Toughie 1144

Toughie No 1144 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I filled in the two long answers immediately and thought that the puzzle was going to be a doddle. It turned out to be more difficult than that and some of the wordplay was quite testing.

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    Lecturer in dean’s chief role organised college accommodation (4,2,9)
{HALL OF RESIDENCE} L (lecturer) in an anagram (organised) of DEAN’S CHIEF ROLE

9a    Look smart when turning face to East End crowd (5,2)
{DRESS UP} A reversal (turning) of a slang word for the face and a crowd with its initial letter H removed (as an East Ender might say it). I didn’t know the word for the face

10a    Value one’s missed in novelist, one revered by Greeks (7)
{ARTEMIS} ‘To value’ with the letter A (one) omitted goes inside the surname of the novelist Kingsley (or Martin)

11a    Accomplished person entertaining Arab off deck? (9)
{OVERBOARD} Accomplished (finished) + a slang term for a person round AR (Arab) = off deck (and into the sea)

12a    In which parasite might exist by a plant? (5)
{HOSTA} An organism on which another lives as a parasite + A

13a    Stock clothing in trendy film filming area held back (7)
{TYPICAL} Stock (as an adjective) = the first and last letters of TrendY (its clothing) + a film + a reversal of the US city where Hollywood is (filming area). It took me a long time to work out how this one works

15a    Get hands, perhaps, to produce a lot of food? Certainly (7)
{MEASURE} ‘Get hands’ could refer to determining the height of a horse, a hand being 4 inches. Food taken at one time with the last letter removed + ‘certainly’

17a    Risky possible outcome on course with car losing time (7)
{PARLOUS} A possible outcome at a hole on a golf course + a British manufacturer of sports and racing cars with the letter T (time) removed

19a    Curtail abuse by a Republican being prejudiced (7)
{INSULAR} ‘Abuse’ with the last letter removed + A R (Republican)

21a    Mystics protected by pilgrims if usurped in retreat (5)
{SUFIS} Hidden in reverse in pilgrimS IF USurped

23a    Established skipper aboard jolly ship, originally offering facilities (4,5)
{REST ROOMS} An abbreviation for ‘established’ and a skipper (animal that skips) inside a jolly (a royal marine) + S (first letter of ship) = facilities (lavatories)

25a    Labour politician harbouring a tendency principally for weight (7)
{BALLAST} The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer goes round A then T (first letter of tendency)

26a    Tending to prefer cream? (7)
{ELITISM} A cryptic definition for a tendency to prefer cream (the pick of a group of people)

27a    Lose composure — an inexperienced diver shouldn’t do it (2,3,3,4,3)
{GO OFF THE DEEP END} An inexperienced diver is best staying in shallow water


1d    Retreat raised suspicion, we hear (7)
{HIDEOUT} A retreat (place of refuge) is a homophone of raised (4) and suspicion (5)

2d    Subject, say, covered by story (5)
{LIEGE} An abbreviation denoting ‘say’ inside a story (untruth)

3d    Heading north, happen largely to manage ordinary Italian dish (4,5)
{OSSO BUCCO} A reversal (heading north) of ‘to happen’ with the last letter removed + ‘to manage’ + O (ordinary) = an Italian stew. I am not familiar with this dish and Chambers doesn’t spell it this way

4d    Criticism facing former president rejecting very celebrated artist (7)
{RAPHAEL} Criticism + the surname of the last president of Czechoslovakia and first president of the Czech Republic with the letter V (very) removed. I’ve never heard of him

5d    Smear party held by essentially dismal celebrity (7)
{STARDOM} ‘To smear (with black viscous stuff) and a party inside the middle two letters (the essentials) of diSMal

6d    Abandon / long depression (5)
{DITCH} 2 meanings: to abandon/a long depression in the ground (usually full of water)

7d    Fool gets cold on rowing boat reportedly (9)
{NUMBSKULL} Deprived of feeling through cold + a homophone of a small rowing boat

8d    Piece of kitchen’s laverbread to keep one enthralled (7)
{ENSLAVE} Hidden in kitchEN’S LAVErbread

14d    Cabinet responsibility if poor lot are to be transformed (9)
{PORTFOLIO} An anagram (transformed) of IF POOR LOT

16d    Confident owner finally entering valuable property I have restricted (9)
{ASSERTIVE} R (last letter of owner) inside valuable property + an abbreviated (restricted) form of ‘I have’

17d    Speciality following appointment shown in letters (7)
{POSTBAG} An old slang term for a person’s speciality goes after an appointment to give a term used collectively for letters received

18d    Time inside / extension (7)
{STRETCH} 2 meanings: time inside (prison)/extension

19d    This month start to explore publicity as an alternative (7)
{INSTEAD} ‘This month’ + E (first letter of explore) + publicity

20d    CV of New Yorker with degree came into play again (7)
{RESUMED} A North American term for a CV + D (degree)

22d    Man getting support for notes (5)
{STAFF} 2 meanings: to man/a set of lines and spaces on which musical notes are written

24d    Fruit only in view in regular fashion (5)
{OLIVE} Alternate letters of OnLy In ViEw

Pleasant enough



  1. Expat Chris
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    For me, this was more straightforward and less time-consuming than the cryptic. And a lot more enjoyable. I didn’t need the hints but I did need the review for full parsing of 13A, 23A and 3D, so many thanks Bufo. Thanks, of course to Shamus also.

    Three for three before my work day started!

  2. crypticsue
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    enjoyable Toughie – less tough than the back page today but definitely in the realms of toughiedom. Thank you to Shamus and Bufo

  3. Jezza
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Some of this I worked out the definitions, and then fitted them to the wordplay after.
    A nice balance of clues and a pleasure to solve. Thanks to Shamus, and to Bufo for the review.

  4. Pegasus
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable solve today, favourites were 1d 10a and 13a thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the comments.

  5. halcyon
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Pleasant enough fare. Favourite was 22d because “man” as a verb took a while to dawn. Despite the helpful hints 15a doesn’t work for me. 26a doesn’t seem quite right either, I’d have preferred “Tendency to…” [as Bufo seems to prefer too!]

    Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  6. 2Kiwis
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Parsing the last couple is what took the most time for us. With 9a we had worked out E for East and ‘End crowd” as D but that left R as a problem. Sorted now. With 13a we had parsed it fully but did not believe it, LAC for that city? Had heard of LA or LAX but never LAC. Apart from that all good. The long answers top and bottom going in easily helped.
    Thanks Shamus and Bufo.

    • gazza
      Posted February 27, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      The city is LA. The C is the last letter of PIC.

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted February 27, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        Of course it is Gazza. Had thought of pic along the way, and then gone back to thinking of “PI” for the film. Thanks.

  7. gnomethang
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    This was a good Toughie for me. Hard enough to get the answers and satisfying once you have figured everything out. Some good surface reading too.
    My only quibble is that 26a reads like an adjectival answer (i.e. elitist). The tendency (as Bufo said) makes the noun of elitism.
    In any case thanks to you both.

  8. Wolfson Bear
    Posted February 27, 2014 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    A first comment from me to say a big “hello”.

    I would like to express my enormous admiration and gratitude for this blog and all who do the hard work day in day out . It is the best crossword blog by far – especially because it does not focus on “solve time” which only discourages. I have been a passive visitor for a few years now.

    I have done battle with cryptic crosswords during lunchtime at work with a colleague for a few years now. We usually finish (or nearly finish) the DT back-pager and the Toughie except Mondays when we substitute the Toughie (sadly) for the Sat and Sun Cryptic .

    This blog site is blocked out by our company IT system so it has been difficult to post comments – here is a late night one to test the system

    The thing that I find hard to comprehend about this blog is its star rating for difficulty. In particular the difference between the back pager and the Toughie. I have always presumed that a 5-star back-pager is the equivalent to a one star Toughie ONO. I would assume it is pointless to assess the two puzzles on the same five-level scale. But how many back-pagers are rated higher than 3 star? I dont think there are many 5 star ratings. Today the two of us together found the back pager particularly challenging (but ultimately solvable). My colleague then had to shoot off to a meeting and I did the Toughie on my own in half the time. Seemed a classic Wrong Envelope Day. Not according to the * ratings. But reading the posted comments and the consensus seems to be that the back pager was a credible 5* and the Toughie nearer 1* with which I would agree

    As a light-hearted aside I hope one day Elgar incorporates the term “Fergie Time” into his grid when he is wearing his boots. He seems able to yield just sufficient answers to entice us into Fergie Time and so lunch continues till we win! Not good for British Industry

    My favourite setter is Ray T especially his Toughie friend Beam. I hope he wont retire when Charles ascends the throne

    • Posted February 27, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Wolfson Bear

      The difficulty rating is intended only as a guide and is set by the individual blogger.

    • Deep Threat
      Posted February 28, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      For what it’s worth, I allow twice as long per star for a Toughie than for a back pager. So if a back page crossword has to be solved within x minutes to get 1 star, a toughie would get 1 star if solved within 2x minutes. What other bloggers do I don’t know, nor do I know how my x minute limit compares with others.

  9. Only fools
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Cheers Shamus and Bufo for the enjoyable puzzle and clarification 15a last in by quite a distance favourite for me 10 a .

  10. Salty Dog
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Didn’t get round to this until coffee time the morning after. I did quite well until coming to a shuddering halt in the SE corner, and needed to draw on one of Bufo’s hints to break into it. A bit more than 3* for me, but a rewarding half-hour or so all the same. Thanks to Shamus (although l agree with Gnomethang that 26a works best with “elitist”).

  11. Endeavour
    Posted March 2, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Got 6 initially as D=depression & long=ITCH ! Smugly thinking the compiler had temporarily lost concentration. Doh…

    • Posted March 2, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Endeavour

      As you have realised, you can’t invent abbreviations like D = Depression. Almost all of the abbreviations used in Telegraph puzzles can be found in Chambers. The only legitimate single-letter abbreviation that I know of that can’t be found there is P = President, and that is in Chambers XWD.