Toughie 1411

Toughie No 1411 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A much more enjoyable puzzle than the last one by Firefly that I blogged. I did it in average time but then spent another few minutes pondering the last couple of bits of wordplay

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.


5a    Slight drop (3-4)
PUT-DOWN: This is a slight or snub. As two words (3,4) it could also mean ‘to drop’

7a    Red Arrows display team? (6)
AIRMEN: The people who make up the Red Arrows = display + team

9a    Missed end of planned deadline — a note omitted here (6)
ELIDED: An anagram (planned) of DEDLIE, i.e. DEADLINE minus A and N (note)

10a    Leave outdoors offspring to be seen about good behaviour (6-2)
GOINGS-ON: Leave outdoors (2,2) and offspring (3) round G (good)

11a    Una initially, then Cora, stewing in loft for being bossy (10)
AUTOCRATIC: U (first letter of Una) and an anagram (stewing) of CORA inside a loft

13a    See 18 Down

14a    Traipse around with Lebanon’s first Mafia boss (13)
PATERFAMILIAS: An anagram (around) of TRAIPSE L MAFIA (L = the first letter of Lebanon) the male head of a family

16a    Finale echoed far, but evenly (4)
CODA: The even letters of eChOeD fAr

17a    Bowler in pub before big match (5,5)
LOCAL DERBY: A pub + the American term for a bowler hat

19a    Feel hot when exchanging caps in generator (4,4)
WIND FARM: Take 4-letter words meaning ‘feel’ and ‘hot’ and swap their first letters. This gives somewhere where green electricity is generated

20a    South Africa welcomes seer with snack (6)
SAMOSA: An abbreviation for South Africa round an Old Testament prophet

22a    Shock treatment for Jerry perhaps, when touring Sweden (6)
MOUSSE: A preparation used to style hair (shock treatment) = Jerry perhaps (the animal chased by Tom) round S (Sweden)

23a    Tranquillity Base on Moon is surrounded by grit, we hear — two acres (7)
NIRVANA: N (the last letter on Moon) goes inside a homophone of grit (courage) and AA (two acres)


1d    Farm / boss (4)
STUD: 2 meanings: a farm where horses are bred/a projecting boss

2d    Fool failing to embrace command — he’s on the edge (8)
BORDERER: A slang word for a fool with the last letter removed goes round ‘command’. I hope that that’s right because I’m not convinced by ‘failing’ as an instruction to remove the last letter

3d    Enthusiast in camera developing, editing out the Queen (6)
MANIAC: An anagram (developing) of IN CAMA, i.e. IN CAMERA minus ER (the Queen)

4d    Vessel with awful tang I dumped in sea (10)
BRIGANTINE: A two-masted vessel = an anagram (awful) of TANG I inside the sea

5d    Speciality from Glossop I launched (5)
PILAU: Hidden in GlossoP I LAUnched. I assume that speciality is the definition. Does it have any connection with Glossop?

6d    After dark, timekeeper making late arrival at Lord’s? (5-8)
NIGHT WATCHMAN: This term for a person working after hours at industrial premises and building sites is also used for an unskilled batsman who is sent in to bat towards the end of the day’s play

8d    Trolls surrounding Tivoli Centre is on the increase (7)
EVOLVES: Trolls round the middle two letters of TiVOli

12d    Shouldn’t I start to act strangely — being bizarre? (10)
OUTLANDISH: An anagram (strangely) of SHOULDN’T I A (first letter of act)

14d    Condensed book’s old condition (7)
PROVISO: An abbreviation for a book of wise sayings in the Old Testament + the expanded form of ‘S + O (old). I hope that’s right

15d    Dicky takes time out from tale about United — it’s unreal! (8)
ILLUSORY: Dicky or unwell + a tale with T (time) removed round U (United)

17d    Ferment in Zion? Change the leader for Liberal (6)
LEAVEN: An alternative word for Zion with the first letter chamged to L (Liberal)

18d / 13a    14ac has a month slimming to get highest mark in dance (5,4)
BOSSA NOVA: A synonym of the answer to 14 across + A + the abbreviated form of the name of a month + the letter denoting the highest mark

21d    Suggestion of kiss from married women — joy! (4)
MWAH: A word used to represent the sound of a kiss = M (married) + W (women) + an exclamation expressing joy

I’d still like something more challenging!



  1. halcyon
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I liked the construction in 11a and I haven’t seen 21d used before but apart from that I found this only slightly less dull than yesterday’s. Sorry to be more than usually grumpy.

    I mis-spent part of my youth in Glossop but don’t remember that particular curry-house staple. But given that the reason for going to Glossop was to drink for longer than allowed in S Yorkshire, I wouldn’t.

    Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for the blog.

  2. jean-luc cheval
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Just as the back page, the SW corner gave me a hard time. 14d and 22a remained partially blank.
    Same with 21d. I just couldn’t see where the w for women was going. So much so that I thought it was in fact woman and was looking for a famous Joy.
    For 9a I was stuck with eluded for a long time and couldn’t parse it.
    7a was airset. How ridiculous.
    Liked 19a. Notice that the setter didn’t mention Spooner to keep the majority happy I suppose.
    The link of 18/13 was a bit of a give away to tell us what to look for in 14a.
    Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for the review.

  3. dutch
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was reasonably challenging and occasionally frustrating.

    Last one in was 9a, once I could get “eluded” out of my head, and why is it “missed END”? – letter omissions like comftable and tempeture are also elisions, as far as I know.

    red arrows (7a) is a DBE with the question mark elsewhere.

    14a is a new word

    19a is interesting, both vowels change sound (there’s a word for that which eludes me at the moment) so you can’t use Spooner

    23a, Am I alone in pronouncing the solution NEAR rather than NUR? homophones carry that risk.

    2d, I didn’t know the cockney slang for fool, potentially offensive, if that is what is intended I agree with bufo that “failing” is a strange last letter deleter,

    I liked 3d but the cricket reference in 6d was over my head.

    8d, the frustration here was that I wasted time focussing on the wrong V in the answer, then having to accept a loose definition and seeing “trolls” used loosely to describe an entirely different and far gentler species – aren’t they?

    21d – what can you say, it’s in Chambers!

    This is why crosswords are better than Sudoku – they can evoke the full range of human emotions.

    Many thanks Firefly, good battle, and thank you Bufo

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted June 11, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Oh yes. I see what you mean about the Spooner.
      For 23, I think grit is nerve.

      • dutch
        Posted June 11, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        23, yes, so the homophone is NERV=NURV, but I’ve always pronounced the answer NIRV =NEARV (possibly wrongly), just saying it confused the homophone for me.

  4. Una
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed teasing out the clues I got. I failed at 7a,9a, 21d, 14d,and 23a. Thanks Bufo and Firefly.

  5. davelawes
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    21d … says it all.
    Thanks for the blog

  6. Hanni
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Really struggled with this.

    I started off well putting in 5a, 7a, 14a and 14d. Then I ground to a halt.

    I ended up with two unanswered clues, 22a and 21d, thank goodness for the blog. I still don’t understand why you would call 5d a speciality.

    Thought 11a and 12d were nicely constructed.

    Many thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for the much needed blog.

  7. Expat Chris
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I made such heavy weather of this and it took forever to get an almost full grid. I might have shortened my time if I had not mixed up Tom and Jerry. I missed out on 16A, had eluded for 9A, and bunged in 2D but had no idea what the fool was. I had no idea how Lord’s fitted in 6D either. I, too, see nothing special about 5D. Rice is rice. And my grumpy evil twin hated 21D although she solved it correctly. Still, thank you to Firefly for the challenge and to Bufo for the review.

  8. Heno
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for the review and hints. I enjoyed this, managed to get into it, but ran out of brain power in the end. Needed 8 hints to finish. Missed the anagram in 12d. Favourite was 23a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  9. 2Kiwis
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Last one in for us too was 9a where we too tried to justify eluded for much too long. A reasonable level of difficulty for us but all eventually fell into place. Enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

    • andy
      Posted June 11, 2015 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      Agree with 9a, wrote it but was not happy, paper put down, several meetings later and the penny dropped

  10. gazza
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Sparks tomorrow.

  11. Paso Doble
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Took ages puzzling over 22a until we realised what sort of Jerry we were looking for – and the other meaning of shock. Tricky but do-able for us, which is always very satisfying. We put eluded in but weren’t happy with it – thanks to Bufo for putting us right and thanks to Firefly for an enjoyable puzzle.

  12. Salty Dog
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Tricky. I got there in the end (albeit with a few un-parsed “bung-ins”) but it was a bit of a white-knuckle ride. 3* on time, but I’ll add another half. I’m not sure l equate “evolves” with “increase” (8d) and Firefly is certainly no Tolkein fan if he/she equates elves with trolls! Anyway, thanks to Firefly for the work-out, and to Bufo for the review.

  13. Derek
    Posted June 12, 2015 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Very late input from me as my grandson visited me most of yesterday – it is now Friday here in NL!

    Faves : 17a, 18a, 14d & 21d.