Toughie 915

Toughie No 915 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Shamus has given us a relatively straightforward Toughie today.
Your comments as always are welcome. Please take the time to register your enjoyment factor by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Text seen in margins of memoirs? (10)
{MANUSCRIPT} – the standard abbreviation for a text prior to printing is found in the marginal letters of M(emoir)S.

6a  Go crazy if upset (4)
{STAB} – reverse (upset) an informal adjective meaning crazy.

9a  Run into old police and where they operated regressively (5)
{INCUR} – this is a verb meaning to run into in the sense of to suffer or sustain (a cost or a loss, for example). The abbreviated name of an old (now replaced) police force is followed by the abbreviation for the part of the UK where it operated, then it all gets reversed (regressively).

10a  Old screen star in a lone TV hit (9)
{VALENTINO} – this is one of the earliest screen stars who had female hearts all aflutter in the 1920s. His name is an anagram (hit) of IN A LONE TV.

12a  Worldly old Greek character on board drawn to defend criminal act (13)
{SOPHISTICATED} – O(ld) and a Greek letter are contained in the usual abbreviation for ship (i.e. they’re ‘on board’). That’s followed by another word for drawn (i.e. a sporting contest where the competitors finished with the same score) containing (to defend) an anagram (criminal) of ACT.

14a  Woman‘s horse with energy wholly returned (8)
{ARABELLA} – string together a breed of horse, E(nergy) and the reversal (returned) of a synonym for wholly.

15a  Comb given attention in school (6)
{SEARCH} – a word for attention (singularly what Mark Antony requested a loan of) goes inside the abbreviation of school.

17a  Bug caught among favoured crowd (6)
{INSECT} – the abbreviation, in cricket, for caught goes inside a favoured crowd (2,3).

19a  Formidable Arab getting special award flanked by retainer (8)
{FEARSOME} – insert abbreviations for a) Arab, b) special and c) an award inside (flanked by) a retainer (not the old, wrinkled sort but what you might pay up front to secure professional services).

21a  Shot grabbed by lass before delay in awful media construct? (6,7)
{GLOBAL VILLAGE} – this is a term used by the media to describe a world where modern communications have made distance irrelevant. A tennis shot goes inside (grabbed by) an informal term for a lass, then that’s followed by a delay inside a synonym for awful. I can’t make any sense of the surface.

24a  People change course involving traditional school subject in competitive setting (9)
{RACETRACK} – a people or nation is followed by a verb to change course (in a yacht, perhaps) which contains (involving) one of the three traditional school subjects.

25a  Empty potty son left (5)
{INANE} – start with an adjective meaning potty or unbalanced and remove the S(on).

26a  List  press (4)
{ROLL} – double definition, the second a verb to press or flatten (pastry, for example).

27a  Ramshackle area that’s now developed around yard close to station (10)
{SHANTYTOWN} – an anagram (developed) of THAT’S NOW goes round Y(ard) then we finish with the closing letter of (statio)N.

Down Clues

1d  Inflict severe hurt on some in trauma immeasurably (4)
{MAIM} – hidden (some).

2d  Casino shifted around island capital (7)
{NICOSIA} – an anagram (shifted) of CASINO containing the single-letter abbreviation for island.

3d  Fight with hard six-footer around posh saloon and totter? (5,8)
{SCRAP MERCHANT} – this totter is in the same trade as the Steptoes. Start with a fight or brawl, add H(ard) and a six-legged insect then insert the abbreviation for a posh German saloon.

4d  Priest out of sorts in middle of week getting early summons (8)
{REVEILLE} – the abbreviated title given to an Anglican priest is followed by an adjective meaning out of sorts or poorly inside the middle letters of (w)EE(k).

5d  Guide giving description of High Church congregation? (5)
{PILOT} – if you split the answer (2,3) you have a devoutly religious crowd.

7d  Namely, no ordinary expression curtailed messaging service (7)
{TWITTER} – a phrase meaning namely (2,3) loses its O(rdinary) and is followed by a word meaning expression without its final M (curtailed).

8d  Piece in the US introducing novel and film — no lightweight publication? (10)
{BROADSHEET} – piece is an informal, and disrespectful, term for a woman so we want a similarly disrespectful word for the same thing in the US. This is followed by (introducing) the titles of a) a Rider Haggard novel and b) a Steven Spielberg film.

11d  American fully dismantled basic social unit? (7,6)
{NUCLEAR FAMILY} – an anagram (dismantled) of AMERICAN FULLY.

13d  One exaggerating disorder in African country no good before onset of revolution (10)
{MALINGERER} – start with the name of an African country which is currently in the news a lot then add the abbreviation meaning no good, a poetic word meaning before and the first (onset) letter of R(evolution).

16d  Discontented son likes a furled garment (8)
{SEALSKIN} – an anagram (furled) of S(o)N LIKES A.

18d  Uncomplaining masses in retrospective touring gallery (7)
{STOICAL} – reverse (in retrospective) a synonym for masses or plenty and put it around (touring) the abbreviation identifying a London gallery.

20d  Herb found by tragic daughter in glasses (7)
{OREGANO} – one of King Lear’s daughters inside what looks like a pair of spectacles.

22d  Romanian lecturer staying in cut-off holiday hotel (5)
{VLACH} – this is a member of the indigenous population of Romania and Moldovia. L(ecturer) goes inside (staying in) the three-letter abbreviation of another word for holiday, then finish with the letter that hotel is used for in the Nato Phonetic alphabet. This was not a word I knew but the wordplay made it pretty straightforward.

23d  Bird in wheeling motion, we hear (4)
{TERN} – this seabird sounds (we hear) like a wheeling motion.

The clues that I liked best were 25a and 4d. How about you?


  1. crypticsue
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    2*/3* for me too – Shamus wasn’t as verbose as usual which probably helped the solving process. I liked the same clues as gazza but also thought the ‘discontented son’ in 16d was very good. Thanks to gazza and Shamus too.

  2. Pegasus
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Average fare on offer today, favourifes 3d 7d and 25a least favourite 21a awful surface reading. Thanks to Shamus and to Gazza for the comments.

  3. marcus brown
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Yes, 21 has “awful'” crossword “construct” and it’s not the only clue of which this is true. A definite thumbs down on this one

  4. Heno
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Shamus & Gazza. At last, a Toughie I actually managed to do most of, just needed 5 hints to finish. Favourites were 3,5,18d.

  5. Kath
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t find this easy but have finished and enjoyed it. Not really sure if I can say that I finished it as I did need quite a few of the hints to explain my answers but I certainly had answers for everything.
    I liked 9, 25 and 27a and 5 and 11d.
    With thanks to Shamus and gazza.

  6. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    As we have become more familiar with Shamus’s style we have come to enjoy them more and more. We compare it to playing with LEGO where there are lots of little pieces to be stuck together to get a result. Always feel sorry for the reviewer who has to unpick all the pieces and then explain them! We awarded it ***/****. Favourite clue 3d.
    Thanks Shamus and Gazza.

  7. JB
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    14a is wrong. The clue definitely says “woman’s” but the answer is just a woman’s name; nothing possessive about it. Don’t tell me the greengrocer’s apostrophe has infiltrated crossword land!

    • Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      It’s an old crossword setter’s trick – you need to read it as “woman is wordplay”, not as belonging to woman.

    • gazza
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      The definition is just ‘woman’. You need to read the clue as ‘Woman is (derived from) …’.

    • Kath
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      I doubt that BD and gazza believe in telepathy but . . .

  8. Only fools
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Enough Anagrams and “easier ” clues to get me started .Then completed in stints some enjoyable some less so .
    Another word beginning “vl ” I think there is only one left .Haven’t the faintest how to rate but would probably do so in Ionian numerals to match 21a .

    Thanks very much

  9. Miffypops
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    21 ac is a masterful (is that a word) clue. The last word village is from delay (lag) in awful (Vile) which makes village. The (lob) in Gal for global is OK by me and a global village is a term made popular by the press and therefore a “media construct” I think this a very clever and witty clue. Possibly not solvable without the intersecting letters and giving cause for thought. I likes it..

  10. Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Hello. I am a relative newcomer to The Toughie but I managed most of them.Although1ac had to be manuscript by default I still don’t see it. Where is the abbreviation of a text? And should not M and S be the first and last letters of the answer. Please forgive my lack of insight here.

    • gazza
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      Hi Frank – welcome to the blog. Now that you’ve found us I hope you’ll continue to comment.
      MS (the outside, i.e. marginal) letters of MemoirS is the abbreviation of manuscript.

      • Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        That’s so simple its fiendish. Thank you.