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Toughie 488

Toughie No 488 by Firefly

From euery shyres ende of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Firefly has given us a themed puzzle today, based on the famous work by 10a about the stories told by each of the travellers on a pilgrimage from Southwark to a cathedral city in Kent. It’s entertaining, but once you’ve grasped the theme it’s fairly straightforward, especially if, like me, you had to study the work for O-level English.
Please click on one of the stars below to indicate how much you enjoyed it, and your comments, as always, are very welcome.

Across Clues

8a  In Bordeaux one turns right by river for nourishment (7)
{NURTURE} – the definition is nourishment. Reverse (turns) how a native of Bordeaux would say one and add an abbreviation for right and a Yorkshire river.

10a  Poet failing to rewrite cartouche (7)
{CHAUCER} – an anagram (rewrite) of CAR(to)UCHE without (failing) TO gives us the author of today’s theme.

11a  Thugs bringing sense of foreboding into German society (9)
{GANGSTERS} – put a feeling of foreboding inside GER(man) and S(ociety).

12a  How do you do nothing after nightmare? (5)
{HELLO} – the letter that resembles nothing goes after something terrible (nightmare) to make a greeting (how do you do?).

13a  He may be busy at the wall until eryngium’s pruned (5)
{TILER} – peel away (pruned) some letters to leave a tradesman.

14a  Patron’s somewhat in shade (7)
{HABITUÉ} – a regular attender (patron) is formed from a synonym for somewhat (1,3) inside a shade.

17a  Betrayals etc run wildly through 10’s work (10,5)
{CANTERBURY TALES} – an anagram (wildly) of BETRAYALS ETC RUN leads to 10a’s magnum opus and today’s theme.

19a  One reflecting the current situation had an audience in the morning with the Queen (7)
{AMMETER} – an instrument for measuring electric current is made by putting another way of saying had an audience between the abbreviations for morning and our Queen.

21a  As Granny to ordinance, it’s relative (2-3)
{IN-LAW} – another familiar term for granny appears inside ordiNANce and a cryptic description of its position is also a relative by marriage. I’m not sure why granny is capitalised.

24a  Regularly excels, to limits of art, gaining distinction (5)
{ECLAT} – the odd (regularly) letters of excels are followed by the outer letters (limits) of art.

26a  G-g-ghastly fire — ye gods! (4,5)
{GOOD GRIEF} – an exclamation of surprise (ye gods!) comes from a word that G is an abbreviation for, G itself and finally an anagram (ghastly) of FIRE.

27a  Mark for corporal? He’s extremely vital round our Naafi, for starters (7)
{CHEVRON} – this is a v-shaped mark indicating rank. It’s the initial letters (for starters) of seven consecutive words in the clue.

28a  Top game features a bod I trained, see? (7)
{DIABOLO} – an anagram (trained) of A BOD I is followed by a short word for see to make a game played with a top.

Down Clues

1d  Contributor to 10’s almost in a knot… (6)
{KNIGHT} – six of the down clues lead to the names of contributors (i.e. storytellers) in 10a’s work (17a). This one is an old word for almost inside the abbreviation of knot (the measure of speed, not the granny variety).

2d  …another is female, endlessly irritating… (8)
{FRANKLIN} – … and this one is F(emale) followed by a present participle meaning irritating without its final G (endlessly).

3d  …another put sinners out (4,6)
{NUN’S PRIEST} – … and this one is an anagram (out) of PUT SINNERS.

4d  Copse managed at this point where it’s easy to breathe (9)
{ECOSPHERE} – somewhere that can sustain life (where it’s easy to breathe) is an anagram (managed) of COPSE followed by an adverb meaning at this point (in space rather than time).

5d  See 22d

6d  ‘Cat’ commander gets a good deal, we hear (6)
{OCELOT} – a wild cat native to South and Central America is formed from the abbreviation for the officer commanding followed a sound-alike of A LOT (a good deal).

7d  Contributor to 10 has papers about French king’s ascent (8)
{PRIORESS} – another contributor to our theme is a collective word for newspapers around the French word for king reversed (ascent, in a down clue).

9d  Foil group of life peers (4)
{EPEE} – a group of letters in the clue gives us a foil.

15d  Graduate’s doodah and short gown useful in the wet? (7,3)
{BATHING CAP} – a charade of an arts graduate, a synonym for doodah and a gown without its final E (short) is useful when swimming (in the wet).

16d  Earliest inhabitant of Nairobi, e.g. disclosed (9)
{ABORIGINE} – an anagram (disclosed) of NAIROBI E.G.

17d  Mix fuel with core from early moon (8)
{COALESCE} – a verb meaning to combine or mix is a fossil fuel followed by the middle (core) four letters from the curved shape of an early moon.

18d  Ball in reserve turned up a treat (8)
{LOLLIPOP} – put a small ball (of medicine, say) inside a group of people available to be called upon as required (reserve) and then reverse the lot (turned up, in a down clue) to make a treat for a young child (or a bald, TV detective).

20d  Contributor to 10 using endless cereal crop and last of flour… (6)
{MILLER} – this contributor is a cereal crop without its final T (endless) followed by the last letter of flouR.

22d/5d  …another’s Lady Thynn? (4,2,4)
{WIFE OF BATH} – our final contributor, were she alive today, might be called Lady Thynn, because Thynn is the current spelling of the family name of the relevant marquess.

23d  Reportedly ‘Summoned by Bells’, as were the 17ac (4)
{TOLD} – this sounds like (reportedly) how bells were rung and it’s how the stories in 17a were related.

25d  Cutting pie (4)
{TART} – double definition.
I liked 17a and 7d today, but my favourite clue was 19a. Let us know what you liked in a comment.

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22 comments on “Toughie 488

  1. A very nice Toughie today – I too studied this at school – great theme, lots of good clues and solved in a very fast time.

    Thanks to Firefly for the entertainment and Gazza for the review.

    1. I’ve never read or studied Chaucer’s Magnum Opus, but I somehow managed to solve today’s Toughie. Very enjoyable!

      Not a very fast time! But who cares?

  2. Agreed. Once the theme was solved with 10a, the rest more or less fell into place. Enjoyable crossword – many thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for the review.

  3. This took me twice as long as the Cryptic; 17a was not a work I studied at school (I vaguely recall reading Henry IV, and Joseph Conrad for my O-Level English).
    Thanks to Firefly for an enjoyable education, and to Gazza for the notes.

  4. Enjoyable crossword from Firefly. I unfortunately left school before my 15th birthday and therefore never studied 10a, however I have read most of his works since and therefore didn’t struggle too much. I did need your assistance for 3d ( I got the anagram but had never heard of it ). Thanks Firefly and Gazza. Liked 11a best.

  5. Like Jezza, this I did not do at school, but got there in the end, good fun, thanks Firefly and Gazza for the review, help from which I did need in the form of 1a

  6. Got dragged out to New Spitalfields market at 6.00am this morning to buy two (huge) boxes of marmalade oranges and some lemons – a result of this was that, being up and about, I started (and finished) the crossword much earlier than usual. As already mentioned it wasn’t too difficult even for those of us who are only vaguely familiar with the work in question but it was a clever puzzle and good fun to solve. Well done Firefly.

    Now back to the chopping – I know my place.

  7. Satisfying and nostalgic, having spent a very pleasant weekend in the 20’s Arms in 17a just before Christmas. The theme certainly helped, but some nice clues too – 17d, 11a etc.

  8. I also left school at 15 so knew very little about 10a but got there in the end thanks to some nice wordplay by Firefly. Favourite clue 17d enjoyed the puzzle a great deal thanks to Gazza for the review.

  9. Really enjoyed it, even if I had to resort to the book for some of the Chaucer tales.

    Just a point Gazza, I wore my chevrons the other way up when I reached those dizzy heights.

    Thanks once again.

  10. Oh for the days when books were truly literature, unlike today’s more banal offerings! I actually completed this Toughie before the cryptic, having noticed the theme. I shall now turn my attentions to the cryptic. Thanks to Firefly for a great crossword and to Gazza for the review

  11. I didn’t study this at school but have used it as a theme in our Golf society certificates (images on request !)
    Agreed that once the theme was sussed that the rest was quite straightforward but fun.
    Thanks to gazza for the review and Firefly for the entertainment.

  12. Laboured a little with this one, not being too familiar with the theme.

    However, the wordplay was good and it was a well-crafted puzzle.

  13. I feel brilliant! Unlike you clever folk I never studied the subject, so most of my answers were guesses, or distant memories from the ancient past. And i NEARLY finished it! Just needed Gazza’s guidance on 28a and 18d. Thanks to Firefly and Gazza, good job well done. Have been looking at it all afternoon and just finished now. Off to watch the news on T.V. Happy New Year!

  14. This is SO far beyond me that I’m not even sure why I’m clogging up the space with a comment!! Started having a go in the Out Patients Department waiting room when it became clear that not only was the wait going to be quite long but also that my Mum was not just asleep but snoring!! Not much entertainment!! Very bored but had at least remembered to take the paper with me. Managed about eleven clues – no reference books and I never did Chaucer at ‘O’ level and did science subjects at ‘A’ level – not a hope really – damn – just when I had managed to finish the toughie yesterday. Don’t think there’s any point in going on much more …. ! See you all tomorrow.

    1. Kath, you’ve forgotten the “carriage returns”. (I’ve told you once before ……never again..)

      Yesterday, you finished the Toughie!

      I have been through a similar situation with aged parents….Hope all goes well for you!! Best Wishes!!

    2. Sometimes it’s just not your day.

      Persevere (and don’t perseverate)!

      This was a themed puzzle, and you shouldn’t be discouraged if you found it difficult. Maybe the next Toughie will be about chemistry…

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