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Toughie 512

Toughie No 512 by MynoT

Let’s take that as read

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

The sight of MynoT’s name as the setter should put you on the alert for a theme or hidden message. Today the theme is the colour red; I’ve identified the clues which I think relate to the theme by putting “**” at the start of the hint – can you spot any more?
As MynoT’s puzzles go this was very much on the easy side and the enjoyment comes more from identifying the clues which match the theme. Let us know how you liked it in a comment and please take the time to click on one of the stars below to indicate your enjoyment level.

Across Clues

1a  Scots have molybdenum to throw in alcohol for pigment (11)
{HAEMOGLOBIN} – ** this is the red oxygen-carrying pigment in blood. Start with the Scots word for “have”, add the chemical symbol for molybdenum then put a verb to throw inside an alcoholic spirit.

9a  A fair star could become emperor (3,6)
{RAS TAFARI} – ** an anagram (could become) of A FAIR STAR gives one of the names of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. His present-day followers have red as one of their primary colours (a symbol of the blood of martyrs).

10a  Form of language that’s the same on island (5)
{IDIOM} – this form of language or dialect is a charade of an abbreviation (from Latin) meaning the same and the abbreviation for one of the islands around our coastline.

11a  This only means one is not really doing the job (2,4)
{IN NAME} – a cryptic definition for a phrase which when followed by “only” means that something is just “pretend” without substance.

13a  Such a reflex would be a knee-jerk: use head and take everything back (8)
{PATELLAR} – this adjective means relating to the kneecap. Start with another word for head, then reverse (back) a single letter meaning take (as used on prescriptions) and a synonym for everything.

14a  Complaint’s good to stimulate (6)
{GROUSE} – ** this complaint is G(ood) followed by a verb meaning to stimulate.

16a  Act of someone who’s 8 is to wager one boy against another (8)
{BETRAYAL} – the act of someone who’s 8d is a verb meaning to wager followed by two abbreviated boys’ names.

19a  Key note perfume is old Byzantine standard (8)
{CRESCENT} – ** the symbol of the old Ottoman Empire (which appeared on its flag) is constructed from a musical key, a note from tonic sol-fa and a synonym for perfume.

20a  Scottish island’s alien fish (6)
{MULLET} – ** this fish is a charade of an island off the west coast of Scotland and Spielberg’s alien.

22a  Lay broadcaster and artist (Italian god) cured pig (5,3)
{RADIO HAM} – an amateur broadcaster is a charade of the abbreviation for an artist, the Italian for god and cured meat from a pig.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

24a  Colonist left out dog (6)
{SETTER} – ** remove L(eft) from a word meaning colonist.

27a  Right time after drink to be aware (5)
{ALERT} – ** an adjective meaning to be aware is R(ight) and T(ime) after an alcoholic drink.

28a  Trip by train to ancient city? (5,4)
{COACH TOUR} – this is a trip. Start with a verb meaning to train and add TO and the usual Biblical old city.

30a  Crazy sect enters special auditions (6,5)
{SCREEN TESTS} – an anagram (crazy) of SECT ENTERS is followed by S(pecial) to make auditions, for a part in a film perhaps.

Down Clues

1d  Lady’s call for fish (7)
{HERRING} – ** stitch together a possessive pronoun (lady’s) and a verb meaning to call.

2d  Dye manufactured from 6 (5)
{EOSIN} – ** this is a red dye which is an anagram (manufactured) from the letters of the solution to 6d.

3d  Old boy’s a chief (3)
{OBA} – ** a West African chief is abbreviation for old boy followed by A. The word means red in the Edo language.

4d  Take the van for heavy metal (4)
{LEAD} – ** double definition – van here is short for vanguard.

5d  Birds age badly in groups (8)
{BRIGADES} – ** an anagram (badly) of BIRDS AGE.

6d  Number is first to experience interference (5)
{NOISE} – ** string together an abbreviation for number, IS and the first letter of E(xperience).

7d  These days star learner is a butterfly (7)
{ADMIRAL} – ** a kind of butterfly is the abbreviation for our current era followed by a star in the constellation Cetus and the letter associated with a learner driver.

8d  Unfaithful promiscuous lady consuming processed oils (8)
{DISLOYAL} – a synonym for unfaithful is an anagram (promiscuous) of LADY around (consuming) another anagram (processed) of OILS.

12d  Facing this would imply unpleasant consequences paradoxically (5)
{MUSIC} – cryptic definition. You’d expect to be quite happy to face this, but the phrase actually means to have a hostile reception.

15d  Verwoerd possibly exceeded his credit (8)
{OVERDREW} – ** Hendrik Verwoerd was a Prime Minister of South Africa, assassinated in 1966. An anagram (possibly) of Verwoerd means that he went into the red.

17d  This dragon’s pursuing cosmetic (5)
{ROUGE} – ** if you put “dragon poursuivant” after this you get an official at the College of Arms, named after the red dragon of Wales. It’s also a cosmetic, as well as being the French word for red.

18d  One who improves space for cold opportunist (8)
{ENHANCER} – start with an opportunist and swap the first C(old) for a space in printing to make someone who improves.

19d  Fruit in season we hear (7)
{CURRANT} – ** this fruit sounds like (we hear) in season or at the present time.

21d  Fighters on foot get wounded and decay while climbing (7)
{TOREROS} – ** these fighters on foot appear in Spain. Synoyms for wounded and decay (which happens to be the German word for red) are combined then the whole lot is reversed (climbing, in a down clue).

23d  Germans’ scents (5)
{OTTOS} – double definition – a group of German men all with the same forename and fragrant essential oils.

25d  Brings out for exhibition decay in both ends of truss (5)
{TROTS} – ** a verb meaning brings out for exhibition is a synonym for decay (the same one used in 21d) inside the outer letters (both ends) of T(rus)S. The answer, as a noun, would have red implications in a political sense.

26d  Record to get information on the essence of schemes (4)
{TAPE} – ** to record something on magnetic media is a verb meaning to get information by secretly listening to telephone conversations followed by the middle letter (essence) of schEmes.

29d  Old cardinal sign that’s a non-starter (3)
{HAT} – ** an indication that someone was a cardinal in the Roman Catholic church (based on the red ones that they used to wear). Drop the initial letter (a non-starter) of “that”.

I liked 28a and 4d today, but my favourite clue is 17d. Let us know what you liked in a comment!
I’m now looking forward to battling with today’s Guardian puzzle which is a joint effort by Elgar, Paul and Shed in honour of the evergreen Araucaria’s ninetieth birthday.

40 comments on “Toughie 512

  1. Too many good clues for me to pick a favourite. As you say this was a more gentle MynoT than usual but great fun to solve. I can’t see any other Reds that you missed.
    Thanks to MynoT and to gazza.

  2. Agreed with Gnomey – it’s impossible to pick a favourite from this very enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to MynoT and Gazza too.

    I’ve won the battle with the Guardian puzzle but the FT will take some time!

  3. Not as tough as some from MynoT, but no less enjoyable.
    Thanks to MynoT, and to gazza for the review. I think I will follow the trend, and move onto the Guardian.

  4. This was a nice puzzle, and good fun to solve. Not too tricky today, but none the less enjoyable for that.

    The Guardian is a nice puzzle; yet to look further afield.

  5. As usual I missed the theme but enjoyed the puzzle anyway – loved clues like 1a and 22a. Not very difficult I agree but still a nice crossword.

    Thnaks to Mynot and Gazza.

  6. Thanks to MynoT for a crossword which I was able to complete (at last ) Thanks also to Gazza for a great review. I loved 28a.

  7. Very enjoyable. i twigged the theme very early on in the solving process which made it all the more enjoyable to find out when further reds would be potted.

    Given that Mynot often has a run of themes (air, earth, fire, water, all the vowels), we could be on for a long run of colourful crosswords.

    Many thanks to Mynot for the crossword and to Gazza for the review.

  8. Good puzzle and it’s now 2 in a row at about my standard. I’m beginning to enjoy these Toughies!
    Thanks to MynoT and to Gazza.

    Also a special thanks to BD. Some time ago he told me about en and em being terms for spaces in typesetting. I even remembered so had no trouble with18d. Thanks again BD. Educational place this blog!

  9. Finally cracked it! Didn’t realise 9 could be 2 words so this held me up. 13 also took me ages until the penny dropped – then I kicked myself. Probably enjoyed 22 and 28 the best but they were all good clues and no abbs. Thanks Mynot. Where is Mary? Where is the cow?

        1. oh that COW! :- D The link is on the right hand side COW stnads for clue of the week! let me know how you get on

            1. I never watch adverts. In Oz they came on after every over in the cricket so I had to keep muting the sound because they drove me wild.

          1. I can’t be bothered with that. Its not a crossword. Have you tried the toughie? Apparently its about red but I never noticed. Its quite within your vast capabilities. Think red.

  10. I solved this Toughy without noticing the theme ;-) So many trees I could not see the forest.

    There were a few hiccups: I had initially GENE for 26d and broke my head over the mis-checked 28a – my favourite for today.

    I missed the word play of 29d. I was thinking of “old hat” and was about to comment on the less than fortunate clue, as “old hat” may be a non-starter but not necessarily so. Sometimes I just convince myself of some reading and then it is very hard to snap out of it.

    Note for Big Dave:
    The Ottoman empire may have established itself on the territory of old Byzantium but I don’t think the adjective Byzantine applies to it. In fact, the star and crescent symbol is older than the Ottoman empire and was taken over by the Ottomans from old Byzantium. So, contrary to common perception, the star & crescent is not an Islamic symbolism at all but rather of pagan origin.
    See the indispensible Wikipedia (

      1. That’s a daft comment and I am not going to adjust it for excess zzs.

        So, plainly: thanks to MynoT and Gazza!

    1. Hi Franco
      Honestly it’s OK. You can get the symbol for molybdenum from the mine and the rest of the puzzle is very good. Just think ‘Red’ – there’s a theme which I never noticed! D’Oh!

      1. Just thought that 1a was not a very welcoming introduction to a puzzle! (Assuming that most solvers start at 1a).

        Is there any meaning to the surface? If one throws “molybdenum” into alcohol, does it produce pigment?

        1. It’s not the easiest of clues until you get some checking letters. Nothing to do with the chemistry of molybdenum but the answer is a red substance found in the body. The wordplay is quite clever IMHO.

            1. IMHO seeong ‘molybdenum’ in a clue makes it a fair sight easier – so long as you can access a periodic table. I cant think of too many anagrams of the word……

              Honestly Franco, this is one of the more accessible MynoT puzzles and well worth the effort.

            2. Back from quiz – nearly won but lost on a tie-break!
              Agree with Gnomey re Mo – once you see it you know it’s not a chemistry lesson but just requires the letters Mo in the answer! Don’t be so timid – go for it!

                1. English quiz.
                  Most of the locals round here are Barca supporters which is a bit of a surprise to me as we are in Comunidad Valenciana and Valencia aren’t a half bad team. Also the local Alicante team ‘Hercules’ are halfway up La Liga but nobody seems interested in them. Main thing seems to be hatred of Real Madrid, I have to be a bit careful what I say sometimes!

            3. The demolition didn’t happen much to my surprise! It was on in the bar but I didn’t get to see much apart from replays of the goals.

  11. Really liked this Toughie. Lots of clues to enjoy. Many thanks to MynoT and Gazza. Wonder if Barrie looked at 30a.

    Red is certainly the colour of the day – and night!

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