Toughie 941 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 941

Toughie No 941 by Myops

The Scottish Wordplay!

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

Myops makes his first appearance of 2013 with this excellent Toughie. As a Sassenach, some of the wordplay took a bit of working out, but I think I got there in the end.

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    Picture he’d held back requires years almost to make sense of (8)
{DECIPHER} – the shorted form of PIC(ture) inside (held) HE’D, all reversed (back) and followed by most of a long period of time

5a    Old English spell cured itch (6)
{GOTHIC} – a spell or turn followed by an anagram (cured) of ITCH

9a    Root for  food (5)
{CHEER} – two definitions – to root for or support and food, particularly at Christmas

10a    Old Homer’s heir has black diamonds set in ornament (5,1’3)
{OBJET D’ART} – O(ld) followed by the name of Homer Simpson’s eldest child around (has … set in) a black colour and D(iamonds)

12a    Covering for wings of Dodge stationed in GI’s camp (10)
{DEPUTISING} – the outer letters (wings) of DodgE followed by a verb meaning stationed or positioned and an anagram (camp) of IN GI’S

13a    Elegant Windy City long since forgotten (4)
{CHIC} – drop (forgotten) AGO (long since) from the end of the Windy City

15a    Forcing conformity in vineyards in ever-changing environment (11)
{PROCRUSTEAN} – some French vineyards inside (in environment) an adjective meaning ever-changing or readily assuming different shapes

16a    Soap that’s set in a pub? (3)
{BAR} – possibly an allusion to the famous “Rovers Return” clue, often credited to Rufus!

17a    Men bent over top of beer mug (3)
{ROB} – reverse (bent over) some private soldiers and follow them with the initial letter (top) of Beer to get a verb meaning to mug or steal

18a    Hoping for change of 10p exactly (11)
{EXPECTANTLY} – an anagram (change) of TEN (10) P EXACTLY

20a    Retracted, contracted and in order (4)
{NEAT} – there’s no easy way to explain this without reference to the answer – retracted means taken back, so reverse (back) the contracted form of TA(K)EN – followers of Myops’ Wee Stinker puzzles will be familiar with this type of construct!

21a    Subtle Independent got up to interrupt Republican if in turn he stalls (10)
{FILIBUSTER} – an anagram (got up) of SUBTLE I(ndependent) inside (to interrupt) the reversal (turn) of R(epublican) IF

24a    Ring is confining short person in leg-irons (9)
{CALLIPERS} – a verb meaning to ring or telephone and IS around the abbreviation for (short) PER(son)

26a    Dido recorded in LA. I can’t work that out (5)
{ANTIC} – dido is an American word (recorded in LA) for a caper – an anagram (work that out) of I CAN’T

27a    University governing body, having overlooked name for degree, deliberate (6)
{SEDATE} – start with the governing body of a University then replace (having overlooked … for) N(ame) with D(egree)

28a    Prop is barring lock (8)
{BUTTRESS} – a word meaning barring or except followed by a lock of hair


1d    Settle in Balmoral area when told to lower stress (6)
{DECIDE} – sounds like (when told) the area around Balmoral when the stress on the first syllable is lowered

2d    Ten a penny? He cuts ten times that (5)
{CHEAP} – HE inside (cuts) the Roman numeral for “ten times ten” A P(enny)

3d    They drop a sport a pro’s compromised (10)
{PARATROOPS} – an anagram (compromised) of A SPORT A PRO

4d    King and one born after; alternately K and P (3)
{RIB} – the Latin abbreviation for King followed by I (one) and B(orn) gives what you get when you alternately Knit one then Purl one (according to Mrs BD)

6d    Medics take this; collapsing they’ll get stomach upset — and die (4)
{OATH} – an anagram (upset) of STOMACH DIE without the various letters (collapsing) of MEDICS

7d    Being unenlightened that chap ruined hen party removing piano (9)
{HEATHENRY} – the third person singular pronoun (that chap) followed by an anagram (ruined) of HEN (P)ARTY without (removing) the P(iano)

8d    Pancake landing in Cambridge cemetery (8)
{CATACOMB} – a very thin Mexican pancake inside the abbreviation for CAMB(ridge)

10d    Musical cut short stymies opening box office up. That’s awkward (11)
{OBSTRUCTIVE} – a Lloyd-Webber/Rice musical without its final letter (cut), followed by an adjective meaning short, the initial letter (opening) of Stymies and the abbreviation for Box Office, all reversed (up in a down clue)

11d    Supporters of New Year’s Day saints and one born on All Fools’ Day? (11)
{JANISSARIES} – these Turkish supporters come from a charade of New Year’s Day, expressed as a date (3,1), a pair of S(aint)s and the astrological sign for someone born on All Fools’ Day

14d    Are tarts regularly burnt when baked here? (10)
{RESTAURANT} – an anagram (when baked) of ARE TARTS and the even letters () of bUrNt

15d    Sacrificing one daughter padre made compact with Devil and won (9)
{PREVAILED} – an anagram (made compact) of PADRE and (D)EVIL without one of the D(aughter)s

16d    Turning out these a girdle’s for baking scones with lard (8)
{BANNOCKS} – these Scottish scones are baked on a girdle ( a Scottish word for a griddle) – an anagram (turning out)  of the answer (these) with A GIRDLES gives BAKING SCONES LARD (thanks Pegasus)

19d    Commotion or uprising — in Inverness a carfuffle (6)
{FRACAS} – hidden (uprising) and reversed (up) inside the clue

22d    Count for instance times I entered the French championship (5)
{TITLE} – sandwiched between two definitions, T(ime) and T(ime) around (entered) I followed by the French definite article

23d    Exalted spirits flit about Scottish sky (4)
{LIFT} – an anagram (about) of FLIT – the answer is also a Scottish word for sky

25d    Rus in urbe? Not quite: clearing ugly ruins is the difficulty (3)
{RUB} – start with most of RUS IN URB(E) then remove the assorted letters (ugly) of RUINS


23 comments on “Toughie 941

  1. Got there in the end but was stuck on 16d. Was looking for some wordplay that wasn’t here. Certainly **** and maybe *****. Thanks for the explanations.

  2. Absolutely superb stuff from a brilliant setter, many thanks to Myops and to BD for the usual great review. I loved 7d and 16d but was held up for ages by the very simple 26a.

  3. Really enjoyed this one, well worth the wait. Favourites for me were 10d and 21a thanks to Myops and to Big Dave for the review.
    Dave Re 16d I got the answer a totally different way I don’t know if its right but here goes, remove a girdles from baking scones+lard and you end up with an anagram of the answer.

    1. Your way of explaining 16d was what I was trying to get to but I obviously still had fog on the brain when I was looking at it.

  4. 5* difficulty 4* entertainment (a bit too much of Scotland for me) – I did like 1d and the original way of clueing 10a. Didn’t ‘see’ the wordplay for 16d and still don’t like it now BD’s explained it, although I did know tthe ‘scones’ and the thing on which they were baked.

    Thanks to Myops and BD too.

  5. 4.5* on both counts for me. 16d was my last in, and that was after I tried a few other guesses!
    Thanks to Myops, and to BD.

  6. Waiting for delivery of a freezer on a dreadful day gave me the time to address this and crikey did I need it .Faves 7d,10a and 1d.
    5* / 3 .5 * for me .(just took me an age)
    Thanks very much
    (Freezer just arrived !)

  7. I found this tough enough, but rather unsatisfying. I had many question marks beside the clues when I filled it all in so big thanks to BD for the reasonings. I dispute the definition of Old English in 5ac.
    Not my favourite setter, But it’s a Friday and it’s a toughie.

  8. As if the Scottish weren’t aggravating enough, 8d is just incorrect: a tortilla is a bread, usually thin (but not from one our local tortillerias), ranging in size from a few inches to a foot or more in diameter; a taco is a botana, a snack, made of a small tortilla folded over various fillings.

    1. Welcome to the blog Fred

      For TACO, Chambers gives:
      * In Mexican cooking, a very thin rolled pancake with a meat filling, usu fried crisp

      The ODE gives:
      * A Mexican dish consisting of a folded or rolled tortilla filled with various mixtures, such as seasoned mince, chicken, or beans
      and TORTILLA as
      * a thin, flat maize pancake, eaten hot or cold, typically with a savoury filling.

    2. As if pedantic know it alls were not aggravating enough, please be aware that a large number of Scots use this wonderful blog regularly and do not appreciate the offensive labelling.

    3. Och, Ye Offensive Uninformed, Thoughtless Witless Inane Troglodyte.

      Many thanks to BD and the setter.

  9. Loved every minute of this.

    16a is a compound anagram – not seen too often in DT puzzles, but they are fair game for Toughies; 25d is a similar idea.

    It’s mildly amusing that people can be put off by a few Scottish references. I’ve never been put off by English references in clues (with the possible exception of non-homophones).

    I apologise on behalf of Scotland for whatever it was that prompted Fred J’s entirely reasonable generalisation above.

      1. Probably. If I could vote to have him consigned to a different country, I’d be first in the queue.

        Sadly, though, he is a much more effective debater than any of his opponents. Still, all the polls suggest that most people can see through the tartan smoke and mirrors.

  10. 5* plus difficulty for me and 4* enjoyment, don’t know why the latter, so many excellent clues. Thanks Myops and BD

  11. Finished on the way home and I looked some words up as well. Thanks Myops this was fun. I particularly liked 9a and the 4 letter RB words around the points. Thanks to BD for the review.

    1. Welcome to the blog gc

      15a Forcing conformity in vineyards in ever-changing environment (11)
      PROCRUSTEAN – CRUS (vineyards) inside (in environment) PROTEAN (ever-changing)

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