Toughie 415 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 415

Toughie No 415 by MynoT

As I was going to Strawberry Fair!

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

I was wondering what theme MynoT was going to use next, and early clues led me to think it might be astronomy. It turned out to be something totally different!

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    Sticky substance for Harry, perhaps (4)
{LIME} – this sticky substance for catching birds is the name of the main character in Graham Greene’s story The Third Man

ARVE Error: need id and provider

3a    This puzzle is not so barren (10)
{UNFRUITFUL} – a double definition –” this puzzle is not so” (see 1a, 8a, 14a, 16a, 7d, 16d, 18d, 19d et al) and “barren”

8a    Adam and Eve didn’t have them (or perhaps they did) (6)
{NAVELS} – a cryptic definition suggesting that Adam and Eve were not born as children

9a    Masculine one left in trouble for America (5,3)
{UNCLE SAM} – an anagram (in trouble) of MASCUL(I)NE without the I (one left) gives the United States or its people

10a    These mutually attracted heavenly bodies are perhaps making easy terms (6)
{SYSTEM} – this group of heavenly bodies moving mainly under the influence of their mutual attraction when added to ARE create an anagram (perhaps making) of EASY TERMS

11a    The pains suffered to be extra, maybe (8)
{THESPIAN} – an anagram (suffered) of THE PAINS give someone who could be an extra in a play

12a    Contends with new method of communication to avoid wife’s ferments (8)
{VINIFIES} – put a synonym for contends around (with) N(ew) and a method of transmitting data between computers without the use of wires without the W(ife) to get a word meaning ferments

14a    Meeting in Holyrood at Easter (4)
{DATE} – a meeting is hidden inside the last three words

16a    Choice young feathers? (4)
{PLUM} – a choice is found by removing AGE from the end of feathers

18a    Artist in chalet in trouble concerning a bit of neck (8)
{TRACHEAL} – put an artist inside an anagram (in trouble – again!) of CHALET to get a word meaning of the windpipe

19a    Good bird at home (most thematic) (8)
{GREENEST} – a charade of G(ood,) a female ruff and that bird’s home give a word meaning most thematic, referring to the theme of this puzzle

20a    When one 12 19s the result can be this — contents of container could be cold (6)
{TANNIC} – if one 12a 19d then the result could this flavour in wine – it’s an anagram (could be) of (co)NTAIN(er) followed by C(old)

21a    Cupid’s spirit having nothing for one (8)
{AMORETTO} – a cupid or lover is created by putting O (nothing) instead of A (one) in an Italian almond-flavoured liqueur

22a    Kite is alien around narrow thoroughfare (6)
{ELANET} – kite is derived by putting the ubiquitous alien around a narrow country thoroughfare

23a    Makes agreeable sounds you heard (ones in calls) (10)
{EUPHONISES} – a word meaning makes agreeable sounds is built up from two letters that sound like (heard) you followed by Is (ones) inside calls (on a mobile perhaps)

24a    Climber returns having lost a spike (4)
{NAIL} – take a climbing plant, drop the final A (having lost A) and reverse (returns) to get a spike


1d At extreme point start to loosen and rouse to ecstasy (5,3)
{LAND’S END} – the extreme south-westerly point of the British mainland is built up from the first letter of (start to) L(oosen) with AND followed by a word meaning to rouse to ecstasy

2d Time I have for the Spanish city is optional (8)
{ELECTIVE} – put T(ime) and I’VE (I have) after EL (the Spanish definite article) and the postcode of the City of London to get a word meaning optional, typically applied to surgery

3d Old city has Samuel wearing gold stars (4,5)
{URSA MINOR} – a charade of an old city, SAM(uel) IN (wearing) and gold gives a constellation which includes the pole star

4d Truffles, perhaps, provided to one jazz fan in first of front rows (15)
{FRUCTIFICATIONS} – fruit-productions (truffles, perhaps) come from IF (provided) I (one) CAT (jazz fan) inside the first letter of F(ront) and rows or disturbances

5d Wrong treatments of bacillus escaping (3-4)
{ILL-USES} – wrong treatments are hidden inside the last two words of the clue

6d Is French quartet in West Country river celebration? (8)
{FESTIVAL} – Put the French for is and the Roman numerals for a quartet inside a Cornish river to get a celebration

7d Sometimes it’s the answer — or not (5)
{LEMON} – a cryptic definition of a fruit that is often used in the phrase “the answer’s a *****”

13d Upright state destroyed recent letter (9)
{ERECTNESS} – the state of being upright comes from an anagram (destroyed) of RECENT followed by the phonetic representation of a letter of the alphabet

15d Source of endless Muzak produced by Apple too remixed (4,4)
{TAPE LOOP} – the source of endless Muzak is an anagram (remixed) of APPLE TOO

16d Put one in for staple food (8)
{PLANTAIN} – a charade of to put, A (one) and IN leads to a staple food in some tropical countries

17d Mouse and cat on railway produce variety of 19 down (8)
{MUSCATEL} – a charade of a common house mouse, CAT and an EL(evated) railway lead to a variety of 19d

18d Cross, gets to embracing heavenly body (7)
{TANGELO} – a fruit that is a cross between two others comes from TO around a spiritual being (heavenly body)

19d Shot that scatters Georgia’s monologue (5)
{GRAPE} – this clustered iron shot that scatters when fired comes from putting the IVR code for Georgia around (‘s / has) a monologue

If you enjoy a challenge then you should have loved this one!

23 comments on “Toughie 415

  1. I was also looking for the possible theme and considered astronomy but thought it was too close to the previous themes. I thought this was a great proper ‘ard puzzle which was very satisfying to complete even though some of the wordplay eluded me at the time (Thanks crypticsue and BD!).
    8a was amongst the favourites.
    Many thanks to BD and to MynoT (BD – I thought you might have called this Navel Gazing!)

  2. I had cottoned to the theme before the Gnome’s heavy hints. This was a toughie worthy of a Friday in that it took a long time to solve but made me very very pleased when it was completed. Lots of words that had to be ‘checkled’ – obvious from the wordplay but did they really exist? Re 21a, I think the ‘spirit’ is made from apricot kernels which might better fit the theme than almonds. 8a is my favourite too. Thanks to MynoT for the puzzle, BD for the hints and the Gnome for his Law.

      1. Apricot kernels can be used as almond substitutes so we could both be right, or agree to differ!

  3. Superb crossword from MynoT though i had to look up a couple of words like 4d and 22a, favourite clues were 8a, 23a and 17d. Thanks BD for great review and MynoT for a simply marvellous crossword.

  4. Phew!! A proper Toughie. Made harder for me by the grid. Not too many interlocking squares, so it was almost felt like solving each corner individually, rather than one joined up puzzle – if you follow me!!?? But my thanks to the “team”; and now for a brew!

  5. I agree that this was a proper toughie and highly enjoyable to boot. Many thanks to MynoT for the crossword and to BD for the blog. Almost too many good clues to pick a favourite today.

  6. Nearly made it but not quite! Bottom r-h corner a bit bare. Also, missed the fruity connection in 8a and 14a. Still don’t fully understand 19a – further explanation would be grateful.

      1. Thanks! I understand that but why “(most thematic)”? I’m going to press “Post Comment” now so according to Gnome’s Law it should become obvious immediately. But, maybe not!

        1. I’m confused by the thematic reference. When I solved this clue i thought that all the theme items were going to be this colour (like 1a and 19d) thereby giving MynoT scope for a futher few puzzles with fruits of different colours. However not all the fruits here are green (ok, I know they’re green when they are unripe, but so are nearly all fruits).

              1. Would a greener garden be more fruitful? Our neighbours have decking we have half an acre of mostly ‘green’ and millions of tomatoes, and our peach crop this year is going to break all records.

              2. Sorry, not very good definition. Got pushed for clue and “green” = “flourishing” which I suppose could mean “fruitful” Must do better!

  7. Beyond me. Far too abstruse. I search for answers whilst others search for themes. 17d (among several others) confuses me. Where does the ‘elevated’ bit come from? Some railways run underground.
    Rather liked 16a and 6d.

  8. Hello BD. If I understand your reasoning correctly for 19dn, we have a word which could mean monologue (rap) inside the abbreviation for Georgia (GE) But according to several references I have looked up the abbrevation for Georgia is GA. Has MynoT made a small faux pas here or am I missing something? Keep up the brilliant work!!

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