Toughie 1570

Toughie No 1570 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

It wasn’t my morning. First I had to get the breakdown people along to remove the car to a garage in order that the problem of our not being able to change gear could be fixed. Then I discovered that I was not getting an Elkamere puzzle after all. I suppose it does mean that I no longer need to be careful about what I write prior to attending Elkamere’s do in Macclesfield on Saturday (assuming I make it). I wasn’t really in the mood for this puzzle and made harder work of it than I should have done. But it was enjoyable enough and didn’t cause very much head scratching.

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    There’s nothing in sleeping area located by uncomplaining figure (7)
DOORMAT: O (nothing) inside a large sleeping room with many beds + ‘located by’ = an uncomplaining person whom others treat inconsiderately

5a    I lift up folds in a sad state (7)
PITIFUL: An anagram (folds) of I LIFT UP

9a    Eminent name traduced principally in dictionary (5)
NOTED: N (name) + T (first letter of Traduced) inside the abbreviated title of a famous dictionary

10a    Unwilling lecturer to face a cut possibly in payment (9)
RELUCTANT: L (lecturer) and an anagram (possibly) of A CUT inside payment for use of a house

11a    Twig, minute, close to potted plant (10)
TUMBLEWEED: ‘To twig’ or ‘to comprehend’ + ‘minute’ or ‘tiny’ + the last letter of (close to) potteD = a plant that snaps off above the root, curls into a ball, and is blown about in the wind

12a    Drab logic stifling on-line work (4)
BLOG: Hidden in DraB LOGic

14a    On leaving Jobcentre, loses working experience of instructive nature (6,6)
OBJECT LESSON: An anagram (working) of JOBCENT LOSES (ON = RE which is removed from JOBCENTRE)

18a    Windy condition captures one on edge by park, we hear (7,5)
NERVOUS WRECK: ‘On edge’ + a homophone (we hear) of a park or recreation ground = a person who is not dealing successfully with stress or tension, i.e. someone that is windy

21a    Representative of ten characters in college (4)
ETON: The ten letters are EFGHIJKLMN and the college is a public school across the river from Windsor

22a    Criticise in work discontented trainees in casual gear (10)
SWEATPANTS: ‘To criticise’ (3) goes between ‘hard work’ (5) and the first and last letters (discontented or without the contents) of TraineeS to give a mostly US term for trousers as worn by athletes when warming up or after exercise

25a    Moody scientist restricted in experimental realm (9)
MERCURIAL: The surname of the discoverer or radium with the last letter removed (restricted) inside an anagram (experimental) of REALM

26a    Long narrative in detail I advanced (5)
ILIAD: Hidden in detaIL I ADvanced

27a    Measure period for charge (7)
YARDAGE: An English measure of length + a long time = the charge made for use of an enclosed space

28a    Article put on jolly huge drinks container (7)
THERMOS: The definite article + a jolly (a royal marine) + ‘huge’ = a brand of vacuum flask


1d    Offer a note supporting academic (6)
DONATE: A fellow of a university + A + a note of the scale

2d    Start of tour in old French city largely as scheduled (2,4)
ON TIME: T (first letter of Tour) inside O (old) and a city in southern France with the last letter removed

3d    Run into bend beyond central area? It’s not unduly demanding (10)
MIDDLEBROW: A central area (6) + R (run) inside ‘to bend’ = somewhere between intellectual and non-intellectual

4d    Deliver / small rug (5)
THROW: 2 meanings: to deliver (a ball or a punch)/a small rug (or a piece of fabric spread over a piece of furniture)

5d    Material in old college guide (with centre displaced) (9)
POLYESTER: A synthetic textile = an old college (now upgraded to university status) + ‘to guide’ with the middle letter moved to the front

6d    Instant sign of credit (4)
TICK: 3 definitions: an instant/a sign or mark used to indicate that something has been checked or is correct/credit

7d    Untarnished force avoiding regulation (8)
FLAWLESS: ‘untarnished’ or ‘with no defects’ = F (force) + ‘avoiding regulation’

8d    One in suit altered tailoring wanting alternative tweed principally (8)
LITIGANT: A person engaged in a lawsuit = an anagram (altered) of TAILING (TAILORING minus OR or alternative) + the first letter of Tweed

13d    Observant look about Catholic woman virtually in retreat (10)
PERCEPTIVE: A surreptitious look round an abbreviation denoting ‘Catholic’ + a reversal (in retreat) of a Spanish woman’s name with the last letter removed

15d    One-time hits were played around back of hall (9)
ERSTWHILE: An anagram (played) of HITS WERE round the last letter of halL

16d    Ill-looking slum enemy laid waste with month gone (8)
UNSEEMLY: An anagram (laid waste) of SLUM ENEY, i.e. SLUM ENEMY minus M (month)

17d    Custodian of pieces etc? (8)
ARMOURER: A cryptic definition. The pieces are guns

19d    Unstable snitch I found for nothing (6)
INFIRM: Take a word meaning ‘to snitch’ and replace O (nothing) by I

20d    Idiot eating fish producing dramatic comments (6)
ASIDES: An idiot goes round a freshwater fish to give words spoken by actors that the other persons on the stage are supposed not to hear

23d    Designate a place to park in announcement (5)
ALLOT: A homophone (in announcement) of A car park in the US

24d    A fool (not half) lifted cat (4)
PUMA: A reversal (lifted) of A and the first 3 letters of a 6-letter word for a fool = a mountain lion or cougar

Apparently it’s a leaking slave cylinder (whatever that means).


  1. Dutch
    Posted March 17, 2016 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    this took me as long today’s back pager but I enjoyed it much more. I was left bewildered by 18a (where “one of edge” in the middle of the clue seemed the best def?) and 21a (is o’ = of?) – so thank you very much bufo for the explaining these – I was way off.
    I liked 25a (moody scientist), was amused by 28a (article put on jolly huge), thought 15d was clever (one time hits were played). Took me a while to twig onto the custodian (17d)

    Many thanks Shamus and Bufo, sorry for your troubled day but I hope macclesfield will prove a pleasant diversion

    • Dutch
      Posted March 17, 2016 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      “One on edge”

  2. Kitty
    Posted March 17, 2016 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Never have I ever found the Toughie easier than the back pager. I’m not sure if these was one of those times or not, because I’m much more cheat-happy with the hard puzzles and so used some help to keep things flowing when I slowed up a bit. I refused to do that on the other one.

    Four letter words were my friends today: I liked 12a as it seems to perfectly describe the headaches poor BD must be having, and 24d also amused.

    Many thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  3. Shropshirelad
    Posted March 17, 2016 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable solve and it was finished faster than the back pager. Too many good clues to single out one in particular, but I did have a laugh at the ‘nod’ to HIJKLMNO in 21a. My one question is – have I missed a hidden theme at all? I’ve looked but nothing stands out.

    Thanks to Shamus for the puzzle and to Bufo for his review. I hope the slave cylinder doesn’t prove to be too costly.

  4. Hanni
    Posted March 17, 2016 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Really nice solve. I think there might be a theme SL…what about state of being, i.e. you can be a 1a, be 5a, 10a, 18a, 25a, 3d, 16d 13d 19d.

    Plenty of smiles with 11a, 21a and 25a standing out.

    Many thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for a great blog on a tough day.

  5. halcyon
    Posted March 17, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Solved this Saint Pat’s day puzzle easily enough but then left scratching my head [much like Dutch] about the parsing of 18a and 21a. So thanks to Bufo for the explanations – I’m happy with 21 but feel a bit cheated by 18 [feeble def and the rest is a bit of a let-down]. But I was impressed by 14a [the best of the 3 subtracted anagrams [14a, 8d, 16d]] and by the elegance of 28a.

    Slainte to Shamus and Bufo.

    BTW BD the bold cap typeface seems to have changed subtly?

    • Posted March 17, 2016 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t think anyone would notice – the blog title typeface has changed as well.

  6. Expat Chris
    Posted March 17, 2016 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Having so much trouble accessing the site and actually typing a comment that I am resorting to pre-writing and cut and paste. Fingers crossed.

    For the most part I enjoyed this, but I have questions. I don’t understand the underlining and parsing of 18A. Where does “capture one” fit in? My rationale for 21 across was o’ = representative of the word ‘of’( especially on St Patrick’s Day!) , and an anagram of TEN. I think Dutch had that also but I can’t check before posting because the pane constantly freezes up and I can’t scroll. I thought 17D was a weak clue, and since I won’t be at S&B, I’ll risk saying so. I did like 25A, and also 24D because I remember the Brit slang. Thanks Shamus and Bufo.

  7. Jon_S
    Posted March 17, 2016 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    I took quite a bit longer than the back pager, but went with crossing letters and enumerations on one or two, so perhaps it wasn’t as difficult as I made it. Maybe late evening isn’t the best time to start these? Liked 14ac, even if I did pick the wrong sort of ‘on’ to take out the first try.

  8. Salty Dog
    Posted March 17, 2016 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    I completed this rather more quickly than I did the back-pager: 2*/ 3* seems about right. In tribute to my friends in green lids and lovat, my favourite clue was 28a. Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  9. Jane
    Posted March 17, 2016 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Not easy and a few that I solved purely by definition/ checkers and then worked backwards for the parsing.
    Needed Bufo’s review to understand why 14&21a plus 8d were what they obviously had to be.

    Plenty of ticks – 1,14&28a plus 7&23d all worthy of mention.

    Thanks to the twinkly-eyed one and to the lucky man who no longer has a leaking slave cylinder (you must feel a whole lot better now!).

  10. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 18, 2016 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Ah go way outta that!
    Didn’t realise that this was Shamus .
    Found it very straightforward and enjoyable.
    Even got the E to N bit although I had to count on my fingers.
    Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.