Toughie 933 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 933

Toughie No 933 by Elkamere

The ‘Bufo’ effect strikes again

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

A painful back put paid to my usual Friday morning table tennis session and so I offered to blog today’s puzzle in the expectation that it would be a typical Friday stinker. However, what Cryptic Sue has christened the ‘Bufo’ effect came into play. This effect dictates that the crossword editor will slip in a fairly gentle puzzle whenever it is my day for blogging. This puzzle took me exactly the same time as yesterday’s puzzle and was probably the easiest Elkamere puzzle that I have ever solved. The only minor hold-ups were at 4 across where I needed to work out the answer from the wordplay once I had all the checking letters and at 14 across where the wordplay eluded me for a time.

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    Inspire, as it were, to produce puzzle (6)
{BEMUSE} When split (2,4) it could mean ‘inspire in the manner of Calliope, Erato, et al.’

4a    Old infection nurses wash with a smelly preparation (8)
{OPOPANAX} O (old) + a viral infection round ‘to wash (earth for gold)’ and A

9a    River Dee emptied around a central point (6)
{DANUBE} A European river = the first and last letters of Dee round A and a central point

10a    Strip bird, a dirty woman (8)
{SLATTERN} A thin strip of wood + an aquatic bird

11a    Lover soon has to betray love (9)
{INAMORATO} Soon (2,1,2) + ‘to betray’ + O (love)

13a    Some smelly dirt around rural setting? (5)
{IDYLL} Hidden in reverse in smelly dirt

14a    Hi-tech plastic bottle in which Tango’s consumed (5-2-3-3)
{STATE OF THE ART} Plastic (as an adjective) (4) and bottle (courage) (5) go round T (tango) and ‘consumed’ (3)

17a    Diabolical horse entering Hell (6,7)
{NETHER REGIONS} An anagram (diabolical) of HORSE ENTERING

21a    Lots primarily seen in overflowing sack (5)
{RIFLE} L (first letter of lots) inside ‘overflowing’ = ‘to sack’

23a    Baby bonnet’s grabbed for one getting up (2,3,4)
{TO THE GOOD} A baby (3) and bonnet (4) round ‘for one’ or ‘for example’

24a    Garden item worker quietly placed in garden (5,3)
{PLANT POT} A worker (insect) and P (quietly) inside a garden

25a    Dresses in silk, firstly on cold skin (6)
{CHIDES} Dresses (scolds) = S (first letter of silk) after (on) C (cold) and skin

26a    Start to drink sherry, pathetically! (8)
{DOLOROSO} D (first letter of drink) + a golden-coloured medium-sweet sherry = a musical term meaning ‘in a soft and sorrowful manner’

27a    Inflexible adult bones (6)
{STERNA} ‘Inflexible’ + A (adult) = breastbones


1d    Blunt needle producing person’s blood (6)
{BODKIN} A slang term for a person + blood (relationship)

2d    Soldiers rubbished latest perspective? (6,3)
{MENTAL SET} Soldiers + an anagram (rubbished) of LATEST gives (and I quote from Chambers) ‘the tendency to consider new problems, etc., in the same way as old ones; a mindset’. A new term to me but it was obvious from the wordplay

3d    It keeps posh Eighties boy band behind the scenes (3,4)
{SUB ROSA} IT (sex appeal) goes round U (posh) and the name of an eighties boy band containing the Goss twins to give a Latin expression meaning ‘behind the scenes’

5d    Its combatants may have thrown down weapons (6,5)
{PILLOW FIGHT} A cryptic definition for an activity in which combatants hit each other with down-filled objects

6d    Cherished this plastic cross (7)
{PETTISH} ‘Cherished’ + an anagram (plastic) of THIS

7d    Legend regularly housed by Gotham’s poor (5)
{NEEDY} Alternate letters of legend inside an abbreviation for the city nicknamed Gotham

8d    Times cryptic hotline solves ‘Foreign rock?’ (8)
{XENOLITH} The letter denoting ‘times (as in multiplication)’ + an anagram (cryptic) of HOTLINE = a fragment of rock of extraneous origin which has been incorporated in magma (at least that’s what Chambers says)

12d    Sailor in tears or suffering disorders (11)
{ABERRATIONS} A 2-letter abbreviation denoting a sailor + an anagram (suffering) of IN TEARS OR

15d    A graduate bolshie about guards touching runaway (9)
{ABSCONDER} A + science graduate + a reversal of bolshie round (guards) ‘touching’

16d    In climbing forward I had to be fearless (8)
{INTREPID} IN + a reversal of ‘forward’ + I’D (I had)

18d    One will set up English clergyman (7)
{ERECTOR} E (English) + a clergyman

19d    Unique house in rough stone (3-4)
{ONE-SHOT} HO (house) in an anagram (rough) of STONE

20d    Port not initially passed over when heading north (6)
{ODESSA} A port on the Black Sea = a reversal of ASSED (passed with the first letter missing) and O (over)

22d    Delicate, fine line (5)
{FRAIL} F (fine) + line

A pleasant puzzle as always from Elkamere but I wish it had been one of his more difficult offerings

28 comments on “Toughie 933

  1. Thanks to Elkamere for an entertaining puzzle and to Bufo for the review. Having learnt a new word at 4a I did wonder how Elkamere had resisted clueing it as the way his daughter might address him (1,3,4).

    1. I wondered about a link, especailly as his daughter’s name is reversed at the end of the word.

      I have just noticed that his FT ‘alias’ is in 26a too.

  2. Found it a bit more difficult than 2, 23a and 3d causing grey hairs and stress, however agree not as awkward as expected. Many thanks to setter and Bufo.

  3. I had worked out exactly what pieces of work I was going to hide the Toughie behind as an Elkamere usually means I have to look at the crossword on and off for a considerable while. I got on very well and then remembered Bufo was blogging today. Perhaps he ought to be moved round the rota without notice to see if he can catch the scheduling system out.

    Very enjoyable thank you Elkamere and thank you to Bufo too.

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed this toughie from Elkamere, agreed it wasn’t his hardest but nevertheless had some fairly difficult solves. Thanks to Elkamere and Bufo.

  5. Gentle yet very entertaining fare on offer today. favourites for me were 3d 5d 11a and 23a thanks to Elkamere and to Bufo for the comments.

  6. My difficulty rating differs somewhat .Completed lower half fairly readily and shuddered through the upper half where 3 or 4 clues almost resulted in surrender but in fairness the wordplay should have got me there sooner .
    Thanks very much

  7. Apart from 4a, which was a new word to me, the rest of the puzzle was fairly straightforward for a Friday.
    Thanks to Elkamere, and to Bufo.

  8. A very nice puzzle from Elkamere solved quite quickly for once!. Some very nice wordplay!
    Thanks to Elkamere and Bufo.

  9. I enjoyed this. Lots of inspired guesses so needed the word play explained for clues like 14a.

    Re20d Surely the answer is just reversed in the clue? pASSED Over “heading north”.

  10. Evening friends and bonjour from Monte-Carlo. Quick message (dictated by phone charges!). Many thanks for the review Bufo and to all for comments.
    Cracking thunderstorm last night with forked lightning out at sea, some sun today but cloudy now. Reasonably warm though. Back Sunday to frozen Blighty!

  11. I quite enjoyed this even though the first few were doine in the dentist’s waiting room :sad: Never heard of the popping Anax sruff, and probably never will again!

    Thanks to Elkamere and Bufo

  12. Nice puzzle – 4a is not yer everyday word, but “Anax” is quite tricky to incorporate – I only got it after seeing what was in 26a.

    Thanks to Anax and Bufo.

  13. Good evening all.

    Took it to the MAU for a dose of antibiotics (me, not the puzzle) and found it fairly benign for a Friday.

    Can I just alert you to the weekly puzzle tomorrow, which may well delight (or irritate) a fair few of you!

    I shall see you all in these portals again quite soon as well.

  14. Much more difficult than a ** for me. Needed electronic assistance for the last couple including 4a of course. Took much of the afternoon (with interruptions) to complete but consider it time well spent.
    Thanks Elkamere and Bufo.

  15. Late to do this but very enjoyable, did wonder about the appearance of Anax and Loroso in the grid and whether there was any more to it. More than 2* for me difficulty wise.

    Thanks Bufo and DM

    1. Morning Flash. I too wondered whether the Anax/Loroso had any significance. Perhaps he might let on when he gets back from Monte Carlo (if he isn’t shivering too much in the drastic change on temperature).

  16. What happened to the result for toughie 933 of 22nd Feb shown in 26th Feb DTele? Serious mix-up in top left hand corner by DTele but no correction shown so far .

      1. The Crossword Editor has confirmed there is an error with that solution – he apologises and says he will print the correct solution tomorrow

      2. \The solution was set up in the paper before some of the clues/solutions were changed. The solution in the paper thinks that the following were

        1a is NO DICE
        9a ROSARY
        11a AMERICANO
        1d NORWAY
        2d DASHEISST (whatever that means! – so presumably why it was all changed)
        3d CORRIDA

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