Toughie 176 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 176

Toughie No 176 by Citrus

Easier than the regular cryptic?

+ – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Tuesday seems to be a good day to tackle your first Toughie.  I sailed through this one, but enjoyed doing it.


1a South American truck driver’s heading off for sewer (8)
{SEAMSTER} – an excellent start to the puzzle – combine S(outh) and (T)EAMSTER (American truck driver) without the T (heading off) to get a sewer, more often seen in the feminine version

5a Stars answer after a short month (6)
{OCTANS} – these stars are built from ANS(wer) following OCT(ober)

9a Crab-oil treated with carbon and phenol (8)
{CARBOLIC} – an anagram of CRAB-OIL and C (chemical symbol for Carbon) gives this other name for phenol

10a Supreme control of parliamentarian in Ireland (6)
{EMPIRE} – just put MP inside EIRE – it’s as simple as that!

12a Costing the earth? Just the opposite! (4,5)
{DIRT CHEAP} – straightforward cryptic definition

13a Sailor’s a foot behind at sea (5)
{ABAFT} – a charade of AB and A FT (a foot)

14a Conservative misses space to manoeuvre in recess (4)
{APSE} – an anagram of SPA(C)E

16a Malevolent look? (4,3)
{EVIL EYE} – an all-in-one of sorts – EVIL (malevolent) and EYE (look) give a malevolent look

19a When everything’s considered it’s a clue to awl (3,4)
{ALL TOLD} – all sounds like awl, so ALL TOLD could be a clue to which the answer is awl – are you lost yet?

21a Prohibit Democratic group (4)
{BAND} – BAN plus D(emocratic) equals BAND

24a Girl’s rage starts to needle everyone (5)
{IRENE} – she comes from IRE (rage) and the starts to Needle and Everyone

25a Stars are a major attraction at the fair (3,6)
{BIG DIPPER} – continuing the astronomical theme, another name for The Plough, part of Ursa Major, is also roller-coaster at the fairground

27a A burden positioned like this (6)
{ACROSS} – A and CROSS (a burden) – this would not have worked as a down clue!

28a Use heat to harden plastic tile in resin-based material (8)
{BAKELITE} – a charade of BAKE and an anagram of TILE, which is signalled by plastic, to give plastic-like material – a lot of early radios were encased by this material

29a Inner nature of Indies going west (6)
{INSIDE} – straightforward anagram of INDIES, where going west is meant to make you think that this across clue involves a reversal but is instead an anagram indicator

30a Very idle bowling a no-ball, perhaps (8)
{DELIVERY} – an anagram of VERY IDLE gives a cricketing term


1d Withdraw to consider admitting leader of colonists to Delaware (6)
{SECEDE} – SEE (consider) around (admitting) C (leader of Colonists) and finally DE (Delaware)

2d Dawn’s subtle emanation infused with yellow (6)
{AURORA} – AURA (subtle emanation) around (infused with) OR (yellow) – OR is a term used in heraldry for gold or yellow (new entry for The Mine is in progress!)

3d Seneca for one played coits (5)
{STOIC} – Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman orator and STOIC, is making his first appearance since T128 with a rather obvious anagram of COITS, Australian slang for the backside

4d Impressive core of genes common to both sexes (7)
{EPICENE} – EPIC (impressive) and core of gENEs

6d Ladder leading to the cabin of one travelling with you (9)
{COMPANION} – the first part of this double definition is a ladder on a ship

7d Disturbed old people drinking palm tea, we hear (8)
{AGITATED} – AGED (old people) around (drinking) ITA (the Moriche Palm) and T (tea, we hear)

8d Dutch Respect designer with a baton (8)
{SCEPTRED} – an anagram (designer) of D(utch) and RESPECT

11d See person holding up sword (4)
{ ÉPÉE } – a sword that is hidden (holding), reversed (up), in sEE PErson

15d In favour of local tax, Editor is examined (9)
{PROCESSED} – a charade of PRO (in favour of) CESS (local tax) and ED(itor)

17d Suicide wrongly fired hair with raki on (4-4)
{HARI-KARI} – this misspelt Japanese method of suicide is an anagram (fired) of HAIR and RAKI – see comments below

18d Quick movements as everybody runs and goes wild (8)
{ALLEGROS} – a musical term that comes from ALL plus an anagram of R(uns) and GOES

20d Expert starting to spear fish (4)
{DABS} – DAB (expert) and S (starting to Spear) give these fish

21d Cheeky young girl that might be packed up and sent off (7)
{BAGGAGE} –what might happen to a cheeky young girl! – we haven’t had one of these derogatory terms for the fairer sex for a while

22d It’s pale metamorphosed rock (6)
{APLITE} – here metamorphosed indicates an anagram of IT PALE to get a light-coloured igneous rock – but what is the ‘s doing in the middle of the fodder?

23d Brief article on English railway as a means of communication (6)
{ARTERY} – fine surface reading for this charade of ART(icle) E(nglish) and RY (railway)

26d Kill Northern island tribe (5)
{ICENI} – ICE (slang term for to kill), N(orthern) and I(sland) for an Ancient British tribe

Some excellent clues and one or two weak ones.  Your comments are welcome.

6 comments on “Toughie 176

  1. Must just be me BD, I found this a hard one, I had the speling of 17d the other way round (as taught in school ) I didn’t get 5a without your help and Im still not sure if the 4th letter of 15d is c or f .

    1. BigBoab

      I only got 5a from the wordplay.

      On 15d, a cess is an old tax.

      With 17d, this is what Chambers has to say: “hari-kari ~ an incorrect form of hara-kiri” thus endorsing your comment.

      I struggled with today’s cryptic, but found this one easy. I think a lot of it depends on havfing seen words like cess before.

      1. On 17d, I took the “wrongly” to mean that the setter was deliberately asking for the alternative, but incorrect, spelling.
        On 14a, I don’t like the use of “misses” to mean “missing from”.

        1. On 17d I took “wrongly fired” as the anagram indicator, but, on reflection, your explanation is better.

          I agree on 14a.

          I also thought 22d was poor, with padding in the middle of the anagram fodder.

          1. Thanks Dave, my wife has “loaned” my Chambers to my daughter, so I’m struggling without it. (I’m sort of hoping a new one might be arriving in a couple of weeks for my birthday. Hope springs eternal.

      2. 17d threw me too, until I cross checked the (mis) spelling on Screwed-up.

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