Toughie 785

Toughie No 785 by MynoT

Downhill all the way?

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

MynoT continues to work his way through the alphabet. At least he’s now got past halfway and so it will be downhill from now on. But, to be fair, this was a reasonable puzzle of average difficulty.

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.


7a    Thaw’s at liberty down under to stop posh European (8)
{UNFREEZE} ‘To thaw’ = ‘at liberty’ inside an Antipodean country (down under) inside U (posh) E (European)

9a    It creates desired state of purity from first-class corn (6)
{AIRCON} What brings the surrounding atmosphere to a desired state of purity ia an anagram of AI (first-class) CORN

10a    Strangely dead Poles that could be found by tennis court (6)
{DEDANS} An anagram (strangely) of DEAD + NS (poles, i.e. north and south) is an open gallery at the end of the service side of a court in real tennis

11a    White’s not beaten (8)
{UNTANNED} 2 meanings: white (having not been in the sun)/not beaten (struck repeatedly)

12a    In Rossini opera hero meets independent men going to Italy and Austria for cultured classes (14)
{INTELLIGENTSIA} IN + a hero in a Rossini opera + I (independent) + men + I (Italy) + A (Austria) = cultured classes

15a    Payment in advance from poet to be executed (4)
{ANTE} An advance payment = the name of an Italian poet with the first letter removed

17a    They smell of dampness when the devil drives (5)
{NEEDS} The answer comes from the saying “***** must when the devil drives” with ‘must’ being a smell of dampness

19a    Spike’s in new trouble (4)
{NAIL} A spike = N (new) + ‘to trouble’

20a    House manager and eccentric anagram setter beginning to snuggle (8-2-4)
{SERGEANT-AT-ARMS} The person responsible for security matters concerning the House of Commons is an anagram (eccentric) of ANAGRAM SETTER + S (first letter of snuggle)

23a    Chance of identification determined by tone of voice (8)
{ACCIDENT} A chance = ID (identification) inside tone of voice

25a    In a calm manner ecclesiastical dignitary’s buried in cathedral (6)
{EVENLY} ‘In a calm manner’ = an abbreviated form of an honorific prefix to the name of an archdeacon inside a cathedral city in Cambridgeshire

27a    Condescends to listen to Scandinavians (6)
{DEIGNS} ‘Condescends’ is a homophone of the inhabitants of Denmark

28a    Riddance when judge replaces lecturer in poll (8)
{EJECTION} Riddance = a word meaning a poll with J (judge) replacing L (lecturer)


1d    King born in low joint (4)
{KNEE} K (king) + ‘born’ = a joint low down on the human body

2d    Fancy having gold on most of bottom? (6)
{ORNATE} ‘Fancy’ = gold + a word for the buttocks with the last letter removed

3d    Soldiers united for combined operations on computer (4)
{MENU} Soldiers + U (united) = a list of options displayed on a computer screen

4d    Cloak stern in tin (6)
{CAFTAN} A cloak worn in Middle Eastern countries = stern (rear) in a tin

5d    Scrummaging Dragon’s national successor (8)
{GRANDSON} An anagram (scrummaging) of DRAGON’S N (national) is a successor (descendant)

6d    Painter’s Arab philosophy — a belief in controlling the bread supply (10)
{MONETARISM} A French painter + AR (Arab) + a philosophy = a belief in controlling the bread supply (bread = currency)

8d    Fifth character recording number in underground chamber? On the contrary (7)
{EPSILON} The fifth letter of the Greek alphabet = an underground chamber inside a recording and N (number)

13d    Class acts get ecstasy of that kind in regular services (10)
{NONESUCHES} Unique, unparalleled or extraordinary things (class acts) = E (ecstasy) and ‘of that kind’ inside the fifth of the seven canonical hours of the divine office in the Roman Catholic church

14d    Good list to gather bit by bit (5)
{GLEAN} G (good) + ‘to list’ = ‘to gather bit by bit’

16d    Maybe studs, for example, securing arrival in Sweden (8)
{EARRINGS} Studs are small rounded examples of these. put EG (for example) round the abbreviation for arrival and IN. Then add S (Sweden)

18d    Tartar capturing space when sides are unequal (7)
{SCALENE} Tartar (on teeth) goes round a space (in printing) to give ‘with unequal sides’

21d    Still game fails to start at Oval (4,2)
{EVEN SO} ‘Still’ = a form of rugby with the first letter removed + O (Oval)

22d    Are Heads delegates? (6)
{AGENTS} A (the abbreviation for the metric measure ‘are’) + Heads (toilets) = delegates

24d    He’s one that may desert infidel in that case (4)
{THEN} Remove HE A (one) from the start of a word meaning infidel to get ‘in that case’

26d    Renowned figure in coastal Ionia (4)
{LION} A renowned figure is hidden in coastaL IONia

I’m still looking forward to the Q and X puzzles


  1. crypticsue
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Once I had worked out how far MynoT had got in the alphabet, this was soon sorted in a 2* Toughie difficulty time. Only 2* fun too as once you have worked out which letter you have to fit in each clue….. Thanks to MynoT and Bufo too.

    • kevmcc
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      What do you mean? I think I’m missing something….this took me a while.

      • mary
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure but I think sue might mean that every answer has one certain letter of the alphabet in it eg every answer has to have an ‘N’ though I don’t know if I’m right!

        • mary
          Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

          I only say ‘N’ because the two I have managed so far both have an ‘N’ !!

          • kevmcc
            Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            Ah…yes, you’re right! Wish I’d known, or worked out, about 2 hours ago!

        • andy
          Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          check Sues capitalisation of the word agaiN…, it wasn’t a typo!

  2. Pegasus
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Fairly standard fare on offer today, favourite 13d thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for the comments.

  3. BigBoab
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to MynoT for a very enjoyable if not very tough toughie and to Bufo for a very enjoyable review.

  4. mary
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Not for me I’m afraid even knowing the letter needed back to the other side!

  5. Kath
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    I had a go – managed about half. 22a – how the hell do we get from “heads” to the loo ie “gents”? Really don’t get that, and have never heard of 10a even though tennis is about the only sport that I know anything about – I could see that it was an anagram but… Never mind – this has kept me happy on a particularly horrible afternoon – torrential rain all day so thanks to Myno T and Bufo.

    • pommers
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kath

      Re 22d – The toilets on a boat are always referred to as the ‘Heads’. I think it comes from the time when sailing vessels could only go downwind so the loo was always right in the bow (head of the ship) so that the smells were blown away forward and the captain didn’t need a nosegay :grin: Helps to have been a sailor sometimes!. So heads is a loo and so is ‘gents’.

      • andy
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        The tennis reference was lost on me too, complete new word, live and learn. Thanks MynoT and Bufo for a pleasant challenge. I really must learn how to spell 12a, to me that “t” always looks wrong, as did another word yesterday in toughie 784, “awkwarder”, when would you ever say that?

        • gnomethang
          Posted June 7, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

          I understood the word from the French – ‘dedans’ meaning in,within or inside. I had parsed the wordplay but couldn’t convice myself until a few more checking letters.
          In any case thanks to MynoT for the puzzle and to Bufo for the review.

      • Kath
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Pommers – yet another one to be stored away until necessary! I really have never heard of that.