Toughie 442

Toughie No 442 by Firefly

Extending the boundaries

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A good puzzle from Firefly that is a little let down by a handful of poor clues. At least it gives me an opportunity to include a favourite YouTube clip.

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    Merseyside Lane leads to Orbison Aluminum plant — where extensions are planned (10)
{PENNYROYAL} – a charade of a Merseyside Lane made famous by the Beatles, the first name of the Big O (Orbison) and the chemical symbol for ALuminum (don’t you just hate the use of the American spelling of this word?) gives a species of mint, once valued in medicine – the rest of the clue is a rather unnecessary indication that this clue is used, in part, in a number of other clues

No Beatles clip from me when I can link to the Big O!

6a    Guadalajara’s opened up (4)
{AJAR} – a word meaning opened up, of a door, is hidden and reversed (up!) in the first word of the clue

10a    Time wasted in histrionic measure (5)
{OPTIC} – remove an era (time) from inside a word meaning histrionic or theatrical to get a drinks measure

11a    Both uncles sadly lose a bit of self-confidence when laid off (2,3,4)
{ON THE CLUB} – an anagram (sadly) of BOTH UNCLE(S) without the S (lose a bit of Self-confidence} gives a slang phrase meaning certified unfit to work

12a    This extension makes 1ac’s west wing novel (8)
{DREADFUL} – put after the left-hand half of 1a this gives a cheap trashy novel

13a    Authority derives from regular scary ASBOs … (3-2)
{SAY-SO} – an authority or permission derives from the odd letters (regular) of ScArY ASBOs

15a    … to such an extent, in Chesterfield, resistance shows (2,2,3)
{IN SO FAR} – a phrase meaning to such an extent is a charade of IN, the piece of furniture of which a Chesterfield is an example and R(esistance) – the final word (shows) appears to be unnecessary padding

17a    These extensions make west wing of 1ac an amusing place to be (7)
{ARCADES} – put after the left-hand half of 1a this gives places of amusement where you would find slot machines

19a    Free up international organisation’s team … (7)
{UNSCREW} – a verb meaning to free up is a charade of an international organisation’s (not forgetting the ‘S) and a team on a ship

21a    … as IMF and Civil Service exercise rigid enforcement of precept (7)
{FASCISM} – an anagram (exercise) of AS IMF C(ivil) S(ervice) gives a political system that involves rigid enforcement

22a    This extension makes east wing of 1ac ideally suited (5)
{FLUSH} – put after the right-hand half of 1a this gives a winning hand of cards, all of the same suit

24a    Admirer takes marriage vow eventually (8)
{IDOLATER} – this admirer, when split (1,2,5) is an old chestnut! – what those getting married say followed by a synonym for eventually

27a    To prevail against leaderless positions, fires again (9)
{REIGNITES} – a charade of a word meaning to prevail or rule followed by some positions without the initial S (leaderless) gives a verb meaning fires again

28a    Southampton’s first extremely Liberal seat (5)
{STOOL} – a charade of S (Southampton’s first), a synonym for extremely and L(iberal) gives a seat with three or four legs

29a    Scottish way to add this extension to east wing of 1ac (4)
{MILE} – a succession of streets which form the main thoroughfare of the Old Town of the city of Edinburgh in Scotland is derived by putting this answer after the right-hand half of 1a

30a    Eagles seen flying among West Africans (10)
{SENEGALESE} – an anagram (flying) of EAGLES SEEN gives these West Africans


1d    Concert where a memory’s preordained (4)
{PROM} – a concert like those at the Royal Albert Hall each year is also a type of computer memory that is programmable – which is presumably the function of “preordained” in the clue as this memory, once programmed, cannot be erased

2d    They barely manage a turn on IT without singular suggestion of shivering (9)
{NATURISTS} – an anagram (manage) of A TURN is followed by IT outside (without) S(ingular) and finally S (suggestion of Shivering) – presumably meant to be an semi-all-in-one, but it doesn’t work for me

3d    Ugh! Sounds like a serving of tapioca! (5)
{YUCCA} – the first part sounds like yuk (ugh) which is followed by A to give the plant from which tapioca is produced – note, this is not the same as the ornamental tree and is usually spelt with a single C

4d    Uncertain — I’m hesitant, but available (2,5)
{ON OFFER} – a charade of a two word expression (2,3) meaning uncertain and an interjection that indicates hesitancy give a phrase meaning available

5d    Conclusions from Anatolia cousin — that Amanda will enjoy a Turkish delight! (7)
{ANTALYA} – the final letters (c onclusions from) seven words in the clue leads to a Turkish city famous for its delights

7d    This extension makes east wing of 1ac demonstrate workers’ efforts (5)
{JELLY} – put after the right-hand half of 1a this gives a substance produced by worker bees

8d    Comes out again when sombre loss is tempered (10)
{REBLOSSOMS} – comes out again, as a flower might, is an anagram (is tempered) of SOMBRE LOSS

9d    Posh husband receives award for footwear (8)
{BEDSOCKS} – put the nickname of Posh’s husband around a military award to get these items of footwear which are word at night

14d    One’s into various fluids and stuff — it helps to cut down on alcohol (10)
{DISULFIRAM} – put I (one) into an anagram (various) of FLUIDS and add a verb meaning to stuff to get this drug used to treat chronic alcoholism

16d    This extension makes west wing of 1ac one for high-rollers (8)
{FARTHING} – put after the left-hand half of 1a this gives an old-fashioned bicycle

18d    Stress importance of return to base (5,4)
{DRIVE HOME} – a double definition

20d    This extension makes west wing of 1ac a windy contraption (7)
{WHISTLE} – put after the left-hand half of 1a this gives a small instrument made from a thin metal tube, with six finger holes of varying size on top and no thumb holes

21d    Shared activity under the table? (7)
{FOOTSIE} – a cryptic definition of the action of touching someone’s feet lightly with one’s own feet, especially under a table, as a playful expression of romantic interest – Gazza has pointed out that shared activity could be referring to the stock exchange index – doesn’t work as a double definition for me as each definition would have to “share” the word activity

23d    Neighbour I eloped with turns out an angel! (5)
{URIEL} – hidden inside the first three words is an archangel

25d    Such as tea? (2,3)
{AT SEA} – this answer is both the anagram indicator and the anagram of AS TEA

26d    This extension makes east wing of 1ac shady (4)
{BLUE} – put after the right-hand half of 1a this gives a colour

Once you have unravelled 1a, this is quite an easy puzzle


  1. crypticsue
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    As it was Friday, I turned to the middle-ish of the paper with some trepidation but needn’t have worried as today’s puzzle was excellent entertainment. I did enjoy the theme, had to look up 14d to make sure the results of my anagram workings actually existed, and needed help from Gazza (and subsequently Libellule) for the wordplay workings of 10a. Thanks to Firefly for the fun (brilliant connections) and to BD for the explanations (I was more of a Beatles fan).

  2. BigBoab
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Fabulous crossword from Firefly, too many great clues to pick out a favourite but if pushed I’d have to say 29a (only because I was there yesterday) Thanks Firefly and BD ( answer is showing on 26d hint)

    • Posted October 15, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Thanks – sorted. That one crept on to a new page in my draft!

  3. Libellule
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Not a particularly difficult Friday Toughie (which is nice), but a very good one. I enjoyed working my way through this.

  4. pommers
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Only tried this because of cryptcisue’s recommendation in today’s cryptic blog. Glad I did – an excellent puzzle and my first ever finish of a Friday Toughie! Either I’m getting better or the Friday Toughies are getting easier! The latter I suspect.
    Thanks for the hints BD although I managed without them apart from 10a. I had the answer but couldn’t see the wordplay.
    Thanks also to Firefly for some unexpected Friday entertainment!

  5. Digby
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Even after getting 1a it took a while (dohhh) for me to see how the extensions worked. Once the West Wing dropped, I progressed in East Wing fashion. Difficult to choose between Big O and the Beatles. Both resonant of a great decade! Have a great weekend, everyone!

  6. gnomethang
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Lovely fun themed puzzle. Thanks to gazza and BD for a couple of wordplay explanations and Firefly for the entertainment!

  7. Franco
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Firefly for the puzzle and BD for the critical review.

    Disappointed by BD’s choice of the Music Clip for 1a. Dreadful!

    Never heard of 14d – but is it available from the chemists?

    • Posted October 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      It’s one of the best ever pop tracks. I’d hate to know what you would have chosen – a Beatles track produced while they were all high on LSD perhaps.

      • Franco
        Posted October 15, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        I would have gone for a Beatles track – but it’s all subjective.

      • Digby
        Posted October 15, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        Or 14d?

    • Posted October 15, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      I should hasten to add that this is a very unofficial review!

  8. Prolixic
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    When the penny dropped this was a right royal treat. Many thanks to Firefly for the puzzle.

  9. nanaglugglug
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Loved this,but never heard the expression at 11a? Is it in common usage in the slang world?

    • gnomethang
      Posted October 15, 2010 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      You and me both, Nanaglugglug!

      • Gari
        Posted October 16, 2010 at 12:50 am | Permalink

        This expression is a Yorkshire miners phrase derived from the fact that the Doctors surgery was normally located next door to the local working mens club, so when the miners were given a sick note by the Doctor they invariably came out of the surgery and went straight into the working mens club for a pint.
        Hence if you were off work sick but could still drink beer you were “on the club”. :P

        • Posted October 16, 2010 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          Thanks for that Gari! – you live and learn!

  10. Pete
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Struggled with this but almost got there in the end. Needed hints for 11A and 14D, both new words for me. Took a while to get 1A but once in many others followed.
    Thanks to Firefly and Big Dave for the necessary hints.

  11. ChrisH
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    As I struggled with 1a, this was quite difficult to solve. 14d and 23d completely unknown to me. Must try harder!

    • Spindrift
      Posted October 17, 2010 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      The thing is ChrisH that we both learned new words & when they come up again we’ll remember them. I have a system which any new or obscure words are hand written into a relevant reference in Bradford’s (that is if the inestimable lady hasn’t already captured them!)