Toughie 1073 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1073

Toughie No 1073 by Firefly

Know Your Onions!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from the Calder Valley! Firefly is back in the Friday slot with a puzzle that is one of the more gentle Friday challenges. I thought it a bit odd to have a few clues with the word ‘onions’ in, all of which were a particular type of clue; usually when that happens the word is hidden in the puzzle and referred to be a clue number.

It’s a big weekend in the Crossword World with a certain Friday Toughie resident celebrating his 50th birthday with a couple of gatherings, one in Sheffield tomorrow, and one in London on Sunday. We will be playing our part here on the blog, pop in tomorrow lunchtime and have a look. I will be at the Sheffield gathering, along with many of the great and the good and if you can make it, I’d love to meet you. No doubt there will be photos.

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.


8a    Without admitting it, food store’s a diversion (8)
{SIDELINE}    We start with a container-type clue today. The shortened name for a type of food shop goes inside the Latin word for ‘without’ and gives you a word meaning a diversion or distraction.

9a    American fellow’s a handsome chap (6)
{ADONIS} This was probably the first clue I solved. The name of a mythical character, famed for his good looks, is found by solving the word sum: A (American) + (the name for a Fellow at a university, also the Christian name of the Friday Telegraph crossword setter) + IS (the apostrophe on fellow)

10a    Groovy time of excitement? (3)
{RUT} A double definition, with one part cryptic. I’m personally not keen on this clue as one part sort of points at the answer, the answer is a noun, and the indication is adjectival, but maybe I am being a bit picky. The name for the time of excitement when a stag is on heat – it’s also the term when two male deer fight and lock antlers, is also the name for a groove or trench.

11a    Transport for Secretary of State for Transport suspended! (5,3)
{CABLE CAR} Another double def with cryptic leanings. The surname of one of the members of the Coalition Government, the Business Secretary, is added to a form of transport to give another type of conveyance, one found up in the air!

12a    Lacking part of machine-gun, a Blenheim is powerless (6)
{UNABLE} A hidden answer, although indicated a little more unusually by asking you to remove the surplus bits, a word meaning powerless.

13a    Onion glut a cart’s transporting produces ‘bouquet‘ (15)
{CONGRATULATIONS} An anagram (transported) of ONION GLUT A CARTS gives a word meaning a bouquet

15a    With odds and ends in tin, amateur finds choral work (7)
{CANTATA} A word meaning junk, or odds and ends goes inside something meaning TIN plus A gives a type of musical piece.

18a    Savage Northern bird (7)
{BITTERN} N (northern) is added to a word meaning savage or harsh-tasting to give the name of a bird.

21a    Aunt fed onions to gathering as basic necessity (10,5)
{FOUNDATION STONE} An anagram (gathering) of AUNT FED ONIONS TO gives a phrase that relates to something essential at the inception of a project or building.

24a    Energy required round start of daily grind (6)
{POWDER} Something meaning energy, electricity etc goes around D (start of daily) to produce a word meaning to grind finely.

25a    Cultural period shows individual in setting (5,3)
{STONE AGE} A period in history is revealed by taking the number relating to individual and placing it inside something meaning setting or location of a play or film.

26a    Frost Report’s second in command promoted? (3)
{ICE} A word associated with frost is revealed by taking the second letter of REPORT and putting it after the abbreviation for ‘in command’ (promoted).

27a    I fall behind in Kent getting fodder (6)
{SILAGE} inside the compass location for Kent goes I and a word meaning to fall behind – this gives a type of animal fodder.

28a    Got together, misled about furthest points of voyage (8)
{CONVENED) Something that means misled or scammed goes around the first and last letters (furthest points) of VOYAGE.


1d    Flog a riverboat, partially capsized in Amazon? (6)
{VIRAGO} Hidden going backwards inside FLOG A RIVERBOAT is a word that relates to one of the mythical women of South America, the Amazons.

2d    Maybe Pete for instance chases Penny, and Lira later (3,3)
{PEG LEG} Maybe I’m a bit oversensitive because it has been used as abuse at me in the past, but I didn’t like this at all. The nickname for someone who walks with a limp IS ___ PETE, and this is revealed by using the abbreviation for say, or for example after P and after L.

3d    Ship‘s service in Arctic rarer, I worked out (8-7)
{AIRCRAFT-CARRIER} A type of very large warship is revealed by playing the abbreviation for one of the services inside an anagram of ARCTIC RARER I.

4d    Irony of flying officer hiding mistake over America (7)
{FERROUS} Inside the abbreviation for Flying Officer goes a word meaning to make a mistake. Add to this the abbreviation for America and you get something meaning like iron.

5d    As I put onion tart out: ‘That’s the limit!’ (10,5)
{SATURATION POINT} A scientific term that’s come into usage to mean as much as possible or the limit of something is an anagram (out) of AS I PUT ONION TART.

6d    Plantsman Brown features in various obits (8)
{BOTANIST} Something meaning to brown in the sun goes inside an anagram (various) of OBITS to give the term for someone who works with plants.

7d    Bearing sleeve needed for jet (8)
{AIRLINER} Something meaning bearing or mien is added to one meaning sleeve to give the name for a jet.

14d    Unguent regularly given to pigeon (3)
{NUN} Hmm…. The alternate letters (regularly) of UNGUENT produces the name for a kind of pigeon. Can’t help thinking that the more common definition would have worked better with unguent. Oh well, it is a Toughie!

16d    Game with Gillingham initially in a state — defence … (8)
{APOLOGIA} The name for a sport beloved by Prince Charles and G (Gillingham, initially) goes inside A and the abbreviation for the state of IOWA to give a legal term for a defence.

17d    … having problem with pitch — possible defeat on (4-4)
{TONE-DEAF} An anagram (possible) of DEFEAT ON gives the name for someone who has no musical acumen.

19d    I may appear in Twilight of the Gods (3)
{EGO} a word referring to I is hidden in the title TWILIGHT OF THE GODS. Sadly clues to this word are invariably eclipsed by the simply brilliant Elgar clue: I say nothing (3)

20d    Break down in north of Devon is with school (7)
{DISSECT} A word meaning to breakdown (as in the work of a pathologist) is found by taking the first letter of DEVON (north of), adding IS and the name for a school or group.

22d    Article on uncompleted highest city in Egypt (6)
{THEBES} The name for a place in Egypt is found by taking THE and adding a word meaning the highest minus its last letter.

23d    A small but valuable piece of bomb turning up in Brazil, perhaps (6)
{NUGGET} An obscurer meaning of bomb is reversed inside a product associated with Brazil to give something small and valuable, usually referring to gold.

Thanks to Firefly for the challenge. I must dash as I have grannies to organise at bridge. I can safely say that I’d rather referee some of the most physical soccer players (as I used to) than grannies squabbling over a bridge table! Hope to see you in Sheffield tomorrow.

10 comments on “Toughie 1073

  1. A nice crossword from Firefly, but I can’t quite fathom what the “it” is doing in 8ac.
    I thought 4dn was brilliant.
    Overall ***/**** I reckon
    Thanks Firefly and Tilsit.

    1. In 8a the ‘it’ is a forward reference to the food store, so ‘without’ containing (admitting) ‘food store’.

  2. After yesterdays ferocious battle this was a pussycat but I did enjoy it, favourites were 4d and 8a thanks to Firefly and Tilsit for the comments.

  3. Had a bit of time after the back page cryptic, so had a go at the toughie expecting the worst on a Friday ; to my surprise found it very straightforward, the only clue I didn’t like was 18a,thanks for the explanation Tilsit, still never seen bitter associated with savage before .Assume the nun pigeons are named after the good ladies habits!

  4. Thanks as always Tilsit ,the hint ,as put ,conjured up a mental image of a group of stags watching a pair of hinds bellowing and locking ears ! (Heat)
    Really pleasant solve after yesterday’s challenge so thanks to Firefly too .

  5. I found it hard-going to begin with but once I had a start it was reasonably straightforward. V.enjoyable – just the ticket for a wet afternoon.

  6. The four long anagrams, three with onions, went in rather easily which gave plenty of checkers to work with. I actually managed to solve it a tad more quickly than the back-page Giovanni. Plenty to smile and chuckle about.
    Thanks Firefly and Tilsit

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