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Toughie 246

Toughie No 246 by Firefly

Over-egging the Pudding

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Greetings from the drizzle-sodden Calder Valley. After yesterday’s thought-provoking Daily puzzle, it’s time to return to Toughie pastures. I would like to start by offering an apology of sorts for my posting late last evening. I was probably quite tired and emotional (not in the Private Eye sense of the phrase, as I don’t drink!), but have had a couple of difficult days health-wise which conspired to leave me feeling somewhat drained and a bit upset at what I saw as unnecessarily nasty comments about what was a decent if somewhat tougher puzzle..

Back to today’s challenge. One of my favourite programmes is on BBC2 tonight. The Restaurant with the lovely Raymond Blanc. Last week’s opening episode brought one of those TV moments where you watch almost with your hands over your eyes, as one aspiring restaurateur held a Sabatier knife by the blade and tried to hit it with a rolling pin to crack open a coconut. Today’s Toughie wasn’t as bad as that, but I feld that one or two clues were over-egged and a bit forced in terms of content. It seemed that the setter found an idea to run with, but instead of perhaps thinking enough is enough (or un oeuf is un oeuf in one case!), perseverance didn’t pay off and the clue suffered for it. Otherwise it was a reasonable challenge and quite enjoyable. It will give me an opportunity to play some favourite comedy and music and I think it’s time to have a look at it.

As usual, post your comments after the blog and you can rate the puzzle by means of the star system.


1a        ‘Well done’ sirloin-cut I rejected: Aga not working! (15)
{CONGRATULATIONS} An example of a good idea spoilt for me.  An anagram (indicated by “not working” of SIRLOIN CUT AGA NOT minus an I.

9a        Girl coming out to Norfolk village in break-up … (7)
{DEBACLE}  I recognised the “Girl coming out” as DEB but found the Norfolk village a bit tough.  It turned out to be the village of ACLE.  Ah, you hadn’t heard of it either.

10a      … wearing one of 27? That’s recklessness (7)
{ABANDON} Double definition, with the first part cryptic.  When you have solved 27, you may be said to have this if you are wearing one.  The other definition can be reached by thinking of the expression “with gay ____” Hmm…. perhaps I should be careful there.

Try this old family wedding disco song for a final hint…..  sadly no performance.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a      Caught out in breach of ASBO by C-in-C, they do naval service (5,4)
{CABIN BOYS}  Like 1 ac, a complex anagram(this time indicated by “breach of”) of ASBO BY C IN C minus a C.  Unscrambling this gives you the name of a young person found on board ship.  And no, his name wasn’t Roger in Capt. Pugwash.

12a      Fine example of cyclopaedia pupil’s brought in for school (5)
{PEARL}  Still going strong is the most famous cyclopaedia of them all.   Swap the last letter for a letter meaning learner or student, and you will get a word for a fine example or precious stone.

13a      Pressed lots of buttons, but ineffectually — electricity’s down, for starters (7)
{LOBBIED}  Take the first letters of everything from the word “lots”.  Seems clumsy to me.

15a      Open letter, remove last three bits of paper, and rewrite in briefer form (7)
{NOTELET}  Another complex anagram.  An anagram of OPEN LETTER minus (PER – the last three bits of PAPER).  This one is much better than the two previous examples.

17a      Powerful instrument donated to hospital department (7)
{VIOLENT}   A word-sum. VIOL is the musical instrument and ENT the Hospital department

19a      Turned out and joined in game on Saturday (7)
{SPLAYED}  Another word sum.  S (Saturday) + PLAYED (joined in game)

21a      Bundle of feathers scattered — three missing (5)
{SHEAF}  This doesn’t really work for me. It’s another complex anagram, this time of FEATHERS less TER (for three) or just any three letters, which would be rather unfair.

23a      Drugs company has new lorries parked outside (9)
{NARCOTICS} N ARTICS (new lorries) with CO inside.

25a      Metalworker’s fireplace (7)
{BRAZIER}  A double definition for a metalworker and his forge.

26a      Customer who smokes others’ fags? (3,4)
{END USER}  A cryptic definition that doesn’t quite work for me.  The setter is saying that an end user is someone who smokes  “the ends “ of other peoples’ cigarettes.  Bit weak for me.  I am a rabid anti-smoker as I said yesterday and that hatred extrends to ashtrays and clues about smoking.

27a      Indications of busy line in jewellery? (10,5)
{ENGAGEMENT RINGS}  Again I am a bit troubled with this, as if you get a busy line you get ENGAGED TONES, not rings.  There is a question mark which makes it “a slightly suspect” answer.  But it’s too far away for me.


1d        Will’s endorsement brings Richard mostly into loop (7)
{CODICIL}  DIC(K), which is Richard mostly inside COIL (loop) givers the addendum to a will.

2d        Moneybags — initially not having a shilling (5)
{NABOB}  Word sum –  Initially Not = N + A BOB shilling.  The whole is a potentate.  Some of you will remember the Nabob of Sob, and here he is.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

3d        Harmonise timeless electronic composition (9)
{RECONCILE}  Another complex anagram.  An anagram (indicated by composition) of ELECTRONIC minus T (timeless).  The anagram reveals a word meaning harmonise.

4d        Opportunity to improve when on the rocks? (7)
{TOEHOLD}  Really didn’t like this double definition, which is part cryptic.   It seems terribly weak to me.

5d        ‘The Go-Between’: Losey’s first with Italian oddly used to bracket central episodes (7)
{LIAISON}  Clever, but some may see it as too clever.  Joseph Losey directed the film of the Go Between, LP Hartley’s novel.  L (Losey’s first –  the film wasn’t his first) + IAIN (Italian, oddly- odd letters) with OS (central episodes, ie the middle) inside.  Nice idea, but a bit too much for me.

6d        Step quietly on the bus (5)
{TRAMP} TRAM (bus) + P (piano – quietly) = a word meaning step or march.

7d        Hugo’s ending gross libel with day in court (3,6)
{OLD BAILEY}  O (Hugo’s ending} + an anagram (gross) of LIBEL & DAY produces the Central London Criminal Court.

8d        Tinsel’s woven round girl’s top top (7)
{SINGLET}  Another complex anagram, this time  TINSEL around G  (girl’s top).

14d      It does what it does in Bologna, Remo — obligingly vertical here (9)
{BOOMERANG} A hidden reversal:  Bologna, Remo – obligingly.  A cryptic definition you’ll either love or hate.

16d      Ben Nevis, Snowdon, Scafell Pike? That’s a challenge (4,5)
{TALL ORDER}  Probably the best and cleverest clue.  The Three Peaks Challenge usually involves the three mountains (although there are regional variations) being run up or climbed.  The clue has the three peaks in order of size or TALL ORDER!

17d      Nearly all of trip’s on mostly barren plain (7)
{VISIBLE}  VISI(T) – “nearly all of trip” on “most of barren” + BLE(AK).  I don’t mean one in a clue but this doesn’t really work for me.

18d      Smell sheep — that’s a puzzle (7)
{TANGRAM}   Word sum.  TANG (smell) + RAM (sheep) = the Chinese puzzle that’s a tease to solve.

19d      Might he be good at boning fish? (7)
{SURGEON}  Would a surgeon “bone” someone?  It’s STURGEON less T for T-bone, or boning.  I met a surgeon tonight and asked him if he “boned” and he laughed.

20d      10s reward? (7)
{DESERTS}   Not ten shillings reward.  It’s the solution to 10a + S provides half of the double definition for this clue.

22d      Chuck 5? (5)
{FLING}  Solve 5d and use as half a double definition as in the previous clue.  Liaison is as in a romantic affair.

24d      Writer sadly begins to lose force (5)
{IBSEN}  We’ve had ‘em throughout the puzzle, so let’s finish on a complex anagram, an anagram (indicated by sadly) of  BEGINS less G (force) provides the author of plays such as Hedda Gabler.

Thanks to Firefly for an enjoyable challenge, perhaps a couple less complex anagrams next time please.  Back tomorrow with a review of the Sunday puzzle.

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Just for a bit of fun I thought I would have a go at doing the downs in the style of certain other blogs!!  Comments welcome!  BD


1d        Will’s endorsement brings Richard mostly into loop (7)

2d        Moneybags — initially not having a shilling (5)
{NABOB} – N(ot) A BOB

3d        Harmonise timeless electronic composition (9)

4d        Opportunity to improve when on the rocks? (7)
{TOEHOLD} – dd, part cryptic

5d        ‘The Go-Between’: Losey’s first with Italian oddly used to bracket central episodes (7)
{LIAISON} – L(osey) + SO in alternate letters of I(t)A(l)I(a)N

6d        Step quietly on the bus (5)

7d        Hugo’s ending gross libel with day in court (3,6)
{OLD BAILEY} – (Hug)O + (LIBEL + DAY)*

8d        Tinsel’s woven round girl’s top top (7)
{SINGLET} – G(irl) in (TINSEL)*

14d      It does what it does in Bologna, Remo — obligingly vertical here (9)
{BOOMERANG} – (Bolo)gna Remo  ob(ligingly) <

16d      Ben Nevis, Snowdon, Scafell Pike? That’s a challenge (4,5)

17d      Nearly all of trip’s on mostly barren plain (7)
{VISIBLE} – VISI(t) + BLE(ak)

18d      Smell sheep — that’s a puzzle (7)

19d      Might he be good at boning fish? (7)

20d      10s reward? (7)
{DESERTS} – (just) deserts, cd of 10a (abandon) + s

22d      Chuck 5? (5)
{FLING} – cd of 5d (liaison)

24d      Writer sadly begins to lose force (5)
{IBSEN} – (BE(G)INS)* – g = force

Here are all the answers

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Toughie 246 - Answers

14 comments on “Toughie 246

  1. I thought this was a great little run-out.
    Having to gring through 1a first thing set me in the right frame of mind.
    I enjoyed the 27a-10a-20d runaround, applause goes to Firefly for getting a word like that vertically in 14d!
    Favourite remains 1a and also 19d made me smile.

  2. Yes, a nice puzzle. Minor concerns that a bus is not a tram, and that the Old Bailey is a plurality of courts, but that did not spoil the fun as far as I was concerned. I rather liked 13A. And nice to have Acle from Norfolk, rather than the very usual Diss.

    Harry Shipley

    1. I spent some tIme tryin to wedge Diss into the answer !.
      Having been convinced od Deb and realising the answer I went away and found the village. Never Been!

  3. I found this a gentler, but no less engaging, Firefly than his last Toughie. There were some nicely interlinked clues and a good few smiles as the clues dropped into place. Particular favourites were 3d and 19d as well as 1a which I agree was the best. Maybe 5d was a little too wordy? To get the answer to 14d in the clue was superb although, since the answer comes back in the clue, perhaps the words “vertical here” were superfluous.

    Thanks to Firefly for today’s puzzle. Hope Tilset has not been delayed by the nurses again.

  4. I really enjoyed this, which was something I needed, because for some reason I had all sorts of problems with the normal cryptic – even to the point were I wondered who the setter was (all of which I am putting down to a bad day). I honestly thought 22d was VOMIT, until I realised that 21a would end in V :-). Ta muchly to Firefly for a not too taxing but thoroughly enjoyable crossword.

  5. Sorry to buck the trend but I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the usual Firefly offerings. I did not (and do not) understand 13a, I had to look at your answer Tilsit. I did like 1a and 23a. I hope you are ok now Tilsit.

    1. I agree with Big Boab. I did it before I knew who the setter was, and was very disappointed that it was a Firefly, whose puzzles I’ve really enjoyed in the past. I thought clues like 21a, 26a and 6d were badly constructed.
      13a. the definition is “pressed” – take the initial letters of each word, starting with Letter and ending with Down.

  6. Once again a rather nice Toughie, however 21a delayed me for a bit as I read it as an anagram based on ‘of feathers’ minus the letters of ‘three’, silly Billy me!. Did like 1a as it enabled a speedy solution to the down clues. However thought 16d was tops.

  7. Really enjoyed this – mainly because we managed it without any help! Couple of clues we got without knowing why (13a and 17a) but the blog soon sorted that!

  8. I prefer the comments on the across clues, which are much more ‘user friendly’ and in keeping with the general feel of this blog. They are certainly more helpful and encouraging to those wanting to understand how the clues work.

    The down clues were very dry and clinical – like someone had a boring chore to do.

    1. Tilly, if you need any elucidation please let us all know and we can all chip in.
      Without speaking out of turn it is possible that Tilsit has a prior engagement or is otherwise indisposed.

      1. I was replying to BD’s comments about the fact that the down clues were answered in a different style, for fun. They weren’t like the style of answers we are used to in this blog, which I prefer.

      2. Tilsit has had a very busy day, and will not be back in until late.

        I thought it would be fun to finish the blog in the style used elsewhere. In the early days of the blog I commented that you would need a degree in gobbledygook to understand it and wanted to get some sort of reaction. All the information you need to resolve the wordplay is there, but it just isn’t the same!

        Thanks Tilly – that was the right answer!

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