Toughie 1176

Toughie No 1176 by Shamus

No grumpiness today!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I didn’t need to be grumpy today because I enjoyed this puzzle even though it wasn’t all that difficult and I did have trouble with some of the wordplay (especially for 21 down). At least my grumpiness last week seemed to lead to an increase in the number of comments. This was most welcome following the previous Thursday’s record low of 6 comments

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    Been around to hotel? Nothing is working (4,2,3,5)
{LONG IN THE TOOTH} An anagram (working) of TO HOTEL NOTHING

9a    Like a match containing trouble and strife? (7)
{MARITAL} A cryptic definition in which ‘trouble and strife’ is Cockney rhyming slang for ‘wife’

10a    In a sheltered place, a group of females gets fine fish (7)
{ALEWIFE} A + sheltered place round the abbreviation for a women’s organisation and F (fine)

11a    A lot of wood producing leaves? (3)
{TEA} Remove the last letter from a hard and durable wood

12a    Track without fail to reach stadium fast? (3,2,6)
{RUN TO GROUND} What you would need to do to reach the stadium fast when on foot

14a    Plan holy image without introductions being a cleric (6)
{DEACON} Remove the first letters (introductions) from 4=letter words meaning ‘plan and ‘holy image’

15a    Day a horde riots around grand Irish town (8)
{DROGHEDA} An anagram (riots) of D (day) A HORDE round G (grand)

17a    Revolutionary island with bananas interrupted by Nationalist offensive (8)
{DAMNABLE} A reversal (revolutionary) of an island to which Napoleon was sent and a word meaning ‘bananas’ round N (Nationalist)

19a    One taken off team recalled pride, say, in sport (6)
{TENNIS} The number of players in a soccer team after one has been taken off + a reversal of a moral offence such as pride

22a    From the tenant, presumably, following every detail (2,3,6)
{TO THE LETTER} This could be read as the direct opposite of ‘from the tenant’

23a    Classical mountain some oread invaded from the East (3)
{IDA} Hidden in reverse (from the East) in oreAD Invaded

24a    Graduate with little energy cutting drink, being off colour? (7)
{OBSCENE} A science graduate and E (energy) inside a drink (as in a quick ***) = off colour (as a smutty joke)

26a    Star, maybe, cricketer retired with 50 without official recognition? (7)
{TABLOID} Star refers to the Daily Star. A reversal of a cricketer (not a bowler) + L (fifty) + O (no = signifying without) + official recognition (as in ** Card)

27a    Drunk queries US/Latin cocktail (7,7)


1d    Rare book essentially encapsulated in pledge? (7,7)
{LIMITED EDITION} An abbreviation of the second word is found in the middle of (or is essentially encapsulated by) plEDge. The first word suggests that an abbreviated form is needed

2d    US rock band, leading group in ME country with number at No 1 (7)
{NIRVANA} The leading group (e.g. of an army) (3) goes inside a Middle Eastern country (4) with its final letter (which is N = number) placed at the front

3d    Put in cross-border force at start of enquiry (11)
{INTERPOLATE} A cross-border force directed to cooperation in the suppression of crime + AT + E (first letter of Enquiry)

4d    Attractive people in currency once (6)
{TALENT} 2 meanings: attractive young girls or handsome young men/an ancient Greek coin

5d    Charms of cycling celebrity belonging to the UK? (8)
{ENAMOURS} A celebrity with the last letter placed first (cycling) + a pronoun that UK citizens might use for ‘belonging to the UK’

6d    Poetic composition is outstanding by the sound of it (3)
{ODE} A homophone of ‘outstanding (not yet paid back)’

7d    Short jaunt on Scottish island getting expression of approval (7)
{TRIBUTE} A jaunt with the last letter removed + an island in the Firth of Clyde

8d    Safety device on train lowly worker in lead’s named suspect (4,4,6)
{DEAD MAN’S HANDLE} A lowly worker (4) inside an anagram (suspect) of LEAD’S NAMED

13d    Plant that could be summarised in orb? (6,5)
{RAGGED ROBIN} The name of this flower can be read as a cryptic indication for IN ORB in that the first word is an anagram indicator and the second word is an anagram of IN ORB

16d    Conservative inventor producing natural growth (8)
{BLUEBELL} ‘Politically conservative or right-wing’ + the inventor of the telephone

18d    Artist is taken with sun in China (7)
{MATISSE} IS and S (sun) inside China plate (rhyming slang)

20d    New look accompaniment to dress in capital city (7)
{NAIROBI} N + a look + a broad sash worn with a kimono

21d    Reputation made in tasteless articles in Texas, Louisiana, etc? (6)
{STATUS} This was the last one in because I needed to work out the wordplay in order to decide between two possible answers. Tasteless articles (3) go inside a representation of where Texas and Louisiana can be found (the southern United States)

25d    Rival no longer dismissed, one offering challenge to Hull? (3)
{EMU} Remove (dismiss) ‘no longer (with us)’ from the end of a word meaning ‘to rival’ to give the puppet used by Rod Hull

Very pleasant



  1. BigBoab
    Posted April 24, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Terrific crossword from Shamus today, 4*/5* for me. Many thanks to Shamus and to Bufo.

  2. Jezza
    Posted April 24, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    No real problems in this one; my last one in was 24a (I could not equate ONE=DRINK).
    Many thanks to Shamus, and to Bufo for the write-up.

  3. Expat Chris
    Posted April 24, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I liked this very much and completed without hints although I needed the review to completely unravel the wordplay for a couple of clues. Didn’t think much of the 3-letter word for drink in 24A. I liked 17A, but my favorites have to be 27A (clever) and 16D (which took me ages to see and was the last one in). Many thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  4. Pegasus
    Posted April 24, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable fare on offer today, favourites were 2d 9a and 24a thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the comments.

  5. the dodger
    Posted April 24, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    A most enjoyable puzzle, my thanks to Shamus, and to Bufo for the explanation to 24 ac to which I knew the answer but was foxed as to how it worked.

  6. crypticsue
    Posted April 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    “Thursday” difficulty level but enjoyable all the same. Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  7. Kath
    Posted April 24, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Just thought that I’d leave a message for Bufo. I think it must be horrible to go to all the trouble of doing the hints and then not have many comments – I always feel that about CS and gnomey with the Saturday and Sunday prize crossword reviews and, at one point, decided to comment always on those but that seems to have gone out of the window – must try harder!
    I haven’t looked at today’s Toughie or hints but I am going to either later on today or tomorrow and will comment then. In the meantime here’s a little flower for you.

  8. Posted April 24, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed today and only needed hints on three (eleven yesterday) one of which was 24a and I d go a bit further than Jezza and say one = drink is pushing it.

  9. JB
    Posted April 24, 2014 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    To bring your comments up to 9! Just to let you know your efforts are welcome. I can usually fill in the right answers to a toughie (except for yesterday which eluded me entirely) but it is the word play that is difficult. For instance, the answer to 25d was obvious – the word play defeated me. I’m still not sure I agree with it but hey – it was worth remembering Rod Hull and his iniquitous bird!

  10. 2Kiwis
    Posted April 24, 2014 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Quite a challenge for us. Took ages to work out the wordplay for 24a, got stuck on the graduate being OB which was not helpful. The penny dropped while driving to Bridge last night. Did not sort out the wordplay for 21d so covered the bases by each of us choosing different options to put on our copies. (Not recommended as a solving technique though.) Also had 3d wrong, had put in interrogate and then ran out of time to fully check the parsing. Surprisingly, one of us knew of the Irish town. So, we concede a victory to Shamus. Good fun.
    Thanks Shamus and Bufo.

  11. andy
    Posted April 24, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Hi Bufo, thanks for unpicking 24a, I got there as you did but doubted myself. Ratings agreed. Thanks to Shamus – who I hope will be at the next S&B. i think i’ll be there now fingers crossed.

  12. gazza
    Posted April 24, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Notabilis tomorrow.

  13. neveracrossword
    Posted April 24, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    “Thursday” difficulty level is just right for me. I have an exeat for tomorrow.