Toughie 1584

Toughie No 1584 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

A typical Giovanni puzzle, nothing to frighten the proverbial horses and nothing to write home about. I had rather expected to add to my new Dictionary of Obscure Words but nothing today.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Series of processes to reposition mobile mast (10)
METABOLISM: a fairly obvious anagram (to reposition) of MOBILE MAST

6a    Rubbish brought back in hospital garment of white linen (4)
BLAH: H(ospital) and a priest’s long white linen sleeved vestment, all reversed (brought back)

9a    For festival around end of Dec, one must look ahead (10)
FORECASTER: FOR from the clue and a religious festival (not the one at the end of December) around the final letter (end) of [De]C

10a    Leader of his people ousting English, man who moved at speed (4)
MOSS: start with an ancient leader of the Jewish people and drop (ousting) the E(nglish) to get the surname of a racing driver who was the hero of most boys back in the fifties

12a    Hint of sun today — what 9 could offer (4)
SNOW: the initial letter (hint) of S[un] followed by a word meaning today

13a    Quiet champion attracting maiden, individual that may send out bodily signal (9)
PHEROMONE: a charade of the musical notation for quiet, a champion, M(aiden) and an individual

15a & 24a    The owner soon abandoned place of little significance (3-5,4)
ONE-HORSE TOWN: an anagram (abandoned) of THE OWNER SOON

16a    Weapon for Falstaff’s follower (6)
PISTOL: Having watched Henry V over the weekend this was a doddle for me.

18a    Most agreeable street on French resort (6)
NICEST: ST(reet) preceded by (on in an across clue) a French resort

20a    Talc perhaps fellow provided for wife in scented container (8)
POMANDER: start with the type of substance of which talc is an example (perhaps) and put a three-letter fellow in place of the W(ife)

23a    Little fellow isn’t troubled about Dad who may keep banging on? (9)
TIMPANIST: the shortened version of a man’s name and an anagram (troubled) of isn’t around a two-letter word meaning dad to get a person who plays percussion

24a    See 15 Across

26a    What‘s found in cup — a soup that could poison you (4)
UPAS: hidden inside (found in) the clue

27a    Apt to repeat, feeling sick? (10)
PARROTLIKE: this adjective meaning apt to repeat (like a particular bird) is usually hyphenated – the second part is an allusion to a typical response given by someone who is asked how they feel having just lost a game of football

28a    Report of university member making contribution to vessel (4)
KEEL: sounds like a university that, in my day, was known as the University College of North Staffordshire

29a    What boxer must do before fight as an unimportant person (10)
MAKEWEIGHT: split as (3,6) this is what boxer must do before a fight


1d    Miss cake, having left home behind (4)
MUFF: start with something that is a sort of cake when eaten by Americans (in England it is a vastly superior flat circular spongy bread roll made from yeast dough and eaten split, toasted, and buttered) and drop (having left … behind) the IN (home)

2d    Rattigan, say, as a dramatist of time gone by (7)
TERENCE: the first name of the English dramatist Rattigan – if there is any more than that to this clue then I can’t see it and the name of a Roman playright (thanks Andy)

3d    Uncouth fellow offering deal maybe to seal terrible bank scam (12)
BACKWOODSMAN: the type of natural product of which deal is an example (maybe) inside (to seal) an anagram (terrible) of BANK SCAM

4d    There are no jobs to be had after this call for retirement (4,4)
LAST POST: this could be the final job, but it is actually a bugle-call denoting the time for retiring for the night

5d    Stay put if you do get furious (3,3)
SEE RED: stay put if you spot this traffic light

7d    Concern when yob receives ‘it (7)
LOOKOUT: a four-letter yob around a hit without its initial H

8d    East German grabbed by troublesome people — youths on holiday? (10)
HOSTELLERS: the german for East inside (grabbed by) some troublesome people

11d    Count’s fate — it may be resolved in opera (4,3,5)
COSI FAN TUTTE: an anagram (may be resolved) of COUNT’S FATE IT

14d    Description of LEM is crazy (10)
MOONSTRUCK: split as (4’1,5) this could be a LEM (Lunar Excursion Module)

17d    Music number leading to shock in church (8)
NOCTURNE: the two-letter abbreviated form of number followed by a shock or fright inside the Church of England

19d    Fellow worker in firm forced to keep rule only to begin with (7)
COMRADE: the two-letter abbreviation for a firm or business followed by a verb meaning forced around the initial letter (only to begin with) of R[ule]

21d    Drinking in Cambridge college (7)
DOWNING: two definitions

22d    Supreme officer, woman seen as a chirpy type (6)
CICADA: a supreme military officer followed by a woman’s name gives a chirping insect

25d    Opening item on programme — opening put off (4)
VENT: an item on a programme without (put off) its initial letter (opening)

Perhaps a tad more difficult than the usual Tuesday Toughie, but not by much.


  1. crypticsue
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I’d be interested to know who else peered at the teeny tiny apostrophe in 7d and wondered whether (a) it was a blotch on the paper (b) their eyesight or (c) a very small apostrophe which was extremely relevant to solving the clue?

    As BD says a smidge more difficult that the normal Tuesday but still not a you know what! Thanks to him and Giovanni.

    • RogBrown
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Me for one.

    • Kath
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Yes – I did and this was quite Tough enough for me, thank you!

    • dutch
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      me too – I could hardly see it at all in the online version

    • Physicist
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Me too,

    • Hanni
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      And me.

      • Sh-Shoney
        Posted April 13, 2016 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        Me also. Sh-Shoney.

  2. andy
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    27a is hyphenated as (6-4) in the newspaper version and in 2d I think we are looking for a Roman Playwright who was called Terence (But might be wrong)

    • Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      You are right. I had never heard of him.

    • dutch
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      shouldn’t 29a be hyphenated too?

      • Posted April 12, 2016 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        Dictionaries differ on that but Chambers has it hyphenated.

  3. dutch
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Bit of a struggle towards the end, a few clues in top right and bottom right had me baffled. I could hardly see the essential apostrophe in 7d. I didn’t remember the white linen robe in 6a but should have (it’s a giovanni after all). In 8d, I was looking at TELL thinking surely he was swiss? – eventually saw OST. I didn’t find 27a in brb and 29a is hyphenated in brb. Some more of Giovanni’s broad biochemical definitions – these are a class of their own, I’m learning to enjoy them. I had to look up the poison, the opera and the Roman dramatist.

    Many thanks Giovanni and Big Dave

  4. Kath
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Tough enough for me today.
    I couldn’t do 6a or 7 and 8d and made 29a impossible by spelling the 11d opera with an ‘I’ for the last letter – could we please add operas to the ever increasing list of things that a Kath can’t do?
    Got into a spot of bother with 23a – thought it was spelt with a ‘Y’.
    I quite enjoyed this one and thought the anagrams were good, if a bit thin on the ground.
    I liked 15 & 24 and my favourite was 27a.
    With thanks to Giovanni and to BD.

    • dutch
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      yes I was fiddling with a Y, don’t know why..

  5. Wolfson Bear
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Off sick today so an early comment.

    Regarding CS’s question about the apostrophe in the clue of 7d I simply did not notice it – my printer needs a new cartridge! Now she mentions it I can discern a smudge. I ended up with the right answer by process of elimination and assumed “OOK” or OKO” meant something related to sex appeal, perhaps a short form of nookie!

    I also got 14d correct and I am old enough to have watched the moon landings with great interest so I understood the possible meaning of LEM. I was not sure of the word play as the LEM has little resemblance to a truck. Some missions did take a vehicle with them which I think was called a lunar rover not a LEM. I had assumed the answer meant either it struck the moon (as in it landed – stretching things somewhat) or because some of the later LEMs were intentionally crashed into the moon to support seismic experiments which would be very obscure.

    I lack BDs general knowledge so the dictionary was needed for several clues. I would agree with his star ratings

    • Hanni
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Hope you feel better soon. :-)

    • dutch
      Posted April 13, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      I remember a volkswagon ad showing the lunar module on the moon. The capture was “it’s ugly, but it gets you there”

  6. Hanni
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Agree with BD’s ratings.

    Well I wasn’t born when men were landing on the moon, but I have seen Apollo 13 so I got LEM through that, randomly. 2d had to dragged from the memory banks, 8d took some figuring out and I had to double check 26a because on first pass the only ‘word’ I could see was ‘paso’ and I knew that wasn’t right.

    Many thanks to the Don and to BD for a great blog.

    • Wolfson Bear
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      and you got the very old racing driver who was before my time but appeared in adverts on TV when I was a kid. However I still spent a while trying to fit Hunt or Hill who I remember watching.

      • Hanni
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        I got the racing driver because I have an overwhelming desire to drive an F1 car around the Nürburgring..or any Grand Prix track. Don’t remember Hunt either but have seen a few of the races and he was certainly a ‘legend’.

        Is it true that they crashed some of the LEM’s? Cool.

        • Wolfson Bear
          Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          I would be really happy simply to get inside a F1 car. I have heard of the steering wheel being removed to allow a slim professional driver to squeeze in but I suspect that I would need the side panels removed and then taped back

        • Hanni
          Posted April 12, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

          I would settle for that too. I’m little and I have a licence…do you think that would count? Probably not. Hate qualifying this year.

          CS…that’s quite a thing to be able to say, “Stirling Moss gave me my first driving lesson!” Love it.

      • crypticsue
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        I met the racing driver when I was about 6 or 7. Don’t remember a lot apart from him showing my little brother how to drive a go kart

  7. Sh-Shoney
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Request for help, please. As A Telegraph Subscriber can I get the daily puzzles onto my laptop, that is to say bring the matrix up and enter the clues into it from my keyboard? Thanks for any info. Sh-Shoney.

  8. Sh-Shoney
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    This is my second try at asking this question – my first try got the response – YOU HAVE ALREADY ASKED THIS BEFORE” – but nothing else.
    Can I bring up the puzzles directly onto my laptop and enter the answers from my keyboard? I am a Telegraph subscriber.
    Apologies if this a repeat question, but I don’t recall asking it previously. Many thanks for any help.

    • Hanni
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      I wish I could help Sh-Shoney but I get the paper. Sorry.

    • crypticsue
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      I am a paper solver too but I also subscribe to Telegraph Puzzles and you can solve puzzles from there using computer keyboard

      • Sh-Shoney
        Posted April 13, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Crypticsue. I think dutch has the answer. Sh-Shoney.

    • dutch
      Posted April 13, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      I gave up on my paper subscription and now solve the telegraph puzzles using my laptop (and keyboard) – you have to subscribe to telegraph puzzles though, which is not the same as the paper subscription.

      • Sh-Shoney
        Posted April 13, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Dutch. I’ll join the puzzles section too. Much obliged. Sh-Shoney.

  9. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Made heavy weather in the SE as I wrote Tutti in 11d. Dim moment.
    Never got 28a either.
    Saw the hyphen clearly in my printed version.
    Hyères is littered with pheromone traps to catch the “charançon” destructor of Palm Trees but I think it just attracts more of them.
    Knew the expression in 15/24. Saw it not long ago but I think it was in the Graun.
    Just loved 20a. Wonderful surface.
    Happy to see BD in the blogging chair reviewing a Giovanni.
    Thanks to both.

    • Hanni
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink


      It is safe to say that I have never heard of pheromone traps to catch weevils! I do remember you putting a video up of a tree being taken down in Hyères. Was that why?

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        The females hatch on the top of the palm tree and the larvae eat the heart, the palms fall and you end up with an ugly stick.

        • Hanni
          Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

          That’s really gross but your description made me laugh.

          • jean-luc cheval
            Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

            Oops. I meant to say lay their eggs not hatch.

        • Hanni
          Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

          OMG…in 1910 about a million palm trees were grown there? That is a lot. Been looking at the site you posted on the other side.

  10. Jane
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Late in as the warm weather here today persuaded me to do some work in the garden.
    As BD said, no real obscurities but I did still have to check out quite a few things:- the clerical vestment (which scuppered any hope of 7&8d until I’d guessed it and Hanni verified), Falstaff’s sidekick, the poison, second meaning of 2d, LEM (even though I’m quite old enough to have seen the moon landing) and the Cambridge college.
    An enjoyable puzzle nonetheless and my top spots go to the 15/24 combo and 4d.

    Thanks to the Don and also to BD, without whose help I wouldn’t have believed that 8d was what it had to be!

  11. Heno
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Big Dave for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do, but needed 14 hints to finish.

    • Sh-Shoney
      Posted April 13, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Hanni. Sh-Shoney.

  12. Kitty
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t complete on my own today (how much due to time constraints and how much to incompetence I will decline to say!) so am very grateful to BD. I was similarly at a loss to explain 2d as googling didn’t show up the Roman chap.

    6a is an evocative word for the kitties as we use it to describe a particular flavour of miserable.

    I think my education did cover the 6a vestment but my brain didn’t retain it. It didn’t extend to Falstaff’s follower (16a) – my Shakespeare knowledge is pretty woeful. 26a was new to me too, and I had to look up LEM (14d) though I simply must have come across it before.

    With thanks to Giovanni and to BD for the blog :) .

  13. 2Kiwis
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    We needed research to find the 28a university and to confirm the 21a college. We did wonder about 27a being one word too and note from a comment that it was changed in the paper version. Thought this one had a good level of difficulty and enjoyment so a thumbs up from us.
    Thanks Giovanni and BD.

  14. Jon_S
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    The LHS felt a lot more straightforward than the RHS, and the SE corner than the NE, which took an age. I blame the almost mid-week slump. No rare words from Giovanni today, just solid, always fair clues.

  15. Salty Dog
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    All done in 3* time, but I confess to a few inspired “bung-ins”. I quite enjoyed the ride, though, so 3*/3.5*. The 15/24a combo was nice, although it was a pretty obvious anagram, but I think 20a is my favourite. Ta to the Don, and to Big Dave.

  16. Expat Chris
    Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Fell short on 27A (never heard of this expression) and 29A (never heard of this either). Re 25D, I am not convinced that event (if that’s the right word) is synonymous with programme. Also not familiar with heller as meaning troublesome person. On the plus side, I am familiar with Stirling Moss. I did check 4D as one I liked. Overall, the puzzle didn’t particularly float my boat, but I thank Giovanni, and of course Big Dave.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      Hi Chris
      In 25d, event is an “item of programme”.

    • Jane
      Posted April 13, 2016 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      I’m with you on ‘hellers’ Chris. Hell raisers or Hell’s Angels but surely not just hellers. Sadly, it is in the BRB but is the ‘bible’ always right? I’ve certainly never heard it used. Has anyone else?

      • Expat Chris
        Posted April 13, 2016 at 3:21 am | Permalink

        I have found myself at odds with the BRB on more than one occasion, particularity with what it considers to be common
        American slang. I am mindful of the fact that dictionaries are complied by mere mortals and are therefore far from infallible.