Toughie 198 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 198

Toughie No 198 by Firefly

Like a Dental Appointment

+ – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Apologies for my late arrival, my hospital appointment over-ran and a traffic delay also threw a spanner in the works.

Quite a tough struggle today and a real sense of achievement when the last letter went into the grid.  Firefly in all his print guises, produces some really ferocious challenges and today’s was no exception.  However I should say that some of the clues today left a bit to be desired and I have covered those in the blog.

I suspect that 29ac will provide many of the talking points today.  Have your say at the end of the blog.  New posters should note that their first posts may take a little time to appear, this is because first posts are checked to stop spammers from hijacking things.  Don’t forget the star ratings at the end of the review as well.  Click on your rating to tell everyone what you thought of it.


1a      Blarney from daft Eastenders? (4,4)
{SOFT SOAP}   A fairly gentle start today with a word sum.  Daft = SOFT   Eastenders = SOAP = SOFT SOAP.  Pedantic point but the soap is actually called EastEnders.

5a      Compiler’s mode of transport? Foot (6)
{IAMBUS}  Compiler’s = I AM  + Mode of transport = BUS.  In poetry an IAMBUS is a foot, a measure of verse.

9a      Striker making no impression in “Cosmos” lounge (5,3)
{SPACE BAR} Not keen on this clue, a bit too contrived for my liking.  I can see what it’s aiming it, had “Cosmos” been the name of a famous night club frequented by sportsmen, it would have been OK.  Think of something you strike that makes no impression on a typewriter Another word sum here (a hat-trick!) Cosmos = space  Lounge = Bar.

10a     Troy has a turn being “Artful Dodger” (6)
{TRUANT}  Another one that gives me a bit of concern and not to my taste.  T = Troy + an anagram of A TURN.  I assume “being artful” is the indicator for the anagram and Dodger the definition.

12a     Rocket private eye for returning with nothing on former partner (6)
{EXOCET}  Definition is a type of missile (rocket) that terrorised the British in the Falklands War.  TEC + O = Private Eye with nothing.  EX = former partner.

13a     Reverse from the terminus? (8)
{WATERLOO}  A double definition.  I assume that Reverse is being used as in the context of a defeat.  Waterloo Station is a London terminus for trains.  Time for a tune……

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15a     Funny turn for only child going to doctor (7)
{COMEDIC}  Thanks to Derrick Knight and Michael Kindred’s splendid XWD Dictionary (see Big Dave’s Crossword Guide, page 5),  I now know that OC is an abbreviation for an only child.  This needs o be reversed and added to a word for a doctor to form a word meaning funny.

16a     Granny perhaps hit back (4)

{KNOT}  A word I used as a child, TONK is reversed.  Incidentally, the alternative definition of TONK in Chambers makes interesting reading!  It actually makes me understand the definition of honky tonk!!!

20a     Insects ignoring piece of food? Never! (4)
{LIES}  One of the best clues in today’s puzzle.  The whole clue provides a definition and indication for the clue.  Insects = FLIES.  Take away F (piece of food) and the statement and answer is an example what’s left!

21a     Moll’s turn to wear crown (7)
{TROLLOP}  Moll is the definition here, and you need a word for a turn, as in a game like Monopoly.  This is inside a word meaning crown (TOP)

25a     Gentle sheep died, being diseased (8)
{MILDEWED}  Gentle = MILD + sheep= EWE + D (died) = Something diseased, as in a rose.

26a     Fabric of Louvre damaged (6)
{VELOUR}  Anagram (indicated by “damaged”) of Louvre gives a fabric worn by Zapp Brannigan in Futurama, one of the funniest cartoon series on Sky (along with The Simpsons)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

28a     Support transactions with player (6)
{TRIPOD}  On a financial statement TR indicates Transactions, and a player is an I-POD.  There’s a bit of a debate on several crossword websites recently about the introduction of “newer words / textspeak into crosswords.

29a     Sit for Raphael, say? (8)
{NOVELIST}  This is one of those clues you will say is terribly clever or terribly unfair.  Nothing to do with art and they key to the clue is “say?”  The question mark in a clue suggests something is a bit unusual or dodgy.  If I said that SIT was the answer to an anagram, you would probably ask where the anagram was?  Answer:  It’s in the answer.  NOVELIST –   NOVEL(ie new)  IST =  SIT!   Raphael is of course Frederic Raphael, a novelist famous for his work The Glittering Prizes.   You will no doubt want to comment on this, so feel free below!

30a     Drunken hack punched by wife … (6)
{STEWED}  A comment on journalism probably!  However, hack here is not a journo, but a horse.  A word for a horse or a mount with W for wife inside gives a word meaning drunk.

31a.    .. encountered in cheery surroundings when leaving hospital — not here then! (8)
{CEMETERY}  A word for “encountered” inside CHEERY minus H for Hospital –  “when leaving” in the clue seems a bit contrived –  you are not leaving hospital –  hospital is leaving cheery, surely.


1d        Method acting on my sets … (6)
{SYSTEM}   An anagram (shown by acting on) of MY SETS gives you a word meaning method.

2d        … no lass is up to Fiona’s lead in showing bottle (6)
{FLAGON}  I rather thought that clues that run on  (shown by …. at the end of one clue  and starting with … at the next clue) can be put together and read a full sentence.  This one (1 and 2 down) doesn’t.  NO GAL = no lass reversed, preceded by F (Fiona’s lead).  This will give you a word for bottle, with “in showing” as a bit of padding.

3d        If Kent lose badly, it could be Key! (8)
{SKELETON}  Clever clue, not related to cricket.  The exclamation mark shows us that the setter thinks it’s quite a smart clue as well.   An anagram (indicated by badly) of KENT LOSE gives you a type of Key.

Here’s the other Kentish Key:

4d        Guttersnipe, short of cake, turns to jelly (4)
(AGAR}  A Guttersnipe is a RAGAMUFFIN, so lose the cake and reverse what’s left, you get a jelly made from seaweed.  Like this clue a lot.

6d        Decided problem with Edgar swallowing drug (6)
{AGREED}  Anagram (indicated by “problem with”) of EDGAR with drug (E) INSIDE.

7d        Wrestling in nude, covered in jewellery (8)
{BRAWLING}  Another expression for “in the nude” is “in the RAW”.  This goes inside a common current word for gold jewellery – BLING.  Wrestling then provides the definition.

8d        Start out to describe … (3,5)
{SET FORTH}  I entered the correct answer almost as my first clue and then wondered if it could be SET ABOUT.  When the O appeared from Waterloo, I then realised my original guess was correct.  Our Firefly certainly likes his run-on clues.  Here’s another.

11d      … flavour of in-house article (7)
{VANILLA}  Article =  AN  inside VILLA (house) will give you a flavour, which is my favourite yogurt taste.

14d      Erudite poet, Edward. Edward? (7)

There was once a puzzle by Firefly
Where the blogger asked why oh why?
He disliked some of the clues
They gave him the blues
And depressed him, so he started to cry.

An author of better (and funnier) limericks is needed to start this clue (his name was Edward) and this is followed by an abbreviated form of the name Edward.  This will give you a word meaning erudite.  (With apologies to Edward.)

17d      Climber’s timescale shortened alarmingly (8)
{CLEMATIS}  An anagram (shown by alarmingly) of TIMESCAL (Timescale shortened).    This gives one of the nicest flowering plants.

18d      Price fell tumbling into inferno (4-4)
{HELL-FIRE}  An anagram (tumbling) of FELL inside HIRE (price) gives a description of Dante’s place.

19d      Strong-arm sailor snaffling Edward’s piece of steak (5-3)
{POPE’S EYE} Hmm….  E’S = Edward’s piece?  Apparently so.  This fits inside the well-known spinach eating cartoon character to for a cut of steak, which was new to me.

22d      Controller employed by supremo (temporarily) (6)
{REMOTE}  A hidden answer concealed inside  SupREMO TEmporarily, gives you something to control your TV.

23d      What one should expect from a postulant? (6)
{NOVICE}     A postulant is someone going into the church or other ministry.  In other words, a novice.   Of course you should expect that from someone holy ( NO VICE).  Sadly the news sometimes proves otherwise.  Good clue though.

24d      Race, on entering quarry, gets tricky (6)
{PRETTY}  In Crosswordland, “race” usually means TT (as in the Isle of Man TT Races – TT standing for Tourist Trophy, by the way)  A quarry =  PREY so put one inside the other and you get a modern synonym for tricky.

27d      Vestment Sentamu’s taken up? (4)
{ROBE}  At first glance, you would think this is a reversed hidden answer, but looking through the letters, nothing leaps out.  However Dr Sentamu is Archbishop of York who signs his name as EBOR (from the Latin name for York, Eboracum).  Reverse that and you get…..

Apologies for the lateness, and I am already aware that my thoughts differ from some of my colleagues.  That’s Life as the big-toothed prospective MP for Luton used to say on TV.

15 comments on “Toughie 198

  1. Tilsit

    I obviously enjoyed it more than you did, but then I did actually go to the dentist this morning so the comparison was fresh in my mind!

    I probably spent more time on 29 across / 19 down than all the rest put together. It’s always difficult when two tricky clues intersect

    BTW I prefer the original of the Kinks classic:


  2. Tilsit re. 19d and 29a I spent more time on these clues than I did on the rest of the crossword, until the penny (cent) dropped (just like Big Dave). So you know my views :-). Raphael to me is an artist, and that was a blind alley I also got lost in. But if I ignore that particular issue, I found the rest of the crossword generally enjoyable and more of a brain stretcher than others recently.

  3. Thank heavens I am not alone with 29a, I had in the end to input into Cluedup on a trial and error basis the only 4 words that would fit, thanks for clarifying the reasoning behind it for me Tilsit. Loved 4d.

  4. Tilsit,
    I thought the whole puzzle was excellent, and I especially liked 9a, 29a, 30a and 4d.
    Incidentally, in the paper EastEnders is spelt with the second E in upper-case, so it is just on Clued Up that it’s wrong.

  5. 19d. I think that the definition is “piece of steak” and that what is being snaffled is (King) E(dward)’S – which is also a type of potato – so you have steak and chips :D

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