Toughie 1245 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1245

Toughie No 1245 by Firefly

It’s all Greek to me!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

One of the easiest Friday puzzles for quite a while. A lot of the clues are of the kind recently described as “cut-and-paste”, requiring various bits and pieces to be added or removed.

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    Gossip involving Cameron lands government in it (13)
SCANDALMONGER: – an anagram (involving) of CAMERON LANDS around G(overnment)

9a    Sappers force is on ship to regain … (9)
REPOSSESS: – a charade of the usual sappers, a force of constables (popular in Westerns!) and the usual SteamShip

10a    … leading position during initial phase (5)
ALPHA: – hidden (during) inside the clue

11a    Period without Mark at home makes relationship (3-2)
TIE-IN: – a period or duration without the M(ark) and followed by the usual two-letter word for at home

12a & 13a    Spike holding dance in the edge of the wood (4,4)
TREE LINE: – a spike, typically one on a fork, around a Scottish or Irish dance

13a    See 12 Across

15a    He’s so distraught — being about stumped for dance partner (7)
HOSTESS: – an anagram (distraught) of HE’S SO around ST(umped)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

17a    Convinced about truth? Not quite — it’s a facade (7)
SURFACE: – an adjective meaning convinced around most of a truth or reality

18a    As for an inclination, no dreamer he! (7)
REALIST: – a two-letter word meaning as for or concerning followed by the indefinite article (from the clue) and an inclination or tilt

20a    Beach on Ostend’s front shelters old thingamajig (2-3-2)
SO-AND-SO: – a beach followed by the initial letter (front) of O[stend] and around (shelters) O(ld)

21a & 22a    Visitors using one route reported rain (4,4)
AWAY TEAM: – the visitors who come to play against the home side are derived from A (one), a route or course and what sounds like (reported) a verb meaning to rain heavily

22a    See 21 Across

23a    Slow start for bus on incline (5)
BRAKE: – the initial letter (start) of B[us] followed by an incline or slope

26a    Meal punctuated by suggestions of hilarity and tomfoolery in letter from abroad (5)
THETA: – a light meal around separately (punctuated by) the initial letters (suggestions) of H[ilarity] and T[omfoolery]

27a    A black mark against leaders of exciting race in TT (9)
ABSTAINER: – the A from the clue followed by B(lack), a mark or stain and the initial letters (leaders) of E[xciting] R[ace] gives someone who doesn’t drink alcohol (TT)

28a    Singlet and smalls to launder? Odoriferous, them! (8,5)
SMELLING SALTS: – an anagram (to launder) of SINGLET and SMALLS


1d    Two slices of tripe eaten by lively Chester gathering occasioning ambulance crew? (9,5)
STRETCHER PARTY: – the first two letters (slices) of TR[ipe] inside (eaten by) an anagram (lively) of CHESTER and followed by a social gathering

2d    Politician in drink is expansive (5)
AMPLE: – the usual politician inside an alcoholic drink

3d    Garibaldis in her Italian cases cast aside by Will (10)
DISINHERIT: – hidden (cases) inside the clue

4d    Put up scenery with genuine character from Elsinore (7)
LAERTES: – the reversal of (put up) some scenery used in a film and an adjective meaning genuine gives this character in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

5d    Poultry parts unknown in odd stores (7)
OYSTERS: – these parts of chicken or other poultry, so named because of their similarity in shape to some bivalve molluscs, are derived by putting a mathematical unknown inside an anagram (odd) of STORES

6d & 25d    Chain guard up with bag? Agree to differ about this (4-4)
GEAR CASE: – this covering which guards the chain of a bicycle comes from the reversal of a bag or pouch inside an anagram (to differ) of AGREE – i always called this a chain guard!

7d    Lecture given by agent — on edge moreover (9)
REPRIMAND: – a three-letter agent followed by an edge and a three-letter word meaning moreover

8d    Spread provided by Peter — of age said to be ambiguous (4,2,4,4)
PÂTÉ DE FOIE GRAS: – this spread or delicacy made from fattened goose liver is an anagram (ambiguous) of PETER OF AGE SAID

14d    Heads follow secondary route with veggies (5,5)
BROAD BEANS: – a slang word for heads follows a secondary route (1,4)

16d    Limeys from a long distance among spectators (9)
SEAFARERS: – these limeys or sailors, so-called because of the use of lime juice on British ships to prevent scurvy, are derived by putting a word meaning from a long distance inside some spectators or viewers

19d    Oblique connection one’s formed, in conclusion (7)
TOENAIL: – this obliquely driven fastener comes from an anagram (formed) of ONE inside a conclusion or rear

20d    Instrument Mum’s taken up is leading to extremes of emotion (7)
SAMISEN: – I’d never heard of this Japanese guitar-like instrument with three strings, but it is easily derived from the wordplay – the reversal of a two-letter word meaning Mum and the S from ‘S followed by IS and the outer letters (extremes) of E[motio]N

24d    With southern area cleared, plant is void (5)
ANNUL: – start with a plant that lives for one year only and drop (cleared) the lower (southern) occurrence of the letter A(rea)

25d    See 6 Down

Let’s hope for a Tougher challenge next week (forever the optimist!).

9 comments on “Toughie 1245

  1. I completed this without help, though it wasn’t a write-in. I had not heard of 20D either, but as you say it could be easily worked out. I would have thought 19D would be two words. I did like 8D…it took a while to realize it was an anagram! thanks to Firefly for a kind end to the week and to BD for the review.

    Once again, the same word appears in the quickie and the toughie/cryptic.

  2. Am I actually the first to comment?

    What a joy after yesterday. Finished before Big Dave’s post and that has never happened before.

    OK It was easy for a Friday but then yesterday’s was too hard for any day of the week!

  3. A mundane offering for a Friday Toughie, struggling to find a favourite, thanks to Firefly and to Big Dave for the comments.

  4. An enjoyable if not very difficult toughie today, thanks to Firefly and to BD for the review.

  5. A few words or at least usages that were new to us, 19d, 20d, the poultry use of 5d and 6/25d, but all accessible from the wordplay. Unusual to see this setter on a Friday but we did find it a little trickier than Firefly’s norm. Good fun for us.
    Thanks Firefly and BD.

  6. I was feeling well pleased with myself, having completed yet another Toughie this week – that was until I read ‘one of the easiest Friday puzzles’ and ‘mundane’ etc. Which put me in my place! Well, easy or not, it kept me amused over a couple of hours on and off and I thoroughly enjoyed solving it. Thank you to Firefly, your puzzle was quite challenging enough for me :-)

  7. I had a deal of trouble unravelling the clues and am ashamed to admit I couldn’t unravel the anagram of 8d and for some reason failed to get 21/2a without a pointer from BD
    I still reckon I’m a novice with the toughie and I’d rate this as ***/***

  8. Just finished and I agree with FIbertfox at 6 above. (Is it F1bertfox or is it FIlbertfox?) BD was quite right about 6d&25d, and I didn’t’ like 16d much with “SE ERS” for “spectators”, although 20a was fun! ***/** for me. Sh-Shoney.

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