Toughie 1191

Toughie No 1191 by Elkamere


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

How difficult you found this Toughie will probably depend on how well up you are on cricket and chess. I thought it was fairly gentle for an Elkamere but enjoyable as always. It’s also a pangram but once again I only twigged this after I’d finished solving it.

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.

Across Clues

1a Promotion’s said to be useless by scholars in capital city (5,5)
{ADDIS ABABA} – string together a short promotion or plug, an anagram (to be useless) of SAID and a couple of arts graduates.

6a Nothing’s offensive except hard work (4)
{OPUS} – the letter that resembles zero is followed by an offensive (in the military sense) without the abbreviation for hard.

9a Search heading’s off a little bit (5)
{RIFLE} – remove the initial letter from a word meaning an insignificant amount.

10a Soldiers about to get church support (9)
{REINFORCE} – a charade of the abbreviation for the sappers, a phrase (2,3) meaning about to get and the abbreviation for the established church in England.

12a As milk may be — pure, and its use questionable (13)
{UNPASTEURISED} – an anagram (questionable) of PURE AND ITS USE.

14a Hit it and eat bananas (8)
{ATTAINED} – an anagram (bananas) of IT AND EAT.

15a Point that’s surprising preacher (6)
{MULLAH} – this Muslim theologian comes from a Scottish word for a point or headland and an interjection expressing surprise.

17a Trouble from South African farmer, about 55? (6)
{BOVVER} – an Afrikaner farmer contains a couple of fives.

19a A sort of love and lust that won’t end depression (8)
{ALVEOLUS} – I didn’t know this anatomical term for a small cavity or depression but the wordplay is fairly straightforward. A is followed by an anagram (sort) of LOVE then we finish with LUS[t].

21a Apt way to enter Rotary Club? (9,4)
{REVOLVING DOOR} – a neat cryptic definition.

24a Everybody say one soldier’s loyal (9)
{ALLEGIANT} – the surface here doesn’t read very well – everybody is a singular subject so I’d expect the verb to be ‘says’. I suppose that the ‘say’ could be an imperative but even then the surface doesn’t make much sense. The related noun meaning loyalty is common but the adjective, which is what we need here, is not and according to the BRB it’s Shakespearean. String together another word for everybody, the abbreviation meaning say or for instance, I (one) and the usual soldier insect.

25a Money partly stolen, or kept back (5)
{KRONE} – a Scandinavian currency is hidden (partly) and reversed (back) in the clue.

26a By cutting knot, turned to leave (4)
{EXIT} – the single letter meaning by or times goes inside (cutting) the reversal (turned) of a knot or bond.

27a Face worker hiding shrink from psychic (4-6)
{MIND-READER} – an underground face worker contains (hiding) a verb meaning to shrink from or have forebodings about.

Down Clues

1d Shame the line’s wrong (4)
{AWRY} – a North American interjection expressing disappointment (often followed by ‘shucks’) and an abbreviation for line or track.

2d Failure to pay  the usual amount (7)
{DEFAULT} – double definition, the second a pre-set of the most likely option which means that you only have to have to do any keying if you want something else.

3d Have a record-equalling crash? (5,4,1,3)
{SLEEP LIKE A LOG} – cryptic definition with crash here meaning to drop off.

4d Non-smoker cutting grass in Yorkshire town (8)
{BARNSLEY} – the abbreviation for a non-smoker is inserted (cutting, again – see 26a) a hardy grass or cereal crop.

5d They say bark’s used to make cloth (5)
{BAIZE} – this cloth, often used to cover tables, sounds like (they say) a synonym for bark or howl plus the ‘S.

7d Look — a uniform taken from middle of stock (7)
{PERUSAL} – string together another word for a (as in ’50p a kilo’) and an adjective meaning stock or customary without its middle letter (the letter that uniform is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet).

8d Short game? (5,5)
{SPEED CHESS} – this might seem to be just a not very cryptic definition if you were not aware that Nigel Short is an English grandmaster who was once good enough to play a match against Garry Kasparov.

11d Little sweet with lot in it? (7,6)
{FORTUNE COOKIE} – cryptic definition of a Chinese sweet containing a prediction of one’s lot or destiny.

13d Gibraltar resident wants locals to talk English (7,3)
{BARBARY APE} – string together a word for a local or pub, the same again, a verb to talk at length and E(nglish).

16d Damaged garden fences easily moved (8)
{BLIGHTED} – put another word for garden (or at least part of a garden where you might plant flowers) around (fences) an adjective meaning easily moved or insubstantial.

18d Composer‘s verses about one supermarket (7)
{VIVALDI} – the abbreviation for verse appears twice with I (one) between the two. After that we want the name of a ‘value’ supermarket which has prospered in the current recession.

20d Bloke restricting runs with balls (7)
{LARWOOD} – this is a brilliant all-in-one clue which I loved but I am anticipating complaints from non-cricket lovers that they have never heard of this pre-war England fast bowler. He was most famous for his ‘bodyline’ bowling in an Ashes test series in Australia in 1932-33; this involved bowling short and fast at the batsman’s body rather than the wicket (this well before the days of protective gear such as helmets) and aroused enormous controversy. Put another word for a bloke or a bit of a character around (restricting) R(uns) W(ith) and a couple of round objects.

22d National militants on TV panel game (5)
{IRAQI} – the abbreviation for the militants who opposed British rule in any part of Ireland precedes the name of the TV panel game hosted by Stephen Fry.

23d Comic needs way to escape ridicule (4)
{JEER} – a comic of ‘fool’ at a medieval court loses a two-letter abbreviation for a way or road.

I liked 3d and 13d but my favourite by a long way was 20d. How about you?



  1. Jezza
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this one; not too tough, although I failed to get 15a.
    Plenty of stuff to like, including 13d and 20d (no problem getting that one – I remember the Bodyline TV series).

    Many thanks to Elkamere, and to Gazza.

  2. spindrift
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Elkamere for being in clement mood & of course to Gazza.

    My sons & I are frequent visitors to the pub named after 20d & his team mate Bill Voce which is situated next to Trent Bridge.

  3. BigBoab
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    A bit like the “back pager” today, gentle but enjoyable, thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for the review.

  4. Pegasus
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Good puzzle and very enjoyable, 8d makes a quick return I think it was in Fridays Toughie, favourites for me were 13d and the brilliant 20d thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for the in-depth dissection.

  5. Dutch
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Nice solve though 20d
    luded me as would any obscure cricket clue. I also did not appreciate full significance of 8d. I also like 13d, 26a, and12a, where I was silly enough to start filling in the answer without the un, rapidly corrected but left a mess since I am a strictly ink person.

    Many thanks elkemere and gazza

  6. Angel
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Reasonably doable with exception of 10a plus cricket and chess clues where Gazza’s help was appreciated. Thanks Elkamere.

  7. Expat Chris
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Well, I don’t know what to say. It’s rare for me to just give up entirely with less than half completed, but I did on this one. My cricket knowledge is pathetic, I don’t follow the doings of chess players, and I don’t know anything about British TV programs except for the ones that are eventually imported here. So, suffice to say I did not enjoy this one bit. I certainly appreciated the review today, so many thanks to Gazza.

  8. gazza
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    It’s Dada tomorrow.

    • Expat Chris
      Posted May 21, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      Forewarned is forearmed! Maybe…

  9. happy days
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    A nice challenge. I thought 13d was particularly good. Lovely surface reading

  10. 2Kiwis
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    We found this one quite tricky and a lot of fun. Kept trying to guess who the setter was as it was very late appearing on the site. When we saw the word ‘MULL’ and the pangram thought perhaps Osmosis but we have had him recently so thought perhaps Dada but we don’t expect a pangram from him (perhaps we’ll be proved wrong today). A surprise to see Elkamere’s name eventually appear just as we were going to bed last night. We missed the subtlety of Short in 8d, had just thought it was a weak clue. The 20d cricketer popped into mind very quickly. Favourite clue 22d as we love the panel game, old series of which are being replayed on TV here at present. Really good stuff.
    Thanks Elkamere and Gazza.

  11. Robin Hill
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable crossword; some of the clues took a long time to work out, but they were very satisfying once fathomed. I liked particularly 8 down and 20 down.

  12. Salty Dog
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    A bit slow on the uptake after a long day afloat, but l love cricket so l should have seen 20d earlier than l did (it had occurred to me but l was too lazy to work out the clue properly). 19a was a new word for me, so l needed the hint to complete the grid. I’d rate this at 3*/3*, and choose 1a as my favourite clue. Thanks to Elkamere, and to Gazza for getting me over the finishing line.

  13. halcyon
    Posted May 22, 2014 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Enjoyed this a lot and even tho I know little about cricket I think 20d is superb [and reasonably fair once some checkers are in]. Also loved 13d.
    Less convinced about 8d. As you suggest Gazza, I initially thought it was a rather feeble cryptic def. Now I know who Nigel Short is I still think it’s a rather feeble cryptic def. So Short game = chess and a short game is a speedy one – is that it? Mutter, mutter….

    Many thanks to Elkamere and Gazza.

  14. Catnap
    Posted May 22, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this a great deal, but found it rather tricky in places. I did manage to complete it without hints, but needed explanations for the parsing of 7d and 20d. I didn’t know who Nigel Short is, so completely missed the subtlety of 8d.

    My fave was 13d I also liked 3d very much, and 6a as well as the homophone, 5d.

    Many thanks to Elkamere for a most entertaining crossword and to Gazza for a most excellent review.

  15. Molly
    Posted June 21, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    thanks for the super review. I could do most of this, needing just some confirmation of wordplay, and though I guessed 25ac I completely failed to see the missing word – as usual!