Toughie 245 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 245

Toughie No 245 by Messinae

My Kingdom for a Norse

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Those who are having a struggle with today’s Cryptic may like to have a go at this one, which is in my opinion (which is of course totally subjective) easier than the Cryptic. I’ve only given it three stars for difficulty, rather than two, because it contains a couple of words new to me, but it’s full of well-constructed and very fair clues.
So, especially if you’ve never tried a Toughie before, give this one a go, and let us know how you get on via a comment.

Across Clues

1a  He searched frantically bringing bad luck! (4,6)
{HARD CHEESE} – an anagram (frantically) of HE SEARCHED produces an informal expression of consolation.

6a  River goddess is doubled up (4)
{ISIS} – treble definition.

9a  Instrument blown after affair’s high point (10)
{MATTERHORN} – put HORN (instrument blown) after MATTER (affair).

10a  Old Asian country is turning American (4)
{SIAM} – the name, until 1939, of the country that is now Thailand.

12a  Mounted cop catching on (6)
{UPTAKE} – a charade of UP (mounted) and TAKE (cop).

13a  Special dish to display prominently (8 )
{SPLATTER} – put together S(pecial) and PLATTER (dish) to get a verb meaning to splash or display (over the front page of a newspaper, say).

15a  Tourist in rank beset by wild blow (12)
{HOLIDAYMAKER} – rank, in the sense of foul-smelling, is OLID – outside this (beset) put a wild swinging blow or punch.

18a  An emergency for Jumbo, say, caught taking risks by top of stairs (5-7)
{CRASH-LANDING} – a cryptic definition of an emergency for a Boeing 747, say, is constructed by splicing together C (Caught, as in cricket), RASH (taking risks) and LANDING (top of stairs).

21a  A Greek character always one to succeed (8 )
{ACHIEVER} – a charade of A, CHI (Greek letter) and EVER (always).

22a  Investigator to worry about the Queen (6)
{FERRET} – an informal name given to a diligent searcher or investigator is made from FRET (to worry) about ER.

24a  Thousand in old money — a large sum (4)
{BOMB} – in pre-decimalisation days a shilling (5p) was known as a BOB – put M (thousand) inside to get an informal term for a great deal of money.

25a  Adopting aggressive position settling account (8,2)
{SQUARING UP} – double definition.

26a  Work for long — take year off (4)
{EARN} – long is YEARN – remove the Y. Hardly Toughie material?

27a  New Conservative seen in scanty clothing not caring (10)
{NEGLIGENCE} – scanty clothing is a NEGLIGEE – put N(ew) C(onservative) inside.

Picture courtesy of gnomethang

Down Clues

1d  Sweet smell, something annoying (6)
{HUMBUG} – a charade of HUM (smell) and BUG (something annoying).

2d  Turner does this to art, shocking English (6)
{ROTATE} – an anagram (shocking) of TO ART followed by E(nglish).

3d  Chap to show impertinence in intimate dancing style (5-2-5)
{CHEEK-TO-CHEEK} – start with CHEEK (chap, the jaw and lower cheek of a pig, used as food) and add a verb meaning to be impertinent towards someone.

4d  Repeat one before foxtrot (4)
{ECHO} – double definition, the second being the codeword for the letter before foxtrot (F) in radio communications.

5d  What the Metrication Board wants to do for recycling facilities (10)
{SCRAPYARDS} – double definition, the first a cryptic description of how the Metrication Board might abolish an imperial measurement.

7d  Sort of mushroom — member of Muslim group holds a thousand (8 )
{SHIITAKE} – put SHIITE (a member of one of the main branches of Islam) around A K (thousand).

8d  Hat — ’Ispanic fellow right in such (8 )
{SOMBRERO} – an Hispanic fellow is an HOMBRE, so by the laws of crosswordland an ’Ispanic fellow would be an ’OMBRE – add an R (right) and put it all inside SO (such).

11d  Like the Valkyries, second in one composition of Wagner after another (12)
{WARMONGERING} – a second is a MO – put this inside an anagram (composition) of WAGNER and add RING (the latter’s most famous composition) to get a description of the Valkyries (the goddesses of war in Norse mythology).
ARVE Error: need id and provider

14d  Like a rogue get annoyed about worries (10)
{PICARESQUE} – to provoke someone or get them annoyed is to PIQUE them – put CARES (worries) inside and you end up with a description of a likeable rogue.

16d  Clamber’s put another way (8 )
{SCRAMBLE} – an anagram (put another way) of CLAMBER’S in an all-in-one clue.

17d  Overweight slob in cartoon — one’s got to work out (8 )
{FATHOMER} – a charade of FAT (overweight) and HOMER (cartoon slob).

19d  Fierce woman teacher restricting students’ time for frivolity (6)
{DRAGON} – by one of those odd coincidences this same word, with the same meaning, appeared in yesterday’s Cryptic. Put DON (teacher) around RAG (student frivolity).

20d  Fix: something taken regularly (6)
{STAPLE} – double definition.

23d  Deceitful fellow upset bird (4)
{RAIL} – reverse (upset) someone who tells porkies.

The clues I liked today included 3d and 11d, but my clue of the day is 5d. Let us know what you think with a comment.

18 comments on “Toughie 245

  1. Agreed on the DT being harder gazza. Also you would have found a suitable illustration for 20a were you to have been reviewing!

    I enjoyed this despite it being farly straightforward.
    Caves for me were 5d, 15a and 7d

    1. gnomethang
      I did find an illustration for 27a, but was fearful of raising too many blood pressures!

        1. As gnomethang has discovered, although you can post hyperlinks and youtube links in comments for some inexplicable reason you can’t post pictures.

          I have added his picture to 27a above.

  2. Settle down, boys!! Absolutely loved this puzzle, some of favourites were 5d & 8d. Stuck in waiting for repair man so getting very grouchy !

  3. What a change to yesterdays offering, almost looks like the Editor has mixed uptoday’s Cryptic and the Toughie puzzles. Some super clues, hard to pick the best, maybe 4d!

  4. Agree Gazza, the toughie was almost like a session of relaxation after todays cryptic, not that I could finish it all without your help, liked 9a, the cryptic today was really hard work

  5. New to this site – have been a fan of the DT cryptic for years but usually don’t even open the paper so wasn’t even aware of the existence of the “Toughie”

    I did indeed find it easier (and better) than the cryptic today – from other comments I take it that isn’t usually the case.

    1. Touchwood
      The Toughie is supposed to be, and to be fair normally is, harder than the Cryptic. But both vary quite a bit, and occasionally, as today, we get a relatively easy Toughie and a harder-than-usual Cryptic.

      1. Thanks for the welcome. I shall indeed be a regular visitor henceforth; though maybe not every day – my work pattern is variable and I often don’t get time to do the crossword.

        With regard to variable difficulty, I’ve always believed that the grading of any particular grid is quite subjective – whereas in overall terms crosswords can be assessed for relative difficulty, the difference between individual’s thought processes, vocabulary, background etc. can contribute greatly to the perceived ease or otherwise of solving particular clues. How often have we experienced the scenario where one person cannot get the last answer, but another, with no better general ability, will come rapidly to the solution?

        1. You make a very good point in the last para. I have often been slaving over a couple of final clues over a cold drink or two in my local when a friend will walk up and immediately give the answer – sometimes just recognising the letter pattern is enough without looking at the wordplay.
          We have had the Sports (Cricket!)/Boyband/Science vs Literature debates recently and the relative fairness for people who are not so well versed but I tend to think that it is pretty much Swings and Roundabouts from one day to the next (with the exception of Cricket – but given that this is de riguer for most crosswords it should be easy to pick up!)

  6. Valkyries is a truly atrocious piece of music. But unique as much of Wagner is and still remains. Honest Xword with no memorable clues. 27a made me smile.

  7. Agree with all of the comments above. A lot easier than Elgar’s puzzle. My favourites were 5 d, 11d and 17d.

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