Toughie 1594

Toughie No 1594 by Mynot

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Continuing Gazza’s horse-riding analogy, I did the bottom half at a gallop and the top half at a canter. None of the obscurities caused me problems and my only doubt was the spelling of 9 across. The mini-theme in the puzzle actually helped me in that I was able to write in the second two of the four answers without looking at the clues. It just about earned the extra half-star for difficulty and I didn’t find the puzzle particularly satisfying or enjoyable

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a    Call time in race after gold decorative work (13)
ORNAMENTATION: ‘Gold’ (2) + ‘to call’ (4) + T (time) inside ‘race (body of people)’

9a    One who annoys water provider using tons, not gallons (9)
IRRITATOR: Take a word for someone who, or something that, provides water for agricultural purposes and replace G (gallons) by T (tons)

10a    Plant that grows in tropics / isn’t able to in Scotland (5)
CANNA: 2 meanings: a tropical flowering plant/a Scottish word meaning ‘isn’t able to’. I’m not familiar with the plant

11a    The setter must leave one or other in the upper air (5)
ETHER: Remove I (the setter) from ‘one or other’

12a    Do not start to hide pain (4)
ACHE: Remove the first letter from ‘to hide in a hidden store’

13a    Pointe? (4)
EAST: The clue should be read as “Point E” and E is the abbreviation for this point

15a    Continue in some films (5,2)
CARRY ON: The first two words in the titles of a series of British comedy films

17a    Trailblazer having one in support (7)
PIONEER: ONE in a support

18a    Men left among experts; they speak divinely (7)
ORACLES: Men (members of the armed forces not holding commissions) + L (left) inside experts

20a    Imaginary colour (not pink) of oar at Cambridge? (3-4)
SKY-BLUE: ***-**** pink is an imaginary colour and the answer is the colour associated with sportsmen (e.g. oars or rowers) at Cambridge University. My mother’s version of the colour was always ***-**** pink with a finny-haddy border. I haven’t heard the expression for years

21a    What initially in Paris is the point? (4)
WEST: W (first letter of What) + the French word for ‘is’

22a    Den that’s regularly leafier (4)
LAIR: Alternate letters of LeAfIeR

23a    Tea as organised? Far from it (2,3)
AT SEA: An anagram (organised) of TEA AS

26a    Spoon the French boy? The reverse (5)
LADLE: A boy + the French word for ‘the’

27a    Aromatic shrub in beauty spot essentially ghoulish (9)
PATCHOULI: An imitation beauty spot as applied to the face + the middle letters (or essence) of ghoulish. I knew that this was a word but I’d no idea what it meant

28a    Gain an advantage over some charlatan criminal (5,1,5,2)
STEAL A MARCH ON: An anagram (criminal) of SOME CHARLATAN


1d    Protector has girl generously taken round Catholic city endlessly (6,8)
OLIVER CROMWELL: The Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland = a girl’s name and ‘generously’ round a 2-letter abbreviation denoting ‘Catholic’ and a European capital city with the last letter removed

2d    And not the old point (5)
NORTH: ‘And not’ + an archaic or dialect form of ‘the’, especially before a vowel

3d    Check or age vehicle (10)
MOTORCYCLE: An annual check on a motor vehicle + OR + an age

4d    Clear increase of wild gentian (3,4)
NET GAIN: An anagram (wild) of GENTIAN

5d    Tune is following the latest trends in this vehicle (7)
AIRSHIP: When split (3’1,3) it could mean ‘tune is following the latest trends’. The vehicle is a dirigible one that flies

6d    Small measure for Scottish island (4)
INCH: 2 meanings: a short imperial unit of length/a Scottish or Irish word for an island

7d    Old type size / like no other (9)
NONPAREIL: 2 meanings: an old type size/like no other (unequalled or matchless)

8d    Tailor-made tent prepared for ragamuffin (14)

14d    Pope found in her hayloft perhaps (4,6)
HOLY FATHER: An anagram (perhaps) of HER HAYLOFT

16d    Old publicity displayed during journeys to find places along the way? (9)
ROADSIDES: O (old) and publicity (advertisements) inside journeys = the borders of thoroughfares

19d    Make a quick profit with the Spanish knife (7)
SCALPEL: ‘To buy cheap in order to resell quickly at a profit’ + the Spanish word for ‘the’ = a surgeon’s knife

20d    Social level of Italian restaurant in substance (7)
STRATUM: An Italian restaurant’ (4) inside ‘substance’

24d    So do Hotpoint? (5)
SOUTH: SO + a word for the first note of the scale which has been superseded by ‘do’ + H (hot)

25d    Two notes? Simple! (4)
MERE: The third note of the scale + the second note of the scale

I feel cheated


  1. Posted April 28, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    This wasn’t easier than the back pager for me. I didn’t time myself, but would guess that this one took about 50% longer. Also used a little internet when I got down to the last few and used a pen for a couple of anagrams. Nothing like that needed on the other side.

    The 10a plant was new to me and I had trouble recalling the exact word that is 8d, so that took a while even with all the letters present to play with. I also needed some investigoogling for the full explanation of 20a, since I’d never heard of the colour. I hadn’t heard of the old type size either so it went in from the second definition only.

    I was utterly flabbergasted to find not one but two of a particular type of clue in 13a and 24d – and that latter straddling the definition. Didn’t think I’d see that in the Telegraph. It’ll be interesting to see what people have to say.

    I thought it was going to be horribly full of geography and botany, which are a couple of the many things I’m a bit rubbish at, but in the end it was a lovely, colourful, globe-trotting ride with a wonderful four point turn of a nina.

    As for favourites. I’m not even sure I like that type of clue, but 13a and 24d were so delightfully unexpected that they were a joy. 26a also made me laugh.

    Much enjoyed – thanks, MynoT. Thanks too to Bufo for the review which I shall read now.

    • dutch
      Posted April 28, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Like Gazza and CS, I wrote in 13a & 24d before looking at the clue – so i think one of the reasons MynoT’s getting away with the lift and separate is that there is another route to the answer. Without that, not sure how long it would have taken me because as you say, it’s unexpected in the DT – good point!

      • crypticsue
        Posted April 28, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        Bufo even !!

        • dutch
          Posted April 28, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

          oops – yes Bufo of course, apologies

    • Sheffieldsy
      Posted April 28, 2016 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      ‘Investigoogling’? Inventing our own portmanteau words now, are we?

      Love it and will plagiarise shamelessly.

      • Hanni
        Posted April 28, 2016 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

        I thought investigoogling was quite common? Maybe not.

        • Posted April 29, 2016 at 7:08 am | Permalink

          Yes, I certainly didn’t make that one up, Sheffieldsy. So you may use it freely and without shame. :)

  2. nubian
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I thought 27 across was a joke, worst clue I’ve ever seen. I’ll get my coat.

  3. crypticsue
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know about crosswords scaring the horses but this one didn’t frighten the cryptic grey matter one tiny bit. As Bufo says once you’d got a couple of the Nina points, the other two just wrote themselves in.

    Sorry MynoT but that didn’t deliver what it said on the tin 0.5*/2* – thanks and commiserations to Bufo.

  4. dutch
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    quite fun with the mini theme, and Kitty’s observation about these is interesting. I had not seen the ragamuffin before, whereas the plant and the shrub somehow appeared from the darker parts of my memory. I hadn’t come across the gain advantage expression or imaginary colour either. I did better on the vehicles.

    Enjoyable, many thanks MynoT and Bufo for the explanations.

  5. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Not tough but extremely enjoyable.
    Can’t believe that 13a was my last one. D’oh.
    8d made me laugh. In French it sounds like a lioness groper.
    When I solved 27a, the scent came to me. Strange how the brain works.
    Thanks to Bufo for explaining 20a and to MynoT for the entertainment.

    • Hanni
      Posted April 28, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      I hadn’t noticed that about 8d before J-L…now I see what you mean. :grin:

  6. Expat Chris
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    No trouble filling in the grid. Once I had 2D and 21A, the other two were write-ins that I didn’t bother to parse. I did like that the mini theme was positioned correctly in the grid. Thanks MynoT and Bufo.

  7. Hanni
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Not really what I would call a Toughie but I enjoyed it. Like others 13a and 24d went in without reading the clues..although I did go back and check. Also double checked 10a..I did think ‘henna’ might be the answer for a second and 8d had to be dragged from my memory, nice clue though.

    Enjoyed the theme.

    Many thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for a great blog.

  8. Gazza
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Elgar tomorrow.

    • Hanni
      Posted April 28, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      I’m scared!

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted April 28, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      He’s a bit like a bus. You wait for one for ages and three come in a row.

  9. halcyon
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Once 1a and a few of its perpendiculars were in the rest was a write in apart from 13a – which I would never have solved without the “theme”. But although it was pretty straightforward it was strangely enjoyable. I’m in the Kitty camp about 13 and 24 and the fact that the 4 points were appropriately positioned made it all the more enjoyable.
    MynoT seems to like this sort of thing and I think I quite do too. Thanks to him and to Bufo for the blog.

  10. Shropshirelad
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Only have a few things to say, I’m afraid:

    1. Afraid it wasn’t the most tough of toughies – sorry MynoT.
    2. Afraid about tomorrow’s toughie. Elgar – gulp!
    3. Not afraid anymore – good luck to Dutch / Cryptic Sue depending on who wins the arm wrestling competition.

    • dutch
      Posted April 28, 2016 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      neither of us has

  11. Tstrummer
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Like Kitty, I found this much more of a challenge that Ray’s back-pager. 8d was a new word for me. Still unable to parse 24d, despite Bufo’s hint, but it went in anyway because it had to be what it is. 26a takes the biscuit. Ta to Bufo for parsing assistance and to MynoT for keeping me off the streets. 3*/3*

    • dutch
      Posted April 28, 2016 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      do = ut
      it’s a musical scale thing – c’mon Tstrummer!

  12. Jon_S
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    A little more difficult than the back pager, but on the gentle side for a Toughie. I’m afraid the imaginary colour was new on me, and I was just thinking, what’s so imaginary about that answer? The ragamuffin similarly novel, and I needed all the checking letters. And enjoyable, too. :-)

  13. Sheffieldsy
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    About the same difficulty as the back-pager, but an extra half star for the smashing little Nina, so 1.5*/3.5*.

    Dredged 8d from the memory banks (think I came across it at school) then had to check its meaning. No particular favourite clue today, though.

    Thanks to Bufo and MynoT.