Toughie 653

Toughie No 653 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I was pleased to get an Elkamere today and it turned out to be a proper Toughie which was most enjoyable and most challenging. I filled the left-hand side in without too much difficulty but it took me a long time to get a decent toehold in the right-hand side.

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    Author finds ladies desirable (10)
{GALSWORTHY} The surname of the author best known for The Forsyte Saga is made up of “ladies” + “desirable”

6a    Strip club (4)
{BAND} 2 meanings: a strip / club (group of people)

10a    Odd wheels on extremely durable object (5)
{DEMUR} A reversal (wheels) of “odd” goes after (on) DE (first and last letters of DurablE) to give “to object”

11a    Rumour about German family purity? (9)
{GODLINESS} An informal short form of a word meaning “rumour” goes round D (German) + family to give a quality (purity?) which cleanliness is next to

12a    Primarily it was one job in many as WWII operation (3,4)
{IWO JIMA} The first letters (primarily) of It Was One Job In Many As give an island in the Pacific which was the scene of a WW!! battle (Feb-Mar 1945)

13a    Gain real credit instead of time (7)
{ACCRUAL} A gain is obtained by taking a 6-letter word meaning “real” and replacing T (time) with CR (credit)

14a    Big farming transport using road tax (12)
{AGROINDUSTRY} “Big farming” is an anagram (transport) of USING ROAD + a word meaning “to tax”

18a    System with, at least, free treatment (7,5)
{WELFARE STATE} W (with) + an anagram (treatment) of AT LEAST FREE to give the provider of free treatment and other social services

21a    Old victory sign for egg producers? (7)
{OVARIES} O (old) + V (victory) + a sign of the zodiac gives “egg producers”

23a    Ego’s my business — I’m a dramatist (7)
{IONESCO} The surname of a Romanian/French dramatist, a leading exponent of the theatre of the absurd, is made up of I (ego) + “my” + the usual abbreviation denoting “business”

24a    Showing repeats? It’s time ITV sacked Head of Entertainment (9)
{ITERATIVE} “Showing repeats?” is derived from IT + a long time + an anagram (sacked) of ITV + E (first letter of entertainment)

25a    Panditji’s revolting female sport (5)
{NEHRU} An Indian statesman popularly referred to as Panditji (scholar) is a reversal (revolting) of a female + a sport which has been in the news for the past month or so

26a    Acquired hard sort of rock (4)
{GOTH} “Acquired” + H (hard) = a type of rock music enjoyed by people in black clothes and white make-up

gnomethang the goff

Not sure about the white make-up!

27a    22 21? (3,3,4)
{ALL THE SAME} This answer is synonymous with the answer to 22 down. If you take the answer to 21 across and split it (1,6) you get a cryptic representation of this answer


1d    Somewhat aged — dithering, see? (6)
{GEDDIT} The answer is hidden in aGED DIThering. Do you see?

2d    Being clumsy, beheaded fox (6)
{LUMMOX} An informal word for a stupid, clumsy person id obtained by removing the first letter from a word meaning “to fox”

3d    Ready for business on A1? (7,7)
{WORKING CAPITAL} “Ready” here means “ready money” and the answer is money needed by a business to finance its day-to-day operations. It is made up of “on” + A1

4d    Doctor’s capacity to hide academic performance (9)
{RIGMAROLE} “To doctor” + “capacity” goes round MA (academic) to give a performance (as in “What a performance!”)

5d    Photography dramatically catches constellation (5)
{HYDRA} A constellation is hidden in photograpHY DRAmatically

7d    Notice balance is OK (8)
{ADEQUATE} A notice (the usual 2-letters) + “to balance” = OK

8d    Presents game console — is fun within? (8)
{DISPLAYS} Presents (as a verb) = 2 letters denoting a hand held gaming device made by Nintendo going round IS + fun

9d    Incandescent with rage? That hides most of our shame (14)
{DISCOUNTENANCE} An anagram (with rage) of INCANDESCENT goes round OU (most of OUr) to give “shame”

15d    Eats noodle to keep slim, even if empty (9)
{NUTRIMENT} Eats (food) = a noodle (fool) round “slim” + EN (first and last letters of even)

16d    Diving from rock around — almost over — pool (8)
{SWOOPING} “Diving” is formed from “to rock” round OOP (a reversal of pool without its last letter)

17d    Most dark bitter’s bottled to make water (8)
{BLEAKEST} “Most dark” = the finest bitter (beer) round “to make water”

19d    Complicated maths article hardly inspiring reason! (6)
{ASTHMA} An anagram (complicated) of MATHS + A (article) gives a condition that makes breathing (inspiring) difficult

20d    Small area of Zambia, one without usual borders (6)
{ZONULE} A small area = Z (IVR for Zambia) + ONE round UL (first and last letters of usual)

22d    Photograph leisure centre’s cash register (5)
{STILL} A photograph = S (middle letter of leisure) + a cash register

I hope that I’ve interpreted all the clues correctly. A fine puzzle that’s verging on 5 stars in both categories.


  1. crypticsue
    Posted October 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    A brilliant Toughie that kept me going on and off all morning – a good accompaniment to envelope stuffing and forum attendance :)

    Thanks to Anax for stretching my cryptic brain cells to their utmost limits – my favourites were 26a, 2d and 19d, but my top top favourite has to be 27a – very clever stuff.

    Thanks to Bufo too, rather you than me!

  2. Jezza
    Posted October 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    5 star difficulty for me! – I got there in the end, although I needed help from Onelook for two of the clues.
    Thanks to Elkamere for the enjoyable struggle, and to Bufo for the review.
    Favourite clue, 12a.

  3. BigBoab
    Posted October 20, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Totally brilliant, needed assistance with a couple. Many thanks to Elkamere and to Bufo.

  4. gazza
    Posted October 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Tremendous stuff – I struggled on the right-hand side for some time – I think that Elkamere is slowly ratcheting up the difficulty level. Thanks to him and Bufo. Masses of excellent clues but my favourites were 27a and 3d.
    I have one tiny query. D is the IVR code for Germany but is it an abbreviation for German (11a) ?

  5. chris
    Posted October 20, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Back to a proper toughie.
    A class act, thank you Anax.
    23ac too tough for me.
    So many good clues 27a is outstanding.

  6. andy
    Posted October 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Elkamere certainly up a gear. Stumped in the SE, gave in and resorted to hints. Have got a mental block on 23a even having read the answer!! 3/4 went in fine, with thought, and appreciation of the clues. Loved 8d and 17d. Many thanks Elkamere and Bufo

  7. Posted October 20, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    An excellent puzzle that had a couple going in without understanding, a couple not going in because I couldn’t parse (although I was corrrect) and a couple that I had to look here for. If you are all very good I’ll show you a picture from my 26a days!
    Many thanks to Elkamere and to Bufo for the review

  8. pegasus
    Posted October 20, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Outstanding offering from todays setter favourites 3d 4d 23a and 27a. Many thanks to Elkamere for the challenge and to Bufo for the review.( I feel an Elgar coming on ).

    • Posted October 20, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      … Elgar is confirmed for tomorrow!

  9. Posted October 20, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    I hope nobody minds but I added a pic to 26a. I was just moving from Goff to Metal but that classic leather jacket with white darts had a lovely ‘Sisters of Mercy’ logo on the back!

    • Posted October 20, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      Apart from the haircut you haven’t changed much since those days!

      • Posted October 20, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        You noticed the ‘alcohol and fag’ motif then!

  10. Posted October 21, 2011 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Many thanks all for your kind comments. Sorry to have been so long before chipping in – band rehearsal last night, just got back home 10 minutes ago.
    Most seem to have enjoyed the fun, which is great, for fun is what it’s all about. I hadn’t necessarily expected someone to say “Oh, look, a pangram” but it just goes to show that they’re becoming almost ubiquitous now.
    Now then – wonder if I’ll get to meet any of you at the Times Championships this weekend?

    • Posted October 21, 2011 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      I checked for the pangram to help with the last 10 or so – I realised that I already had everythig except Z and I was pretty sure where that was going!.
      Might se you down in Wapping. I put my name down for some overtime this weeekend and Saturday is a bit of a meet’n’greet and get to know the site i.e. light duties. I am just up the road at Tower Hill (and our office is even closer, between Tower Hill and Thomas Moore Square)