Toughie 1229

Toughie No 1229 by proXimal

Vlad still rules, OK!

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

Not yet quite up to the standard set for Friday Toughies by Elgar, but a very pleasant puzzle nonetheless.

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    One’s embracing and not about to display restraint (5)
IRONS – I (one) and the S from ‘S around the reversal (about) of a word meaning “and not” gives a form of restraint

4a    Right routes to block South American’s acerbity (9)
SURLINESS – R(ight) and some routes inside (to block) S(outh) and the two-letter abbreviation American

9a    A way swine butts into recording material (9)
CARDBOARD – the A from the clue, the two-letter abbreviation for a way and a male swine all inside a type of recording (relatively modern this time!)

10a    Harry Houdini, bereft of any ego, struggling (5)
HOUND – an anagram (struggling) of HOUD(I)N(I) without

11a    Like some wine poured after halfway through meal? (7)
REDDISH – the second half of [pou]RED followed by a meal

12a    Fungus left over that’s used in some brandies (7)
MORELLO – a type of fungus followed by L(eft) and O(ver)

13a    In recess, house contains silver idols (6)
IMAGES – the reversal (in recess) of a type of suburban house around the chemical symbol for silver

15a    King died, pierced by apparently large invader in the garden (8)
KNOTWEED – K(ing) and D(ied) around (pierced by) a phrase meaning large, expressed as a negative (3,3)

18a    Vague posh character twice interrupting nobles, excitedly (8)
NEBULOUS – the usual character used to represent posh inserted into (interrupting) two different (twice) parts of an anagram (excitedly) of NOBLES

20a    Vessel in reverse to drag fawn (6)
KOWTOW – the reversal of the vessel which you might use to stir-fry followed by a verb meaning to drag

23a    Initially, angler takes bait and tackle (7)
ATTEMPT – the initial letters of two words in the clue followed by a verb meaning to bait or entice

24a    Cutting class, about to go quickly and quietly (7)
SNIPPET – to get this newspaper cutting put a class or group around a verb meaning to go quickly and the musical notation for quietly

26a    Asian city wall has angry guards (5)
LHASA – hidden (guards) inside the clue

27a    Dull auntie oddly entertained by prisoner (9)
INANIMATE – the odd letters of A[u]N[t]I[e] inside a prisoner

28a    Shoot from cultivated leeks cut by father and daughter (9)
SKEDADDLE – this verb meaning to shoot or run off hurriedly is derived from an anagram (cultivated) of LEEKS around (cut by) a three-letter word for father and D(aughter)

29a    Cheesed off after run’s left uncovered (5)
NAKED – start with a colloquial word meaning cheesed off and drop (left) the R(un)


1d    Arouse love to block evil hostile action (9)
INCURSION – a verb meaning to arouse or become subject to followed by O (love) inside a three-letter word meaning evil

2d    Dead-headed rose, used bladed implement (5)
OARED – the initial letter is removed (dead-headed) from a verb meaning rose or increased quickly

3d    Sandwich with fruit, awesome (7)
SUBLIME – a sandwich, so named because of its shape, followed by a citrus fruit

4d    Damage agricultural tool scrubbing yard for head of abbey (6)
SCATHE – start with an agricultural tool and drop (scrubbing) the Y(ard) and replace it with the initial letter (head) of A[bbey]

5d    Basic uniform, stupid to get torn outside (8)
RUDIMENT – U(niform) and an adjective meaning stupid inside (get … outside) a verb meaning torn

6d    Come into popular hospital weary, on reflection (7)
INHERIT – the usual two-letter word for popular followed by H(ospital) and the reversal (on reflection) of a verb meaning to weary

7d    Gold that is found in surgical department makes one exuberant (9)
EBULLIENT – an alternative word for the gold on an archery target and the Latin abbreviation for “that is” inside the usual hospital department

8d    Uncool fellow‘s weird when turning up (5)
SADDO – the reversal (turning up) of words meaning weird and when

14d    Tackled by a biter bizarrely, inform referee (9)
ARBITRATE – an anagram (bizarrely) of A BITER around (tackled by) a verb meaning to inform

16d    Doctor hosting private therapy primarily to stop economic decline (9)
DOWNTREND – D(octo)R around (hosting) a three-letter adjective meaning private or personal and the initial letter (primarily) of T[herapy] and followed by a verb meaning to stop

17d    Made respectful gesture, better to welcome in first to turn up (8)
CURTSIED – an adjective meaning better or recovered from illness around the reversal of the letters that look like the abbreviated form of first

19d    Dance graduate in foreign car (7)
LAMBADA – a graduate in business administration inside a Russian (foreign) car

21d    Take ordinary engineering item (7)
OPINION – this take or viewpoint comes from a charade of O(rdinary) and an engineering item which is usually paired with a rack to turn rotatory into linear motion or vice versa

22d    Avoid the computing scene? (6)
ESCAPE – split as (1-5) this could be, but isn’t, a computing scene

23d    Mythological figure a sailor upset (5)
ATLAS – the A from the clue followed by the reversal (upset in a down clue) of one of the usual words for a sailor

25d    Stunt, parking where taxis park (5)
PRANK – P(arking) followed by where taxis park

Following the (almost) unanimous acclaim for the new spoiler facility I have dropped the curly brackets that have been used on this site for over five years.



  1. Pegasus
    Posted July 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one, favourites were 3d 15a and 22d thanks to proximal and to Big Dave for the comments.

  2. halcyon
    Posted July 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed it too. Sufficiently tough to justify its Friday slot without being a whole day’s struggle.

    Favourites – 1a, 10a, 23a, 4d and [for its topicality] 14d.

    Many thanks to proXimal and to BD [there’s a bit missing at the end of 10a]

  3. elcid
    Posted July 25, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Took me a while and for the life of me I could not get 24a – a “doh” moment after reading BD’s hint. However, much enjoyed and thanks to ProXimal and DB for that necessary hint!

  4. 2Kiwis
    Posted July 25, 2014 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    We completed after a bit longer than usual solving time. Eventually got a bit tired of putting together little bits and pieces so felt it was a bit of a slog without many AHAA moments. 24a was our last one to yield.
    Thanks ProXimal and BD.

  5. upthecreek
    Posted July 25, 2014 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this puzzle immensely. Was going very well but ground to a halt in NW corner. I finally cracked 2d and tis was my favourite and a big aaaagh moment. Also liked 1d 1a 4 9 15 18 24 etc etc. The last 2 Fridays have been really good toughies. I much prefer this type of puzzle to the overcomplicated efforts that normally fill this slot.

  6. JonP
    Posted July 25, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Found this slightly less demanding than the Giovanni back-pager. Still used electronic help for a few clues but it seemed more enjoyable.

    Thanks to BD and ProXimal.

  7. Only fools
    Posted July 25, 2014 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Like Up the creek 2d last one in by quite a margin ,personal favouriite 15a a satisfying solve but I have to be honest found it somewhat humourless but for me a difficult challenge so thanks ProXimal and BD

  8. BigBoab
    Posted July 25, 2014 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to ProXimal and BD, fun but not a toughie.

  9. Robin Hill
    Posted July 26, 2014 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    I hadn’t enjoyed ProXimal’s most recent Thursday puzzle very much, so I was pleasantly surprised by this one, which had plenty of challenges, but didn’t take me all day to complete ! I particularly liked 15a, 28a, 9a, and the silly but amusing 3d.

  10. Reggie
    Posted July 26, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    LHS of crossword took a lot of thought and I really enjoyed most of the answers when I had solved. RHS was a different kettle of fish and I really struggled. Ta to BD for pointers and while difficult I really enjoyed/. I’d give it ****/****

  11. Chris Ethan
    Posted August 2, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed it too. Sufficiently tough to justify its Friday slot without being a whole day’s struggle.
    Favourites – 1a, 10a, 23a, 4d and [for its topicality] 14d.
    Thanks for this nice puzzle.

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