Toughie 1495

Toughie No 1495 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

This was one of those days when I was on song and completed the puzzle without any significant hold-ups. I’ll be interested to see how others found it. It was enjoyable enough while it lasted

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    Slips perhaps getting fish on lake (8)
LINGERIE: The slips are items of underwear. A fish of the cod family + one of the Great Lakes

9a    Alteration in a carnivore killing men in the wild (8)
VARIANCE: An anagram (in the wild) of ACARNIVE, i.e. A CARNIVORE less OR (other ranks or men)

10a    Single son moving east in capital (4)
OSLO: Take a word meaning ‘single’ and move S (son) one place to the right (or eadt)

11a    Surprised expression about opening of Dawn French, maybe — it’s gesturally conveyed? (4,8)
BODY LANGUAGE: An interjection expressing surprise round D (first letter of Dawn) + French, maybe

13a    Stroke goat on mountain? (6,2)
BUTTER UP: ‘To stroke (or flatter)’ = a word for ‘goat’ which is often used in crosswords + a word meaning ‘on high’

15a    Leader of Arabs among a great number? (6)
ARAFAT: A (first letter of Arabs) inside A and a great number. The answer is a former leader of the PLO

16a    Figure much admired in another organisation (4)
HERO: Hidden in anotHER Organisation

17a    Sharp pain wife’s given out in shade (5)
TINGE: Remove W (wife) from a sharp pain

18a    Overs viewed at length principally here? (4)
OVAL: Initial letters of Overs Viewed At Length

20a    Exam, maybe, established in short period of school year (6)
TESTER: An abbreviated form of ‘established’ inside a period of the school year with the last letter removed

21a    Study thus French woman making soup (8)
CONSOMMÉ: ‘To study’ + ‘thus’ + the abbreviation for ‘Madame’

23a    Commercial IT analysed in restricted environment (12)
MICROCLIMATE: An anagram (analysed) of COMMERCIAL IT

26a    Wood in the park oddly (4)
TEAK: Odd letters of ThE pArK

27a    Friend‘s hint (8)
INTIMATE: 2 meanings: a close friend/to hint

28a    Designation Dickens maybe picked up (8)
MONICKER: A homophone (picked up) of the first name of the author Ms Dickens


2d    Where one finds Kent dog close to shore exposed to risk? (8)
INSECURE: In the south-east (where Kent can be found) + a dog of low breed + the last letter (close) of shorE

3d    Air miles collector possibly left award in car, worthless type (12)
GLOBETROTTER: A tourist that travels round the world = L (left) and a British award inside the abbreviation for a car designed for touring in luxury and high speed + a worthless person

4d    Aussie politician with monarch getting guide on board (6)
RUDDER: The surname of the former Australian prime minister with first name Kevin + our Queen

5d    Terrible quartet on the move at the start of Leviticus (4)
EVIL: An anagram (on the move) of LEVI (the first four letters of Leviticus). I rejected the alternative answer on the basis that it was unlikely that 1 across would end in V

6d    Shorten series, first on Cubism, in gallery (8)
TRUNCATE: A series and C (first letter of Cubism) inside a network of four art galleries

7d    Language of the Golden State? (4)
INCA: An ancient language of South America. The Golden State is California

8d    Support exercise on street in Kent resort (8)
PEDESTAL: An abbreviation denoting ‘exercise’ + an abbreviation for ‘Street’ inside a seaside resort in East Kent

12d    A couple got in fraudulently without expressing regret (12)
UNAPOLOGETIC: An anagram (fraudulently) of A COUPLE GOT IN

14d    Alarm shown by policeman touring a part of the UK (5)
PANIC: A police constable goes round A and a province of the UK

16d    Greeting to welcome fantastic team — or unwelcome communication? (4,4)
HATE MAIL: A greeting round an anagram (fantastic) of TEAM

17d    One’s offered double deal getting taco? (8)
TURNCOAT: When split (4,4) the answer provides a cryptic indication for TACO

19d    Vehicles mass in period that’s retrograde in military build-up (4,4)
ARMS RACE: A reversal of ‘vehicles’ and M (mass) inside an age

22d    Phone at entrance ringing to put in order (6)
NEATEN: Hidden in phoNE AT ENtrance

24d    Name feature of rifle in report (4)
CITE: ‘To name’ sounds like a guide to the eye on a rifle

25d    Couple from India backing police (4)
ITEM: I (India) + a reversal of the London police force

That’s it. Now it’s time to take my daughter’s dog to see the vet


  1. jean-luc cheval
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Always a pleasure to tackle a Shamus.
    12d ( a couple got in) was just wonderful.
    So was the other anagram in 23a ( commercial IT)
    Thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the review

  2. pommers
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    This took me about the same time as the back pager, to which I awarded 2* difficulty, so I guess for Toughie it should only get 1*. Very enjoyable solve though so I guess it’s got to be */****.

    Fav was 13a for the rather bizarre image it conjured up.

    Thanks to Shamus for the puzzle and Bufo for blogging.

  3. halcyon
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Rather straightforward stuff from Shamus – but 17d and 25d were more devious and more fun.
    Not entirely sure why us paper people got Ms Lewinsky in 28a rather than Ms Dickens [the former makes it a bit easier but was perhaps withdrawn for fear of what you might do with her in the blog Bufo!]

    Thanks for the analysis and thanks to Shamus for the puzzle.

  4. Jane
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Good fun from the twinkly-eyed one – 2*/4* from me.
    Always struggle a bit with ‘moving east’ and the like – luckily this one gave few, if any, options.
    Took longer than it should have done to fully parse 15a – kept trying to use the wrong ‘A’ for the Arab leader – and I couldn’t se the proverbial wood for the trees in the parsing of 24d.
    Best for me were 13a&3d.

    Many thanks to Shamus and also to Bufo for confirming that I’d worked everything out correctly (for once!).
    By the way – the paper version has ‘Lewinsky’ in place of ‘Dickens’ in 28a. Maybe more Shamus’s style?!!

  5. Lesley
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    OK but not great fun. I found several a bit tenuous. Maybe I need to learn Shamus. Never heard of Aussie but answer was obvious. Didn’t like 7d, but again answer was obvious. Same as 10a which even the tip didn’t help me understand. Oh well – maybe I should have taken a happy pill this morning! Thanks guys.

  6. Hanni
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink


    Another lovely solve. Have stars by 13a, 23a and 12d. Yum.

    Many thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for blogging.

    • Jane
      Posted November 5, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      hi Hanni,
      Just in case I seem to ‘go dark’ – laptop is off to the computer ‘hospital’ this evening. I’m hoping that my IT guru will be able to re-boot my trusty old Vista to use in the meantime, but it’s maybe not going to happen.

      • Hanni
        Posted November 5, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Hi Jane. Don’t worry. Though I hope the laptop gets fixed. I’ve taken mine apart before. I don’t recommend it. Speak soon.

  7. Shropshirelad
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Spoiled today by having 2 super crosswords to puzzle over. This was by no means a difficult toughie but the clue constructs and word play more than made up for that. The only gripe I have, is that it was over all too quickly. I have far too many stars beside clues to pick out one single favourite – so I shan’t.

    Thanks to Shamus for the entertaining puzzle and Bufo for the review.

    • Hanni
      Posted November 5, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      I know what you mean about it being over too soon. Pommers recommendation of the Dada is a good one.

  8. Paso Doble
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly agree with Shropshire lad. We found this quite a bit more difficult than the back-pager but managed to finish it none the less. Thanks to Bufo for unravelling some of the parsing for us and to Shamus for a most enjoyable puzzle. **/***

  9. dutch
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I particularly liked the hidden clues 16a and 22d, especially the latter with the phone ringing. I also liked the terrible quartet, I was trying to make a roman IV work with the first letter (start) of Leviticus, a good duh moment when i realised I needed 4 letters.

    I also liked the airmails collector and the gestural conveyance. Many thanks Shamus and Bufo for the review

    Elgar tomorrow

    • Hanni
      Posted November 5, 2015 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Ahhhhh. Oh gosh.

      Good luck tonight. Hope it goes well for you both.

    • Jane
      Posted November 5, 2015 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Good luck from me as well, Dutch. Hope the video girl is lined up!
      Not even going to think about it being Elgar tomorrow – would like to at least wake up in a happy frame of mind.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted November 5, 2015 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Hurrah !

    • dutch
      Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

      many thanks

      we did half a dozen tunes, there were many other artists tonight. still don’t have a video…

      • Hanni
        Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

        Well done. Were you both happy with how it went?

  10. 2Kiwis
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    We struggled a bit with 9a as we wanted to make ‘alteration’ the indicator and ‘in the wild’ the definition. It wasn’t until we reversed these that it made sense. Lots of fun and much enjoyed.
    Thanks Shamus and Bufo.

  11. Barry Dobson
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Could someone explain 7d please. I didn’t think Inca was a language and don’t understand the link to California. No problems with the rest of a good crossword.

    • Una
      Posted November 5, 2015 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      The “ca” refers to California , the golden state?

    • Expat Chris
      Posted November 5, 2015 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      The Golden State is the official nickname of California. All American States have a nickname.

    • dutch
      Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

      and you sort of have to translate “of the” into “in”, which may not be obvious. Also Inca is the language of the Incans.

  12. Una
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t find this as easy as some people but I did enjoy it. It didn’t help having sign language for the longest time for 11a.
    13a and 23a were among my best liked.
    Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  13. Salty Dog
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Right on the 1/2* cusp for difficulty, but very enjoyable (4*). I liked 21a, 28a and 8dd, but favouritism goes to 17d. Thanks to Shamus, and to Bufo for the review.

  14. Expat Chris
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Anyone still about?

    I didn’t understand 15 A at all, though I had plugged in the correct answer. Apparently “raft” is a great number. Who’d a thunk it? Not me, that’s for sure. I needed the review for the parsing of 17D, although again I had the correct answer. I do suspect that Ms. Lewinsky’s 28A given her by Mrs. Clinton could likely not be repeated in polite company. No standouts today for me. Thanks Shamus and Bufo.

    • Hanni
      Posted November 5, 2015 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      I had to double check raft too. It was at the back of my mind but wasn’t positive.

      I’m currently wondering if it’s possible to memorise the BRB before tomorrow. I’m not actually doing anything about it just wondering.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted November 5, 2015 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        Depends on whether he’s wearing his soft-soled shoes or his hobnailed boots!

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted November 5, 2015 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

      Only me, I think – have you recovered?

      • Hanni
        Posted November 5, 2015 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

        Hello????? Am I invisible?

        • Expat Chris
          Posted November 5, 2015 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

          Heaven forfend!

        • jean-luc cheval
          Posted November 5, 2015 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

          That’s the problem with some of the supports we use.
          I need to refresh the page regularly as I don’t use my mailbox for alerts.
          When on my phone, I have to scroll down all over again each time to get back to the conversation.
          It’s a bit faster on the main frame as I call my PC.

          • Hanni
            Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

            Random question J-L…do you dream in French or English. I have a German colleague and she dreams in both, been over here 20 years.

            • jean-luc cheval
              Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

              I can never remember my dreams. But when I’m awake I often think in English.
              I suppose it may be the same when I sleep.

              • Hanni
                Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

                Strange isn’t it. I remember having Spanish dreams when I lived there.

                • dutch
                  Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

                  do tell

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

          No, didn’t you notice the posting times? Waitrose, 25% off half a case or multiples thereof. Doing a lovely Chenin Blanc at the moment.

          • Hanni
            Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

            Of course I did. But it was a good opportunity for some teasing.

            I shall have a look. I had a fantastic Barolo over the weekend and I can’t remember what it was.

            • Shropshirelad
              Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

              Never been a great lover of Italian reds, but for a good Barolo – I would bend the rules -ish

              • Hanni
                Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

                Same here but this was very moreish.

            • dutch
              Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

              i love barolo – I have an ancient bottle i worry i’ve overkept waiting for special occasion..

              • Hanni
                Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

                I have some wine/Champagne futures. It’s also the latest thing to give to new parents for their child. As an investment…not to feed the child.

                Drink it sooner rather than later. Little Venice for example.

              • Shropshirelad
                Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

                There is never an excuse for not having a ‘special occasion’ IMHO. Every day is a ‘special occasion’ when you wake up to another day of life on this planet with your loved ones and friends – I think I’ve probably had too much wine. Off to bed now.

                I’ll buy you a beer when I see you at the bash D

                • Hanni
                  Posted November 5, 2015 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

                  Indeed SL. La dolce vita.

                  • Shropshirelad
                    Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:03 am | Permalink

                    Did you see that the Trevi Fountain was re-opened this week? Funded by the coinage thrown in by us tourists of course but one of my favourite places in Rome

                    I am now, definitely, off to bed.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted November 5, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        Kinda sorta. Still not on top of my game, but hanging in there. Thanks for asking!

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted November 5, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      And me.
      I was being silly on the other side.

      • Hanni
        Posted November 5, 2015 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        Haven’t watched the clip yet J-L. Going to later. Glad you’re feeling better Chris. Horrible things colds…Hope you had lot’s of hot toddys.

        It’s Friday and Elgar. I fear the worst.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted November 5, 2015 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        Hello J-L. I will have to go over and take a look!

  15. Tstrummer
    Posted November 12, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Last and, probably, least, here I come. I did this one after the radio this morning because it’s been sitting on the coffee table for far too long. I loved it. 28a (paper version, of course) was my top clue, but I also liked 1a. Who cares by now? Shamus, possibly, so thanks to him and to Bufo for excellent but unneeded hints. 2*/4*