Toughie 1505

Toughie No 1505 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Toro

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A decent first Toughie of the week from Samuel, if perhaps not his most entertaining.


1a Make weak argument about current literature (10)
DEBILITATE A symbol in physics for electric current + LIT(erature), all inside an argument or dispute.

6a Clobber good listener (4)
GEAR G(ood) + the listening organ.

9a Fit bachelor, overcome by beer with foul smell, choked (4-6)
ABLE-BODIED B(achelor) inside a word for beer, then a foul personal smell + choked or expired.

10a Secure main lock at first (4)
SEAL Poetic meaning of main + L(ock).

12a Hybrid car with this belt could be erratic (4)
TIER If anagrammed (hybrid) with CAR, the solution could give ERRATIC.

13a Something given cricket side by the Queen, by right (9)
OFFERTORY One side of the field in cricket + the Queen’s initials + right-wing in UK politics.

15a This drains athletics bigwig taking country runs (8)
COLANDER Surname of the former UK athlete who is head of the IAAF around a word for country, then R(uns).

16a Wake up with heavenly body after love? Quite the opposite (4,2)
COME TO Love (in tennis) after a heavenly body.

18a Small bird, fearful, about to come in for seconds (6)
TITCHY A type of bird + fearful or timid but with C (about) instead of S(econds).

20a Change of heart during victory is to become less convincing (4,4)
WEAR THIN Anagram of HEART inside a victory.

23a Samuel comes back crazy about hard cheese (9)
EMMENTHAL How the puzzle’s setter Samuel refers to himself, reversed, then a word for crazy or deranged around H(ard).

24a 51, separated and single (4)
LONE Roman numeral fifty + ONE.

26a Bond’s second to infiltrate order — it’s blown (4)
OBOE (B)O(nd) inside one of the Queen’s honours.

27a Ballesteros, initially 1 up, almost shot under par (10)
SUBOPTIMAL Anagram (shot) of B(allesteros), Roman numeral one, and UP ALMOST.

28a Strip given to Michael Atherton (4)
LATH Hidden in MichaeL ATHerton.

29a People present telecoms provider with space grade cable when disheartened (10)
ATTENDANCE A US telecoms giant + a space in printing + a grade in martial arts + C(abl)E.


1d Pull terrifying woman with amputated leg (4)
DRAG An ogress or battleaxe minus a synonym for leg (side) in cricket.

2d College dance is only every now and then (7)
BALLIOL A formal dance + I(s)O(n)L(y).

3d Manoeuvre by ninth earl to acquire island complex (12)
LABYRINTHINE Anagram of BY NINTH EARL around I(sland).

4d Pond-life stole iPad I lost, carelessly (8)
TADPOLES Anagram of STOLE IPAD minus I.

5d Start to annoy (3,3)
TEE OFF To start a hole in golf, and to annoy.

7d Eeyore’s in trouble; it looks bad (7)

8d Finally bother about hugging friend for support (5,5)
RALLY ROUND A friend or friendly nation in-between (bothe)R and a synonym for about.

11d King in love with power dealt badly with strong defence (6-6)
ARMOUR-PLATED R(ex) inside a word for romantic love + P(ower) + anagram of DEALT.

14d Play part in Lear? That’s to be reckless (3,3,4)
ACT THE FOOL The solution could mean to play one of the roles in King Lear.

17d Far from rare words of praise (4,4)
WELL DONE When hyphenated, the opposite of rare in reference to a steak, and a phrase used to praise someone.

19d Break profiteer securing backing of record company (4,3)
TIME OUT A former record company reversed inside a profiteer who resells tickets to an event at exorbitant prices.

21d Killer wordgame? (7)
HANGMAN A type of executioner and the name of a wordgame.

22d Force hospital to be taken over by estate (6)
THRUST H(ospital) inside a private financial fund.

25d Run from charge around lake (4)
FLEE A charge or toll around L(ake).

I liked 15a and 21a.

Toro spent most of the day trying to post this, and finally sent it to me at just after 4:00.  It’s taken me until now to access the site and post it.  I have a point of my own.  Several years ago I asked the crossword editor how references like “Samuel” could be resolved in the absence of the setter’s name in the online puzzle; he replied that it would never happen on his watch – well it has now!  BD


  1. Jane
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Must admit that the last few clues pushed me into 3* time but definitely the same or more for enjoyment.
    Always forget those two cricketing sides, both of which appeared today, and had University Challenge to thank for knowing 2d!
    Needed Toro’s blogging expertise to get the full wordplay for 12a and never did totally sort out the anagram fodder for 27a despite having eventually arrived at the correct answer.
    Struggled to justify 8d because I wanted to use the ‘A’ both for the first letter of the friend and of the synonym for ‘about’.
    Top of the pile for me were 15a & 17d.
    Thanks to Samuel – very fair clues – and to Toro for his perseverance in the face of the site’s adversities.

    Now then – will this actually go through………..

  2. JonP
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable puzzle but was completely flummoxed by 12ac, so thanks to Toro for the enlightenment and thx to Samuel.

  3. Expat Chris
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Undone on 27A and it remained unsolved. Clever, though. I had no idea how to parse 12A, though I bunged in the right answer from the checkers. That clue gets my ‘ugh’ rating today. On the whole, though, I enjoyed this despite what seemed to be a lot of sports references. I must be getting better at those. Thanks Samuel and thank you Toro for the review.

  4. KiwiColin
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    The only real trouble I had was with 12a. To have put the definition in the middle of the clue, and a pretty dodgy one at that, really had me doubting the answer, even when I had sussed how the wordplay worked. Apart from that, the rest did not put up too much of a fight.
    Thanks Samuel and Toro.

  5. Una
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    I can’t remember if I have done a Samuel Toughie before, so I don’t know just how entertaining he can get, but I thought this very entertaining.
    14d has to be my favourite. I studied it at at school , for our equivalent of A-levels, all those years ago with a marvellous teacher, Sister Miriam, who only ever praised us.The crossest thing she ever said was “Girls ! “.
    I have stars beside many other clues.
    Thanks to Samuel for the superior entertainment and to Toro.

  6. Shropshirelad
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Clever and enjoyable. Thanks to Samuel for the puzzle, Toro for the review and BD for making it all possible. This is short and sweet only because of the trouble trying to post and I keep on forgetting to ‘copy’ my comment before pressing the button.

  7. dutch
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Bland I thought, not helped by belt=tier, choked=died, etc. Not too many surface readings that rocked my boat, 5d and 7d may be the best. I liked “people present” in 29a, and killer word game made me smile, don’t know why it has a QM.

    Glad the site is back up

  8. Salty Dog
    Posted November 24, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    I quite enjoyed this one (except 12a, which I got right but am still not convinced by). I made it about 2*/3*, and 29a is definitely my favourite clue. Thanks to Samuel, and of course to Toro.

  9. Heno
    Posted November 25, 2015 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Samuel and to Toro for the hints and tips. Must have been on the easy side, as I did it all except 12a. I thought it was against the rules to have a definition in the middle of a clue. I understood that the definition can be at the beginning or the end , or even the whole clue. Referee !!!!! Favourite was 1d, the surface made me laugh. Was 2*/3* for me.

  10. Kath
    Posted November 25, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Just writing a comment now having given up trying yesterday evening.
    I really enjoyed this and agree with the 2* difficulty but would give it at least 3* for enjoyment, probably a bit more.
    I never did get 12a and didn’t manage to untangle the why bit of 27 or 29a so thanks to Toro for doing that for me.
    Thanks to Samuel and to Toro.

  11. Tstrummer
    Posted November 26, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    As always, I lag behind on the Toughie front. However, I enjoyed this offering from Samuel – with the exception of 12a, my last one and a despairing bung-in. After Toro’s explanation, I like it even less. The rest was fun though. Thanks to all. 3*/3*