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Toughie 501

Toughie No 501 by Cephas

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Without doubt this is the easiest Toughie that I have ever done. Perhaps they are trying to be kind to us after yesterday’s difficult special offering.

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    Explain illumination in hut (4,5,2)
{SHED LIGHT ON} This phrase meaning “explain” suggests that the building in the garden where you keep your tools is illuminated

9a    Nothing to do with the ear or to do with the river (7)
{NILOTIC} “Nothing” + “to do with the ear” = “of an African river”

10a    Pen Romeo found amongst colourful skeletons (6)
{CORRAL} A pen for cattle is formed from R (Romeo in the phonetic alphabet) inside a rocklike substance of various colours formed on the bottom of the sea from the skeletons of various invertebrates

12a    Military site warrant officer needs time to follow order (7)
{WOOMERA} A town in South Australia, site of the Long Range Weapons Establishment, is derived from WO (Warrant Officer) + a division of geological time following OM (order)

13a    Person who is fancy-free? (7)
{REALIST} A straight definition. This person depicts subjects as they appear in everyday life

14a    Topple in a stupendous way (5)
{UPEND} The answer is hidden in stUPENDous

15a    Academic came unstuck preceding very good turn in the country (9)
{MACEDONIA} A member of the teaching staff of a university follows an anagram (unstuck) of CAME. AI (very good) reversed then completes a country in SE Europe

17a    Hard task for steeplejack? (4,5)
{TALL ORDER} A difficult assignment suggests a request for something to be done at height

20a    Brick unhesitatingly making ringing sound (5)
{CLANG} The brick is a tactless or ill-timed remark or comment (as in “drop a brick”). Remove ER (hesitation) from the end to get a ringing sound

22a    Anxious, jittery over sun (7)
{NERVOUS} An anagram (jittery) of OVER SUN

24a    Resolve to reveal information back in the pavilion (4,3)
{TALK OUT} “To resolve a difference of opinion by thorough discussion” is given by “to reveal information” + no longer batting having been dismissed

25a    Take a little from both ends of loaf in landing-place (6)
{PILFER} LF (both ends of LOAF} inside somewhere where boats land gives “to steal in small quantities”

26a    One member in King’s Arms initially before reaching the French capital! (7)
{KAMPALA} A MP (one member) inside KA (King’s Arms initially) + LA (the French)

27a    He must be Cain (5,6)
{THIRD PERSON} “He” is the definition. First there was Adam, then there was Eve, and then came Cain


2d    Theo had become an impetuous person (7)
{HOTHEAD} An anagram of THEO HAD. I am not happy with the wording of this clue. I don’t think “become” is a suitable anagram indicator

3d    One trapped by shellfish during exploit made speech (9)
{DECLAIMED} I (one) goes inside an edible shellfish and this then goes inside an exploit to give “made speech”

4d    Bring upon oneself without interest without debts (5)
{INCUR} Take a word meaning “without interest” and remove IOUS (debts) from the end

5d    Cambridge University (7)
{HARVARD} The name of a university in Cambridge, Massachusetts

6d    Speech from Nelson not starting before noon (7)
{ORATION} Take Nelson’s first name and remove the first letter. Then add N (noon)

7d    Bird’s second present, flags (4,7)
{SNOW BUNTING} S (second) + present + flags gives an Arctic bird that visits Britain in the winter

8d    Vocal ructions start to echo in secluded place (6)
{ALCOVE} An anagram (ructions) of VOCAL + E (start to echo)

11d    Ham starting developing into comedian’s stooge (8,3)
{STRAIGHT MAN} An anagram (developing) of HAM STARTING

16d    One is not employed to mind one’s own business (9)
{CARETAKER} A cryptic definition. Someone employed to look after a place or thing, especially in the owner’s absence

18d    Rather big hit smashed rig inside (7)
{LARGISH} An anagram (smashed) of RIG goes inside “hit” to give “rather big”

19d    Switch positions before emergency room in America becomes available (2,5)
{ON OFFER} A switch usually has two positions, ** and ***. Put these before ER (emergency room in America) to give “available for sale”

20d    Mark almost going to doctor with nothing on in city (7)
{COLOMBO} Remove the last letter from the name of a punctuation mark. Then add an abbreviation for a doctor and O (nothing) to get the capital of Sri Lanka

21d    Not caring about good behaviour in the morning examination (6)
{AMORAL} “In the morning” + a type of examination gives “without principles”

23d    Not much of a fight (5)
{SCRAP} This word means a small fragment and also a fight

Pleasant enough but far, far too easy for my liking.

18 comments on “Toughie 501

  1. Agree that this is probably one of the easiest Toughies ever. Thanks to Cephas for an enjoyable solve which having taken no time at all, enabled me to both move on to crosswords in other daily publications and even devote the required amount of time to the day job :D Thanks to Bufo for the explanations too.

  2. It must have been easy becuase I finished it unaided!
    Enjoyed it so thanks to Cephas and to Bufo or the (for once not needed on a Toughie) hints.
    9a was a new word for me but I worked it out from the wordplay and the checking letters – last one in.

  3. Definitely not the best offering we’ve had from Cephas, not very tough but quite good fun, I liked 27a and 7d best. Thanks Cephas and Bufo.

  4. This is the third toughie in a row this week I have completed, and this time without help from the hints! I got a little held up because I put “delivered” at 3d, till I realised an eel wasn’t a shellfish and there was actually a letter short! My favourite clue was 27a for its simplicity and nothing to do with the periodic table. And no 4 letter words. :-) Thanks to Cephas and Bufo for the review

  5. I didn’t have too many problems with this toughie, in fact found it easier than the cryptic. Have to agree therefore with Bufos assessment. I have no problem (in fact appreciate) crosswords with this level of difficulty.
    Thanx to Compiler and Bufo.

  6. I found this quite fun but striggled to get over the line. I blame other distractions at the moment as all the ones I had trouble on were in fact no trouble at all.

    Thanks to Cephas and Bufo

  7. From a message to subscribers as recently as last Thursday:

    “We’ll be updating the Toughie Compilers list every day …”

    Well, that didn’t last long, I had to email Crypticsue to confirm (having already guessed) the name of the setter.

    1. Perhaps Crypticsue should email Telegraph Puzzles every morning, so they know who the setter is! :)

  8. I am very disappointed that this was rated as 1* difficulty. I solved it quickly and unaided and thought that I had finally made a breakthrough with the Toughie – only to discover that it’s not tough at all.

    However, it was still very enjoyable! (Particularly liked 1a – and lots of other amusing clues)

  9. 9a and 13a new to me and glad for hints to confirm that the words i’d inserted actually existed. Mant thanks Cephas and Bufo

  10. I don’t often do the cryptic but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was harder than the ‘toughie’ today. Though enjoyable in its own way this offering from Cephas was just far too easy and makes me wonder why the editor chose to put it in this section. Perhaps he was just short of suitable material?

    Anyway thanks to the setter and to Bufo for the notes.

  11. One very happy solver!! I did it! Thankyou Cephas and Bufo, only needed hints for two. It’s a wonderful feeling to complete a Toughie [ even if it wasn’t really a Toughie] so thank you, thank you, thank you, I love you

  12. Hello, Telegraph Crossword Editor here. As you say, Dave, my vow to update the Toughie setter list every day didn’t last long! I was busy last night sorting out the list of who did what on Toughie 500 and must have thought that was the lot.

    I hope that Daniella Gomés and I will get into a routine with the updating. But if it’s ever not there at midnight, please feel free to email me to remind me:

    The same goes for any of the other little glitches that have been known to occur on the TP website — it’s better to know about them then than to find out at 10am. So any all-night solvers, please do get in touch if you spot a problem (as some already helpfully do).

    Right, I’ll go and add Cephas to the list…


  13. As you say, Bufo, easy. I found the cryptic 26460 far harder. Perhaps they were printed on the wrong page!

  14. I did not get round to tackling this Toughie last night as the meeting I had to attend took us nearly to midnight so on getting back to my pad I hit the sack! This morning I had to attend a funeral service so I solved the puzzle – very quickly indeed – this afternoon.
    I agree that it was not a tough job at all!

    Clues that I liked : 1a, 9a, 10a, 12a, 20a, 27a, 7d, 11d & 19d.

    I don’t get to do many Toughies as I share the DT with my daughter and family and she carts them away regularly to her place up the motorway towards Amsterdam.

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