Toughie 789

Toughie No 789 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A pleasant puzzle which was slightly more difficult than I thought it was going to be. There were no major hold-ups though a bit of thought was needed to unravel some of the wordplay.

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    Disgusted response to wet weather in country (7)
{BAHRAIN} An interjection expressing disgust + wet weather = a small island state in the Persian Gulf

5a    Old check not popular for display (7)
{EXHIBIT} A 2-letter prefix meaning ‘old’ is followed by a word meaning ‘to check’ with IN (popular) removed from the start. This gives ‘to display’

9a    Short book by the Spanish teacher possibly needs section showing sound attitude? (15)
{LEVELHEADEDNESS} An abbreviation for the third book of the Old Testament + ‘the’ in Spanish + the principal teacher of a school + an anagram (possibly) of NEEDS + S (section) = the state of having sound common sense

10a    Set lines are used by this place for selling given backing (4)
{TRAM} A vehicle that runs on lines is a reversal of a place for selling

11a    Ancient King left rejected parts? (5)
{OFFAL} An old king of Mercia + L (left) = waste or rejected parts, especially of a carcase

12a    Swimmer in sports institution preferring hotel to lake (4)
{CHUB} A fish (swimmer) is obtained from a sports institution by replacing L (lake) by H (hotel)

15a    Musical performance recalled in full at ice rink (7)
{RECITAL} A musical performance is hidden in reversed form in fulL AT ICE Rink

16a    Story right off providing joy (7)
{ELATION} Remove R (right) from a story to get joy

17a    Hard reference work? Recognise set of steps to follow (7)
{HOEDOWN} H (hard) + a reference work (a well-known dictionary) + ‘to recognise’ = a country dance

19a    Wine not half knocking out American in gallery — and port (7)
{TRIESTE} Replace A (American) in the name of a well-known art gallery by the first half of an 8-letter dry white table wine from Germany. This gives a port in NE Italy

21a    List charge against opponent (4)
{TILT} 2 meanings: to list/charge against an opponent (as in jousting)

22a    Retired religious teacher taking mass for week for prayer leaders (5)
{IMAMS} Reverse a Hindu religious instructor and replace W (week) by M (mass) to get offices who lead the devotions in mosques

23a    African country with borders obscured getting stick (4)
{WAND} Remove the first and last letters from the name of an African country t get a stick used by magicians

26a    Finalise proms so fantastically — evidence of a qualified person? (15)
{PROFESSIONALISM} An anagram (fantastically) of FINALISE PROMS SO gives the competence or the correct demeanour of those who are highly trained and disciplined

27a    Order is given about nucleus of Everest climbers’ network (7)
{TRELLIS} ‘To order’ and IS goes round R (middle letter of Everest) to give a latticework up which plants are trained

28a    A member of top brass touring Welsh resort taking off hard material (7)
{ACRYLIC} A Commander-in-Chief (member of top brass) goes round a seaside resort in North Wales from which the letter H (hard) has been removed. This gives a fabric made from a synthetic fibre


1d    British veteran missing daughter’s support (7)
{BOLSTER} B (British) + a veteran from which the letter D (daughter) has been removed = support

2d    Be out to lunch and partake of a singular set of facilities in NW town (4,1,5,5)
{HAVE A SCREW LOOSE} Be out to lunch (slightly crazy) = ‘to partake of’ + A + S (singular) + set of facilities (toilets) inside a railway town in Cheshire

3d    Fool shunning wife and colleague (4)
{ALLY} Remove W (wife) from a fool to get a colleague

4d    Requisite work reportedly on source of energy European ignored (7)
{NEEDFUL} ‘Requisite’ = a homophone of ‘to work (e.g. flour into dough)’ + a source of energy from which the letter E (European) has been removed

5d    School in awful need — mate’s involved in it? (7)
{ENDGAME} A school of whales goes inside an anagram (awful) of NEED to get the concluding part of a game of chess

6d    Flog piece of ham and fish (4)
{HIDE} ‘To flog’ = H (first letter of ham) + a fish

7d    Nimble sheep in a ramshackle landholding originally — one follows a lead? (8,7)
{BLENHEIM SPANIEL} An anagram (ramshackle) of NIMBLE SHEEP IN A + L (first letter of landholding) = a small dog named after a country house in Oxfordshire

8d    Good man with graduate detained by figure in measure against nuclear weapons (4,3)
{TEST BAN} An abbreviation denoting a good man and an abbreviation for a graduate both go inside a cardinal number to give an agreement between nations concerning nuclear weapons

13d    Habitual character engaged in diet hospitalised (5)
{ETHOS} Habitual character is hidden in diET HOSpitalised

14d    What makes bane inane in hollow place? (5)
{BASIN} To turn the word ‘bane’ into the word ‘inane’ you need to put * ** **. The answer is a hollow place

17d    Dish grabbing son in popular nightclub (7)
{HOTSPOT} A dish associated with Lancashire goes round S (son) to give a popular nightclub

18d    A form of justice is evident after uprising of Home Counties chaps (7)
{NEMESIS} Retributive justice = IS following a reversal of Home Counties (the south-east) chaps

19d    Old doctor probing many on reflection in house (7)
{TOMBOLA} O (old) and an abbreviation for a doctor are put inside a reversal of many (1,3) to give house (bingo)

20d    Unorthodox medicine I eliminated is widespread (7)
{ENDEMIC} An anagram (unorthodox) of MEDICINE with a letter I removed gives ‘widespread’

24d    Impression from high-pitched noise Queen emitted (4)
{SEAL} Here Queen isn’t R or ER but QU. Remove QU from a high-pitched noise to get an impression

25d    Item to cut by the sound of it (4)
{PAIR} An item (2 people romantically linked) is a homophone of ‘to cut’

Fairly standard fare


  1. Pegasus
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed this one, favourites were 2d 5d 17a and 17d thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the comments.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Judging by the neatness of my handwriting, I too found this fairly standard fare and enjoyable too. I do find those 15 letter words always appear to be more daunting than they actually are.

    Thanks to Shamus and Bufo too.

  3. Jezza
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    After failing to complete yesterday’s puzzle, I was relieved to get through this one unscathed.

    Thanks to Shamus – I enjoyed it, and to Bufo for the review.

  4. Tilsit
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I found it pleasant though I’m not convinced that the ‘NW Town’ is actually North West. Cheshire town would have sufficed methinks.

  5. andy
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Not had time to check but I always thought Blenheim referred to the colouring of a cavelier King charles, the white and red, as opposed to a breed name, but just know Shamus et al are going to shoot me out of the water. Thought 22a very clever and the second def in 21a new to me. Thanks to Bufo and Shamus

  6. gnomethang
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    I came to this late having had to but a paper (I left my print outs in the car and only realised once on the train). I spent the evening commute kicking myself repeatedly as the clues came in. Thanks for the entertainment, Shamus, and thanks as well to Bufo for the review.

  7. pommers
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    My sort of Toughie! No obscure words, so long as you know about the dog, but made a Toughie by slightly more difficult wordplay. Most enjoyable so thanks to Shamus, and also to Bufo.