Toughie 1501

Toughie No 1501 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by crypticsue

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Toro is busy with work today so I get to review the first Toughie of the week  in which some of the clues brought back  some nice memories of my Dad.  It was fortunate that I didn’t need to hunt out my [imaginary] copy of Mr Manley’s Book of Obscure Words for Crossword Setters this time,  as my morning  turned out busier than I’d anticipated it would be too!

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           One philosopher said to be a spin bowler … (4)
LOCK    A homophone (said to be) of a philosopher’s name  gives us the surname of a cricketer from the 1950s – my dad being a Surrey Cricket Club  fan when I was a child meant that I did actually know the cricketer.    I also knew this philosopher who turns up quite regularly in crosswords, but wasn’t so sure about the next one!

3a           … and his contemporary said to be an opening batsman (5)
HOBBS   And again, another homophone of a philosopher gives us the surname of an opening batsman. This one is before my dad’s time but again he is such a famous batsman, I had heard of him too.

6a           Prepared envelope, inside being strong and secure (4)
SAFE   Insert the letter used to indicate that music should be played loudly (strong) into the abbreviated way of referring to a pre-addressed envelope.

8a           Man muttered, drunk with grog — a victory for evil (15)
GOTTERDAMMERUNG   The German mythological battle of the gods and their destruction by the forces of evil – an anagram (drunk) of MAN MUTTERED GROG.

9a           The fellow beset by insects in tree (6)
LICHEE  A tropical fruit tree  –  insert the male pronoun (the fellow) into some bloodsucking insects.

lichee tree

10a         Female game requiring inner application (8)
CHAPPESS   Insert an abbreviated application into a board game – BD used this word the other day which, again, reminded me of my Dad as it was one he used regularly.

11a         Box of salt (3,5)
SEA CHEST   A cryptic definition of the sort of box in which a sailor (salt) might keep his belongings.

sea chest

13a         Bit TV cop has left behind (6)
MORSEL   Someone pass Kath a tissue – her favourite TV cop followed by the abbreviation for Left.

15a         Greedy female with endless animosity, I couldn’t care less (2,4)
SO WHAT   The female of an animal said to be greedy followed by the first three letters only (endless) of some animosity.

17a         Criticise essay in which journalist’s shown dogmatism (8)
PEDANTRY   Take a verb meaning to criticise and another meaning to try and insert the usual abbreviation for the head journalist.

19a         Party crush — put up with being at back of queue (8)
JAMBOREE   A crush, a verb meaning put up with and the ‘back’ of queue.


21a         It’s the French bread, not English, that’s sour (6)
LEMONY   The French word for ‘the’ and  another word for ‘bread’ in the sense of currency without the E (not English).


22a         Son is smart with Latin possibly — so he’ll avoid these? (15)

23a         Girl with goal to ensnare one (4)
ENID   Insert (ensnare) the letter that looks like a number one into a goal.

24a         Longing to go back to house and sweetheart (5)
HONEY   The abbreviation for house followed by a reversal (to go back) of a longing.

25a         Floor performance that’s showy falls short (4)
STUN   Remove the last letter (falls short) from a showy performance.



1d           Sticklers among the top people surrounded by members (9)
LEGALISTS    People who stick to the letter of the law rather than its spirit –   put some limbs (members) round top people such as major movie stars, sports people etc.

2d           Fixed continent, as some might say, for certain mammals (7)
CETACEA  Some aquatic mammals are obtained by homophones (as some might say) of fixed and a continent.


3d           A rest home dished out what most of us wouldn’t want to eat (9)
HORSEMEAT    An anagram (dished out) of A REST HOME.

4d           Animal making part of circular path in regular journey (7)
BEARCAT     Part of a circle inserted into a regular journey  (such as used to be undertaken by a policeman!)


5d           Ultimately this bird disappeared crossing a group of islands (5)
SAMOA    The ultimate letter of this and an extinct NZ bird put  round (crossing) A (from the clue).

6d           Prison car crashed — something for recycling merchant (5,4)
SCRAP IRON   An anagram (crashed) of PRISON CAR.

scrap iron

7d           Expression of disgust about Scottish tourist trap? Tact is needed (7)
FINESSE   So when did anyone last use this obscure expression of disgust which should be put round one of the must-see destinations for Scottish tourists.

12d         Shared accommodation as custom in one sort of school (9)
COHABITED   A custom or usual practice inserted into the abbreviated way of referring to a school for both boys and girls.

13d         Like part of body that’s source of energy, sluggish in girl (9)
MEDULLARY  The innermost part of a bodily organ –  insert the ‘source’ of Energy and another word for sluggish into a girl’s name.

14d         Behold, two positive responses in northern half of capital! (3,4,2)
LAY EYES ON  Two lots of a positive response inserted into the ‘northern half’ or first three letters of our capital city.

16d         Speech from Horatio Nelson (7)
ORATION   Hidden in hORATIO Nelson.

17d         Persons in trouble keep going (5,2)
PRESS ON   An anagram (in trouble) of PERSONS

18d         Reveal with insouciance solicitor full of rubbish (4,3)
TROT OUT   Some rubbish inserted into a particular type of solicitor.

20d         Fish needs tap to get black off its head (5)
ROACH   Remove B (get B [black] off) from a word meaning to tap or pierce a container to open it and draw off the liquid inside.



I ‘ll be interested to learn whether others agree with me that there was quite a bit of the ‘old-fashioned’ about some of the words used today.


  1. Lesley
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Fairly straightforward yet pleasurable for a flu ridden invalid! Had to guess 1a and 2a. Knew one of each cricketer and philosopher. Thought 21a was really sweet, not sour! Loved 5d as we honeymooned there in 1989. Needed tip to justify solution to 20d – i was using (stop)cock as tap and couldn’t make sense of the black insect.

    Thank you guys

  2. Expat Chris
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was very hard indeed. Like I know anything about cricket bowlers and batters! Not helped by having an S for the first letter of 11A. I got there in the end after having to reveal a letter for 19A, my last one in. I grant it was clever, but just not for me. Thanks anyway to Giovanni. My brain did get a workout. Thanks to CS for the review.

    • crypticsue
      Posted November 17, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      You should have an S at the start of 11a

      • Expat Chris
        Posted November 17, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        Sorry. Meant to say T. I did finally sort it out though.

        • Jane
          Posted November 17, 2015 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

          Just in case you’re about, Chris – wanted to say that I appreciated the piece you reproduced on the blog re: the difference between criticism and critique. At times, I’m sure it’s a very fine line to tread, but maybe we should follow BD’s maxim with the Prize Puzzles – if in doubt, leave it out!

          • Expat Chris
            Posted November 17, 2015 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

            I’m here. I liked it too. I’ve saved it. Might even frame it. I have to put my work out in the public forum, and be “critiqued” by people who can’t string a decent sentence together all the time. I know what it’s like to pour your heart and soul into crafting something only to have it torn apart, in my case by people who may be great engineers but went no further than English 101 in college, typically couldn’t tell an adverb from an adjective if you asked them, and to whom semi-colon might as well be in a foreign language.

  3. Graham Wall
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    This is my first proper attempt at the Toughie. To my surprise I did far better than I expected to. I am recovering from surgery at the moment so have the time to dedicate to crosswords. I kept at it and got about 50% of the answers before checking the hints. Some answers I would have never got, 1a and 2d for instance. Thoroughly enjoyed the time spent attempting it, it has given me the confidence to have a go at another. As a first timer I have to rate difficulty as 5 but hope things will improve. My thanks to CS for the review.

    • Dr_Bob
      Posted November 17, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      I’ve only recently started attempting them Graham. Stick at it. I ocassionally complete them (usually with some thesaurus help) but often need the hints on this blog. Today was tricky for me. Half went in really quickly and then I got stuck and couldn’t see the wood for the trees.

      Hope you reover quickly from the surgery.

    • Lesley
      Posted November 17, 2015 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Graham. I feel a bit like a newbie, but am not sure how long I have been trying these. Normal work just gives me end of week attempts – maybe trickier, but who knows how each brain works?. I am sure my flu bug thing is much less than surgery. Wishing you well.

      • Graham Wall
        Posted November 17, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        Thank you Dr_Bob and Lesley for the encouragement. I know from my experience on this blog doing the standard cryptic I have a resource of fellow bloggers who are always wiling to help.

  4. Dr_Bob
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Some very easy clues but overall I also found this hard. Definitely needed some of the hints to help out. Faves were 1a and 2a

    I didn’t know that the answer to 9a was spelled like that. Thought it was with a y.

    Thanks to the setter and CS for a very helpful blog!

    • crypticsue
      Posted November 17, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      There are four different spellings of 9a apparently – we should be grateful that Giovanni chose this one as I dread to think what the wordplay would have been for a couple of the other variations.

  5. dutch
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Another Giovanni broad biological definition, “like part of a body” could describe a lot of things – luckily (as always) the wordplay is solid and fair.

    My father was never into cricket and I struggled on the top combination – it was definitely the philosophy route for me, and my last ones in.

    I liked 15a, the semi-all-in-one 22a, 5a (which took me a long time) and 14a, where i spent ages trying to create a phrase starting with Lo.

    Quite tough but pretty reasonable on the obscurities

    many thanks Giovanni and Cryptic Sue for a nice review, I particularly liked the bearcat, says it all.

  6. jean-luc cheval
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    The top half was definitely in 5 star category for difficulty.
    Got 1a but not 3a nor that lovely animal in 4d.
    Thought that the top people in 1d was elite and ended up with legelites and tea chest in 11a which didn’t make any sense.
    Took a long time to sort out the anagram in 8a.
    All in all, a real toughie.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to CS for the explanations.

    • Hanni
      Posted November 17, 2015 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      I like your legalites. Legalites are good.

  7. Shropshirelad
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    An enjoyable start to the toughie week I thought, although the NE corner was the last part to complete as my cricketing history knowledge is not particularly up to scratch. However, as usual, all clues were fair. I will go for 10a as my favourite as it is a term that has been used widely in the RN, so it struck a chord and I thought 11a was quite clever too

    Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle and CS for her review. Have you decided where you and Mr CS are going for your celebratory dinner yet?

  8. Hanni
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink


    This started really quickly with the long anagrams going in and few others. The first cricketer was new to me but knew 3a. It was the SE corner was my biggest hold up. Put it to one side made a couple of phone calls and amazingly the second time I came at it the answers fell. How does that work? Really good start to the Toughie week.

    Favourite is 22a.

    Many thanks to the Don and to CS for blogging.

  9. Jane
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    That was really tough for me. Sadly, there is a famous batsman named Homer – that was the NE corner scuppered for a long time!
    New words at 8a plus 4&13d and a new spelling at 9a that had to be checked out.
    Really didn’t believe that 10a was an accepted word and took some convincing that 21a is necessarily sour.
    Thank goodness I’ve got my decent laptop back and could enlist Mr. Google’s help!

    15a gets my top spot with a mention for 13a – if only for Kath’s sake. Also liked that RD got a mention at 17a.
    Thanks to Giovanni, Mr. Google and CS ( who doubtless whizzed through the whole puzzle with no outside help at all.

  10. halcyon
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Pleasant solve with the top half much easier than the bottom for me. I liked 6a [prepared envelope is cunning] 10a [again “application” sounds like an operator but isn’t] and 21 [faultless]. I would quibble about the padding in 19a that doesn’t really work except to help the surface and [a pet hate] the non-homophone at 2d. I know he’s not the only setter to do this but I do think it poor to justify a “near but not close enough” homophone by “some might say” – unless there are genuine dialect differences in pronunciation. Grrrr.

    Nonetheless many thanks to The Don and to CS for the excellent blog.

  11. 2Kiwis
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Our favourite clue has to be 5d where we encountered our over-sized ancient relative. Surprisingly we did know all the four names pertinent to 1a and 3a so no significant problems there. Overall we found it a very enjoyable puzzle with all the clues elegantly crafted as usual.
    Thanks Giovanni and CS.

  12. elcid
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Like Lesley (but unlike Lesley) I’m Shingles ridden. Completely off my concentration and needed lots of hints. Finished in the end but a bit of a struggle. No particular favourites – thanks to The Don and CS for all you help.

  13. crypticsue
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Elkamere tomorrow

    • Hanni
      Posted November 17, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Wearing fluffy slippers apparently. I don’t believe that for one minute.

      • crypticsue
        Posted November 17, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

        He was quite fluffy in the Sunday Times this week so …. I do hope he’s in proper Toughie mode tomorrow – it has been a while since I’ve ‘taken him’ to a boring meeting as I have needed extra cogitation time and I do have an exceptionally boring meeting to go to in the morning.

        • Hanni
          Posted November 17, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

          I loved his ST one. Took me longer than normal. Mephisto even more so. For some reason, and I wish someone could explain, I find him more difficult as Elkamere than in any of his other guises. I’ve sat in on video conference calls with the paper on the keyboard part of my desk so no one can see. I have to be careful not to say something ‘weird’ if I get a clue.

          • Shropshirelad
            Posted November 17, 2015 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

            I always find him difficult in ST mode – don’t know why – just do. As Elkamere, et al, he is still a force to be reckoned with – albeit enjoyable.

            On a different note. When I was gainfully employed (by myself), I never saw the need for meetings as I was meticulously prepared in my planning and things ran smoothly. Therefore, I don’t understand why people go to meetings just to complete crosswords

            Comments on the back of a small postage stamp are welcome – capital letters please.

            • Hanni
              Posted November 17, 2015 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

              Beats me SL. It beats me. Hence why I schedule myself out 99% of stuff now. Stuff appears on an online diary. I take me off.

              • Shropshirelad
                Posted November 17, 2015 at 10:38 pm | Permalink


                • Hanni
                  Posted November 17, 2015 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

                  As in we all have a linked diary for work. I can remove my name off any meetings I won’t be attending. Which is to say, most.

                  • Shropshirelad
                    Posted November 17, 2015 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

                    I fully understand the intricacies of ‘MS Outlook’ and other various ‘ diary planners’. My question was – why do some people have to post the fact that they are so bored with meetings that they have to take a crossword with them?

                    I have now probably burned my bridges and need to look for a refund on my hotel booking in London for next year’s birthday bash.

                    Nice to have known you all

                    • Jane
                      Posted November 17, 2015 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

                      Don’t you dare cancel the hotel booking, SL.

                    • Expat Chris
                      Posted November 17, 2015 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

                      Not the wisest of posts, SL. One should never bite the hand, as it were.

                    • Shropshirelad
                      Posted November 17, 2015 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

                      Really Expat Chris? One should never bite the hand etc….

                      Sorry, but I’m an independent man with my own view on things……

                      I’ll leave it at that, other than this my final post.


                    • Hanni
                      Posted November 17, 2015 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

                      It was just ‘talk’. Never meant to upset or offend. I sometimes talk about horses too. And wine. And fluffy slippers.

  14. Wolfson Bear
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    I did not check the setter’s name this morning when printing the puzzle and did not guess it was Giovanni. I finished without too much difficulty without use of a dictionary which is most unusual for one of his puzzles – I guess it was my turn to know the unusual words. Elkamere tomorrow which is welcome news whatever his footwear

  15. Salty Dog
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    This took me into 3* time (and even then I needed the hint for 10a). 3.5* for enjoyment. 14d was my favourite, but there were plenty of other contenders. Thanks to Giovanni, and to CrypticSue for the review.

  16. Tstrummer
    Posted November 18, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just finished this surrounded by gas fitters installing a new hob. Who knew it would take so long (the hob, not the crossword)? I found this strangely easy for Don Toughie and only had to check that 13d was really a word before writing it in. 1 & 3a went in straight away, those two philosophers always appearing in the same sentence in my mind as they convinced me that philosophy was not a subject I should be studying at university. I liked both the long anagrams, but my favourite has to be 17a – it’s what I do for a living. Many thanks to the Don and CS for a well-illustrated review. 2*/3*
    PS Nothing, and I mean nothing, is ever decided in a meeting