Toughie 912 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 912

Toughie No 912 by Firefly

The Bhurtum (4,2,3,4)?

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I got the four perimeter answers very quickly. Thereafter it was a steady solve though it was slightly trickier than I thought it was going to be.

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    The Nadderark? He’s a treacherous person (5,2,3,5)
{SNAKE IN THE GRASS} The Nadderark should be read as ‘adder in the nark’

8a    Once round bend? (2,3)
{OF OLD} O + bend

9a    Hefty and crude simulacrum I’m to get rid of (8)
{MUSCULAR} An anagram (crude) of SULACRUM (simulacrum without I’m)

11a    Swarms of popular party going on to square (7)
{INFESTS} ‘Popular’ + a party + S (square)

12a    Serenity‘s an advantage in pelting rain (7)
{NIRVANA} ‘Advantage’ in an anagram (pelting) of RAIN

13a    Smack nets a ton returning to dock (5)
{TASTE} Hidden (docked) in reverse in nETS A Ton

15a    Dish of pitta he’s beginning to gobble offensively (9)
{SPAGHETTI} An anagram (offensively) of PITTA HES G (first letter of gobble)

17a    Admit old member into enclosure with ticket (9)
{ENCOMPASS} O (old) and M (member) go inside an abbreviation for ‘enclosure’ and a ticket

20a    Smut without hint of restraint is rarely hazarded (5)
{DURST} Smut goes round R (the first letter of restraint0 to give a rarely used form of the past tense of a verb meaning ‘to hazard’

21a    One given to ruminating came ‘ither by boat, we hear (3,4)
{ROE DEER} A ruminant animal is a homophone (we hear) of ‘came ‘ither by boat (using oars)’

23a    Pieces of (admittedly lighter) Andrew Motion poetry becoming fashionable (1,2,4)
{A LA MODE} The first letters (pieces) of admittedly lighter Andrew Motion + a poem

25a    Razor-man cut off Jerusalem affair (8)
{OCCASION} Take the village in Surrey where William was born in medieval times and after which his razor is named. Remove the last letter (cut off). Then add a place name used as a synonym for Jerusalem [The village is spelt differently now.  BD]

26a    Forgetting key, tootle off for bingo (5)
{LOTTO} An anagram (off) of TOOTLE without the E (key)

27a    The Popaleak? That’s the pick of the bunch (5,2,3,5)
{JEWEL IN THE CROWN} The Popaleak should be read as ‘opal in the peak’


1d    The Bratrynch? That’s a boost (4,2,3,3)
{SHOT IN THE ARM} The Bratrynch should be read as ‘try in the branch’

2d    Staying apart from hullabaloo, fetched some chips (5)
{ALOOF} Hidden in hullabALOO Fetched

3d    Spend more in order to get nutritious stuff (9)
{ENDOSPERM} An anagram (in order) of SPEND MORE gives nutritive tissue within the seed of a flowering plant

4d    Previously known as the setter’s sibling, she’s unbeatable (7)
{NEMESIS} ‘Previously known as’ + ‘the setter’ + a female sibling = the Greek goddess of retribution

5d    Loud socks on Miss Pavlova? Praise be! (7)
{HOSANNA} A homophone (loud) of hose (as worn on the feet) + the first name of the ballerina Pavlova

6d    Excess cut off borders of exhibitor’s sticker (5)
{GLUER} An excess with the last letter removed (cut off) + the first and last letters (borders) of exhibitor gives someone who sticks

7d    American research facility’s taser destroyed decorative material (9)
{ALABASTER} A (American) + a research facility + an anagram (destroyed) of TASER = a form f gypsum used for ornamental purposes

10d    The Pimalene? He’s a fanciful character (3,2,3,4)
{MAN IN THE MOON} The Pimalene should be read as ‘male in the pine’

14d    It’s not open to question, thus load rough cedar into barge (6,3)
{SACRED COW} An anagram (rough) of CEDAR inside a barge (flat-bottomed boat)

16d    Reportedly, tall container on lap’s for conveying water (9)
{HYDRAULIC} This is a homophone (reportedly) but I struggled to work it out. I hope that it’s a homophone of ‘tall’ (4) + ‘a container (in a piece of furniture) (6) + ‘to lap’ (4)

18d    Count me out when new margarine’s put on trial (7)
{ARRAIGN} An anagram (new) of MARGARINE without the letters M and E

19d    Strong /stem (7)
{STAUNCH} 2 meanings: strong/to stem

22d    Mr Neeson, turning up to opening of Emmys, gets the message (5)
{EMAIL} The first name of the actor with the surname Neeson is reversed and put after E (first letter of Emmy’s)

24d    Overcome in garden party? (5)
{OUTDO} This could be a party that’s not held indoors

The Bhurtum? By no means


30 comments on “Toughie 912

  1. Very enjoyable, though perhaps that’s because for once I finished without any hints. As usual, for several I could see what the answer should be but couldn’t sort out why, so the hints were very helpful in clarifying. Thanks, Bufo!

  2. Crossword of the year so far! I know it’s only a couple of weeks old, but this will take some beating for enjoyment! Have to admit to not understanding all my answers wthout the hints so many thanks to Bufo and Firefly.

  3. Although it wasn’t really a Toughie, I did enjoy myself immensely particularly with the way the outside clues made you wonder if you might have to start brushing up on your Lewis Carroll knowledge. Thanks to Firefly for a great start to Thursday and to Bufo for the usual excellent H&T.

    1. Dear Lady, I’m glad that you’re back on form so quickly… if you read my comment below maybe you’ll understand my incredulity at your own “not really a toughie” comment!

  4. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen dingbats used in a cryptic crossword however I enjoyed it, favourites were 14d 21a and 25a thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for the review.

  5. Oddly enough I found this easier than the cryptic! But many thanks for clarification of 20a

  6. Not for me i’m afraid. i didn’t like the nonsense words (as they don’t exist) and found them too easy to solve as they were identical in form. The remainder went in too quickly as well.
    Thanks ti Firefly and Bufo .

  7. I peeped at the last six. I too can get answers but not see totally why they are correct whereas with the cryptic I usually understand. 21ac pleased me because the word is so rare and also because “Smut” sent me off on a tangent thinking of potty mouthed so called comedians. I should have got dust straight away, there is enough of in our house.

  8. Thanks to Firefly & to Bufo. I didn’t think is was a Bhurtum :-) I was quite entertained by the made up words, of which I managed to solve 2 & three quarters. Altogether I needed 6 hints, but found it very interesting. favourite was 23a.

  9. Very, very enjoyable and definitely not a Bhurtum. :) Needed help with 20a. Thanks Bufo and Firefly.

  10. I quite enjoyed this – a bit of fun in an otherwise drab day!
    Thanks to Firefly, and to Bufo.

  11. What great fun, loved the ‘ither! Thanks to all, love reading the comments. Nice to have a giggle doing these but frightened Elgar might raise his head soon.

      1. Good to see you back on form CS. I think we might just be slightly punished by Notabilis tomorrow. This week has gone too well so far!

  12. What great fun, loved the ‘ither! Thanks to all, love reading the comments. Nice to have a giggle doing these!

  13. I solved the outside of the grid very quickly.

    Thought they might be from J.R.R. Tolkien or Harry Potter or something!

    I’ve never read any of them and never will!

  14. Sorry to be dim but can someone please explain 25a to me. I was born and raised in Surrey but can think of no village approximating to the first 4 letters. William who? Razor????


      1. As albatross is, I’m sorry to be dim – I STILL don’t understand. Never mind – at least I finished a 3* difficulty Toughie.

        1. William of Occam (a medieval philosopher) gave his name to a principle known as Occam’s Razor – he came from a Surrey village called Occam (now called Ockham). So the razor-man is Occam. ‘Cut off’ tells you to delete the last letter – so the answer is Occa(m) + Sion (Jerusalem).

  15. Having extricated my car from the igloo nature had surrounded it with have been out and about most of the day .Was looking forward to the crossword but at first glance thought this was on a wavelength quite distant from my own .However the theme suddenly dawned and smiled the rest of the way apart from the Surrey village for which I had to resort to google .
    Good fun
    Thanks to both

  16. What a fun puzzle! An anagramist’s dream plus the 4 clever nonsense words. Thanks for the explanations bufo. And thanks to Firefly – I particularly liked the subtitle.

  17. I finished it without needing the hints which meant that I knew someone would say it wasn’t really a Toughie.
    I enjoyed it a lot. I got the four long answers round the outside from the definitions – it took me a VERY long time to see why.
    With thanks to Firefly and Bufo.

  18. Well, as I say so often… wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same.

    Having said that… why did I start this at such a late hour…

    Blimey, what a stinker! I’ve been looking at this for HOURS! Ok, I finished it before coming here to read the hints and comments, but even so…

    Please tell me, does the technique used for the perimeter clues have a name? It’s new to me!

    Felt smug to write 20A straight in, enjoyed 21A too, and my thanks to Bufo and Firefly… must go to bed now…

  19. Just discovered this page (Wish I had known about it before). Wonderful to have some hints etc. I would never have got started to DT912 Telegraph Toughie without it. Could you explain Razor-Man bit , village in surrey etc. Got the sion for jerusalem.

    Thanks Toilets

  20. Really enjoyed Firefly’s offering today – some very clever wordplay that made us smile and cheered up a snowy day in Gloucester.

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