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Toughie 459

Toughie No 459 by Cephas

The Finishing Touch!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

While not difficult, this is a bit tougher than many of Cephas’s previous puzzles.

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    Some bar food shortly (4)
{CHOC} – part of a bar of the favourite food of most women (and some men)

3a    Win I have running (10)
{SUCCESSIVE} – combine a win with I’VE (I have) to get a word meaning running or following one another

8a    Sign over a book for Shelter (4-2)
{LEAN-TO} – put a sign of the zodiac around A New Testament to get a shelter

9a    Investigated once article’s dug up (8)
{EXAMINED} – a verb meaning investigated is a charade of once or former (as in a former partner), the indefinite article and dug up from underground

10a    What to put first after health? (6)
{SAFETY} – fill in one of the blanks – “______ First” or “Health & ______”

11a    A youth following remains in a state of collapse (8)
{RUINATED} – put A and a 1950’s youth after remains (of an old building) to get a word meaning in a state of collapse

12a    Person of conviction (8)
{PRISONER} – an old chestnut! – a cryptic definition of a person who has been convicted of a criminal offence

14a    In case lecturer is French (4)
{LEST} – a word meaning “in case” is built up from a L(ecturer) anf the French for “is”

16a    Second present is white (4)
{SNOW} – a charade of S(econd) and the present time or nowadays gives something white – A White Christmas, perhaps

18a    Superior’s drive to dominate (8)
{BESTRIDE} – an adjective meaning superior followed by a drive (in a car) gives a word meaning to dominate – it would wreck the surface reading but, being pedantic, shouldn’t it be superlative rather than superior?

19a    Having power to restrain Eric excited in bay (8)
{COERCIVE} – an adjective meaning having the power to restrain is an anagram (excited) of ERIC inside a bay, possibly one used by smugglers!

20a    Executive committee’s model reproduction (6)
{ECTYPE} – an Executive Committee is followed by a model or kind to get a reproduction or copy

21a    A lemon is mixed with hard particles of wheat (8)
{SEMOLINA} – an anagram (mixed) of A LEMON IS gives the particles of fine, hard wheat that do not pass into flour in milling, used to make puddings

22a    Believer stopped short accepting student’s first essay (6)
{THESIS} – take a word that means someone with religious beliefs, drop the final letter (stopped short) and then put it around (accepting) S (Student’s first) to get an essay

23a    Infringe against senior clergyman over the internet (10)
{CONTRAVENE} – a word meaning to infringe is a charade of against (6), the address for a senior clergyman (3) and a prefix used for transmission over the internet (1)

24a    Easterner from Tahiti not Italian (4)
{THAI} – someone from an Eastern country is an anagram (from) of TAH(IT)I without IT(alian)


1d    Enormous diminution in fuel (8)
{COLOSSAL} – another old chestnut gives an adjective meaning enormous by putting a diminution inside a fuel

2d    Try to study first offence against dignity (8)
{CONTEMPT} – put to try to persuade after to study to get an offence against dignity

3d    Plot succeeded over party policy (9)
{STORYLINE} – the plot of a play is a charade of S(ucceeded), a political party and a policy or approach

4d    Finishing touch put on by cook? (6,2,3,4)
{CHERRY ON THE CAKE} – a cryptic definition of a phrase meaning a finishing touch – I wanted to put icing, but it doesn’t fit!

5d    Half rushed over to study group (7)
{SEMINAR} – a half (of a house, perhaps) is followed by a word meaning rushed reversed (over) results in a study group

6d    Arsonist’s key? (8)
{IGNITION} – this type of key sounds as if it could be used by an arsonist but is actually used by a motorist

7d    Finished each new day extremely drained initially (5)
{ENDED} – a word meaning finished comes from the initial letters of five words in the clue

13d    Ground-rent originated below here (9)
{EPICENTRE} – the origin of a sudden violent shaking of the ground, typically causing great destruction

15d    Sarah means to become representative! (8)
{SALESMAN} – the affectionate version of Sarah is followed by an anagram (to become) of MEANS gives a representative – Willy Loman, perhaps

16d    Aware opinion excluded large number (8)
{SENTIENT} – an adjective meaning aware is derived by removing M (1,000 in Roman numerals / a large number) from an opinion or thought

17d    Runner at risk we removed (5-3)
{WATER-SKI} – a long narrow runner fastened to the foot to enable the wearer to slide across a lake is an anagram (removed) of AT RISK WE

18d    Collapsible shield? (7)
{BUCKLER} – this type of shield sounds as if it is collapsible

19d    Hundreds utilise internal unit of flow (5)
{CUSEC} – put C and C (hundreds in Roman numerals) around a word meaning to utilise to get a unit for measuring volumetric rate of flow

Nothing really stands out for me today, but I quite liked 3 down.

16 comments on “Toughie 459

  1. For some reason had a blind spot and got stuck on 1a for a while but, apart from this, found it fairly plain sailing.

  2. I thought this a very nice Tuesday Toughie – I did need a slight hint (very slight) from the Gnome for 20a but apart from that thought it a nice straightforward toughie level brain workout. Like BD, I too tried very hard to put ‘icing’ in 4d and I bet we weren’t the only ones! I marked 1a as my favourite, probably because the foodstuff in question is my favourite, even after consuming vast quantities of it in the last few days. Thanks to Cephas and BD.

  3. Pommette and I struggled a bit with this one but got there in the nd. Never heard of 19d or 20a so needed a bit of help.
    Anyway we enjoyed it so thanks to Cephas and to BD for the review which I will now go and read.

      1. Glad it wasn’t just me!
        Like you, no real favourites apart from 3d being quite nice! 4d excellent misdirection as I spent ages trying to work out if icing can be spelt with an E in it – I bet I’m not the only one!

  4. I made hard work of this today; I put it down to a fuzzy head caused my man-flu (blocked nose and sore throat).
    I had the tippex out on 4d, when I realised that ‘icing’ does not have 6 letters!
    Thanks to Cephas, and to BD.

  5. Agreed with all of the aboves including the unknown words and the icing. I am wondering why Telegraph Puzzles capitalized Shelter at 8a.
    I think the reason that I struggled on a not so hard puzzle was the amount of double unches.
    Thanks to Cephas and BD!

    1. I too wondered about the capital S – was it the same in the paper?
      Perhaps misdirection by Cephas to make one think of the well known ‘homeless’ charity?

      1. Yes the paper version has “S” too. Typo? Misdirection?? Who knows – it wasn’t a real issue. Good middle-of-the-road Toughie, with no real 4d for me, though 3d was neat.

  6. Like others 20a a new word, but I did have to look up 11a as Its not to me anyway a word seen very often. Somehow I really didn’t like 1a (nor do I like chocolate putting me in a minority), I can see its a word (of sorts), but, oh well anyway. Took me longer than the more recent Tuesday offerings. Liked 4d and 13d. Thanks to Cephas and BD

  7. Did not fall for the icing as I had 3a in place before I got to 4d! This was a nice step up from Cephas – a good honest challenging Toughie – more of the same please! Favourite clues were 18a, 3d and 18d. Many thanks to Cephas and to BD for the review.

  8. I think some of the comments are a wee bit unjust, this is the best crossword we’ve had from Cephas and I for one really quite enjoyed it. 3d, 18a and 1a were my favourites. Thanks Cephas and thanks BD for the review.

    1. I did enjoy the puzzle, BB, but personally didnt like the grid. I thought it was a good Cephas Toughie and harder than many of his.

  9. Had a go in fact at the toughie as got through preparation for tomorrow’s busy day.
    Pretty straightforward puzzle for me – for once!
    I liked : 10a, 19a, 3d, 4d & 17d.

    No trouble with 19d but did have to look up 20a.

  10. Really struggled with this one, mainly because I had ‘candle’ in 4. Still, I made it in the end. Nice to see 19d in use again after all these years. It was in common usage in sewer design [along with cumin] before metrication took over. Favs were 6 10 18a 18d 19d and 23. Didn’t like 1a – that’s not a word!

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