Toughie 535 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 535

Toughie No 535 by Warbler

Have a drink on me!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

I noticed while solving this puzzle that the answers included a number of alcoholic drinks, but failed, until it was pointed out, to notice that they were all around the periphery of the puzzle, hence the clue for 4 down.

Please 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    One who sounds partial to a drink (5)
{CIDER} – a word that sounds like someone who is biased is actually a drink – I think the clue would read better without the “a”: what do you think?

4a    Nun’s time to embrace libation (6,3)
{CLARET CUP} – a charade of a member of an order of nuns, T(ime) and a word meaning to embrace leads to a drink made up of iced wine, brandy, sugar, etc.

9a    Soldier accepts uniquely modern decoration (9)
{ADORNMENT} – put an insect of which soldier is an example around (accepts) an anagram (uniquely) of MODERN to get a decoration – I’m not at all sure that “uniquely” works as an anagram indicator; surely if it’s unique there can’t be any anagrams

10a    Proportion shown in essential section of speech (5)
{RATIO} – this proportion comes from the middle (essential section) of a word meaning a speech

11a    Parking right here in Paris, close to Seine river, is more expensive (7)
{PRICIER} – a charade of P(arking), R(ight), the French (in Paris) for “here”, the final letter (close) of Sein)E and R(iver) gives a word meaning more expensive

12a    Quickly proceeded to plunder and pillage (7)
{RANSACK} – a charade of verbs meaning quickly proceeded and to plunder gives a verb meaning to pillage – the second part of the wordplay and the definition are interchangeable

13a    Became sticky with face turned to the sea (6)
{GUMMED} – a verb meaning became sticky is derived from a slang word for the face reversed (turned) and a shortened name of a sea

15a    Unorthodox fighter in corrupt ring. What’s up? (8)
{SOUTHPAW} – this unorthodox boxer, who leads with his right hand rather than the more usual left, is an anagram (corrupt) of O (ring) WHAT’S UP

18a    Performing, without aid of US, European men’s blues group (8)
{ENSEMBLE} – an anagram (performing) of E(uropean) MEN’S BL(U)E(S), without the letters U and S, gives a group – it is general accepted that non-contiguous letters can be removed from the fodder without a second anagram indicator as long as they are in the same order

20a    In Italy police initiate summons before I take wife back (6)
{SBIRRI} – these Italian policemen are derived by starting with the first letter (initiate) of S(ummons) and following it with I R (recipe / take) and a word for a wife (based on how Eve came into being: Genesis 2.21–23) all reversed

23a    Poet’s a consumer (7)
{SPENDER} – a double definition – a twentieth century English poet and a someone who purchases goods

24a    Idiotic like one in pub a touch ebriated (7)
{ASININE} – an adjective meaning idiotic is built up from a synonym for like, I (one) inside a pub and finally the first letter (a touch) of E(briated)

26a    Vital part of newspaper? (5)
{ORGAN} – a double definition – a vital part of the body and means of communicating information or opinions, e.g. a newspaper

27a    Sharing out half of territory in Hilton paradise (7-2)
{SHANGRI-LA} – an anagram (out) of SHARING is followed by the first half of a four-letter word meaning territory to get an earthly paradise, as described in James Hilton’s Lost Horizon

28a    Sailor’s 26 potentially a Spanish red (9)
{TARRAGONA} – a three-letter word for a sailor is followed by an anagram (potentially) of the answer to 26 across and A to get a a sweet fortified Spanish red wine – one of Pommer’s tipples?

29a    At SW19 did Fred serve this? (5)
{PERRY} – for the handful of you that didn’t know, Wimbledon is in the SW19 area of London – the answer is a drink that happens to be the surname of Britain’s last Wimbledon gentlemen’s singles champion


1d    Field in Provence eradicated vipers entangled in scattered grape vines to produce this (9)
{CHAMPAGNE} – in this semi-all-in-one clue, the French (in Provence) for a field is followed by an anagram (scattered) of GRAPE VINES without (eradicated) the various letters (entangled) of VIPERS to give a drink made from grape vines– unlike 18 across, the letters to be removed here are not in the same order in the fodder, hence the need for a second anagram indicator

2d    By end of Diwali start to dye stolen fabric (5)
{DHOTI} – start with the final letter (end) of DIWALI and precede it with the first letter (start) of DYE and a word meaning stolen to get cotton fabric used for a Hindu loincloth of the same name

3d    Adjustment of minute rule for required length of computer program (3,4)
{RUN TIME} – an anagram (adjustment)of MINUTE R(ule) gives how long is required for a computer program

4d    Good health might be the response to periphery (6)
{CHEERS} – a word meaning “Good health” could be a response to any of the drinks around the periphery of the puzzle – thanks to Gazza and others for pointing out the obvious positioning of the alcoholic drinks

5d    Crashing into rear in front (8)
{ANTERIOR} – an anagram (crashing) of INTO REAR gives a word meaning in front

6d    Type of web that’s a money trap (7)
{EURONET} – this part of the World Wide Web is a charade of a currency and a trap

7d    Capable parent’s not fit to flop around one dropping off (9)
{CATNAPPER} – an anagram (flop around) of CAP(ABLE) PARENT without ABLE (not fit) gives one dropping off briefly

8d    Place beside edge of park to plump down (5)
{PLONK} – a charade of PL(ace), a word meaning beside and the final letter (edge) of PARK gives a word meaning to plump down

14d    Runner seems green, energies depleted after exertions (9)
{MESSENGER} – this person employed to run errands is an anagram (after exertions) of SEEMS GRE(E)N without one of (depleted) the E(nergie)s

16d    Daily whet? It’s a cocktail (5,4)
{WHITE LADY} – an all-in-one clue where an anagram (cocktail) of DAILY WHET is described by the whole clue

17d    Core of Dali’s painting out in the open (8)
{ALFRESCO} – the middle two letters (core) of (D)AL(I) are followed by a type of painting to give a word meaning out in the open

19d    Singer’s party includes miraculous food? Quite the reverse (7)
{MADONNA} – this singer is constructed not by putting a party around some miraculous food, but by putting (quite the reverse) some miraculous food around a party

21d    Educate British in dog rearing (5,2)
{BRING UP} a phrasal verb meaning to educate is built from BR(itish), IN and a type of dog reversed (rearing, as this is a down clue)

22d    Style of hat to wear in the country (6)
{PANAMA} – as everyone knows, these hats, made of plaited strips of the leaves of a South American cyclanthaceous plant, come from Ecuador not the country after which they are named!

23d    In the end always eat so you get fat (5)
{STOUT} – the last (end) letters of five words in the clue spell out an adjective meaning fat

25d    Less friendly pair dismissed from 11 (5)
{ICIER} – a word meaning less friendly is derived by dropping (dismissed) the abbreviation for pair from the answer to 11 across

One complex anagram is more than enough – but four is three steps too far. I still enjoyed the puzzle

15 comments on “Toughie 535

  1. I really enjoyed this one. I totally missed the significance of ‘periphery’ in 4d, although I had the correct answer to the clue.
    As Crypticsue mentioned on the other page, the NE corner was the most tricky for me too.
    Thanks to Warbler, and to BD.

  2. I enjoyed this one very much, even the struggle with the NE corner which took quite a bit of Gnome’s Law to finish. Lovely theme with some nice clues and I am very impressed with myself for ‘getting’ the wordplay of 4d before certain others! Thanks to BD for the explanations. Big thanks to Warbler for the thirst-making fun.

    Those who struggled like me last week might like to note that at the end of today’s Toughie, the DT has given its “apologies to anyone baffled by Friday’s 8d”

  3. I really enjoyed this and actually spotted the peripheral drinks but still managed to miss the significance at 4d (thanks crypticsue!)
    Thanks to Warbler and to BD. A very good Toughie opener for the week.

  4. I also enjoyed this one and also missed the periphery clue, I didn’t get 20a I’ve never heard the word before still, agood start to the week. Many thanks to Warbler and to Big Dave for the comments.

  5. Really enjoyed this one but was confounded by 20a

    I think we should try to stick to English clues-the toughie is hard enough without resorting to foreign languages!!

  6. Very enjoyable, but completeley stumped by the NE corner and 20a. Failed to see the theme despite tackling the puzzle over a pint of Shepherd Neame in the local! Cheers to Setter and Blogger!!

  7. Excellent stuff from Warbler! I enjoyed this more than most Toughies, perhaps because of the theme!
    20a had me stumped as I’ve never heard of them but 28a I definitely like – had a bottle last Christmas!
    Thanks to Warbler and BD..

  8. Great fun to solve – many thanks to Warbler for a treat of a crossword and to BD for the review.

  9. Very nice puzzle, so thanks to Warbler.

    20A was new to me, and I’d be content never to see it again, but it didn’t detract from what was a very enjoyable experience.

    Thanks to BD for the review; I agree about 1A.

  10. Came to this one late in the day and, like others, found the top right corner the most difficult. Still, a good crossword and great fun so thanks to Warbler and to BD for the notes.

  11. Great crossword from warbler, I also missed the significance of 4d. Great fun. Thanks Warbler and BD ( and Crypticsue ).

  12. Pleased to say that I managed this today and enjoyed it much more than the cryptic. I am also pleased to see the star rating. Did get 4 down but needed the hints to understand why.
    Thanks to warbler and Big Dave for the hints.

  13. Finished this in the early hours today.
    4a, 15a, 20a, 27a, 29a, 2d, 6d, 17d & 19d were best for me.
    For 4d, completely missed significance of “periphery” – thaks BD!
    For 20a, considered end letters RI as indicative of Republic of Italy! as on Italian Euro coins.

Comments are closed.