Toughie 1509 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1509

Toughie No 1509 by MynoT

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment **

MynoT appears  in the Tuesday Toughie slot this week – I would imagine comments today will depend on whether you prefer more toughness  than chestnuts in your crossword in the middle of the paper, or whether you are fairly new to Toughies and are delighted to complete one without resorting to the hints.   [Yes, I do know 1a is a word no-one’s heard of but the wordplay is very clear]

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           Abandon your principles with a job at one’s expense initially (10)
APOSTATISE    A (from the clue), a job, AT (from the clue) IS (ones) and the initial letter of Expense.

6a           Convert to AC/DC in the desert (4)
GOBI   Split this desert 2,2 and the conversion to an  informal term for a person who likes both sexes (AC/DC) will become clear.

9a           Bar with Frenchwomen consuming Italy’s port (10)
MARSEILLES    A couple of things to possibly  confuse the solver in this clue –  The French port is obtained by following a famous chocolate ‘bar’ with some Frenchwomen who have ‘consumed’ the IVR code for Italy.


10a         Essential oil for a German (4)
OTTO   This essential oil can also be a German Christian name.

13a         Unpredictable return of sailor wearing glossy fabric (7)
ERRATIC    A reversal (return) of  a sailor wearing a glossy fabric I’d vaguely heard of which is (thank you Google for the confirmation) apparently produced  by waxing and heating.

15a         Flexibility of place holding woolly ewe (6)
LEEWAY    Insert an anagram (woolly) of EWE into a verb meaning to place [down]

16a         Short trip to help part of SA following the Queen (6)
ERRAND    The regnal cipher of our current Queen followed by part of South Africa.

17a         Quarter, ten-cent piece – indefinite number needed to reach Jerusalem in time (6,9)
FOURTH DIMENSION    Another way of saying a quarter, a ten-cent piece, the letter used to indicate an indefinite number and an alternative name for Jerusalem.

18a         Small hole in the box you once knocked over (6)
EYELET  A reversal (knocked over) of an informal way of referring to a television (box) and the old-fashioned way of saying you.


20a         Composer in TV series is paid worker (6)
EARNER   The composer of Rule Britannia inserted into an American medical-themed TV series.

21a         Unwilling to take sides in Tyneside, extremist left at the end (7)
NEUTRAL   The abbreviation for the area of the UK where Tyneside can be found and an adjective meaning extreme with the L moved to the end of the word (Left at the end).

22a         Couple from India encountered on the way back (4)
ITEM  The letter represented by India in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and a reversal (on the way back) of another way of saying encountered.

25a         Instruct Bryan perhaps, to get hybrid form of transport (5,5)
TRAIN FERRY     I went through a number of Bryans before I realised the lead singer of Roxy Music was the very person to go after a verb meaning to instruct.

train ferry

26a         Golf ace needs quiet to make cut (4)
GASH    The letter represented by Golf in the aforementioned Phonetic Alphabet, the abbreviation for ace and a way of getting people to be quiet.

27a         Archer, bitten by wild insect, minds (10)
INTELLECTS    The legendary Swiss archer inserted into (bitten by) an anagram (wild) of INSECT.


1d           Girl’s run in to find host (4)
ARMY   The abbreviation for Run inserted into a girl’s name.

2d           Lady’s fingers permitted to touch gunners (4)
OKRA   An informal way of agreeing that something is alright (permitted to) and the abbreviation for the Royal Artillery (gunners).


3d           Conjecture men should be surrounded by people in authority (6)
THEORY   The abbreviation for Other Ranks of soldiers (men) inserted into (surrounded by) a pronoun used to refer to people in authority.

4d           Filibuster‘s story about knight, once more with hands being raised (4,7,4)
TALK AGAINST TIME    Put a story ‘about’ or round the abbreviation for Knight, an adverb meaning once more, and a reversal of an informal term for hands gives us a expression for delaying a parliamentary vote (filibuster).

5d           These coins could be ‘pieces’ (6)
SPECIE  Coins  as opposed to paper money  –  an anagram (could be) of PIECES.


7d           Visitor treated to eat nut pie cooked without base (3-7)
OUT-PATIENT   Someone treated at hospital without having to stay in is an anagram (cooked) of TO EAT NUT  PI[e] – without base tells you not to include the final E.

8d           Being a regular attender, this person has no right on a railway to limit noise (2,8)
IN ORDINARY   A cleric or doctor in regular attendance, usually in a royal household .  The personal pronoun (this person) NO (from the clue) the abbreviation for Right, a noise and the abbreviation for railway.

11d         ‘I will touch the first person’ — ‘That’s no good, it will cause resentment‘ (3,7)
ILL FEELING    An abbreviated way of saying I will, a verb meaning to touch, the first person singular and the abbreviation for No Good.

12d         Modesty to take exception over European head (10)
DEMURENESS   A verb meaning to take exception, the abbreviation for European and a headland.

13d         Clay at that time being after attention (7)
EARTHEN   An adverb meaning at that time goes after  attention or consideration.


14d         Brainy princess in California (7)
CRANIAL   An Indian princess inserted into the abbreviation for California.

19d         Fled south of the ruined city (6)
TEHRAN    A verb meaning fled follows (or goes south of) an anagram (ruined) of THE.

20d         Carpeting showing tears where one end has been trimmed (6)
EARFUL  Remove the first letter (one end… trimmed) from an adjective meaning crying or about to cry.  A bit of a shame that the word you are looking for is so clearly indicated by one of the words in the clue.

23d         Almost disable short reptile (4)
CROC   An abbreviation (short) for a particular reptile is obtained by removing the last letter (almost) from a verb meaning to break something or injure someone (disable).


24d         Side issues in relation to French art (4)
BYES    A prefix  meaning in relation to and the French word for is (art).


Toro should be back next week.

30 comments on “Toughie 1509

  1. MynoT or Osmosis?
    Doesn’t really matter.
    Found today’s toughie very enjoyable
    6a made me laugh and so did 22a.
    8d was a new expression for me and didn’t realise that 5d was used in English. Cash is also called “especes” in France.
    Favourite is 14d.
    Thanks to the setter and to CS for the review.

      1. I know. And it is the same with Lyon(s).
        But as Gazza pointed out to me, we do the same with Londres.

  2. ***/***

    Definitely into 3* difficulty because of 25a and 10a. Couldn’t see what Bryan had to do with anything until I started Googling things. Same with 10a. There was only one German name I could get to fit but had no idea that it was an oil. Or of I did I’ve forgotten it.

    The rest was straightforward and very enjoyable with 6a making me laugh.

    Many thanks to MynoT and to CS for a lovely blog.

    P.S I have heard of the word for 1a but only because it comes up in crosswords.

  3. Many thanks CS for a fine blog, and for explaining 20a which I’ve just realised I’ve bunged in.

    I enjoyed this a lot, 6a made me laugh and I liked the two long ones though I wasn’t familiar with the 4d expression (or for that matter with 8d, the material in 13a, or 5d). Some words I recognise only from other crosswords, like the essential oil.

    Many thanks MynoT,

  4. I enjoyed this. Well, in the sense that I was happy to finish it without hints anyway. I did need the hints on 2 or 3 to understand the wordplay. The pic for 9a really helped. Nice to have some gimmies in there too :-)

    Like JLC, 8d was new to me. 6a was my favourite.

    Thanks to MynoT and crypticsue

    1. Thanks both. I had to publish the review and then dash off into town. As I drove down the hill I said to myself I bet there is something I’ve missed.

      I am sure Gazza will remember to change the heading to Firefly tomorrow

  5. Enjoyed this, but found the back pager a tad trickier. A lot of good clues and a few ‘groaners’ but nothing to really complain about. I’m sure I’ve probably seen it before somewhere, but I did enjoy the play on ‘bar’ in 9a. However, I will select 6a as my winner.

    Thanks to MynoT for the puzzle and CS for the review.

  6. I enjoyed this – there were quite a few things that I didn’t know – probably too many to list or I’ll come over all
    I always forget the 9a ‘bar’ even though we’ve had it quite a few times recently – anyway I can’t spell it without checking, the answer not the bar.
    I liked 22a and 11d. My favourite was 6a because it made me laugh.
    With thanks to MynoT and to CS.

    Everything seems to playing silly whatsits again like it was yesterday – thought it had all gone away but I’ve had the “Error thingy” quite a few times – anyone else?

    1. Oh yes, Kath. I’ve almost given up so many times – I’m surprised to see so many posts on the blog We must all be very determined – or have too much time on our hands!

  7. Not a particularly rapid solve for me, perhaps the distraction of being away from home on grandfather duties came into it. Several places caused head-scratching like 1a, 1d and 25a, but all gettable eventually. Good fun.
    Thanks MynoT and CS.

  8. Limped across the finishing line in ‘don’t want to say’ time which rather detracted from the enjoyment.
    Things I didn’t know included 1a, the fabric at 13a, the phrase at 4d, ditto at 8d and the word at 5d.
    Still struggling with the parsing of 16a – I’ve got the Queen reference but I thought the ‘rand’ was the currency of SA not a ‘part’ of said country. Can someone enlighten me please?
    My online checking refers to 9a without the final ‘s’ – I’m not sure whether this is a debate we’ve had before but what is the correct spelling?
    Not very keen on 23d but 6a raised a smile.
    17a & 11d get my votes for today.
    Thanks to MynoT and gratitude to CS for putting the pieces together.

    1. yes, also a district, rand=witwatersrand near Jo’burg (it’s in brb). Jo’burg University is called witwatersrand U. (“Wits” -though there’s likely more by now). I did my undergrad in Cape Town.
      marseille in french, marseilles in english, according to wikipedia – does that sound right?

  9. Very enjoyable though by no means easy.My standout favourite is 17a. Marvellous.Ditto 4d.
    I hadn’t heard the phrase in 8d before and I needed the nudge for 25a.
    Thanks MynoT and CS for the clear hints.

  10. Time taken was just about the same as for the back-pager, which I suppose suggests it was a bit gentle for a Toughie, but what the hell, I quite liked it. 2*/3.5* for my money, and 27a was my favourite (even though I tried for some time to put “Dan”, “Doris” or “Phil” in as the Archer!). The only one I really didn’t get – and still don’t – is 24d; I don’t see “by” as in any way like “in relation to”, and surely the derivation from French should be “est”. Still, thanks to MynoT, and to CrypticSue.

  11. I have had very little time to devote to this today, so it’s been a “pick up and put down” effort. I am approaching the home stretch, with four stubborn clues to go, so I’m avoiding comments and hints. I’m shocked, though, that it only rates one star for difficulty. Maybe I’m being thick. Wouldn’t be the first time.

    1. Much more than a 1* for difficulty for me too but then most of them are. Perhaps we could have a “thick corner”?

      1. Could be easier just to have a ‘bright corner’ for the likes of CS, Gazza et al. I fear that a ‘corner’ wouldn’t be quite big enough to fit the rest of us into!

  12. Well, I didn’t finish. Came up short on the second part of 25A, 27A, 20D, 23D and 24D (so that’s 4.5 altogether). A mixture of enjoyment and frustration. I must say that 2D is probably one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever had the misfortune to eat. I did laugh at 6A, though. Thanks MynoT, and thanks also to CS for the review.

  13. Thanks to MynoT and to crypticSue for the review and hints. I didn’t find this at all easy, but I suppose in Toughie terms it was. Needed 6 hints to finish.

  14. The “team” of two of us swopping crosswords between us finished the Times quicker than this one, so I wouldn’t say it was that easy or dull.

    1. The Times yesterday took me the same time as the Toughie – as to dullness, that obviously depends on an individual’s personal experience.

  15. Got round to this after this morning’s early (for me) start to entertain Australia. Much of it was straightforward, some of it wasn’t. I didn’t like 24d, as I don’t see BY as “in relation to”. Held up by 1a after putting apostasise – took a while to see my error, then it all caved in like a house of cards. Thanks to CS for explaining my bung-ins and to MynoT for a pleasant way to end the morning. 3*/3* Off to work now. Again

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