Toughie 1513

Toughie No 1513 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Toro

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment **

Four mini-puzzles from Warbler today which I worked round clockwise, finding the first (NW) a write-in and the second (NE) decidedly the hardest.


1a Pop singer meets Queen for a cocktail (7)
STINGER A British musician and singer-songwriter + the Queen’s initials.

5a Acid taste in drink makes one rise suddenly (5,2)
START UP An adjective meaning bitter-tasting inside a verb meaning to drink.

9a Locals cooked prince some seafood (7)
SCALLOP Anagram of LOCALS + P(rince).


10a Very quietly, in a state briefly, starts to leave exhibition with a little wave (7)
ARIPPLE Musical abbreviation for very softly goes in between A +  the abbreviation of a US state (on the one hand) and L(eave) E(xhibition).


11a Reflected timelessly, clutching this fragrant resin (5)
ELEMI Hidden backwards in TIMELESSLY.

12a In Spain the old Queen becomes agitated, involving constant expressive language (9)
ELOQUENCE Spanish definite article + O(ld) + anagram of QUEEN around a physical constant (the speed of light, as in Einstein’s famous equation).

13a TV company joins queue to show ‘Horizon‘ (7)
SKYLINE Satellite TV platform and broadcaster + a queue.


14a I love being at sea yet I ache endlessly to go rambling (7)
YACHTIE Anagram of YET I ACH(e).


16a Bring together for prayer (7)
COLLECT To gather, and a short prayer in Western Christianity.

19a Tail of plump Chinese cat is not real (7)
PHANTOM (Plum)P + a native Chinese + male cat.

22a Where to rest at the seaside? Check into floor with atmosphere (9)
DECKCHAIR CH(eck) in-between a word for the floor of a boat and a word for atmosphere.


24a Overturn Uffizi’s premier hang (5)
UPEND U(ffizi) + to hang.

25a Marina utility provides protection for sea creatures (7)


26a Bony invading as an alternative to linking with southern French city (7)
ORLEANS Bony or skinny in-between ‘as an alternative to linking with’ and S(outhern).

27a Answer by sailor is clear (7)
ABSOLVE A naval rank + to answer.

28a Note, dip accompanies New England dish (7)
LASAGNE A musical do-re-mi note + to dip + N(ew) E(ngland).


1d Techniques to make use of extremities of spiny stalks (7)
SYSTEMS S(pin)Y + stalks (e.g. of a flower).

2d Mental pictures afflicted a grim year. Not half! (7)
IMAGERY Anagram of A GRIM YE(ar).

3d Get more French impertinence here in French home counties? (9)
GALLICISE Impertinence or cheek + French for here + region of England containing the home counties.

4d Electronic place in network is full (7)
REPLETE E(lectronic) PL(ace) inside an anatomical term (new to me) for a network (e.g. of blood vessels or nerves).

5d Putting poster in ostentatious surroundings is dim (7)
SHADOWY A poster or other form of commercial display inside ostentatious.

6d Farewell regularly used in Deal when going back (5)
ADIEU Alternate letters of USEDINDEAL reversed.

7d Shirt, perhaps with bird as crest (7)
TOPKNOT An upper garment (e.g. a shirt) + a wading bird.


8d Go before publicist meets Eastern descendants reportedly (7)
PRECEDE A publicist or their profession + E(astern) + soundalike of descendants or progeny/

15d Such sable woven into vestments (9)

16d Outstanding flourish from Russian emperor almost seizing Yemeni port (7)
CADENZA Russian emperor minus the last letter around Crosswordland’s most famous port.

17d Material successes in footwear (4-3)
LACE-UPS A delicate fabric + successes or high points.

18d Leaves before interval, about 4pm? (7)
TEATIME Leaves used as an infusion + an interval or period.

19d Cook with bipolar disorder (7)

20d Sea cucumber‘s smell captivating traveller (7)
TREPANG A smell or taste around a travelling salesperson.


21d Jellyfish swimming about amused everyone at first (7)
MEDUSAE Anagram of AMUSED + E(veryone).


23d Cold on rise? Exactly! (5)
CHILL C(old) + a rise or elevation.


I liked 23d and 25a, both for the clue and the pun which presumably inspired the illustrating photo!


  1. Hanni
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Permalink


    A fairly straightforward solve apart from the NE corner which held me up, glad it wasn’t just me. Had to double check 15d and I’ve been singing Somewhere Beyond the Sea since solving this. A veritable celebration of all things under, on and near our oceans. Great stuff.

    Favourite clue is 10a, because I like the word with 9a getting a mention as I like to eat them. 23d made me smile.

    Many thanks to Warbler and to Toro for alovely blog. Gorgeous pictures.

  2. dutch
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks Toro, I hadn’t realised just how nautical the puzzle was until I saw all the pics.

    For what ever reason, I went clockwise from NE ending in NW – 11a was last one in and a new word. Took me a while to think of the pop singer and cocktail. The vestments in 15d were new too.

    I liked 10a, it’s just a nice word, and I thought “bipolar disorder” was clever (19d). Also liked the French impertinence (3d).

    Many thanks Warbler for a great start to the toughie week

  3. Jane
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Love Warbler’s outdoor themes but did have to look up the requisite names for the sea creatures.
    New words for me at 10&11a and a slight hesitation over the spelling of 15d.
    Favourite has to be 7d – there is little to beat the sight of a flock of Knot wheeling in unison above the shoreline.

    Many thanks for the breath of fresh air, Warbler, and thank you, Toro – not least for sorting out the parsing of 4d for me!

  4. Shropshirelad
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Very much the same as Dutch, started in the NE and went clockwise with two new words learnt along the way (11a & 21d). Having had a seafaring career I felt very much at home with the pictures and the clues. Most enjoyable.

    Thanks to Warbler for the puzzle and Toro for the very picturesque review.

  5. Dickiedot
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this today, NE, SE, SW followed by NW in that order of difficulty with easy to difficult, 20d and 21d plus 11a were testing

    • Hanni
      Posted December 8, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Golly. So far just Toro and I that found the NE corner the hardest.

      • Jane
        Posted December 8, 2015 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        No to worry, Hanni – there was only the SW that I found easy!

        • Hanni
          Posted December 8, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

          The SW wasn’t too bad at all. But 25a was bunged in . Wasn’t until I’d finished that I spotted the hidden. Fascinating creatures…some of their shells almost show a golden spiral. Beautiful.

  6. Heno
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Warbler and to Toro for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, with a very nautical theme. Had 3&16d both wrong, so stopped me getting 11&25a. Also needed the hints for 24a&20d. Favourite was 14a. Was 3*/3* for me.

  7. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Must have been a record solving time for me as it was over before bed and while I was laughing reading the late comments on the rookie. Which I started I must admit.
    The last one in was 10a as I thought it to be a strange word.
    Liked 3d a lot. But don’t worry, on this side of the channel, les choses s’anglisicent.
    Merci à Warbler et à Toro pour le résumé.

  8. Una
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    It has never entered my head to start anywhere other than at the north west corner .
    The level of difficult suited me just fine, resting at home.
    I needed help with the little wave.
    My favourite is either 3d or 19a. Or then again maybe 12a.
    With thanks to Warbler for a very enjoyable puzzle, and to Toro for the Blog.

  9. Expat Chris
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Completed without any assistance, but the BRB was put to use to check 11A and 20D, both of which were new words. Is tang really synonymous with smell? My note beside 14A reads “Please tell me this is not a real word!” 3D was my favorite Thanks Warbler and Toro.

  10. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Like Dutch, it was not until we read the review that we appreciated how maritime the puzzle was. Although the 4 mini-puzzle grid is a bit of a nuisance, each corner had at least one ‘entry point’ clue to give a couple of useful checkers. All finished in good time to leave plenty of time for lawn mowing duties. Much enjoyed (the puzzle, not the lawns).
    Thanks Warbler and Toro.

  11. neveracrossword
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    I was pleased to see that nautili were illustrated naughtily. I have only come across 11a and 20d in crosswords. Found the starboard
    side much easier than the port. Thank you setter and Toro.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted December 8, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Very ‘nautical’ indeed neveracrossword

  12. Snape
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    I had a go at this after seeing the suggestions that it was manageable, and indeed it was. The whole left side went in quickly, but for ages I only had 2 on the right. Got nearly there with plenty of electronic help, learning new words, and I needed hints for a couple in the NE. I think my favourite was 14a, just for the silly surface. Thanks to Toro for the blog, and to Warbler for a not too tough toughie.

  13. Salty Dog
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Loved it! NE corner was tougher than the rest, but overall 2*/3.5* or thereabouts. Of course, once I’d cracked 14a there was never going to be another favourite. Thanks to Warbler, and to Toro for the review. Loved the picture under the hint for 10a – hopefully a portent of next summer’s cruising weather. Better than standing in the boatyard with rain running down my neck, which is what I did today!

  14. Dolllar
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Thx for using photo of my city’s beautiful skyline in 13a!

  15. Tstrummer
    Posted December 10, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Thursday mornings have become Toughie time for me after morning radio duties (I thought I’d finished for the year, but still they want more). I enjoyed this Warbler saved from Tuesday and also found the NE the most taxing. I’ve never heard of 10a and my BBB (Collins) was silent on the. Attre, but it couldn’t have been anything else so I bunged it in, which helped me across the line. Favourite was 3d. Thanks to Warbler and Toro for a well-illustrated review. 3*/3*