Toughie 254 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 254

Toughie No 254 by Warbler


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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

I feel a little disappointed today.  I normally find Warbler’s puzzles to be entertaining and witty, but this seemed a bit flat and pedestrian.  Can’t put my finger on it, and although Warbler’s puzzles are generally at the easier end of the Toughie scale, they are normally still decent.

The Grid was also a bit of a let down with only one way of getting into each corner, which is a bit unfair, in my opinion.

1a           Show embarrassment with the Irish dancing (6)
{WRITHE}  An anagram to start with today, but one you need to think about.  Dancing is the anagram indicator, and you are looking for an anagram of W (with) + THE + IR (Irish).  Not quite the dreaded indirect anagram where you are given a definition and are expected to find the word and unjumble it, it’s more a complex anagram.

4a           Orcadian for instance is given heavy blow (8)
{ISLANDER}  A word sum.  IS + LANDER ( a PUNCH, PER Mrs Bradford’s magnum opus).  The use of “given” is misleading  as it makes you think of “landed”.

9a           Mixing soil with touches of potash and xanthin produces flowers (6)
{OXLIPS}  Another complex anagram of SOIL + P + X (“touches”, first letters of Potash and Xanthin) gives those members of the daisy family.

10a         Coppers finally caught criminal in search (8)
{PROSPECT}  And another complex anagram (indicated by criminal) of COPPERS + T (finally caught).  “Search” is the definition.

12a         Chinese organ emitted melodious sounds (4)
{SANG}  A double definition.  A sang is also a type of organ in China.  I only remembered it from a recent Spectator crossword.

13a         In Grand Prix John goes to mush (5)
{GLOOP}  Inside GP insert a word for a toilet or John (LOO); the result is messy, like this clue.

14a         Mock heartless buffoon (4)
{JEER}   A buffoon is another name for a JESTER and take the middle out of it and you get a word meaning to mock.

17a         Sticking together I chose seven mates in the end to travel around (12)
{COHESIVENESS}  The Fourth complex anagram out of eight clues!  Sticking together is the definition.   I CHOSE SEVEN + S  (mates in the end) is anagrammed indicated by “to travel around”.

20a         Could be Jack’s winning by a majority in expressing support for group (4-8)
{CARD-CARRYING}   CARD (Could be Jack) and CARRYING (winning by a majority) with the whole “expressing support….”  Is the part definition too close to the full one?

23a         Office lost power cord (4)
{LACE}  A word meaning office minus an initial for Power.

24a         Putting length of timber next to middle of foyer is not well-thought-out (5)
{SILLY} A  piece of timber {SILL} +  Y {middle of foyer} = a word meaning  not well-thought out, again like this clue.

25a         Starts to serve time in rat-infested jail (4)
{STIR}  First letters of “Serve time in rat-infested”

28a         Sturdy country fellow takes part in unusual test (8)
{THICKSET}  A word for a bumpkin (HICK) inside an anagram of TEST gives a word meaning sturdy.

29a         Good area for country house (6)
{GRANGE}  G (good) + RANGE (area) =  GRANGE (country pile).  A hackneyed old chestnut.

30a         Drink squash in Eastern Somalia (8)
{ESPRESSO}  PRESS (squash) inside E  + SO (Eastern Somalia)

31a         Tube is located in foc’sle eventually (6)
{SLEEVE}  One of the more subtle hidden answers…not!  Inside “in foc’sle eventually”

Will be back later with the Downs if I can summon the courage …..

…. I was unable to wake Tilsit from deep slumber, so here are the rest BD


1d Court lacks order in Chancellor’s office (8)
{WOOLSACK} – combine WOO (a word meaning to court or try to win the affection of a young lady) and an anagram (order) of LACKS gives the office in which the Lord Chancellor sits (or is it on!!)

2d Gilbert’s fairy tale in Ohio is rewritten (8)
{IOLANTHE} – Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera about a band of immortal fairies is derived from an anagram (rewritten) of TALE IN OH(io) – yet another of those complex anagrams

3d They speed regularly as a stunt (4)
{HYPE} – take the even (regular) letters of they speed and you get a word meaning a publicity stunt

5d Trouble with US man behaving badly can be overcome (12)
{SURMOUNTABLE} – an anagram (behaving badly) of TROUBLE with US MAN gives a word meaning can be overcome

6d Last bits of paella will always go further (4)
{ALSO} – the last bits of paella will always go gives a word meaning further or likewise

7d Engine stops working on American railway (6)
{DIESEL} – this type of engine is a charade of DIES (stops working) and EL (an elevated railroad in America)

8d Turner could make a profit (6)
{RETURN} – a rather trivial anagram (could make) of TURNER gives a word meaning a profit on an investment

11d In disarray Dutch rivals serve hard taskmasters (5-7)
{SLAVE-DRIVERS} – the last complex anagram (in disarray) has D(utch) RIVALS SERVE as fodder

15d Poor Caruso losing fourth film award (5)
{OSCAR} – poor here indicates an anagram of CAR(U)SO without the fourth letter – and the quality of the clue as well

16d Emperors finally contract severe lung infection (5)
{TSARS} – these emperors come from T (finally contracT) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, a contagious lung infection, the main symptoms of which are high fever, a dry cough and difficulty in breathing)

18d Steps around one street for a mile perhaps (8)
{DISTANCE} – put these DANCE steps around I ST (one street)

19d Endless trouble-making that is against Spain brings distress (8)
{AGGRIEVE} – start with AGGR(O) (endless trouble-making) then add IE (Id Est / that is) V (Versus / against) and E (España / Spain) to get a word meaning to distress

21d Invest fool with empty hope (6)
{CLOTHE} – invest can mean to clothe with insignia of office and you get there by combining CLOT (fool) and H(op)E (hope without the internal letters / empty hope)

22d Special constable’s on edge at start of patrol stint (6)
{SCRIMP} – today it seems that if it isn’t an anagram then it’s a word sum – SC (Special Constable) + RIM (edge) + P (start of Patrol)

26d It’s blue they say over the sea to here (4)
{SKYE} – the sky is blue and it sounds like this Scottish Island, the subject of the song “Over the Sea to Skye” – wow, that was difficult!

27d Alternative advanced Latin exam (4)
{ORAL} – OR (alternative) + A(dvanced) + L(atin) … zzzzzzzzz


9 comments on “Toughie 254

  1. Straightforward toughie from Warbler today, very enjoyable. I liked 20a and 11d. Hope Tilsit is ok?

    1. Big Boab

      Tilsit’s problems are ongoing and mean that he has to pay frequest visits to the hospital. Also, he has recently been taking a friend to the same hospital for his treatment, and I have told him that the blog always has to come second.

  2. This was an enjoyable puzzle but, I feel, no harder than some of the daily cryptics. It only just merited a 3*. Another good one for newcomers to Toughie Land to try. The printed version of the puzzle did not contain the errant 0’s.

    My only slight quibble is with 1a and 11d where there are indirect anagrams which I know some people hate.

    My favourites were 1d, 17a, 16d and 21d. Many thanks to Warbler for todays puzzle.

    Is it just me, or are we being given a light week in terms of Toughies? I’m having to print off the Guardian puzzle to keep me occupied on the way home at the moment!

    1. With regard to the indirect anagrams, the problem with allowing them is just where do you draw the line? Here we have abbreviations being included in the fodder which is not too bad, but the easiest place to draw the line is to prohibit them all.

      To be fair, most setters describe anagrams like 11d as inclusions of the abbreviation, like “Rivals serve In disarray around Dutch hard taskmasters” (I’m not recommending that as a clue, but as an illustration of the way in which the indirect element can be avoided).

      As far as the difficulty is concerned, the editor has been saving up the hardest Toughie for Friday recently, so let’s hope that tomorrow doesn’t break that run.

  3. I agree on the difficulty – I thought it was only going to get ** today and I found it pretty straightforward.
    Favourites were 17a, 1d, 19d and 16d.

  4. I certainly considered the grid Today, Tilsit, but was fortunate enough to get my way through after a bit of thought.
    Agreed on 1a – I didn’t see it as indirect at all.
    Nice to see Grange again ;-)
    Thanks for the review!

  5. All the best, Tilsit. You have cyber support from any number of bloggers. Look after number one – and thanks, again, for the review.

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