Toughie 1106

Toughie No 1106 by Symphony

100 Not Out

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

All the Telegraph setters have combined to produce a special Toughie in celebration of the very first published crossword which appeared exactly 100 years ago today in the New York World newspaper on 21st December 1913. It’s not all that tough (it helps if you can get the two diagonal answers early) but it is tremendously entertaining.

Do let us know what you thought.

Across Clues

1a  Perfection epitomised, looking back on 100 years of letters past (6)
{OGAMIC} – reverse (looking back) the perfect stage of an insect’s development and add the abbreviation for a century. Ogam (or Ogham) was an ancient British and Irish alphabet.

5a  Way to express reduced light in little parish church (8)
{PARLANCE} – between the shortened form of parish and the abbreviation for the established church in England introduce an adjective meaning light or thin without its final letter (reduced).

9a  Shaped prose with edit? That’s not right (8)
{POETISED} – an all-in-one clue. Shape an anagram of P(r)OSE and EDIT without the R(ight).

10a  Plan — cut half pizzas into squares (6)
{PLAZAS} – plan without its final letter (cut) is followed by half of the word pizzas.

11a  Louts, bad chaps regularly on the rampage (7)
{CASUALS} – another clever all-in-one. These are hooligans who attend football matches and deliberately create disturbances (so called because they wear expensive leisure clothing). The wordplay involves two stages – start off by picking out the odd letters (regularly) from the first three words of the clue, then make an anagram (on the rampage) of them.

13a  Communication devices from Nancy’s where I will meet James shortly (6)
{OUIJAS} – the word for ‘where’ in Nancy (or any French-speaking place) followed by I and a shortened form of the forename James.

14a  Some light ribbing over origin (5)
{BIRTH} – hidden (some) and reversed (over) in the clue.

16a  These may be living in era without Kindle (9)
{DAYLIGHTS} – this is a word that follows living in a phrase such as ‘beat the living ********* out of someone’. A word for era or period of time goes round (without) a verb to kindle (falsely capitalised here) or ignite.

18a  Denounce one cheat, upset getting imprisoned by judge (9)
{REPUDIATE} – reverse (upset) I (one) and a verb to cheat or hoax and insert it in a verb to judge or assess.

20a  College servants opening in Yentl, an old Broadway play (5)
{GYPSY} – a word for college servants (specific to the Universities of Cambridge and Durham) is followed by the opening letter of Y(entl).

23a  Added adornment to restored vehicle in diamonds, for example (6)
{GRACED} – insert a vehicle into the abbreviation for diamonds (in card games) and the abbreviation of ‘for example’, then reverse the lot (restored).

24a  Pound for the issue – pound in money then put down (7)
{PLAYPEN} – pound in the definition means a place of confinement. Insert the abbreviation for a pound sterling in money that’s earned, then add a verb to put down on paper.

26a  Note alto’s lowest points reached (6)
{MINIMA} – a musical note followed by the abbreviation for alto.

27a  Class of good scholars left going over the same thing again? It’s not on (8)
{LITERATI} – L(eft) followed by (going over) a repeat, dropping the final ON.

28a  Frenchman in ghastly cell finds gap in castle wall (8)
{CRENELLE} – insert a French forename inside an anagram (ghastly) of CELL.

29a  City line crossed by Caesar, maybe from the east (6)
{DALLAS} – L(ine) is contained (crossed) by what Caesar is an example of, then it all gets reversed (from the east).

Down Clues

2d  Italian dumplings some Vietnamese returned to Greek character (7)
{GNOCCHI} – reverse the name of Vietnamese guerrilla forces during their war and add the twenty-second letter of the Greek alphabet.

3d  For dull, empty heads, a difficult subject, in short (5)
{MATHS} – an adjective meaning dull or non-glossy is followed by the outer (empty) letters of H(ead)S.

4d  Foremost types among Centenary Toughie solvers have skill in ‘beneath-the-surface’ scrutiny (1,1,4)
{C T SCAN} – you normally see this written as (2,4) rather than (1,1,4). We want the initial letters (foremost types) of three words in the clue followed by a verb meaning have skill or capability.

5d  Stuff publicity agent did but I should cut out (3)
{PAD} – the abbreviation for publicity agent is followed by DID, but we then have to cut out the contracted form of ‘I should’.

6d  Short operation, going in to drive back force finally and occupy again (8)
{REPEOPLE} – insert the abbreviation for an operation into a verb to drive back and add the final letter of (forc)E.

7d  A vitality in language one’s expressed in a stunning way (9)
{AMAZINGLY} – start with A (from the clue) then insert a word meaning vitality or zest into a S-E Asian language from which (the second occurrence of) a vowel that can mean one has been forced out (expressed).

8d  One asserting a right to eject one for calling out (7)
{CLAMANT} – eject the I (one) from someone asserting a right.

12d  ‘Best Ram in Show’ is a firm beginning! (5-2)
{START-UP} – split the answer (4,3) to get the best ram in show.

15d  In traffic jam, initially, stupidly cut in on part of road layout (1-8)
{T-JUNCTION} – the initial letters of traffic jam are followed by an anagram (stupidly) of CUT IN ON.

17d  Western all find stirring? Bonanza (8)
{WINDFALL} – W(estern) is followed by an anagram (stirring) of ALL FIND.

19d  Previous location of anvil, position that’s right? (7)
{EARLIER} – string together the location of a small bone known as the anvil, a position (on the fairway, possibly) and R(ight).

21d  Entertainer in a star cast (7)
{SINATRA} – an anagram (cast) of IN A STAR. There’s a choice of entertainers – and this is my choice.

22d  Was fleet in river close to Wye and Dee? (6)
{DARTED} – a Devon river followed by the closing letter of (Wy)E and the letter dee.

25d  It’s not safety first for planned extension routes in London (5)
{PERIL} – the first letters of five words in the clue.

27d  Alpines regularly found in this situation (3)
{LIE} – the even (regularly) letters of Alpines.

Diagonal Clues

1  Has yen endured or withered in time with the crossword? (3,7,5)
{ONE HUNDRED YEARS} – an anagram (withered) of HAS YEN ENDURED OR.

28  10 nice views of Spooner’s zone one’s dropped repeatedly into pipe for this? (9,6)
{CENTENARY PUZZLE} – Spooner might have rendered the first word of the answer as 10 nice views or TEN SCENERY. To pipe here means to cry weakly – we want an alternative, literary, verb meaning the same and inside that insert Z(one) (without ONE) twice (repeatedly).

I hadn’t intended to nominate any favourites but I have to give a special mention to 12d which made me laugh out loud.

Many thanks to the whole symphony orchestra for the bonus entertainment and for all their puzzles throughout the year and a Happy Christmas to them all.

Extract from the newspaper:

We asked all the Telegraph cryptic compilers to contribute to this special Toughie.  The grid, with unusual diagonal clues, is by Elgar.  Here is the list of who set which clues:

Across: 1 Elgar, 5 Kcit, 9 Micawber, 10 Warbler, 11 Giovanni, 13 MynoT, 14 Notabilis, 16 Petitjean, 18 Beam, 20 Allan Scott, 23 Osmosis, 24 Dada, 26 Cephas, 27 Roger Squires, 28 Brian Greer, 29 Jeremy Mutch.

Down: 2 Busman, 3 Excalibur, 4 Firefly, 5 Myops, 6 Anthony Plumb, 7 Shamus, 8 Sparks, 12 Elgar, 15 Brian Greer, 17 Anthony Plumb, 19 Elkamere, 21 Messinae, 22 Shamus, 25 Busman, 27 MynoT.

Diagonal: 1 Giovanni, 28 Elgar.


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    That was tough but really enjoyable. Although I finished just within my 3* time I did need some electronic help, so, on balance, this was 4.5* for difficulty for me. However I agree with Gazza’s 5* for enjoyment.

    I needed clarification from Gazza’s excellent review regarding some of the wordplay. I couldn’t begin to parse the diagonal clue 28, even though I guessed the answer fairly quickly. Similarly the wordplay for 5a, 7d, & 8d eluded me. So, thank you very much, Gazza.

    1a and 8d were new words for me but I found them in the BRB.

    Many thanks to the Symphony of setters for an excellent diversion with the rain pouring down outside and the wind seeming to shake the house walls.

  2. Colmce
    Posted December 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Only managed about two thirds of this before resorting to hints, what I managed on my own was really enjoyable.

    Many thanks to the symphony of setters, not only for today but for their efforts every day of the week.

    Thanks to Gazza for the review definitely needed today.

  3. Outnumbered
    Posted December 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Not much harder than a backpager really, especially with the very obvious diagonal clues, but good fun nevertheless. I did need the BRB in the couple of obvious places. ***/****. I’d have found it tougher if they’d left the diagonal clues as a Nina.

  4. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 21, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    We found this quite tough but did get there in the end. Might have been a bit quicker if we had worked on the diagonals a bit earlier. We also laughed out loud at 12d.
    Thanks to all the setters for this puzzle and for the hours of pleasure you have given us over the year, and Gazza for the review.

  5. Anoxic
    Posted December 22, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    How can I get a copy of this crossword? I missed it on the day and the website is still not working.

    Is it possible to get back numbers while they are still trying to figure out the problem?

    • gazza
      Posted December 22, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      WElcome to the blog Anoxic.
      A pdf is on its way.

      • Anoxic
        Posted December 22, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Thank you.

        • Posted December 22, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          Looks like you’ll get 2 copies!

          • Anoxic
            Posted December 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

            I agree with the answer for 19d but not the reasoning. Position is L (left) not lie, that’s (IE), right (R). Do you agree?

            • gazza
              Posted December 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

              No. I don’t think you can use L to mean position. I read “that’s” in the clue as “that has” rather than “that is”.

              • Anoxic
                Posted December 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

                Fair enough, we both get the same answer.

                • Posted December 22, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

                  That isn’t the point. It’s also possible to get incorrect answers by using flawed logic.

  6. Tstrummer
    Posted December 23, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Well I found it hard-ish and spent much time in the BRB. Got the diagonals quickly, which helped, but 1a was a new word for me and 13a, though obvious from letters was not a good clue, really. Very good fun nonetheless 4* difficulty, 5* enjoyment. Thanks to all as usual