Toughie 752

Toughie No 752 by Myops

Dangers of a Water Shortage

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I thought that this was a fairly tough tussle for a Wednesday but it was one that I enjoyed battling through, although a few of the clues do seem a bit “clunky”. There’s a theme running through the puzzle relating to a nursery rhyme dealing with the dangers involved in trying to circumvent the hosepipe ban.

Across Clues

1a  Playmate carrying one bucket … (4)
{PAIL} – what young Jack carried is a playmate around (carrying) I (one).

3a  … can run out and start to weep for a hit on the head (5)
{CROWN} – this is a verb to hit on the head (as happened to Jack). Start with can, then replace the A (for a) with the cricket abbreviation for run out and the starting letter of W(eep).

6a  Man with 3 presided going over work? (4)
{TASK} – the abbreviation for a man often portrayed with a 3a on is followed by presided (as a judge, say), then it’s all reversed (going over) to make a piece of work.

8a  Exuberant forces hold on to power retaining fort (2,3,2,3,5)
{ON TOP OF THE WORLD} – a phrase meaning exuberant is an anagram (forces) of HOLD ON TO POWER containing the abbreviation for fort.

9a  They possess tranquillisers that are out of date (6)
{OWNERS} – the definition here is “they possess”. Strip the D(ate) from the start of tranqillisers.

10a  Jumper Jonathan put on heading for break — and for a lie-down (8)
{BEDWARDS} – this is an adverb meaning heading for a lie-down (like Jack on his return home following the accident). Add the surname of Jonathan, our triple jump world record holder, to the first letter (heading) of B(reak).

11a  Coughing more? Withdraw — it’s interrupting entertainment (8)
{CHESTIER} – a comparative meaning coughing or wheezing more comes from reversing (withdraw) IT’S inside a word for entertainment or merriment.

13a  Fashionable Gaelic festival is hard to follow (6)
{MODISH} – an annual Gaelic literary and music festival (to be held in Dunoon this year) is followed by IS and H(ard).

15a  Hide that’s left among hides to be tanned (6)
{SHIELD} – an anagram (to be tanned?) of HIDES has L(eft) inserted to make a verb to hide or screen.

17a  Conference area guides come to harm without me (4,4)
{CHAT ROOM} – this virtual conference area is an anagram (guides?) of CO(me) TO HARM.

19a  Plan foul to foil attack … (4,4)
{FALL UPON} – an anagram (to foil) of PLAN FOUL gives us a phrasal verb meaning to attack.

21a  … Sorry. We foul to order (6)
{WOEFUL} – an adjective meaning sorry or wretched is an anagram (to order) of WE FOUL.

22a  They will frame a picture to be restored from start to finish in tender fashion (15)
{THERAPEUTICALLY} – THEY frames (i.e. goes round) our fifth anagram in a row (to be restored) of A PICTURE and a word meaning the whole lot or from start to finish.

23a  Start out regularly to jog (4)
{TROT} – the even letters (regularly) of start out produce a verb to jog (as did Jack on his way home).

24a  Creature prized for fragrance, mount required for entry to Jerusalem in Scripture (5)
{RASSE} – this is a word (new to me) for a small Indian civet, which secretes a musky fluid used in perfumery. Insert the beast that Christ rode into Jerusalem inside the abbreviation for scripture lessons.

25a  One number divided by another provides solution immediately (4)
{ANON} – A (one) and N(umber) are divided by a different abbreviation for number.

Down Clues

1d  Such Scots breathe convulsively or pech at first climbing trunk (9)
{PROBOSCIS} – this is a trunk (of an elephant, for example). It’s a charade of a) a Scots form of the word such, b) to breathe or catch one’s breath convulsively, c) OR and d) the first letter of P(ech). Having got that you need to reverse the lot (climbing).

2d  Playing tennis with Federer essentially I’m concentrated (7)
{INTENSE} – this adjective means concentrated or powerful. It’s an anagram (playing) of TENNIS followed by the central (essentially) letter of Federer.

3d  When what confronts you’s accepted for men it can hinder progress (9)
{CROSSWIND} – in the surface the ’s seems to stand for “is” but for the wordplay it needs to be read as “has”. Start with what confronts you as you’re writing in your answers, then replace the abbreviation for ordinary soldiers with a word meaning accepted or fashionable.

4d  Only child runs about to be in time for Hallowe’en (7)
{OCTOBER} – put the abbreviations for only child and R(uns) around “to be” to get the time of the year for Hallowe’en.

5d  Very much what ring and Marciano have in common (2,3)
{NO END} – a phrase meaning very much is a description that might apply to a ring and it also could be a characteristic of the word Marciano, with reference to the last bit.

6d  Done with what originally should come before reading say in ‘Educating Rita’? (3-6)
{TWO-HANDER} – an anagram (originally) of DONE and WHAT is followed by R(eading) to make a type of play or film of which ‘Educating Rita’ is an example (say).

7d  Old line one found separating shillings from pence, unserviceable for example (7)
{SOLIDUS} – an example of this is found in 3/10 (i.e. three shillings and ten pence in the old money). O(ld), L(ine) and I (one) separate the old abbreviations for shillings and pence, then finish with the abbreviation for unserviceable. Very clever clue.

12d  Suspect real malts must be on the rocks (5,1,3)
{SMELL A RAT} – this is a phrase meaning to suspect or have a suspicion that something’s not what it should be. It comes from an anagram (must be on the rocks) of REAL MALTS.

13d  Until that time when e-mail fails (9)
{MEANWHILE} – an anagram (fails) of WHEN E-MAIL.

14d  The Queen has introduced one over a year in a network of vast range (9)
{HIMALAYAN} – the definition here is of vast range, i.e. it’s a description of a large range. The abbreviated title given to the Queen has I (one) inserted, then this is followed (over, in a down clue) by A and Y(ear) inside A and the abbreviation for a local communications network.

16d  Sensationally fired Jack at Jill (7)
{HEATHER} – the names Jack and Jill (our two young heroes in today’s theme) were traditionally used to mean any boy or girl, so we want two relevant pronouns separated by AT. The resulting word in the phrase “to set the ******* on fire” also means to create a sensation.

17d  Stun prisoner on oath (7)
{CONCUSS} – a verb meaning to stun (in the way that Jack was) comes from an informal term for prisoner followed by an oath or offensive word.

18d  Intent to leave flat purchase with promise of house to come? (3-4)
{OFF-PLAN} – this is a term used to describe the purchase of a house which doesn’t yet exist in bricks and mortar but only in a flat drawing. It could also be an intention or proposal to leave (as in “I’m *** now”).

20d  Standard say of flimsiness? (5)
{PAPER} – Standard is an example (say) of the name given to one of these (typically an evening one) and it’s also used as an example of something thin, insubstantial or flimsy. A brown piece was used to bandage Jack’s broken head.

The stand-out clue for me today was 7d. Let us know what floated your boat.


  1. crypticsue
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I always approach a Myops Toughie with caution as you never know how tough it is going to be. I would give this one about 3.5 for both difficulty and enjoyment. LIke Gazza, I hadn’t heard of the creature in 24a but the wordplay was very clear. Not sure whether 7d would be my top favourite as there are a lot of good clues in there. Thanks to Myops – I did like the mini theme – and to Gazza too.

  2. Jezza
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I found this one very difficult, and needed help to complete it. There were quite a few anagrams that helped me get into the puzzle, but it was a slow process after that.
    Thanks to Myops for the enjoyment, and to gazza for the notes and explanations.

  3. BigBoab
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Like Jezza, I too found this very difficult, I needed assistance with quite a few, not least 1d, however, having completed it I couldn’t see why I found it so hard. Thanks to Myops for again stretching me beyond my meagre limits and thanks to Gazza for the assistance.

  4. Birdie
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t find this too bad today, probably because the high anagram count offered lots of ways in. I too made heavy weather of 1d, despite it being obvious with the checking letters – I was racking my brain for a word which might mean the opposite of sassenach. I still don’t really understand 7d, even with the hint, I can’t see the definition in the clue and “for example” seems too separated from the coin reference to be relevant. Am I being dense? Loved the little animal at 24a – hadn’t heard of it, but it was easy enough to work out. I googled it and apparently they can be tamed and kept as ratters. I want one! I thought a few clues were more of a back-page standard, 1a, 10a, 19a, 23a, 13d, 17d. I liked 20d for the misdirection. Didn’t like the surface reading of 3a. Overall all though, enjoyable. Thanks to Myops and Gazza.

    • gazza
      Posted April 11, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Hi Birdie,
      You omitted your alias and email address on this one so it required moderation. I found out who you were from your ip address and edited the other bits in. I’ve now deleted your repeat.

      • Birdie
        Posted April 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Ah, that was it! Usually they appear automatically so I didn’t think to insert them. Thanks Gazza and apologies for the double-entry.

    • Birdie
      Posted April 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, I meant 3d re the dodgy surface reading.

      • gazza
        Posted April 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        I agree on 3d. I thought that a few of the other clues had rather dodgy surfaces (e.g. 6d, 14d).

  5. pegasus
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I also found parts of this quite difficult especially 3d i4d and 16d , favourites were 1d 5d and that buxom lady in 11a thanks to Myops and to Gazza for the dissection.

  6. Kath
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Not surprisingly I found this much too difficult to get very far with but did manage quite a few. Then went for the hints, put in the across answers and finished the rest of the downs, apart from a couple, without too much trouble. I’m learning – but VERY slowly! I’m glad that it got 4* and that others found it difficult. With thanks to Myops and Gazza.
    Thanks also, Gazza, for that clue yesterday – loved it! :smile:

  7. andy
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Quite a few equals a result from someone who only recently wouldn’t look at a toughie. I struggled today, not helped because my new doglets arrived, Cuthbert the lurcher and Cynthia the Saluki,keep thabo company i hope

  8. andy
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    Manners, thanks Myops and Gazza

  9. henostat
    Posted April 15, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Myops for the puzzle & Gazza for the review & hints. Would agree with the star ratings. Pleased that I managed to get some enjoyment from it. Some brilliant clues. Needed 12 hints, but learnt a couple of new words or phrases had never heard of 6d ( though knew the film) and 16d. Favourites were 1d & 7d, the latter I only got because it was later on a back pager. Good stuff from Myops.