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Toughie 1958

Toughie No 1958 by Messinae

Hints and tips by Bufo

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

An enjoyable puzzle which was not too hard and not too easy. The main problems came in the NE corner where some of the wordplay needed thinking about

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Choral song before explosive fit of temper (7)
STROPHE: A song sung by the chorus in a Greek play = a fit of bad temper + an abbreviation for ‘high explosive’

5a    Comedian hides his trade (7)
SKINNER: The surname of a comedian called Frank is also a person who prepares animal hides

9a    Flooring introducing grand jargon (5)
LINGO: A floor covering round G (grand)

10a    Interminable talk about say cutting back is reaching agreement (9)
CONVERGES: ‘Talk’ (8) with the last letter removed goes round a reversal of ‘say’ or ‘for example’

11a    One gets drunk thus career is ruined (10)
CHARTREUSE: A liqueur is an anagram (ruined) of THUS CAREER

12a    Swinging bats deliver knockout blow (4)
STUN: A reversal (swinging) of ‘bats’ or ‘crazy’

14a    Gain revenge with light music (6,6)
SETTLE SCORES: ‘To light’ + musical compositions

18a    Wielding pencil editor established taste (12)
PREDILECTION: An anagram (wielding) of PENCIL EDITOR is a special liking or preference

21a    Vegetable of smart appearance when topped (4)
LEEK: Remove the first letter (top) of ‘of smart appearance’ or ‘pleasingly smooth’

22a    I provide coating on cover to keep set of books safe from clumsy use (5-5)
IDIOT-PROOF: I + ‘to coat by immersion’ + the top covering of a building round part of the Bible (set of books)

25a    Top-class tandoori cooking brings great fondness (9)
ADORATION: A letter denoting ‘top-class’ + an anagram (cooking) of TANDOORI

26a    Actor decreases (5)
IRONS: The surname of the actor Jeremy can also mean ‘decreases’ or ‘removes creases ‘

27a    It’s found in cocktails somewhat more than olives (7)

28a    Something used for heating fire, say (7)
ELEMENT: The thing that gives out heat in an electric fire or kettle could also be fire (or air or earth or water)


1d    Comfort only installing air conditioning brings (6)
SOLACE: ‘Only’ goes round the abbreviation for ‘air conditioning’

2d    Letting rip with gangster (6)
RENTAL: A letting (of a building, etc.) = a rip + the first name of a famous gangster

3d    Pirate ship stores wooden leg perhaps (10)
PROSTHESIS: An anagram (pirate) of SHIP STORES

4d    Arab prince endlessly entertaining clubs as host (5)
EMCEE: A title given in Islamic countries to all independent rulers with the last letter removed goes round C (clubs) to give a master of ceremonies

5d    Getting on a bit, primarily Neanderthal in views? (9)
SENESCENT: The first letter of Neanderthal in ‘views’ + a bit (coin)

6d    Date in Rome that is over too soon (4)
IDES: Remove the last letter from the Latin for ‘that is’

7d    May perhaps supports a piece that’s turned up to be useless (8)
NUGATORY: A and a piece (weapon) reversed + a member of the Conservative party such as Theresa May

8d    Function in Scottish region a sign of good health (8)
ROSINESS: A trigonometrical function inside a region of northern Scotlans

13d    Second place comic played (10)
ACCOMPLICE: A second or associate is an anagram (played) of PLACE COMIC

15d    Study English philosopher? — after short time that’s a tedious occupation (9)
TREADMILL: T (a short form of ‘time’) + ‘to study’ + the surname of a 19th century English philosopher’

16d    Loss of output gets head of section sack (8)
SPILLAGE: The first letter (head) of SECTION + ‘to sack’ or ‘to plunder’

17d    Giant woman detains that man a short time (8)
BEHEMOTH: Something huge or gigantic (from an animal mentioned in the Bible) = a woman’s name round ‘that man and a very short time

19d    Right to be captivated by animal like Eeyore (6)
MOROSE: R (right) inside an American deer = ‘gloomy (like Eeyore)’

20d    Compensate for not making film (6)
OFFSET: When split (3,3) it can mean ‘not currently involved in film making’

23d    Wildcat strike lacking leader (5)
OUNCE: The snow leopard = ‘to strike’ with the first letter removed

24d    Make deal with uncle and man on board (4)
PAWN: 2 meanings. Uncle is a moneylender and the board is a chessboard

All being well I’ll put in an appearance on Saturday so I’ll see some of you then.

19 comments on “Toughie 1958

  1. A pleasant puzzle which I found fairly straightforward except for the NE corner which held me up.
    I’m not convinced that 5d works with ‘getting on’ being the definition since that seems to require “primarily” to do double duty. If the whole clue is the definition making it an all-in-one then the wordplay works but I’m not sure that the answer has that meaning.
    My favourite clue was 5a. Thanks to Messinae and Bufo.

  2. This was a good one. Everything straightforward til the NE corner got me. Never heard of 5d or 7d, so needed help. Then more!
    5a and 22a my favourites
    Thanks for the explanations Bufo, and to the setter.

  3. Finished my birth year toughie without any electronic help. Mind you,I have used up a great deal of the day doing so. I doubt if the amount of wallpaper stripping which can be achieved between now and the bosses return will be viewed as a good days work.
    I think the ? in 5d just about qualifies for an all in one / double meaning. My initial theory required a bit to be a cent, but the BRB says a bit is 12.5 cents, so it didn’t quite work. It took a long time before I managed to get away from the simily for agreement in 10a, which I guess was a deliberate trap. All things considered an enjoyable solve.

  4. My brain hurts. 3d anagram of Ship stores has no C in it…I got 18a but cant parse 3d or am I being incredibly dim. Thank you as always

  5. Held up a bit in the NE too. Mostly for thinking that 12a was an anagram and wrote Stab as the answer.
    7d was new to me.
    Liked the little story in 22a.
    Thanks to Messinae and to Bufo.

  6. Enjoyable enough though i also had problems with 5d word order. two bits = 1 quarter in the US, but chambers also lists bit=coin. Oh well.

    I liked the “one gets drunk” (11a), the nice lurker in 27a (bit of a theme here), as well as 17d and 19d.

    Many thanks Messinae and Bufo

  7. Like Gazza my problems in were in the NE, and I didn’t understand how 5d worked. Otherwise, pleasant and not too spiky. My favourites were 5a, 11a and 19d.

    Thanks to Messinae and Bufo – see you on Saturday.

  8. Only just got round to making a start on this one – looking as though it’s going to be a bit tricky……….

  9. We had a real log jam in the NE. We did not know the comedian or the Scottish geography which made that corner quite a challenge. However with a bit of Google help we did eventually manage to get it all sorted. Plenty to enjoy and a real challenge at the tail.
    Thanks Messinae and Bufo.

  10. Dawn French yesterday, and now 5a here… It’s obviously alternative comedian week in Toughie-land! This was all going well until I bunged in consensus for 10a, which meant I couldn’t get 7d. Thanks as ever for putting me right and to the setter

  11. Think I had a bit of a ‘wavelength’ issue here – found this one quite difficult to unravel. Not knowing 5 or 7d didn’t help matters nor did forgetting the 1a song or, like JL, assuming that 12a was a straightforward anagram.

    Some nice surface reads which always get my approval and podium places awarded to 11,12&14a plus 1,2&16d.

    Thanks to Messinae and to Bufo for the blog – see you on Saturday.

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