Toughie 1204 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1204

Toughie No 1204 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I filled the grid in without much difficulty but there were four answers whose wordplay had eluded me. I have since sorted these out with varying degrees of success (from total success to total failure)

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1a    Owner tinted path unusually to enjoy celebration (5,3,4,3)
{PAINT THE TOWN RED} An anagram (unusually) of OWNER TINTED PATH = to enjoy a bout of unbridled revelry or celebration

9a    Mars Socialist and French design beforehand (3,6)
{RED PLANET} Mars (the heavenly body) = Socialist + the French word for ‘and’ after ‘design’

10a    Stroke’s foot shoots back (5)
{SERIF} A short decorative foot at the end of a stroke on a printed character = a reversal of ‘shoots (a gun)’

11a    Everything goes on egg production unit (7)
{OVARIES} If everything goes on then nothing (O) changes. The answer = female reproductive glands

12a    Swift person jailed heartless US marshal? (7)
{LAPUTAN} An inhabitant of a flying island in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. I haven’t yet worked out the wordplay and I have to go out now so Big Dave will have to add the explanation. [BD thinks that to jail is to PUT inside and the heartless US marshal is a LA[wm]AN – so PUT inside LAAN – but he’s not impressed.]

13a    Partner to ram breakwaters regularly (3)
{EWE} A female sheep uses every third letter of brEakWatErs

14a    Machine‘s not American but red (7)
{APPARAT} Remove US (American) from the end of a machine to get the political machine of a Communist party (i.e. a red machine)

17a    Return most of card holding metallic smooth material (7)
{SATINET} A reversal of ‘to card (wool)’ after removal of the last letter goes round ‘metallic (or made of a particular metal)’

19a    Problem of heavy drinker with half pint instead of eight (7)
{PUZZLER} The abbreviation for pint is PT and therefore a half pint = P. Eight pints is a gallon which is abbreviated to G. So the answer is obtained by taking a word for a heavy drinker and changing G (eight pints) into P (half pint). Has anyone got a better explanation?

22a    Tiger perhaps eating idiot with a sweet (7)
{CASSATA} A tiger perhaps round an idiot + A = ice cream containing candied fruit and nuts

24a    Sound of drink causing trouble (3)
{AIL} A homophone of unhopped beer

25a    Neat soldier hiding identity used by agent causing deterioration (7)
{OXIDANT} Neat (a bovine mammal) and a soldier (of the insect variety) round the abbreviation for ‘identity’

26a    Girl you heard hire small band (7)
{ANNULET} A girl’s name + the letter that sounds like ‘you’ + ‘to hire’

28a    Elliptical barrel retained by old European (5)
{OVATE} A barrel inside O (old) E (European)

29a    13, quarantined from relation, suggestive of kidney disease (9)
{NEPHROTIC} Take words meaning a relation (kinsman) and ‘suggestive (smutty)’ and remove the answer to 13 across (two letters from the end of the first word and the third letter from the start of the second word). This gives an adjective relating to a disease of the kidney characterized by non-inflammatory degeneration of the tubules

30a    Cover insane vote cast with Bush’s persuasion? (15)
{NEOCONSERVATIVE} An anagram (cast) of COVER INSANE VOTE = an adjective relating to a political movement that peaked in influence during the presidency of George W Bush


1d    You or I manoeuvring planes on poor run (8,7)
{PERSONAL PRONOUN} ‘You’ and ‘I’ are examples of this type of word which is an anagram (manoeuvring) of PLANES ON POOR RUN

2d    Retain dialect found in country? On the contrary (5)
{INDIA} This country is hidden in retaIN DIAlect

3d    One who keeps score gets everyone in row (7)
{TALLIER} Everyone in a row (line or rank)

4d    Hot and determined controller (7)
{HANDSET} H (hot) + AND + ‘determined’

5d    Gives away secret odds and ends and lets loose (7)
{TATTLES} Odds and ends of little real value + an anagram (loose) of LETS

6d    Psalmist’s view of Moab, stood on height over basin (7)
{WASHPOT} This is a reference to Psalms 60:8 or 108:9 (Moab is my *******). I am not sure of the wordplay. Chambers gives ‘to stand’ = ‘to be’ so it could be ‘stood’ + H (height) + a basin. I thought at first that ‘height over’ = a reversal of height and was TOP reversed but this didn’t get me anywhere.

7d    Hope country shows play about robots and fairy being beheaded (9)
{RURITANIA} The fictional country in Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda and Rupert of Hentzau = the title of the science fiction play by Karel Čapek which originated the word “robot” + the queen of the fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the first letter removed. Three literary references in one clue! Is this a record?

8d    It’s the item fixed first (8,7)
{DEFINITE ARTICLE} An item with ‘fixed’ in front of it

15d    Plucked tail off Italian grub found on pet I love to hold (9)
{PIZZICATO} A musical term meaning ‘plucked’ + an item of Italian food with the last letter removed + a household pet inside I and O (love)

16d    Hail falling in Mojave Desert (3)
{AVE} Hail (as in *** Maria) is found in MojAVE Desert. It seems a bit weak

18d    Language having little advantage to American (3)
{ADA} A computer-programming language = a short form of advantage + A (American)

20d    Plain inhabitant wants ring back, left short of $100 by notorious fiddler (7)
{LLANERO} An inhabitant of one of the vast steppes or plains in the northern part of South America = a reversal of ‘to ring (on the telephone) after removal of C ($100) + a Roman emperor who fiddled

21d    Sharp scolding succeeded with members of crew (7)
{RATINGS} A sharp scolding + S (succeeded) = sailors

22d    One who applauds / striker (7)
{CLAPPER} 2 meanings: one who applauds/a striker (in a bell)

23d    Drink celebrated return appearance (7)
{SANGRIA} A Spanish wine punch = ‘celebrated’ + a reversal of ‘appearance’

27d    Stick in city to hit delinquent (5)
{LATHI} A word for a long heavy stick used as a weapon = an American city + an anagram (delinquent) of HIT

Is there a Nina? If so I haven’t spotted it

17 comments on “Toughie 1204

  1. Thanks to MynoT and Bufo, I can’t decide if I enjoyed this or not, not really a toughie but one or two amusing clues. I agree re 12a, and I’m not overly impressed either.


  2. A fairly nice puzzle spoilt by the vagueness of 12ac and 6dn. I agree with both Bufo and BD that these are less than perfect. And it wouldn’t be like me not to object to 18dn on my usual grounds of IT-phobia.
    Thanks to all.

  3. Most of this went in very quickly, apart from the last few, which I found quite difficult to perceive.
    Many thanks to MynoT, and to Bufo.

  4. I came up short on 6D (had washtub at first for no good reason) and 12A (I’m often bemused by what setters think are American everyday expressions). I had the correct answer for 7D but didn’t get the literary references. I did like 1D, 8D and 25A. Thanks to Bufo for the review and to MynoT.

  5. I thought there was some very convoluted wordplay in this one, favourites were 8d 10a and 27d thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for the unravelling.

  6. Telegraph Toughie 1204. I think 17a is ‘Satinet’ Return most of card = ‘saet’ A card might be a tease.

  7. Still coming to terms with the toughie and had to use Bufo a good deal- thanks. Hated 6d and couldn’t see rationale for 12a though got from Swift.
    Generally easier/less convoluted than yesterdays I think.

  8. Sorry to be both ignorant and thick but on 7 down (which I did get through “hope country” but not at all being able to parse it (apart from Tania) I am still puzzled After looking up KC from your blog I found RUR If poor Tania is to be beheaded then I am left with IT Where does that come from?

  9. Less difficult than usual as I was able to get a few clues! Almost completed it thanks to Bufo… Bufo, what is a Nina? Many thanks to MynoT to give me hope that one day I will be able to solve a Toughie!

    1. You need to read the FAQ!


      It starts with “A Nina is a hidden feature in a crossword.” :-)

  10. Well, thanks to Myno T for what l found a pretty stiff Toughie, and to Bufo for helping me get the four or five which completely eluded me. I have to say I’ve never heard of either 17a or 18d, and l thought both 6d and 12a were pretty obscure. But then, I’m thick! As an example, my solution to 28a was”ovoid” (and it works if you consider Ovid as an old European) so l was pretty much snookered in the SW corner. All in all l would have to rate this at 4* at least.

  11. Bit of a mixed bag for us. Did not take us too long, probably because the four long border answers came fairly easily giving lots of checkers. However there were several where we had to use a dictionary or google to confirm obscurities, eg 20d, 18d and 6d.
    Thanks MynoT and Bufo.

  12. Another visit to the Senior Common Room with MynoT. [12a, 6d, 7d etc].
    Agree with Bufo and others about the shortcomings of some overly obscure clues [12a, 19a]. However, all is forgiven by the masterly and highly topical 30a. Think of our dear mother of parliaments and then recent events in Iraq .

    Thanks to MynoT and Bufo

  13. Bimey, Giovanni doesn’t stoop this low in the depths for obscurities. Understand why Bufo had to go out.

  14. My first objective with a puzzle is to be entertained ,but do not mind expanding my vocabulary with obscure words that I may use again ? but clued in a comprehensible manner with assistance from the checking letters .I solved it so mission achieved Myno T but would I use the obscurities ever again ? If I had to pick a favourite it would be 10a because of its simplicity .
    Thanks yet again Bufo

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