Toughie 1020

Toughie No 1020 by MynoT

Is there a nina?

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

An acceptable though somewhat unexciting puzzle. The only minor problem was with 28 across where I had to make up the answer from the anagram. MynoT’s puzzles usually have a nina. If there’s one here I haven’t spotted it, but then I am one of the world’s worst nina spotters. I’m sure that if there is one some clever person will let me know.

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    Active antibodies, the secret of a cheat? (1,3,2,3,4)
{A BIT ON THE SIDE} An anagram (active) of ANTIBODIES THE gives one’s partner in an extramarital relationship

9a    Re-dial, getting completely different line? (5-4)
{ABOUT-FACE} ‘Re’ + dial

10a    A doctor’s appeal providing scope (5)
{AMBIT} A + an abbreviation denoting doctor + sex appeal

11a    Vision of 500 with a sheet of paper each (5)
{DREAM} D (500) + 500 sheets of paper (i.e. one each for the 500)

12a    Old PM in the morning had no space for cheese (4)
{EDAM} Remove EN (space) from a former prime minister (1955-1957) + ‘in the morning’

13a    Some people always can make request (4)
{PLEA} Hidden in peoPLE Always

15a    Composer is otherwise in inn, drunk (7)
{NIELSEN} The surname of a Danish composer (1865-1931) = ‘otherwise’ inside an anagram (drunk) of INN

17a    Poet needing energy is falling behind on time (7)
{ELEGIST} E (energy) + IS after ‘on (in cricket)’ + T (time

18a    Band behind shelter staring lasciviously (7)
{LEERING} A band follows shelter

20a    In European hotel host upset about return of drudgery? On the contrary (7)
{GASTHOF} An anagram (upset) of HOST goes inside a reversal of drudgery

21a    Pay attention to male journalist (4)
{HEED} Male + journalist

22a    Picture of tin and pan primarily (4)
{SNAP} The atomic symbol of tin + the initial letters of And Pan

23a    Tree‘s no good? It’s given first-class oxygen (5)
{NGAIO} A NZ tree (best known as the first name of a writer of detective fiction} = ‘no good’ + ‘first-class’ + O (oxygen)

26a    Dough made from rope navy left (5)
{PASTE} Remove RN (navy) from the end of a rope used to tie up a horse by the leg

27a    East European lord brought in to play instrument (5,4)
{STEEL DRUM} E (East) + E (European) + LD (lord) inside ‘to play a guitar’

28a    Hazel’s weak arm gets tangled in garment (7-6)
{SHALWAR KAMEEZ} An anagram (tangled) of HAZEL’S WEAK ARM gives a S Asian outfit of loose-fitting trousers and a long tunic


1d    A group playing every dance with electronic announcement, that’s diabolical (7,3,4)
{ABANDON ALL HOPE} A + group + playing + every + dance + E (electronic) gives part of the inscription at the entrance to Hell in Dante’s Inferno

2d    Teamed up, Italy will get nil (2,3)
{IN ONE} The IVR for Italy + nil

3d    Cheerful and confident I am first to enter measuring device (10)
{OPTIMISTIC} I’M + IST (first) inside a measuring device for alcoholic liquids

4d    Take advantage of spring, reflecting age (5,2)
{TRADE ON} A reversal of ‘to spring’ + an age

5d    Give a lift to the Spanish girl — and French when returning (7)
{ELEVATE} A Spanish word for ‘the’ + a girl’s name + a reversal of the French word for ‘and’

6d    Independent published here by 8 (4)
{IRAN} I (Independent) + ‘published’ gives a country by the 8 down

7d    Initially Eastern market ring is hard to change for the better (9)
{EMBELLISH} The first letters of Eastern Market + ‘to ring’ + IS + H (hard)

8d    Mozart fourths I play in important passage (6,2,6)
{STRAIT OF HORMUZ} An anagram (play) of MOZART FOURTHS I gives a passage linking the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman through which 20% of the world’s petroleum production passes

14d    Anecdotes about people, each inhabitant given short pseudonym (10)
{PERSONALIA} ‘Each’ + ‘inhabitant’ + a pseudonym with the last letter removed

16d    Cooked eels around seven perhaps? An entirely different snack (9)
{ELEVENSES} An anagram (cooked) of EELS round an anagram (perhaps) of SEVEN gives a snack that is definitely not taken at seven

19d    Crew observed machine making parallel cuts (4,3)
{GANG SAW} A crew + ‘observed’

20d    Time Out shows grand primate embracing unknown Arab (3,4)
{GAP YEAR} G (grand) + a primate round Y (unknown) + AR (Arab)

24d    Bird weighed down by silver suit (5)
{AGREE} A bird (a female ruff) goes below the atomic symbol of silver to give ‘to suit’

25d    Engraved ancient text concealed (4)
{VEDA} An ancient holy book of the Hindus is hidden in EngraVED Ancient

I’ve nothing more to add



  1. Pegasus
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Gentle fare on offer today, fav’s 4d and 9a thanks to MynoT and Bufo.

  2. spindrift
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I know we expect to see the odd esoteric word or two in a Toughie but 28a takes it to a whole new level. Other than that quibble this was a very enjoyable diversion to work on another sultry day in the East Midlands.

  3. Kath
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Well I enjoyed this one very much. 4* for both difficulty and enjoyment for me.
    I would never have got 28a or 8d without cheating and I needed all the help that the extra letters would give me so I cheated.
    I was completely defeated by 9a and had to use the hint and look at the answer – I think it’s clever.
    Also needed the hint to explain why 17a was what it was – beaten by cricket, yet again!
    My favourite was 1d.
    With thanks to MynoT and bufo.

    • Catherine
      Posted July 25, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Kath – the cricket got me again too! Had the answer but no idea why!

  4. Magmull
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Please – what’s a “nina” New to me, but I’m only a Toughie tenderfoot

  5. Catherine
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    This seemed like a bit of a slog today! I did enjoy 9a and 5d. Thanks to bufo for the explanations of 12a, 17a, 27a and 24d. Had them all except for 24d (ree!) but couldn’t parse them.
    Thanks to the setter also.

  6. Magmull
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Andy. Blimey, bit too devious for me – think I’ll stick to the Cryptic in future – more my mark.

    • slartibartfast
      Posted July 25, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes the toughie is easier than the backpager. For me its a question of how much time i have to attempt the xwords. What with the cricket golf cycling etc

    • andy
      Posted July 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      No problem, you do get a Nina in a cryptics, but like Bufo I only ever find them when pointed out.

  7. Heno
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for the review and hints. I was pleased that I was able to get into this puzzle. Was 4*/2* for me, there didn’t seem to be a spark, but was enjoyable none the less. Needed 6 hints to finish. Never heard of 28a or 20a and 14d, also needed help with 9a, 2&24d.

  8. neveracrossword
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Do you need a 19d to cut the material for a 28a? Never heard of either of them. Started this briskly, then slowed down (other way round for the cryptic).

  9. halcyon
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    What’s the problem with 28a? Surely it’s a common enough sight on our streets these days?

  10. BigBoab
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Gentle fun from MynoT, some quite unusual words but no real difficulty, thanks to MynoT and Bufo.