Toughie 100006

Toughie No 100006 by Elkamere

7 across 8 across to you too!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Mrs Bufo and I are having a quiet Christmas with no visitors to cater for so around midday we went for a leisurely stroll to the pub where we had a leisurely solve of the Toughie over a leisurely drink. It couldn’t have been that difficult because it was only a one-pint puzzle but it did take me quite some time to sort out the explanations for the last couple of answers once I’d got round to blogging it. These were 9 down (which I really enjoyed when the penny finally dropped) and 3 down 20 across

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7a    Country areas, 14 in them (7)
AMERICA: Take two occurrences of the abbreviation for area and put them round an anagram of the first word of the answer to 14 down – the second word provides the anagram indicator

8a    Neck is minute, breaking as a consequence (7)
ISTHMUS: IS + M (minute) in ‘as a consequence’

10a    Toy piano — a nightly medley! (9)
PLAYTHING: An anagram (medley) of P (piano) A NIGHTLY

11a    Empty, very apt if mobile shows charging (3,2)
PAY TV: An anagram (if mobile) of VY APT (VY = the first and last letters of VerY)

12a    Always hampering a take-off (5)
APERY: Always (2) round ‘a’ (as in three ha’pence a foot) = take-off (imitation)

13a    Fool’s representation in sort of dictionary (9)
IDIOTICON: A fool + a representation = a vocabulary of a particular dialect or district. That’s a new word for me

15a    How we await New Year, eg, saving last bit of coal? (7)
EAGERLY: An anagram (new) of YEAR EG round the last letter of coaL

17a    Note this, oddly, in stuffed bird (7)
CAPTION: The odd letters of ThIs inside a castrated cock fattened for eating

18a    Location of thin line on rugby pitch (6-3)
TWENTY-TWO: The clue number whose answer is THIN

20a    See 3 Down

21a    Perfect / voice (5)
UTTER: 2 meanings: perfect/to voice

23a    Turning heads, isn’t a cracker the reason yob appears? (4-5)
BACK-SLANG: Split it (5,4) and swap the first letters. It could then mean ‘isn’t a cracker’. ‘Yob’ is an example of this type of word

24a    Do it when one couple embraces (7)
IMITATE: ‘To do’ (like an impressionist) = IT inside I (one) and ‘to couple’

25a    Sleep before Christmas or New Year? It’s hard to get up (7)
EVEREST: When split (3,4) it could possibly be ‘Sleep before Christmas or New Year’. The answer is a mountain that’s hard to get up


1d    Clever lawyer on beer — beer drinking good (5,5)
LEGAL EAGLE: ‘On’ (a side of the wicket in cricket) + beer + the same beer round G (good)

2d    Get and attempt to get very cold (6)
WINTRY: ‘To get’ + ‘attempt’

3d & 20a    Stable environment in a city 9 ultimately destroyed (8,5)
NATIVITY SCENE: An anagram (destroyed) of IN A CITY with the first word of 9 down and the last letter of the last word of 9 down

4d    It has horns — no growth isn’t long enough (6)
NILGAI: A large Indian antelope = ‘no’ (3) + ‘growth’ with the last letter removed

5d    Throws up eating mince pie? Come on! (4,2,2)
STEP IT UP: A reversal of ‘throws’ round an anagram (mince) of PIE

6d    Honour them, Lord (4)
EMMY: A television award = an abbreviated form of ‘them’ + ‘Lord!’

7d    Path unclear, perhaps I will follow a star (5,8)
ALPHA CENTAURI: An anagram (perhaps) of PATH UNCLEAR and I follow A

9d    Close to Christmas Eve, gran and author won’t get on — badly-spoken greeting here? (5,3,5)
SEVEN AND EIGHT: The last letter of ChristmaS + EVE + gran + the surname of the author of The Ipcress File with ON removed. If you say the answers to 7 across and 8 across it could sound like a badly-spoken greeting for today. I’ll need a few more pints to say it like that

14d    Wants to limit one call for surges in illegality (5,5)
CRIME WAVES: ‘Wants’ goes round I (one) and the call of a cat

16d    Sailor in Eire supported by a new club member (8)
ROTARIAN: A sailor inside an abbreviation for ‘The Republic of Ireland’ + A N (new)

17d    Small sweets I chose to crunch, about 200 (8)
CHOCCIES: An anagram (to crunch) of I CHOSE round CC (200)

19d    Dry casing fit for iPad? (6)
TABLET: Dry (like someone who never indulges as I have this lunchtime) round ‘fit’

20d    Christmas is terrible, admits nurse (6)
SISTER: Hidden in ChristmaS IS TERrible

22d    Something keeps this water down (4)
THIN: Another hidden answer, This time it’s in someTHINg

Very enjoyable. It will be 2015 before I’m on duty again so I’ll see you next year

Batman & Robin will be posting a review of the Double Toughie ASAP, but Robin has had a call fom Commissioner Gordon to dash of on a mercy mission and is not sure when he will return.


  1. crypticsue
    Posted December 25, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable Elkamere – happy Christmas and thank you to you and Bufo (and Mrs Bufo too).

    Funny how you don’t encounter an isthmus for ages, and then two come along at once!

  2. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 25, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    For my Xmas present to myself, I finally registered on Telegraph online and promptly printed today’s grids. But what’s that about a double toughie? I need to check.
    Thanks to Bufo for helping me with the right side of the crossword as I was a bit lost. I did manage to isolate the letters EVENTS from 3/20 But I inserted event for the last word and the s at the start of 9d. Took me a while to realise my mistake even once I solved 11a and 17a.
    I also knew that 23a was back something and 14d crime something In fact I wrote crime novel to be honest.
    Funny that 8a showed up on the cryptic as well (19d).
    Loved 18a. Very clever.
    Thanks to Elkamere and again to Bufo.

    • gazza
      Posted December 25, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      The Double Toughie is available by clicking on Giant General Knowledge in the list of puzzles. Once you’ve found it and printed it out please let me know what the preamble means! :D

      • Posted December 25, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Batman & Robin will try to explain a bit later on.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted December 25, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        Wow! If this is meant to help us I rather not take any notice. I think I will concentrate on the across clues only.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted December 25, 2014 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        Well I started with finding 21a. Might not continue if the grid is going to mock Napoleon.

  3. gazza
    Posted December 25, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    I loved this one. Thanks to Elkamere and Bufo and a Merry Christmas to both.