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Toughie 1105

Toughie No 1105 by Elgar

A Gem of a Puzzle

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

Season’s Greetings from the Calder Valley! It’s Friday and at the end of a reasonable week of Toughies (with a bonus to come – more later!), it’s Vlad the Impaler with his latest teaser and it’s another cracker to start the weekend.

This is very reminiscent of one of the late great Bunthorne’s Guardian puzzles with a big anagram clue. Unless you are a student of poetry I would suggest tackling a few of the other clues to get some checking letters, and then recognising the quote from the words you can see, as I did! I also think there are a very high number of hidden answers to help give you a way into the puzzle.

As many of you will have seen, yesterday was the Centenary of the publication of the first Crossword by Arthur Wynne and there is a special gathering tomorrow at Penderel’s Oak in High Holborn, London. Many of the great and good of Crosswordland will be there including the lovely Crypticsue, Big Dave and other blog regulars, plus myself. A number of setters from all the papers are coming and it will be a great chance to come and say hello and talk to your favourites.

There’s also a special supplement in the Saturday Telegraph to celebrate the Centenary and one of the highlights will be a special Saturday Toughie set by Symphony, the collective name for all the Telegraph setters. There’ll also be some vintage puzzles and the special Christmas General Knowledge Crossword with a nice prize. I’d recommend you buy the paper to get all the puzzles, given the problems with the website at the moment.

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 full-bodied ale brewed by English moonlight? (4,1,6,4)
{LEAD A DOUBLE LIFE} We start with an anagram (brewed) of A FULL-BODIED ALE which is placed before E (English) to give a phrase that relates to moonlight, as in a working context.

9a    Opening can it’s very accommodating of callers (9)
{VISITABLE} – you need to read this as “opening can it is very” – a phrase meaning “can it” (2,2,4) preceded by (opening) V(ery)

10a    Follow across the US, never retracing steps (5)
{ENSUE} A word that means to follow is concealed backwards (retracing steps) in thE US NEver

11a    Rogue heading to the other side in front of a music venue (2,5)
{LA SCALA} A word meaning a rogue or scamp needs to have its first letter changed from R to L (to the other side) and it then placed before A to give the name of a famous venue for music in Milan.

12a    See 22

15a    Some rolled meat I prescribed in diplomatic letter (8)
{NOISETTE} A name for a rolled-up cutlet of meat (usually lamb) is revealed by placing I plus a word meaning prescribed (or wrote a crossword) inside the name for a short missive.

16a    Sensitive to moves in company, one’s reportedly amorous behaviour (fetishes, on and off) (4)
{FTSE} If you take the alternative letters of FeTiShEs, you’ll find the name of the measure of company success of failure. It’s actually an acronym associated with an appropriate newspaper!

19a    In pieces, obsesssive is showing distress (4)
{SOBS} Inside pieceS OBSesssive (the incorrect spelling of obsessive is not relevant!), you should find a way that one shows distress.

20a    Sleep-inducer is reversing panic if in mosquito nets (8)
{SOMNIFIC} A word that relates to something than can make you doze is hidden (nets) backwards inside paniC IF IN MOSquito.

23a    Spirit of group getting behind a discriminator of old (6)
{AGEIST} The name for someone who has it in for the elderly is found by taking A and adding the German name for a spirit or mood.

24a    Paying attention, female relative encloses stamp (7)
{AUDIENT} Inside the short name for a female relative goes another name for a (metal) stamp; this leads to a word meaning paying attention.

26a    Benjamin Franklin has this lower down (5)
{INFRA} A Latin word meaning below or underneath is hidden inside the name BenjamIN FRAnklin

28a    See 22

29a    True empathy from dreaming is a worry (8,2,5)
{MARRIAGE OF MINDS} An expression that means to have full understanding of each other is an anagram (worry) of FROM DREAMING IS A.


1d    See 22

2d    When special services celebrate taking in drunk French sucker (8,3)
{ASSASSIN BUG} The name for a predatory insect is found by taking a short word meaning when, adding the abbreviation for the elite troop of the British army, and then taking something that means celebrate (musically) with the French word meaning to have drunk inside.


3d    Turned on top director, tightly drawn up within (8)
{ACTUATED} A word meaning ‘turned on’ is revealed by taking a word meaning tight and reversing it and placing it inside the word for top or supreme and D (director).

4d    See 22

5d    Series of terrible winters arrived casually and unannounced (4,2)
{BLEW IN} Another hidden answer, indicated by series. Inside terriBLE WINters can be found an expression that means to arrive suddenly and casually.

6d    At the precise time when a neighbouring number goes cycling? (4,2)
{EVEN AS} This one’s a bit clever. If you take A, plus a neighbouring number to the one attached to the clue and then move the first couple of letters to the end (cycling), you’ll get an expression that means at the precise time when something happens.

7d    See 22

8d    See 22

13d    Represented to one of us as being unfit for consumption (3,2,6)
{OUT OF SEASON} An anagram (represented) of TO ONE OF US AS gives you an expression referring to when something , especially meat, is not suitable for eating.

14d    Tech’s new directions encapsulating lab trials (5,5)
{BENCH TESTS} Around an anagram (new) of TECH’S goes something that means alternative directions and this gives an expression meaning laboratory tests.

17d    Shakespearean megalomaniac exhibits no charm unfortunately, love (8)
{MONARCHO} An anagram (unfortunately) of NO CHARM is added to O to give a Shakespearean tyrant.

18d    Comprehending notice, divers remain away with the fairies (2,1,5)
{IN A DREAM} An anagram (divers) of REMAIN carries a short word for a notice and leads you to the state of being not with it or away with the fairies.

21d    Light festival, one with surrealist veils (6)
{DIWALI} Around (veils) I (one) and W (with) goes that name of a surrealist artist to give the name for the Hindu Festival of Lights.

22, 4, 12, 27, 8, 7, 1 Down & 28    Poet’s description of gem ruins Joe’s business, I confess, via a general theory of relativity (1,5,2,6,2,1,3,3,4,3,10,9)
{A THING OF BEAUTY IS A JOY FOR EVER, IT’S LOVELINESS INCREASES} The famous first line of a poem by John Keats is an anagram (ruins) of Joe’s business I confess via a general theory of relativity

25d    Resolute  partnership (4)
{FIRM} A double definition clue. The word meaning resolute or steadfast is the same as that meaning a business partnership.

27d    See 22

Thanks to Elgar for a storming challenge today, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Our hero will be back with his annual Christmas Day Double Toughie, and I’ll be back with the blog for this festive challenge. Until then, Merry Christmas and have a great holiday!

18 comments on “Toughie 1105

  1. I thought this was one of Elgars’ easier puzzles but nevertheless highly entertaining. Many thanks to Elgar and to Tilsit for an excellent review.

  2. Good stuff with some nice hidden words to gain a foothold, favourites for me were 9a 16a but 1a takes the biscuit for it’s smooth surface, thanks to Elgar and to Tilsit for the comments.

  3. A very enjoyable crossword with lots to make me smile (and groan – 16a!) but not too difficult which suited me as I have about a million and one things to get done by bedtime.

    Thanks to Elgar and Tilsit – I’ll see you both tomorrow too!

  4. A very satisfying but quite slow solve (as normal) for me with ,I agree 1a the pick .
    Thanks to Elgar and Tilsit to whom Merry Christmas too .
    (I worked on the quote pretty early on which may have been a mistake!)

  5. By a stroke of inspired genius (or something like that) we guessed the long quote very early on and were able write it in to an almost empty grid. This gave us a plethora of useful checkers to work with. Favourite and last in was 16a. What a clue! A thirteen word clue for a four letter answer. Excellent fun and very much enjoyed.
    Thanks Elgar and Tilsit.

    1. Ditto. Though as mentioned I did like 1a as I intend to imbibe quite a bit of Ale tomorrow :) Thanks Tilley and Elgar, see you there.

    1. I have searched the grid left to right, right to left, up, down, diagonally and even round and round and still cannot find any trace of a NINA. You might have to give a bit of a hint. :)

        1. I had to go and ask Carol and she knew the poem. I recognised the quote but not the source. Thanks Gazza.

  6. Thanks to Elgar and to Tilsit. I got the 12 word anagram early on, so that helped. I’m still puzzled by 14d. though – I can’t equate ‘Bents’ with ‘Alternative directions’. Clearly I’m missing something obvious, but what?

  7. Missed out on 3d but got the rest of it with a couple of confirmations from the excellent hints above. Very enjoyable. Elgar operates a little above my usual pay grade, so ****/**** for me.

  8. Who’s this “MONARCHO” (17d)? No-one on the whole of the rest of the internet has heard of him as a Shakespearean tyrant/megalomaniac or any other sort of Shakespearean character!

      1. Wow! Speedy response – thanks! I was looking for a character called Monarcho in Shakespeare – which doesn’t exist – but it’s actually the description of a character.

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