Toughie 1569

Toughie No 1569 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

I felt that I could have just written ‘ditto’ today to replicate BD’s comments from yesterday. Again we have a non-tough Toughie and again we have nine anagrams which are a few too many. Some of the clues were entertaining but overall I was left with a feeling of mild disappointment.

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 Still lacking action in Westminster? (10)
MOTIONLESS – cryptically this could describe our Parliament having nothing to debate.

6a Some very ardent characters in court (4)
YARD – hidden.

9a March — and arctic winds, showing no favours (10)
DEMOCRATIC – a march or rally followed by an anagram (winds) of ARCTIC.

10a Hedge fund finally scrapped dodgy spread (4)
GHEE – an anagram (dodgy) of HE[d]GE after dropping the final letter of fund.

12a Note: exam’s up-to-date (6)
LATEST – a note from tonic sol-fa and an exam.

13a Assailants wearing boots, as Klaus might say (8)
INVADERS – the answer is how a German might pronounce an English phrase (2,6) meaning wearing high waterproof boots.

15a Tory’s bird out in dreadful make-up (12)
CONSTITUTION – string together an abbreviation for Tory, ‘S, a small songbird and an anagram (dreadful) of OUT IN.

18a Paella batch I stupidly ordered by letter (12)
ALPHABETICAL – an anagram (stupidly) of PAELLA BATCH I.

21a Setter receiving great kick in the guts — from copper? (8)
METALLIC – start with how the setter might refer to himself and add an adjective meaning great or lofty and the central letters (guts) of kick.

22a Workroom outside’s unfinished and deteriorating (6)
STUDIO – an anagram (deteriorating) of OUTSID[e] without its last letter.

24a Arcadians regularly getting wet (4)
RAIN – regular letters from Arcadians.

25a Holiday region has infestation mentioned on every side (10)
PLAYGROUND – what sounds like an infestation is followed by a preposition meaning on every side or encircling.

26a Ashes of French saint (4)
DUST – a French preposition meaning of followed by an abbreviation for saint. The French word means ‘of the’ and not just ‘of’.

27a Printer using extremes of technology with metal to impress Royal Institution (10)
TYPEWRITER – start with the outer letters of technology and add a metallic alloy containing the abbreviation of Royal Institution.

Down Clues

1d Mean mix-up one’s ushered in for United (6)
MIDDLE – take a word meaning a mix-up or mishmash and replace the U(nited) with the Roman numeral for one.

2d In ramshackle motorboat Rob carelessly spilt fruit (6)
TOMATO – remove (spilt) the letters of Rob from motorboat and make an anagram (ramshackle) of what’s left. Carelessly tells us that the letters to be removed are not in the specified order.

3d Cosy in a local? Can be, sometimes (12)
OCCASIONALLY – an anagram (can be) of COSY IN A LOCAL.

4d This year‘s long, especially affecting Pisceans for starters (4)
LEAP – the starting letters from four consecutive words.

5d Orderly dispatched round Channel Islands, provided freeze decreased (10)
SCIENTIFIC – a verb meaning dispatched contains the abbreviation for Channel Islands. After that we need a conjunction meaning provided and a verb to freeze without its last letter.

7d Summon up some breath lustily before energetic … (8)
ATHLETIC – reverse a verb to summon but precede it with some letters from ‘breath lustily’.

8d … smoothing of plaster? (8)
DRESSING – double definition, the first meaning trimming and smoothing (a stone, for example).

11d Creator of ‘Top Team’ actuality more confident after sacking lead (12)
MANUFACTURER – charade of the common way (3,1) of referring to a top English football team, an actuality or truth and a comparative meaning more confident without its leading letter. Top team? -the puzzle must have been compiled some time ago!

14d In particular, showing sixth sense, Cecil’s ‘stuffing’ supporter (10)
ESPECIALLY – knit together the abbreviation for ‘sixth sense’, the middle bit (stuffing) of Cecil and a supporter or comrade.

16d Dear me — HM’s badly clobbered … (8)
HAMMERED – an anagram (badly) of DEAR ME HM.

17d … in the head; USA trips unlikely (8)
UPSTAIRS – an anagram (unlikely) of USA TRIPS. One of Joan Collins’s many husbands was known as ‘Bungalow Bill’ because allegedly he had very little ********.

19d Settle bill with fair (6)
ADJUST – the abbreviation for a bill or poster and an adjective meaning fair or equitable.

20d Lowland over the hill held by emperor’s central detachment (6)
POLDER – an adjective meaning ‘over the hill’ or ‘past one’s peak’ goes inside the central three letters of emperor. Dutch will have no problem with this one.

23d Perjurer’s report’s one with strings attached (4)
LYRE – this sounds like someone who commits perjury.

My clue of the day is 13a which made me laugh. Which one(s) exercised your laughing muscles?



  1. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Agree again about the lack of difficulty.
    A bit heavy on anagrams.
    Just can’t imagine having 10a spread on toast. Made my heart sink. Talking of which (sorry Gazza) if you were to say something “is made of butter”, in French it would be “fait avec du beurre”.
    Laughed at 13a and 21a also.
    Liked the “Top team” in 11d.
    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza.

    • Gazza
      Posted March 16, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      … but in your example isn’t ‘of’ translated by ‘avec du’ rather than just ‘du’?

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted March 16, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        Yes, you’re right but the synonyms of “of” can be a bit ambiguous. I have “consisting of” and “made from”.
        A bit too complicated for a mere restauranteur like myself.

        • Gazza
          Posted March 16, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

          The point I was trying to make is that any difficulties could have been avoided by making the clue ‘Ashes of the French saint’.

        • Toro
          Posted March 16, 2016 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

          Is restauraNteur French for restaurateur?

          • jean-luc cheval
            Posted March 16, 2016 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

            It’s probably American. I never know how to spell that word.

  2. Expat Chris
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    13A and 17D raised a smile. 20D was the last one in. I did go astray for a while by writing in typesetter for 27A , but sorted that out when I solved 11D. I supose a typewriter does print on the page, but I’m not enamored of the clue. I enjoyed the puzzle on the whole, though.Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

    Is anyone else finding that typing in the comment block is a bit slow and ‘”jumpy”?

  3. Shropshirelad
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    There was certainly nothing in today’s Toughie to get the horses even mildly worried. Not a lot more to be said really, other than I loved 13a.

    Me – ‘Are you a pole vaulter?’
    Walter – ‘Nein, I am a German’. Boom, boom.

    Edit: Forgot to thank Firefly for the puzzle and Gazza for his review.

    • Hanni
      Posted March 16, 2016 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      That did make me smile…sorry Dutch.

  4. Hanni
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    It seems that I found this a bit tougher than you lot. Mostly 20d. Good grief I struggled with that. I got the middle bit OK but just couldn’t work out the edge bit. I’m not sure why when it clearly says “central detachment”, but there you go. Oh and I’d never heard of the definition which didn’t help. You live and learn.

    21a made me smile but 13a was just a wonderful laugh out load moment when the penny dropped.

    Many thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for a great blog. Sterling effort for the 13a pic.

    Agree about 10a being spread on toast. Not sure about making my heard sink…just made me feel sick.

  5. dutch
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Yep. Was in the Polders just recently. They are even flatter than the rest of Holland.
    I thought there were some quite tricky bits today – and I’m not sure our rookies would dare to have a hidden non-word.

    Haven’t been reading my anagram letters again and bunged in contribution (15a) before I realised I had to substitute the bird. At this rate I’m going to have to resort to letter circles.

    I liked 3d, 21a & 22a most

    Many thanks Firefly and Gazza

    • Hanni
      Posted March 16, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Resort to letter circles….I’m hurt Dutch, hurt.

      • dutch
        Posted March 16, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        Hey – you get them right!

        • Hanni
          Posted March 16, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

          If only that were right…ante meridiem yesterday. I got that one wrong.

  6. crypticsue
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    13a made me laugh too

  7. halcyon
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    I found this a lot easier than yesterday’s – only slowed down in the SE corner after initially solving 19d as “square” [which fits the clue as a double def pretty well]. 7d was novel and both 13a and 21a [kick in the guts] made me smile.

    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for the blog.

  8. Gazza
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Good news – it’s Elkamere tomorrow.

    • Hanni
      Posted March 16, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      Oh get in!! Happy days.

    • Dutch
      Posted March 16, 2016 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      I’ve just sent him my puzzle for the macclesfield do…
      Will def be a humbling pleasure to do his puzzle tomorrow

    • dutch
      Posted March 17, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Not Elkamere – Shamus on St Patricks day!

      • dutch
        Posted March 17, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Now how did I get the idea Shamus was Irish? apparently, he is not.

  9. jane
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Certainly didn’t find this one as easy as yesterday’s – got into all sorts of difficulties in the NE corner, despite having 6a in place early in the solve. Also, 20d was a complete unknown – we live and learn!

    Liked 1a&11d but 13a takes the top prize today.

    Does anyone actually know what 10a tastes like?

    Thanks to Firefly and also to Gazza – goodness knows which ‘fishing’ magazine contained the 13a pic!

    • Hanni
      Posted March 16, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure about a magazine, but having just put “Women in waders”, into Google images, I have discovered that there are calendars that you can get off Amazon. The 2016 one is on sale for £5. Bargain.

      This is how it’s described…

      “When you think of fishing, what do you think of. Bait? Tackle? The big one that got away? Twelve stunning ladies in ideal settings fill the pages of the tastefully photographed, collector quality Women in Waders wall calendar.”

      Collectors quality too.

      • Gazza
        Posted March 16, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Hanni. That may come in useful for future blogs.

        • Hanni
          Posted March 16, 2016 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          You’re welcome. There is also one called Guns and Camo, same principal but with guns. It’s the hunting calendar that hits the target.

          • Jane
            Posted March 16, 2016 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

            Didn’t find one of Tom, then?

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted March 16, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      It’s only clarified butter, but it adds a lovely unctuous flavour to curries. I wouldn’t recommend spreading it on toast unless you’re from the ‘bread and dripping’ quarter.

      • Kath
        Posted March 16, 2016 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        Love bread and dripping but ghee – are you joking? Yuk!

    • halcyon
      Posted March 16, 2016 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      It tastes like clarified butter, which is all it is. Imagine the butter part of potted shrimps without the shrimpy taste.
      BTW I’m definitely from the bread & dripping quarter but I still wouldn’t put ghee on toast [unless I’d run out of ordinary butter].

      • Jane
        Posted March 16, 2016 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, SL & Halcyon. Think I’ll pass on that one!

      • Kath
        Posted March 16, 2016 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        Yes – me too – should have carried on down the comments before replying to the previous one.

    • Sheffieldsy
      Posted March 16, 2016 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Probably “coarse” fishing…

      • Kitty
        Posted March 16, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        Oh, that is good. Thumbs up.

  10. Sheffieldsy
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    We enjoyed this, but didn’t find it as easy as Gazza seems to have. We’d rate it 3*/3*.

    13a a clear favourite and simultaneous laugh out loud from Mrs Sheffieldsy and myself.

    Thanks Gazza and Firefly.

  11. Kitty
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t have time for this today, but read the review for educational purposes. I can add another setter’s puzzles to the list of “might not fail abysmally at.”

    Like Dutch I raised an eyebrow at the partial hidden in 7d – don’t think I’ve seen that before.

    I didn’t know the first definition of 8d. Pretty sure I’ve heard of 20d before but the knowledge has drained out of my brain, like so many other things.

    13a is amusing, but not nearly as much as the comments it has spawned.

    With apologies to Firefly and thanks to Gazza.

  12. KiwiColin
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    It is now quite a long time since I solved this one but I am still chuckling over 13a. It really appealed to me. Not the most difficult of Toughies but good fun so I am satisfied.
    Thanks Firefly and Gazza.

  13. dutch
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always found it a strange British obsession to make fun of accents – Also within the country, Scouser meets Geordie, and they immediately embarrass themselves and everyone else by trying to imitate the other’s accent whilst laughing uproariously – why? I’ve just found it rude.

    • snape
      Posted March 16, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      He doesn’t get anywhere near me (or Hanni). All southerners.

      • Kitty
        Posted March 16, 2016 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        :) . That was a good series. Iirc, it was the one which featured the wonderful Tourette’s Hero. Biscuit.

        • snape
          Posted March 16, 2016 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

          I hadn’t seen that one. Just looked it up. Wonderful indeed, but what a strange thing the brain is when something goes slightly wrong. The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat is a great book if you like reading about odd things like that.

    • Hanni
      Posted March 16, 2016 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      It’s not something I have ever thought about. An English idiosyncrasy perhaps? I’m useless at accents.

      Snape..I might live on the moors but I don’t have a Yorkshire accent. I think the odd word might slip in.

  14. Jon_S
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Easier than yesterday’s not particularly tough Toughie, but still took about twice as long as the main cryptic. 13ac raised a smile and a groan simultaneously. Overall thoroughly entertaining.

  15. Kath
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s on a par with yesterday’s – more difficult than a back pager but just about doable – that horrible word again but I can’t think of another way of putting it.
    I just about finished apart from 20d – should have looked up the only word it could have been but didn’t.
    13a made me laugh – sorry Dutch – it’s not an accent anyway, it’s just that Germans pronounce W as V – no-one’s poking fun and it’s not rude – well I don’t think it is anyway.
    This took me a lot longer than the average back pager would have done – I enjoyed it – I also dug some of the vegetable patches which allowed the brain to do a bit of work while it wasn’t looking.
    Favourite was undoubtedly 13a.
    With thanks to Firefly and to gazza for sorting out my problems of which there were several.

  16. Salty Dog
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Just into 3* time (too many anagrams for my taste) and about the same for enjoyment. 13a raised a smile, so gets my vote for best clue. Thanks to Firefly, and to Gazza.