Toughie 1536

Toughie No 1536 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Toro

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Some great stuff in this amusing puzzle from Warbler that would be a good place to start for back-page solvers looking to venture into the world of the Toughie.

Definitions are underlined. 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 Going to extremes in tourist sites, stand up to view and view? (6)
FACETS To stand up to or confront + T(ourist site)S

4a Ruins meals with addition of a touch of cardamom (8)
SCUPPERS Evening meals around C(ardamom)

9a Celebrities will commandeer international flight (6)
STAIRS Celebrities or A-listers around I(nternational)

10a Reset middle of ankle bone, gathering right hip should be made less stiff (6,2)
BROKEN IN Anagram of (an)K(le) BONE around R(ight), then a word for hip or trendy

11a Visionary wise men managed to come back within current year (9)
IMAGINARY The Biblical wise men + managed or directed, in reverse, all inside the one-letter symbol for an electrical current and Y(ear)

13a Robbery in Hythe is traumatic (5)


14a Liquid solvent make-up used by seductive entertainer (5-8)
PAINT STRIPPER Synonym for cosmetic make-up + a titivating live performer

17a Yet when old I do fancy being of fixed opinion (4-2-3-4)


21a Antelope discovered in European territory (5)
ELAND E(uropean) + territory

23a Number one tense is reversed into position (9)
SITUATION Abbreviation of number + Roman numeral one + tense or tight + IS, all reversed

24a Broad vote includes Conservative in charge (8)
ECLECTIC To vote (into office) around C(onservative), then I(n) C(harge)

25a Hat, one in a row? (6)
BOATER A type of hat that could also be someone engaged in rowing with oars


26a Conveyance used by football clubs, for a fee (8)
TRANSFER A kind of move in football that involves a fee

27a Stylish young woman residing in city outskirts (6)
CLASSY A young woman or girl inside C(it)Y


1d Car dash from France when chased by US agents (6)
FASCIA F(rance) + when or while + US spooks


2d Recipe page to have separate entries dividing ‘capable for stewing’ fruit (4,5)
CRAB APPLE R(ecipe) and P(age) inserted at different points in an anagram of CAPABLE

3d In combination, three small goals (7)
TERMINI A prefix (used in combination with other elements of a word) meaning three or tri- + small or diminutive

5d Bankruptcy court detains troubled arrestee around end of July (5,6)
CAREY STREET C(our)T around an anagram of ARRESTEE containing (Jul)Y

6d Cooked OK, a chip that’s made in a Chinese restaurant (3,4)


7d Feeling of weariness for Parisian in most of night (5)
ENNUI A French word for in plus the French for night minus the final letter

8d It’s good sense to embrace a recipe conducive to health (8)
SANITARY Good sense or reason around A R(ecipe)

12d Medicine sorted out Auntie Vi’s overwhelming temperature and coughs finally (11)
ANTITUSSIVE T(emperature) and (cough)S inserted at different points into anagram of AUNTIE VI’S

15d With pressure everything I chewed in the end disintegrates and softens (9)
PALLIATES P(ressure) + everything + I + chewed (and swallowed) + (disintegrate)S

16d Publicity goes on in this place over books one supports (8)
ADHERENT A publicity notice + in this place + books of the Bible

18d Lidless can cuts fingers? (7)
INDICES A can (e.g. of beans) minus the first letter + cuts or chops into cubes

19d Performing advanced part for the audience, showing continuing success (2,1,4)
ON A ROLL Performing as we speak + A(dvanced) + soundalike of a dramatic part


20d What holds matters pending within yard (2-4)
IN-TRAY Latin prefix meaning within or among + Y(ard)

22d Scottish town contributes to regional loans (5)

1d (car dash) and 18d (lidless can) are crossword perfection!

Over to you – please rate and comment on this puzzle below.


  1. Shropshirelad
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly agree with Toro’s assessment and comments on this enjoyable offering from Warbler. Some good stuff to get the grey matter going and some excellent clues along the way. I really enjoyed 12d (my favourite) and am quite happy to forgive the homophonic likeness to the start of the answer and the relation in the clue.

    Thanks to Warbler for the puzzle and to Toro for his review.

    Had to make sure that the damned predictive stuff didn’t change my ‘homophonic’ into something else :cool:

    • Toro
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      I meant to ask: Does anyone know who Auntie Vi is? Seems to be some sort of comfort-food archetype.

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        I’ve got her as a rental agent for virtually anything in the Cape Cod area.

        • Toro
          Posted January 19, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

          That, some cake names and some fictional characters were what came up when I googled it.

          • Shropshirelad
            Posted January 19, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

            She seems to have recovered from illness – her ‘medicine’ obviously works :smile:

            • Toro
              Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

              I wonder if she’s friends with Auntie Avis?

      • bifield
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        There was an Auntie Vi on childrens hour on the radio many years ago. She was Violet Carson.

  2. dutch
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks Toro,

    Enjoyed this, particularly 20d ( what holds matters pending in yard). Also liked the all-in-one-ish 12d (medicine), 4a ( ruins meals). 1d and 5d were new to me. Not sure I liked 1a very much.

    Many thanks warbler

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Hi Dutch, have you entered the clue writing completion in the Times recently?

      • dutch
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        No – keep meaning to but keep forgetting – why? is something exciting going on?

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          Not really – just wondered. This week’s word is ‘Zuchetto’, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in a crossword before.

          • dutch
            Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

            i’m thinking about a clue with a zucchini cornetto going above your head…

            • Jane
              Posted January 19, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

              Well – that would be fairly memorable, although doubtless totally inedible!

    • Hanni
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink


      I tried to make rose out of red and white at the pub. I am very happy to report back that the result tasted b***** awful. This was confirmed by a number of friends who also dared to try it. If I can upload a picture I will.

      • dutch
        Posted January 19, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Ah – how we learn from experiments. Thanks for doing this one for us, we are all better off for it.

  3. halcyon
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Hardly a toughie but I liked 1d [car dash] and 12d [being the right med for coughs]. 1a doesn’t float my boat either.
    Thanks to Warbler and to Toro for the blog.

  4. Hanni
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Very nice stuff.

    Really enjoyed 12d, smiled when the penny dropped for 25a. 1d had to be checked and I’ve never heard of the expression of 17a before. But it was certainly solvable from the clue.

    I do enjoy Warbler’s puzzles.

    Many thanks to Warbler and to Toro for a great blog.

  5. Jane
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I do enjoy a Warbler puzzle – does my ego no end of good! Having said that, I did still have to verify 12d and had never come across 5d before.
    Top spots go to 1d plus 14a for the image it conjured up!
    Thank you, Warbler, and thanks to Toro for the review.

  6. Expat Chris
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear..I seem to be the only one who failed to finish. I was defeated by 1A and 3D, though having read the blog I probably should have persevered a bit longer. 6D is called Bok over here, not Pak, by the way. Loved 12D and 14A best among a strong field. Thanks much Warbler and Toro.

    Busy prepping for The Big One…a nor’easter is coming our way this weekend. Anything from a foot to several of the white stuff, depending on which way it tracks. :negative:

    • Una
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear ! We have had our share of storms. I don’t envy you.

    • Chris
      Posted January 19, 2016 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      You are not the only one defeated by those two!

  7. Una
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable , but not as easy as all that. I also hadn’t heard of 5d or 22d before.Perhaps someone from there will set me straight on how well known it is.
    Favourite : 14a.
    Thanks Warbler and Toro.

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Agree with Toro about the difficulty rating.
    I liked the cough reference to the solution of 12d although Auntie Vi is a bit strange and the court in 5d as I believe the expression is On Carey Street. Don’t know if it still exists. There used to be a County Court in St Martin’s Lane which became a Browns Restaurant.
    Some great surface in 9a (celebrity) and 21a (antelope) and many more.
    Favourite is 20d (what holds).
    Thanks to Warbler and to Toro for the review. Nice to see David H in 1d. Apparently he’s still big in Germany.

  9. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    5d was something that we had not met before but we got it from the wordplay and checked in BRB. Lots and lots of stuff to smile and chuckle over as Warbler always seems to be able to give us in her puzzles. Much appreciated.
    Thanks Warbler and Toro.

  10. Sheffieldsy
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Nice to have a Toughie all to myself while Mrs Sheffieldsy is at her Pilates class. Finished in reasonable time with no hints from the blog. Then I read Toro’s assessment and found I totally agree with it – top end back-pager, bottom end Toughie in terms of difficulty.

    Favourite clues intersected – 23a and 19d. 12d was a new word to me, but eminently constructable.

    Thanks to Toro and Warbler.

  11. Salty Dog
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    The NW corner held me up (mainly because I wanted 1d to be “Lancia” – “lan” from the French “elan”, plus CIA – so I edged into 3* time. I quite enjoyed it (except for 1a, which I don’t works very well), so 3* for enjoyment. I enjoyed 15a. Thanks to Warbler, and to Toro.

  12. Heno
    Posted January 19, 2016 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Warbler and to Toro for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, just needed the hints for 1a. Managed to work out 5d, but hadn’t heard of the saying. Favourite was 14a, last in was 3d. Was 2*/4* for me. A very enjoyable venture into Toughie land.

  13. Paso Doble
    Posted January 20, 2016 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Very late in with this one but thanks, Toro, for the tip off as we thoroughly enjoyed it. We did find it tougher than a back-pager but do-able. Thanks also to Warbler.