Toughie 1164

Toughie No 1164 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

My two weeks off certainly hasn’t sharpened me up because I made very hard work of this. Eventually I managed to fill in the grid in 4* difficulty time but then I had the task of working out all the wordplay. The time spent doing that certainly pushed me into 5* difficulty territory. But it was all pretty fair in the end and I enjoyed the challenge

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.


9a    When to carry old lady’s hoard (5)
{AMASS} When (2) goes round old lady (2) and S (from ‘S) to give ‘to hoard’

10a    Lover soon to betray love (9)
{INAMORATO} Soon (2,1,2) + to betray + O (love)

11a    Stop and go (4,3)
{HEAD OFF} 2 meanings: stop (prevent or forestall)/go (depart or set off)

12a    Little band possibly going on to play jazz? (7)
{COMPACT} This took a lot of working out. A performer or group of performers (e.g. a band) goes after a term used in jazz meaning ‘to play an accompaniment’

13a    Setter hiding answer in the wrong way perhaps (5)
{MAYBE} A 2-letter pronoun denoting the setter goes round A (answer) and a reversal of ‘in’.

14a    Removal from gathering (9)
{DEDUCTION} 2 meanings: removal (taking away)/gathering (learning by inference)

16a    Thoroughly remarkable rank (9,6)
{SOMETHING ROTTEN} remarkable (to an extreme degree) + rank (gross, foul)

19a    Final ceremony predictable, girl admits (4,5)
{LAST RITES} ‘Predictable’ inside a girl

21a    Trail one’s left is inadequate (5)
{SPOOR} IS with I removed (one’s left) + inadequate

23a    Prisoner hides hammer in piece of bread (7)
{CROUTON} A prisoner goes round ‘to rout’ to give a small cube of fried or toasted bread

25a    Work’s irregular and always welcome (4-3)
{GOOD DAY} ‘To work’ + irregular + always = a salutation on meeting

27a    Land of Hope is song about burying beheaded fanatic (9)
{RURITANIA} The fictional country that features in Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda = a reversal of song about a fanatic (from the 16th and 17th centuries) with the first letter removed

28a    Fiat 500 is car primarily wrapped in film (5)
{EDICT} D (500) and the first letters of Is Car inside a Steven Spielberg film


1d    Do / try (4)
{BASH} 2 meanings: to do (beat up)/try (an attempt)

2d    Happy to embrace easy-going host (6)
{GALAXY} ‘Happy’ goes round ‘east-going’ to give a host (splendid assemblage)

3d    Secrets of Rocky Castle author (1,1,8)
{C S FORESTER} An anagram (rocky) of SECRETS OF followed by the chess notation for a castle gives an author

4d    Musically improvised break, say (6)
{RIFFED} A homophone of a break (cleft, fissure)

5d    With casual chat, get on good TV show (8)
{WATCHDOG} W (with) + an anagram (casual) of CHAT + ‘get on’ + G (good) = a BBC consumer affairs TV series

6d    Loud noise when low bass is turned up (4)
{BOOM} A reversal of ‘to low (like a cow)’ + B (bass)

7d    Handsome and very famous doom merchant (8)
{FATALIST} Handsome (ample) + very famous (1-4)

8d    Yank regularly found in wild frontier? (5-5)
{FORTY-NINER} Alternate letters of YaNk inside an anagram (wild) of FRONTIER = a prospector in a US gold rush (the whole clue providing the definition)

13d    Vehicles fitted with ABS? (6,4)
{MUSCLE CARS} I’d never heard of this term but Wikipedia tells me they are high-performance automobiles. ABS should be read as abs (as found in the abdomen)

15d    Device supporting skull likely to snap, initially bending nose out of shape (10)
{CROSSBONES} This device which goes below a skull on a pirate flag = likely to snap (peevish, angry) + B (first letter of bending) + an anagram (out of shape) of NOSE

17d    One state has turned into another (8)
{MISSOURI} I had this state of the USA written in very early on but it took me ages to work out the wordplay. Put ‘has turned’ (2,4) (as milk may have done) inside the abbreviation for Michigan

18d    Chanting starts in third over during part of game (8)
{INTONING} The first letters (starts) of Third Over goes inside part of a baseball game

20d    Notable gains worried Liberal (6)
{SIGNAL} An anagram (worried) of GAINS + L (Liberal)

22d    Area in pandemonium after soldiers lay down (6)
{ORDAIN} A (area) in pandemonium after the abbreviation for members of the armed services not holding commissions

24d    Shot old dog (4)
{TOTO} A shot (of whisky) + O (old) = the name of Dorothy’s dog in The Wizard of Oz

26d    It’s fantastic being still single (4)
{YETI} A mythical creature = still + I (single)

No complaints this week about it being too easy



  1. crypticsue
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I quite often struggle to get on Elkamere’s wavelength but today was really really difficult. For me, the toughest toughie for a long while. Proper Gnome’s Law today when I actually emailed him and then things started to make sense. I particularly liked 8d, but there are others I smiled at too.

    Thanks to Elkamere for the stretching of the grey matter and Bufo for the hints. Incidentally in 3d, the chess notation for the castle goes after the anagram … to give an author, rather than as you have it in the hint.

    • Posted April 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      That was my fault. Bufo’s original hint was incomplete and I obviously put that bit in the wrong place.

  2. Pegasus
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Cracking puzzle with many favourites including 7d 10a and 17d thanks to Elkamere and to Bufo for the comments.

  3. BigBoab
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable puzzle from Elkamere, not as tough as some but great fun. Thanks to Elkamere and to Bufo for the excellent review.

  4. Physicist
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I needed lots of hints today (first time for several weeks that I’ve needed any) but CS says she found it tricky, so I don’t feel too bad. Thanks to Elkamere and Bufo.

  5. Robin Hill
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Yes, this was really tough today, and it took me ages. I couldn’t parse 17 down, although I knew the answer. My favourite was 8 down, which is brilliant. A satisfying and enjoyable puzzle; many thanks Elkamere !

  6. gnomethang
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Hard for me but a satisfying solve. Thanks to Elkamere and to Bufo.

  7. 2Kiwis
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    We had “hold off” for 11a which made 2d impossible. Managed to get the rest after a long struggle but never fully parsed 12a and 17d. A good work out for us, at the top level of our solving ability.
    Thanks Elkamere and Bufo

  8. halcyon
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Quite a challenge to finish this. Last one in [ a bit obvious and an anticlimax] was 16a. Also not convinced about comp = to play jazz in 12a but I bow to Elkamere’s musicianship. Some great clues nonetheless. I particularly liked 10a, 28a, 8d [a lovely and lit] and 26d [I think “It’s fantastic being” maybe the definition he had in mind.]

    Thanks to Elkamere and Bufo

  9. andy
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Blimey that was a struggle. 12a stumped me in parsing so resorted to hint. Agree Bufo ratings Many thanks to Bufo and Elkamere

  10. Tigerbond
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Quite pleased to have managed this one without any help, but we also needed an explanation of 12A.

  11. Only fools
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    For me one of the most difficult toughies I have encountered ,relied on definition too much ,particularly with 12a as others have said .Favourite by quite a distance 8d
    Cheers Bufo for the enlightenment .