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Toughie 1301

Toughie No 1301 by Elkamere

Black (and white) Friday!

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

A fine puzzle to end a very mixed week of Toughies.

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    Indian city‘s quiet temptation after docking (6)
MUMBAI: a word meaning quiet followed by most of (after docking) some temptation

4a    Academic turning nasty about censor (8)
EDUCATOR: an adjective meaning nasty is reversed (turning) around the name of a Roman statesman who was known as The Censor

10a    Beauty spot, mostly square (5)
VENUS: most of a spot or location followed by S(quare)

11a    Gold supply, one to cut in after 1984? (9)
ORWELLIAN: the heraldic term for gold followed by a supply of, for example, water and A (one) inside (to cut) IN

12a    Dress split without purpose (7)
RAIMENT: a split around a purpose or intention

13a    Set up devious plan to intercept murder (2,5)
IN PLACE: an anagram (devious) of PLAN inside a verb meaning to murder

14a    A novelist can or might produce another word for ‘relaxed’ (14)
CONVERSATIONAL: an anagram (might produce) of A NOVELIST CAN OR

17a    A very well rigged sail in latest book (8,6)
TREASURE ISLAND: the A from the clue, a four-letter word meaning “very well” or “of course” and an anagram (rigged) of SAIL inside the latest thing, especially on social media

21a    Denounce what parties give constituencies? (7)
IMPEACH: split as (1,2,4) this could be what the political parties give to constituencies

23a    In biblical tales, how he doubted his wife (7)
OTHELLO: the first part of the bible (biblical tales) followed by a greeting – this tragic Shakespearean character doubted the fidelity of his wife, Desdemona

24a    Piece of chicken covering an unfinished KFC meal (9)
BREAKFAST: a succulent piece of chicken around (covering) A (an) and KF[C] without its final letter (unfinished)

25a    McCartney‘s publicity nothing revolutionary (5)
LINDA: the first name of Paul McCartney’s first wife is derived from some publicity and a three-letter word meaning nothing, all reversed (revolutionary)

26a    Some moisture’s on a teething ring (8)
RESONATE: hidden (some) inside the clue

27a    Dire text message to a good guy? (6)
URGENT: split as (1,1,4) this could be a text message to a good guy


1d    No fitter state, Michael admits (8)
MAVERICK: this unorthodox person is derived from a verb meaning to state with a shortened form of Michael around it (admits)

2d    Priest, and character in 23 (9)
MONSIGNOR: put ‘N’ (and) and a character or symbol inside how 23 across is often described – OK, fess up, who looked for a character in the play called this?

3d    Strict or direct, you might say (7)
AUSTERE: split as (2,5) this sounds like (you might say) “or” followed by a verb meaning to direct

5d    Reason for spitting feathers in a bad way (4,2,3,5)
DOWN IN THE MOUTH: a pretty could reason for spitting out feathers!

6d    HEARTLESS LADY? Love this music (7)
CALYPSO: start with L[AD]Y without her inner letters (heartless) then note how the first two words are shown (2,4) and follow this as an instruction; finally add O (love)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

7d    Sound of big cat in forest (5)
TAIGA: sounds like a big member of the cat family

8d    Shoot the messenger (6)
RUNNER: two definitions – a shoot on a plant and a messenger or errand boy

9d    A point briefly pinched by masseur (5-5-4)
SOUTH-SOUTH-EAST: a loud ping was heard as the penny dropped! – this abbreviated form of this compass point can been found in the middle of (pinched by) [ma]SSE[ur]

15d    Very easy to see a game that’s open? (2,1,6)
AT A GLANCE: split as (1,3,5) this breaks down as the A from the clue, a children’s game and a verb meaning to open as a surgeon might do

16d    Part of snowball in hand, I’ve evenly splattered a coat (8)
ADVOCAAT: this essential ingredient in the drink known as a snowball is derived from the even letters of two words in the clue followed by an anagram (splattered) of A COAT

18d    After bombing, sank in North America (7)
ALASKAN: a phrase meaning after or “in the manner of” (1,2) followed by an anagram (bombing) of SANK

19d    One studying cold and hot parts of the sun (7)
SCHOLAR: C(old) and H(ot) inside (parts) an adjective meaning of the sun

20d    Graceful mountaineer’s heading off (6)
LIMBER: start with a word for a mountaineer and drop (off) his initial letter (heading)

22d    The Brownshirts were effectively a mob (5)
PRESS: another penny-drop moment – split as (3-2) this could describe the Brownshirts with respect to an élite Nazi corps – I so wanted this answer to be PLEBS so I could have a dig at a former chief whip!

I have not been a great fan of many of Elkamere’s Telegraph puzzles, preferring the Anax puzzles in the Indy, but this one was much better than usual

12 comments on “Toughie 1301

  1. Hi BD and everyone.
    We seem to have had the same trouble with 9d and 22d. But really the best was 21a for me. Other great clues were 16d, the construction of 6d with the capital letters. And 11a brought me a wide smile….. Thanks for the review and to Elkamere for the clues.

  2. This was a *very* slow start but gathered pace gradually as the checking letters appeared. I am surprised that some of the simple insert A into B clues can be so hard! It took me a while to get 4a (academic), 12a (dress) and 1d (no fitter). I love the clues where the answer almost needs to be read cryptically for the penny to drop – like 21a (denounce), 6d especially (heartless lady), 27a (dire text) and 22d (brownshirts). The latter was my last fill, almost gave up, then i saw it. I also loved the masseur(9d), took me a long time to see what he was pinching.

    And i should have seen 16d (snowball) a bit earlier, great surface

    Wonderful puzzle, many thanks Elkamere and BD for the write-up

  3. I usually like Elkamere puzzles to appear on days when the boss is out of the office which he was today. Trouble was that this was possibly one of the easiest Elkameres ever so I didn’t need extra time at all. Some splendid d’oh moments – I can’t remember what I marked as ‘Kaths’ but there were several. Mr CS is doing the number puzzles now and I daren’t disturb him to find out.

    Thanks to Elkamere for the entertainment and BD for the explanations.

    1. Did not find this as easy as some, 6d, 8d and 9d get my votes. 9d in particular for the enormous slap head on head moment. Thanks to Elkamere and BD

  4. This was an outstanding puzzle, full of clever clues, some of which I struggled to parse. I particularly liked 1 down, 9 down, 21 across and 24 across. An excellent Friday offering. I normally make quite slow progress with Elkamere’s puzzles, but this was definitely worthwhile.

  5. OK, we admit it, decided there must be a minor character in 23a that we hadn’t heard of for the answer in 2d. The last one to finally parse was 9d. So simple, yet so hard to spot. We thought this was really good fun that kept us amused and chuckling.
    Thanks Elkamere and BD.

  6. Me too – got the “complete works” down off the shelf before twigging.

    A magnificent puzzle with lots of Elkamere trademarks [cunning wordplay and superbly hidden definitions]. Particularly loved 23a and 19d for their sublimely simple construction but 6d, 18d and 22d were also v good. And [one can’t say this of all our Friday setters] Ximenes would have loved it.

    Many thanks to Elkamere and BD [but at least 4 for difficulty I suggest]

  7. Definitely 4* for me, but some very clever clues (one of which, 17a, was my favourite both for its cleverness and being my all-time favourite book!). I always struggle to pick up Elkamere’s little hints and indicators, but l always find it worth the effort. Thanks to him (or, of course, her) and to Big Dave for the review.

  8. Well, what can I say? It’s now 3 am. After much picking up and putting down, I finally got most of the answers, some by checking letters or just plain old guesswork and “sort it out afterwards”, but for quite a few I had no clue (excuse the pun) as to how to parse them. I came completely unstuck in the top left corner, with 12A the only clue solved. I also did not know the forest in 7D. Of those I did understand, I liked 21A. Too much of a struggle for me to say I enjoyed it, but I have to admit respect for the setter. Many thanks to BD for the much needed explanations, and in some cases the answers.

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