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Toughie 2122

Toughie No 2122 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

It was a typical Kcit puzzle. I completed it without too much difficulty and there were only a couple of things that I needed to check.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Tired out, unstable and causing harm (11)
DETRIMENTAL: An anagram (out) of TIRED + ‘unstable’

7a Cancel most of theatre costumes (5)
SCRUB: Remove the last letter from the clothes worn by a surgeon in the operating theatre

8a Nothing in indiscretions is beginning to modify egocentric behaviour (9)
SOLIPSISM: O (nothing) in ‘indiscretions’ + IS + the first letter of MODIFY = the theory that holds that self-existence is the only certainty, otherwise described as absolute egoism. Thanks to the BRB for that definition because I didn’t know the word

10a Space without paper left tidy (7)
LEGROOM: LEFT with a pink newspaper removed + ‘to tidy’

11a Appropriate one wakes after end of night (7)
TROUSER: ‘To appropriate’ + the last letter of NIGHT + a person that wakes

12a Fix care leaving hospital without doctor (5)
EMBED: ‘To fix in a mass of matter’ = ‘to care’ without the initial H (hospital) round a Bachelor of Medicine

13a On island, Greek character with muscles squeezes head of Hector cruelly (9)
INHUMANLY: I (island) + a Greek letter round the first letter of HECTOR + ‘with muscles’

16a American’s dubious arrangement of kilt with capes (9)
SKEPTICAL: The American spelling of a word meaning ‘dubious’ is an anagram (arrangement of) of KILT CAPES

18a Thick coat father used around boat (5)
PARKA: ‘Father’ round Noah’s boat

19a Stops after evil spirit looms (7)
IMPENDS: An evil spirit + ‘stops’

22a Philistine returned vulgar shout in big theatre (7)
BOLSHOI: A reversal of a philistine or a person with no refinement + a vulgar shout used to attract attention = a large theatre in Moscow

23a Carrier claims to keep horse around (9)
HAVERSACK: A bag worn over the shoulder = ‘claims’ inside a horse

24a Stick belting rear of train making metallic sound (5)
CLANG: A dialect word for ‘to stick’ round the last letter of TRAIN

25a Detective with drink I saw in rotten condition (11)
DILAPIDATED: A detective inspector + ‘to drink’ + I + ‘saw’ or ‘went out regularly with’


1d Balloon I’d taken up to annoy, circling Mediterranean location (9)
DIRIGIBLE: A reversal of I’D = ‘to annoy’ round the shortened name of a place at the entrance to the Mediterranean

2d Newspaper cheers attempt to secure love? Not half (7)
TABLOID: ‘Cheers!’ + an attempt round the first two letters of LOVE

3d Faint at heart, harassed man is on call at start, unable to go out (9)
INSOMNIAC: The middle letter of FAINT + an anagram (harassed) of MAN IS ON C (first letter of CALL)

4d Effect of clique or clubs in story that’s picked up (5)
ECLAT: C (clubs) in a reversal of a story. I can’t quite work out why it’s an effect of clique. Claque would have made more sense to me

5d Boozer volunteers, putting love into concert (7)
TAPROOM: A volunteer force + O (love) inside a classical music concert

6d Pride sees one relocating power in generation? (5)
LOINS: Take the animals that form a pride and change the position of the letter I (one)

7d Small piece left further down? This sadly implicates male metalworker (11)
SILVERSMITH: A small piece with the letter L (left) moved + an anagram (sadly) of THIS round M (male)

9d Be wrong to interrupt my mother and family having grand celebration (11)
MERRYMAKING: ‘To be wring’ inside MY + mother + family + G (grand)

14d Henry pretended to accept book that’s incomplete (4-5)
HALF-BAKED: A diminutive of the name Henry + ‘pretended’ round B (book)

15d Number endlessly cross blocking road heading for Scotland? (9)
NORTHWARD: An abbreviation for ‘number’ + ‘to cross’ with the last letter removed inside the abbreviation for ‘road’

17d Care given to most of flower shoot (7)
TENDRIL: ‘To care’ + a very small brook (flower) with the last letter removed

18d Best to adopt expert line when rearing mammal (7)
POLECAT: A reversal (rearing) of ‘best’ round ‘expert’ and L (line) = a large relative of the weasel

20d Very eccentric initially filling apartment with flags (5)
PAVED: V (very) and the first letter of ECCENTRIC inside an apartment

21d Piece not finishing quietly and not in tune (5)
SHARP: A piece (of pottery) with the last letter removed + P (quietly)


20 comments on “Toughie 2122

  1. There’s not much to say about this one, except that I was just as baffled by ‘effect of clique’ as Bufo was – the latter’s suggestion that it could be a misprint for claque makes a lot of sense.
    The clues I liked best were 11a and 20d.
    Thanks to Kcit and Bufo.

  2. Bufo summed it up concisely – I’m in agreement.

    21d had me reaching for Collins. A Sharp is precisely, mathematically a semitone higher than the root note. Out of tune is slightly flat or sharp, ie a frequency that is not a note at all. If sharps are out of tune, someone should have told Sergei Rachmaninov.

    Only the scale of C has no sharps, just sayin’.

    Thanks Kcit and Bufo.

      1. Yes, BD, that’s spot on. Sharp (adjective) means slightly high in pitch, but, as mentioned by LBR, sharp (noun) means exactly a semitone higher.

        Sharp (and flat) can also be used in a musical sense as an adverb, e.g. much as I like Brian Ferry, he sings sharp.

        It’s interesting (well I find it interesting) that sharp as an adverb can also mean exactly with reference to a specific time.

        1. My thinking was that sharp in all it’s senses means exact, specific, pointed or precise, so out of tune would ba a little sharp rather than plain sharp.

          However Collins definition 18b gives ‘tending to be too high in pitch’ she sings sharp, so I stand corrected even though it doesn’t quite make sense to me.

          1. singing flat seems to be the more common crime, don’t know why. But sharp would be analogous, when you’re tuning an instrument for example.

            1. One of the many things I occupy my time with is teaching music. I have never encountered anyone singing sharp, always flat, even if it’s transposed to a lower key. It is strange.

              Almost everyone can sing in the keys of A G C or D

  3. Wondered why we need the American version in 16a, since the American bit is unchecked. Did I miss a Nina? Or maybe the original clue had become a bit too blue.
    Also wondered about clique, was starting to think it was suggesting a French answer. Remembered the egotism.
    Liked 3D, 9d, 15d
    Many thanks Kcit and bufo.

  4. I found this tough but very enjoyable and accessible with persistence.

    I too was puzzled by “clique”.

    Full marks to the setter for indicating the US spelling in 16a and I’ll go along precisely with Dutch’s podium choices: 3d, 9d & 15d.

    Many thanks to Kcit and to bufo.

  5. Pleased to see that I wasn’t alone in wondering about ‘clique’ – also grateful that Bufo had to look up 8a, so did I!
    I’ll go along with Gazza’s picks of the puzzle – 11a & 20d.

    Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo for the blog.

  6. I’m in the ‘tough but enjoyable’ camp. I was pleased to able to finish, particularly so in that not so long ago a clue like 7d, for instance, would have completely defeated me. The definition in 8a was new to me, but the word play and checkers were helpful enough for me to piece it together (and then check to see if the word existed). Many thanks to Kcit and Bufo.

  7. I agree with the difficulty assessment of **/****. I found some clues very tricky to unravel whilst others were relatively straightforward.
    On 4d, I initially thought one should insert the initial letter of clique or clubs but then concluded the answer to be a word for effect used by cliquey people. Not convinced by either.
    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  8. So we weren’t the only ones puzzled by the clique in 4d. Pretty sure we had the right answer from the checkers and wordplay though. An enjoyable puzzle for us that went together smoothly but did take some thinking about in places.
    Thanks Kcit and Bufo.

  9. Really nice and well-pitched difficulty-wise.

    For 4d we reasoned as follows: being in a clique puts one in an exclusive group (BRB, ‘cliquey’), which would make one distinct from those outside the clique, and eclat can mean (BRB again) ‘distinction’. That was good enough for us. However, we needed Bufo to explain where the first two letters of 10a came from, so honours even perhaps?

    Our favourite was probably 9d.

    Thanks to Kcit and Bufo.

  10. It took me a while to parse 15d but otherwise found this on the gentler side of the Toughie spectrum. Wondered a little at 4d but interpreted it as Sheffieldsy did.

    10a and 11a were my favourites.

    Thanks Kcit and Bufo.

  11. About average time for a Toughie here. As others have said, typical Kcit – which meant that there was lots to enjoy, as always. Last in 7d followed by 10ac, at the point where I was thinking I should really throw in the towel and go to bed before inspiration struck.

  12. Just finished this one after getting a bit stuck on the top half. Once I’d got 1a, it started to flow again. Favourite (and last in) was 11a.

    Belated thanks to Kcit and Bufo.

  13. Liked 8A for its construct but had to guess 24A because although it had to be Clang, CLAG was unknown to me.

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