Toughie 402 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 402

Toughie No 402 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I found this a bit of a struggle. I don’t know why because there’s nothing impossibly obscure in it. I did find it a rather odd puzzle in that I couldn’t decide whether I’d enjoyed it or not.

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 & 5a Misplaced director given support by constituency club (4,4,6)
{BACK-SEAT DRIVER} A word for “to support” + a parliamentary constituency + a golf club gives a term for someone eager to advise without responsibility. The enumeration should be (4-4,6)

10a    Gone wrong? Listen to Edward – fifty years in a depressed state (6-9)
{BROKEN-HEARTEDLY} The definition is “in a depressed state”. Gone wrong (or out of order) + listen to + a shortened form of Edward + L (50) + Y (years)

11a    Nun is ill, sadly, lacking element of luteinizing hormone (7)
{INSULIN} A hormone is given by an anagram (sadly) of NUN IS IL(L) where the omitted L is “an element of luteinizing”

12a    Girl attending dance where no-one scores (3,4)
{DOT BALL} A girl’s name followed by a dance gives a delivery in cricket from which no runs are scored

13a    Bear repeated ridicule? (4-4)
{POOH-POOH} The name of probably the most famous fictional bear appears twice

15a    Wraps coats around … (5)
{TACOS} An anagram (around) of COATS gives some Mexican food

18a    … models employed by non-U designer (5)
{NUDES} The answer is hidden in non-U designer

20a    ‘Arsh-sounding verb ‘to listen’ (in Cockney) still among Chambers’ top words! (8)
{AARDVARK} The first part sounds like an alternative to ‘arsh. This is followed by V (verb) + a word meaning to listen, again with the initial H removed in Cockney fashion. The whole is a word that appears early on in the dictionary

23a    Rebounded, having suffered with loss of smell, and carried on (7)
{ENDURED} An anagram (suffered) of RE(BO)UNDED where the omitted BO is body odour

25a    Lobby publicity agents? Wise man (7)
{PASSAGE} PA’S (publicity agents) + a wise man gives a lobby

26a    Where advance is inevitable on Fot Niop? (5,2,2,6)
{POINT OF NO RETURN} Look at ON FOT NIOP backwards

27a    Bird’s catching no good for a fielder (4,2)
{LONG ON} A fielding position in cricket is given by NG (no good) inside a diving bird (probably from North America)

28a    Convenience needs refurbishing – one of Clive Anderson’s? (5,3)
{LOOSE ENDS} A word for a convenience + an anagram (refurbishing) of NEEDS gives a Radio 4 programme hosted by Clive Anderson (and previously by Ned Sherrin). I’ll nit-pick and say that I don’t think that refurbishing works as an anagram indicator here because refurbish is a transitive verb.


1d    Dancing’s no good in reel (6)
{BOBBIN} Remove the G from a word for dancing to give a reel (of cotton, say)

2d    Give credit to ordinary seaman, nearly half asleep on rising, for attempting this? (9)
{CROSSWORD} This is made up of CR (credit) + OS (ordinary seaman) + a reversal of a word meaning “half asleep” without its last letter

3d    Secrecy achieved by athletes painfully giving up drug (7)
{STEALTH} An anagram (painfully) of ATHL(E)TES where the missing E represents Ecstasy (drug)

4d    In ‘A Taste of Newquay’ girl’s swallowed pasty (5)
{ASHEN} A word for pasty (lacking colour) is given by a female pronoun inside A N (taste of Newquay)

6d    Knock up cassoulet at a tarty gathering (3-1-3)
{RAT-A-TAT} The answer is hidden in reversed form in “cassoulet at a tarty”

7d    Dvorak’s writing effaced when overturning drink … (5)
{VODKA} An anagram(overturning) of DVO(R)AK where the omitted R is writing (one of the three R’s)

8d    … he liked a Bourbon in solitary state (8)
{ROYALIST} An anagram of ROYALIST (but I don’t really see where the anagram indicator is)

9d    War-torn city in Cambodia with a port more than half destroyed (8)
{KANDAHAR} The war-torn city is in Afghanistan. It is made up of K (the IVR for Cambodia) + AND (with) + A + a 7-letter word for port with the last 4 letters removed!

14d    Might this be Donna at times? (2,3,3)
{ON AND OFF} The first two words of the answer are an anagram of DONNA. The third word is an anagram indicator. The whole means “at times”

16d    Scoundrel’s tax certain to be topped — it’s not on the level! (9)
{CURVATURE} A 3-letter scoundrel + the abbreviation for a tax (soon to go up to 20%) + a word for certain without its first letter

17d    Fed not involved — put in cross-border cops (8)
{INTERPOL} Removing ATE (fed) from the end of a word meaning “to put in” gives cross-border cops

19d    Way ‘e’s taken to quicker 25ac (7)
{STRETTO} Remove E from a word for a way (road) and add TO at the end to give a musical 25 across in quicker time

21d    Poetical evenings with ghastly verse (including spelling) (7)
{VESPERS} SP (spelling) is put inside an anagram (ghastly) of VERSE to give a poetical term for evenings (also evensong)

22d    Put down and imprisoned (6)
{PENNED} Two meanings: put down (on paper) and imprisoned

24d    Spirit seen and heard? (5)
{DJINN} The name of a Muslim spirit sounds like a 3-letter alcoholic spirit

25d    Pardon me, OK? Not even for a push (5)
{PROMO} Tale the odd letters of “Pardon me, OK”

Perhaps I did enjoy it.

13 comments on “Toughie 402

  1. Very enjoyable crossword ( 8d is anagram of in solitary and state is the indicator ) Thanks BD for the review and Firefly for another enjoyable toughie. Loved 1a.

  2. Like you, I found its one of those Toughies where I think I enjoyed it. Groaned a lot at a few of the answers, many of which I had but didn’t quite know why apart from that they were obvious from the checking letters etc, so thank you for the explanations. Gnomethang and I had to think long and hard about the justification for 9d (thanks BD). I liked 2d but 20d was my favourite. Thanks to Firefly too.

    1. Exactly my sentiments – loved it apart from 9d and I’m still not sure?? Loved 1a and 1d. Thanks for hints and for a great puzzle.

          1. Agree – had almost lost the will to live too – does it matter anyway – either would do!

  3. I enjoyed this on balance but I know what Bufo means. We were discussing 9d and found it a bit of a ‘groaner’ as crypticsue or BD described it but it was more than made up for by the enjoyable whimsy that was 20a. I really don’t know what 26a was all about!
    Many Thanks for the review, Bufo, and thanks to Firefly

  4. I enjoyed it. I was expecting a friday stinker, so was surprised to find this fairly straightforward. Many thanks to Firefly for the puzzle, and to Bufo for the review.

  5. I struggled at times to get through this , bit of a stop start affair but eventually got there. Had the answer to 17d but no idea on the wordplay until I read the blog. All in all enjoyable , I think. Many thanks to Bufo for the review and of course BD and Firefly.

  6. Don’t very often even look at the toughie but this is the second day running that I have, largely due to beastly weather hence no gardening. I managed most of the bottom half but then came to a grinding halt with virtually nothing in the top so had a look at the hints which were great so did a few more without resorting to looking at the answers. Then gave in and looked in the brackets for the rest. This crossword seems, to me at least, a funny mixture of some really quite easy clues (13, 15, 18a and 14, 21 and 22d) and some that I would never have got in the reign of Sam! Some answers are words or expressions that I’ve never heard of – 12a (wretched cricket again) 6d, and 25d. Favourite clues 13 and 20a and 14d. Thanks to Firefly and Bufo.

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