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Toughie 399

Toughie No 399 by Cephas

Bring back the drape coats and drainpipe trousers!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

While this was fairly easy as Toughies go, it was very enjoyable to solve. Most of you will be aware that Cephas sets the Saturday Prize puzzle and, as he reminded me recently, the Sunday General Knowledge puzzle.

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    One bearing another, losing initial value (5)
{WORTH} – while the wordplay is not that difficult, congratulations are due if you got the answer from it – combine the abbreviation for one compass bearing with another bearing without its first letter and the result is a synonym for value

4a    One will not come out with poet for this fish (8)
{SCABBARD} – this charade requires you to put together someone who will not come out on strike with another word for a poet to get a long narrow fish having a whiplike tail – this is a bit like saying that a dog is a fish when the real name is dogfish – Chambers gives this fish as (8,4) and the ODE as (12)

8a    Leading science? It’s a branch of geometry (8)
{TOPOLOGY} – combine a word meaning leading with Beattie’s term for a science (in the famous BT advert) to get a branch of geometry concerned with the shape of a doughnut, among other things!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a    Appropriate answer replaced nothing on the other side (8)
{APPOSITE} – an adjective meaning appropriate is constructed by taking a word meaning on the other side and replacing the O (nothing) with an A(nswer)

11a    Cancel production of ‘Cinders’ (7)
{RESCIND} – a verb meaning to cancel is an anagram (production) of CINDERS

13a    Two spinning bodies had fungus (5-4)
{EARTH-STAR} – combine two spinning astronomical bodies to get a fungus related to the puffballs

15a    Organisation looking after elegant high-rise building? (7,8)
{ENGLISH HERITAGE} – a semi all-in-one clue based on a very well spotted anagram (building) of ELEGANT HIGH RISE

18a    Knowing story about promises to pay (9)
{SAGACIOUS} – a word meaning knowing is a charade of a long, detailed story, a one-letter abbreviation for about and those favourite Crosswordland promises to pay

21a    Half of them exclude travel ban (7)
{EMBARGO} – run together half of (th)EM, words meaning to exclude and to travel to get a ban or prohibition

22a    In France I went before Sam the shopkeeper (8)
{JEWELLER} – combine the French for “I” with Samuel Pickwick’s valet to get a shopkeeper – I was lucky enough to see Harry Secombe and Roy Castle in the musical version of The Pickwick Papers

24a    Get to know Bill Strange in an interesting and curious way (8)
{ACQUAINT} – to get to know is a charade of a bill and a word meaning strange in an interesting and curious way

25a    Good-looking worker takes part (8)
{HANDSOME} – an adjective meaning good-looking is a charade of a worker and a part

26a    Old-fashioned tearaway going after appropriate hairstyle (5)
{DATED} – a word meaning old-fashioned is found by putting a fifties tearaway after an appropriate hairstyle for this tearaway – younger readers might struggle with this one, but the haircut looked like the rear end of a duck, and was abbreviated to two letters


1d           Plant’s mysterious war secrets (10)
{WATERCRESS} – this salad plant is an anagram (mysterious) of WAR SECRETS

2d           Modelling once more, taking it easy (8)
{REPOSING} – put the prefix for again (once more) in front of a word meaning modelling and the result is taking it easy

3d           He’ll shortly go down, I conclude, in the capital (8)
{HELSINKI} – remove the last letter from HE’L(L), add a word meaning to go down and finish (conclude) with I to get the capital of Finland – there are two types of single apostrophe and CluedUp regularly drops one of them, which resulted in the first word in the clue being Hell”!

4d           Therefore second unknown article is a bean (4)
{SOYA} – run together a word meaning therefore, the second unknown (the one between x and z) and the indefinite article to get this type of bean

5d           Clasp relative with impatient expression (6)
{BROOCH} – a clasp or ornament fastened to clothing with a hinged pin and catch is built up from an abbreviation for a male sibling and a Scottish expression of impatience

6d           Dart if misdirected is off course (6)
{ADRIFT} – the blue highlighter came out for this anagram (misdirected) of DART IF because of the excellent surface reading

7d           Get some sleep, it’s almost twelve (4)
{DOZE} – to get this word meaning to sleep simply remove the last letter (almost) from twelve as a quantity

10d         Wilfully doing wrong according to a number of lines (8)
{PERVERSE} – to get this adjective meaning wilfully doing wrong you need a charade of “a”, as in tuppence a pond, and number of lines of poetry

12d         From other end remove from position of authority (8)
{DETHRONE} – an anagram, weakly indicated by “from”, of OTHER END gives to remove from a position of authority

14d         About to start old wine, limited edition, taken to another realm again (2-8)
{RE-EXPORTED} – combine the two-letter substitutes for “about” and “old” with a fortified wine and a shortened (limited) form of ED(ition) to get a word meaning taken to another realm again

16d         Heading for frozen water? Stuck in it (8)
{ICEBOUND} – a cryptic definition of being stuck in frozen water

17d         A weapon in catalogue liable to spread fear (8)
{ALARMIST} – A is followed by a weapon inside a catalogue to get a word meaning liable to spread fear

19d         Georgia on the wagon with knight (6)
{GAWAIN} – the Zip code for the US State of Georgia is followed by a wagon from the days of Constable to get King Arthur’s nephew, a Knight of the Round Table

20d         Plant different clues round circle (6)
{COLEUS} – a plant with variegated coloured leaves often used for indoor decoration comes from an anagram (different) of CLUES around O (circle)

22d         Joke book abridged (4)
{JOSH} – this word meaning to banter or joke is also the abridged form of a book of the Old Testament

23d         Ferment dodgy gear (4)
{RAGE} – a ferment or uproar is an anagram (dodgy) of GEAR

Several good clues more than make up for the one or two weaker ones.

12 comments on “Toughie 399

  1. Very enjoyable. Do you think we are 26a if we remember the hairstyle in question and the tearaway too!! Some very good clues and yes I did get 1a from the wordplay. I put asterisks by 22a and 24a to remember that I liked them but I am not sure now why I picked them from any other clues. Thanks to Cephas for the entertainment and BD for the review.

  2. Very enjoyable and none-too-difficult puzzle from Cephas today. There were a few little trips along the way but no real trouble.
    Favourite for me was 26a – anything with that Hairstyle name in it gets my vote!.
    Thanks to Cephas for the puzzle and BD for the review.

  3. Very enjoyable, only hold-up 22d. Got 1a from the definition but had no idea why until I read BDs blog when it becomes obvious!! Thanks to Cephas and BD

  4. No, I meant 22d, haven’t heard that word to mean a joke and sorry to say am not very familiar with the Bible. And got 22a with no difficulty, lovely clue.Also didn’t know 4a was a fish, just goes to show you can learn something new every day however old you are, that’s why I like crosswords so much— as long as I can remember them. I suffer from the odd senior moment.

  5. Pretty easy for a toughie , though in my paper 18a was a bit trickier because ‘knowing’ was replaced by ‘perspicacious’ which I’d never heard of but managed to get the answer through the wordplay. Thanks BD for excellent review.

  6. I too found this an easy one and agree with the 2* rating

    I am surprised that nobody has noticed that this crossword was yet another pangram (we just had one about a week ago).

    1. Hi gen2 – welcome to the blog.
      Cephas has a fondness for pangrams. Quite often his Satuday Prize Crossword is a pangram.

  7. As I don’t usually attempt the Toughie, I found this just right and enjoyable!

    As idea if the DT are going to bring out a book of Toughies?

  8. Completed the Toughie & the Daily & the Codeword & the Annagrams last night & this morning. Either I’m getting better or yesterday’s clues were kinder….mmm think I know the answer!

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