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Toughie 1964

Toughie No 1964 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hello to you all as MynoT ushers us into another Toughie week.  A puzzle I found a steady solve until the last few but think that the grid may have added to the difficulty.  I discovered some new and surprising Aussie slang in 15a, and I had to go away and have a sleep before the light dawned on 25a.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the NO buttons.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative — click only if you wish to reveal all.



1a    Prophet‘s growth encompassing East (5)
MOSES:  Some flowerless green plants around (encompassing) E(ast)

4a    Members of clergy — second one’s abandoned consecrated buildings (8)
MINSTERS:  Members of the clergy without the second occurrence of the letter which is the Roman numeral one (second one’s abandoned)

8a    Blue people — and where they might live? (3,5)
THE DOWNS:  Whimsically this might mean miserable people.  Also the name given to various hilly areas where people might make their homes

9a    Caught in new impasse? Diversion needed (8)
ESCAPISM:  C(aught) inside an anagram (new) of IMPASSE

11a   Plump mother cradles one best (7)
OPTIMUM:  Plump (for) and a less formal name for mother contains (cradles) the Roman one

13a   Old quest’s for what apostrophes may signify (9)
OMISSIONS:  O(ld) followed by some quests or pursuits

15a   Warren wept, upset with macho Aussie’s attempt to pull a fast one (4,3,3,5)
COME THE RAW PRAWN:  An anagram (upset) of WARREN WEPT with MACHO.  Not a phrase I’d heard of

18a   MPs, giving an example, mark Wales for devolution? (9)
LAWMAKERS:  An anagram (for devolution?) of MARK WALES

21a   Major road’s arrangement for faulty distribution (7)
MISDEAL:  The name of several major roads worldwide such as the motorway in England that runs between London and Leeds (with the numeral rendered in crossword fashion) and an arrangement or pact

22a   Pains of chaps in wrong trousers, ultimately (8)
TORMENTS:  Some fellows inside a legal wrong and the final letter of (ultimately) trousers

24a   One who eats everything wasted more vino (8)
OMNIVORE:  An anagram (wasted) of MORE VINO.  Yes please!

25a   Dark master sounding tedious (8)
MURKSOME:  The abbreviation for master and a word that sounds like a synonym of tedious or annoying

26a   Endless trouble about this writer’s works leaving everyone speechless (5)
MIMES:  All but the last letter of (endless) trouble or difficulty around (about) how the writer might say he is when speaking in the first person



1d    Organised Oldie match at sea (10)
METHODICAL:  An anagram (at sea) of OLDIE MATCH.  Since organised can also be an anagram indicator, which was indicator and which definition was not clear until after the unscrambling

2d    Broad range of toasted crumpets (8)
SPECTRUM:  An anagram (toasted) of CRUMPETS.  I liked this clue, but then it occurred to me to doubt the anagram indicator.  Toasted is not really the same as scrambled is it?  What do you think?

3d    Rage about temperature in seat of power (8)
STORMONT:  The site of Northern Ireland’s main government buildings is a charade of rage or uproar, about or concerning, and an abbreviation for temperature

4d    Ponder  one of nine daughters (4)
MUSE:  A double definition, the second referring to the inspirational goddesses of Greek mythology, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne

5d    Groups of Southern courts (6)
SQUADS:  S(outhern) plus some enclosed courtyards

6d    Northerner second to support River Island (6)
ESKIMO:  A sec or tick goes underneath (to support, in a down clue) a river (one of several so-named) and an abbreviation for island

7d    Join in rising maestro’s missing semi-octave (4)
SEAM:  The reversal (rising, in a down clue) of “maestro’s” without (missing) its last four letters (semi-octave)

10d   This religion if not caught at the outset could become fashion victims (8)
SHIVAISM:  The answer plus IF NOT C (caught at the outset) is an anagram of (could become) FASHION VICTIMS.  So the religion we seek is an anagram of fASHion VIctIMS

12d   Hot, he leaves after mostly low piece of music (8)
MOVEMENT:  After most of a cow’s low, a word meaning heated or impassioned without the HE from the clue (he leaves)

14d   New ship’s director, restricted by fat, put on small tropical tops (3-7)
SUN-HELMETS:  N(ew) and a ship’s steering apparatus are contained inside some animal fat, all of which comes before (put on, in a down clue) S(mall)

16d   Religion with standards shown by current philosophy (8)
PARSIISM:  Norms or standards, the physics symbol for electric current, and a short word (from the suffix) meaning any distinctive doctrine, theory or practice

17d   Article on legal discussion about engineers rejected in outer chamber (8)
ANTEROOM:  A discussion of a hypothetical legal case around (about) the Royal Engineers all reversed (rejected); before that (on, in a down clue) is a grammatical article

19d   After fighting me Roger is more friendly (6)
WARMER:  After a state of conflict goes the ME from the clue and the letter denoted by roger in radio communications (in spelling alphabets which preceded the NATO one in use today, and still used indirectly via the procedure word roger meaning received)

20d   After midday sun improves (6)
AMENDS:  After what could be a description of midday (2,3) comes the abbreviation for sun

22d   End in Outer Mongolia (4)
TERM:  The answer is included in the clue

23d   Quite a heartless battle (4)
SOME:  A notorious First World War battle is heartless, i.e. missing its middle letter


Thanks to MynoT.  22a and 19d are my picks today.  Which buttered your crumpets?


31 comments on “Toughie 1964

  1. I have not come anywhere near finishing this yet – I have been struggling to find the right wavelength, the grid is unhelpful and my time was restricted by spending too long on Vlad in the Guardian, but I think it is quite tricky for a Tuesday. May come back to it later, as I have enjoyed what I have done…

    Thanks to Kitty and MynoT

  2. MynoT seems to have put his difficult hat on today. I found this tricky (not helped by the double unches and dubious anagram indicators). Luckily I knew the Aussie phrase so that helped. I think that ‘for devolution’ is ok, in the sense of being transferred, but I’m not convinced by ‘toasted’. I thought that the 6d answer had been outlawed by the PC-brigade. I still don’t know what the semi-octave is in 7d. All-in-all it was at least 4* for difficulty for me.
    Thanks to MynoT and Kitty. Top clues for me were 8a and 11a.

    1. I wondered if the semi-octave bit was nothing more than a simple mistake. Remove ORT from the reversed MAESTRO to get the answer but the semi-octave is actually OCT.

        1. Half-octave to indicate 4 letters? Yeah, right. I suppose it’s marginally better than an error.

    2. I think colloquially, toasted can mean drunk or razed or destroyed, so it works for me.

      1. I can’t find that meaning of toasted but my Dictionary of Slang says a toast (or an old toast) can mean ‘a lively old fellow fond of his liquor’ so it makes sense.

      2. Like Gazza I couldn’t find solid support for that, but I didn’t look all that hard – and it feels like it could be right. Thanks.

  3. I thought this was the weirdest Toughie in ages, possibly the weirdest I’ve done! Double unches, bizarre Australianisms, partial homophones and some truly obscure and religiose vocabulary (isn’t this meant to be Don M’s domain)? It was all a bit too unusual for my tastes I fear, but it’s nice for every day to be different I suppose.Thanks setter and taciturn blogger.

  4. Had “The Dumps” for 8a as in “Down in the Dumps” so 3d was impossible. 10d and 16d were definitely obscure. So much religion today from 1a onwards.
    I loved 15a which was my first one in – however, I have to confess I threw “warren wept” and “macho” into my Chambers word search just to see if anything came up and was very surprised with the outcome!

  5. Needed considerable research for some of the answers. From Australian idioms which incidentally redirected me to slang words for prawns to lists of obscure religions.
    As JB, I put The Dumps in 8a and didn’t get 3d.
    Thanks to MynoT and to Kitty.

  6. Just finished the last few with the help of the hints and I think there is some pretty obscure GK involved, but I might have finished it without cheating if I’d had more time. I thought 10d was just Hinduism and I have always thought 16d was Zoroastrianism, so I am not surprised those caused me trouble…

  7. I’m afraid this was spoiled for me by too many things that were outside of my knowledge. I had the right anagram ingredients for 15a but couldn’t come up with the expression. I had thought of the right answer for 8 ac, but dismissed it as too obscure, (and the seat of power was unfamiliar in 3d) . I tentatively had 10d but couldn’t see the word play (although I should have). I had all the checkers in 25a, but I hadn’t heard of the word. I’m sorry but this missed the mark for me.

  8. I found that rather tough for a Tuesday so was relived to see that others agreed.
    25a was a new word for me (think the second letter of the answer should perhaps be an ‘I’, Kitty?) and then I had to look up both the religions (spelling, as much as anything). As for the weird Aussie expression, I resorted to blatant cheating!

    Not overly convinced by the synonyms used in 26a & 23d although the answers were obvious and, likewise, the anagram indicator in 2d.

    8a made me giggle and gets my vote for favourite.

    Thanks to MynoT and to our Girl Tuesday – missed your usual glorious illustrations but it was nevertheless your usual high standard of blog which I very much needed for the parsing of 12d!

  9. Kitty You obviously never read private eye n the good old days.One of Barry McKenzie’s favourite expressions was “don’t come the raw prawn with me you flamin’ galah”
    I’ve never actually heard an Australian SAY it though!
    I seem to find the toughie is either doable or sometimes completely beyond me.
    Very strange

  10. We were lucky in that we actually knew the phrase in 15a but did wonder what would be the reaction from the UK. The unfriendly grid did give us problems with 8a. With just _O_ _ S for the second word we had a picture of people blue with the cold in polar regions and then wondered whether blue might be the national colour for those from Warsaw. An interesting diversion that was not very fruitful in the end.
    Thanks MynoT and Kitty.

  11. Private eye began in 1961 Barry McKenzie was a cartoon strip written by Barry Humphries an£ drawn by Nicholas Garland (who I think was from NZ)
    He drew the political cartoon n the telegraph for many years.
    Barry was a naive Australian loose in London.
    Many of his expressions were invented by Humphries
    Australians were incensed by the cartoon and rumour had it that he was banned from his own country.Subsequently he invented Edna everidge and sir Les Paterson

    1. That’s how I knew the phrase. Other sayings of Barry that I remember (many to do with bodily functions) were:
      Point Percy at the porcelain
      Chew & spew (a cheap cafe)
      Call Ralph (vomit)
      Technicolor yawn (vomit)
      Have a kangaroo loose in the top paddock (be not all there).

      1. I’ve heard of all of those – would never have attributed them to Barry Humphries in a million years. Great trivia. Ta.

        1. I knew a couple of those, but not the rest. I was born in the early eighties – hence my question about when the good old days were. It seems they predate me!

  12. I reckon MynoT is coming the raw prawn here – what’s with all these religions? I was impressed i managed one, then I had to decipher another.

    I was wondering why sun was needed, AM ENDS seemed to describe after midday as well as AM END, though if you start thinking about neither do a great job – maybe “after” wasn’t needed either, since noon would be when AM ends.

    and so on, but I got through it, and actually enjoyed the process. Took longer than most toughies.

    14d not in brb and not hyphenated in Collins.

    toasted possibly excusable as in melted (toasted cheese), but a stretch.

    Many thanks MynoT and thanks Kitty

  13. Choke a darkie(a bodily functions), throw another shrimp on the Barbie, chunder . I owned the Barry McKenzie books for years but they were thrown away in an excess of zeal one day,
    I don’t suppose Barry could exist in these days of political correctness but it was fun while it lasted!

  14. I didn’t give ‘toasted’ a second thought. It had to be an anagram indicator. If I have to justify it, a person who is completely disadvantaged is ‘toast’ and, if you have someone at your mercy, you have them ‘on toast’.

    1. That’s exactly why it interested me. Like you I didn’t give it a second thought … until I wrote at the bottom of the review something along the lines of, “my favourite is 2d, but maybe that’s just because I’m hungry” (I was hungry). Then I stopped and wondered if, really, toasted actually worked. An anagram indicator has to imply rearrangement in some way, after all. I love inventive indicators, but they should still actually indicate what they need to indicate. So I was interested to see what people thought about this one. I’m grateful to all who have offered their perspective – thanks.

  15. Tricky today.
    I did know 15a but ‘the dumps’ for 8a didn’t help much.
    I was totally defeated by the bottom right corner.
    Favourite was 11a.
    Thanks to MynoT and to Kitty.

  16. Solved with half an eye on the crossword and half an eye on a film, and finished in about **** time, so make of that what you will. :-) Loved the Australian phrase, raised an eyebrow at the multitude of religions. Last two in 14d and 25ac.

  17. Not a regular on this. Started off thinking it was rather easy but bottom right corner put an end to that .
    Thanks to kitty for explanations

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