Toughie 1568

Toughie No 1568 by Messinae

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Toro will be away for a few weeks. This is the kind of non-tough Toughie we have become used to seeing on a Tuesday.

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.


3a/6a/10a    Around the country cat and dog provide company to get you moving (6,4,5)
JAGUAR LAND ROVER: around a general word for a country put a large cat and a name often given to a dog to give the name of a vehicle manufacturer

6a    See 3 Across

8a    Where prisoner’s kept old instrument for scraping (5)
CELLO: the room where a prisoner is kept followed by O(ld)

9a    International forces cheat — unit manoeuvres not genuine (11)
UNAUTHENTIC: some international peacekeeping forces followed by an anagram (manoeuvres) of CHEAT UNIT

10a    See 3 Across

11a    Who foresees invention in CERN flourishing (11)
NECROMANCER: an invention or story inside an anagram (flourishing) of CERN

16a    Sounds like Halabja resident will turn into a clot (6)
CURDLE: sounds like a resident of Halabja in northern Iraq and the abbreviated form of will

17a    Country folk like an animal for company around stables primarily (8)
PEASANTS: a two-letter word meaning like and the AN from the clue inside (around) an animal kept for its company and followed by the initial letter (primarily) of S[tables]

19a    Introduced to office wearing underwear to meet Telegraph boss! (8)
INVESTED: a two-letter word meaning wearing followed by the item of underwear that one might be wearing and the abbreviation for the boss of a newspaper such as the Telegraph

20a    A vice that’s allowed (6)
AGREED: the A from the clue followed by a vice or sin

22a    Operate risk performing reconstruction (11)
PERESTROIKA: an anagram (performing) of OPERATE RISK gives a Russian word for reconstruction popularised by Mikhail Gorbachev

25a    Agree in one’s head to reject men (5)
TALLY: drop (reject) MEN from the front of a word meaning in one’s head

27a    Those in the know since con got busted (11)
COGNOSCENTI: an anagram (busted) of SINCE CON GOT

28a    Like the decimal system in many cases (5)
OFTEN: as powers ** ***, this describes the decimal system

29a    Sound made to drive away mule? (4)
SHOE: sounds like a exhortation to drive something away


30a    Doctor on good terms with bird (6)
INTERN: a two-letter word meaning on good terms with followed by a bird


1d    American among dons makes mark (4)
SCAR: A(merican) inside (among) the three-letter abbreviation for where university staff, such as dons, can often be found

2d    Hard worker sparked Reds’ revival (5-6)
SLAVE-DRIVER: not so much a hard worker, more someone who works others hard – an anagram (sparked) of REDS’ REVIVAL

3d    Hacks king lain wounded in knightly contests (11)
JOURNALISTS: the Latin abbreviation for king and an anagram () of LAIN inside contests in which knights competed with each other

4d    Can leg shot be this? (6)
GLANCE: an anagram (shot) of CAN LEG gives a cricket shot which could be on the leg side

5d    Was responsible for our death in crash (8)
AUTHORED: an anagram (crash) of OUR DEATH

6d    Put extra layer inside new underwear (5)
LINEN: a verb meaning to put an extra layer inside followed by N(ew)


7d    Row to move slowly round island (5)
NOISE: this row or commotion is derived by putting a verb meaning to move slowly around I(sland)

12d    Scandalous date when soldiers upset people (11)
ASSIGNATION: a two-letter word meaning when followed by the reversal (upset in a down clue) of some US soldiers and a people or race

13d    Consider note held by Tory politician recently (11)
CONTEMPLATE: a note in the scale in sol-fa notation between (held by) a Tory and a politician and followed by an adjective meaning recently

14d    Stay on team (6)
RESIDE: a two-letter word meaning on followed by a team

15d    Make savings of money in emergency currency (6)
SCRIMP: M(oney) inside a paper token issued instead of currency in emergency circumstances

18d    Carry liquid collected by girl — in this? (8)
JERRYCAN: an anagram (liquid) of CARRY inside the three-letter shortened form of a girl’s name

21d    One’s intended to provide funds — not an indefinite amount (6)
FIANCÉ: a verb meaning to provide funds from which one of the Ns (indefinite amount) has been dropped

23d    Biblical character — person exalted by church (5)
ENOCH: the reversal (exalted) of a person followed by CH(urch)

24d    Els captivating one with eagle (5)
ERNIE: the first name of a South African golfer is derived by putting I (one) inside (captivating … with) a sea-eagle

26d    Jerk  from across the pond (4)
YANK: two definitions

Rather too many anagrams (nine) for my liking.


  1. dutch
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this. Thought 22a was elegant (operate risk performing reconstruction), less so 17a. Like in the back-pager today, I misspelled the anagram in 27a – I’ll have to remember to look at the letters more carefully! I liked 11a though hadn’t seen invention used like this before. Similarly “was responsible for” in the morbid 5d seemed a bit left-field, “wrote about” would have worked fine for me. I haven’t seen the emergency money before (maybe times aren’t that bad). I liked 18d (carry liquid collected by girl) and many more. Thanks Messinnae and Big Dave.

  2. Hanni
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    No more difficult than a back page but I quite enjoyed it. I had to double check the spelling of 22a. As an anagram fan I didn’t mind them but I can see that 9 is a lot. Also had to check the exact location of Halabja for 16a.

    Many thanks to Messinae and to BD for a lovely blog.

    Favourites are 27a and 18d

  3. Kath
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m all for the occasional non-tough Toughie – does wonders for the morale – and I like anagrams so no complaints from me.
    I confess that I did find it more difficult than the average back-pager but that’s probably just because it’s called a Toughie and that does things to my head!
    The 3, 6 and 10a took me for ever – dim.
    I didn’t know what 11a meant but it had to be what it was.
    I’d never heard of Halabja but Mr Google had and neither had I heard of the 15d emergency currency.
    My favourite, and last answer, was 18d and 29a made me laugh.
    With thanks to Messinae and to BD.

  4. Kitty
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    My first Messinae, who certainly goes on the list of setters I can handle. Those anagrams certainly helped, though I couldn’t quite believe it.

    I won’t pretend I knew where Halabja is, and I needed to investigate to understand 15d. Couldn’t remember the first name of crosswordland’s favourite golfer, so needed to check that too. Other than that, a nice confidence-booster of a Toughie. My Favourites are 25a, 28a and 29a.

    Many thanks to Messinae and Big Dave.

  5. halcyon
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Probably being a bit dim today but I struggled with this. Not helped by being unable to see 3/6/10a until 6 checkers were in place. I even gazed at 8a for an embarrassingly long time [I think it was the scraping bit]. Don’t reckon “sparked” much as an anagrind in 2d [unless anyone can enlighten me] but chuckled at 12d [scandalous date] and 21d [one’s intended].

    Thanks to Messinae for the contest and BD for the blog.

  6. Shropshirelad
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    To me, the anagrams at 22 & 27a spoiled an enjoyable, albeit relatively easy, crossword. The answers were plain to see but no indication we were dealing with foreign words. I do hope the next 2 Tuesday Toughies are just as simple as I’m sitting in for Toro.

    I liked the 3, 6, 10a combo, so will opt for them as my favourite.

    Thanks to Messinae for the puzzle and BD for the review.

    • Hanni
      Posted March 15, 2016 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      I bet you get lucky and get an Elkamere or a Sparks.

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted March 15, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        As long as it’s not Elgar – there will be much wailing in Shropshire if it is.

        • Hanni
          Posted March 15, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          I can’t believe CS volunteered to do the last one. Love his puzzles but yikes!

          • crypticsue
            Posted March 15, 2016 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

            I have a wish list of Toughie setters I’d arm-wrestle to get the chance to review but Elgar is at the top. He set my favourite toughie ever – the Edward Lear one

            • Hanni
              Posted March 15, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

              You are braver than I am. Have you or BD got the link from the Telegraph site that shows who the setter is for the next day? I forgot to bookmark it last time. Thanks.

            • andy
              Posted March 15, 2016 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

              And finally I can connect to this site, . crypticsue, you know my fave is the Elgar REM puzzle, and the debates we had. Agreed the Edward Lear was up there though. Although his double unch Nina was stunning in another puzzle.

  7. Jane
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Oh yes – that’s my level of Toughie and quite a relief after some of the ones we had last week.
    Didn’t know that the abbreviation in 1d was an accepted one and hadn’t come across the emergency currency before – thinking of applying for some!
    Leader board shows 16,20&29a plus 12d. 18d would have got a mention if I’d ‘clocked’ the anagram rather than settling for a question mark…….

    Thanks to Messinae for the confidence booster and to BD for doing the honours with the review.
    Off to chat to Hanni now to find out how she’s managed to get away from having to use the proxy server.

    • Hanni
      Posted March 15, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      She hasn’t Jane. Work in progress again.

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Certainly not tough but very enjoyable.
    The anagrams did help a lot.
    Favourite is the sound made to drive away mule. Made me laugh.
    Thanks to Messinae and to BD for the review.

  9. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    We remembered the abbreviation in 1d from a previous outing so not a problem this time. The margins of the puzzle are pristine still which is a pretty clear indication that it all went together smoothly for us. Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Messinae and BD.

  10. Una
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    If this had been a back-pager, there would have been a lot of 7d.
    I thoroughly enjoyed it , just about my level, some work involved, but no hair pulling.
    The 3,6 and 10 combo was fun to unravel.I went through quite a few biblical characters in my mind before hitting on the right one in 24d.I never heard of Halabja and didn’t have access to Google, so I guessed it.
    I opt for 28a as favourite.
    Thanks Messinae, great fun , and BD.

  11. Expat Chris
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    I wrestled with the last three…27A, 18D and 23D. I’ve always spelled 18D with an i, not a y. I got there in the end, though. Needed the review to understand 1D and 17A. I so wanted 4D to be tingle! Reminds me of the US newscaster who once said that he got one down his leg when he heard an Obama speech. Not that the media here is biased or anything. Thanks to the setter…despite 26D which I could take strong exception to. And thanks of course to our stalwart leader.

    • Jane
      Posted March 15, 2016 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, Chris, but it was funny – very funny. To be fair, us ex-countrymen of yours do get a lot of brickbats thrown our way as well!

    • Una
      Posted March 15, 2016 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      It was funny. I also thought of tingle originally. Obama the leg trembler ? Hmmm..

  12. Jon_S
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    A little difficulty with the spellings of 22 and 27ac, and a little grumble about 21d. Shouldn’t that be “one’s”? Otherwise an enjoyable, encouraging solve.

    • jane
      Posted March 15, 2016 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      That’s exactly how it appears in the paper version, Jon – One’s intended etc.

      • Jon_S
        Posted March 16, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        Just a glitch online then. Or does the software have an issue with apostrophes? :-)

  13. Salty Dog
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Right on my 2/3* boundary, but well worth doing. Some nice clues, of which 16a was my favourite. Thanks to Messinae and BD.

  14. Heno
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Messinae and to Big Dave for the review and hints. A turn up for the books, a Toughie completion. Very enjoyable puzzle, but I must agree with BD, it wasn’t that tough. Favourite was 2,6,10a. No need to apologise to Kath :-) Last in was 30a. Was 2*/3* for me.