Toughie 1541

Toughie No 1541 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This is a pleasant puzzle of about the right level of difficulty for a midweek Toughie. Anagram lovers will be disappointed that Kcit appears to be following Beam’s lead in cutting down on them. I did notice when I was writing the hints that there are lots of insertions needed.

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.

Across Clues

1a Harbours attracting sailor in standard bit of garb (6-6)
SPORTS-JACKET – another word for harbours or docks and an informal term for a sailor go inside an adjective meaning standard or fixed. The BRB has the answer as two words with no hyphen.

9a Fruit item, perhaps bit of orange, eaten by the German folk hero (4,5)
PIED PIPER – a cooked dish which could (perhaps) have a fruit filling is followed by a small bit of an orange contained inside a German definite article.

10a Loss of oil perhaps from lighter (5)
SPILL – double definition, the second a thin strip of wood or paper used to set light to something.

11a Permit sound after initial curtailment (6)
ENABLE – remove the initial letter from an adjective meaning sound or sustainable.

12a Second male abandoning fervent campaign (8)
MOVEMENT – a second or short period of time is followed by an adjective meaning fervent or passionate without its male pronoun.

13a Hard to get out of completed channel (6)
TROUGH – an adverb meaning completed or over loses its H(ard).

15a Criticise the consequences of decay? (8)
BADMOUTH – split the answer 3,6 and this may be what you get if your gnashers are decayed.

18a Biographer’s topic, sentence after sentence? (8)
LIFETIME – two sentences that a judge may hand down.

19a Second group securing right to deliver web content (6)
STREAM – the abbreviation for second is followed by a group or squad containing R(ight).

21a Rook I let in to visit occupant of bell tower (8)
CARILLON – the abbreviation for a rook in chess and the Roman numeral for one go inside a phrasal verb (4,2) to visit.

23a Very British form of decoration? (6)
POMPOM – the emphasis required by ‘very’ is achieved by repeating the informal word for British.

26a Workman‘s force in the main requiring some duplication (5)
NAVVY – a sea force has one of its letters duplicated.

27a Time for children to tour neighbourhood — mostly permitted when woman’s about (9)
HALLOWEEN – an adjective meaning permitted without its last letter is contained inside a, mainly Scottish, word for a woman.

28a Ready description of total mechanical failure? (3,7,2)
ALL SYSTEMS GO – this phrase, which originated in the space programme, means that everything is hunky-dory (and ready for lift-off). However, the verb at the end can mean to break down or fail so the phrase could possibly mean the exact opposite. I’m not keen on this one.

Down Clues

1d Fool that is not heartless or wise (7)
SAPIENT – string together a foolish or gullible person, the abbreviation for ‘that is’ and ‘not’ without its middle.

2d Some coloratura reportedly uplifting in this (5)
OPERA – hidden (some) and reversed (uplifting).

3d First-rate way to reach the attic? (3-6)
TOP-FLIGHT – as 3,6 this could be what you need to climb to reach the attic.

4d Judge copy to be some sort of prank (4)
JAPE –the abbreviation for judge is followed by a verb to copy.

5d Pen capturing revolutionary operation of the body (8)
CORPORAL – a pen for livestock contains the reversal of the abbreviation for operation.

6d Follow aim to exclude finale — it’s omitted from set of pieces (5)
ENSUE – an aim or goal without its last letter is followed by a set of pieces (of furniture, for example) from which IT has to be omitted.

7d Easy work to go wrong over energy treatment? (8)
SINECURE – a verb to go wrong or transgress followed by the abbreviation for energy and a treatment or remedy.

8d Articles stolen from gala leading to long hiatus (6)
GLITCH – pinch the two articles from the word gala and follow what’s left with a verb to long or yearn.

14d Shot over very loud broadcast of Verdi (3,5)
OFF DRIVE – start with abbreviations for over and very loud, then add an anagram (broadcast) of VERDI. Our sole anagram.

16d Underground sign with misplaced name and indicator of time (9)
METRONOME – a word for an underground railway followed by a sign or portent with the N(ame) moved.

17d Cathedral cities half-heartedly welcoming Low Church’s embraces (8)
SMOOCHES – a word for cathedral cities loses one of its central letters (half-heartedly) and what remains contains a verb to low and an abbreviation for church. The BRB says that the ‘cathedral cities’ meaning is wrong according to some people.

18d Copper infiltrating network, getting a break (6)
LACUNA – the chemical symbol for copper goes inside the acronym for a limited IT network. After that we need an A.

20d I will also cut round pieces to get souvenir (7)
MEMENTO – an informal phrase (2,3) meaning ‘I will also’ loses its last letter (cut) and contains chess pieces.

22d True line of kings dismissing pretender finally (5)
LOYAL – start with an abbreviation for line and add an adjective meaning ‘of kings’ without the last letter of pretender.

24d Reporters    continue to ask questions? (5)
PRESS – double definition, the second a verb to question someone forcefully and repeatedly. I’m not sure why the question mark is needed.

25d Lots of plans out of time, sadly (4)
ALAS – remove the abbreviation for time from a book of plans.

Top clues for me today were 23a and 8d. Which one(s) ticked your boxes?



  1. Expat Chris
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this a lot and had no difficulty completing it, which was a relief since I seem to have been coming up short all too often lately. The only bit I couldn’t fully parse was “Very British” in 23A. On my list of favorites are 27A, 28A, 3D, 8D and 17D. Many thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted January 27, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Hi EC – hope Mr Expat is still progressing well with his recovery.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted January 27, 2016 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Yes he is. Thanks so much for asking!

        • Jane
          Posted January 27, 2016 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          That’s good to hear, Chris – your TLC is obviously working well.
          How are the snow levels? You sent the storm across to us – thank you, but I don’t blame you personally!

          • Expat Chris
            Posted January 27, 2016 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

            In the end we only had a foot or thereabouts round here. Other places were much more badly hit. . Melting nicely now, though it will take a bit of time.

            • Jane
              Posted January 28, 2016 at 12:08 am | Permalink

              A foot would see most of the UK grind to a halt! Glad to hear that it’s melting though – you doubtless are already sufficiently in debt to the next door ‘angel’ already. I sense a ‘cook fest’ coming on in your house by way of recompense!

  2. Shropshirelad
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    After one read through, only one insertion – 1d. Made some coffee and returned refreshed and couldn’t fathom why I had struggled. Had to check for the different spelling of 5d in the BRB and, like Gazza, didn’t particularly like 28a. Re 21a – not being a campanologist, should the clue not read ‘occupants’? My favourite for the day has to be 17d.

    Thanks to Kcit for a most enjoyable puzzle and to Gazza for his review.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted January 27, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Edit – forgot to say, nice to see a batsman playing a good shot in the pictorial reference for 14d. Shame he’s not English.

      • Gazza
        Posted January 27, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        He’s the Indian batsman Murali Vijay.

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted January 27, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          Yes, recognised him. Wasn’t The Chief’s win at the weekend to secure a quarter final place absolutely brilliant?

          • Gazza
            Posted January 27, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

            Yes – Sunday was tremendous. I watched the Chiefs match on TV and when news came through that Clermont had scored two tries in the first few minutes I assumed that there was no way Exeter could get through. But the way it all panned out was simply amazing. An away quarter-final at Wasps is as good as the Chiefs could have hoped for, seeing that we thrashed them in Coventry earlier in the season.

            • jean-luc cheval
              Posted January 27, 2016 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

              Watch out for Toulon. I don’t know what these sneaky southerners are up to.

    • Gazza
      Posted January 27, 2016 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      A carillon is a ‘set of bells’ so therefore singular.

  3. Lesley
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the clues. Needed them for 12a and 18d (just did not know this word, but wasn’t getting there anyway. Perfectly fair and was even in my rather sad dictionary once I checked. Had guessed 18d. Now understand! Absolute favorite 25d. Thanks guys. It was good to struggle a little after a fair few recent easies. Day off tomorrow – hope it will be be a real toughie!

  4. dutch
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed the precision clueing today. 9a is fun (food item…). Despite “from”, I liked 10a because of “lighter”. I liked “true line of kings” in 22d. Many more great clues. Although it’s an “old friend”, 25d was my last one in and I didn’t see it for a while. Laughs from 15a, 23a, 27a and 17d. Many thanks Kcit and Gazza

  5. jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Excellent Toughie from Kcit.
    The progression was smooth while solving.
    Only spent a bit of time over 10a.
    Favourite of all is 16d.
    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza.

    • Una
      Posted January 27, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      16d appeared in some other crossword recently.

  6. crypticsue
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Petitjean tomorrow

  7. Una
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Definitely a Toughie, and I needed some nudges. I like 28a, can’t see anything wrong with it. I also liked 23a and 18a among many others.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

  8. KiwiColin
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Gazza, I was intrigued to see that in your hint for 28a you have used the same word that we had used as a synonym for OK at 13a in the Jay puzzle. Almost freaky as a coincidence. The puzzle all went together smoothly but not too quickly. Lots of stuff to like but I really liked the way 17d came together so will call that favourite. Good fun.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

    • Gazza
      Posted January 27, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Hi Colin,
      My blog was written before yours went up and I noticed the coincidence when I read yours. I decided to leave my terminology unchanged and wait for careful readers to comment on it. So far you are the only one who seems to have noticed.

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted January 27, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Sorry guys, but having been ‘Hunky – Dory’ed’ out by Mr Bowie’s recent demise – I failed to see the connection between the blogs. Suspendite caput in ignominiam as they said in Rome (hopefully) :mail:

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted January 27, 2016 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          Gosh – what I have done wrong?

          • Gazza
            Posted January 27, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

            You’re leaving a letter out of your email address.

            • Shropshirelad
              Posted January 27, 2016 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

              Thanks Gazza – I’ve now identified the missing ‘w’ d’oh. I keep on forgetting to put in my name & Email correctly

  9. Jane
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t find this one very easy but certainly have few grounds to complain about on the obscurity front – just needed to ask Mr. G to confirm 18d.
    Spent quite a while justifying 17a and initially tried for ‘slick’ in 10a. As for the cricket term in 14d, thank goodness it was at least a partial anagram!
    Favourite – no doubt to Gazza’s disgust – was 28a. At least Una agrees with me!

    Thanks to Kcit for the challenge – found this harder to unravel than the last one of yours – and many thanks to Gazza. Possibly your pic at 23a focussed mainly on a different type of pompom than was envisaged, but who knows what the setter had in mind. As for 17d – you restrained your artistic talents very well!

  10. Sheffieldsy
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Gazza has it right, this is just about the right level for a mid-week toughie. Favourite was 27a for its deceptive surface.

    3/3 is about right ratings-wise.

    We asked ourselves whether or not 28a meant the opposite of what was wanted but convinced ourselves it was acceptable (we’ll do anything to finish the Toughie!). We also wondered if 15a should be hyphenated as 3-5.

    Thanks Gazza and Kcit.

    • Gazza
      Posted January 27, 2016 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      I did check and Mr Chambers is happy that 15a is unhyphenated.

  11. neveracrossword
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    3*/3*. Thanks to Gazza and setter. About the right level for me.

  12. Salty Dog
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Yes, 3*/3* is about right. Plenty to enjoy – I had little ticks against 12a, 15a and 17d. Thanks to Kcit and

  13. Wolfson Bear
    Posted January 27, 2016 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    I tried to leave a comment yesterday but my PC or broadband had problems at the wrong time and today I see nothing got through.

    Today’s puzzle was one I encountered no new words for me nor tricky constructions and I finished a wee touch sooner than I would wish but no complaints.

    Yesterday I found the top 12 rows really easy but sweated blood over the bottom three. Quite a strange experience and one that changed my opinion of the setter and I really look forward to her next one. Hope she can do 12 rows like the bottom three and three softies to give us a start!

    So thanks to Gazza and Kcit for today

    … and a belated thanks to Excalibur and I think it was Toro for the blog yesterday

    • Jane
      Posted January 27, 2016 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      Would you settle for three softies at the top and a couple down the sides to give the rest of us a chance – please. :smile: