Toughie 992 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 992

Toughie No 992 by Firefly

Stressed out?

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I had no problem at all with the top half. The bottom half required a little more thought.  Filling in the grid proved not to be too difficult but I had problems untangling some of the 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 & 12a    Mum perusing a couple of Delia’s originals when fixing dessert (6,7)
{SUMMER PUDDING} An anagram (when fixing) of MUM PERUSING D D (i.e two occurrences of D, the first or original letter of Delia)

4a    Cruise possibly booked by Fawlty’s Andrew to see bears? (8)
{STOMACHS} The first name of the actor Mr Cruise goes inside the surname of the Fawlty Towers actor called Andrew

10a    Receiver allowed back? Nope, he’s for it! (9)
{TELEPHONE} A reversal of ‘allowed’ + an anagram (for it) of NOPE HE

11a    Onset of retrenchment impacts on every individual in range (5)
{REACH} The first letter (onset) of Retrenchment + every individual

12a    See 1 Across

13a    Exhort seamer to spin a bit — he’s a wizard! (7)
{MAESTRO} Hidden in reverse in exhORT SEAMer

14a    Survey of ruin conveyed orally to church (5)
{RECCE} A homophone (conveyed orally) of ‘ruin’ + an abbreviation denoting ‘church’

15a    Trio plays regularly in front of college for a 12 (4-4)
{ROLY POLY} Alternate letters of tRiO pLaYs + a college

18a    French miss American market held in Maine (8)
Newspaper version – Miss Parisian morning market held in Maine (8)
{MAMSELLE} A contracted form of the French word for a miss (girl) = an abbreviation for American [or the abbreviation for morning] + ‘to market’ inside the abbreviation for Maine

20a    Stragglers from city travel west to capital (5)
{TOKYO} I’m not keen on this one. Take the name of a city (the former capital of a certain country) and move the last two letters (the stragglers) to the front (i.e. make them travel west) to get the present-day capital of the same country

23a    In bakehouse a blender’s handy (7)
{USEABLE} Hidden in bakehoUSE A BLEnder

25a    1 Across tree‘s susurration audible to crowd (7)
{CYPRESS} A homophone (audible) of a word meaning ‘susurration’ + ‘to crowd’ gives a type of tree. I’m not sure where the 1 Across comes into it although there is a herb called 1 Across *******

26a    Furnish department with upscale wings (5)
{ENDUE} Department + the first and last letters (wings) of UpscalE. I don’t really see why department = *** [I thought the same, but Chambers Thesaurus gives it in a group with part, aspect, side, area, field, section, and branch.  BD]

27a    13 blows kiss over to ‘knockout’ wife (9)
{STOKOWSKI} The surname of a 13 (an orchestral conductor) = an anagram (blows) of KISS round (over) TO KO (knockout) W (wife). I struggled here because I’ve never heard of him

28a    Party near to ruin — a minor matter? (4,4)
{SIDE DISH} A party (faction) + an informal word for ‘to ruin’ = a supplementary part of a meal (i.e. a minor matter?)

29a    Setters take off bumpily and fly (6)
{TSETSE} An anagram (bumpily) of SETTES, i.e. SETTERS minus the letter R (recipe or take)


1d    Flipping gin at Earl’s is ‘different’ (3,5)
{SET APART} A reversal (flipping) of ‘gin’ AT E’S (E = Earl)

2d    Sweet-sounding doctor getting look-in? (7)
{MELODIC} A doctor goes round ‘look!’

3d    Part in ‘Nemesis’ let slip lack of substance (9)
{EMPTINESS} PT (part) in an anagram (let slip) of NEMESIS

5d    Brief California earth tremor jolted nuclear facility (7,7)

6d    Join in the setter’s piece of work! (5)
{MERGE} A unit of work goes inside ME (the setter)

7d    Property discussion, with obstacle being raised (7)
{CHATTEL} Discussion + a reversal of an obstacle

8d    Conveniences erected to accommodate children in academy (6)
{SCHOOL} A reversal (erected) of conveniences (toilets) round CH (children)

9d    Sea area on east’s filled with young fish — they have little substance (8,6)
{DOGGEREL VERSES} A sea area in the North Sea named after a Bank + E’S (east’s) round young eels

16d    Spurious posts in the building trade? (3-2,4)
{PUT-UP JOBS} These are schemes which are dishonestly or craftily prearranged or conceived (i.e. spurious ones’. You could also interpret the answer as posts (positions) in the building trades when something is being erected

17d    Time off after costliest revamping — a turning-point for 1 Across (8)
{SOLSTICE} An anagram (revamping) of COSTLIES (i.e. COSTLIEST with T = time removed)

19d    Last word on Democratic newsman: ‘Free from fault’ (7)
{AMENDED} The last word (of a prayer) + D (Democratic) + a newsman

21d    Ken sets off for Parliament (7)
{KNESSET} An anagram (off) of KEN SETS

22d    As a 12 might it succeed Brown Windsor soup and Crown roast? (6)
{QUEEN’S} A type of 12 that has a royal connection

24d    With 12 this has some fibre added (5)
{BREAD} Hidden in fiBRE ADded

I won’t be around next week but I’m looking forward to the week after when Thursday’s puzzle should be Toughie No. 1000

24 comments on “Toughie 992

  1. Bit of a Curates Egg for me. Some of it was like the Sunday GK and some of it just damn good cryptic, not sure if I enjoyed it or not but on the whole I guess it wasn;t bad. Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for an excellent review.

  2. I found the bottom half of this to be pretty tricky, and needed help on a couple to finish it off.
    Like BigBoab, not sure if I enjoyed it or not, but I always appreciate a puzzle.
    I also was not sure about the relevance of 1a in relation to 25a, although a little research shows there appears to be two types of this tree in N America; one evergreen, the other deciduous.
    Thanks to Firefly, and to Bufo.

  3. Like Jezza I wondered about the tree and having looked it up find the burning bush is also called the summer cypress .I have been completing the toughie before the back pager but swopped today or did I ?
    I enjoyed it Fave 25a .Last in 22d .
    Thanks firefly and Bufo

  4. I enjoyed this one although I have to say that 27a was a Toughie all on its own. Thanks to FIrefly and Bufo too. I bet Toughie 1000 will definitely be a proper Toughie!!

    1. Good old 27a! I’ve got everything he ever did. I told you I should have asked matron to be excused but would you listen? Instead I find myself like the 5th former who wandered into the staff common room by mistake. Only the smell of stale tobacco smoke is missing.

  5. shouldn’t 19d read “amended?” think the envelopes were mixed up today….toughie was much easier for me than backpager….

  6. I sailed through this without any problems apart from 27a which took me nearly as long as the rest of the puzzle. Favourites were 8d 14a and 22d thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for the comments.

  7. I enjoyed this but failed to understand the wordplay for the Tokyo one, the relevance of “summer” cypress and the use of “department” in 26a. Thanks to all!

    ps. 18a – The Paper has a different clue:

    Miss Parisian morning market held in Maine (8)

    (Is Phil McNeill still around – maybe he could explain why there are different clues.)

      1. Miss in French morning market held in Maine (8)

        Nice young lady! Morning market held in Maine (8)

        Blimey – it must be hard being a compiler!!!

      2. If having a French A level taken nearly as many years ago as I started solving cryptic crosswords makes me a ‘scholar’, I did think that she should have been Parisienne when I read the clue ni the paper this morning.

  8. Managed to get quite a few, mostly the hidden words & anagrams, before resorting to the hints. So I a bit happier after having got stuck on the (inside)back pager today.

  9. Left with 6D (d’oh) 16D, 25A, 27A. so I’m not unhappy with my effort, though it took a long time. Of course, as usual there were also several where I needed the hints to understand why my answer was correct. Too hard for me to say I enjoyed it, but my brain certainly had a work-out. Many thanks to both.

    Re 22D, my cookbooks all say it’s ***** of 12A (s)

    1. 22d My mum always called it ‘xxxxx of’ singular when it has the ‘of’ with it.

      1. Chambers (let’s not forget that this is the Telegraph’s dictionary of choice) gives

        Queen of puddings – noun – A pudding made with egg, breadcrumbs, fruit or jam, etc. topped with meringue

        Queen’s pudding – noun – Queen of puddings (see above)

        1. Its a lovely pudding too – haven’t had one for years. Will have to make one at the weekend.

  10. The only stone left unturned for us was the parsing of Tokyo. A pretty good puzzle, but strangely, neither of today’s puzzles seemed to have the sparkle of Wednesday’s offerings for us. The distaff member of the team got the 27a conductor very quickly, thank goodness.
    Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

  11. I didn’t have time to read the review earlier ,but have just done so .nobody can complain about the clarity of the hint for 21d !
    Thanks again .

  12. Beaten by 27a, is it me or are we having a week of french ladies a la 18a. Anyway, had some time today to myself and have to say the Arachne and Donk puzzles have been top notch. Cheers Firefly and Bufo

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