Toughie 339 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 339

Toughie No 339 by Cephas

The five boxing wizards jump quickly

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

If you haven’t guessed from the sub-heading, we have yet another pangrammatic puzzle from Cephas. While this puzzle would be fine as a daily cryptic, it doesn’t really match up to the Telegraph’s claim that the Toughie is “the toughest crossword in Fleet Street”.

Please 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    Robert, officer involved in ringing the changes? (3,5)
{BOB MAJOR} – an obvious clue if you have seen one like this before! – an affectionate abbreviation of Robert is followed by a commissioned officer to give a change rung on eight bells – the other suffixes being minor rung on six bells, royal on ten and maximus on twelve

9a    One getting support, Italian agreement about process of wearing down (8)
{ABRASION} – a charade of A (one), a female support undergarment, the Italian for yes and a synonym for about to give a process of wearing down

10a    Reportedly low on power for some time (4)
{WEEK} – a word meaning low on power sounds like (reportedly) a period of time

11a    Something fragrant in water from French Rhineland city (3,2,7)
{EAU DE COLOGNE} – something fragrant is a charade of water and from in French followed by a German Rhineland city

13a    No end of ballyhoo, no nervous reaction that’s sleep-inducing (8)
{HYPNOTIC} – charade time again – most of a word meaning ballyhoo or artificially induced excitement, NO and a nervous reaction results in an adjective meaning sleep-inducing – a bit like some puzzles!

15a    They go off dramatically (6)
{EXEUNT} – pursued by a bear, perhaps! – from A Winter’s Tale by Shakespeare

16a    Day in Rome that is incomplete (4)
{IDES} – beware this day in March – expand the Latin for “that is” and drop the last letter (incomplete)

17a    Public library has a gazetteer back in shopping centre (5)
{PLAZA} – combine PL (Public Library) with A and a famous gazetteer reversed (back) to get a name for a shopping centre

18a    Non-commissioned officer left unpleasantly ingratiating force (4)
{ARMY} – remove Sergeant Major from the front of a word meaning unpleasantly ingratiating to get this military force

20a    Remote in South America, island expedition (6)
{SAFARI} – put a word meaning remote inside the abbreviations for South America and Island to get an African expedition

21a    Fly doctors to the capital (8)
{MOSQUITO} – to get this malaria carrying fly combine Medical Orderlies (doctors) with the capital of Ecuador

23a    In appearance, a teacher is thinking about the future (7,5)
{LOOKING AHEAD} – a charade of “having a specified appearance” with A and the principal teacher to get a phrase meaning thinking about the future

26a    A sort of smile that’s crooked (4)
{AWRY} – combine A with a sort of smile with the features twisted into a grimace to get a word meaning crooked, as in distorted

27a    Worthless weapon returned by amateur, one on the right (8)
{NUGATORY} – a little-used word meaning worthless is a charade of a weapon reversed (returned), A(mateur) and a politician on the right of centre

28a    Play room (8)
{LATITUDE} – a double definition from the same dictionary entry!


2d    Frank, I’d heard, is aware of what’s involved (4-4)
{OPEN-EYED} – Combine a synonym for frank with a homophone of I’d to get a word meaning aware of what’s involved

3d    Succeed in shifting man with rake, smoker, after early finish (4,4,4)
{MAKE ONE’S MARK} – a phrase meaning to succeed is an anagram (shifting) of MAN RAKE and SMOKE(R)

4d    Roman Catholic is involved with transporting jute (6)
{JESUIT} – to get this member of the religious order founded in 1534 by Ignatius Loyola you need an anagram (transporting) of IS and JUTE

5d    Runs a contest (4)
{RACE} – a charade of R(uns) and a one in dice or cards gives a running contest

6d    Not in aberration uprooting trees (8)
{ARBORETA} – an anagram (uprooting) of ABERRAT(I)O(N) without the letters of IN (not in) gives these botanic gardens of trees and shrubs

7d    Player to be successful with force (4)
{WING} – a player who plays in a wide position is a charade of to be successful with the force of Gravity

8d    5 down tyres can burst (8)
{ANCESTRY} – the answer to 5 down is the definition, but not in the same sense as in that clue! – it’s an anagram (burst) of TYRES CAN

12d    On a roll, Dutch worker produces too much (12)
{OVERABUNDANT} – this long charade comprises a on (as in above), A, a kind of sweet roll, D(utch) and Crosswordland’s ubiquitous worker to get a word meaning produces too much

14d    Ask for single shellfish to be brought round (5)
{CLAIM} – a word meaning to ask for comes from I (single) inside a shellfish

16d    Abusive where one could be sailing (8)
{INSOLENT} – split this word meaning abusive into (2,6) and you have somewhere one could be sailing

17d    Distressingly poignant at the seaside (8)
{PAIGNTON} – an anagram (distressingly) of POIGNANT gives a seaside town in Devon

19d    Male said to have grumbled (8)
{MUTTERED} – combine M(ale) with a word meaning said to get another meaning grumbled

22d    Get old hat and conduct to the door (3,3)
{SEE OUT} – combine get (understand) with old hat (not in fashion) to get a phrasal verb meaning to conduct to the door

24d    Penny left Bess’ partner at drunken party (4)
{ORGY} – take a P(enny) away from Bess’ partner in the Gershwin opera to get a drunken party

25d    Steamy lotion infiltrated by chemical (4)
{AMYL} – inside the first two words, a chemical is hidden (infiltrated)

Other than the lack of difficulty there is little to criticise or praise in this puzzle. If you think differently then let me know.

16 comments on “Toughie 339

  1. Pleasurable, but unremarkable, and I for one found it easier than the cryptic today. Thanks for the review.

  2. Nothing showy or outrageous but not loads of fun either!.
    I did like the surface reading in 12d which was probably the high point.
    Thanks for the review and thanks to Cephas.

  3. Ditto the above comments – this took less time to complete than the back page cryptic today.

  4. Again ditto, a little disappointing and certainly not tough enough, liked 12d though.

  5. Much easier then many recent “Toughies”, though no less pleasurable. Liked 27a, as I once won a case of wine from an American colleague who claimed there was no such word when I dropped it into a converstion we were having. Knowing it was a pangram helped, as it meant 17a had to have a “zee” in it.

  6. I never understand how cluedup rates the difficulty of a puzzle. This is supposed to be 4 for difficulty. Surely that is nonsense, especially reading the above comments.

    Re 5d, Runs/Race… is there a water connection as in rivers and streams? I seem to remember Gazza discussing something along these lines in a recent puzzle.

    1. Jezza,
      One definition of race is:
      “a channel bringing water to or from a millwheel”

  7. Did about 2/3rds with out having to resort to the hints. Did anyone else have a misprint of 11 across? my clue read something fragrant in water from French Rhineland City from French and German city…..that threw me for a while…

      1. That was the paper. Like the mind I held back until I had a few more checking letters.

  8. I concur with all the above. Far too simple to be a toughie. knocked it off in 15 minutes which does not constitute a toughie in my book. only managed one cup of tea!

    1. Polly

      It wasn’t the change to the username that caused the avatar to change, but a typo in your email address, now corrected. Avatars are connected to the email address.

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