Toughie 1084

Toughie No 1084 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I think this is a puzzle of average difficulty but I made heavier weather of it than I should have done and so I have added half a star to the difficulty rating. It was a pleasant enough puzzle.

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    A sign of emptiness largely in conspirator in film (10)
{CASABLANCA} A + a sign of emptiness (a space) with the last letter removed inside a conspirator in Julius Caesar gives the title of a classic film from 1942

6a    Was treating journalist high up in NY Times? (4)
{USED} An American head of a newspaper would be a ** **

9a    Peer having produced nothing, we hear (5)
{BARON} A peer is a homophone of ‘produced nothing’ or ‘infertile’

10a    Protest by drivers in Mediterranean island — expression of popular will? (9)
{DEMOCRACY} A protest + an organisation providing services for motorists inside the IVR of a Mediterranean island nation

12a    I discern trust that’s collapsed in care provider (8,5)
{DISTRICT NURSE} An anagram (collapsed) of I DISCERN TRUST

14a    Unlucky backing for store around flat that’s demolished (3-5)
{ILL-FATED} A reversal of a food store goes round an anagram (demolished) of FLAT

15a    Fluster / conductor (6)
{RATTLE} 2 meanings: to fluster/the surname of an English conductor

17a    Stick that is right for weapon (6)
{RAPIER} Stick (blame) + ‘that is’ + R (right) = a type of sword

19a    Wee payment put back for transport (5,3)
{WATER BUS} Wee (urine) + a reversal of a payment (e.g. a loan) = a passenger-carrying boat

21a    Operatic style devised in keeping with stock character (13)
{STEREOTYPICAL} An anagram (devised) of OPERATIC STYLE

24a    Study image in computing that’s formulaic (9)
{IDENTIKIT} A study and an image in Polynesia go inside the 2-letter abbreviation denoting ‘computing’ to give ‘formulaic’ and a composite portrait used by the police

25a    Piece for group denied web access? (5)
{NONET} A musical piece for a certain number of players. When split (2,3) it would suggest that you have no web access

26a    Make for audience flier (4)
{ERNE} A homophone of ‘to make money by working’ gives the sea-eagle

27a    How one might describe a decathlete’s skill no matter what? (2,3,5)
{IN ANY EVENT} One would expect that a decathlete would show skill ** *** ***** of the ten


1d    8 possibly supplying tip about book (4)
{CUBE} The number 8 is an example of this. A tip goes round B (book)

2d    Patron, perhaps lacking manners, left pastry (7)
{STRUDEL} An abbreviation for a patron such as George, Andrew, David or Patrick + ‘lacking manners’ + L (left)

3d    Rely on say number in police showing an indication of interest? (4,9)
{BANK STATEMENT} ‘To rely’ + ‘to say’ + an abbreviation for London’s police force round N (number) = something that will show how much interest has been added to your account

4d    Early end to trip in island (8)
{ALDERNEY} An anagram (to trip) of EARLY END

5d    Victor once, say, getting firm aid for speaker (5)
{COMIC} From 1961 to 1992 Victor was an example of this. An abbreviation denoting ‘firm’ + an abbreviated form of an aid for a speaker which intensifies sounds

7d    Unusual fear among group in phenomenon coming inland? (3,4)
{SEA FRET} An anagram (unusual) of FEAR inside a group

8d    Get ready to change rental agreement and arrangement at work? (3,7)
{DAY RELEASE} An anagram (to change) of READY + a rental agreement

11d    Period for peacefulness following disorder? (13)
{CONVALESCENCE} A cryptic definition for the period of gradual recovery of health and strength after an illness

13d    Fancy European ship in waterway almost straying from point (10)
{DIGRESSIVE} ‘To fancy’ + E (European) SS (ship) inside a waterway with the last letter removed

16d    Sinister adviser limiting reckless Russian leader? (8)
{RASPUTIN} An adviser to the Romanov’s = ‘reckless’ with the last letter removed + the surname of the current president of Russia

18d    Type of minor claim largely blocked by term in insurance (3-4)
{PRE-TEEN} Someone aged 12 or under = ‘a claim’ with the last letter removed round E (the last letter or term of insurance)

20d    Principally, brilliant astronauts Armstrong perhaps and the remainder? (7)
{BALANCE} The first letters of Brilliant and Astronauts + the first name of the cyclist Armstrong

22d    Sign / voucher (5)
{TOKEN} A sign/a voucher

23d    Medical device not new? Restorative direction needed (4)
{STET} Remove N (new) from a device used as a temporary splint inside a bodily vessel to keep it open. This gives a written direction to restore something in a proof that has been marked for deletion

Anyone who did yesterday’s puzzle should have breezed through this one.



  1. Pegasus
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Straightforward fare on offer today thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the comments.

  2. BigBoab
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable toughie and excellent review, thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  3. Jezza
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    A few to think about, and a nice balance of clues. Many thanks to Shamus, and to Bufo for the review.

  4. crypticsue
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Exactly what Jezza said, including the thank yous

  5. andy
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Exactly what CSue said including the thank yous :)

  6. crypticsue
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Notabilis tomorrow

  7. marcus brown
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Somewhat better surface reading than is usual for Shamus but I can’t say I enjoyed solving the puzzle. Not even a tiny chuckle in any of the clues

  8. 2Kiwis
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    SW corner was last in for us as we tried ‘ion’ and ‘ing’ endings for 13d before finding the correct one. Agree that a bit easier than yesterday’s but still a very satisfying challenge with some clever misdirection. Kept looking for what 1d had to do with 8d for instance.
    Thanks Shamus and Bufo.

  9. Kath
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this and did finally finish it with a bit of help from husband ( quite unusual for him to be able to add much to a crossword so three cheers for him).
    I (we) ended up being unable to get the first word of 19a.
    There are still a couple that I don’t understand but after yesterday it still feels like light relief.
    I thought there were lots of clever anagrams and other good clues.
    I liked 25a. My favourite was 15a – in the days when husband was still trying to persuade me that I liked opera we went to something (can’t remember what now) that he was conducting – I didn’t see any of the stuff going on on the stage because he is absolutely mesmerising – I just couldn’t take my eyes off him.
    With thanks to Shamus and bufo.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted November 14, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      Well done Kath. Good to see that you are getting a taste of the team solving experience. Perhaps we will soon see comments from 2Kaths. :)

      • crypticsue
        Posted November 14, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        Do you think Mr Kath would let us have more than one favourite?

        • 2Kiwis
          Posted November 14, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

          I am sure that he would let us have as many favourites as we like. :)

        • Kath
          Posted November 15, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          He certainly wouldn’t let anyone have more than one favourite – I’ve convinced him about that – well, sort of!

      • Kath
        Posted November 15, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        Calling it team solving is probably going a bit too far!

  10. Brendan
    Posted November 15, 2013 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable – thought the misdirection (Armstrong) in 20d was brilliant. Thanks to Bufo and Shamus.

  11. Catnap
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Better late than never! I eventually finished this, having been trying to do it on and off for ages. Like Kath (& Mr Kath), I simply couldn’t get the first word of 19a. Nor could I think of the three letter word for ‘fancy’ in 13d! As well as these, Bufo, I needed your excellent hints for four of the clues (1a, 14a, and 3a). I didn’t find this easy, but I did enjoy it, notably 15a, 25a, and 5d.
    Many thanks both to Shamus and to Bufo.