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Toughie 1252

Toughie No 1252 by Elkamere

Not 9 across – it didn’t take an 23 across

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Elkamere must be mellowing with age because his puzzles these days seem nowhere near as difficult as some of his early puzzles were. I don’t mind that because this was a very enjoyable puzzle. The clue for 5 down is provided by 8 other answers. I guessed the answer to 5 down from some of the checking letters and this enabled me to work out the two other answers used in the clue that I hadn’t yet got.

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    Polish with a tongue (6)
GLOSSA: Polish + A = a technical term for the tongue

5a    Crack soldiers trapped by wrong turning in ruined city (8)
GOMORRAH: A crack (attempt) + an abbreviation demoting non-commissioned soldiers inside a reversal of ‘wrong’ = a biblical city that was consumed by fire and brimstone

9a    Under any circumstances class is tough (1,4,5)
A TALL ORDER: ‘Under any circumstances’ (2,3) + a class

10a    Run like Bannister, Budd, Bolt? (4)
BLED: ‘Run’ here is a past participle and could refer to paint or dye. Split the word (1-3) and it describes Bannister, Budd and Bolt (which all begin with the same letter)

11a    Lawless US state keeping border lit (8)
CRIMINAL: A 3-letter abbreviation for a US state goes round ‘border’ and ‘alight’

12a    Middle of bed is nicely turned (6)
INSIDE: Hidden in reverse in bED IS NIcely

13a    Clear / penalty (4)
FINE: 2 meanings: fine/a monetary penalty

15a    Disconnected, as censor after rejected musical (8)
STACCATO: A musical term meaning ‘disconnected’ = a reversal of the title of an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical + the name of a Roman censor

18a    Crew heading to a cape (8)
MANTILLA: ‘To crew’ + ‘to’ + A = a cape (cloak)

19a    River duck’s first to escape (4)
NILE: A duck (zero) + the first letter of Escape

21a    45 and unmarried (6)
SINGLE: 2 meanings: a 45 (gramophone record)/unmarried

23a    Nude painter frames queen, reflected in immortality (8)
ETERNITY: The surname of William (1787-1849), an English painter of nudes, goes round the Queen and a reversal on IN. This painter would probably be a forgotten man today were it not for his name being kept alive by crossword setters.

25a    Place for firing line — one’s own houses (4)
KILN: L (line) inside (housed by) one’s own (family)

26a    When empty, eat sandwiches or boiled fresh carrot? (6,4)
EDIBLE ROOT: EaT with the middle letter removed (i.e. empty) goes round (sandwiches) an anagram (fresh) of OR BOILED

27a    Recalled song about officer following a grand Roman general (8)
AGRICOLA: A reversal of a song round an officer follows A G (grand)

28a    Figure close to John Brown (6)
NUMBER: The last letter of JohN + a brown earthy mineral used as a pigment


2d    When Jools Holland is on, Rex and others will turn up (5)
LATER: The missing word from the TV show ‘***** … with Jools Holland’ = a reversal of R (Rex) and an abbreviation of a Latin term meaning ‘and others’

3d    Most serious, to men less silly (9)
SOLEMNEST: An anagram (silly) of TO MEN LESS

4d    More or less stuck? That’s not good (6)
AROUND: Remove G (good) from ‘stuck’ (as a ship might be)

5d    10 11 12 13 21 4 20 28 (3,5,7)
GOD BLESS AMERICA: The answers to the 8 clues listed provide a clue for this answer. An anagram (indicated by 11) of 10 goes 12 a word meaning 13 (like spiders’ webs). This is followed by a letter denoting 21 and a 2-letter abbreviation denoting 4 to give a patriotic musical 28 composed by 20 – Bled criminal inside fine single around Berlin number (3.5.7) to see the expanded clue

6d    Cake damage — one has fly on it (8)
MARZIPAN: ‘To damage’ (3) + ‘one’ (2) after ‘to fly’ (3). The answer is used in cake making but I’m not convinced that it is itself a cake

7d    A puzzle to tackle on public transport (5)
REBUS: ‘On’ + public transport

8d    Narrative can lead to novel (9)
ANECDOTAL: An anagram (novel) of CAN LEAD TO

14d    What’s thought of old nursing home I’m heading (9)
IMAGINING: Old (or getting old) goes round (nurses) ‘home’. Then put IM (I’m) at the front

16d    Sister hugged by kid with drink problem (9)
CONUNDRUM: A sister (in a religious order) inside (hugged by) ‘to kid’ + an alcoholic drink

17d    Gloat about guards before getting intimate (5,3)
ALTER EGO: An anagram (about) of GLOATS goes round (guards) ‘before’ to give an intimate friend

20d    City that’s popular after live rugby (6)
BERLIN: ‘Popular’ follows ‘to live’ and an abbreviation for one of the codes of rugby

22d    Man’s unfulfilled with two guiding spirits (5)
GENII: ‘Man’ with the last letter removed + the Roman numeral for ‘two’

24d    Peg in a sort of square opening (5)
THOLE: a letter that denotes a type of square used for drawing right angles followed by an opening

Good stuff


20 comments on “Toughie 1252

  1. I too thought this was mellow Elkamere and very enjoyable. Thanks to him for a nice workout – I liked 21a (d’oh), 2d and 5d, the working out of ‘why’ taking longer than solving the puzzle. Thanks to Bufo too.

  2. Splendid puzzle and most entertaining, favourites were 2d 5d 15a and 17d thanks to Elkamere and to Bufo for the comments.

  3. In contrast to yesterday’s fun I thought this was rather a chore. Nothing wrong with it and definitely a bit gentler than Elkamere’s usual offerings, but no LOL moments. I thought 5d was rather forced and perhaps done like it was to cover up the awful surface reading.

    Thanks to Elkamere and to Bufo.

  4. I liked this a lot. The third word of 5D jumped out at me from the checking letters (no surprise there) and the complete answer was confirmed by getting 20D and 28A fairly quickly. This helped with some of the across clues, but once I had all the answers in place, sorting out the ‘why’ of 5D was not easy! I did not get 10A and still don’t, even with the explanation. Favorites for me were 26A, 17D, and of course 5D. thanks to Elkamere, and to Bufo for the review.

  5. A very enjoyable and real toughie, I got the answer to 5d fairly quickly but needed the hint to work out why, super stuff. Many thanks to Elkamere and to Bufo.

  6. A really nice toughie for a Thursday, many favourites; I wonder how many were like me and tried to fit Beruit into 20 dn? How daft can I be?
    Many thanks to Elkamere and Bufo.

  7. A very enjoyable puzzle.

    It was indeed tough but perseverance prevailed!!

    I got 5d but had to read the explanation to justify it!

    Still have to do the cryptic!

  8. Managed about half. Bufo is surely right – 6d is a constituent of a cake (eg Simnel) but not a cake itself. I do so hate sloppy terminology!

  9. I have been a silent appreciator of this site for some time but had to pipe up today to say what a splendid crossword I thought this was. Really sparkling surfaces and humour that make all the difference to me between humdrum and true enjoyment. Good level of difficulty too for my mediocre solving powers. I find it fascinating how different styles appeal different solvers – yesterday’s Osmosis was 1* enjoyment for me but many on here loved it. 3*/5* today and many thanks to Elkamere and Bufo.

    1. Welcome to the blog Tedgar. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that you’ll become our of our ‘regulars’.

  10. Enjoyed several but never really got enough to see a way through – but fun nevertheless. Well done those who managed it!
    Thanks Bufo and Elkamere.

  11. We found this really tough. Failed with 10a where we settled for BEES as an answer, justified by B being the cricket abbreviation for BYE added to the other B-starting names. For 5d had put in the right answer but ran out of time to work out all the wordplay. Clever clues, a real challenge.
    Thanks Elkamere and Bufo.

  12. Thanks Bufo for explaining 5d and Elkamere for quite a tough and clever puzzle ,for no logical reason 24d made me smile the most .Cheers .

  13. Only managed half of this without the hints. Too hard for me and couldn’t get to grips with 5d despite having checking letters. Thanks to Bufo for coming to my rescue and to Elkamere for showing me how dim I am just when I was getting cocky 5*/2*

  14. I have been away for a few days and saved this for a lunchtime pint with a friend on saturday. We got through it ok, though the painter eluded me and i was trying hard to get some castella thing going for cape, only to remember eventually that castella is a cake, not cape. Thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle, it was fun piecing together the 5d clue which we answered before fully parsing – not sure how fast i would have leaped to the synonym for fine otherwise. i liked 10a, 25a, 2d, 16d, but really all clues were great.

    many thanks elkemere and bufo

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