Toughie 629

Toughie No 629 by MynoT

Hints and Tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

This puzzle was fair enough but it was by no means up to the standard that we have become accustomed to over the past couple of weeks. As usual with MynoT puzzles there is a theme.

{All the answers contain the letter “B”. I wonder if he’s going to work his way through the consonants. If so I look forward to The “J”, “Q” and “X” puzzles.Select the space between the curly brackets to reveal the theme.


5a    Lilo, for example, beginning to revolt in first-class plot (3,3)
{AIR BED} Lilo® is a registered trade mark for this item. R (first letter of revolt) goes in first class + plot (in the garden)

8a    End of base on bed is damaged and stained (8)
{EBONISED} E (last letter of base) + an anagram (damaged) of ON BED IS gives “stained in imitation of a particular type of black wood”

9a    He uncovered entrée and, skipping start of tea, chanced to find cake (3,4)
{ALI BABA} Someone who uncovered an entrance (Open Sesame!) = “chanced upon something” with the letter T (start of tea) omitted from the end + a small cake soaked in a rum spirit

10a    Book graduate from Queen’s people (5)
{SHEBA} The title of a novel by H. Rider Haggard + a graduate = an ancient people of Yemen ruled by a queen who visited Solomon

11a    Lacking in credit, surprise factor is quality that’s good to eat (9)
{EDIBILITY} Remove IN and CR (credit) from “surprise factor” to give fitness to be eaten. I don’t really get the “surprise factor” [Thanks for that Droolie – I missed the IN bit as well.  BD]

13a    Mad Hatter had one time with 11 (3,5)
{TEA TABLE} The Mad Hatter used this when he had his party. T (time) + a word meaning “fit to be eaten”. I don’t think this one works because 11 is a noun and we need an adjective in this answer

14a    Assemble many to accommodate symbol (6)
{EMBLEM} A symbol is hidden in assEMBLE Many

17a    Small party in small workplace (3)
{LAB} An abbreviation for a political party = an abbreviated form of where some people work

19a    Support for bravery? Not much (3)
{BRA} Take the first 3 letters of BRAvery, dropping very (not much)

20a    Move on except for first lighterman (6)
{BARGEE} “Move clumsily” + E (first letter of except” A three letter word for move on preceded by (first) a word meaning “except for” [thanks Jezza] = a lighterman. I hope I’ve explained this one correctly. Is the answer the same as a lighterman?

23a    Compel alumnus to sponge all the eats for starters (8)
{OBLIGATE} “To compel” = a former (male) pupil + “to sponge (be a freeloader)” + the first letters of All The Eats. I was not familiar with the word meaning “to sponge”

26a    Records about broken oboes having keys with centres missing (9)
{CASEBOOKS} Records (medical or legal) = an abbreviation meaning “about” + an anagram (broken) of OBOES + KS (first and last letters of keys)

28a    One or brace could be tossed (5)
{CABER} An anagram (tossed) of BRACE gives something that a Scotsman might toss

29a    Take in show of disapproval at noise made by composer (7)
{BORODIN} R (take) in a show of disapproval + a noise = a Russian composer

30a    Roaming bears circle to eat again (8)
{REABSORB} An anagram (roaming) of BEARS + a circle gives “to eat again”

31a    Holders of honorary title upset bwanas (6)
{NAWABS} An anagram (upset) of BWANAS gives honorary titles bestowed by the Indian government


1d    Bad debts confining one in a single room (6)
{BEDSIT} An anagram (bad) of DEBTS goes round I (one) to give a one-room lodging

2d    Predict chatter in wine stores (7)
{BODEGAS} “To predict” + chatter = wine stores (in Spain)

3d    A top back on board’s possible to enlarge (9)
{DILATABLE} A reversal (back) of “a top” + a board = “possible to enlarge”

4d    Pale brown lecturer’s bun (6)
{BEIGEL} A very pale pinkish-brown or yellowish-brown colour + L (lecturer) gives a hard leavened ring-shaped roll. This spelling was new to me

5d    Drunkenly be ribald in stand-up, perhaps (2-6)
{AD-LIBBER} An anagram (drunkenly) of BE RIBALD gives someone who improvises (possibly a stand-up comedian)

6d    Quince to follow mechanicals and renounce authority (5)
{REBEL} The Bengal quince follows a corps of the British Army (mechanicals?) to give “renounce authority) [This is, as I’m sure Bufo knows, an allusion to Peter Quince, a carpenter, who was one of the six craftsmen (the mechanicals) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. BD]

7d    Cause to be resentful of one abstainer in throes of dwindling passion (8)
{EMBITTER} “To cause to be resentful) = I (one) TT (abstainer) inside the smouldering remains of love, passion, etc.

12d    Rising position for lying young woman (3)
{DEB} A reversal (rising) of “position for lying” gives a young woman making her first appearance in society

15d    Journal having reserve about young reporter that arrives at the same answer from every angle (5,4)
{MAGIC CUBE} A shortened from of a word meaning journal + reserve (reticence) round a young reporter gives a 3-dimensional figure arranged in an n x n x n pattern where the sums of various rows and diagonals add up to a common value

16d    Norm has a short missile for this trajectory (8)
{PARABOLA} A norm + A + a South American missile consisting of 2 or more balls strung together (with the last letter removed) = the curve that is the trajectory of a missile

18d    Flying manoeuvres abandoned at exercise (8)
{AEROBICS} Remove AT from flying manoeuvres to give a form of exercising

21d    Brocks regularly get goat (3)
{BROCKS} Alternate letters of BrOcKs gives a goat

22d    Real-time ledger of father confused boy all right (3,4)
{DAY BOOK} Where the transactions of each day are entered is given by father (but not the usual 2-letter word) + an anagram (confused) of BOY + “all right”. At first I tried using the usual 2-letter word for father but this gives an answer that doesn’t appear in the dictionary

24d    Lesser numbers also lacking energy (1-5)
{B-SIDES} The less important parts of gramophone records is derived from “also” with E (energy) omitted

25d    Get dressed and carried back to Spain (6)
{ENROBE} “To get dressed” = a reversal (back) of a word meaning “carried” + the IVR for Spain

27d    A bit of brain upset could be source of disease (5)
{EBOLA} A reversal (upset) of A part of the brain is an African river which gives its name to a severe infectious disease

Not my favourite puzzle (and I didn’t really enjoy writing the review)


  1. droolie
    Posted September 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I think 11a requires both IN and CR to be removed from the surprise factor.

  2. Jezza
    Posted September 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to MynoT for a gentle puzzle today, and to Bufo for the notes.
    Re 20a, I read it as Bar (except for first) followed by gee (move on)

    • Posted September 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      That also is a better explanation.

  3. BigBoab
    Posted September 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mynot, I quite enjoyed this but did not spot the theme till it was too late to be of assistance. Thanks Bufo for the notes, you can’t please all of the people etc.

  4. crypticsue
    Posted September 8, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Average difficulty and average enjoyment for me and it did help that I cottoned on to the theme quite early. Thanks to MynoT. Thanks to Bufo too.

    Did anyone else who works their way through the acrosses first put PARTY in the second part of 13a before realising their mistake when they finally read 11d or was that just me??

    • Jezza
      Posted September 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Yes – I started to write it in, and then immediately went for the tippex when I realised I had an ‘e’ at the end!

    • Prolixic
      Posted September 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      On my first read through I wondered whether it was tea party with lab as another solution suggesting a political theme!

    • Nick
      Posted September 8, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      Yes, me too. But when I’d spotted the theme, I looked on it with great suspicion.

  5. birdie
    Posted September 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    A fairly pedestrian puzzle which, having spotted the theme early on, I didn’t have trouble with, apart from carelessly entering “Serbs” at 10a. I don’t think I’m a fan of the same letter appearing in every answer. I found myself preoccupied with placing the ‘B’s and considering possible answers – given the checking letters – which might fit, rather than concentrating on the word play. Still, it made a change:)
    Thanks MynoT and Bufo.

  6. pegasus
    Posted September 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Nice bit of fun from the setter I was about ten answers in before I spotted the theme.Thanks to Mynot and to Bufo for the comments.

  7. upthecreek
    Posted September 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    I was going really well but ground to a halt in NW corner. Don’t think 13a really worked and was not happy with 27. Favourite was 20 with 11 not far behind. Overall a pretty good contest. Never noticed the theme but it would not have helped anyway. Thanks to setter – on to the Cs.

  8. Posted September 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    4d is the spelling that was most common in Britain before it was supplanted by the American spelling. The pronunciation differs too.

    • Posted September 8, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      As evidenced by the country’s best known Beigel shop – the Brick Lane Beigel Bake.

      Mariah Carey tried to jump the queue and was told to go to the back. Then when she got to the front she asked for her beigel – freshly cooked only minutes earlier – to be toasted. You can guess what she was told!

      • Kath
        Posted September 8, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

        Not being a fan of Mariah Carey, no I can’t! What was she told? (Not a huge fan of beigels either!)

        • Posted September 8, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

          That you don’t toast fresh beigels. If you have the chance to try the beigels in Brick Lane you might change your mind. Don’t base your opinion in the rubbish available in supermarkets – they do need toasting!

  9. BillyBusker
    Posted September 8, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Re 29ac: Would someone care to enlighten this totally unenlightened Busker as to why R = ‘take’.

    • gazza
      Posted September 8, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      R stands for the latin word recipe and is used to mean “take” on prescriptions and medicines.

      • BillyBusker
        Posted September 9, 2011 at 1:35 am | Permalink

        Thanks for that, Gazza – it’s in Chambers and I missed it when I checked it earlier before exposing my ‘unenlightedness’ for all to see. I remember now that I’ve seen it in crosswords many times before. Must have had a mental block today!!

  10. Nick
    Posted September 8, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    For the first time EVER (I think) I spotted a theme early on … it’s these small triumphs that keep the world turning.

    I quite liked today’s, and although there were some (I thought) obscure answers, I thought it was more in the ‘back page’ range than a Toughie.

    Favourite clue was 24d. Last one in was Mariah Carey’s toasted treat.

    Goodnight all.

  11. Kath
    Posted September 8, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Please ignore what I said earlier about not venturing here today – I lied!! It rained so I did have a go at this one. Did most of it apart from almost all of the top right hand corner. Didn’t spot theme – that was pretty stupid and could have helped. Not having spotted theme did put in (and leave in) “tea party” for 13a – this didn’t help with 4 or 12d …… etc etc. However, on the plus side, I did most of it so will carry on having a go when time and weather permits. I WILL conquer these beasts one day! :smile: With thanks to Myno T and Bufo.

  12. spindrift
    Posted September 9, 2011 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    ….and there I was happily settled in smug mode having finished 2 Toughies this week only for my betters to suggest it was quite pedestrian. Heigh Ho – you just can’t win.

  13. freda
    Posted September 9, 2011 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Can I suggest that the theme is hidden in the preamble, as the solutions are?

    Thanks to setter and reviewer.

    • spindrift
      Posted September 9, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      But that’s half the fun spotting the theme – although I must admit in my case it’s only after one of the other bloggers spots it first and points it out does the proverbial pfennig descend!