Toughie 1528

Toughie No 1528 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Dutch

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This is a last minute stand-in for Toro, who is struggling with a number of deadlines and I am now looking forward to the beer he owes me. This was completed in less than usual toughie time but there were a few rather tricky clues to parse, so 3* for difficulty. A mixed bag for enjoyment – some clues I thought were rather good but others I thought some were a bit on the weak side. Keen to know what your view is.

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    ‘Former PM missing Queen’ shock (6)
THATCH: The name of a female PM without the initials of our Queen.

4a    One broadcasts in Sweden and Portugal with university don (8)
SPREADER: Abbreviation of Sweden and Portugal plus another word for a university lecturer

10a    Yorkshire resort’s favourite celebrity treatment (3,6)
RED CARPET: a Yorkshire seaside resort recently plagued by steel industry closures plus a 3-letter word for favourite

11a    Monstrous female cut short her menfolk? (5)
OGRES: A monstrous female without the last letter (cut short)

12a    Feeler to introduce ‘Fingers’ for example to Anna (7)
ANTENNA: A number exemplified by ‘Fingers’ (for example) is inserted into Anna

13a    Quiver of young soprano enthralling Frenchman (7)
TREMBLE: The word for a boy soprano contains the French abbreviation for Monsieur

14a    Essentially more affected by beer? That’s frightening (5)
EERIE: Take a 7-letter word which might mean more affected by beer, and use the central 5 letters (essentially).

15a    This may be cut or stored in purpose-built depots (8)
DOORSTEP: “or” from the clue goes inside an anagram (purpose-built) of DEPOTS

18a    Perhaps one that’s deserted salver carrying drink? Just the reverse (8)
BETRAYER: We’ve come across this drink in 14a, and instead of the drink going inside a 4-letter word for salver, we do this the other way around

20a    Saw commercial article, as an example, being sent back (5)
ADAGE: A 2-letter commercial, the indefinite article, and a reversal (being sent back) of the abbreviation for “as an example”

23a    Conclude drama in hell (7)
INFERNO: A 5-letter verb for deduce or conclude followed by a Japanese of drama

25a    Cut out City’s ridiculous spiel (7)
ECLIPSE: The postal code for London’s financial district followed by an anagram (ridiculous) of SPIEL

26a    Broad and slow old boat used by learner (5)
LARGO: This musical term comes from the abbreviation for learner followed by a legendary boat

27a    I inform girl this substance can promote cleavage (9)
ISINGLASS: I from the clue, a 4-letter slang word for inform or squeal, and another word for girl

28a    Women he will meet not once or at any time (8)
WHENEVER: The abbreviation for women plus “he” from the clue and a 5-letter word meaning “not once”

29a    A dry conclusion is frequent (6)
ATTEND: A from the clue, the abbreviation for teetotal, and a 3-letter word for conclusion


1d    Kilted sailor half-heartedly beaten (8)
TARTANED: A 3-letter sailor, then a word for beaten from which one of the double letters in the middle has been removed (half-heartedly)

2d    Examiner of car on hill (7)
AUDITOR: A German car and a 3-letter hill

3d    It’s useful when altering speed in mail armour? (5-4)
CHAIN-GEAR: This is a gear that uses a chain and sprockets, which is useful when you change speeds on a bicycle for example. It could also loosely mean what you are wearing when you put on mail armour.

5d    Nancy’s lower middle-class with terrible repetitious gob (5,9)
PETIT BOURGEOIS: How you might refer to the lower middle class in the town of Nancy, France, is given by an anagram (terrible) of REPETITIOUS GOB

6d    Call out as convenient during previous day (5)
EVOKE: An informal way of saying fine or convenient goes inside (during) a 3-letter word meaning the day (or night) before

7d    Reforming could make Bluebeard be this strong (7)
DURABLE: This is a compound anagram. If you make an anagram (reforming) of BLUEBEARD, you could make BE plus the answer meaning strong

8d    Slice is more risky (6)
RASHER: Double definition

9d    5’s hope to be this unexpectedly may and will be proud (8,6)
UPWARDLY MOBILE: The aspiration of 5d is to be an anagram (unexpectedly) of MAY + WILL BE PROUD

16d    Sailor in insignificant illumination (9)
STARLIGHT: The same 3-letter word for sailor we used in 1d goes inside a 6-letter word meaning insignificant

17d    To embrace poetry socialist went back (8)
REVERSED: A 3-letter socialist contains (embraces) a bit of poetry

19d    Apply space energy (7)
ENFORCE: A 2-letter printing measure for the size of a space is followed by a word that means power or energy

21d    Dead quiet after a time (2,5)
AT PEACE: A 5-letter word meaning a state of quiet follows “a” from the clue and the abbreviation for time.

22d    Bat somehow saved from disastrous swallow dive (6)
WILLOW: Subtract an anagram (somehow) of SAVED from an anagram (disastrous) of SWALLOW DIVE

24d    No time for Privy Councillor to go on European river (5)
RHONE: The title used for Privy Councillor is Right Honourable, which is abbreviated RT HON (thank you Gazza!). Remove the T (no time) and put it on the abbreviation for European

I thought that 22d (bat) worked rather well, with a good surface, so that is my favourite. Please let us know which clues you liked


  1. Shropshirelad
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Nice way to start off the toughie week and I agree with Dutch regarding some of the clues. I got stuck in the SW corner for some reason – don’t know why. A good selection of clue constructs but I do have one small request to all the setters – can you please give ‘en’,’em’ & ‘audi’ a bit of a rest as I’m sure they all feel a bit tired. Favourite today was 5d

    Thanks to MynoT for the puzzle and Dutch for doing such a stalwart job of standing in for Toro.

  2. jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with Dutch on the weakness of some clues.
    But the doublé 5d/9d was excellent I thought.
    Thanks to MynoT and to Dutch for the review.

  3. Jane
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Needless to say, this was no walk in the park for me. I have to keep remembering that, up until fairly recently, I wouldn’t even have attempted a Toughie.
    Didn’t occur to me that 1d was a ‘real’ word (worry not, I have finally ordered a BRB!).
    Completely missed the anagram indicators at 5&9d – what a thing to have to admit – so needed all the checkers in place to get the answers.
    The penny had to drop from a great height to give me 22d (wretched sports questions). I could see what the answer had to be, but I do happen to know the names of quite a few of the bat species and 22d was one I certainly hadn’t come across before! Gazza was commenting on the other side this morning that he thinks perhaps too many clues are angled towards rather older solvers – I think there is also a bias towards male solvers!
    My leader board hosts 10&15a plus 16d for its lovely surface read.

    Thanks to MynoT for the battle and gratitude to Dutch for standing in for Toro and making a superb job of it.

  4. halcyon
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Agree with Dutch and J-LC that there were plenty of rather feeble clues [see SE corner] but the SW was considerably more of a challenge. As an old, but non-cricketing male I sympathise with Jane and also had to wait for the penny to drop in 22d. Also failed to parse 24d so thanks to Dutch and Gazza for that one. Thought 15a was quite cunning.

    Thanks to MynoT and to Dutch for an excellent blog.

    • dutch
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      yes, 15a was one of the ones I really liked.

  5. Expat Chris
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Well I liked it a lot. It may not have been as challenging as some would wish, but hey, it’s Tuesday. I don’t think it was particularly weak, either. My favorites are 5D, 8D 11A and 15A. Thanks to MynoT and to Dutch for pinch-hitting.

    Can anyone please tell me what Isinglass has to do with cleavage? Is it used in implants, perhaps?

    • dutch
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      I am guessing this is the other meaning of cleave, which is a bit sneaky. Cleavage as in sticking together, so in beer for example, it makes all the yeasties stick together and sediment out more rapidly. Of course, I could be completely wrong, and I don’t know enough about implants.

    • dutch
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      I had to look up pinch-hitting

      • Expat Chris
        Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Those darned Americanisms!

        • dutch
          Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          Brb says baseball and cricket

          • Expat Chris
            Posted January 5, 2016 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

            Baseball, certainly. I wouldn’t know about cricket. That game is not exactly a major sport over here. It’s actually commonly used for any situation when someone steps in at the last minute.

            • dutch
              Posted January 5, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

              Yes, looks like the cricket reference in brb is slightly different, so mainly baseball. Thanks!

              • Jane
                Posted January 5, 2016 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

                For once, the on-line dictionary came to my rescue. For the definition, it simply gives ‘bat in place of another player’. No specific sport mentioned.
                Well done to today’s pinch-hitter!

  6. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Our last act with this one was working out the wordplay for 24d and it seems we were not alone with this. 5d had us really scratching our heads until we twigged that Nancy was not a woman’s name and then once we had the two long anagrams sussed we had plenty of helpful checkers. We liked the way that 22d worked. Good fun.
    Thanks MynoT and Dutch.

    • halcyon
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Actually I first thought of Nancy Astor and wondered if she had popularised “petit bourgeois” in English. But then I thought – stop being a plonker , it’s a French indicator!

  7. Framboise
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Well I loved it because it is so rare for me to tackle a Toughie and succeed in solving more than three answers! I was able to complete it although not sure of 15a and needed the hint to parse it – silly as it was one of the easiest clue. As Jean- Luc said the doublé 5d / 9d was really very good. 3*/3* with the doublé as favourites (oops, they are after all linked!). Many thanks to MynoT and Dutch.

    • dutch
      Posted January 5, 2016 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Well done! there were some tricky clues..

  8. Gazza
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    ProXimal tomorrow.

  9. Heno
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to MynoT and to Dutch for the review and hints. I enjoyed it very much. A Toughie completion, hooray! Just needed the hints to parse 22&24d. Favourite was 15a, also liked 27a and 5&9d. Was 3*/3* for me.

  10. Paso Doble
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    We were stuck in all four corners but persevered and finished it in the end. Many thanks to Dutch for the last-minute review and to Myno T.

  11. Salty Dog
    Posted January 5, 2016 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    3*/3*, and 24d was my favourite clue. I confess I needed a hint for 11a, so thanks not only to MynoT but to Dutch as well.