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Toughie 474

Toughie No 474 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from the melting Calder Valley. An interesting puzzle from Firefly, which in truth turned into a bit of slog for me. Some nice clues (the best shown in blue), but one of two seemed a bit forced and contrived and this took away the sense of enjoyment for me. Indeed, 5 ac is wrong and misleading, as you’ll see. A number of the clues I solved by looking at interconnecting letters and working them out, which is not ideal. Has anyone heard of the TV impresario in 20 down, 28 across?

As usual, the answers are hidden between the curly brackets below each clue, and you can highlight the space with your mouse to reveal the answer. 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 & 1d    Nooky place where Connie and Cherry flirt with me endlessly (7,6)
{CHIMNEY CORNER} A new phrase on me, verified in Chambers, for (a seat) in the space between the fire and the side wall of the fireplace. The Dictionary shows an alternative to the phrase called a “1ac Nook”, hence the definition, which I personally feel is a bit contrived. Some will like this, some not and I am with the nots. An anagram (indicated by flirt) of CONNIE, CHERRY and M (me endlessly) gives the phrase.

5a    ‘Ear about new treatment for flu? Deep breath! (7)
{LUNGFUL} If that was contrived, this is a bit naughty. The apostrophe at the front of the clue is wrong and misleading. Its presence is designed to make you think it’s a Cockney way of saying “Hear”. If so, it doesn’t work because HEAR is not a definition of the word required as an indication of the clue. Remove the apostrophe, and it’s correct, but the clue makes no sense. It’s a word for an ear wrapped round N (for new) and added to this is an anagram (indicated by treatment) of FLU. This gives a quantitative noun for a deep breath.

9a    Philanderer — man I dismissed — back in plant again (5)
{RESOW} An unusual and clever treatment. Take a word for a philanderer and then take away MAN I, and then reverse the remainder to give a word meaning to plant once more.

10a    In the nicest way, awaken initial interest in Saint (9)
{KINDLIEST} A word meaning to awaken interest in something (think of the new Amazon book reader, if you are stuck!) insert I (initial [of] interest) and add ST. This gives you a word meaning most benevolent, in the nicest possible way.

11a    Nurse to call in at the proper time without fail (10)
{ENDURINGLY} An abbreviation for an Enrolled Nurse (EN) and add to this a word meaning CALL (as in telephone) placed inside a word meaning at the proper time. This will reveal a word meaning without fail, long-lasting.

12a    Heard (sic) or spoken? (4)
{ORAL} A clue I have seen a number of times before. A homophone for a word meaning spoken means “of the ears” or “heard”.

14a    Hit Sinatra had with Oscar entry initially gets rewrite (5,1,4,2)
{RAISE A HAND TO} An anagram of SINATRA HAD plus OE (Oscar Entry initially) gives a phrase meaning to hit someone.

18a    In Copenhagen, Danes’ intentions are apparent — or not? (6,6)
{HIDDEN AGENDA} Another clever clue. Concealed within “Copenhagen, Danes'” is a word and if you add a word meaning “concealed” before it, you get a phrase that the clue sort of defines.

21a    Return friends’ make-up (4)
{SLAP} A simple reversal clue that works! Usually the reversal indicator is placed in the middle and you are left wondering

22a    Might he have composed divertimento with seventh note missing? (10)
{MONTEVERDI} An anagram of DIVERTIMENTO with the seventh note of the scale (TI) removed reveals a composer. Another clever “all-in-one” type clue.

25a    You silly! To say heretic is one of singular belief! (9)
{UNITARIAN} From the sublime to…. This is a word sum which I’m not keen on both from a surface reading and a technical point of view. U (You) + NIT (silly, but can “silly” be used as a noun or the answer as an adjective?) + a homophone for a type of heretic (one with Nazi-leaning sympathies) = a member of a church with monotheistic views.

26a    Inclined to remove nothing from shed (5)
{LEANT} An old fashioned word for a shed, particularly one attached to a house has O, its last letter removed and gives a word meaning inclined.

27a    Batting — finally out — pity, actually (2,5)
{IN TRUTH} If you are batting in cricket you are IN, add to this T (finally, i.e. the last letter of ouT) + a girl’s name that means Pity and is also an OT book. This leads you to a phrase meaning actually.

28a    See 20d

Time for some nourishing beef tea, and I’ll be back with the Downs soon.


1d           See 1a

2d           As caves to mountainsides? (6)
{INSIDE}  Where you find a cave in a mountain is hidden in the word “mountain sides”

3d           Performing wee errands for Ms Bruce? (10)
{NEWSREADER}  An anagram (indicated by performing) of  WEE ERRANDS gives you the job of this lady (especially for Big Dave!).

4d           Territory solver studies carefully, we hear? (5)
{YUKON}  A homophone of a word for a solver (YOU) plus a word for “studies carefully” (surely this should be CONS from the clue?).  This leads you (sort of!) to a territory in Canada.

5d           Tennis star’s wealth offering facility to borrow equipment (4-5)
{LEND-LEASE}  A famous tennis player named Ivan is added to a word meaning riches, wealth giving an arrangement from World War II where the US allowed its allies to obtain war equipment.

6d           Infielder oddly falling in river (4)
{NILE}  Take the odd letters out of the word INFIELDER and you get the name of a famous river.

7d           On Friday evening early, Penny dips in lake — it costs her nothing (4,4)
{FREE RIDE}  FR (Friday) + E (the initial letter of evening (early)) + D (penny) inside ERIE (lake)

8d           Using tool, bled? (3,5)
{LET BLOOD)  An “& lit” (all-in one type) clue an anagram of TOOL BLED gives a phrase which could be loosely defined by the whole thing.

13d         Boast in the main of town in Normandy — with 28 it’s a capital showplace (10)
{VAUDEVILLE}  One I worked out from the crossing letters.  Most of (in the main) VAU(NT) (boast) + DE VILLE (“of town” in French).  The definition refers to the place in London where you can currently see the play “An Ideal Husband”.

15d         Is that lot differential calculus? (9)
{STATOLITH}  An anagram (differential) of IS THAT LOT  gives a rather obscure definition of the word Calculus, derived from the Latin for a pebble.

16d         Some of setter’s books contain article about lizards, but not the last one (8)
{THESAURI}  The definite article then a word for “about lizards” (think of the last part of most dinosaurs’ names) from which the AN is removed (not the last one).  This gives the name for books, one of which I have had to use quite a lot today.  Too contrived for me, I’m afraid.

17d         I hand one stone to dreamer (8)
{IDEALIST}  A word sum   I + DEAL (hand, as in cards) + I (one) + ST (stone) gives a word for a dreamer.

19d         Inclusive of river, byelaw sits oddly with 1ac, thus going to the wall (6)
{BREAST}  The odd letters of ByElAw SiTs have R for river inside and you get a word that forms a phrase with 1 across.

20d & 28a            TV impresario Prince engages the outstanding performers from A-list — quarter to appear in small venue (6, 7)
{LITTLE THEATREThanks to Big Dave.  This ridiculously contrived clue featured LITTLER (TV impresario Prince) around (engages) THE outstanding performers from A-lisT then E (quarter) to give a small venue.  The use of famous names is generally fairly tightly controlled in the daily papers, and I am surprised such an obscure name was allowed. I would not expect to see that clue allowed in any other of the daily papers.  Even Wikipedia has a minimum entry about him.

23d         Opinion formed by centres for dotty ideas on the web (5)
{TENET}  Take the middle letters of DoTty and idEas  and add a word for the World Wide Web, to get a word meaning opinions.

24d         Conclusions drawn from West Africa job you are not free to use (4)
{TABU}  Take the last letters of “West Africa job you” and you get a word meaning banned, not free to use.

Thanks to Firefly for an interesting challenge, but for me not one of his better puzzles.

18 comments on “Toughie 474

  1. I actually enjoyed this although agree one or two clues seemed a bit awry. I thought it was pitched at about the right level of difficulty although I struggled for ages with 16d before the penny dropped – mind you two latin allusions in the same clue might be considered excessive!

    Well done to the setter for a good challenge.

  2. I quite enjoyed solving this and judging by my handwriting and the time it took, obviously didn’t find it that much of a struggle. Stilla toughie but I am not sure it was quite Friday-level tough. My favourite clue was 18a. Thanks to Firefly and to Tilsit – nice to have you back ‘on duty’.

  3. Strange crossword this from Firefly, most of it relatively simple and some of it totally obscure ( at least to me ). I enjoyed 1a/1d, 5d and 14a. I still can’t get the remaining two letters in 24d but will keep trying. Thanks ( I think ) Firefly and thanks Tilsit for the review.

      1. Thanks Dave, I got it just after I posted but the Boss wanted me to take her shopping ( first time I’ve had the car off the drive for about 10 days ). I still can’t make my mind up wether or not I enjoyed this crossword however.

  4. A mixed bag here I thought, I don’t mind You Silly! For You Nit! As silly can be a noun as in You Big Silly!
    I liked 18a as favourite but thought the Byelaw clue a bit contrived.
    Tanks to Tilsit and to Firefly.

  5. Last clue blues continued with 24d. It took me ages and when I got it ‘at last’ I did not get any buzz. Favs were 5d and 18 with other good ones 1ad 9 10 14 15 [ the non maths thing again!] 16 and 22. Thought 5a and 8 were awful clues but the rest more than made up for them.

  6. I agree , not too difficult, once again got 15d , but my definition invoved some arcane biology – it’s that damn dictionary again ….

  7. I agree with BigBoab that some of this was very easy, and some of this was rather obscure. Not one that I particularly savoured, but I always enjoy a challenge. Thanks to Firefly for the puzzle, and to Tilsit for the dissection.

  8. Some nice clues, but too many that just didn’t work for me.

    And *another* homophone that requires one to have a particular accent in order for it to work (12A). This is not fair IMO.

    The solution to 20D was obvious from the wordplay, but I’d never heard of the individual in question.

    18A and 9A showed glimpses of serious talent from the setter, though, and I’d like to see more of his/her work.

  9. Thanks for the excellent analysis. I only manged 3/4 of this under my own steam and now I know why, rather frustrating.

    A minor point but the heretics in 25a are unconnected to nazis. They were followers of Arius who had some unorthodox ideas about the Holy Trinity. And also popped up in the FT crossword today (yesterday).

    Nice picture of Fiona Bruce.

  10. Having sailed through the daily cryptic I had time to address the toughie but to little success. Thanks to Tilsit all became clear. Favorite clue was 25a but as for the least favorite? Sorry too few to mention. Now it’s off to the news-agent for today’s paper followed by the best part of the day assisting the Control Tower (aka Mrs Spindrift) put up the Christmas trimmings. Let joy be unconfined!

  11. Surely 1ac simply does not work as they connect at the first letter and therefore only one C is required so not a “true” anagram

    1. Welcome to the blog Pembo

      If that was the case then it would apply to any intersecting clues. The answer is two separate words, so I see no problem.

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