning to hate money (2,3,4)
{ON THE HOOF} “Moving” is given by an anagram (unusually) of TONE around H (Henry) + H (beginning to Hate) + an old slang word for money

15d    A male getting sign of welcome in lead, Scotsman in versatile vehicle (9)
{AMPHIBIAN} A + M (male) + HI (sign of welcome) inside the atomic symbol for lead + the usual crossworder’s Scotsman gives a vehicle for use on land or water

16d    Tender quality in private work brought up before Ron’s wife (9)
{POIGNANCY} A reversal (brought up) of private (soldier) and work goes before Ron’s wife. The Ron in question is an ex-president of the USA. I did wonder at first whether Ron’s wife might be Eth but then I’m not sure that they ever actually got married.

17d    Duck followed by two more around part of field endlessly — characteristic of country? (4-3)
{OPEN-AIR} O (Duck) + a word for two of anything, particularly two ducks in the same cricket match, goes round part of a sportsfield defended by a team with the last letter removed. The answer means “outdoor”

19d    Train, one turning up in middle of forest? (7)
{RETINUE} A word for “one” is reversed inside REE (which I assume is derived from the middle of tREEs) – [I parsed this as ‘a word for “to make one” is reversed inside RE (middle of foREst)’, but I’m not overwhelmed by either solution.  BD]

21d    Fat DJ getting premature end? (5)
{WONGA} Fat is a slang term for money and so is the answer. Take a veteran broadcaster and move the last letter of his name nearer to the front.

22d    Wealthy figure? (5)
{SOLID} ” meanings: wealthy/figure

24d    Manage, say, in retirement weight (3,2)
{GET ON} A reversal of “say” + a heavy weight gives “manage”

A pleasant puzzle and a nice standard for a Toughie



  1. Qix
    Posted December 30, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    A good puzzle, and a decent workout.

    A few clues took me ages to figure out, but 1am probably isn’t the best time to be doing crosswords!

  2. crypticsue
    Posted December 30, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed solving this today, a very good Toughie I thought, and much more fun to solve than today’s Cryptic. No special favourite clues, just a good all-round brain stretching solve. Thanks to Shamus and to Bufo too.

  3. honestjohn
    Posted December 30, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Another nice puzzle not much different in difficulty from the earlier two this week. Many good clues (14d, 16d to name but two). I am now hoping for something really challenging tomorrow – hope those are not famous last words.

    Thanks to the setter and Bufo.

  4. BigBoab
    Posted December 30, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Shamus for a very enjoyable and quite difficult toughie, thanks Bufo for the review. Loved 1a and 3d.

  5. Prolixic
    Posted December 30, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Very pleasant and enjoyable to solve. Many thanks to Shamus for the crossword and thanks to Bufo for the review.

  6. gazza
    Posted December 30, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one – thanks to Shamus and Bufo. There seemed to be a bit of a monetary theme with lots of references (I counted six) to money or wealth.

  7. pegasus
    Posted December 30, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed todays Toughie from Shamus, liked the wordplay a lot favourite clue 16d thanks to Bufo for the review.

  8. AnnB
    Posted December 30, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to disagree with all above . Didnt like either CW’s today or my brain was completely dead ! Had to rely on a few hints to get through both. All the best to everyone. Hope to be more alive for the last ones of 2010 tomorrow.

  9. Shamus
    Posted December 30, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Bufo for his blog and all for comments. I’ll take the opportunity to wish everyone connected with the site a very Happy 2011 on and off the grids!

    • Posted December 30, 2010 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

      Happy New Year and thank you, Shamus. Fat? – Well I never! I had a quick run through on the blog after a Lovely family day so thanks to you and to Bufo