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Toughie 647

Toughie No 647 by Shamus

Indian Takeaway!

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

A much harder puzzle than we usually get from Shamus – and all the better for it.

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    Local round state associated primarily with India? (7)
{PUNJABI} – put a local tavern around the abbreviation of a US state and the initial letter (primarily) of Associated then add the letter represented by India in the NATO phonetic alphabet – the result is a native of India

5a    Person with strict taste in Indian food cheers starter of nan (7)
{PURITAN} – this strict person is a charade of a small deep-fried cake of unleavened Indian bread, a word meaning cheers or thanks and the initial letter (starter) of Nan

9a    Spot around Eastern point imbued with European spirit of the period (9)
{ZEITGEIST} – put a spot or pimple around E(astern) then add the point of a discussion around (imbued with) E(uropean) to get the defining spirit of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time

10a    Avoid one in jacket getting snubbed before service (5)
{SPURN} – to get this verb meaning to avoid or ignore remove the final letter from a vegetable served in its jacket and add the senior military service

11a    Payment mostly pocketed by reformist group in stadium (5)
{ARENA} – put all except the final T (mostly) of a periodical payment for use of another’s property inside a  self-help organization for people fighting alcoholism to get a stadium

12a    Sort of coat make worn by leader in Jinan? (3-6)
{MAO-JACKET} – put an anagram (sort) of COAT MAKE around (worn by) the initial letter (leader) of Jinan to get a form of dress which is common in Jinan and elsewhere in modern China

13a    Wine with a lot of spirit found by enthusiast was premier sort on reflection (9)
{ZINFANDEL} – this Californian wine is built up from most (a lot) of spirit or vitality, an enthusiast and a word meaning was premier or in front reversed (reflection)

16a    Vessel in popular competition making comeback (5)
{SLOOP} – this vessel is a reversal (making comeback) of a competition popular prior to the advent of the National Lottery

ARVE Error: need id and provider

17a    Analyse Zoroastrian descendant with no end of pedigree (5)
{PARSE} – a word meaning to analyse a sentence is crerated by dropping the final E (with no end of pedigreE) from a descendant of the Zoroastrians who emigrated from Persia to India

18a    A diner getting excited in the wake of my spicy stuff (9)
{CORIANDER}– put an anagram (getting excited) of A DINER after (in the wake of) an interjection like “My!” to get this spice which is used a lot in Indian cookery

20a         Tell maybe part that’s been picked up in cake? (5,4)
{SWISS ROLL} – the nationality of William Tell is followed by what sounds like (picked up) a part in a play to get a cake

23a         Fund-raising activity, say, with online outlet (5)
{EVENT} – this activity could be for fund raising – it’s a charade of the single-letter prefix used for online or internet facilities and an outlet

25a         Old comic with regal figure replacing male in TV award (5)
{EMERY} – this old comedian is created by putting the cypher for Elizabeth Regina instead of the second M(ale) in a TV award

ARVE Error: need id and provider

26a         Fabric star sported when beset by E Morales’ rival? (9)
{ASTRAKHAN} – to get this rough fabric which imitates lambskin put an anagram (sported) of STAR inside (when beset by) the boxer that would like to challenge Erik Morales (initial and surname)

27a         Retired gentleman taken with fish and fried food (7)
{RISSOLE} – reverse the title accorded to a gentleman and add a flat fish to get a fried ball or cake of minced seasoned meat or fish coated in breadcrumbs

28a         Actress in principle shunning outsiders is back (7)
{ENDORSE} – put a former actress and pin-up inside a principle or doctrine without (shunning) the outside letters to get a verb meaning to back or approve


1d           Food taken before evidence of sleep for vitality (7)
{PIZZAZZ} – put some Italian fast food in front of an indication of sleep to get this vitality

2d           One from country forgetful of time showing innocence (5)
{NAÏVE} – take a person born in a specific country and then remove the T(ime) to get an adjective meaning showing innocence

3d           Make worse government in Indian city with tax on energy (9)
{AGGRAVATE} – to get this verb meaning to make worse put G(overnment) inside the Indian city that is home to the Taj Mahal (the palace not the restaurant!) and then add a tax and E(nergy)

4d           Distinctive tongue having origin of old in northerly part of France (5)
{IDIOM} – this distinctive tongue is derived by putting the initial letter (origin) of Old inside the reversal (northerly in a down clue} of a part of France

5d           Bring up work on book penned by one working hard? It’s a lucrative one (9)
{POTBOILER} – start by reversing (bring up) a two-letter word for a musical work and then add B(ook) inside someone who is working hard to get a book produced solely to make the originator a living by catering to popular taste.

6d           A principal rule coming foremost for religious follower (5)
{RASTA} – start with A and a principal performer then move the R(ule) from the end to the beginning to get a follower of a religious movement of Jamaican origin

7d           Case negotiated by eight possibly, we hear, in major way (5,4)
{TRUNK ROAD} – a suitcase is followed by what sounds like being negotiated by eight men and a cox to get a major thoroughfare

8d           Like some trains showing refusal after tip-off to carry tons for construction (3-4)
{NON-STOP} – an adjective that describes express trains is created by putting a slang word for a refusal, without its final letter (tip off) around (to carry) an anagram (for construction) of  TONS

14d         What could be cultivated for profit instead of degree among geeks producing tension? (9)
{NERVINESS} – insert these woody climbing plants that produce grapes in place of the D(egree) in some geeks to get this tension

15d         Falsify a note in academic achievement (9)
{DOCTORATE} – a charade of a verb meaning to falsify or tamper with, A from the clue and the seventh note of the scale in sol-fa notation gives this academic achievement

16d         One labouring for the Prince of Wales? (5,4)
{STAGE HAND} – a cryptic definition of someone working behind the scenes at the Prince of Wales or any other theatre!

17d         Historic plant raised for chemist (7)
{PASTEUR} – a word meaning historic or bygone is followed by a strong-smelling shrubby Mediterranean plant reversed (raised in a down clue) to get a famous French chemist and bacteriologist

19d         Followers in English element blocking Napoleon’s way (7)
{RETINUE} – these followers are created by putting E(nglish) and a metallic element inside the French (Napoleon’s) for way or road

21d         Rumour from oddly scary note (3-2)
{SAY-SO} – this rumour is built from the odd letters of SCARY followed by the fifth note of the scale

22d         Porky around front of tum needing hospital? Yes and no! (5)
{LITHE} – put a porky (pie) in Cockney rhyming slang around the initial letter (front) of Tum and H(ospital)  – the wordplay (yes) leads to the opposite of the answer (no)

24d         Crates hermetically sealed in Surrey town (5)
{ESHER} – hidden inside (sealed in) the first two words of the clue is a Surrey town

The rest of the downs are coming up soon.

This is not the same grid as that used a week ago, but it still has 32 answers with none less than five letters.

29 comments on “Toughie 647

  1. Thanks to Shamus for a most enjoyable puzzle. I found it harder than normal, and I had three in the SE corner which had me stumped for a while.
    I also needed a bit of help from google to confirm a couple of my answers.

  2. Like Jezza I too was stumped in the SE but have (hopefully anyway) got there in the end. Quite challenging for a Tuesday I thought, but filled with some excellent clues. Hard to pick favourites but probably for me 12a 20a and 28a. Thanks to Shamus and BD

  3. This was a good puzzle spoilt to a certain extent by some poor surface readings. Favourite was 15 for great misdirection. Never heard of 1d but Onelook came to the rescue. It was nice to see a puzzle with 2 z-words in it.

  4. Thank you to Shamus for a proper Toughie to start the Toughie week. Lots of muttering, d’oh-ing and fun – my particular favourites being 20a and 1d although there are lots of other good ones too. Thanks to BD for the review too.

  5. Most enjoyable puzzle today, I thought after putting the first three answers in that we were in for a pangram but not so.Favourite for me 1d 9a and 15d thanks to Shamus and to Big Dave for the comments.

  6. Highly enjoyable crossword from Shamus today that got the brain back into working order for the day! Many thanks to him for the entertainment and to BD for the review.

  7. I’m struggling – I’ve only solved 6 so far, but I will persevere.

    Maybe, I am a bit complacent after finishing today’s back-pager in record time. (Also, did today’s Grauniad by Philistine which is highly recommended.)

    I think I will definitely need the hints and tips from BD later this afternoon. (Now where is my takeaway menu from the local curry shop?)

  8. “It’th jutht not fair!”, she said, while stamping her feet on the scullery floor, “Tuethday’s Toughie is thuppothed to be eathier than the retht of the week!” (apologies to Just William readers who may recognize the Violet Blott references…)

            1. Had she attempted this one today, she might have had good cause to use her favourite utterance….
              “I’ll thcream and I’ll thcream until I;m thick”
              Hard work but good fun.Thank you Shamus and BD
              Is 4 zs (or 5 if we count the double usage) a record?

  9. Terrific crossword from Shamus. I managed 3 answers and was stumped for a good while, but when I came back to it and had a light bulb moment with 1d, I worked my way through the rest, albeit slowly. I held myself up putting “collar” in for the second part of 12a but got there eventually, feeling suitably smug and satisfied when I did! Favourite for me has to be 1d as I love that word and it got me going. Thanks to Shamus and BD.

    1. I meant to add that the hint for 11a seems incomplete. Shouldn’t a reformist group for addicts go around the unfinished payment or have I got the answer by the wrong route?

  10. Superb crossword from Shamus, there can’t be many crosswords where the first two clues I put in contained 4zs and a j, very enjoyable indeed, far too many good clues to pick a favourite. Thanks to Shamus for brightening up a Tuesday and to BD for his usual sterling work in the review.

  11. This certainly took a bit of thinking about – the Top went in relatively quickly with a couple of inspired moments but the South side took a while longer. I didnt help myself by trying to get the pangram filled in but eventually was missing 4 letters – I guess a last minute edit precluded it. In any case many thanks to Shamus for a great puzzle and to BD for the review

  12. Now that’s what I call hard work!! Dont often attempt a Toughie and now I know why – and am stil waiting for BD for a couple of the downs to see if I’ve got them right. Did get a few “solo” – including 1a becos it was the only vaguely Indian word I could think of with “pub” in it, but needed hints to explain the rest of the letters! Anyway, that did allow me to solve 2, 3 & 5d, which got me 12a, but I think all the rest were done from the hints. I guess I should attempt the Toughie more often? Only way to learn. It’s not a bad way to keep the brain alive whilst watching paint dry – i.e. shredding a pile of old bills!

  13. OK – Nobody has mentioned the thoroughly excellent vid at 25a for dear old Dick Emery. Kudos to BD for the link, Shamus for the nod and Mr Emery for the fun – the end of the clip is a killer!

  14. Mr CS and I spent tme over supper discussing the late Mr Emery – the clip above iis excellent. Don’t think I remember Diana being in crosswords much lately either :)

  15. Oh my Word.
    No wonder I struggle with the Toughie.
    Today, after about 73 hours on a plane, I finished it all, but for 6d. Now bearing in mind I had R*s*a, you’d think I could get it. But No.

    I had to check 9 (Nine) answers, all correct, but I just couldn’t validate them without the hints.

    It may be time for me to focus on the back page :-(

    1. I had 28a answer but only from the checking letters – could not believe I had missed the actress connection. D’oh!!

  16. Thanks to Shamus and Big Dave. Much too difficult for me. Only got 4 answers. Can’t really comment on the puzzle, because I don’t understand it. Can just about follow the hints, but never would have got them unaided. One best left to the experts. I feel I am improving with the back-pagers, but some of the Toughies bring one back down to Earth with a bump

  17. Sorry for being late on parade, but am on daily trips to hospital for meds at the moment. Took this with me and did most of it in the waiting room. Luckily I had quite a wait! A fairly stiff challenge, and I was pleased to finish it a little later.

    A very good puzzle with some excellent surface reading and thought provoking ideas. Thanks to Shamus and BD for the review.

  18. A hard puzzle from Shamus but very enjoyable – many thanks!
    Started it late yesterday but had to abandon it as had to prepare a bedroom for my son who is visiting this weekend.
    Finished it this morning.
    Difficult to select faves!
    A lot of food in it – edible as well as for thought!

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