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Toughie 633

Toughie No 633 by Shamus

The Queen’s Speech by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from the Calder Valley. No, you haven’t done a Rip van Winkle and overslept. Bufo is away today and I’m covering. It’s nice to get one of the friendlier setters instead of the Friday Fiends and I’m quite a big fan of Shamus’ puzzles. However, I have to say I felt today’s challenge lacked the usual sparkle. I suspect it was probably because of 1 across, which I am not over keen on.

I also was trying to solve the puzzle online while being attended to by my nursing team and encountered considerable difficulty in doing so. It seems the tech problems are still there and I couldn’t save the puzzle to go back to it.

The first clues I solved were 27 across and then 1 across; I thought we were then in for one of Shamus’ pangrammatic feasts, but not so. Some really nice clever clues and ideas to be admired, but I think my difficulty with understanding 1 across probably put me off a little.

However, it was enjoyable and thanks to Shamus for the challenge. I shall be back tomorrow with news of my imminent TV appearance, which actually has a Shamus connection…..

Favourite clues as usual are highlighted in blue. 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    Eleven represented by Cleopatra maybe (5,2,3,5)
{QUEEN OF THE SOUTH} We start with what I would probably terms a double cryptic definition. The name of a (football) team [ELEVEN] can be found by taking what I think is a description of Cleopatra and where she came from. The clue has “maybe” to suggest it’s not set in tablets of stone, as it were! I can’t find an actual link for a formal quote, apart from to a performer named Cleopatra VII. There seems to be some Biblical links to a quote from St Matthew’s Gospel but these appear to refer to the Queen of Sheba rather than Cleo. The Club’s Wiki article seems to confirm this too.

9a    Leading hostile figure deployed a force around hospital (4-3)
{ARCH-FOE} An anagram (indicated by deployed) of A FORCE goes around H (for hospital) to give the name of someone who may be said to be 3 down.

10a    Copy appeal held in India and China (7)
{IMITATE} One of the stock crossword phrases frequently used by setters is IT for (sex) appeal and that is its use here. IT goes inside I for India and what CHINA means in Cockney rhyming slang.

11a    Other dodgy quote recalled is impractical (9)
{THEORETIC} An anagram (indicated by dodgy) of OTHER is added to the reversal of a word meaning QUOTE gives a word that means impractical.

12a    Old books kept by unknown round and rough type (5)
{YOBBO} The mathematical symbol for an unknown is one of two letters. Here it’s the one that comes later in the alphabet. Add to it O (for old) BB (two books) and another O (round) and you have a word that refers to an oik or lout.

13a    Actor by the sound of it studied old director (7)
{REDFORD} A word sum. Take a homophone for a word meaning studied at university, and add the surname of John, a famous film director responsible for many great 20 downs. You will find yourself with the surname of a famous film actor (and director!)

15a    Easterner having stored letter abroad? (7)
{TIBETAN} I suspect one or two may find this a bit too clever, but I quite like it. Take the second letter of the Greek alphabet and if you “store” it you could put in it a ___ (3). This gives you the name of someone found in the Far East.

17a    One exhibited mobile with a paper? Not for all to see (7)
{MATISSE} The name of a famous French artist is revealed by taking M (for mobile) and adding to A and the name of a type of thin paper which has had U (universal, for all to see) removed.

19a    Top Catholic about to meet Welsh group giving aid for flight (7)
{AIRCREW} The name for the people on a plane who serve and protect you, as well as model life-jackets, can be found by taking a word that means top, adding to it RC (Catholic), RE (about) and W (Welsh).

21a    Summary withdrawal of one first in field? (5)
{RECAP} A word that means a summary or précis is found by reversing the name for the person who usually initially leads a race in order for someone else to go on to break a world record.

23a    Emotional release achieved by medieval Christian with female relative (9)
{CATHARSIS} The name for a Christian heretic found in France in the Middle Ages is added to an abbreviated word for a female relative. This leads you to a psychological term for an emotional release.

25a    Strip of iron giving trouble on board deck with backing amateur removed (4-3)
{NAIL-ROD} I received my new Chambers Dictionary last week and this was my first chance to use it! The name for a piece of iron used to manufacture fixing pins is found by taking a word that means deck or fix-up, reversing it and removing A (amateur) Inside this goes a word meaning to trouble someone or something.

26a    Match delayed after one associated with Hull (7)
{EMULATE} The name of Rod Hull’s friend is followed by a word meaning delayed to give something that means match or copy.

27a    Old European zoo can veil shack that’s rickety (15)
{CZECHOSLOVAKIAN} The nationality of someone who lived in Eastern Europe at one time is found by making an anagram (indicated by rickety) of ZOO CAN VEIL SHACK.


1d           Accommodate some US money (7)
{QUARTER}  The Downs start with a double definition.  The name for 25 cents in the States is also a word meaning to accommodate.

2d           Entertainer shortly to be found in Monaco? (5)
{EMCEE}  The showbiz name for a compere can be found by taking the IVR code of Monaco and treating it as a homophone.

3d           Very evil fellow cutting miserly promises of payment (9)
{NEFARIOUS}  A word that means extremely evil, one I first encountered in the 60’s TV show Batman describing the villains, is found by taking a word that means parsimonious or mean and inserting F (fellow) and then adding an abbreviation for written promises of payment.

4d           Got in an agitated state describing guitar? (7)
{FRETTED}  A double definition, with one half cryptic.  A description of a particular feature of guitars is also the same meaning a worried or agitated.

5d           DA, perhaps, is broadcast before start of case in small dwelling (7)
{HAIRCUT}  Inside the name for a rickety shed goes a word meaning to broadcast and C (start of case).  This gives you a description of what a DA was to a rock and roll fan!

[A video clip of a song about the politer version of DA!  BD]

ARVE Error: need id and provider

6d           Risqué film set in the Seychelles (5)
{SPICY}  An abbreviation for a film or photo goes inside the IVR code for the Seychelles to give a word meaning risqué or nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

7d           Ban a tour weaving around Latin capital (4,5)
{ULAN BATOR}  The capital of Mongolia is found by making an anagram (indicated by weaving) of BAN A TOUR and putting it around L (Latin).

8d           Dance instruction for Epsom agricultural worker? (7)
{HOEDOWN}  Another double definition clue with one half cryptic. Epsom racecourse has another nickname reflecting its locations, although I only know it in the plural, so the clue doesn’t quite work for me.  If you asked a gardener to work on the course you might ask them to do this chore which is the name for a country dance.

14d         Busy joint entertaining unworldly visitor taking in a lot of college (9)
{DETECTIVE}  Probably my favourite clue today.  The definition here is “busy” which as a noun can refer to one of these in slang.  The name for a famous film visitor from outer space has inside it almost all of an abbreviated name for a (type of) college.  This all goes inside the name of a seedy club or joint.

16d         Predatory type, Republican, inhibited by Obama largely — and group traditionally opposed to Republicans (9)
{BARRACUDA}  Another clever clue.  Inside most of the US President’s first name goes R (for Republican) and add to it the abbreviation for the Irish gang that opposed the IRA.  This gives you a predatory swimmer found in US waters.

17d         Buggy in room ending in havoc? That’s foolish (7)
{MORONIC}    An anagram (indicated by buggy, a nice indicator not seen before!) of IN ROOM and add on C (ending of havoc) gives a word meaning foolish.

18d         Key function in America for old currency (7)
{ESCUDOS)   A key found on your PC keyboard (top left corner on most!) plus the abbreviation for the States with a word meaning function inside it will lead you to the old currency found in Lisbon.

19d         Arab and Irish politician accompanied by novelist in curvy style? (3,4)
{ART DECO}  Another word-sum.  AR (arab) + the abbreviation for the Irish Prime Minister + the surname of an author named Umberto.

20d         Royal’s first person to get harsh vehicle for 13? (7)
{WESTERN}  The First Person as perceived by The Queen (“The Royal __”) takes a word meaning harsh to give a type of film associated with 13.

22d         Fish put in hamper chosen (5)
{PERCH}  Hidden in the phrase “hamper chosen” is a type of fish.

24d         Mystic colleague from Bordeaux? (5)
{SWAMI}  Another trademark Shamus cryptic definition.  The name for a friend in France with the location of Bordeaux at the front of it gives the name of a mystic person.

Thanks to Shamus for an enjoyable challenge.  I’ll see you tomorrow.

9 comments on “Toughie 633

  1. Thanks to Shamus for an enjoyable crossword which did not tax me as much as the back pager today but was good fun, unlike Tilsit I liked 1a.

  2. Thanks to Shamus for the puzzle, and to Tilsit for the first half of the review.
    Re 19a, do you mean that the answer is it AI (top) followed by RC (catholic)?

  3. Slightly less fun than the back page but I did enjoy myself. I like a morning with two good Telegraph puzzles which make smile for the next few hours. Thanks to Shamus for the puzzle and Tilsit for the review.

      1. I thought it was a Pangram (ie have all the letters of the alphabet) but I obviously need new glasses)

        1. Ah, yes he does do a few of those doesn’t he. Having not found a J (and thinking I must have messed up) I then went in a desperate but futile search for a Nina.

  4. I’m with Tilsit it in that i’m not sure about 1a, although there were other clues which I liked inc 8d, 23a and 14d.
    I did like Jezza think that 19a is ai (top) + rc (catholic) + about (re) + w (welsh).
    Thanks to Shamus and Tilsit.

  5. I haven’t been able to access this puzzle online, despite trying several times, so I’ve given up.

    Today’s back-pager took many attempts and a long time to get working as well.

    It’s becoming a familiar story.

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