Toughie 769

Toughie No 769 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I enjoyed this puzzle even though I found it to be at the easy end of the Toughie spectrum. There were some nice clues and all were perfectly fair.

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    Facilities offered by hospital defended by European in contractual ambiguity? (8)
{LOOPHOLE} Facilities (a lavatory) + H (hospital) inside an inhabitant of a certain European country = a possible contractual ambiguity

5a    Lots getting food on board (6)
{STACKS} Lots = food inside SS (i.e. on board steamship)

9a    Restrained nerve shown by NI politicians (7,2)
{BOTTLED UP} ‘Restrained’ = a slang term for nerve (courage) + an abbreviation for a political party founded by Ian Paisley

11a    Dogsbody, fellow kept by active type (5)
{GOFER} A dogsbody = F (fellow) inside an active type

12a    Woman’s Indian food lacking note — typifying some tea? (6)
{HERBAL} A pronoun indicating “woman’s” + a kind of Indian cookery (5) from which a musical note has been removed = an adjective describing some teas

13a    Column composed about film, one representing a sell-out? (5,3)
{UNCLE TOM} An anagram (composed) of COLUMN around a 1982 Spielberg film = a fictional character whose name has come to represent a black person who behaves in a subservient manner to white people

15a    I’m a grade men land when lacking in substance possibly (6,7)
{MIDDLE MANAGER} The answer is an anagram (possibly) of I’M A GRADE MAN LD (land without the middle letters). The whole clue also provides the definition

18a    Footballer, rough new sort with no end of aggressiveness around official? That’s in character (6-7)
{CENTRE-FORWARD} This is a footballer who plays in an attacking position. Take an anagram (rough) of NEW ORT (sort without the last letter of aggressiveness) and put it round the man who controls a football match. Then put the result inside a character (eccentric person)

22a    Number right away around a set of books before judge — such fits context perfectly (3,5)
{MOT JUSTE} ‘To number’ less the letter R (right) goes round a set of books (part of the bible) and J (judge) to give a French term for a word which fits the context exactly

23a    Celebratory song found in ‘Iolanthe’ maybe (6)
{ANTHEM} A celebratory song is hidden in IolANTHE Maybe

26a    Game and tragic king, not a figure of authority? (5)
{RULER} The abbreviation for a game + a tragic Shakespearean king with the letter A removed = a figure of authority

27a    Slight possibility with description of nave lecturer put out? (3,6)
{OFF CHANCE} The answer means a slight possibility. Remove L (lecturer) from where the nave may be found in a church

28a    US chat-show host backed in case of levity not involved with others (6)
{LONELY} A reversal of the surname of a US chat-show host (whose first name is Jay) goes inside LY (first and last letters of levity) to give ‘not involved with others’

29a    Bird, one obtaining gold for skill (8)
{PORRIDGE} Bird (a prison sentence) is derived from a game bird by replacing ART (skill) by OR (gold)


1d    A lot of work at the NY Met with timeless subject in opera (2,6)
{LA BOHEME} Remove the last letter from the US spelling of a word meaning work. Add a subject with the letter T (time) removed and you get the name of an opera by Puccini

2d    Aquatic animal captured in hot territory (5)
{OTTER} An aquatic animal is hidden in hOT TERritory

3d    Bag that’s grey in students’ residence (7)
{HOLDALL} A large strong bag = grey (getting on in years) inside a students’ residence

4d    Admired figure left at front in bathing area (4)
{LIDO} Take an admired figure and move the letter L (left) from the back to the front. This gives a bathing area

6d    Accompany someone uninvited pouring out Northern language (7)
{TAGALOG} ‘To accompany someone uninvited’ (3,5) loses the letter N (Northern) to give a language of the Philippines which often appears as an answer in crosswords

7d    Bit of common fare I ate after ordering — here? (9)
{CAFETERIA} An anagram (after ordering) of C (first letter of common) FARE I ATE gives somewhere where you might order common fare

8d    Grab windfall profits initially in wake of some players on pitch (6)
{SCRUMP} The definition is ‘grab windfall’ where windfall refers to a piece of fruit blown off a tree. It is derived from P (first letter of profits) following a group of players on a rugby pitch

10d    Exercise provided in new joint largely? It has folded elements (8)
{PENKNIFE} A two-letter abbreviation denoting exercise + ‘provided’ inside a joint of the body with the last letter missing = an implement with folding blades

14d    A revolutionary leader imbibing a lot of wine and dry liqueur (8)
{AMARETTO} A Chinese revolutionary leader (3) goes round the first two letters of a class of wine (3) and dry (not consuming alcohol) to give an Italian liqueur flavoured with almonds

16d    Fellow touring college in shimmering heat left event at games? (9)
{DECATHLON} A university fellow goes round C (college) inside an anagram (shimmering) of HEAT and L (left) to give a multi-discipline event at the Olympic Games

17d    Endless colour found in a divine English novel (4,4)
{ADAM BEDE} A colour (seen on traffic lights) with the last letter removed goes inside A DD (divine) E (English) to give the title of a novel by George Eliot

19d    Disengaged sort of network containing latest in smut (7)
{NEUTRAL} ‘Disengaged’ = an adjective describing a type of network in computing round T (the last letter of smut)

20d    Person with stock managed singer (7)
{RANCHER} A person with stock (cattle) = ‘managed’ + the name of a popular singer

21d    Unprincipled officer heartlessly interrupting laid-up Buddhist monk (6)
{AMORAL} ‘Unprincipled’ = OR (first and last letter of officer) inside a reversal (laid-up) of a Buddhist monk

24d    Journalistic figurehead given more of an edge? (5)
{HONED} I assume that the journalistic figurehead is an HONorary EDitor. Hence ‘given more of an edge’

25d    Hairstyle in Algarve city getting ruffled at the front (4)
{AFRO} A hairstyle characterised by thick, bushy curls is derived from the name of a city in the Algarve with the first two letters transposed

Short but sweet


  1. pommers
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this one and probably completed it quicker than the back page puzzle!

    Won’t mind if I never see that language again!

    Many thanks to Shamus and Bufo

  2. Jackie
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this puzzle far more than the Cryptic today although I needed the hints to explain a few of my answers. Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  3. crypticsue
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable thanks Shamus and Bufo.

    Pommers – I actually know someone who speaks that language!!

    • pommers
      Posted May 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps I ought to get out more! Only ever come across it in crosswords.

      • Jackie
        Posted May 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        here in Dubai I think more than 50% of the population speak that language, followed by English and then Arabic!

  4. gnomethang
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable and quite straightforward – the language was one that I have never heard of but the wordplay was perfectly fair to allow me to write the answer in with some confidence, confirmed by the checking letters. Thanks to Shamus and to Bufo – I really liked the simplicity in 5a.

  5. Jezza
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Shamus for an enjoyable puzzle, and to Bufo for the explanations (esp the first 3 letters of 24d, where I knew the second definition,honed (sharpened/given more of an edge), but was unsure how the HON fitted the first definition).

  6. Kath
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Finished this one – well, I had an answer for everything if that counts! I did need the hints to explain several of them and I still don’t really understand 22a. Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

    • pommers
      Posted May 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kath

      Well done :grin:

      Re 22a – the number is MUSTER so remove the R (right away) and put whats left around OT (books) and J(udge) and then split (3.5).

      • Kath
        Posted May 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        Thanks pommers – NOW I get it but would never have done so on my own. “Muster” didn’t even enter my head!

        • pommers
          Posted May 10, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

          Have to say I’d never have thought of MUSTER for number. I sort of reversed solved this one, i.e. guess the answer from definition and checkers and then work out where it comes from – do it lots of the time on Toughies!

          • Kath
            Posted May 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

            I haven’t got round to looking it up yet but, to me, muster means collect up, as in “muster the troops” but maybe they’re counting the troops – who knows! Thanks again, anyway.

          • Kath
            Posted May 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

            PS – It’s in the BRB as number – it’s also a “company of peacocks” – now there’s one to remember for future use! :smile:

            • pommers
              Posted May 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

              Peacocks? We have a muster of those that live on a farm at the far end of the village – noisy little rascals :lol:

  7. BigBoab
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Shamus and to Bufo, a very enjoyable crossword but perhaps more suited to the back page.

    • Kath
      Posted May 10, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      …. which is, of course, the reason that I just about managed to do it! :sad:

      • gnomethang
        Posted May 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        Kath – this was one of those puzzles (quite often by Shamus) where the word can be gleaned but the wordplay must be fought with. Personally I think I got on the wavelength fast enough to complete a puzzle in a */** star time as opposed to a **/*** star time.
        This certainly wasn’t the simpletst of Toughies.
        The point is that you solved a Toughie with some very intricate wordplay.

        (psst! – have a look at me solving a Rufus puzzle – I am so bad it is unbelievable and end up with bad shins!)

        • Jezza
          Posted May 11, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

          Isn’t it funny..? I struggle with Rufus sometimes. For me it is often the trickiest puzzle of the week, but others rattle it off in 1* time!

          • gnomethang
            Posted May 11, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

            Amen bro!. I swear we have the same brain (see blogs passim!)

  8. andy
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Kath no, you completed this because you’re improving all the time, it took me an age to get a foothold as always with a Shamus.

    • Kath
      Posted May 10, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Permalink


  9. andy
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Took me an absolute age to get the DUP reference, and as BD said recently , “until the fat lady sings…..” answer was written in but why oh why. Thanks to Bufo and Shamus

  10. pommers
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    You guys clocked the page view counter? Six million coming up in the next few days methinks – how cool is that! :grin:

    • Prolixic
      Posted May 10, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      Better than that. Total page views up to 3 May on the old site plus the 63,162 on the new site mean the 6m barrier has already been broken.

      • pommers
        Posted May 10, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

        Thumbs up

  11. andy
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    pommers isn’t it fantastic, but take a scroll down, people from 134 countries since star wars day (May the fourth) have viewed this blog, wow!

    • pommers
      Posted May 10, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

      But how many of them speak Tagalog?