Toughie 1605

Toughie No 1605 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I don’t always find Kcit to be all that enjoyable but I was pleasantly surprised by this one which has a couple of good semi-all-in-one clues. However, I did need to move on rapidly from the images which Google offered for 14d.

Incidentally, if you’re not totally puzzled out by the Telegraph offerings, there’s an Arachne to savour in the Guardian.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

7a Tragic king’s accommodating of French monarchs (7)
LEADERS – the Bard’s tragic king plus the ‘S contain ‘of’ in French.

8a What’s woman faked in Worcester town? (7)
EVESHAM – charade of a female name and an adjective meaning faked or bogus. Shouldn’t it be Worcestershire?

10a Poorly-translated instructions? Recalled substantial error without hesitation (9)
GIBBERISH – reverse an adjective meaning substantial and add an old word for an error or blunder containing (without) one of the usual expressions of hesitation.

11a Put off day with relative (5)
DAUNT – the abbreviation for day and a female relative.

12a Extremes of hunger involved in stomach rumbling? (5)
THRUM – put the outer letters of hunger into a child’s word for stomach.

13a Not liking nearly half the alphabet, for a starter (9)
ANTIPASTO – start with a preposition meaning ‘not liking’ or ‘opposed to’ and add how you might describe the letters P-Z when reciting the alphabet (4,1).

15a What’s this behind Biblical text’s tragic hero? (7)
OTHELLO – an exclamation of surprise (what’s this?) follows the abbreviation for the older part of the Bible to make our second Shakespearian tragic hero of the day.

17a Fail in tournament, subject to intense scrutiny (5-2)
CLOSE-UP – insert a verb to fail into a tournament or competition which has a trophy as its prize.

18a Prove a sun exploding? It will do (9)
SUPERNOVA – an anagram (exploding) of PROVE A SUN.

20a Oscar winner, say, shrugging off repetition in theme (5)
TOPIC – start with a phrase (3,3) meaning the best movie and drop one of the repeated letters.

21a Foundation’s reviewed book’s expurgated words to live by (5)
MOTTO – remove the abbreviation for book from a word meaning foundation or base and reverse what’s left.

23a Alcohol — not a cure I tried (9)
COINTREAU – an anagram (tried, presumably in the sense of ‘irritated’) of NOT A CURE I produces a sickly liqueur.

24a Agree to suppress last of emotion — tear unlikely to flow (3-4)
NON-DRIP – make a gesture of agreement containing the last letter of emotion. That’s followed by a verb to tear.

25a Playwright increasingly concealing story (7)
MOLIÈRE – an adverb meaning increasingly or ‘to a greater degree’ contains a tall story.

Down Clues

1d Bob and sharper trimming available here? (10)
BARBERSHOP – an anagram (trimming, in the sense of adjusting as a yachtsman might his sails) of BOB and SHARPER.

2d Eyes flickering around river, leading to rescue (6)
REDEEM – the abbreviation for the flickering of the eyes during sleep contains the name of several rivers in the UK.

3d Regular notes partly lost in a tornado (8)
OSTINATO – I consulted BD’s Mine to establish that the hidden word here means a repeated musical phrase.

4d Husband caught in spot again, exhibiting much anger? (3-3)
RED-HOT – insert the abbreviation for husband into a verb meaning to mark with a small spot once more.

5d Prepare for working on supporting star? (4,2,2)
LEAD UP TO – a phrase meaning ‘working on’ or ‘engaged in’ (as in ‘What are you ** ** at the moment?’) follows the star performer in a film or play.

6d Time period would be more than enough for you (4)
THOU – the abbreviation for time followed by a period of time without its last letter (would be more than enough).

7d He mounts endlessly higher with a bit of luminescence, possibly (13)
LIGHTHOUSEMAN – an anagram (possibly) of MOUNTS HIGHE[r] A and L(uminescence).

9d Proposal presented by one before court in wholesome film (6,7)
MOTION PICTURE – start with a proposal or proposition then insert the Roman numeral for one and the abbreviation for court into an adjective meaning wholesome or chaste.

14d Delicacy of Arabs in affectionate look (6,4)
SHEEP’S EYES – double definition. Arabs here are the people rather than horses and these are a tasty delicacy for some of them. I decided against providing a picture in case you’re eating.

16d Left pork swathed in fat (8)
LARBOARD – this is an old word for left or port on board ship. Insert the flesh of a male pig into cooking fat.

17d Is gripped by allure, a form of magnetism (8)
CHARISMA – IS gets inserted into a word for allure or attraction and then we have to append A.

19d Fill old beaker placed within edges of cavity (6)
OCCUPY – start with O(ld) then insert a beaker or drink container into the outer letters of cavity.

20d Rumour about Times in gossip (6)
TATTLE – a rumour or story contains two instances of the abbreviation for time.

22d Collection of fish smelt, though not at first (4)
TANK – a verb meaning smelt or ponged without its first letter.

Top clues for me 15a, 18a and 1d. Which ones would feature in your personal Top of the Pops?



  1. Expat Chris
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    No problems apart from seeing the 7D definition as “He mounts” and, given the checking letters already in place, bunging in lighthorseman. Favorites are 18A and 2D. Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

  2. Miffypops
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A nice workout from Kcit which reminded me how I used to struggle with backpagers before solving all fell into place. 2d last one in and I needed Gazza’s hint and a google of REM which stands for Remotely Eunthanistic Music. All in all a fine tussle. Thank you Kcit and thank you Gazza. Nice piccie for 10ac. Did you get it from the Engrish site?

    • Dayvartly
      Posted May 18, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Is Remotely Eunthanistic Music a typo? Are you perhaps suggesting that listening to REM is a way of euthenising yourself? or am I just too thick to get the joke? Perhaps I need more dream sleep.

      • Gazza
        Posted May 18, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

        You’ve changed your alias so your comment required moderation. Both aliases should work from now on.

        I didn’t understand what he was on about either, so you’re not alone.

        • LetterboxRoy
          Posted May 18, 2016 at 9:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Is he playing? The band ‘REM’ named themselves after the ‘correct’ phenomenon, and are known for their sometimes tiresome output.

          Quiz is, whether or not that counts as a joke..!?

          Nicely balanced today; fave – 13a. Had to build, and then look up 16d, but a lucky guess.

          Thanks to all.

      • Hanni
        Posted May 18, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

        They played Remotely Enthusatic Music on Reclame Exploitatie Maatchappij island.

        • Expat Chris
          Posted May 18, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Rolling Eyes Madly.

        • Dayvartly
          Posted May 18, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

          You learn something new every day. Today I learnt that it would be a bad idea to learn Dutch

        • dutch
          Posted May 18, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

          i agree, there are better things to learn

  3. crypticsue
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My only problems solving this one were caused by having to stop part way through to take delivery of a chair (my life is one long round of excitement!)

    I liked 7d because it reminded me of No1 son’s favourite book when he was little.

  4. dutch
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Plenty to like and fun parsing.

    In 8a (great surface despite the county name) – I wasn’t sure what to make of ‘What’s woman’ and found a rapper called Eve with a hit called What, which refers to herself (as Eve) in the lyrics – hence ‘What’s woman’. OK, so no-one’s ever heard of this and it’s pure coincidence – but why else would you need the “What’s”? The clue seems to work without it, innuendo and all.

    I liked 21a, though it took me a while to find the foundation – I was trying to use OT for books. Also took me a while to find the right anagram in 7d. Liked the other all-in-ones as well, and many more

    Many thanks Gazza and thank you Kcit

  5. Hanni
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Didn’t find this completely straightforward.

    I had to look up 8a to check where is was and I didn’t spot the hidden in 3d…just went off the definition even though it was clearly indicated by ‘partly’

    25a was bunged in and parsed much later and I needed all the checkers to get 10a.

    I did enjoy it though!

    Really liked 7d but my favourite by a mile is 18a.

    Many thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for a great blog. I think we are all relieved you didn’t use a pic for 14d!

  6. Posted May 18, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found most of this nice and accessible and didn’t need any electronic help to fill the grid, which is always a pleasure. That is, other than having to be told that lighthorseman wasn’t correct. Oops. I’d noted it as not completely understood, but still took a punt on submitting it. It all went much better when I had a second run at it. I also handed over the parsing of 6d to Mr K, because I was being dense and couldn’t see the hour, and used Gazza’s help to get 5d completely straight in my mind.

    10a’s bish was new to me, as was 16d. Although I simply must have seen 3d before, it only rings the faintest of bells (but repeatedly).

    I liked the all-in-ones best but am not going to try and choose between them.

    Many thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  7. Posted May 18, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    P.S. I love your pic for 10a, Gazza. :)

  8. Sheffieldsy
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thoroughly enjoyed this Toughie while Mrs Sheffieldsy is absent. Took some time to parse 2d and 21a but got both after a little thought. I thought 1d and 7d were both brilliant, outstanding all-in-one clues – a clue type I’m coming to appreciate more and more. Would also pick out 12a because it made me smile (my stomach does that all the time according to Mrs Sheffieldsy).

    New words for me in 3d, though obvious from the lurker, and the error part of 10a.

    I agree with Gazza’s difficulty rating, but I’d give it 3.5 stars for enjoyment.

    Nice blog from Gazza and, it goes almost without saying, super puzzle from Kcit so many thanks to both.

  9. Kath
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Finished – well, had an answer in all the spaces even if I needed Gazza’s explanations for a few.
    I didn’t untangle 7d properly so, like Kitty and Expat Chris, had the wrong answer – only a little bit wrong – just by one letter!
    It took me ages to get used to Arabs being horses – now it’s all I ever think of when I see Arab in a clue – a bit like a flower in a clue is always a river.
    Oh – and I had tuna for 22d for no reason other than it seemed to fit – the perils of bung-ins!
    I liked 10 and 13a.
    With thanks to Kcit and to Gazza.
    Speaking as one who grew up not far from there Evesham is a Worcestershire town not a Worcester town – nice picture though, as is the one for 10a.

  10. jean-luc cheval
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    NE corner was last to yield as I solved the crossword anticlockwise and hesitated writing my answer in 13a as I didn’t get the “nearly half the alphabet “.
    5d (prepare for) wasn’t easy to parse either and nor was 8a (Worcester town).
    12a (extremes of hunger) was my first one in and made me think about our own tstrummer as I pronounce his name thrummer more often than none.
    15a (what’s this) followed and I was singing: What’s this, is it me you’re looking for. Did laugh.
    The French playwright was a write in but the liquor took a while. D’oh.
    The delicacy in 14d is not the only part of the sheep our Arab friends like. The other ones are more egg shaped.
    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review.

    • dutch
      Posted May 18, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I confess to not really liking the nearly half an alphabet – it has a bit of a two-step feel ( half the alphabet is n to z, so o to z would be nearly half, then it becomes just ‘past o’.)

      Not as elegant as answers like ‘a to m’ ( or h2o for that matter)

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted May 18, 2016 at 6:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I remember the A to M. It was in such a good clue at the time.

  11. Jane
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Not too much of a problem filling the grid but some of the parsing took a while – 24a, 5,6&7d.
    Never really given much thought to the meaning of ‘bish’ – I think I assumed that it was a somewhat archaic mild expletive!
    3d was new, but I did pick up on the lurker once the checkers were in place.

    Top marks go to 10&18a plus 14d – not that I’d like to sample the latter, thank you!

    Thanks to Kcit and to our favourite knight – delightful picture of 8a, lovely place from what I recall.

  12. Una
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 7:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I solved this without too many problems , although sometimes the answers just came to me , from some non-verbal part of the brain .7d and 15a are examples of that.
    My favourite is 14a, and I am glad Gazza resisted the urge to illustrate that clue. 18a is another great clue.
    Thanks Gazza and Kcit.

  13. KiwiColin
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 8:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    8a was a bit of a problem. Got it from the wordplay but then had trouble confirming in Wikipedia because of the misspelt county. I also got lazy with 7d and went with the R instead of U, despite it being two words in BRB. A significant challenge and good clever fun.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

  14. dutch
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Gazza for the Guardian Arachne alert. Another superb puzzle.

  15. Salty Dog
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 9:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    An entertaining puzzle, which I took a while to make significant progress in (sorry – that’s an appalling piece of English). In the end, though, it came out at 2*/4*. 3d was a new word to me, but I had suspected a lurker and the crossers gave me the only possible answer. My favourite clue was 8a – the birthplace of my dear old Dad – and I loved Gazza’s picture of the Abbey Gardens from across the Avon. 23a – as always – reminded me of the old TV ad with the impossibly smooth Frenchman and his “oranges ripened beneath the Mediterranean sun…”. Thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  16. Gazza
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 11:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Beam tomorrow.

    • Miffypops
      Posted May 19, 2016 at 1:42 am | Permalink | Reply

      Oh deep joy. One to take on holiday and savour.

  17. Heno
    Posted May 19, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review and hints. Hooray, Toughie confidence restored. Needed the hints to parse 20,21,25a&2,6d. Very enjoyable Favourites were 18a and 16d. Last in was 6d. 10a across reminds me of the Goons, can you speak gibberish, yes I’m fluent. :-)

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