Toughie 201

Toughie No 201 by Cephas
Wednesday’s Child is Full of Woe

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment *

Maybe it is something to do with seeing that black cat chasing a magpie while I was walking under a ladder yesterday. For whatever reason I seem to have been unlucky with the Toughie  today. We have a number of cryptic definitions, which, not to beat about the bush, are pretty woeful, and we have several clues where the word order has been manipulated to try to improve the surface reading.
Am I being unfair? Perhaps you loved it – please leave us a comment! And please record a vote for how much you enjoyed it by clicking on one of the stars at the bottom.

Across Clues

3a  Tease fractious lad who’s vulgar (6)
{RIBALD} – put together RIB (tease) and an anagram (fractious) of LAD to get an adjective meaning vulgar or coarse.

6a  Only leader of expedition found on island (4)
{BUTE} – start with a conjunction meaning ‘on the other hand’ or only and add E(xpedition) to get this island in the Firth of Clyde.

8a  Entertain Australian, one of a group of nine (5)
{AMUSE} – a synonym for entertain comes from A(ustralian) and one of the nine Muses in Roman and Greek mythology, who presided over the arts and sciences.

9a  Reason for not being forgotten (5,2,4)
{CLAIM TO FAME} – this is supposed to be a cryptic definition!

10a  Youngster coming back with personal hygiene problem is a lout (5)
{YOBBO} – reverse BOY (youngster) and add BO (hygiene problem).

11a  Using this one takes turns to get drier (6-5)
{ROLLER-TOWEL) – a slightly better cryptic definition of a hand-drying machine which requires you to pull a clean section of material through the mechanism.

16a  Financial advisers cut up fruit (6)
{CASHEW} – financial advisers are chartered accountants (CAs – but only in Scotland and Canada according to Chambers) – add HEW (cut up) to get a fruit with a kidney-shaped nut.

17a  Seasonal? (8 )
{AUTUMNAL} – I presume that the question mark means that this is supposed to be a cryptic definition. Please let me know in what way it’s cryptic!

19a  Hybrid citrange undergoing chemical change (8 )
{REACTING} – an anagram (hybrid) of CITRANGE means undergoing chemical change.

20a  Effort required from fielding side? (3-3)
{ALL-OUT} – a cryptic definition, but not a good one – the implication is that the fielding side, in cricket, makes every effort to get the batting side all out.

22a  Middle course taken by lucky agency (5,6)
{HAPPY MEDIUM} – double definition, one cryptic – what our former Prime Minister called the “third way”.

25a  Bird, not British, removed blouse! (5)
{OUSEL} – an anagram of bLOUSE (without the B) gives us a bird resembling a blackbird. In an attempt to make the surface reading slightly titillating the word order has been ravaged and a weird anagram indicator (removed) has been used.

27a  Try to separate two who show up in the middle (4,7)
{COME BETWEEN} – double definition – to try to cause a rift between two people is constructed from COME (show up) and BETWEEN (in the middle).

28a  Fourth Maori dance, capital (5)
{DHAKA} – follow the fourth letter of the alphabet with a Maori dance, which is seen when the All-Blacks rugby team plays, to get the capital of Bangladesh.

29a  Individual not involved in final outcome filled case of pastry (4)
{FLAN} – take the I out of FiNAL and make an anagram (outcome) of the remainder to get an open tart. What do you think of outcome as an anagram indicator?

30a  Stick the lady in second half of parade (6)
{ADHERE} – put HER inside the last three letters of parADE to get a verb meaning stick.

Down Clues

1d  Rodent lived so many years in Cyprus (4)
{CAVY} – a latin phrase meaning lived so many years is annos vixit which is normally shortened to AV – put this inside the IVR code for Cyprus to get a South American rodent like a guinea-pig.

2d  Automatic authorisation that might be dated (6-5)
{RUBBER-STAMP} – to approve something without thinking about it could also be a way of recording the date, on incoming correspondence for example.

3d  What turnstiles do for highest number of contestants (6,5)
{RECORD ENTRY} – double definition.

4d  Belgium’s bird dog (6)
{BEAGLE} – follow the IVR for Belgium with a large bird of prey to get a type of dog.

5d  With plumber I struggle to loosen muscles (6,2)
{LIMBER UP} – an anagram (struggle) of PLUMBER I produces a term meaning to loosen your muscles.

6d  Comic Albert leaving American city (5)
{BUFFO} – the American city is BUFFALO – take out AL to leave a comic actor in Italian opera.

7d  Not left in place of worship or place of unsurpassed beauty (5)
{TEMPE} – remove the L from TEMPLE to leave the valley of the Peneus in Thessaly, which was praised by the ancient poets for its unsurpassed beauty.

12d  Everybody on southern side of the Channel (4,2,5)
{TOUT LE MONDE} – the French for everybody. A couple of months ago we had a debate about the legitimacy or otherwise of including foreign words or phrases in crosswords – do you think that this example is ok?

13d  Stealthily progress down spiral staircase? (4,4,3)
{WIND ONES WAY} – another cryptic definition which does not work, and does it necessarily involve stealth anyway? Sinuously would have made more sense.

14d  Kinky girl put sex appeal into novel (6)
{LOLITA} – this would have been a good clue with a better word order – start with a song by the Kinks and put IT (sex appeal) inside.

15d  Char found French horn in southern Switzerland (6)
{SCORCH} – put COR (French horn) inside S(outhern) and CH (IVR code for Switzerland) to get a verb meaning to burn slightly or char.

18d  Introduced various tenders after independence (8 )
{INSERTED} – an anagram (various) of TENDERS after I(ndependence) produces a verb meaning introduced.

21d  Second unit taking engineers’ vessel (6)
{BIREME} – a charade of B (second letter), I (one, unit) and REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) gives us this vessel with two banks of oars.

23d  Seething when there’s a bubble on the surface (5)
{ABOIL} – a word (which I’ve never actually seen used) meaning boiling could be an inflamed swelling.

24d  Song performed deadpan day after day removed (5)
{PAEAN} – an anagram (performed) of DEADPAN after both Ds have been removed produces a song of praise.

26d  Headline item, ‘put down first card’ (4)
{LEAD} – double definition, but the surface reading makes no sense at all.

My favourite clue is 10a – how about you? Leave us a comment, and please do not forget to vote below!


  1. bigboab
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Some reasonable clues and some awful ones, I can’t say I enjoyed it very much. I didn’t mind 26d, 12d I think is ok as it is such a well known phrase. My favourite clues were 2d and 22a.

  2. nanaglugglug
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Quite enjoyed it but was convinced 15d was Zurich so got stuck in that corner. Never heard of 22d or 21d so we learnt something!

  3. Posted August 19, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear, I enjoyed it! Probably shows I’m not a “proper crossword person”.

    The only clue I struggled with was 28a, then 26d became obvious. I rather liked 3a.

    • gazza
      Posted August 19, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Hi Father Brian and welcome to the blog.
      As long as you enjoyed it, it doesn’t matter what I (or other people) think!

      • Fallingstarr
        Posted August 19, 2009 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

        I enjoyed it too because I was able to finish it for a change!

  4. Libellule
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    26d – Is a double definition (finally I think I have worked it out), a headline item is a leading news item, and if you put down the first card at bridge then you also lead as in “leading the first trick” (I think). But even if that explains the double definition, the surface reading as Gazza says is a bit of a mess.

    • Posted August 19, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Permalink


      I didn’t think that the definitions were in doubt – just that the attempted surface reading had failed dismally.

    • gazza
      Posted August 19, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      I understood the double definition. It is the surface reading that I was objecting to.

      • Libellule
        Posted August 19, 2009 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        Point taken, but having been out all afternoon, I was still wondering how this was a double definition :-) Now I know. Some of us still like the more detailed explanations….. even for Toughies.

  5. john middleton
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    15 down was the best, very clever, and I managed to get it eventually

  6. Alan
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Like nanaglugglug I also thought Zurich but once i got it I loved it! Best clue by far.. :)

  7. Cephas
    Posted August 22, 2009 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Autumn-al = Season-al!

    • Posted August 24, 2009 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      [Retrieves teeth from back of throat after sucking them}