Toughie 561

Toughie No 561 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Another gentle puzzle from Kcit which should not have caused many problems. The US side in 7 down is possibly the only obscure thing in the puzzle.

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.


6a    Give notice of talk about love presented by Christian philosopher (13)
{PROGNOSTICATE} O (love) + a Christian philosopher go inside “to talk foolishly” to give “to give notice (forecast)”

8a    College assessor in a hole (6)
{CRATER} C (College) + assessor gives a hole, e.g. on the moon

9a    Comprehensive, albeit harsh (8)
{THOROUGH} Albeit + harsh = comprehensive

10a    Complain when parking’s not available for this? (3)
{CARP} Remove P (parking) from a word meaning “complain” to give something that you park

11a    Construction system leading to school of no real quality (6)
{KITSCH} A set of parts or pieces for construction + an abbreviation for school gives a word meaning trashy or vulgar

12a    A cut’s the reverse of excellent, entrenching one’s hair problem (8)
{ALOPECIA} A + “to cut” + a reversal of “excellent” put round I (one) gives baldness

14a    Question expert about number sceptically (7)
{ASKANCE} “To question” + an expert round N (number) gives “sceptically”. “Expert” gives the same word as “excellent” did in the previous clue

16a    Couple mostly irritated and nervous (7)
{TWITCHY} A couple with the last letter removed + “irritated” gives “nervous”

20a    Alcoholic drink, new, featured in broadcast dance event (8)
{SNOWBALL} A drink of advocaat and lemonade is formed from N (new) going inside broadcast + dance event

23a    Agile mountaineer, knocking top off (6)
{LIMBER} Remove the first letter from a mountaineer to get “agile”

24a    Boat that could create diversion if taken to lake (3)
{ARK} L (lake) can be put in front of this boat to give a diversion

25a    A lot of blood evident in passage in symbolic narrative (8)
{ALLEGORY} Remove the last letter from another word for blood and put it inside a passage to give a symbolic narrative

26a    Island group a success in time after the writer leaves (6)
{TAHITI} A success is put inside TI (time without me)

27a    Informant starts to supply tip-off in time spent on phone (7-6)
{WHISTLE-BLOWER} ST (the first letters of supply tip-off) goes inside a space of time. This is followed by an informal word for a telephone to give an informant


1d    Where you’ll see another’s swimming? (5,3)
{NORTH SEA} A large body of water is an anagram (swimming) of ANOTHER’S

2d    A new creative skill, endlessly stylish, following no rules (8)
{ANARCHIC} A + N (new) + skill with the last letter removed + stylish gives “following no rules”

3d    Location of butts? Hard to come in off-target here (7)
{ASHTRAY} Where you might find cigarette butts is given by H (hard) inside “off-target”

4d    Performance alone putting off special dancing partner (6)
{GIGOLO} A performance (e.g. of a pop group) + a word meaning “alone” with the letter S (special) removed gives a professional male dancing partner

5d    Reward for good behaviour in position supporting secretary (6)
{PAROLE} A position (or part played) follows an abbreviation for a glorified secretary to give a reward for good behaviour (of a prisoner)

6d    Workplan is developed with an opening for serious work assessment? (10,3)
{PARKINSON’S LAW} An anagram (developed) of WORKPLAN IS AN S (first letter of serious) reveals that work expands to fill the time available for its completion

7d    Dog in US side street, running (7,6)
{ENGLISH SETTER} A breed of gun dog is derived from the American word for side (on a billiard ball) + an anagram (running) of STREET

13d    Stop him snatching letter (3)
{PHI} A Greek letter (and another of Kcit’s pseudonyms) is hidden in stoP HIm

15d    Point where ditch runs uphill (3)
{NIB} A reversal (runs uphill) of “to ditch” gives the point of a pen

17d    Show pride, with broadcast talk breaking barrier (4,4)
{WALK TALL} An anagram (broadcast) of TALK inside a barrier gives “show pride”

18d    Cat and bird severed by a chopper (8)
{TOMAHAWK} A male cat + a bird of prey are separated by A to give a chopper (axe)

19d    Unknown exercises involved in scheme for recreational area (7)
{PLAYPEN} Y (unknown) + PE (exercises) goes inside a scheme to give somewhere a young child might play

21d    Our team’s getting on top of nasty crop pest (6)
{WEEVIL} WE (our team) + “nasty” gives a beetle that might cause damage to fruit, nuts, grain, etc.

22d    Starts to apply points about power following article (6)
{ADOPTS} “Starts to apply” is given by points round P (power) following A

A nice enough puzzle but I would have preferred something more challenging


  1. crypticsue
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    As you say, not at all challenging but I did enjoy it after the struggle I had with the back page. Thanks to Bufo for the review and for explaining the US side in 7d. Thanks to Kcit for the pleasant pussycat of a toughie.

  2. gnomethang
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    A slightly stiffer test than was considered by crypticsue but still enjoyable – I did start slowly but raced to a finish at the end.
    Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo.

  3. Prolixic
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Compared with the back page, like CS I found this considerably easier. All very enjoyable though no particular favourites today. Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo for the review.

  4. pommers
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    One of the rare Toughies I’ve completed without any assistance and within the time limit so big thanks to Kcit!
    Thanks Bufo for the explanation of 7d. Never come across that meaning of the first word. Spotted the anagram bit and guessed the first word from the checkers and definition.
    Thanks again to Kcit and Bufo.

  5. Jezza
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    As said pommers, I’ve also never heard of the first half of 7d – then again I don’t watch American Pool on the sky channel!
    Thanks to Kcit for a gentle puzzle, and to Bufo for the notes.

  6. pegasus
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree with all thats been posted so far thanks to Kcit and to Bufo especially his explanation on 7d.

  7. andy
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Nothing really to add, except I had to dig deep in the grey matter to recall 6d. Thanks to Bufo and Kcit

  8. Qix
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    This was straightforward, and would have been even for a back-pager.

    However, it was enjoyable and the clues were well written.

    Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo for the blog.

  9. Don1991
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank goodness for this after the horrors of the back page. Is the Editor sure he got them both in the correct place?

    I had heard of the spin in 7d but it refused to come out of the memory banks, so thanks for the hint Bufo. Other than that a very efficacious antidote to the other thing which left me unable to control my Tourettes gene.

    Thanks Kcit and Bufo.

  10. davelawes
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I agree with bufo – not over demanding — however friday’s is a different kettle of fish, just finished but need a couple of explanations .