Toughie 1128

Toughie No 1128 by Firefly

Not much of a tester

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

A straightforward solve with only 19 across causing any real problem.

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    Girl in bizarre pork-pie hat having right hot time dropped blind date, maybe? (1,3,2,1,4)
{A PIG IN A POKE} A girl’s name goes inside an anagram (bizarre) of POKPIEA, i.e. PORK-PIE HAT without R (right), H (hot) and T (time). The answer is an offering that is accepted without being examined first

9a    Got wrong; sadly perhaps, I’m finished (14)
{MISAPPREHENDED} An anagram (sadly) of PERHAPS I’M + ‘finished’

11a    Slip round aboard sledge (4)
{BOOB} A slip (error) = O (round) inside a type of racing sledge

12a    Casual waitress’s last meal delivery? (5)
{STRAY} S (the last letter of waitress) + a flat board that can be used for carrying food

13a    Solid / corporation? (4)
{FIRM} 2 meanings: solid/corporation (company)

16a    Unwanted digs near Southend’s front (8)
{NEEDLESS} Digs (taunts) + S (first letter of Southend)

17a    Sparkle‘s back in Tristan, it appears (6)
{PATINA} Hidden in reverse in TristAN IT APpears

19a    Spray / canopy? (6)
{TESTER} I assume that these are two meanings of the answer. It is certainly a canopy, especially over a bed. I have not yet worked out how ‘spray’ is a synonym but I’m sure that someone will enlighten me. [It’s a spray in a perfume department which enables a potential customer to test the product prior to purchase. BD] This type of clue is always difficult when you know neither of the meanings given

20a    Four / in braces? (3,2,3)
{TWO BY TWO} A mathematical equivalent of four/in braces (pairs)

22a    Bird pulling in publicity (4)
{PUFF} Remove (pull) IN from the name of a seabird

23a    Prospect of life filled with sadness at first (5)
{VISTA} Life (from the Latin) goes round S (first letter of sadness)

24a    Beverage / account? (4)
{SAKE} 2 meanings: a Japanese drink made from rice/account

27a    In tea lounge, Guy has brief occupation as comedian (7,7)
{CHARLIE CHAPLIN} Tea + to lounge + a guy + an occupation with the last letter removed = a comic actor (1889-1977)

28a    An ideal tradesman gets all the honours? (1,5,5)
{A CLEAN SWEEP} A + ideal + a tradesman who cleans chimneys


2d    Pens of warriors needing to break out? (9,2,3)
{PRISONERS OF WAR} A anagram (break out) of PENS OF WARRIORS. These captive fighting men sometimes tried to break out

3d    Prompt effort to gain notice (4)
{GOAD} Effort + a notice

4d    Partiality to pies cooked with prime cuts of nice meat (8)
{NEPOTISM} An anagram (cooked) of TO PIES N M (first letters of Nice Meat)

5d    Street trader‘s a sanctimonious fellow, you could say (6)
{PIEMAN} A homophone of ‘sanctimonious’ + fellow

6d    Grand to get novel recognised (4)
{KNEW} A one-letter abbreviation denoting 1000 (grand) + ‘novel’

7d    Directorial debuts of Anderson — dramatic vehicles management of ITV rate (14)
{ADMINISTRATIVE} The first letters of Anderson and Dramatic + small cars + an anagram (management) of ITV RATE

8d    Australian sleuth on drink: ‘Australian measure is cheap!’ (1,4,1,5)
{A DIME A DOZEN} A (Australian) + a 2-letter abbreviation for a rank in the police + a drink made from honey + Australian (2) + a printer’s measure(2)

10d    Netbook pic a possible reason for tiff (1,4,2,4)
{A BONE TO PICK} An anagram (possible) of NETBOOK PIC A

14d    Warning of terrible epidemic (5)
{BLEEP} Hidden in terriBLE EPidemic

15d    Ground where greens will be lifted, topped and tailed (5)
{GABBA} A cricket ground in Brisbane + a reversal of a vegetable after the first and last letters have been removed

18d    Operate changeover in advance (6,2)
{SWITCH ON} To operate (start an electrical device) = changeover + ‘in advance’

21d    Scrooge meets his end — no tricks here (6)
{MISÈRE} The type of person that Scrooge is + E (last letter of Scrooge) = an undertaking to take no tricks in a card game

25d    League leaders in bowls lose Open champion (4)
{BLOC} First letters of Bowls Lose Open Champion

26d    Son’s form for discharge (4)
{SPEW} S (son) + a form (long wooden seat)



  1. Pegasus
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was very much on the tame side, favourites were 15d and 21d thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for the comments.

  2. gazza
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Elkamere tomorrow.

  3. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    We get this rather strange double triangle grid once again which almost makes two separate puzzles to solve. We wondered how people would get on with 15d. We got it quite easily but the ground’s home country is much closer to us than for most other solvers. Some of the wordplay took a while to unpick, eg 8d, although the answer came easily. Carol knew the spray definition of 19a so no problems there. Lots of smiles, good fun.
    Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted January 30, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      2Kiwis – 15d – Woolloongabba! Easy! England always lose in Brisbane!

      Some of us Poms are not so green as cabbage looking! (Something like that?)

      8d Australian sleuth on drink: ‘Australian measure is cheap !’ (1,4,1,5)

      Strewth! Is the setter an Ozzie?

  4. Una
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    I see that people thought it very gentle for a toughie, and so my feelings of pleasure at (almost) solving a toughie were a bit short lived. Gabba is unknown to me, I also didn’t get bleep or bloc.Thanks to setter and Bufo.I liked a lot of the clues , especially 20a, 8d and 1a.

    • Kath
      Posted January 30, 2014 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Don’t let the fact that others think it’s a gentle Toughie destroy your feelings of pleasure – I’ve taught myself not to do that. I’m just pleased when I finish, or even nearly finish, a Toughie. Onwards and upwards – we need to practise.

      • Una
        Posted January 30, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that !

      • steve_the_beard
        Posted January 30, 2014 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

        I’m with you, Ladies!

        I’ve been trying to make time this year to do the Toughie as well as the Q&C, so it’s very much a learning process. One of the many great things about this site is that you can use it a a tutorial :-)

        • Only fools
          Posted January 31, 2014 at 12:01 am | Permalink

          Well said Kath , I have in the past been in awe of those who describe puzzles that I found difficult “gentle” or “untaxing ” .I now evaluate only whether it was enjoyable and this was a pleasant puzzle in many ways and I struggled with the cryptic ( in the SW ) which you probably whizzed through .
          Thanks Bufo I had the same difficulty with 19a .
          Keep happy .

  5. Kath
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I finished apart from 15d – thought of ‘cabbages’ which didn’t help but would have done if I’d thought a bit harder. I got 24a wrong.
    Anyway I’m feeling reasonably pleased with myself. I needed the hints to explain a couple of my answers.
    I thought that the capital letter of ‘Guy’ in 27a was a touch on the sneaky side.
    I really liked all four of the long answers around the outside and 22a. My favourite was 10d.
    With thanks to Firefly and bufo.

  6. Robin Hill
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Too many question marks for me; there were seven in the clues across, which allowed for a number of fuzzy definitions; although I solved 24 across eventually it wasn’t very satisfying. My favourites were the long clues, especially 8 down. 15 down was clever, although you’d need to know about cricket to recognise it. I’m looking forward to Elkamere’s challenge tomorrow !

  7. Tstrummer
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Finally got round to this today and was only stumped by 5d. I still am