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Toughie 435

Toughie No 435 by MynoT

A Night with the Marx Brothers?

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

There is usually a theme behind MynoT’s Toughies, and today we have a number of clues, some interlinked, about musical events and venues. One major complaint: references to some, but not all, clue numbers are followed by across or down – I don’t mind what convention is used, but it should be consistent [I believe the Times has strict editorial rules on this].

Clues related to the theme, some very loosely, are shown in green

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    Drive for soldiers with nameless drug (9)
{PROMENADE} – a drive or walk is a charade of a synonym of for, some soldiers, a synonym of with without the N(ame) and the ubiquitous drug

6a    Work on stage right several years (5)
{OPERA} – a musical work is a charade of the abbreviation of the theatrical term Opposite Prompt, the side of the stage opposite the prompt side which is traditionally stage right (or the left as viewed by the house) and a period of several years

Can’t resist this clip:

ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a    This pitch has now been standardised (7)
{CONCERT} – this pitch has varied considerably during musical history, but is now internationally standardised so that A above middle C has a frequency of 440 hertz

10a    Provide premature death of former Secretary-General almost in freedom from pain (9)
{EUTHANASE} – a word meaning to provide premature death, perhaps by the organisation Dignitas in Switzerland, is constructed by putting most of (almost) a Burmese former Secretary-General of the UN inside freedom from pain

11a    Obstructions returning priest puts to some purpose (7)
{ILEUSES} – I didn’t know these obstructions of the intestine, but was able to work out that they came from a biblical priest reversed (returning) followed by a word meaning puts to some purpose

12a    This 18 down regularly appears at 13 across (7)
{BRITISH} – put this answer in front of the answer to 18d to get an association for the charitable support of ex-servicemen and –women – they appear at 13a, every year on Remembrance Sunday

13a    See 12a (5,6,4)

18a    Dead skin is not producing delayed stroke (4,3)
{LATE CUT} – a charade of a synonyms for dead and skin, the latter without the final IS (is not) gives a delayed cricket stroke

20a    Where Rhone joins Rhine perhaps (7)
{TASTING} – to judge the quality of wines from those regions

22a    Light 6 across has more than one try with broken old rein (9)
{GONDOLIER} – this answer in the plural (more than one) is a light 6a by Gilbert and Sullivan – a try or attempt is followed by an anagram (broken) of old rein

23a    Reptiles lacking power could become unproductive (7)
{STERILE} – an anagram (could become} of RE(P)TILES without (lacking) P(ower) gives a word meaning unproductive

24a    Most of hut used by friendly goblin (5)
{NISSE} – most of a tunnel-shaped hut made of corrugated iron with a cement floor gives a friendly goblin

25a    Instruction to maid in drought areas? (4,5)
{DUST BOWLS} – a rather odd instruction to give a maid is also an area of land where vegetation has been lost and soil eroded, especially as a consequence of drought


1d    Westminster Abbey is a royal one — strange! (8)
{PECULIAR} – according to Wikipedia, Westminster Abbey is not the only royal one: you can include St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and several other royal places of worship – the word also means strange

2d    In highly decorated style or neatly arranged (8)
{ORNATELY} – a word meaning in highly decorated style is an anagram (arranged) of OR NEATLY

3d    The greatest challenges for statesmen? (6)
{EVENTS} – when asked what were the greatest challenges for statesmen, this was Harold McMillan’s reply

4d    Desserts are cooked faster (6)
{AFTERS} – these desserts are an anagram (cooked) of FASTER

5d    It’s possible to avoid priest losing head on board (8)
{EVITABLE} – a word meaning possible to avoid, more usually seen in the negative, is a charade of (another) biblical priest, without his first letter (losing head) and a board

6d    One appearing at 13 across could be roasting (8)
{ORGANIST} – someone who appears at 13a is an anagram (could be) of ROASTING

7d    Queen held by senseless revolutionary in 6 across (6)
{ERNANI} – Put the abbreviation for R(egina) inside a word meaning senseless or stupid reversed (revolutionary) gives a 6a by Giuseppe Verdi

8d    American husband embraces returning slave once more (6)
{AFRESH} – put A(merican) and H(usband) on either side of (embraces) a type of slave reversed (returning) gives a word meaning once more

14d    Game’s over among the French (8)
{LACROSSE} – one of the easier ones – a game in which a long-handled, netted stick is used to throw, catch and cradle the ball and drive it through the opponents’ goal is created by putting a word meaning over inside the French definite article

15d    Went first round loft and fretted (8)
{LATTICED} – put a word meaning went first around a loft to get a synonym for fretted

16d    Disapproval of result when lights are lowered … (1,3,4)
{A DIM VIEW} – a part-cryptic double definition

17d    Smokers use them in boats (8)
{LIGHTERS} – a non-cryptic double definition

18d    Many on one forward (6)
{LEGION} – don’t forget to read this one in conjunction with 12a – a word meaning many is a charade of the “on” side in cricket, I (one) and a synonym for forward

19d    Where 10 and 60% of 24 make game (6)
{TENNIS} – fortunately the answer to this one sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb – 10 means 10, but spelt out, then add the first 3 out of 5 letters in 24a to get a game – I don’t think it is clever to use 24 to mean 24 across when all other clue number references are qualified

20d    Rocks very large chests (6)
{TORSOS} – a charade of rocky heights and very large as a clothing size gives chests in the anatomical sense

21d    Magnificent bird leaves American football match (6)
{SUPERB} – a word meaning magnificent is created by taking a nocturnal bird away from (leaves) the American football match that is the climax of the season

MynoT’s puzzles often get a mixed response, but I thought this was tough but fair, apart from the rogue clue reference

23 comments on “Toughie 435

  1. Enjoyable fare from MynoT today which looked very hard at first but mostly got resolved OK. I needed the answer for 3d and also a prompt from Prolixic for a couple iof the themes – one I didnt know and the other I was being daft about (the singular boatman at 22a was confusing me!
    Thanks to MynoT and to BD

  2. I did enjoy the quite considerable tussle with the mind of Mynot today. Prolixic and Gnomethang were helpful during the process and I also needed BD’s assistance for 3d – it’s nice to know that I am (just) young enough to only remember one of MacMillan’s phrases which sadly wasn’t the one I needed here!! No particular favourites in what were, once I had cogitated and perservated, some very good clues. Thanks MynoT and BD.

    1. I am old enough to remember the 3d Macmillan quote, but I don’t regard it as a fair clue, with no assistance at all from the wordplay. More GK than Cryptic? I didn’t like 13a either, for which there’s no clue at all!
      Having said that I did enjoy it – favourite clue 21d.

  3. Re: comments #1 & #2. Can anyone get help from Prolixic, Gnomethang and BD?

    Who helps them?

    1. Makes us sound like a secret society doesn’t it. We are all on BD’s blogging team and so have each other’s email addresses which come in very handy to check whether there are typos in the paper or on Clued Up etc, and particularly so, in my case, if it’s my day to post a review and my mind goes blank.

    2. Its really just a kick it about/Am I being daft?/That was rather good/Is this right? sort of thing.
      Always nice to have a sounding board!

      1. Very similar to a post on the blog really except by email we can hide how dense we are (well I will admit to being so but can’t answer for the Gnome) some mornings!

  4. Needed B.D.’s blog to finish this! Didn’t like 3d at all and I haven’t heard of 1d in that context or 18a but really liked 21d once I’d remembered the term for an American football match. Couldn’t get past Hollywood**** for ages!Thanks to MynoT and B.D.

  5. I guessed at 3d but didn’t put it in context and I, too, am old enought to remember the other political Harold! Agree with Gazza.
    It was 7d that floored me. I was looking for an operatic Queen. The clue definitely states “IN 6 across” therefore “IN an opera” not “an opera”.

    1. I managed to find this in Peter Biddlecombe’s “Times Crossword House Style

      One-way link words
      “Link words” are ones between def. and wordplay – e.g. “in” or “as”. These two can be used regardless of the order of def. and wordplay. The following two must be used with one order only:
      {wordplay} for {def}
      {def} from {wordplay}

      Here “in” is being used as a link word.

      Personally I think that {def} (can be found) in {wordplay} works but I’m not as happy with the reverse.

      Separately, Peter has said that {def} of {wordplay} is a one way link word –

      The bottom line is that, unless the editor imposes a restriction, setters can/will use all link words either way, subject to personal choice.

  6. Music not my strong suit, so struggled a little. At least we had cricket, 2 racket sports and that other football game to balance things out. Agree with Dave – the enumeration (?) of the clues was confusing.

    1. I always enjoy this sort of puzzle where there are a few or (many) clues interlinked by the “enumeration”(?). Thanks to MynoT for the challenge and BD for the explanation of the wordplays that missed

  7. More ****** cricket terms! This was not just a toughie, it was fiendish. Managed no more than half before resorting to the blog for help. Even so, an enjoyable work out for the brain cells.

      1. From the ODE

        late cut (Cricket)
        ► noun
        a cut made with a delayed action so as to send the ball to the off side behind the wicket

  8. Really struggled with this one.Had a 2nd crack at it this morning but was stumped (another *** cricketing term) on about six.

    Not in the mood, not on the right wavelength and, unlike Franko above, loathe clues which rely (by numbering) on other clues for their solution.

    I look forward to the day, surely not far away, when we have a puzzle with no clues at all, only cross references.

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