Toughie 902

Toughie No 902 by Firefly

Compliments of the Season

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Firefly is not often seen in the Tuesday slot, but it didn’t take long to see why he was selected for today. A fairly predictable theme with some scrappy wordplay.

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 & 4a    Score and enter hit parade this year? (6,8)
{TWENTY THIRTEEN} – the number represented by a score followed by an anagram (enter hit parade) of ENTER HIT sets the theme for this puzzle

4a    See 1 across

10a    Player King’s brief farewell accorded little weight (9)
{RADIOGRAM} – an old-fashioned record player and wireless comes from a charade of the Latin abbreviation for King, most of (brief) a Spanish farewell and a small metric weight

11a    Activity in the dark close to ending in embarrassment? … (5)
{NIGHT} – an adverb meaning close to followed by the final letter (ending) of embarrassmenT

12a & 26a     … Ineluctable consequence of the 11 before a new start for tippler — reforming’s in order (today!) (7,5)
{MORNING AFTER} – an anagram (in order) of A, N(ew), the initial letter of (start for) Tippler and REFORMING

13a    See 20 across

14a    Stretch  rope (5)
{SHEET} – a double definition – a stretch of ice and a nautical term for a rope

15a    Number in Lourdes having slipped discs (8)
{ROUNDELS} – N(umber) inside an anagram (having slipped) of LOURDES

18a    Precipitate a Channel Islands evacuation? (4,4)
{ACID RAIN} – the A from the clue followed by the abbreviation for the Channel Islands and an evacuation or depletion

20a & 13a    Cheerful little fellow we yearn to assign as ‘Best in 1 Across 4!’ (5,3,4)
{HAPPY NEW YEAR} – a cheerful companion of Snow White followed by an anagram (to assign) of WE YEARN – note the numbers of this clue!

23a    Paint Mr Cooper — short and carrying blubber (7)
{ACRYLIC} – the first name of eccentric American rock singer Cooper without its final letter (short) around a verb meaning to blubber

25a    4 and 4 making twenty-six? How? (5,2)
{ADDED UP} – how to get twenty-six!

26a    See 12 across

27a    Distress of American soldier, first on base to fail (9)
{AGITATION} – A(merican) followed by an American soldier and a base without its initial letter (first on … to fail)

28a    Eat tiny bit of chocolate — breaking resolution! (8)
{TENACITY} – an anagram (breaking) of EAT TINY and the initial letter (bit) of Chocolate

29a    Eucalyptus found in wine put clock back (3,3)
{RED GUM} – a type of wine followed by the reversal (put … back) of a different slang word for the clock (face)


1d    A selection of gateaus! I’m a ritualist over 21! (8)
{TIRAMISU} – hidden (A selection of) and reversed (over) inside the clue – you can find Mrs BD’s recipe in my Kitchen, just click on the picture below


2d    Head off hack, maybe, undermining objective advocate (7)
{ENDORSE} – drop the initial letter (head) from a equine hack and put the result after (undermining in a down clue) an objective

3d    Couple’s handwriting editor finds clumsy (3-6)
{TWO-FISTED} – the number that makes up a couple followed by an informal word for handwriting and ED(itor)

5d    When pushed, he and I mug up angina as experimental subject (5,6,3)
{HUMAN GUINEA PIG} – an anagram (when pushed) of HE and I MUG UP ANGINA

6d    Bring back Descartes Week! (5)
{RENEW} – the first name of French philosopher and mathematician Descartes followed by W(eek)

7d    Potential for being, say, good on film? (3,4)
{EGG CELL} – the Latin abbreviation meaning say or for example followed by G(ood) and cinematographic film generally (being an abbreviated form of the material from which early films were made)

8d    13 gathers books on Arabia for lawyer (6)
{NOTARY} – the abbreviated form of 13 across around (gathers) some books of the bible and AR(abia)

9d    Singing in the abbey, received constant upset with Scot’s crack about top note (9,5)
{GREGORIAN CHANT} – the word used in radio communications to indicate received and understood and one of the common mathematical constants are both reversed (upset) and followed by a typical Scottish first name and crack or gossip around the initial letter (top) of Note

16d    After endless dampness, use dry heat to do this? (9)
{DEHYDRATE} – dampness that is usually encountered in the morning without its final letter (endless) followed by an anagram (use) of DRY HEAT to give a verb loosely defined by the whole clue

17d    ’13 tum’ Pam gets help for monitoring? (8)
{TYMPANUM} – an anagram (gets?) of the abbreviated answer to 13 across, TUM and PAM gives a part of the ear – I didn’t notice the lack of an anagram indicator until writing the review! Myops frequently uses this approach in his Wee Stinker puzzles

19d    Chatroom regularly offered cash for ‘colourful’ stuff (7)
{CAROTIN} – the odd letters (regularly) of the first word in the clue followed by a slang word for money

21d    Club one may join if 12 26 treatment fails? (7)
{PUDDING} – the treatment being a pill taken following earlier rumpy-pumpy

22d    Succeeded earlier in ‘Mastermind‘ (6)
{SAVANT} – S(ucceeded) followed by a word from French meaning earlier or before

24d    Poem wonderfully rich in content (5)
{LYRIC} – hidden (content) inside the clue

For me the only bright spot in this puzzle was the clever use of the clue numbers 20 and 13.


  1. Pegasus
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    1 thought it was a bit top heavy with anagrams favourite 9d thanks to Firefly and to Big Dave for the comments.

  2. spindrift
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Mmmmm…jury’s out on this one I’m afraid. Hopefully tomorrow we can get back to some level of normality without having “themes” to think about.

    Has anyone experienced trouble renewing membership to the DT puzzle? I’m having a deuce of a time trying to do so. Password not recognisd then user name not recognised…i do hope this isn’t a harbinger for 2013.

  3. gazza
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Dada tomorrow.

    • jezza
      Posted January 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Oh good. That will be the first toughie I will have looked at for a couple of weeks. I should probably find the time to look at the Micawber one from last week too.

  4. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    We had to work hard on this one but got there in the end. It did feel like a bit of a plod though. Still having trouble working out the definition of 11a as “activity in the dark”, although we did have the correct answer.
    Thanks Firefly and BD.

    • Posted January 1, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      I had similar misgivings about 11a, but Chambers gives “The activity or experience of a night”, presumably as in a night out or in the Elvis song “Such a Night”.

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted January 1, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Thanks BD. Should have looked in our new BRB shouldn’t we. Cheers.

  5. Only fools
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    The anagrams enabled me to start and complete but missed it for ages in 28a which enabled me to complete SW corner .Still think 11a very dubious but thanks for the explanation although the answer could be nothing else . Fav 9d. But the smileometer was generally redundant .
    Thanks once again

  6. ChrisH
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    I hate clues which refer to other clues which relate to other clues which relate…ad nauseam. I also thought some of the ‘word play’ (?) was rather clumsy. **** for difficulty, and a generous * for enjoyment.


  7. Ian
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Nearly very pleased with myself as finished all but one (14a) unaided, having always struggled with my rare attempts at toughies. 14a was two obscure definitions too far for me, I’m afraid!
    Still, a promising start to a new year of crosswords. Thanks and a HNY to all.