Toughie 1478

Toughie No 1478 by Kcit

Who’s Queen?

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

This was not too tricky and quite pleasant (though with lots of adding or subtracting single letters). What earned it the third enjoyment star for me was 16d.

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 Respect for predecessors upset two chairpersons (8,7)

9a Managed call for help, receiving first of military rescues (7)
RANSOMS – a verb meaning managed is followed by an urgent call for help containing the first letter of military.

10a Is filling in — crikey! — this? (7)
INCISOR – IS goes inside (filling) IN and an exclamation of surprise (crikey!).

11a Want Judge to come in to support club (9)
BLACKJACK – a word meaning want or need and the abbreviation for judge are inserted in a verb to support or endorse. The answer is a North American word for a type of club.

12a Satirical item cut line (something designed for wind-up) (5)
SPOOL – cut the final letter from a satirical item or parody and add the abbreviation for line.

13a Witness impatient to see one fellow incarcerated (7)
TESTIFY – an adjective meaning impatient or easily irritated contains the Roman numeral for one and F(ellow).

15a Papers curtailed year after backing half of news investigation (7)
ENQUIRY – a word for sheets of paper (equivalent to one twentieth of a ream) without its final letter and the abbreviation for year follow the reversal of half of the word ‘news’.

17a What’s not entirely attractive about old flame’s excuse? (7)
PRETEXT – an adjective meaning attractive without its last letter contains the short word for an old flame.

19a Chapter listed as bowdlerised? (7)
CLEANED – the abbreviation for chapter and a verb meaning listed or tilted.

21a Maiden speaker’s bound to ramble (5)
TRAMP – the cricket abbreviation for a maiden is contained (bound) inside an informal word for the bodily opening through which most people (except politicians) speak.

23a Be livid when probing drink’s source of aroma (9)
PERFUMERY – a verb to be livid or seethe goes inside a drink made from fermented pear juice.

25a Horrible time for soldier’s first retreat (7)
HIDEOUT – start with an adjective meaning horrible or repulsive, then replace the first letter of soldier with T(ime).

26a Powder: male is filling five letters (7)
ATOMISE – the abbreviation for male and IS go inside (filling, for the second time) a sequence of five letters (1,2,1).

27a Rudely desires rest with goddesses (3,5,7)
THE WEIRD SISTERS – an anagram (rudely) of DESIRES REST WITH. These goddesses or Fates (usually three in number) occurred in various European mythologies and may have been the inspiration for the three witches in Macbeth.

Down Clues

1d Mug — article brought in to do as tumbler (7)
ACROBAT – a verb to mug and an indefinite article are inserted in a verb to do or proceed.

2d Line-dancing? Sceptical, with its not being kept up (5)
CONGA – start with an adjective meaning sceptical (especially in matters of religion) then reverse it and finally remove the word ITS.

3d Keep standard down (9)
STOCKPILE – an adjective meaning standard or conventional is followed by another word which (more or less) is the same as down (the soft fluffy covering). I remember that we had a debate some time ago with some people rejecting the idea that down could be equated with this fabric surface, but I’ve been unable to find the relevant puzzle (I should have realised before I started that searching for ‘down’ on a crossword blog is a rather futile exercise!).

4d Vault, say — ours is in disrepair (7)
OSSUARY – an anagram (is in disrepair) of SAY OURS.

5d Tip last of water into shellfish (7)
WRINKLE – insert the last letter of water into a shellfish once very popular in the East End of London.

6d Lots of people  running competitons? (5)
RACES – double definition, the first being the major divisions of mankind based on their physical characteristics. I’ve left the typo in the clue.

7d That fellow’s knocked back moonshine with Scotsman, old story teller (9)
HISTORIAN – the shorthand form of “that fellow’s” is followed by the reversal of moonshine or rubbish and what a large proportion of Scotsmen in Crosswordland are called.

8d Confer about sulphur used in plant (7)
PARSLEY – a verb to confer or discuss terms contains the chemical symbol for sulphur.

14d Requested to abandon area, make confused escape (9)
SKEDADDLE – a verb meaning requested without the A(rea) is followed by another verb meaning to make (someone) confused.

16d Petulant Queen rules capriciously — involving you having head cut off (9)
QUERULOUS – a two-letter abbreviation for queen followed by an anagram (capriciously) of RULES with (y)OU inserted. Super clue!

17d Random criticism: shifting space will give warning to other chefs? (3,4)
POT SHOT – move the space to make the answer 3’1,3 for the warning.

18d Forecaster goes over time with the weather ultimately (7)
TIPSTER – a verb meaning goes over or overturns is followed by T(ime) and the ultimate letters of ‘the weather’.

19d Hillman, perhaps, caught with donkey’s body (7)
CARCASS – you have to go back a few years to remember what Hillman was an example of. Add the abbreviation for caught and another word for donkey.

20d Temperance outfit keeping US city upset (7)
DRYNESS – an outfit or item of clothing contains the reversal of the abbreviation for a US city.

22d Poetry initially became prominent — in place of this? (5)
PROSE – the initial letter of poetry and a verb meaning became prominent or climbed.

24d Fugitive coming from Corsica, in view of locals (5)
EXILE – a preposition meaning ‘coming from’ followed by how the natives of Corsica would describe (in their own language) the sort of place where they live.

The best clue for me, by a mile, was 16d. Which one(s) got you excited?


  1. dutch
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    A slow and steady puzzle. I also liked 16d, though spent too long trying to use ER. Others I enjoyed were 3d – I like the surface (Keep standard down – yes, we had this word for down recently, it didn’t bother me then either and it’s in brb), and I liked 14d as well. I hadn’t heard this meaning of 5d. I tend to think of 26a as a liquid spray, but wordplay was clear and brb says “or solid”.

    many thanks Gazza and Kcit

  2. Expat Chris
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Slow and steady for me too. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have check marks against 10A, 3D, 8D and 11D. 4D was a new word. Not heard of that particular meaning of moonshine before. I have to say that I’ve had both peach and blackberry moonshine and they were most definitely not rubbish!

    • Expat Chris
      Posted October 7, 2015 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Goodness! i’m forgetting my manners. Thanks Kcit and Gazza!

  3. jean-luc cheval
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Liked the clever construction of some clues such as 2d (line dancing) and 25a (horrible time for soldier).
    9a gets the top prize for the surface.
    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review.

  4. Jane
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to be able to say that I got there all on my own – but I didn’t. Had to call on Mr. Google to help out with two new words at 11a and 4d and thought the answer for 9a referred to money paid over to enable a rescue rather than the rescue itself.
    Thank you for the parsing, Gazza – I certainly needed assistance to figure out two or three of them.
    Yes – I would agree that16d is very good but my personal accolade goes to 14d – such a great word and not often used these days.

    Thanks to Kcit for the challenge and gratitude to the knight in shining armour for setting me straight!

    • Jane
      Posted October 7, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Another confession – I’d never heard of bowdlerised before today.

  5. spindrift
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Re27a Among fans of the late lamented Sir Pterry there are those of us who believe Shakespeare got his inspiration for the 3 witches in the Scottish play from Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg & Magrat Garlick

  6. Hanni
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink


    Definitely found this harder than most it seems. Not helped by the fact that I made a complete mess of the SE corner.
    I put 13a in the 14a space and then wondered what was going on. For 19d I pencilled in ‘chassis’. I’m familiar with the Hillman Imp and yet still did that. I didn’t associate with 26a being a powder. I unravelled it in the end but what a mess.

    I agree with Jane re 14d as a favourite but 16d is rather brilliant too.

    Many thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for blogging.

  7. Shropshirelad
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Not quite as difficult as yesterday’s toughie, but very enjoyable nonetheless. Well crafted clues abound followed with a smile on completion. I will also opt for 16d as my favourite as it fits Miranda Richardson’s ‘Queenie’ so well – I loved that series!

    19d was a write in as I owned a beautiful gold coloured Imp (XCS 322K) in my early years – sandbags over the front wheel arches just to stay on the road when it was windy and believe me, travelling on the old A77 between Kilmarnock and Glasgow they were definitely required. My brother-in-law had a blue Singer Chamois – posh git.

    Thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

    • Jane
      Posted October 7, 2015 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Hi SL – Waitrose fast running out of the Shiraz Fire Flower (how many people have you told!) but managed to get a couple of bottles. Will report back, but won’t be tonight – driving to do.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted October 7, 2015 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        Please send emergency supplies! Some daytime drinking is in order before I throttle somebody!!! Couple of cases should do it.

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted October 7, 2015 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

          What supplies do you need E Chris We will do our utmost to help.

          • Jane
            Posted October 7, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

            Back from the driving in time to pour a glass, SL. Nice one
            Keep the red recommends coming, please.

        • Hanni
          Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

          Echo what SL said. Just vino collapso or something stronger? Emergency gin?

        • Expat Chris
          Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

          I’m a whisky girl, so some single malts will do nicely. Can you wrap them in a thick coating of patience? I’ve spent all day sorting out the inaccurate, misleading and downright dangerous website content that a rubbish SEO firm hired by the company I consult to is trying to foist on us. How they think they are qualified to write technical content and decide key words when they don’t even understand the basics of what the company does is beyond me. OK. Rant over.

          • Jane
            Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

            Just got back in from a meeting and poured myself a glass of SL’s red – I think he’s got this alcohol choosing down to a fine art!
            No doubt he could point you in the direction of some decent single malts – I think he’s on home turf there. I’ll be interested to see what he goes for – I liked some of the island malts, but then I’m more of a brandy person and some of the island ones come suspiciously close in flavour.

    • dutch
      Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      thanks guys

  8. Kitty
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I found this quite a lot harder than yesterdays, though for the most part I’m not quite sure why. Anyway, I enjoyed the challenge, even if it did involve a teensy bit* of cheating.

    Thanks to Gazza and Kcit.


  9. Una
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I did quite badly really, needing a number of hints, despite the fair number of anagrams.17a was the main source of problems , trying to find a suitable word beginning with “ex” which fitted the checkers.I liked 9a, 8d , and 14d among many others.
    Thanks Gazza and Kcit.

  10. gazza
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Busman tomorrow.

    • Jane
      Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Don’t think I’ve tackled more than a couple of those before. Where does he fit on the scale of * to ***** for difficulty? I mean, of course, the scale of ordinary mortals, not your good self, Gazza!

      • gazza
        Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        We don’t see him very often but he’s normally at the * end of the spectrum.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        Not very familiar with him either. Does he have an alter ego?

        • Expat Chris
          Posted October 7, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

          Just checked him out, so I know what to look for.

        • gazza
          Posted October 7, 2015 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

          Busman is Tom Johnson – also known as Doc, Gozo, Didymus, Twudge.

          • Expat Chris
            Posted October 7, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

            Well I blew that one.
            I googled Boatman.

            • Hanni
              Posted October 7, 2015 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

              Sterling effort Chris.

              Islay, Oban or an old Ardbeg?

              Sorry Dutch. You’re doing great.

              • Expat Chris
                Posted October 7, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

                Currently have unopened in the drinks cabinet The Balvenie 12 , Dalwhinnie 15, McCallan 12 and various splits of Glenmorangie aged in different casks. And a bottle of duty-free Bells just because. All gifts except the Bells. Need to have a serious tasting sometime soon.

                • Shropshirelad
                  Posted October 7, 2015 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

                  Hi E Chris – I must apologise as I thought you were a chap – and there you are, a chapess

                  Anyhow, I love the Balvenie 12, Dalwhinnie 15 but much prefer the McCallan 10 – age doesn’t always make a better ‘wee drappie’. Having originated from Kilmarnock, I have always had a soft spot for JW Black Label and I’m totally amazed that the distillery / bonded warehouse has now gone

                  One particular malt I do enjoy is ‘Old Putney’ 12 year old – a whisky described as – Huge nose of oilskins, leather/wax, peach and coconut chocolate’ – doesn’t that conjure up……….?

                  • Expat Chris
                    Posted October 8, 2015 at 12:09 am | Permalink

                    Indeed I am a chapess. Don’t worry. A lot of people make that mistake. I don’t mind. I brought JW Double black through duty free for my B-in-law a couple of weeks back. It didn’t last long! Had a bottle of Blue label a couple of years ago…another gift. Not really worth the hype…or the money. I will look for Old Putney, despite the ‘nose.’

                    • Shropshirelad
                      Posted October 8, 2015 at 12:16 am | Permalink

                      Hi chapess or may I call you Chris? Where do call home these days?

  11. 2Kiwis
    Posted October 7, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    We made a mess of the SW corner. For 17d we had ‘pan shot’ with the justification that to pan is to criticise and the wordplay works as it does for the correct answer. This of course made 21 impossible. Apart from that it all went together smoothly but not that rapidly. We enjoyed it.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

    • Jane
      Posted October 7, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      Love it, 2Ks. Is that a type of panoramic photo’ or just one you made up earlier?!!

  12. Expat Chris
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Shropshirelad…out of reply options so need to start afresh. I am in Maryland, USA. And of course you may call me Chris! Or even Christine, but I tend not to answer to that.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted October 8, 2015 at 12:40 am | Permalink

      Hi Chris – you can call me Jim although my christian name is James, but that was only used by my Mother when I was in deep s**t.

      I do hope you try the Old Pulteney (properly spelled), it’s worth the bother to find it.

      I’m off to bed now – so I hope you have a great day

      One question – if you’re ‘Expat’, in Maryland, that suggests you’re from somewhere else.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted October 8, 2015 at 12:57 am | Permalink

        I’m British! Born and bred in Cheltenham Glos. Permanent resident here but not ready to give up my nationality any time soon.