Toughie 1124

Toughie No 1124 by Messinae

Devils on Horseback

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Bufo is in London today, so Gazza has kindly offered to tackle Ray T, leaving me with the Toughie. My only hold-up was having to wait until I had the answer to 16 down before being able to solve 1 across.

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    Twist perhaps 16 in accommodating answer (10)
{DICKENSIAN} – another word for the answer to 16 down followed by IN around (accommodating) A(nswer) – I’m not convinced that Oliver Twist is an example (perhaps) of the answer; according to Chambers, when used as a noun, this is an admirer or student of the author concerned, not one of his characters

6a    Composition of soap suds oddly dissolving (4)
{OPUS} – drop (dissolving) the odd letters from two words in the clue

9a    A shopping centre sent back wool (5)
{LLAMA} – the A from the clue and a shopping centre all reversed (sent back)

10a    Parliamentarian with cycle taken in crossing police finally (9)
{ROUNDHEAD} – a cycle or stage in a knockout competition followed by a verb meaning taken in or cheated around (crossing) the final letter of police

12a    Teacher keeping a favourite to overturn writer’s block (7)
{NOTEPAD} – a teacher at a college or university around (keeping) the A from the clue and a favourite, all reversed (to overturn) gives a block of paper used by a writer

13a    Father avoids a heart operation hell (5)
{ABYSS} – drop PA (father) from A and a type of heart operation

15a    Gift of the gab is like gold to a politician (7)
{ORATORY} – the heraldic term for gold followed by the A from the clue and a right-wing politician

17a    Was a rat left with hereditary element held back? (7)
{RENEGED} – this verb meaning was a rat or welshed is derived from a left-winger around (with … held) the reversal (back) of an hereditary element

19a    Clip lug brawling with bold boxer (7)
{BULLDOG} – the wordplay, an anagram (brawling) of LUG with BOLD, is sandwiched between two definitions, a brand of stationery clip and a household pet

21a    Wild about education like the USA (7)
{FEDERAL} – an adjective meaning wild or untamed around ED(ucation)

22a    Some misbegotten nuisance having nothing to do (5)
{ENNUI} – hidden (some) inside the clue

24a    Taking party from West Indian island, book appropriate transport (7)
{MINICAB} – drop the DO (party) from a West Indian island and add B(ook)

27a    Unsuccessful parodies around start of revue — they’re on the fringe (9)
{OUTSKIRTS} – a three-letter adjective meaning unsuccessful or unfashionable followed by some parodies around the initial letter (start) of Revue

28a    Half-hearted novelist is inferior (5)
{BELOW} – drop one of the middle letters (half-hearted) from the surname of the author of The Adventures of Augie March and Herzog

29a    Stylish chap expected to possess diamonds (4)
{DUDE} – an adjective meaning expected or anticipated around (to possess) D(iamonds)

30a    One walks around in shocking red panties (10)
{PEDESTRIAN} – an anagram (shocking) of RED PANTIES


1d    Glen is TV presenter’s first name (4)
{DALE} – this glen is the first name of a TV presenter

2d    Protective clothing from delivery after 22 yards (5,4)
{CHAIN MAIL} – a postal delivery after a unit of measure

3d    Old legislation is dead (5)
{EXACT} – a two-letter word meaning old followed by some legislation

4d    Bad-tempered agent guards what’s left on ship that’s capsized (7)
{STROPPY} – an secret agent around the reversal (capsized in a down clue) of the nautical term for left (what’s left on a ship)

5d    Broken like what follows (7)
{ASUNDER} – a two-letter conjunction or preposition meaning like followed by what follows beneath

7d    Ruth encompasses Eastern religious behaviour (5)
{PIETY} – ruth or sorrow around (encompasses) E(astern)

8d    Ladies on backs of horses rode round ground — disposed so? (10)
{SIDESADDLE} – an anagram (disposed) of LADIES with the final letters (backs) of four words in the clue

11d    Exhausted having ridden wildly round area (7)
{DRAINED} – an anagram (wildly) of RIDDEN around A(rea)

14d    Enhanced attraction of chemical 014 apparently (6,4)
{DOUBLE BOND} – 014 is twice 007!

16d    Evil one in Newgate for instance (3,4)
{OLD NICK} – double definition – the devil or evil one and a phrase meaning a former prison, of which Newgate is an example (for instance)

18d    Doughboy captures a crude revolutionary (9)
{GARIBALDI} – put a two-letter abbreviation for an American soldier (doughboy) around the A from the clue and an adjective meaning crude or risqué to get an Italian revolutionary (who was born in France!)

20d    Awkward place to be met urge to change (3,4)
{GUM TREE} – an anagram (to change) of MET URGE

21d    Bridge ploy punishes opponents (7)
{FINESSE} – this tactic used in the game of bridge is a charade of a verb meaning punishes with a monetary penalty followed by two opponents in bridge

23d    Famous Irish priest missing? (5)
{NOTED} – split as (2,3) this could mean that an Irish priest from a famous TV series has gone missing

25d    Explorer gets about on trawler (5)
{CABOT} – the two-letter abbreviation of the Latin for about followed by a computer program designed to trawl through the Internet

26d    Make association with success after time (4)
{TWIN} – a success follows T(ime)

I enjoyed this puzzle, in spite of my quibble with 1 across.



  1. Jezza
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    No real problems in this one, although I struggled to unravel the letters of 8d!
    Many thanks to Messinae for the enjoyment, and to Big Dave for the review

  2. Pegasus
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Good stuff on offer today, favourites for me were 13a 14d and 18d thanks to Messinae and to Big Dave for the comments.

  3. Bufo
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    This didn’t use up much of my train journey to London. Thanks Dave (and Gazza) for covering for me

  4. Only fools
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable ,Favourites 14d and 8d .
    Thanks Messinae and BD

  5. Heno
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Messinae and to Big Dave for the review and hints. An enjoyable puzzle, I needed 5 hints to finish. No real favorites, but an enjoyable puzzle. At least the Toughies have been on the gentle side so far this week, it gives mea ch ance to get into them.

    • Jezza
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      …’so far this week’. I would imagine we are due something fairly nasty tomorrow!

      • Posted January 23, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        We are, it’s Elgar!

        • crypticsue
          Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

  6. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    For us this was an enjoyable puzzle that was rather spoiled by 1d. We are sure that this space could have been filled with a clue that would be much less excluding of anyone who does not live in the UK and watch commercial TV. We had worked out how the clue worked but as both DALE and DELL both fitted the checkers and the definition, a fair amount of Investigoogling was needed to eventually find the answer. Apart from that, good fun.
    Thanks Messinae and BD.

    • Steve_the_beard
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for my new word of the day; “Investigoogling” :-)

  7. halcyon
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I sympathise with the Kiwis. Hadn’t a clue who this person is but supposed it must be a synonym of glen.

    Re 8d – isn’t “disposed” the anagram indicator [“ground” being one of the 4 words providing its last letter]? The definition is just “so”.

    Rather liked 14d but he surface would have been much better if 14 could have been printed as a superscript..

    Many thanks to Messinae and BD.

  8. Brendan
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Another excellent puzzle. Apart from almost putting TRAMA for 9a. and needing BD to explain the relevance of ‘014’ in 14d., it was all pretty straightforward and great fun. Thanks to Messinae and BD for some much needed commentary.

  9. Kath
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Phew! No power since early this afternoon. The plus bit of this is that, because I couldn’t come running here for help, I carried on and eventually finished it on my own – that makes three out of three this week. On that happy note I will retire from the rest of the week – I know when I’m beaten!

  10. David Haines
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    My thoughts on 14d rather naughtily turned to chemical 014 being silicon… silicon implants……. extra attraction!! The double that came to mind was “double hold”!

  11. Jill B
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    Having struggled with the “back page” puzzle today – took me twice as long as normal – I really enjoyed today’s toughie. Thanks to Messinae especially for 14d!

  12. Tstrummer
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Needed the hint for 1a, but apart from that it was plain sailing. Thanks to setter and BD for the hint