Toughie 1101 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1101

Toughie No 1101 by Firefly

Cogito ergo sum

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from the Calder Valley and thanks to BD and Cryptic sue for helping out over the past two weeks while I’ve been getting ready for my forthcoming stay at Calderdale’s finest NHS facility (“Number One in a field of one”).

Firefly is here today, and to be fair it’s one of the gentler Friday Toughies, but given the onslaught of seasonal challenges we will face over the next few weeks that is probably no bad thing. Nothing too challenging here but quite enjoyable. There is a sort of gimmick with some of the clues having a similar endings that provide definitions, although one doesn’t which misleads nicely. Favourite clues are 6d, 18 ac and 17dn.

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    For recital, a piano is placed by workers near Tate’s front elevation … (14)
{AGGRANDIZEMENT} We start with a sort of homophone clue, and I’m not sure it works well to be honest. If you solve the word sum A + type of piano + IS and turn that into a homophone, adding something that means workers and T for time, you get a word that means elevation to something higher.

9a    … Journalist catches me hugging foreman in relief! (8)
{EMBOSSED) Inside the standard two word term for a journalist is ME and inside that is a word for a company head, this all leads to a term that means ‘in relief’ as in printing or architecture.

10a    This swimmer‘s regularly deficient in the knack he … (5)
{TENCH} If you remove alternate letters from THE KNACK HE, you get a fish.

12a    … needs. Cancel new date, and adopt line taken by other swimmers! (4)
{EELS} Remove N & D (new date) from NEEDS and insert L to get another kind of fish.

13a    Later on, man becomes non-functional (10)
{ORNAMENTAL} An anagram (becomes) of LATE ON MAN gives a word that means decorative.

15a    A long time after ‘Lights Out’? (4,4)
{DARK AGES} A period of history is a word meaning a period of time which follows a word that means the lights are out

16a    ‘Smallbone‘ is mostly just a pest (6)
{STAPES} – The proper name for smallest bone in the human body is hidden in the phrase “just a pest”

18a    Plaque experienced between two teeth initially (6)
{TABLET} A word for a plaque or memorial is found by placing a word meaning experienced between the first letter of Teeth twice (or perhaps the first letters of Two and Teeth).

20a    Share a win? (6,2)
{DOUBLE UP} Not sure about this, but I think it’s a cryptic definition meaning that if you share a particular prize you could say you each receive a prize twice.

23a    To paddle back to vessel takes desperate guts, I believe (10)
{WORSHIPPER} Reverse a word meaning to paddle, add a type of boat and then the middle three letters (guts) of DESPERATE} to give you someone with faith.

24a    This is one uncle’s deciphered — no name attached (4)
{CLUE} Your definition is “This is one” And it is! An anagram (deciphered) of UNCLE minus N

26a    Reptile, I reckon (5)
{ADDER} A double definition, the name of a British reptile is someone who reckons.

27a    First female Republican has me touring Oregon unceasingly (8)
{EVERMORE} The name of the Bible’s First Lady is added to R for right and ME with the abbreviation for the state of Oregon inside. This gives you a word meaning unceasingly.

28a    Reciprocal of pi needn’t deter start of number crunching (14)
{INTERDEPENDENT} An anagram (crunching) of PI NEEDN’T DETER and N (start of number) gives you something that means reciprocal.


2d    Grand stroll on summit of ridge, I bet? (7)
{GAMBLER} Someone who likes a flutter is found by taking G (grand), adding a word meaning to walk or wander and R (summit of ridge).

3d    A cat in a scrap (4)
{ATOM} A word for a small piece of something is A + the name for a type of cat.

4d    Left uncultivated (8)
{DESERTED} A double definition. A word meaning left or abandoned could also refer to a place that is uncultivated.

5d    Belt up — in Jamaica I doze! (6)
{ZODIAC} A name for a famous astronomical and astrological ‘belt’ is hidden backwards in JAMAICA I DOZE.

6d    Queen of the hive can be heard, I expect? (6-2-2)
{MOTHER-TO-BE} A double definition where both are sort of cryptic. A way of describing the sort of Queen that lives in a hive is some someone who’s expecting the patter of tiny feet.

7d    Constant vibration in pontoons — but nothing’s missing (3-4)
{NON-STOP} An anagram (vibration) of PONTOONS, minus an O for nothing gives a phrase meaning constant.

8d    His help with poor’s extraordinary, I think (11)
{PHILOSOPHER} An anagram (extraordinary) of HIS HELP with POOR gives a person of thought.

11d    Learned to draw during 2012, perhaps? No further tweaking needed (5,2,4)
{READY TO WEAR)} A word that means learned or studied at university is added to something of which 2012 is an example and inside this goes a word meaning to pull something. Altogether this means the same as prêt-à-porter. Not sure it quite means the definition given.

14d    Conduct — as batteries can? (4,6)
{TAKE CHARGE} A way of describing what batteries do is the same as a phrase meeting to conduct a meeting.

17d    Mop he twice wielded round top of loo to make cleaner (4,4)
{HOME HELP} An anagram (wielded) of MOP, plus HE and HE (he twice) goes around L to give the name of someone who cleans.

19d    Noteworthy chap destined to cover limited-over match (7)
{BORODIN} A composer’s name is revealed by taking a description of ‘destined’ and inserting the abbreviation of a type of cricket match (the less said about English cricket the better at the moment!)


21d    The French getting into green recycling — that’s swell! (7)
{ENLARGE} A word meaning to swell is found by putting the definite article in French inside an anagram (recycling) of GREEN

22d    Hang on — program’s finishing (6)
{APPEND} Something that means to hang on is found by taking an abbreviation or name for a program, especially one associated with a modern mobile phone, and a word meaning finish.

25d    Article’s about yours truly, I conclude? (4)
{AMEN} An appropriate way to finish the puzzle (and the blog!) is by placing an indefinite article round something that means oneself.

Thanks to Firefly for the challenge, and I’ll be back next week.

10 comments on “Toughie 1101

  1. I got stuck on 5d, because I had spelt 1a with an S, not a Z. Once that penny dropped – shades of Inspector Morse in one of the novels ranting about ‘-ise’ being a misspelling – everything fell into place.

    Thanks to Firefly and Tilsit.

  2. I got through this one quicker than the other puzzle today. No complaints from me on the level of difficulty, as work duties were more prevalent than usual for a Friday.
    Many thanks to Firefly, and to Tilsit for the review.

  3. We had the same problem as DT with the Z or S in 1a which meant that 5d was also our last in. As we said in ‘the other place’ this one was completed in a shorter time than the Giovanni. Good fun, no complaints, we’re happy.
    Thanks Firefly and Tilsit.

  4. An enjoyable puzzle, but I got myself in a right twist over 11d. thinking it was an anagram of TO DRAW + YEAR (2012 perhaps) but , of course, I was always an ‘E’ short and spent many fruitless minutes trying to somehow manufacture it! Still, good fun and so thanks to Firefly and to Tilsit for some excellent commentary and one much needed explanation..

  5. Thanks Tilsit I also used S instead of Z so 5d last in ,favourite by quite a distance 6d but took 8.5 seconds longer than the cryptic overall so must do better !
    Cheers Firefly very enjoyable .

  6. I tried this on CS’s recommendation, and enjoyed lots of very good clues.Didn’t make any headway with11d,or19d, . Favourites were 4d,6d and 14d.Thanks to Firefly and Tilsit.

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