Toughie 815 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 815

Toughie No 815 by Warbler

Word for word

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Warbler consistently serves up enjoyable but solvable puzzles – here’s another.

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.


8a    Protest turning into loss of status (8)
{DEMOTION} – start with a protest then add an anagram (turning) of INTO to get this loss of status

9a    Around river little folk can be slippery young things (6)
{ELVERS} – put some little folk around R(iver) to get some slippery young fish

10a    Initially taxes are dropping a little bit (3)
{TAD} – the initial letters of three words in the clue gives a little bit

11a    He perfects a knockout blow (8)
{FINISHER} – a double definition – someone who perfects or completes and a knockout blow

12a    One gets call after a short trip out (6)
{AIRING} – I (one) is followed by a call, perhaps from a telephone, and preceded by the A from the clue to get a short trip out

13a    Del flaunts outrageously wearing white suit (7,3,5)
{WHISTLE AND FLUTE} – put an anagram (outrageously) of DEL FLAUNTS inside (wearing) WHITE to get the Cockney rhyming slang for a suit which is more usually abbreviated to just the first word

15a    Spanish grass, leaving Spain, operates on the run (7)
{ESPARTO} – this Spanish grass comesw from an anagram (on the run) of OPERAT(E)S of without the IVR code for Spain (leaving Spain / E)

18a    Mini-outing for English literature form? (7)
{TRIPLET} – what could be a diminutive of an outing is actually a form in English literature consisting of three rhyming lines of verse

21a    Runner-up lives out wild dream still (6,9)
{SILVER MEDALLIST} – this runner-up could possibly be Lizzie Armitstead – an anagram (out) of LIVES is followed by an anagram (wild) of DREAM STILL

24a    Red mark of omission circles line (6)
{CLARET} – this red wine is created by putting a printer’s mark of omission (⁁) around (circles) L(ine)

25a    Sort a few corrupt computer programs (8)
{SOFTWARE} – an anagram (corrupt) of SORT A FEW gives a general word for computer programs

26a    A Parisian institute or Oxford maybe (3)
{UNI} – the French (Parisian) for A is followed by I(nstitute) to get a slang word for Oxford or any similar institution

27a    Publisher is certain to reverse final entries (6)
{ISSUER} – to get this publisher start with IS from the clue and add a word meaning certain with its final two letters reversed

28a    Supports South American volunteers in Sweden (8)
{SUSTAINS} – this word meaning supports or provides for is derived from S(outh), a two-letter abbreviation for American, a two-letter abbreviation for army volunteers, the IN from the clue, and the IVR code for Sweden


1d    Obsession? Iron this out (6)
{FETISH} – this obsession comes from the chemical symbol for iron followed by an anagram (out) of THIS

2d    Universal suffrage originally brought down by buffoons (6)
{COMICS} – start with an adjective meaning of the universe and then move the initial letter (originally) of Suffrage down to get these buffoons

3d    Kindle with intricate true tale grips one — it’s right to go in for easy reading (5,10)
{LIGHT LITERATURE] – a verb meaning to kindle or ignite is followed by an anagram (intricate) of TRUE TALE around (grips) I (one) and also around (to go in) R(ight) to get this easy reading

4d    Ask directions to get unexpected pleasure (7)
{ENTREAT} – this verb meaning to ask is derived from two compass directions followed by an unexpected pleasure

5d    Place for kippers and porridge? (3,3,9)
{BED AND BREAKFAST} – a cryptic definition of this establishment where people can sleep (kippers) then get up and have a meal (porridge)

6d    Pervert loves rip in bodice (8)
{OVERSLIP} – an anagram (pervert) of LOVES RIP gives a bodice

7d    Top of Brazil nut tree changes to dark brown (8)
{BRUNETTE] – the initial letter (top) of Brazil is followed by an anagram (changes) of NUT TREE to get dark brown hair colour

14d    Little devil! He’s regularly into mum’s port (3)
{IMP} – this little devil comes from every fourth letter (regularly) of the last three words in the clue

ARVE Error: need id and provider

16d    Post bestowed upon minor lacking in craft? (8)
{SHIPLESS} – put a verb meaning to post or dispatch in front of (bestowed upon in a down clue) an adjective meaning minor to get this word meaning lacking a craft in which to sail

17d    Literally, when abbreviated, sales information’s worthless (2,6)
{AD VERBUM} – this Latin phrase meaning literally or word for word is derived from some sales information without its final letter (when abbreviated) followed by an adjective meaning worthless

19d    Garland regularly on display in Algeria (3)
{LEI} – this Hawaiian garland, a regular visitor to Crosswordland, comes from the even letters of (regularly on display in) the last word in the clue

20d    Dancing sprites linger in the mind (7)
{PERSIST} – an anagram (dancing) of SPRITES gives a verb meaning to linger in the mind

22d    Note: Girlfriend loses nothing becoming member of police force (6)
{LAWMAN} – a note of the scale in sol-fa notation is followed by a girl or female without the O (loses nothing) to get a member of a police force

23d    Could be crook series is cut short before end of episode (6)
{STRINE} – to get this antipodean dialect, of which crook meaning sick (as in he’s crook) or angry (as in don’t go crook on him) is an example (could be) start with a series without its final letter (is cut short) and then add the final letter (end) of episodE

Not as tough as some of last week’s puzzles, but still a good start to the week

36 comments on “Toughie 815

  1. As the back pager, an enjoyable enough crossword but way too many anagrams, at least I learned a new word at 23d. Thanks to Warbler and BD.

  2. Enjoyable outing.
    Thanks to BD for the review without which 23d was not there.
    24ac favourite as on the wagon right now!
    Warbler seems to me to get the toughie right.

  3. Enjoyable, and amusing in places. Loved 13a; conjured up images of Del Boy in a garish outfit!

    Many thanks to Warbler, and to BD for the review.

  4. As with back page, didn’t enjoy this enjoy this , sadly. I agree with Big Boab. Too many anagrams. On the long words. Also, one of my pet hates, the dreaded “regularly” (14 and 19 down) Regulars and odds and evens seem to me to be a lazy way out of constructing a proper clue

  5. 2* toughie difficulty but I quite enjoyed myself. Thanks Warbler, I did like 13a and 23d. Thanks to BD too.

  6. I’d like to have said I found this easy as well, unfortunately I didn’t find it all in my paper today :) Whole puzzle page gone missing from the final edition

    1. For the past couple of days, there has been a Telegraph Plus supplement with the paper and the puzzles usually found on the inside pages of the Telegraph have been on the back page of the supplement. Some newsagents include the supplement in the paper before putting it on the shelves. Others seem to keep it behind the counter and maybe forget to hand it to customers who buy the paper.

  7. Must be having an off-day as after a brisk start I struggled! Needed Big Dave’s help for 2d and 17d (thanks BD). The former was a “doh” moment, the latter I’ve not heard before. For some reason I loved 5d. I’d like to think it was because of clever wordplay (if that’s the right expression – I’m new to crossword terminology) but more likely because the solution jumped off the page at me!

  8. The hardest part of today’s Toughie was actually finding it in the paper!

    Not so tough. Even I managed to solve it – apart from the Austra(l)ian bit (23d)! Strewth – does any other language have silent “L”‘s.

    1. Answered above by Prolixic, look for the pull out section called Telegraph plus, it’s on the back page

  9. Another excellent toughie from Warbler. Needed BD’s help for 23d. Great clue when it is explained to you. Fav clue 5d. Thanks Warbler and BD.

  10. Excellent stuff as usual from Warbler.

    Very enjoyable despite the anagrams.

    Thanks to Warbler and BD for the well illustrated blog!

    1. Why are there so many complaints about the inclusion of anagrams in a cryptic crossword?

      1. In my case it’s simply because I’m the world’s worst at unravelling them! If I do one of those puzzles where you have to get as many words as possible out of nine letters I usually score pretty well but often don’t get the nine letter word.

        Usually solve anagram clues by guessing the answer from the definition and then checking that what I’ve thought of actually fits the fodder.

        1. I’m the opposite, if I know it’s an anagram, I usually get it even if I have no checkers.

      2. The guidelines that used to be given to Telegraph setters state “there is a maximum of six anagrams per puzzle”.

        The idea is that a crossword should have a variety of different types of clue – in approximately 30 clues, no more than 20% should contain anagrams.

  11. Having finally got the crossword (thanks to the kind people who helped) I enjoyed it very much.
    I liked the large number of anagrams, whatever everyone else has said – I do find them an easy way into a crossword.
    I struggled a bit with 11a (didn’t know the “knockout blow), also 24a as I always forget the word for a mark of omission. I couldn’t do 2d. I didn’t know the cockney rhyming slang in 13a but the answer was fairly obvious.
    5 and 6d were my favourites as they both made me laugh.
    With thanks to Warbler and BD.

  12. Gentle but pleasant enough start to Toughie week, Favourites were 11a 13a and 23d thanks to Warbler and to Big Dave for the comments.

  13. My last in 2d, 13a must rank as clue of the week for me for the reasons Jezza says. As for the number of anagrams I care not, it’s a Tuesday, I didn’t notice whilst solving. Thank you Warbler and BD. It was a 2* and 4* enjoyment that gave me the confidence to attempt a Toughie. Long may the enjoyment factor continue after last weeks tour de force

  14. Thanks Warbler. I always look forward to these (having checked the setter this morning) and know I will enjoy the result .
    13a and 1d were favourites and I was not disappointed. Thanks also to BD.

  15. At last, a Toughie I can comment on. Thoroughly enjoyed this one, because it seemed do-able. Thanks to Warbler & to Big Dave. Got beaten by a couple, which I had to look up. Didn’t do Latin at school, so couldn’t get 17d, although I should have got it from the wordplay. Had never heard of 16d.very entertaining.

    1. Heno,If you only got beaten by a couple well done you. A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have attempted a Toughie.Warbler is typically 4 * fun
      And 13a gets my clue of the week, 21a a near miss

      1. Thanks for your encouragement Andy. Sometimes it’s hard when the Toughies are really tough, but Nil Desperandum, or whatever it is !

  16. Does anyone know why the telegraph moved the crossword from the back page (other than to facilitate a full page advertising spot)? It’s really difficult if not impossible to access it on public transport. Spoilt my enjoyment. I’m thinking of cancelling my subscription.

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