Toughie 603

Toughie No 603 by Cephas

The Ladies of the Harem (of the Court of King Caractacus)

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

This standard “Tuesday” Toughie was a bit easier than last week’s Micawber. Even the large number of answers with double unches (albeit with 50% checking) couldn’t make it difficult!

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    Scratch Charlie joining police (4)
{CLAW} – a verb meaning to scratch is a charade of C(harlie) and the police in general

3a    I name meeting-place for court order (10)
{INJUNCTION} – a charade of I, N(ame) and a place where roads meet gives a court order

8a    Booming factory hides dope (8)
{PLANGENT} – a word meaning booming or resonant is created by putting a factory around (hides) dope or information

9a    Louise briefly struggling during half-minute in glacier shaft (6)
{MOULIN} – put an anagram (struggling) of the short form of LOU(ise) inside the first half of MIN(ute) to get a glacier shaft – rather strangely this comes from the French for a mill

10a    Apple on view to all rests uneasily outside (6)
{RUSSET} – to get this variety of apple put the certificate designating a film that people of any age are allowed to see inside an anagram (uneasily) of RESTS

11a    It’s counteractive and, boy, it’s volatile (8)
{ANTIBODY} – this substance which inactivates a foreign body is an anagram (volatile) of AND BOY IT

13a    Fellow getting into fruit, he is excessively fond of food and drink (8)
{GOURMAND} – put a fellow or chap inside a large hard-rinded fleshy fruit to get a glutton

14a    Name of female in General Staff (6)
{GLADYS} – a girl’s name is created by putting a female inside the abbreviation for General Staff – my dislike of girl’s and boy’s names is crosswords is well-known

16a    John, old composer, showing no hesitation in pub (6)
{TAVERN} – drop the ER (showing no hesitation) from the surname of an old composer (c.1490–1545) to get a pub

19a    Carry burden jumping hurdles round ring (8)
{SHOULDER} – a verb meaning to carry a burden is created by putting an anagram (jumping) of HURDLES around a circular-shaped letter (ring)

21a    Meditate on food eaten? (4,4)
{CHEW OVER} – a phrasal verb meaning to meditate on could mean that one has finished eating

22a    It will not pass 24 (6)
{ALKALI} – the opposite of the kind of chemical being examined in 24 across

23a    Abseiling, caught short and losing head by lake (6)
{RAPPEL} – A word meaning abseiling is derived by taking a word meaning caught or cornered and removing the final (short) and initial (head) letters and then adding L(ake)

24a    A group of detectives find match in searching examination (4,4)
{ACID TEST} – a charade of A, a group of detectives and an international cricket or rugby match gives a searching examination

25a    Tipsy Tam, slacker know-all (5,5)
{SMART ALECK} – an anagram (tipsy) of TAM SLACKER gives a know-all

26a    Rent’s up, it has been said (4)
{HIRE} – a verb meaning to rent or lease sounds like (it has been said) a synonym for up


1d    Forger attempts to do it and break it (9)
{COPYRIGHT} – split as (4,5) this could be what a forger attempts to do – the whole word is what he could break if he succeeds – not my favourite clue!

2d    Means to keep clear of rain (10,5)
{WINDSCREEN WIPER} – a means for a motorist to keep clear of rain in order to see where he is going

3d    Uncapped finer Tia Maria without woman’s passivity (7)
{INERTIA} – drop the initial letter from (F)INER and the woman’s name from TIA (MARIA) and the result is a word meaning passivity – an interesting variation on the hidden word genre

4d    Promontory in Denmark? (7)
{JUTLAND} – a (hardly) cryptic definition of a promontory part of which is in Denmark

5d    ID card displayed in celebrity kiss chase? (4,3)
{NAME TAG} – a ID card showing the name of the person who wears it is a charade of a celebrity and a children’s game

6d    Drawing thicket with bushman travelling round loch (9,6)
{THUMBNAIL SKETCH} – this small drawing is created by putting an anagram (travelling) of THICKET with BUSHMAN around L(och)

7d    Woman found in French city (5)
{NANCY} – this woman’s name is also a French city

12d    Period article in Benin (3)
{DAY} – this period of time is created by putting the indefinite article inside the IVR code for Benin (formerly known as Dahomey)

15d    Item to be tabled by setter I’ve edited (9)
{SERVIETTE} – this item placed on the dinner table is an anagram (edited) of SETTER I’VE

17d    Grate stuff! (3)
{ASH} – what’s left in the grate when the fire has gone out

18d    US city offers support for original short story (7)
{NOVELLA} – the abbreviation for a US city is under (offers support in a down clue) an adjective meaning original to give a short story

19d    Top Water Board expert? (7)
{SURFACE} – if this word meaning the top is split (4,3) it gives an expert in riding a board on the water

20d    Kid also becoming slave (7)
{ODALISK} – an anagram (becoming) of KID ALSO gives a female slave in a harem

21d    Body or just heart can be heard (5)
{CORPS} – a body of, perhaps, soldiers sounds like (can be heard) the heart or centre

Things can only get Tougher!



  1. crypticsue
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Pleasant but untaxing seems to be the order of the day – apart from in the Independent! Thanks to Cephas and BD. I quite liked the 24a/22a link.

  2. pommers
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Agree not too Tough but pleasant all the same. Isn’t 7d a candidate for the rest home for retired crossword clues?
    Thanks Cephas and BD.

  3. Jezza
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Nothing much to think about today. Re 16a, with T as my first letter, my first thought was Toilet before I’d even finished reading the clue! 3d was ‘interesting’ as you mentioned above!
    Thanks to Cephas for the puzzle, and to BD for the notes.

  4. gnomethang
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    No real trouble here although I was slightly confused by the reasoning behind16a/17d until Crypticsue explained all! Thanks to BD and to Cephas.

    • Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      The one that confused me was 4 down. The answer was fairly obvious, but it looked as if JUT and LAND would come into it, but if they do it doesn’t work for me.

    • andy
      Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      and the reasoning was….??, Dumberer of peterborough cannot see any connection at all (except a dodgy cricket related homophone)

      • crypticsue
        Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        I could be wrong but I believe the only connection between them was that Gnomey couldn’t see the wordplay. (Sorry, G, I couldn’t resist – you would have done the same to me :) )

        • andy
          Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          Oh I see, was looking for something that wasn’t there then!! Didn’t realise that the modern day John tavener was spelt differently to the former, we live and learn

        • gnomethang
          Posted July 26, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          No worries! That was my problem!

  5. pegasus
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Ditto to all what’s been said favourite for me was 1d thanks to Cephas and Big Dave for the notes.

  6. Franco
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Is Cephas the usual Saturday Setter? I normally find his puzzles on Saturday quite “straightforward”.

    But today, I found it very difficult to get started, but got there in the end (almost unaided). Maybe, It’s a psychological thing – the word “Toughie”?

    • pommers
      Posted July 26, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      I may be wrong but I think Cephas does alternate Saturdays.

      • crypticsue
        Posted July 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        He does indeed – his next one should be this coming Saturday.

        • Franco
          Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

          That demonstrates my complete inability to recognise the compiler/setter! (Apart from Rufus – Shock/Horror in yesterday’s Guardian)

          I have always thought (well, for the last 9 months since finding this Blog) that the Saturday setter was always the same. I have never noticed the difference.

          • Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

            Cephas has been in every other week since last November.

  7. AtH1900
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I thought this more of a backpage Cryptic than a Toughie.

  8. Digby
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    On a par with the regular back-pager, in both enjoyment and ease. Small typo in 24a, BD (well, d is next to f). Thanks to you and Cephas. What was his “moniker clue” a few Saturday’s ago?

    • crypticsue
      Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      St Peter in penitence phase (6)

      • Digby
        Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        That was it!! Thanks.

    • Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Sorted, thanks

  9. birdie
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    I also thought this was more of a back-pager. 17d was dreadful,, 2d prosaic, 4d barely cryptic. I can’t say that I enjoyed this one at all. The Quickie was more difficult!

  10. Heno
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Cephas for an enjoyable puzzle, and to Big Dave for the review & hints.
    I almost finished this one, but had to google abseilling to find rappelling, then got the answer for 23 across.
    Unfortunately, I was defeated by 21 down, I had cores instead of the Army homophone.
    Still, that said, I enjoyed this one a lot, favourites were 4 down & 14 across.
    This was the closest I’ve ever been to completing a Toughie.

  11. Heno
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    PS just listened to the Rolf Harris clip for 20 across, thanks Big Dave, I haven’t heard that one for years !!

  12. Franco
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Two questions for all those who found this too easy:-

    1. Did you ever live in Dahomey (Benin)?

    2. Have you ever heard of the word “moulin” to describe a glacier shaft before?

    Did you need any help?

    • Franco
      Posted July 26, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

      How did Rolf Harris remember the words?

    • pommers
      Posted July 26, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      Hi Franco

      1. The Benin/Dahomey bit came up quite recently, either in a Toughie or back pager (or maybe a Grauniad), and I remembered very much to my surprise! I seem to remember invoking BD’s ‘Mine’ last time!

      2. No, but it was obvious from the wordplay and just needed the dictioary to check. This was my last in but with the checkers what esle could it be?

      As to your reply to your comment – I haven’t a clue!!!! Remarkable performance which I vaguely remember from my youth. It’s reminiscent of Ronnie Barkers ‘Ministry of Pismronunciation’ or something like that!