Toughie 1300

Toughie No 1300 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A straightforward Thursday puzzle. Only the time spent justifying the last couple of answers raised it above 1* for difficulty.

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    Bucket filling boat’s pipes (6)
TUBING: A bucket goes inside a boat that tows

4a    Logo British Library originally displayed in wider spaces (6)
EMBLEM: The abbreviation for (and first letters of) British Library goes between two occurrences of a space in printing that is wider than an ‘en’

8a    Pure metal used in lever (8)
PRISTINE: A metal goes inside ‘to lever’

10a    Confident guy to escape during bank job, heading off (6)
EGOIST: ‘To escape’ goes inside an armed robbery with the first letter removed

11a    Function not covering a large town (4)
CITY: Take an 8-letter word meaning ‘the position or function in which one does something’ and remove a 3-letter covering and the letter A from the front

12a    Outrageous order to soldiers now part of history? (4-3-3)
OVER THE TOP: The order is one given to soldiers in the trenches during WW1

13a    Source of eloquence in sonnet barely translated (7,5)
BLARNEY STONE: An anagram (translated) of SONNET BARELY

16a    Better push to secure good meal (6,6)
FINGER BUFFET: ‘Better’ round G (good) + ‘to push’

20a    Wet and raw, spinning on bank? It may be (5,5)
WATER WHEEL: An anagram (spinning) of WET RAW + ‘to bank’. The answer may spin by the bank of a stream

21a    Christmas mostly expressing manger, primarily, as this? (4)
CRIB: Take an informal 6-letter word for Christmas and remove the last letter and also the letter M (first letter of manger). The manger in the stable in Bethlehem was used as such

22a    Modern artist‘s nonsense: hard, and the reverse of acceptable (6)
ROTHKO: The surname of a US painter (1903-1970) = nonsense + H (hard) + a reversal of ‘acceptable’

23a    Personal cover question following violin getting cut (5,3)
STRAW HAT: A type of headgear = a violin with the last letter removed + a question

24a    No rubbish with English being put on paper (6)
NOTATE: NO + rubbish + E (English)

25a    Disease of sailors? Sailor initially affected with the bends (6)
SCURVY: S (the first letter of sailor) + ‘bendy’


1d    Wrong and wrong again — no profit in Mexican food (8)
TORTILLA: ‘Wrong’ + ‘wrong’ + AGAIN with a word meaning ‘profit’ removed

2d    Domineering sons jabbing schoolfellow? (5)
BOSSY: S (son) and S (son) inside a male child

3d    Unpleasant rumour about senior honour (7)
NOISOME: A rumour goes round an honour restricted to a maximum of 24 living recipients

5d    Conductor left, avoiding endless turmoil (7)
MAESTRO: Remove L (left) and the last letter from a word for ‘turmoil’ derived from a whirlpool

6d    John feels upset about article expected to have more sheets (5-4)
LOOSE-LEAF: A john (toilet) + an anagram (upset) of FEELS round A (article)

7d    Nuts throttling firm’s good luck symbol (6)
MASCOT: Nuts (e,g from oak, beech and chestnut) round the abbreviation for a firm

9d    Various events — timeless happenings — matching in worth (4-7)
EVEN-STEVENS: An anagram (various) of EVENTS + ‘happenings’ with the letter T (time) removed. Not much of an anagram is it?

14d    Attack with the gun could do for flier (5-4)
RIFLE SHOT: The first word is an anagram of FLIER and the second word is an anagram indicator

15d    Cycle aid cracked, displaying fragile quality (8)
DELICACY: An anagram (cracked) of CYCLE AID

17d    Not a vintage town (7)
NEWPORT: This is a town in the Isle of Wight or Shropshire (and a city in Wales). When split (3,4) it reveals that a type of fortified wine is not vintage

18d    Belt for weapons, stark (not entirely opulent) (7)
BALDRIC: ‘Stark’ + ‘opulent’ with the last letter removed

19d    Artistic group that’s gathered round bar (6)
SALOON: An artistic group (or exhibition of artistic works) goes round O (round) to give a bar in a pub

21d    Ranch-hand, dodging blow, is to show fear (5)
COWER: Take a 10-letter word for a herder of cattle and remove a 5-letter word for a blow (with the fist)

What can I say that hasn’t been said before?



  1. Pegasus
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Another back-pager masquerading as a Toughie, thanks to Kcit and Bufo.

  2. Expat Chris
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Well, I enjoyed it! Doesn’t have to be ultra-clever for me to get satisfaction from the solve. I liked 14D and 19D in particular. Thanks Kcit and Bufo.

  3. dutch
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Finished reasonably quickly, but struggled a bit with the clues that involved thinking of a bigger word only to leave most of it out, like 11a (have only just realised what the function is!) and 21d (I couldn’t think of the right blow despite having the answer)

    very enjoyable, liked13a (topic of a recent DIY Clueing contest), 16a, and the repeating clues 1d (wrong & wrong) and 9d (event and event – though i thought actually using event twice in the clue might have been more interesting)

    stupidly struggled to parse 1a stuck on tub for bucket

    Many thanks Kcit and bufo

  4. Derek
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Good solve today!

    Faves : 10a, 16a, 23a, 1d, 17d & 18d.

    Still have to do the Cryptic!

  5. Beaver
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Seem to have more time for the toughie these days as the back-page cryptics are, I feel, becoming generally less difficult. A **/*** for me ,and agree with Expat Chris that toughies can still be enjoyable even if not too onerous,13a was a proper anagram, and generally the clues were logical, needed the explanation for 11a-thanks Kcit.

  6. halcyon
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I share dutch’s problem with subtraction clues and thank Bufo for the function in 11a. Otherwise a rather mundane puzzle.
    22a caused a chuckle – are we sure it isn’t an “all-in-one” clue describing the Artist & his work?
    Thanks to Kcit and Bufo.

  7. jean-luc cheval
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Even though I am not very keen on curtailed words in clues, like our friend Dutch, I must say that I start to get used to them. 5d is therefore my favourite today although the mentioning of the blarney stone made me laugh. I did “bung in” 11a and 7d. Looked for the connection between mast and nuts but couldn’t find anything. Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo for putting some sense into the more difficult clues.

  8. 2Kiwis
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    We were a bit short of solving time and this level of difficulty suited us just fine. We agree that clues that need the solver to identify what is missing are often the hardest and we have a few here. Last in, can’t see why now, was 19d. We enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Kcit and Bufo.

  9. Wolfson Bear
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Gulp. After the wonderful feeling a short while ago of solving the last two Elgar Toughies without excessive blood, sweat and tears, I have suddenly struggled badly with this week’s Toughies (and also Monday’s Rufus!). I was rather distressed to find that the blog and most comments found this easy. My weakness, i believe, is vocabulary limitations and my strength is lateral thinking. Today there were quite a number of words either totally unfamiliar or needing dredging out of parts of the brain long abandoned. Funny place crosswordland – this week has put me humbly back with feet on earth. Not sure yet if I will try tomorrow’s Toughie, unless it’s Elgar.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Funny how things work. I always comment on how impossible Elgar is to me. You are clearly the proof that the exception is not the rule but I do take my hat off to you

    • gazza
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      It’s not Elgar tomorrow – it’s Elkamere.

      • Wolfson Bear
        Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        Gulp again. I may be wrong but I associate Elkamere with my last absolute Toughie disaster when after lunchtime went into extra time I was still staring at an almost blank grid. It’s clues featured about a dozen movies and I think I managed to fit “Sound of Music” or something similar. Not my idea of a crossword. But it makes me sympathetic to complaints (by bloggers) of excessive use of cricket-speak in crosswords in general even though I speak cricket pretty well

        Giovanni, then pub tomorrow lunchtime

      • andy
        Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

        Bring on Elkamere..

  10. F1lbertfox
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    At last, my first Toughie solve of the week. I needed a few hints and explanations, but at least I made it to the end today. Good fun this one (for me at least) After some very straightforward back page solving this week, this one took quite a bit longer for me to complete. Thanks to Kcit for the challenge and to Bufo for some most enlightening explanations.

  11. reggie
    Posted November 28, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    This is the second toughie this week I barely got started on. No way this is a back pager!