Toughie 1135

Toughie No 1135 by Sparks


+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Thanks to Sparks for a very enjoyable Toughie which, for me, was a bit less tricky than yesterday’s. I didn’t know what grey-wether was but it certainly sounds like what we’re getting throughout the south of the UK at the moment. Your views, as always, are more than welcome.

Across Clues

8a/9a  Section madman, one that can easily be turned loose (4,3)
{WING NUT} – a charade of a section (of a large building or a political party, for example) and an informal word for a madman.

9a  See 8a

10a  Foreign assembly of European heads in The Hague, nothing in common (6)
{ETHNIC} – assembly tells us to bring together E(uropean) and the starting letters (heads) of five words in the clue.

11a  I see endless life around an Italian town (6)
{TIVOLI} – this is an ancient town in Italy, about 30 kilometres from Rome. String together I, a word meaning see or behold and the Latin word for life without its final A, then reverse the lot (around).

12a  Brilliant old general introduced line similar to Polaris (8)
{STARLIKE} – an adjective meaning brilliant is followed by the nickname of an old US general (later a successful politician) with L(ine) being introduced.

13a  Signs of future union battle with self-interest groups (10,5)
{ENGAGEMENT RINGS} – this is a charade of a military battle and cliques or self-interest groups.

15a  One male deserting in army uniform (7)
{UNITARY} – a word meaning one (a single thing) is followed by army after you’ve taken away the M(ale). I’m not totally convinced that the answer can mean uniform.

17a  Deliver  gift  here (7)
{PRESENT} – triple definition.

20a  Fringe acts start to steal lyrics — they do indulge themselves (5-10)
{SWORD SWALLOWERS} – these are speciality acts not likely to top the bill. String together the starting letter of S(teal), another term for lyrics and people who indulge themselves (in luxury or self-pity, for example).

23a  One who leaves record company funding from the public (8)
{EMIGRANT} – a charade of a record company and a sum of money (often from a public body) awarded to an individual or group for a specific purpose.

25a  Perfect state of excellent dope you mentioned, passing it round (6)
{UTOPIA} – string together what looks like a 2-letter abbreviation meaning excellent, an informal word for cannabis and what sounds like (mentioned) you. Finally reverse it all.

26a  Powerful businessman? (6)
{COGENT} – split as 2,4 this could be a businessman.

27a/28a  Snap warning that a cuppa might scald? (3,4)
{MUG SHOT} – configure the answer as (3’1,3) to get the warning.

28a  See 27a

Down Clues

1d  Views unlimited gear (6)
{PINION} – gear here is a mechanism for transmitting motion. Remove both ends (unlimited) from views or assessments.

2d  Not getting going, failing to start drunken tirade (8)
{IGNORANT} – an anagram (drunken) of (g)OING without its starting letter followed by a tirade.

3d  One trapped in sadness pattern, turning to these (15)
{ANTIDEPRESSANTS} – a semi-all-in-one. It’s our second (and last of the day) anagram (turning) of SADNESS PATTERN with I (one) trapped inside it.

4d  Stored unfinished piece of work in hut (7)
{STASHED} – a piece of work without its final letter is inserted in a hut.

5d  Those on the way out frequently go through it (9,6)
{DEPARTURE LOUNGE} – a gentle cryptic definition of what those leaving by air will normally pass through.

6d  Shivering with cold, I get hot dish (6)
{CHILLI} – an attack of shivering brought on by the cold is followed by I to produce a hot dish (and an old chestnut).

7d/14d  Knocking back slightly raised drink (4,3)
{PINK GIN} – we start with a term for a knocking noise (very prevalent in motor vehicles years ago) brought on by over-rapid combustion in the engine. Then we have to move the last letter up a bit (back slightly raised, in a down clue).

14d  See 7d

16d/24d  Celestial event with peak on Mars having oxygen gas enshrouding it (3,4)
{NEW MOON} – one of the noble gases contains (enshrouding) W(ith), the first (peak) letter of Mars and the chemical symbol for oxygen.

18d  On which one may log which people will crack short grey-wether (3-5)
{SAW-HORSE} – log here is a verb meaning to cut wood into sections. Insert (will crack) a pronoun meaning ‘which people’ into another word for a grey-wether without its final N. What’s a grey-wether I hear you cry – well, it’s not, as I would have guessed, a dirty male sheep, but a grey-coloured sandstone boulder of the type used to construct Stonehenge. The BRB has the answer as a single word with no hyphen.

19d  Pursuit of what’s done by current setter (7)
{PASTIME} – what’s done and over is followed by the symbol for electric current and the objective pronoun that the setter would use of himself.

21d  Game run by thief when cover has been blown (6)
{RUGGER} – the abbreviation (in cricket) for run is followed by a thief (one operating in a public place) without the first letter (cover has been blown).

22d  They may charge you old money (shillings) (6)
{RHINOS} – an archaic slang term for money followed by S(hillings).

24d  See 16d

The clues I favoured today were 27/28a and 7/14d. How about you?




  1. Chris
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Good stuff for a bad day!
    Thanks to setter and to reviewer esp. for 7,14(d) which I failed to understand having not had a “pinking” car for 40 years!
    Favourites 13a and 22d

  2. pommers
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    So you think that you’ve avoided “The Wrath of Kath” do you? I think you’ll just have to live in hope that she doesn’t visit the Toughie blog today :lol:

    Enjoyed this but found it a lot tougher than it should have been. Just not in the mood I guess due to spending a fair amount of the morning trying (unsuccessfully) to get to grips with Windows8 on a new laptop. Think I’ll stick to the trusty netbook which is still running XP

    Agree with Gazza about 7/14d being favourite and that’s as far as I’m going.

    Anyway, thanks to Sparks and Gazza.

  3. Jezza
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    My last one in was 18d, where I worked out the first part of the clue (on which one may log), but failed to understand the wordplay. Many thanks to Sparks, and to Gazza for the explanations.

  4. Pegasus
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one, favourites were 26a and 27/28a thanks to Sparks and to Gazza for the comments.

  5. Deep Threat
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    The 2003 edition of the BRB, which is the one I have, shows ‘grey-wether’ with a hyphen. I wonder why they changed it.

    I had POTENT for 26a, which is in the BRB as an alternative to ‘potentate’, who might be a powerful businessman. Thanks to Gazza for the correct explanation.

    • gazza
      Posted February 12, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, my comment was not very clear (I’ll amend it) – Grey-wether has a hyphen in my version (11th) of the BRB. It’s sawhorse which Chambers thinks has no hyphen.

    • Jezza
      Posted February 12, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      I also had POTENT for 26a, which I assumed was correct until I read the blog. Not currently being able to access the online site, I have no way of checking my answers.

      • Posted February 12, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        … other than waiting for tomorrow’s newspaper!

        • Jezza
          Posted February 12, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          … which reminds me… thank you for your pdf emails. Hugely appreciated!!

  6. Heno
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Sparks and Gazza for the review and hints. I would agree that it wasn’t as tough as yesterday’s but I still struggled big time. Only solved 12, got 3 from the hints, but had to look up 10. Still way too hard for me. I managed today’s back pager, but can’t seem to step up to the Toughie. Was 5*/2* for me. Favourite was 7d.

  7. BigBoab
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Sparks and to Gazza for a very enjoyable crossword and a super review, not very tough though.

  8. crypticsue
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable thank you Sparks. As is normal, I agree with both Gazza’s ratings and his favourites. Thanks to him too.

  9. crypticsue
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Dada tomorrow

  10. halcyon
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Took a while to get into but once the four split clues were cracked the rest seemed to fall into place.

    The town at 11a is perhaps a tad obscure but there’s nothing much else that fits the letters. The clue might have been fairer without the “an”.

    The old chestnut at 6d also works [for me] as a homophone – I get = I hear.

    Favourites were the 4 split clues [especially 16/24d], 26a and 2d.

    Many thanks to Sparks and to Gazza for a fine review.

  11. 2Kiwis
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    We struggled in the NW corner but got there in the end, and also had not fully parsed 18d. Found it all a bit of a slog today.
    Thanks Sparks and Gazza.

  12. andy
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Whilst 18d went in without me understanding quite why, several hours later it dawned on me that, following a random conversation, I’d been dragged to see those stones on Dartmoor as a child. My favourites echo those of Gazza. Many thanks to Sparks.

  13. Tstrummer
    Posted February 14, 2014 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    I too had Potent, so thanks Gazza for setting me right. I found this one hard to get into, but after about half way it eased up until I was left with 22d. Needed Gazza again. 4* difficulty for me, 3* enjoyment. Favoured clues were 20a and 27a. Thanks too to Sparks for the workout. Off boating for a few days tomorrow, taking many waterproof clothes and a stack of untouched Toughies. Back middle of next week. Stay dry