Toughie 702

Toughie No 702 by Firefly

Leave till tomorrow?

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Greetings from the Calder Valley! The sun is cracking the flags here in Hebden Bridge and we have a nice benign puzzle to begin the weekend from Firefly. I got off to the wrong start by thinking that 5 down was a simple anagram and this blocked me for a short while, but once I realised I had this answer wrong, the puzzle fell into place.

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. Favourite clues are highlighted in blue.


1a    Toy castle setter’s sweetheart’s found in stall (4,3,4)
{PLAY FOR TIME} We start with a Word Sum today. An expressing meaning to stall is found by taking a word that means to toy with. Add to this something that means a castle and tack on I’M (setter) and E (sweet heart).

10a    Parties wither after U-turn about start of voting (5)
{RAVES} The name for the sort of dance parties popular with da yoof of today is revealed by taking a word that means to wither and reverse it around V (start of voting)

11a    Millionaire star losing rag initially with trendy Oscar director (9)
{TARANTINO) The director of films such as Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown can be found by taking the surname of the host of the ITV game show that gives away a million quid, losing R (rag initially). Add to the remainder IN (trendy) and O (Oscar in the phonetic alphabet).

12a    Bears perchance with vicar on a river trip (9)
{CARNIVORA} An anagram (indicated by trip) of VICAR ON A R (for river) reveals the generic name for animals such as bears and other meat eaters.

13a    Resolute about Anya? (3,2)
{SET ON} Hmmm. As I once worked in a library I remembered the surname of the author named Anya who, if I remember correctly wrote bodice rippers like Dragonwyck. If you split her surname into two words you get a phrase that means to be resolute about something.

14a    Brutal dictator back in Albania (6)
{ANIMAL} Something that means brutal or savage is found by reversing the name of the former tyrant that ran Uganda and putting it in AL (abbreviation for Albania).

16a    After quiet over, new English opener is to 1 (8)
{POSTPONE} Another word sum. The Latin word for “afterwards” takes P (quiet) and O (over), N (new) and E (English) to give a word that means the same as 1 across.

18a    Ulster Society’s exhibiting painters’ work (8)
{TOPCOATS} One of the most irritating (and incorrect) definitions used in cryptics is Ulster to mean Northern Ireland. As any fule kno they do not mean the same thing, so I was pleased here to see that the U word refers to its other fashion meaning. Add S(ociety) to get the painters’ work

20a    1 by stripping Lilliput of food (3,3)
{PUT OFF} If you ‘strip’ the surplus letters of “LILLI PUT OF FOOD” you get a phrase that means 1a. Really don’t like this clue as you are being asked to remove five letters before and three after, I don’t think it’s particularly fair, although the answer is rather obvious I suppose.

23a    Look in notes for links? (5)
{NAIRN} Hmmmm. I am assuming there is a golf course in this Scottish town, presumably seaside town as links courses are within 40 miles of the sea. Not one of my favourites

24a    Neighbours may regard them as alien — idly let go (9)
{LEYLANDII} Part of the indication here forms a bit of the definition as well with ALIEN doing the double duty. An anagram (let go) of ALIEN IDLY is something that grows that many middle Englanders despise.

26a    Payback time — gift of poor Stuart’s oddly mislaid (3,3,3)
{TIT FOR TAT} A phrase that means payback is found by taking T (for time) adding the even letters (oddly mislaid) of GIFT OF POOR STUART.

27a    Level firearm partly rearwards — this one? (5)
{RIFLE} Hidden and reversed in the phrase LEVEL FIREARM is the name of a weapon.

28a    Opening bowler to need new ball — it can bear fruit (5,6)
{BLACK CHERRY} Bad Tilsit! I was ever so relieved to check Chambers and find that the second word of this answer is another name for a new ball in cricket. I had erroneously assumed that our setter was being a bit naughty and using an alternative slang meaning which is too rude to print here and is NOT in the dictionary Anyway B (opening of Bowler) is added to a word meaning to need and then add a cricketing term for the new ball and you have the name of a fruit associated with Gateaux from Germany.

Back with the Downs after I have done 50 lines “Just because I have a filthy mind, it doesn’t mean that all crossword setters stoop so low”.


2d           Twist lid off organ (5)
{LIVER}  A word for a twist (of lemon) loses it’s first letter to reveal the largest organ in the human body.

3d           Rather tipsy-sounding, joins central private seminary (7)
{YESHIVA} A Marmite clue.  Some will like it, others won’t.  How a drunk would say “Rather!” is added to IVA (the central bit of PRIVATE)  and leads you to a training school for members of the Jewish faith.

4d           Alternative point fabricated by Opposition leader (6)
{OPTION}   Alongside O (Leader of Opposition) goes an anagram (fabricated) of POINT  to give  a word for an alternative.

5d           Rent a bar to uplift Escamillo, maybe (8)
{TOREADOR}  Going in with my feet first I spotted the anagram that can be made from RENT A BAR and entered it as my first answer, making a mental note to check out how it linked with the opera character Escamillo.  Silly me!  Once I worked out what 11 across was, I realised my error.  Escamillo’s probably responsible for one of the most famous songs in opera that describes his job.  A word meaning rent, ripped apart is added to A and the name for a Spanish bar and leads you to the job title.

6d           Be careful about class approach… (7)
{MIND SET}  The meaning of the expression “Be careful” is added to the word in Chambers with most definitions, one of which is a class or group.  This will lead you to something that means “approach”.

7d           …to sectarian PR circulating; 1 (13)
{PROCRASTINATE}  Another word that means that same as 1a is an anagram (circulating) of  TO SECTARIAN PR.

8d           Expert first violin is leader of orchestra — about to turn out right? (8)
{VIRTUOSO}    The name of a musical expert is revealed by taking V (first Violin), adding IS and O (leader of Orchestra) and then inserting (about) OUT R(ight) reversed (to turn)

9d           Ferret out nice materials for fraudster (13)
{COUNTERFEITER}  An anagram (indicated by materials, not a strong indicator, I feel)  of FERRET OUT NICE gives the name of a criminal fraudster.

15d         ‘One’s royalty!’, we hear (from Charles perhaps — performing impressions?) (8)
{IMPRINTS} A homophone of how Liz Windsor’s eldest lad might describe his job is a word that means impressions.

17d         Fit permit into a deficient compact (8)
{ATHLETIC}   A word that means fit is found by taking something that means to permit inside A + 80% of a word meaning compact or chunky.

19d         Dip in wading pool cancelled sadly — a self-inflicted loss (3,4)
{OWN GOAL}  Take DIP out of WADING POOL and make an anagram of the remainder to give a phrase that means a self-inflicted loss.

21d         Yankee having difficulties raised in 24 or 28? (2,1,4)
{UP A TREE}  – This US (Yankee) expression meaning having difficulties comes from a word meaning raised followed by either 24a or 28a

22d         Cryptic from Jeremy’s ticklish (6)
{MYSTIC}  Hidden in JEREMY’S TICKLISH is a word that means cryptic or puzzling.

25d         Refused to go up without us, so 1 (5)
{DEFER}  Another word that means 1a is found by removing US from the word REFUSED and reversing the remnants.

As you will have seen there was a theme where a number of the answers meant the same as 1 across.

Thanks to Firefly for an enjoyable challenge and I’ll see you next Friday.


  1. crypticsue
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I would give this 3.5* diffculty based on time taken. I agree with Tilsit about 23a and I did momentarily stray off into realms of Australian TV soap operas with 24a before the penny dropped. Definitely 4* entertainment so thank you to Firefly. Thank you to Naughty Tilsit too.

  2. BigBoab
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Firefly and to Tilsit. A straightforward crossword, not really in the toughie class I thought, but quite enjoyable.

  3. Posted January 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Found it hard going in places, but still enjoyable. Slowly but surely getting better at the toughies. 13a was an odd clue (unless into mills & boon)

  4. Mike in Amble
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Regarding 3d…. isn’t it splendid when you create the word from the excellent clue… but have never heard of it, only to find it perfectly defined in the big red book? Really enjoyed this Firefly puzzle. Thanks too to Tilsit.

    • Posted January 13, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      I quite agree Mike. A not so tricky puzzle but the entertainment value was high. Thanks to Firefly and to Tilsit for the review.

  5. Posted January 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Excellent piece of work, completed in the time it took to listen to Beethoven’s Third.

  6. Jezza
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Entertaining, and not overly tricky.
    Thanks to Firefly, and to Tilsit for the review.

    Re 2d, I thought the ‘Twist’ was referring to Oliver?

    • Patsyann
      Posted January 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Yea – I thought it was Oliver Twist. A sliver is not quite the same as a twist is it?

      • Posted January 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        I stand or sit corrected. Oliver Twist is correct. Never entered my head he said shamefully.

        Sent from my iPhone

  7. pegasus
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Not the usual ferocity of a Firefly puzzle but top notch for entertainment favourite clue among many 28a thanks to Firefly and to Tilsit for the comments.

  8. jdr
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Even with your hint I was baffled by 18a until Google revealed that an Ulster is a topcoat which was news to me.
    3d “yeshiva” needed the help of Chambers wordfinder, a word I have never heard of before and another word to help playing scrabble.

    • Franco
      Posted January 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Ulster – missed it today – but quite common in CrosswordLand!

      “yeshiva” – Hmmmm?

  9. upthecreek
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    O joy. A Friday toughie finished on Friday! Not over the moon about this one. I don’t think 15d worked as a homophone. The theme was OK but as usual with themes it throws up odd words like 3d. Not one of Firefly’s best.

    • Posted January 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Hello Upthecreek.
      Only part of 15d is a homophone. (At least that was how I read it.)
      All the best