Toughie 977 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 977

Toughie No 977 by Elkamere

Only Fools and Horses

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

An excellent puzzle to round off the Toughie week.

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1a    Setting beside lake that features junk shop (10)
{ATMOSPHERE} – a two-letter preposition meaning beside followed by a lake or pool around (that features) an anagram (junk) of SHOP

6a    School collects pound for tramp (4)
{PLOD} – a school of fish around the symbol for a pound sterling gives a verb meaning to tramp

9a    Pensioner, over hill, finally has to stop working (5)
{OLDIE} – A charade of O(ver), the final letter of hilL and a verb meaning to stop working or fail

10a    See me in Sin City getting easy wins (4,5)
{LOVE GAMES} – a two-letter interjection meaning see followed by the Sin City around ME gives easy wins in tennis

12a    I’m one food — nuts, crackers, bananas (3,2,4,4)
{OUT OF ONE’S MIND} – an anagram (crackers) of I’M ONE FOOD NUTS – no apostrophe in the enumeration: why the inconsistency?

14a    Note precise lines created by crude processor (8)
{REFINERY} – a charade of the second note of the scale in sol-fa notation, an adjective meaning precise or exact and the usual abbreviation for train lines gives an installation that processes crude oil

15a    Leader of group opening function — right vocalist (6)
{SINGER} – the initial letter (leader) of Group inside (opening) a trigonometrical function and followed by R(ight)

17a    Shot while making some TV programmes (6)
{DRAMAS} – a shot of, say, whisky followed by a two-letter word meaning while

19a    Ballet-dancer‘s toupee given back by social worker (8)
{FIGURANT} – a slang word for a toupee and a two-letter word meaning a given, or something that is assumed to be the case, reversed (back) and followed by a social worker insect

21a    Extra plastic pieces one used in test (13)
{SUPPLEMENTARY} – an adjective meaning plastic or flexible followed by some chess pieces and A (one) inside a test or attempt

24a    US trailer trash arrest in sight (9)
{AIRSTREAM} – this Americanism for a trailer or current is derived by putting an anagram (trash) of ARREST inside a verb meaning to sight or point at a target

25a    Celtic heart of fire (sort of) (5)
{IRISH} – the inner letters (heart) of fIRe followed by a word meaning sort of

26a    Run away from bizarre figure (4)
{DOLL} – drop (away) the R(un) from an adjective meaning bizarre or odd

27a    When wine bottles are around it’s hard (10)
{ASTRINGENT} – a two-letter adverb meaning when followed by a deep-red Spanish wine around (bottles) a word meaning are around or to circle


1d    A very long un-banked river (4)
{AVON} – the A from the clue followed by V(ery) and (l)ON(g) without its outer letters (un-banked)

2d    Fraudster, accepting sentence, ultimately escaped (4,3)
{MADE OFF} – The name of the person who was responsible for the Ponzi scheme, considered to be the largest financial fraud in U.S. history, around (accepting) the final letter (ultimately) of sentencE

3d    Somerset town postmen, the jerks bagging everything (7,6)
{SHEPTON MALLET} – an anagram (jerks) of POSTMEN THE around (bagging) a three-letter word meaning everything

4d    What gunman will do to cause destruction (8)
{HELLFIRE} – split as (2’2,4) this could be what the gunman will do

5d    See red and black (5)
{RAVEN} – a verb meaning to see red followed by the single-letter that can be used instead of and

7d    Fool making spacecraft stink (7)
{LEMMING} – a Lunar Excursion Module (spacecraft) followed by a stink or unpleasant smell

8d    Needs information about English team heading for relegation (10)
{DESIDERATA} – these needs or much wanted things are derived by putting some information around E(nglish), a team and the initial letter (heading) of Relegation

11d    Form of autotelic sign? (13)
{GESTICULATION} – the whole of the &Lit clue defines the answer – an anagram (form) of AUTOTELIC SIGN

13d    Runner-up always travels with mum in command (10)
{BRIDESMAID} – someone who is always this and never the girl getting married comes from a verb meaning travels on a horse or bike and a two-letter word for mum or mother inside a verb meaning to command or request

16d    Poorly attached handle has no marks, surrounded by tight one (8)
{MISNOMER} – to get this unsuitable (poorly attached) handle or name put NO and M(arks) inside a tight-fisted person

18d    Crop top in Gap — crop top in ladies’ clothing (7)
{APPAREL} – {G)AP without its initial letter followed by a verb meaning to crop or trim and the initial letter (top) of Ladies’

20d    It was nothing new, yet I am worried about it (3,4)
{ANY TIME} – an anagram (worried about it) of N(ew) YET I AM

22d    Pays for male defeatism? Oddly, no (5)
{MEETS} – M(ale) followed by dEfEaTiSm without (no) its odd letters

23d    Teatime conversation? (4)
{CHAT} – a three-letter word for tea followed by T(ime)

A bit of light relief after last Friday’s Elgar puzzle!

12 comments on “Toughie 977

  1. This needed a few visits to complete, in between moving sheets of paper around the office desk.
    An excellent finish to my week. 3.5*/5* for me.
    Thanks to Elkamere, and to BD.

  2. At one stage had.all of the right hand side completed and precious few on the left .
    Got there in the end ,last one in 26a !
    Faves 2d,4d,13d
    Like the title!
    Thanks very much for tch explanations and to Elkamere .

  3. On 12a I suspect the lack of apostrophe in the enumeration is correct. Ones is a possessive pronoun here. Compare “Its fur was brown” with “It’s a brown animal”.

    1. Hmm, well off topic but Fowler apparently doesn’t agree, and a quick google suggests that the majority of pedants who write to forums about such matters don’t agree either. Mea culpa.

  4. Great fun! Super toughie from Elkamere and a super review from BD, thanks to both.

  5. Superb stuff from Mr Mayer, favourites for me were 13d 19a and the brilliant 2d thanks to Elkamere and to Big Dave for the comments.

  6. Needed a few hints here but didn’t need to highlight anything – it was just the definitions were too well hidden! I was most annoyed I needed the hint for 24a as it forms part of my husband’s dream holiday – hopefully the dream also involves myself and our daughters enjoying life on the open road with him! Favourites were 2d – really made me laugh when I realised who the fraudster was – I’d been torturing myself trying to find synonyms rather than examples. Also loved 25a and 12a. 8d a new word for me. Very enjoyable. Thanks to Mr Mayer and BD.

  7. Found it hard going, but got there, apart from being able to parse 27a. Tent is a wine that we did not remember, but on thinking about it this morning, seem to remember it in a crossword some time ago. And it is there in Mrs B and BRB. 7d gave us some strife. Had to look up not only the fool meaning of lemming but also LEM and ming, both new to us. More than a 3* difficulty for us. Lots of clever clues.
    Thanks Elkamere and BD.

  8. Terrific, even though I originally made a schoolboy mess of 1D which , in haste, ended up involving Ganges and ages, Dear Lord, 9a thus became impossible. Cheers to Elkamere and BD.

  9. Surprised to see so few comments here – I thought that this was really excellent.

    1. Maybe folks are still struggling – I’ve only just finished it! Rather more than 3 hard stars for me. Agree with Vigo it’s the way he disguises his definitions, eg 13d and the wonderful 16d. Also loved the clever 18d and so simple[!] 25a.
      Many thanks to Elkamere and BD.

  10. A top quality puzzle – took me longer than most Elkamere puzzles to tease out the answers but well worth it. Thanks to Elkamere and BD for the review.

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