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Toughie 1012

Toughie No 1012 by Shamus

Thursday’s are looking up!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This was trickier than I expected it to be.  The time taken to work out the last few clues took me into 4* difficulty territory.  I didn’t mind because it was a very enjoyable puzzle with some nice touches.

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    Savvy old Tory Chancellor’s absence is recorded (7)
{KNOWHOW} Savvy (as a noun) is a homophone (recorded) of two words (2,4) suggesting that Maggie’s first Chancellor of the Exchequer is absent

8a    Shot to banish pressure taken by opponent in red (7)
{CHIANTI} A golf shot with the letter P (pressure) removed + an opponent = a red wine

10a    Road system ramshackle car won’t follow (not half) (10)
{CONTRAFLOW} An anagram (ramshackle) of CAR WON’T FOL(low)

11a    Tiny matter among thirteen characters? (4)
{ATOM} The first thirteen letters of the alphabet are * ** *

12a    Fool with little weight beginning to exchange gossip (8)
{SCHMOOZE} A fool (from Yiddish) + the abbreviation for a small weight in the avoirdupois system + E (first letter of exchange) = to gossip (also from Yiddish)

14a    Blockbuster film stolen by chav at arcade (6)
{AVATAR} A 2008 epic science fiction action film is hidden in chAV AT ARcade

15a    Skill in former chemical giant’s advertising perhaps leads to exciting new commercial yields (11)
{PROFICIENCY} It took me a long time to see how this one works. The Public Relations (advertising) OF a former chemical giant + the first letters (leads) of Exciting New Commercial Yields

19a    In South Africa one grows hostile to coffee presumably? (6)
{PROTEA} A flowering plant (a national symbol of South Africa). If someone is anti coffee then they might be *** ***

20a    Revolutionary flag encountered in front of yard showing rashness (8)
{TEMERITY} A reversal (revolutionary) of ‘to flag’ and ‘encountered’ + Y (yard)

22a    Mark that remains in cliff (4)
{SCAR} 2 meanings: a mark left after an injury/a cliff

23a    Pool is played inside hut in a poor condition for customers? (10)
{SHOPSOILED} An anagram (played) of POOL IS inside a hut

25a    Band follower became older with little change, we hear (7)
{GROUPIE} A particular kind of female fan assumed to be more interested in sex with rock stars than in their music = a homophone (we hear) of ‘became older’ and the abbreviation for a low-value British coin

26a    Notion in the past to introduce quiet in court (7)
{CONCEPT} ‘In the past’ and P (quiet) inside CT (court)


1d    Sign of payment made by popular member of choir? (7)
{INVOICE} ‘Popular’ + a singer

2d    Mug bought without covering (4)
{TWIT} This was my last one in and from the checking letters I was sure it was going to be SWOT (to swot = to mug). But I couldn’t justify it and had to fall back on the word hidden in (or covered by) boughT WIThout even though I don’t find the definition particularly convincing

3d    Trophy located by back of stereo — chips may come out of it (6)
{POTATO} A trophy + ‘by’ + O (last letter of stereo) = the source of chips that you eat

4d    Exhibit porky figure around hotel with odd character (8)
{SHOWCASE} A female pig round H (hotel) + an odd or humorous character

5d    Island showing range in bananas by small estate say (10)
{MADAGASCAR} A range (as found in some kitchens) goes inside bananas (crazy) and S (small) + a vehicle which might be an estate

6d    Seat in outlandish ME state (7)
{OTTOMAN} An informal abbreviation meaning ‘outlandish’ + a state in the Middle East

9d    Dispute change when carrying cent (11)
{ALTERCATION} A dispute = a change round C (cent)

13d    Ban endless musical work interrupting silence (10)
{MORATORIUM} A temporary ban = a musical work with the last letter removed inside silence

16d    Pre-eminent fighter stays behind joint (8)
{FLAGSHIP} F (fighter) + ‘stays behind’ + a joint of the body

17d    Grand part of garden with no end of woodwork — place for fresh produce? (7)
{GROCERY} G (grand) + part of a garden where alpines are grown minus the letter K (last letter of woodwork)

18d    Go and contract employee to enter a set of races (7)
{ATTEMPT} A contract employee goes inside A + a set of races on the Isle of Man

21d    Lover of pop scene primarily attending function, lucky figure? (6)
{MASCOT} A lover of pop (father) + S (first letter of scene) + a trigonometrical function

24d    Key thing easy to do with leader gone (4)
{INCH} A key (island) = something that’s a doddle with the first letter (leader) removed

A pleasant interlude. Now back to the paper-hanging

15 comments on “Toughie 1012

  1. I don’ t think there was a clue I didn’t enjoy one way or another but if I had to pick a favourite it would be 6d .
    Terrific .
    Thanks Shamus and the paper-hanger .

  2. A pleasure to solve. It took me a few visits to finish, but worth the effort.
    I also struggled to parse 15a.
    Many thanks to Shamus, and to Bufo for the review.

  3. Fabulous toughie from a superb setter and a brilliant review from Bufo, many thanks to Shamus and of course to Bufo.

  4. After yesterday this was a bit clunky, some good some fair and some rather inelegant. 12 ac is a case in point,- gossip? not in my book.

    1. On reflection and after a bit of research I was a bit hasty, it can mean to gossip, but schmoozing involves a lot more than talking,it’s hanging out and idly socialising, and wasting time in the company of others.

  5. Good stuff, loved the homophones at 7a and 25a also liked 16d and 19a thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the comments.

  6. Last in for us was 8a as it took a long time to twig that red was the definition. We also had 2d wrong as we did not remember to go back and check that our “first thought” swot was able to be parsed. For 11a we had missed the A to M but justified the answer from the letters appearing (in the right order but not totally consecutive) in the answer to 13d.
    Thanks Shamus and Bufo.

  7. 15a and 2d my last to parse so I feel vindicated. I rather like 14a but ,as CryypticSue says sometimes this a dotty puzzle so too many likes to quote,Cheers Shamus and Bufo for the review

  8. Oh dear. After an hour and some hair pulling, only six answers were penciled in. Hats aff to all who completed this!

  9. Got there in the end but quite a struggle. Loved 15a and 21d [lover of pop took a while to dawn].
    16d could also be parsed F + stays + behind joint ie the joint in the bum.
    Awful homophone at 25a – does anybody say groupee?

    Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  10. Very pleased to see that Bufo found this somewhat difficult!

    A very nice puzzle from Shamus!

    Liked the homophones – but, maybe, 7a was stretching it a bit for our colonial friends.

    7a – From Wikipedia:

    In a memorable jibe, Mr Healey likened his Conservative counterpart’s rhetorical onslaught to “being savaged by a dead sheep”.

    1. Actually we got that one relatively easily. It was some of the others that really had us scratching our beaks.

  11. I am considerably out of my league on the Toughie right now – but it’s fun trying, and learning. The hints and comments are invaluable, thank you to all those that contribute :o)

  12. You would think, wouldn’t you, that someone who is supposedly a crossword expert would know where – and where not – to put apostrophes.
    Thursday’s!!!!! I mean! Buy a book.

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