Toughie 549 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 549

Toughie No 549 by MynoT

Hints and Tips by Bufo

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

The last two MynoT puzzles were tinged with red and orange and so it seemed reasonable to assume that this one would have a yellow theme. So it proved. Several answers are things that are coloured yellow and others are words that can follow yellow. I found the puzzle to be fairly easy and it won’t count as one of my favourites.

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           Muslim lady to ask character to return (5)
{BEGUM} A word meaning “to ask” comes before a reversal of a Greek letter (character) to give a Muslim woman of high rank in the Indian subcontinent

4a           Hard hat of Scotsman with set of answers to explosive device and no end of luck (6,3)
{JOCKEY CAP} A reinforced cap with a long peak as worn by some on the racecourse is formed from an informal name for a Scotsman + a set of answers + an explosive device (e.g. for a toy gun). From this combination a letter K (end of luck) must be removed

9a           Convert warder with vodka and orange once? (4-5)
{TURN-SCREW} The answer is an archaic name for the tool which is also the name of a cocktail containing vodka and orange juice. It is formed from “to convert” + a slang term for a prison officer

10a        Tear apart queen’s flower (5)
{RIVER} “To tear apart” + R (queen) gives a flower (in its crossword sense of something which flows) which could be Yellow. As far as I am aware this meaning of flower does not appear in any dictionary and therefore should it be used in crosswords?

11a        Raise tax in eastern shelter (7)
{ELEVATE} A word meaning “to raise” is given by Value Added Tax inside E (eastern) shelter

12a        Genuine money’s found inside of lining tissue (7)
{RETINAL} A slang word for money goes inside “genuine” to give a word describing the light-sensitive tissue that lines much of the back layer of the eyeball

13a        Lover boys have primitive energies when drunk (6)
{CUPIDS} Winged figures of young boys representing love are given by primitive energies in psychoanalytic theory inside the drinking vessels which appear in the expression “in one’s ****” meaning under the influence of alcohol

15a        Weather men in Southern Television echoed (8)
{ELEMENTS} The weather is given by MEN inside a reversal of S (Southern) television

18a        Sailor punts first as a guide (4,4)
{POLE STAR} Punts (propels a boat) + sailor gives a guide found in the night sky

20a        Destroyer of prince captured by emeer regularly (6)
{ERASER} This destroyer is given by an Ethiopian prince inside alternate letters of EmEeR

23a        In advance devise homework on network (7)
{PREPLAN} School slang for homework + a local area network gives “to devise in advance”

24a        For example, Sam’s one foul (7)
{UNCLEAN} What Sam is to Americans + AN (one) gives “foul”

26a        Sounds like architect’s hard grind (5)
{GNASH} The answer is a homophone of the surname of the architect responsible for much of the layout of Regency London

27a        Possibly put one air in opera (1,8)
{I PURITANI} An anagram (possibly) of PUT I (one) AIR IN gives the name of Bellini’s last opera

28a        Attack in van (9)
{SPEARHEAD} A rather weak cryptic definition of the front of an attack

29a        Sweep’s black space (5)
{BROOM} “To sweep” is derived from B (black) + room. The answer is also a yellow-flowered shrub


1d           Gilbertian character’s flatter around centre at first (9)
{BUTTERCUP} The name of the bumboat woman in H.M.S. Pinafore is given by “to flatter” (6,2) round C (centre at first). The answer is also a yellow flower

2d           It has spines producing blood around end of fingers (5)
{GORSE} Blood goes round S (end of fingers) to give a prickly shrub with yellow flowers

3d           Cut it to make the grade (7)
{MUSTARD} The answer is a yellow condiment that appears in the phrase “cut the *******” meaning “to make the grade”

4d           Some northbound ox-eyes reject this milk (6)
{JERSEY} A cow of  particular breed is hidden in reversed form in ox-eyes reject. This word can be yellow to a cyclist

5d           Subdue cockney severely, like Noel? (8)
{COWARDLY} “To subdue” + a word meaning “severely” with the initial H missing (as a cockney might say it) gives a word that could be considered to mean like Noel, the English dramatist. The word actually means “yellow”

6d           Funeral attendant to embrace a bishop when rising is a mistake (7)
{ERRATUM} A hired funeral attendant goes round A RR (bishop) and the whole thing is then reversed to give a mistake in writing or printing

7d           Agreements of witches with insects (9)
{COVENANTS} Mutual agreements are given by a gang of witches + social insects

8d           Fairy left in danger (5)
{PERIL} A beautiful fairy + L (left) gives a danger (which can be a yellow one)

14d        This needs to be positive to live (5-4)
{PULSE-RATE} In order to be alive the number of beats of the heart per minute must be greater than zero

16d        One of 15’s cooked mutton, sir (9)
{STRONTIUM} An anagram (cooked) of MUTTON SIR gives a member of the 15

17d        German’s agreement at international organisation to risk disease (8)
{JAUNDICE} The German for “yes” + an international organisation + “to risk” gives a disease in which there is a yellowing of the skin

19d        Brimstone once it catches fire (7)
{SULPHUR} This yellow substance was once called brimstone and it is inflammable

21d        Once again mount and take arm? (7)
{RECLIMB} “Once again mount” is formed from a 3-letter abbreviation of the Latin word for “take” + a member of the body, e.g. an arm

22d        Lined up as O’Sullivan played, we hear (6)
{QUEUED} “Stood in line” is an homophone of how Ronnie O’Sullivan played

23d        Young men attending opening of Parliament for a long time (5)
{PAGES} Young male attendants are derived from P (opening of Parliament) + a long time. They can be yellow if you let your fingers do the walking

25d        Muse about a toad? Not half! (5)
{ERATO} The Muse of lyric love poetry finishes with A TO(ad) but I’m not sure where the first 2 letters come from. If you reverse them you get “about” but there is nothing to indicate this reversal

I thought that there were some weak clues here

12 comments on “Toughie 549

  1. I found it slightly harder than the two of you did – particuarly the RH side but I got there in the end. Had forgotten about the yellow theme but looking at the puzzle again I can see all the themed answers. Thanks to MynoT for the crossword and Bufo for the review.

  2. I don’t have the inclination to time my efforts, but gut feeling says I cracked this one more speedily than today’s cryptic. A bit curate’s eggish. (no yolk intended!) I though we were heading for a pangram (Q, K, J) but it didn’t materialise. Thanks MynoT & Bufo.

  3. I quite enjoyed this although I shared the confusion on the muse. In any case I am enjoying spotting the colours in this series of puzzles. Thanks to MynoT and Bufo.

  4. Am with you on not getting the muse construct, and found 4a a bit convoluted but other than that also enjoyed it, and a new definition of mute to be stored. Thanks To Mynot and Bufo

  5. I quite enjoyed this offering from MynoT but couldn’t (and still can’t ) understand 25d. Favourite was 4a and I liked the colour theme. Thanks MynoT and Bufo.

  6. Maybe MynoT could explain 25d as everyone seems a bit puzzler by it, other than that i quite enjoyed. Thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for the comments.

  7. Ah. I thought it was reasonable, but as usual didn’t spot the theme. Will try and remember for next week.

    I’d vote for the complete removal of architects, operas and muses … perhaps because I’ve so rarely heard of them, although I am learning to put Erato in whenever I see the word ‘muse’.

    Didn’t know that ‘RR’ was a Bishop – thought it was ‘B’ or ‘DD’, so that’s useful.

    Favourite clue: 3d – after I’d mucked about with various ‘mis-‘ words such as ‘mistake’…

    Thank you to MynoT and Bufo.

    1. RR=Right Reverend.

      ERATO is probably the answer if muse is the definition about ¾ of the time, but the others have been known to show up…

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