Toughie 1283

Toughie No 1283 by Elkamere

Elementary, my dear Watson

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I’m pretty sure that I completed this in record time for an Elkamere or Anax puzzle, which means either that I’m getting better at them (unlikely, given the rate of disappearance of my brain cells) or (more probably) that Elkamere is in a charitable frame of mind. That said, I did enjoy it a great deal, especially the brilliant 5d and 11a.

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 Doctor doing time, apparently, for caper (6)
GAMBOL – one of the abbreviation for a medical doctor placed where he or she would be if serving a prison sentence.

5a Compliments when collecting duplicate pages to be recalled (8)
APPLAUDS – a conjunction meaning when contains the reversal of an adjective meaning duplicate (a carriageway, say) and the abbreviation for pages.

9a Killer‘s left — I pound at doors regularly (10)
LIQUIDATOR – string together L(eft), I, an informal word for a pound, AT and the even letters of doors.

10a Bay tree with leaves (4)
ROAN – another name for the mountain-ash tree with the W(ith) leaving.

11a Set height 5 Down? (8)
HARDENED – start with H(eight) then use the whole of the answer to 5d to get the rest.

12a US city in recently founded US state (6)
NEWARK – a charade of ‘recently founded’ and the zip code for a US state.

13a One can’t be trusted with big names around (4)
SPIV – reverse the abbreviation for big names or important people.

15a I went to restaurant and … set up (8)
INITIATE – split the answer (2,2,1,3) to get the missing bit of the clue.

18a Simple name for complicated problems (2-6)
NO-FRILLS – N(ame) followed by an anagram (complicated) of FOR and problems or pains.

19a Failing speech when love’s departed (4)
VICE – remove the letter resembling zero or love from speech or articulation.

21a Horse on Scottish hill (3,3)
RED RUM – our most famous steeplechaser comes from a preposition meaning on or concerning followed by a hill or ridge in Scotland.

23a If necessary, an easy goal by centre-half (2,1,5)
AT A PINCH – an easy goal from short distance (1,3-2) followed by the abbreviation for centre-half.

25a A planet in ruins (4)
MARS – double definition.

26a See, in fictional work, big-time animosity (2,4,4)
NO LOVE LOST – insert an exclamation meaning see or behold into a written work of fiction, then finish with the abbreviation for very big in clothing sizes and T(ime).

27a Empty box with shell-like lining (5,3)
CLEAR OUT – a verb to box or thump has inside it (with … lining) what shell-like is an informal and jocular term for (because said body part looks a bit like a mollusc’s shell).

28a An ecologist with a cold? Yes (6)
AGREED – what an ecologist (1,5) may sound like when spoken by someone with a cold.

Down Clues

2d Spirit central to Andean imagery (5)
ANIMA – hidden at the centre of the last two words.

3d Given warning spring’s at an end? (5,4)
BOUND OVER – this is the official warning (to behave in future, or else …) that may have been pronounced at the Magistrates’ Court. It’s a charade of a verb to spring or leap and an adverb meaning at an end or completed.

4d Shipment delay besets ‘Speed’ (film) (6)
LADING – this is an old word for putting cargo on a ship or the cargo itself. A verb to delay or fall behind contains (besets) the abbreviation for the unit of measurement of the speed of photographic film.

5d ACD’s is an utterly original novel (1,5,2,7)
A STUDY IN SCARLET – I saw the answer to this straight away but held off writing in the answer (since I don’t subscribe to the ‘if it fits bung it in’ philosophy) because I couldn’t see what was cryptic about it. Then the brilliance of the clue dawned on me – it’s an anagram (original) of ACD’S IS AN UTTERLY. ACD is of course the creator of the great detective and the answer is the title of the latter’s first adventure.

6d Detective, facing charge, turned suspicious (8)
PARANOID – the abbreviation for the rank of a senior detective in the CID is followed by ‘facing (criminal) charge’ (2,1,3) then the whole lot gets reversed (turned).

7d Actress denied introduction to film director (5)
ARROW – the surname of the actress who was married to both Frank Sinatra and André Previn (but not at the same time) without the first letter of F(ilm).

8d Help over judge’s accent? (9)
DIACRITIC – reverse (over) a word meaning help and follow this with a judge or reviewer.

14d Ring is perfect in copper, completely (5,4)
PHONE CALL – insert a verb to perfect or sharpen into the rank of a copper, then add an adverb meaning completely or totally.

16d Fancy relieving the seductive type (9)
INVEIGLER – an anagram (fancy) of RELIEVING.

17d Angry over being given large bill? (8)
FLAMINGO – this creature (being) equipped with a large bill is a charade of an adjective meaning angry or seething and the cricket abbreviation for over.

20d Starts to leave after travelling through country (6)
LATVIA – string together the starting letters of three words and the preposition (from Latin) meaning through.

22d A celebrity recycled as religious adherent (5)
RASTA – a celebrity (1,4) with the last letter cycled round to the front.

24d Standing, and the rest will rise without seeing that (5)
CASTE – an abbreviation meaning ‘and the rest’ is reversed (will rise) and contains (without) a conjunction meaning ‘seeing that’ or because.

The clues I liked best in reverse order (as the Miss World results used to be announced) were 17d, 11a (superbly spotted) and the brilliant semi-all-in-one 5d. Let us know which one(s) you liked.



  1. halcyon
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Agree about 5d/11a Gazza. Also loved 23a [tho’ it seemed familiar]; 17d [demonstrating Elkamere’s ability to hide his definitions] and 4d [having struggled with “iso” for a while].
    28a is pretty groanworthy!
    Thanks for the analysis and thanks to Elkamere for a fun workout.

  2. Heno
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for the review and hints. I am beginning to despair about attempting Toughies. I managed to get 4 answers. Then I copied all the definitions, which yielded absolutely nothing. Then I looked at the hints, which produced exactly the same. So I ended up looking up the rest. To make matters worse I still can’t understand 11a and 4d.

    • gazza
      Posted October 29, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      11a is H(eight) followed by A and then DEN (study) in RED (scarlet). So you’re using the whole answer to 5d as the wordplay after the H.
      4d is LAG (delay) containing DIN (film speed).

    • gazza
      Posted October 29, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      When the blog started we used to give more explicit hints, really spelling out the answer, So for 1a I might have written “Doing time means in gaol, so we have to put MB (abbreviation for doctor) inside GAOL to make a verb to frolic.” However we got comments saying that was too explicit and what people wanted was a nudge in the right direction rather than an exact breakdown of the answer.
      If you don’t understand a hint please do continue to ask for a fuller explanation.

      • Heno
        Posted October 29, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        Many thanks Gazza, I appreciate what you are saying. I’d not heard of the film speed, and couldn’t fathom the hint for 11a. Thanks again for explaining; both are now clear. I can’t help feeling out of my depth, when I don’t even understand the hints, but I shall persevere with the Toughie. I can normally finish the back pager without help, but I’m finding it really difficult to step up to the Toughie.

  3. Pegasus
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant puzzle, thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish, favourites among a host of others were 1a 5d 6d and 11a thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for the review.

  4. Tony
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I was fortunate in recognizing the anagram in 5d, and that launched me on a very enjoyable tussle. I was defeated, as I usually am, by tress and plants (roan in this case). I did not get, but should have, arrow in 7d. Forgive me, I had not heard of Red Rum – I was aiming aiming at Ben something! Even with the the explanation (and thank you, as always, for them), I am not sure I understand 28 ac.

    • gazza
      Posted October 29, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      As halcyon (above) says 28a is a bit of a groaner. An ecologist is A GREEN but if you have a cold this may come out as A GREED when you say it.

    • gazza
      Posted October 29, 2014 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      It’s not surprising that those not living in the UK have never heard of Red Rum. Some sports have international exposure and others don’t – I’ve only ever heard of one Canadian hockey player.

      • pommers
        Posted October 29, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        One more than me then :lol:

        • gazza
          Posted October 29, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          … and I can’t spell his name. :D

          • Dutch
            Posted October 29, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

            Gretzky? Guessing the spelling…

            • gazza
              Posted October 29, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

              That’s the one. Wayne, I think.

              • Expat Chris
                Posted October 29, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

                The Great One! Awesome player.

          • Tony
            Posted October 29, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for explanation for 28a – got it now!

      • pommers
        Posted October 29, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        Being a petrol head I have heard of Gilles Villeneuve (my second hero after the late, great Ayrton) and his son Jacques.

        • andy
          Posted October 29, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

          So you would have got the theme in the Guarniad pommers I am in a darkened room, as cryptic sue says Wednesdays are the new Friday.

  5. Rick
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    If that’s a two star I think I will plead a subsequent engagement when a hard one comes along!

  6. Dutch
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Very proud of myself, with the exception of the race horse (not familiair) i finishend this without dictionary or WiFi on the plane to lisbon, where i am currently enjoying 24 deg by the poolside overlooking the sea in cascais. I had not fully appreciated the all in one nature of 5d until iread the review just now, thanks gazza. A brilliant puzzle, very enjoyable, and took some doing – many thanks elkemere – too many favourites to mention – 11a and 15a made me grin, as Well as 26a

  7. spindrift
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    re:4d – in our business we still refer to a ‘bill of lading’ as opposed to the new ‘sea waybill’. it harks back to a previous era but to my ears sounds more fitting.

  8. KiwiColin
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Did this one on my own and really enjoyed it after the (unnecessary) stress of doing the other blog, NE corner was the last to yield. I never trust myself with film people but as it turned out I had heard of this one and didn’t need a director person anyway. We are not racing followers but RED RUM seems to have made it on to the world stage. It was the Scottish hill that needed checking in BRB. Really enjoyed it.
    Thanks Elkamere and Gazza.

  9. Expat Chris
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    This took me forever! Definitely a case of read a clue and carry it around in my head while I did other things until it resolved itself. 9A came to me when I was washing my hair! I found it more than enough of a challenge, but did manage all except 7D and 10A. I needed the review to understand my answers for 4D and 15A. As is often the case with me, when I finally got the answers to troublesome clues and resolved the wordplay, they became favorites just because I’d triumphed. So today I’m nominating 1, 9, 11 and 23A and 5D. Thank you Elkamere and Gazza.

    • Franco
      Posted October 29, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Spot the American spelling! Tut! Tut!

      • Expat Chris
        Posted October 29, 2014 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        Tut tut? Really? Let me give you a gentle hint. My”name” is Expat Chris. If that doesn’t help, maybe that I live in Maryland will. That’s Maryland in the USA in case you didn’t know.

  10. Jezza
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    4*/4* for me. A most enjoyable puzzle that took a while to elicit the last few answers.
    Many thanks to Elkamere, and to Gazza for the dissection.

  11. Franco
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    22d – the Rasta one. I guess I will never understand what is and what is not “an indirect anagram”.

    A really enjoyable Toughie from Elkamere and the usual Cartesian review from gazza.

    I have no idea how I managed to see 5d so quickly! But I did.

    • halcyon
      Posted October 29, 2014 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Good point Franco. 22d is very close to being an indirect anagram – but it just scrapes in as Kosher because “recycled” tells you to cycle the letters round [as Gazza explains] rather than jumbling them up.
      Does that help?

  12. jean-luc cheval
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Definitely not my cup of tea. I was left with so many unsolved clues I had to read the review over and over. For 7d I was thinking of woody Allen and it’s funny it should be his ex that was mentioned. I was looking for some dialect something for 8d. For 12a I thought the abbreviation for Arkansas was only AR. Expat Chris will probably correct me if I am wrong. No luck either with SE corner. 28a is the worst sounds like I have ever heard. I was very proud however to find some more difficult answers like the dual pp of 5a and the long anagram of 5d for which I also had ” a dancer is slutty” thanks to elkamere and gazza for the review

    • Expat Chris
      Posted October 29, 2014 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      AR is indeed the official 2-letter postal code for Arkansas. However, I have seen several instances in crosswords ( and here in the USA too) where a 3-letter abbreviation is used…Fla for Florida, Cal for California, and also the 4-letter Mass for Massachusetts. I’ve yet to come across the 5-letter Penna for Pennsylvania that can still be seen on some road signs.

      • gazza
        Posted October 29, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        Chambers XWD Abbreviations Dictionary gives a list of 2-character state abbreviations (e.g. AR for Arkansas) as you say, but it also gives a zip code for each state which can be from 2 to 5 characters long, e.g. Arkansas is ARK, South Dakota is SDAK, Massachusetts is MASS and Pennsylvania is PA. The only 5-letter one is CALIF for California.

        • jean-luc cheval
          Posted October 29, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

          If abbreviation madness goes to the next stage, we will probably have the three letters airport denominations to learn by heart.

        • Expat Chris
          Posted October 29, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

          That’s interesting, because the official state abbreviation IS the US Postal Service zip code (zip code being a mail destination identifier, the same as your post code). Mine, for instance, is MD followed by an area location number. Sometimes I wonder about Chambers…

          • jean-luc cheval
            Posted October 29, 2014 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

            I really believe the UK postcodes are the best ever. You can almost pinpoint a house. I have tried to send a letter once with just the name and the post code and it arrived.

          • gazza
            Posted October 29, 2014 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

            I’ve done a bit more research and what the XWD Abbreviations Dictionary calls zip codes seem to correspond with the ‘Old GPO’ codes in the Wikipedia article here.

            • jean-luc cheval
              Posted October 29, 2014 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

              Elkamere’s ears must be burning.

            • Expat Chris
              Posted October 29, 2014 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

              Thank you for that. I learned something new. Maybe setters should preface 3-letter State abbreviation references with “old”!

  13. Derek
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    An enjoyable toughie!

    Faves : 15a and 5d.

    Weather in NL now much colder.

  14. Jane
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Thought I’d done really well to get within three of the finishing line – until I read gazza’s opening lines! I’m afraid the excellence of 5d&11a passed me by – 5d was a vaguely remembered book title and 11a was a ‘bung-in’ that just fitted with ‘set’.
    Didn’t know the film speed abb. in 4d (but had recalled the word for shipment!) and missed out on the parsing for 20d.
    Many thanks to Elkamore for boosting my confidence at this new ‘Toughie’ game and to gazza for his great explanations. Also thanks for taking me back in time with the clip of Manfredd Mann. Saw them years ago in Manchester – think it could have been at the uni. – and fell desperately in love with Paul Jones!

  15. Salty Dog
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m pleased to say that l completed this one (which l have to score at 4*/4*) without having to resort to Gazza’s hints, except to check how l should have arrived at some of my (correct) solutions. My initial favourite was 26a, but was superseded by 11a once Gazza had explained it to me! My only complaint is that – in equine colour terms – a bay is definitely not the same as a roan. Still, many thanks to Elkamere, and to Gazza.

  16. andy
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    So late on parade it’s all been said, the fabulous 5d and 11a.made my day. Thanks to Elkamere and Gazza as always

  17. Chris
    Posted October 30, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    is there any worse come-down than struggling with a toughie, finishing it without the hints, feeling very pleased with oneself, then going on line and finding it scores ** for difficulty! At least others thought it ****!

    • gazza
      Posted October 30, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Sorry! If it’s any consolation I sometimes struggle with Toughies which others rate as **.