Toughie 334 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 334

Toughie No 333 by Notabilis

Sheer Elegance!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **** Enjoyment *****

A terrific end to the week from one of my favourite setters and a puzzle that actually is worthy of the title of Toughie. Some delicious clues to make your mind go into overdrive, but all extremely fair. I also encountered a couple of new words that I was unfamiliar with and needed a check in Chambers to make sure.

If you are around tomorrow, the Saturday website puzzle is one of my own creations and I hope that you’ll all give it a try.

[Tilsit has done this review as Anax is away this week in Italy.  BD]


1a           Dreadful opening in Cannes, one’s first in competition of film-makers (11)
{DIRECTORIAL}  We start with a word sum.  A word meaning dreadful + C (opening in Cannes) + O (one’s first) inside a word meaning competition or test.  This will give you a word meaning relating to film-makers.

9a           Vegetable from the east edge of Hull (4)
{KEEL} This is one of those clues where you could enter the answer two ways.  It’s a word for a vegetable that when reversed leads to a word for the hull or base of a boat.

10a         Difficulty going outside circle in a diagram, circle with reduced distortion? (11)
{AGORAPHOBIA} A word that means a diagram, such as a pie chart has O (circle) inside, and to this is added O (circle, again) plus a word meaning distortion or favour with the last letter missing.  This produces a word meaning “difficulty (or fear of) going outside”.

11a         Stuttering cry over a superior (4)
{BOSS}  An amusing clue.  If you cry, you SOB, and if you stuttered as you cry it would be S-SOB, and then reverse it (indicated by over) to get a word for a superior at work.

14a         Pardon little woman for decorating home (7)
{AMNESTY}  Little woman’s name (one of the ones as in Louisa May Alcott’s book) with a word meaning a (bird’s) home inside giving something that means a pardon. You might find this device in evidence in another crossword over the weekend!

16a         Seethe about bat sent out, cut short (7)
{BOBTAIL}  An anagram (indicated by sent out) of BAT inside a word for seethe (BOIL).  This gives a word meaning to cut short.

17a         Western Colorado, a territory only partly seen (5)
{OATER} A hidden answer “…Colorado, a territory…”.  A word I hadn’t heard of meaning a Western, a horse opera.

18a         Man brought in to compare with Kitchener? (4)
{CHEF}  The definition is Kitchener? (note the question mark), so you may be looking for something a little unusual.  Hence, someone found in a kitchen.  HE (man) goes inside the abbreviation for ”compare” (C.F.)

19a         Far from firm line taken with brat (4)
{LIMP}  A word sum. L (line) +IMP (brat) = far from firm.

20a         Not soppy tune composed about wife (5)
{UNWET} An anagram (composed) of TUNE with W(for wife) inside.

22a         Military governors said to display firearms (7)
{SHOGUNS} A homophone of show, plus a word meaning firearms gives the name for Japanese rulers.

23a         Eternity in a row could make you catty in a big way (7)
{LEONINE}  EON (eternity) inside a word for a row of things gives you a word meaning like a big cat.

24a         Some resistance shown on Royal Mail? (4)
{OHMS}  An abbreviation for something  found on official envelopes is the same as the scientific unit representing resistance, named after its discoverer.

28a         Reaction is mixed with USA making flight study (11)
{AERONAUTICS}  An anagram (mixed) of REACTION and USA gives you the word for the study of flight.

29a         End of demonstration occupying centre of Red Square (4)
{NINE}  N ( the last letter of demonstration) + IN (occupying) + E (centre of Red) = a square number = NINE

30a         Textured paper of short epistle containing a reassuring word (11)
{LEATHERETTE} The definition is “textured paper” – LETTE(R) (a short epistle) around A and THERE (reassuring word)


2d           One in the past who gave treacherous advice (4)
{IAGO}  I +  AGO (in the past) leads to Othello’s treacherous colleague.

3d           Ready for French from the south to regret nothing? (4)
{EURO}   If you regret something, you RUE it and as “it’s from the south” it’s reversed and add O to get “ready” (money) for the French.

4d           Touring Peru’s capital, spoil old hack? (3,4)
{TAP INTO} If you spoil something you TAINT it and insert a P (Peru’s capital) and add an O for a word meaning to hack.

5d           Swindle a man moving over rank and file (4)
{ROOK}  A double definition meaning to con, and a piece that sits on the back row of a chess board.

6d           Area going through peak, showing exponent of 28? (7)
{AVIATOR}  A (area) + VIA (going through)+ TOR (peak) =  a word for someone experienced in the answer to 28 across.

7d           I’m amiable – or smashing things with valued associations (11)
{MEMORABILIA}  An anagram  (smashing) of  I’M AMIABLE OR gives a word meaning things that bring back memories.

8d           Reluctant to speak and fail in description of abrupt pronunciation (5-6)
{CLOSE-LIPPED) LOSE (fail) inside CLIPPED( a type of pronunciation) gives a word meaning reticent.

12d         French city body running outskirts of Nice (11)
{CARCASSONNE}  A word sum.  Body (CARCASS) + ON (running) + NE (outskirts of Nice) = a French city.

13d         Surrounding manoeuvre to cut off players in sporting event? (11)
{ENVELOPMENT}  An anagram (sporting) of EVENT includes LOP (to cut off) + MEN (players)

15d         Overturned tin really is wide open (5)
{YAWNS}  SN (Sn – chemical symbol for tin) + WAY (really) – all reversed, gives a word meaning gapes.

16d         Risk peel from epidermal stimulant (5)
{BETEL} BET (risk) together with the outside letters (peel) of epidermal gives a leaf which is chewed as a mild stimulant

20d         Unexpected revenue to get out of a hole? (7)
{UNREEVE}  An anagram of REVENUE gives a word meaning to escape.

21d         European pesterer splitting support in youth (7)
{TEENAGE}  E NAG (European pesterer) inside TEE (support) gives a word meaning youth.

25d         Bump and pound in scrap (4)
{JOLT}  L (pound) inside JOT (scrap) gives a word meaning to bump.

26d         Some nasty eyesore? (4)
{STYE} A hidden answer  in a nice self-defining clue.  “…nasty eyesore”

27d         Took a seat, holding Conservative off! (4)
{SCAT}  SAT (took a seat) with C (Conservative) inside gives a command meaning “Be off!”

Thanks to Notabilis for a lovely puzzle.  Here’s to the next one!

[Did any CluedUp subscribers notice this new message:

Dear subscriber,
We are very sorry that the Puzzle Leaderboards are not functioning at the moment. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and hope to resolve the issue soon.
Best wishes,
Daniella Gomés
Puzzles Editorial Assistant

Hands up everyone who is missing the leaderboards.  Hmm, I thought so – you’re on your own Nana & Hotlips!  BD]

15 comments on “Toughie 334

  1. I found this quite hard work, but no real complaints, and a couple of “Gotcha” moments – like 9a and12d. I expect Libellule liked that one?

    1. I loved the puzzle – as usual Friday is the best of the week (it just pips Tuesday). I don’t think this quick review does it justice, so I will replace it with Tilsit’s when it is ready.

  2. At last been awaiting hints…managed to get most on the west side ( due to anagrams) but nothing on the east side……..very challenging….now I will revert to 12d only to start me off….promise!

  3. A good puzzle, kept me thinking for most of the afternoon off and on. Got 9a very early on, but forgot to reverse it and then had to correct it out when I reaslised what 8d was – Doh! Not been to seee 12d yet, but its on my list of things to do. A friend visited last year and thought it was wonderful!
    If you are giving this 5* for enjoyment, then I think I will do the same for the normal cryptic. I enjoyed that a bit more.
    Re. the leaderboards – since I don’t exist – I don’t care :-)

    1. An obvious difference of opinion here – Giovanni was a *** / *** for me. Notabilis gave me far more of those “wow” moments!

  4. AAAAAH! 3 hours of my life were spent on 9 a………… That clue I felt comfortable with as it ticked all my safe knowledgeable boxes… First job was in the Merchant Navy…so nautical terms I feel good….after getting sea sick I still wanted to travel so became an air hostess…so geography comes a second close…And I love growing vegetables….so what happened? Oh and I am Welsh and leek is our national symbol……..I DID NOT GET IT! Notabilis…..well done!,

  5. Ah – I thought it might be Notablis. I used Clued Up to print this off today.

    This wasa belter of a puzzle and gets top marks from me for enjoyment and difficulty. Many thanks to Notabilis and for the notes BD. Hope that those pesky nurses do not detain Tilsit for too long.

  6. Slogged my way through this puzzle, and surprisingly did quite well although very grateful for your explanations, Tilsit.

    Dave…Tut Tut!! – uncalled for regarding the Leader board and unfair – have to get our fun somewhere, and if I didn’t do all those puzzles I’d never have needed you!

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