Toughie 283 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 283

Toughie No 283 by Warbler

The most fiendishly difficult daily puzzle emanating from Fleet Street?

(source – The Daily Telegraph)

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

From time to time the Toughie turns out to be easier than the daily cryptic, and today’s puzzle would seem to be one of them. I’m sure some of you may disagree, and I will be delighted to hear from you especially if you can identify why and/or where.

You can add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Criminal reproduces rare carbon copy fakes (4-7)
{SAFE-CRACKER} – this criminal is an anagram (reproduces) of RARE CC (carbon copy) FAKES – I had forgotten that the cc used for emails originally indicated a carbon copy of a document!

8a    Fellow in German committee provides violin part (11)
{FINGERBOARD} – a charade of F(ellow) IN GER(man) followed by a synonym of committee gives this part of a violin

11a    Druggie’s endless cure finally succeeded (4)
{HEAD} – Chambers defines this word as “a person who habitually uses drugs (slang; often in combination as in acid-)”: I would have said that it was only in combination with acid-, crack-, coke- etc. – you get it by dropping the final letter from a word meaning to cure and adding the final letter of succeedeD

12a    Mythical creature’s still on island (4)
{YETI} – an allegedly mythical creature is obtained from a word meaning still, in the sense of hitherto, followed by I(sland)

13a    Bag refurbished chalet after first of September (7)
{SATCHEL} – a school bag is built up from S (first of September) followed by an anagram (refurbished) of CHALET

15a    Screened Conservative deliveries to journalist (7)
{COVERED} – a word meaning screened, in the sense of protected, is another wordsum – C(onservative) with a set of 6 deliveries in cricket and finally the ubiquitous chief journalist

16a    Whereon dead Russian tsar might have rested (5)
{DIVAN} – D(ead) followed by the Terrible Russian tsar gives something on which he might have rested

17a    Instrument involved in early recording (4)
{LYRE} – this old instrument is hidden in the clue

18a    Prison disturbance (4)
{STIR} – a double definition

19a    Police district’s reported method (5)
{MANOR} – this name used for a police district sounds like a method

21a    Varnish outside framework with a touch of creosote (7)
{SHELLAC} – to get this type of varnish take an outside framework and add A and C(touch of Creosote)

22a    Germs could become biological without processed goo (7)
{BACILLI} – you get these germs by resolving an anagram (could become) of BI(O)L(OG)ICAL without the letters of GOO (processed tells you that the letters of goo are in a different order)

23a    Fondness on a regular basis for poetry (4)
{ODES} – take the even letters (on a regular basis) of fOnDnEsS to get poetry

And here for your delectation is an odd ode!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

26a    Fine summer in Provence for holiday (4)
{FÊTE} – combine F(ine) and the French word for summer to get a holiday

27a    Blow! Not a left-footer (5-6)
{RIGHT-HANDER} – a double definition

28a    Promise by speaker is verbal (4,2,5)
{WORD OF MOUTH} – a verbal promise


2d    Barren as rainfall is deficient principally (4)
{ARID} – a word meaning barren comes from the initial letters of the middle four words in the clue

3d    Interested in Old English? Only when transposed (7)
{ENGAGED} – take AGED (old) and ENG(lish) and transpose them

4d    Part of Chester area is excellent (4)
{RARE} – a word meaning excellent is hidden in the clue

5d    Fried bread’s mis-shapen contour (7)
{CROUTON} – one piece of fried bread, usually many are sprinkled on soup, is an anagram (mis-shapen) of CONTOUR

6d    Frightening endings to Poe tale — horror story (4)
{EERY} – by now you are probably looking for this type of clue! – the final letters of the last four words give a word meaning frightening

7d    Kind of tour undertaken by would-be MP gallivanting with less time to work (7-4)
{WHISTLE-STOP} – this kind of tour is an anagram (gallivanting) of WITH LESS followed by T(ime) and OP (work)

8d    This reactor is a speedy generator (4-7)
{FAST-BREEDER} – a barely cryptic definition of this type of nuclear reactor

9d    A red kestrel destroyed hat (11)
{DEERSTALKER} – an anagram (destroyed) of A RED KESTREL gives the type of hat that is associated with Sherlock Holmes

10d    Silly bride and Brian start to dally inappropriately (4-7)
{BIRD-BRAINED} – a silly clue for a word meaning silly – an anagram (inappropriately) of BRIDE, BRIAN and D (start to Dally)

14d    Flower rim mostly black in the centre (5)
{LILAC} – a flower that is built up from LI(P) and bLACk

15d    Tree nut hugs hollow Acer (5)
{CAROB} – put a COB nut around the outside letters of AceR to get this Mediterranean tree

19d    Corresponded then married in Switzerland. Quite the reverse! (7)
{MATCHED} – a word meaning corresponded, in the sense of coincided, is built up from a word meaning married around CH (the IVR code for Switzerland) – “quite the reverse” tells you that the wordplay in the clue is given the wrong way around

20d    Met Tina on the third of April unexpectedly (3,4)
{RAN INTO} – a phrasal verb meaning met is an anagram (unexpectedly) of TINA ON and R (third of ApRil

24d    Second bit of dirt falls to bottom of storage tank (4)
{SILO} – start with SOIL (dirt) and move the second letter to the end to get a tank for storing grain

25d    I must leave outstanding cook (4)
{CHEF} – CH(I)EF (outstanding) without the I (I must leave)

26d    Handled soft fabric (4)
{FELT} – a double definition

How did you fare with this? Was it really that easy? It’s not a bad puzzle, but is it worthy of being a Toughie? Your comments are always welcome.

15 comments on “Toughie 283

  1. Dave,
    Found the Cryptic and the Toughie to be on a par to be honest, but of the two the Cryptic was a “better” crossword. Nice sense of achievement when done. Wheras the Toughie was more of a “well it was alright but nothing special”.

  2. Personally, I think that you are being generous giving this a two star rating for difficulty. It is a difficult one to rate in terms of overall quality as I enjoyed solving the puzzle and there were some nice clues to get to grips with but it did not really approach Toughie standard. Favourite clues were 1a, 21a, 23a, 3d, 7d and 15d.

  3. Fine and enjoyable, certainly, but to be honest my two year old niece is harder than thus and probably has more teeth!
    It was quite a shock when I looked up and finished it – I usually expect to have to look up a word or two to check that it exists but not this time.
    I liked 5d, 19a and 27a

  4. Agreed – it was quite straight forward. (Must have beeen as I was able to finish it – even with all those four letter words!!).

  5. I too found it easier than the daily. Armed with just a few letters, several answers seemed to leap out without the need to toil over the anagram or wordplay double meaning etc – or understanding it – eg 7d . Got 24d but confused by clue. That must mean I didn’t really get it I suppose. A confidence booster to quickly finish a Toughie unaided for a change.

  6. //an allegedly mythical creature//
    What are you trying to say, BD?.
    Any snowbound encounters that you wish to share? ;-)

  7. 3D – I don’t think ‘interested’ means the same thing as ‘engaged’ Like everyone else, I found this easier than the backpage puzzle, but enjoyed it very much

    1. I’m inclined to agree – it’s a result of what I call thesauritis, a disease that affects only crossword setters, the symptons of which are the belief that any word in a thesaurus entry can be replaced by any other word in the same entry.

      In Chambers, this is part of the entry for “interested”:

      attentive, curious, absorbed, engrossed, engaged, fascinated, intent, captivated, gripped, enthralled, riveted, intrigued, enthusiastic, keen, attracted, devoted

  8. Nothing wrong with thesauritis and nothing wrong with the definition you criticise. The requirement for a definition is precisely what Big Dave says it is, in terms of replacing a word in a sentence with another– which is why the New Oxford Thesaurus of English is so good (it does this with examples). It’s no good if a setter goes to extraordinary lengths with the subsidiary indication but has a give-away definition. Disguising the definition is an essential part of the setter’s armoury — so thesauritis had better stay with us or crosswords will become mighty dull! Your objections overruled!

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