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Toughie 279

Toughie No 279 by Kcit

Does this Tick all the Boxes?

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

A comparatively easy puzzle from Kcit – light relief for some after today’s daily cryptic!  Well-clued crosswords are usually very straightforward, and this one is no exception.

Particular favourite clues are highlighted in blue.

Leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Part negotiable after alteration in theatre feature (9,5)
{OPERATING TABLE} – an anagram (after alteration) of PART NEGOTIABLE giving a feature of the kind of theatre found in a hospital

9a    African state: it’s about to enter historic period (7)
{ERITREA} – to get this state in North East Africa put IT and RE (about) inside a historic period

10a    Earnest part of speech prefixed by one note (7)
{INTENSE} – a word meaning earnest is constructed by putting a part of speech after I (one) and (N)ote

11a    Pop group whose comeback is like they’ve never been away? (4)
{ABBA} – the name of this Swedish pop group is palindromic

ARVE Error: need id and provider

12a    Criterion’s where you’ll see someone in As You Like It (10)
{TOUCHSTONE} – this synonym for a criterion is also the name of the court jester in Shakespeare’s play As You Like It – this is probably an allusion to London’s Criterion Theatre: back in 1992, shortly after this theatre reopened, I noticed Jenny Seagrove and Michael Winner in the bar and they autographed my program

14a    Production that’s unsuccessful contribution to Christmas festivities? (6)
{TURKEY} – often the key to solving a double definition is to spot where one definition ends and the other begins – here it’s between unsuccessful and contribution

15a    One following Queen entering female prison (8)
{HENCHMAN} – and likewise the key to solving container and contents clues is to sort out which is which – the definition here is “one following” and you get there by inserting HM (Her Majesty – makes a change from the usual ER) inside HEN (a Scottish term for a woman) and CAN (slang for a prison)

17a    Who will be allowed in running heats? (8)
{ATHLETES} – this all-in-one clue requires you to put LET (allowed) inside an anagram (running) of HEATS

18a    Foremen overlooking worker’s latest errors (6)
{GAFFES} – take a word meaning foremen and drop the R (worker’s latest) to get these errors

21a    Party leader in action – why wait for reshuffle – knock off (2,4,4)
{DO AWAY WITH} – could this turn out to be a prediction? – this is a composite clue where you string together DO (party) A (leader in Action) and an anagram (reshuffle) of WHY WAIT to get a phrase meaning to knock off, in the sense of to get rid of

22a    Second most important concern for organist (4)
{STOP} – put together S(econd) and a word meaning most important and the result is a set of organ pipes of uniform tone quality

24a    Fantasy writer taking covers off tool fitment (7)
(RATCHET} – remove the first and last letters (taking covers off) from the name of the author of the fantasy series Discworld to something that is found in some tools

25a    Fancy me sitting in broken chair (7)
{CHIMERA} – an idle or wild fancy is constructed by putting ME inside an anagram (broken) of CHAIR – I prefer the definition as a fabled fire-spouting monster, with a lion’s head, a serpent’s tail, and a goat’s body!

26a    A lot of worry also about outrageous piece of music (8,6)
{CONCERTO GROSSO} – put CONCER(N), a lot of worry, and TOO (also) around a word meaning outrageous to get a musical work in which solo parts are played by a small group of instruments, usually alternating with strings or an orchestra – the checking letters (?O?C?R?O ?R?S?O) helped a lot when solving this one


1d           Ham? One month has woman tucking in (7)
{OVERACT} – a word meaning  to ham (as in to ham it up) is derived from OCT (one month) with VERA (woman) inside – possibly the weakest of today’s clues

2d           Entertainment at castle – tonight a redoubt goes wild (9,6)
{EDINBURGH TATTOO} – this entertainment at the castle in Scotland’s capital is an anagram (goes wild) of TONIGHT A REDOUBT

3d           Well-ventilated room on cattle farm having no top (4)
{AIRY} – a word meaning  well-ventilated is created by removing the first letter from (having no top) a room on a cattle farm – the one where the cows are milked

4d           When voices may be raised sequentially (2,1,3)
{IN A ROW} – a time when voices may be raised can also mean sequentially

5d           Liberal is keen to get behind Government errors (8)
{GLITCHES} – put L(iberal) and a word meaning  is keen after G(overnment) to get these  errors

6d           Disruptive worker is on CIA list initially (10)
{ANTISOCIAL} – a word meaning  disruptive is built up from ANT (the ubiquitous worker) IS O (a shortened form of on) CIA and L (List initially)

7d           Anthem offering trade-offs with hymnal, possibly (4,2,2,7)
{LAND OF MY FATHERS} – Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau is, by tradition, the national anthem of Wales and it’s an anagram (possibly) of TRADE OFFS with HYMNAL

ARVE Error: need id and provider

8d           River – among six others? (6)
{SEVERN} – put R(iver) inside SEVEN to get,  at 220 miles (354 km), the longest river in Great Britain – you can read this clue several ways, but the answer is always the same!

13d         Recording allowed to pick up sound of drunk by extrasensory means? (10)
{TELEPATHIC} – extra marks if you worked this out from the wordplay rather than the other way around! – take TAPE (recording) and LET (allowed) and reverse them (to pick up – yes, it’s a down clue) and add HIC (sound of drunk) to get a word meaning  by extrasensory means

16d         What’s found in various wet areas? (8)
{SEAWATER} – this terrific all-in-one clue is an anagram (various) of WET AREAS

17d         First to last, more wretched snakes (6)
{ADDERS} – start with SADDER (more wretched) and move the first letter to the last and you end up with these snakes

19d         Piece of music managed to be accepted by very good singer (7)
{SOPRANO} – take OP (opus / a piece of music) and RAN (managed) and put them inside (to be accepted by) SO (very good)  and you get this singer

20d         Plaster not entirely fixed? Firm underneath (6)
{STUCCO} – this type of plaster is a charade of STUC(K), not entirely fixed, and CO(mpany) (firm)

23d         Musician ignoring piano support (4)
{PIER} – take a PI(P)ER and remove the middle P (piano) to get a support of an arch, bridge, etc

A very enjoyable puzzle, even if it didn’t take long to finish.

9 comments on “Toughie 279

  1. Dave,
    This was easier than the normal cryptic, I still think Gazza got the two crosswords confused :-) I was suitably entertained by it.
    BTW I can understand you wanting Jenny Seagrove’s autograph but Michael Winner’s?

    1. I can only think that the comments of the hordes of people wanting to express solidarity with me on the Cryptic difficulty have been delayed by the bad weather! (0 so far) :D

      Dave must have been looking for cheap car insurance!

      1. Gazza – sorry didn’t comment on your cryptic but have to agree – I liked this one better – sorry.

        Thanks anyhow for the review of the cryptic and Dave thanks for the review of the toughie.

  2. Another one here who found Kcit easier today than the normal cryptic! The Toughie was well clued and enjoyable. Favourite clues were 24a, 6d and 7d.

  3. 16d and 21a were faves for me today.
    Agreed with the difficulty and enjoyment sides!>

  4. I don’t often try doing the toughie as don’t feel I am usually up to it but I did this one and feel quite good about it (even though it only rates a 2 star difficulty from you Dave).

    I did it in faster time than the cryptic – possibly because I was able to get most of the long words right off.

    My favourite clue was 6d.

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