Toughie 287 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 287

Toughie No 287 by Citrus

Sweet enough!

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

This was an excellent puzzle from Citrus (aka Mr Lemon). A lot of his Toughies have been a bit too easy – this one was just right.

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    Order stationery for government document (7,5)
{COMMAND PAPER} – synonyms for order and stationery are combined to get a government document, especially one presented to parliament by command of the monarch

9a    End gift after a literary one gets in (9)
{ABOLITION} – to get this word meaning end you need to read the clue carefully – BOON (gift) comes after A then LIT(erary) and I (one) are placed inside

10a    Dance’s beat and energy (5)
{TANGO} – this Argentinian dance is a charade of words meaning to beat and energy – I’ve seen this before but I still wasted time splitting this as a word meaning to beat followed by E(nergy)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a    Accede when told to go (6)
{ASSENT} – a word meaning to accede is built up as a charade of AS (when) and a synonym for told to go

12a    Bishop, outside, is starting to imbibe port (8)
{BRINDISI} – not, as it first seems, a container and contents clue but actually a charade – Bishop is followed by the outside of, say, a cheese then IS and the first letter of Imbibe to give a port in Italy

13a    Eastern concoction of prime compound (6)
{EPIMER} – that this was Eastern followed by an anagram (concoction) of PRIME was easy to work out, but the name of the isomeric compound was new to me

15a    Non-metrical hymn may amuse, we hear (8)
{CANTICLE} – this non-metrical hymn sounds like (we hear) can tickle (may amuse)

18a    As an example my cousin kicked Oriental (8)
{RELATION} – kicked tells you to find an anagram of ORIENTAL

19a    Carved pieces of jewellery turned out bone (6)
{CAMEOS) – these carved pieces of jewellery are constructed from CAME (turned out) and a word, of Latin origin, meaning bone

21a    It’s encouraging one gambling (8)
{ABETTING} – a charade of A (one) and a word meaning gambling

23a    Magistrate’s expression of surprise being put inside (6)
{CENSOR) – a magistrate where the container is an expression of surprise and the content is ENS (being)

26a    Diminished by its short linear representation (5)
{MINUS} – a word meaning diminished by is represented by a short line

27a    One northern bird brought back, chewed — dead (9)
{INANIMATE} – a word meaning dead, as in lifeless, is built up from I (one) N(orthern) a MINA bird reversed (brought back) and a word meaning chewed

28a    Short retreat from cryptic domestic animals (8,4)
{BACKWARD STEP} – this short retreat could be a clue telling you to reverse something to get PETS (domestic animals)


1d     Absurd behaviour by adult hard to correct in church (7)
{CHARADE} – this absurd behaviour is an anagram (to correct) of A(dult) and HARD inside the church (as well as being a crossword construct!)

2d     Makes fast ship for some Arabs (5)
{MOORS} – a double definition – Othello was one!

3d     Stupidly I mangle books to get arrangement in a row (9)
{ALIGNMENT} – stupidly indicates that an anagram of I MANGLE is followed by the books in the second part of the bible to get a word meaning arrangement in a row

4d     Diarist reported national assembly (4)
{ DÁIL} – Oh Dear, it’s homophone time again! – does this diarist and author of such classics as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG sound like national assembly of the Republic of Ireland to you? – well it might if I knew how to pronounce either of them! [See comments below – evens Roddy Doyle, 2-1 Mrs Dale, 5-1 Roald Dahl – interestingly all three diaries are works of fiction]

5d     Unusual sailor needs constellation with luminance (8)
{ABNORMAL} – a word meaning unusual that is a 1d of a sailor, the constellation  NORMA and the abbreviation for Luminance

6d     Defeated but not at first worried (5)
{EATEN} – remove the first letter from (but not at first) a word meaning defeated to get one meaning worried

7d     Arc-en-ciel formed without a surround (8)
{ENCIRCLE} – an anagram (formed) of (A)RC-EN-CIEL without the A

8d     Person getting diamond waistcoat (6)
{BODICE} – start with BOD (person) and add a slang word for a diamond to get a a woman’s tight-fitting outer waistcoat

14d  Libeling criminal in poor health (3-5)
{ILL-BEING} – an anagram (criminal) of LIBELLING gives a word meaning in poor health

16d  Twin adder struck a blow (5,4)
{TRADE WIND} – here struck indicates than an anagram of TWIN ADDER gives a current of air blowing toward the thermal equator and deflected westward by the eastward rotation of the earth

17d   Slick Ron cut smooth tuft from maize (4,4)
{CORN SILK} – The anagram (cut) of SLICK RON does rather stick out like the proverbial sore thumb but the definition, the silky tuft at the tip of an ear of maize formerly used as a diuretic, is not something I had heard of previously

18d   Genuine manuscript provides fields for study (6)
{REALMS} – I like the surface reading of this charade – a synonym for genuine and the abbreviation of manuscript

20d   Purees whisked with a hint of vanilla and put on the table (5,2)
{SERVE UP} – further excellent surface reading – this time an anagram (whisked) of PUREES and V (a hint of vanilla)

22d   Some altos can be heard in this (5)
{TOSCA} – at least they didn’t say that this Puccini opera was by Verdi! – it’s hidden (some) in the clue

24d   Short Canadian in street (5)
{SCANT{ – not a short Canadian (well actually it is) but a word meaning in short supply is constructed by putting CAN (adian) inside the abbreviation for ST(reet)

25d   Fatuous joke’s Australian (4)
{GAGA} – a word meaning fatuous, as in the famous radio station in the song by Queen, comes from a short joke and A(ustralian)

Apart from the homophone at 4 down, I really enjoyed today’s puzzle.  What did you think?

14 comments on “Toughie 287

  1. Nice puzzle from Citrus. Favourite was 15a. 13a was a new word on me and I had to look up “ens” in 23a to see if it was a word. Many thanks to Citrus for the puzzle and thanks for the notes BD.

  2. Missed a couple in an otherwise sturdy crossword.. 12a was an unknown and ditto Ens. Favourite was 28a for the laugh as the penny dropped but thought 15a was fine as well.

  3. Didn’t like 12a. Even after I got the answer I couldn’t accept rind as meaning the same as outside. Ens was new to me too, but I’ve stored it away in case it come in useful!

  4. thankyou for the analysis
    not having “ens” in 23 ac made that one difficult to comprehend even tho’ the answer was plain.
    I loved 15 ac and did not like 28 ac.
    As an older person I missed 25 down….it’s origin is interesting(OED not Chambers)

    1. Qute!
      Anyway the Irish pronounce it Doll rather than Darl according to wondrous wikipedia demo!

    2. I wasn’t happy with this, but thought that Roald was who was intended – Mrs Dale, see below, didn’t even occur to me although I do remember the program (didn’t Jessie Matthews play the eponymous character?)

      This is from Wikipedia on Roald Dahl:
      “A number of his short stories are supposed to be extracts from the diary of his (fictional) Uncle Oswald, a rich gentleman whose sexual exploits form the subject of these stories. In his novel “My Uncle Oswald” the uncle engages a temptress to seduce 20th Century geniuses and royalty with a love potion secretly added to chocolate truffles made by Dahl’s favourite chocolate shop, Prestat of Piccadilly.”

      1. Click! Dave when I did this I had no idea who this was referring to – I look to be educated :-)

    3. I took the diarist to be Roddy Doyle who wrote “Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha” in the form of a diary.

  5. I think the diary element of 4d comes from “Mrs Dale’s Diary” which I think wrinklies like me will remember as a radio program which ran from 1948 to 1969!

  6. OK learnt 2 new X-word building blocks with this one. ENS and OS?? also failed with 13a even though I knew it was an anagram of prime, had no access to dictionary on line or otherwise.

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