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Toughie 1614

Toughie No 1614 by MynoT

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I struggled a bit towards the end of this. I had to wait till I had all the checking letters before hazarding a guess at 6 down and 23 down and I thought it was a little unfair that there is no wordplay for these answers to confirm the guesses. I hadn’t known that the 17 across leads to these but Chambers does confirm that they do. The theme helped in that having got 17 across I was able to fill in the two characters 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.


8a    Girl vaguely hot having eaten fish? The opposite (7)
DOROTHY: An anagram (vaguely) of HOT inside a fish gives the girl who followed the 17 across

10a    Punctually penning note for ex (3-4)
ONE-TIME: ‘Punctually’ (2,4) round a letter denoting one note of the scale

11a    Unaccompanied girl pursuing cartoon character? (1,8)
A CAPPELLA: ‘Unaccompanied (when singing)’ = A cartoon character (friend of C. White and husband of Flo) + a girl’s name

12a    Right in line to get colour (5)
OCHRE: R (right) in the line you stand behind when throwing darts

13a    Small, mischievous and charming, the Spanish end in Paris? (5)
ELFIN: The Spanish word for ‘the’ + the French word for ‘end’

14a    They have yellow flowers and, in America, Buck’s fizzes (7)
MIMOSAS: 2 meanings: sensitive plants with yellow flowers/an American word for more than one Buck’s fizz

17a    Path to 6 and 23 coloured 12 and black beside haystack, by the way (6,5,4)
YELLOW BRICK ROAD: The colour of which 12 across is a shade + B (black) + a haystack + a way or thoroughfare

19a    Performer‘s son in curious attire … (7)
ARTISTE: S (son) in an anagram (curious) of ATTIRE

21a    … might perform here in vulgar enactments (5)
ARENA: Hidden in vulgAR ENActments

24a    Stop a lecturer being trivial (5)
BANAL: ‘To stop’ + A + L (lecturer)

26a    Mark City quarrel creating a terrifying sight (9)
SCARECROW: A mark of an old injury + the postcode for the City of London + a quarrel = one of the characters who followed the 17 across

27a    Winning streak in craps may rest this (2,1,4)
ON A ROLL: A winning streak in craps may rest ** * **** of the dice

28a    Force a losing lead to finish drama (7)
ENDPLAY: ,To place a bridge opponent in a situation where no lead can be made which does not cost a trick’ = ‘to finish’ + a drama


1d    Imagine something swimmer consumed (6)
IDEATE: A fish (swimmer) + ‘consumed’

2d    Fraud led criminal to become very bad (8)
DREADFUL: An anagram (criminal) of FRAUD LED

3d    Astounding saint to greatly affect love with American (10)
STUPENDOUS: The abbreviation for ‘Saint’ + ‘to greatly affect’ + O (love) + an abbreviation denoting ‘American’

4d    King’s armour, perhaps, for service (5,4)
ROYAL MAIL: ‘King’s’ + armour = a former public service that has now been privatised

5d    Woman’s old protagonist (4)
HERO: ‘Woman’s’ + O (old)

6d    See 17 Across (6)
RICHES: Look up the answer to 17 across in Chambers

7d    Let go and let again (8)
RELEASE: 2 meanings: let go/let (or rent) again

9d    University‘s mythical animal (4)
YALE: 2 meanings: an American university/a mythical animal, depicted in heraldry as resembling a horse with tusks, horns and an elephant’s tail

15d    Compensate force with soldiers in campaign? (4,6)
MAKE AMENDS: ‘To force’ + soldiers inside a promotional campaign

16d    Broadcast verbosely as if turned towards one (9)
OBVERSELY: An anagram (broadcast) of VERBOSELY

17d    Important returns involving unlimited kind of sale in annual review (8)
YEARBOOK: A reversal of ‘important’ round a kind of sale with the first and last letters removed. You’ll often find me at such a sale wandering round a field early on a Sunday morning

18d    Veto concerning game against the French (8)
OVERRULE: ‘Concerning’ + a 2-letter abbreviation for a game + the French word for ‘the’

20d    Dope uplifts fellow metalworker? (6)
TINMAN: A reversal of a dope (idiot) + a fellow = one of the characters who followed the 17 across

22d    A small boat comes back from the beginning (6)
ALWAYS: A + a reversal of S (small) and a small boat

23d    See 17 Across (4)
FAME: Look up the answer to 17 across in Chambers

25d    Sign of a celebrity (4)
LION: 2 meanings: a creature representing one of the signs of the Zodiac/a celebrity. Another of the characters who followed the 17 across

It was an OK puzzle

45 comments on “Toughie 1614

  1. I was a little doubtful at first as to whether I was going to enjoy the linked clues, but in the end I very much did. My progress was slow but steady until I had a stroke of inspiration for the central across answer. I then followed the 17a speedily to 6d and 23d, where I spent ages misdirected looking for something from the book and/or film, floundering with no wordplay to help me. At that point 28a and 22d also eluded me, and I feared I might need some electronic magic to find them. But no: I finally found the 6d and 23d (not in real life: sadly in the case of the former, happily in the case of the latter), clicked my heels together, and the last two brought me home. No place like it.

    14a reminds me of brunches with a certain gentleman: until he fed me those, I’d only known the drink as Buck’s fizz. So that’s my favourite answer, but I don’t really have a favourite clue today. I did like 11a, notwithstanding the girl = girl’s name device. A couple of words new to me and one half forgotten, but all deducible: respectively, dory (8a) oche (12a) and yawl (22d).

    Many thanks to MynoT and Bufo, and a friendly wave too to friends of 8a everywhere. :bye:

    1. You’ve achieved 23d around these parts, Kitty, as the queen of the double entendre.

  2. I had to solve 17a to get 6 and 23d and at first 17a was bunged and seemed right. Talk about reverse parsing today!

    Really enjoyed the theme although 17a is going around my head which I could live without.

    I’d not heard of the fish in 1d but easy enough to check given there was little else the answer could be. The rest went in just fine.

    Another enjoyable solve today.

    Liked the double def in 14a, 28a and the dopey metalworker in 20a.

    Favourite is 11a.

    Many thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for a great blog.

  3. Once one gets the theme, things speed up.
    The clueing was fair and not too devious.
    Only spend a bit of time on the second word of 4d (king’s armour) as I was looking for a military connection and the trees in 14a (yellow flowers) as I forgot about the cocktail.
    Very enjoyable overall.
    Thanks to MynoT and to Bufo.

  4. I enjoyed this although I was very slow to see the theme.
    I never did get 6 and 23d and hadn’t ever heard of it either – I didn’t think to look up 17a in the BRB.
    Didn’t know the American meaning of 17a but once the answer was obvious the BRB sorted me out.
    22d took for ever and I didn’t know that the 9d University was a mythical animal until I looked it up.
    I liked 12 and 17a. I think my favourite was probably 24a.
    With thanks to MynoT and to Bufo.

  5. Fair enough, but isn’t this particular theme becoming a bit of a cliche? I agree with you Bufo about the lack of wordplay for 6/23d being a bit unfair, altho they were obvious enough. Also 27a doesn’t work for me. I think the def is either just the first word or maybe the whole clue but is that all there is?
    Thanks for the blog and for explaining 28a to us non bridge players. And thanks to MynoT.

  6. Thanks to MynoT and Bufo for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but I just fell short near the end. Had never heard of 11a, knew the cartoon character, but still couldn’t get it. Had never heard of that meaning of 9d. Also needed the hints for 12a,6&23d. Favourite was 1d. Was 4*/3* for me. Got the central heating on, when does Summer start :-(

    1. Same here. There are questionable rumours that it will start next week for most people. Which means at best we will get 2 weeks of sun on the moors before autumn hits in August.

  7. 17A was my first one in, but I didn’t connect it to a theme until 20D fell into place. Then I went looking for the other travelers. I was also looking for ruby and slippers, but it was not to be. 6D and 23D came in at the end from the checking letters and I didn’t like those non-clues at all. My least favorite clue, though, because the answer is such a dreadful word, is 1D. I’ve never heard of the second definition of 9D. It may sound as if I didn’t like the puzzle, which is not the case. I rather enjoyed it overall, and 12A is my favorite because I actually remembered the line!

  8. Well – I’m sorry, but 17a leads to the Emerald City – everyone knows that!

    A couple of new things for me in this one in the shape of the American Buck’s Fizz and the mythical animal – plus, I had to dig deep for 1d and that wretched darts line. Promised myself that I’d remember the latter from its previous appearance but apparently not!
    I’d heard of 28a before but didn’t realise that it related to the game of bridge.

    Got there despite the hiccups along the way but that 6/23 combo rather took the shine off it.
    Favourite was 11a.

    Thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for the review.

    1. Yes – I thought it led to the Emerald City too. Younger Lamb will never forgive me – it was her favourite film for years when she was little.

    2. Have to agree with everything Jane says except the dart’s line (as an occasional player). I don’t usually tackle the Toughie but 23d aside I found this quite straightforward. Thanks to Bufo and the setter.

  9. I’ve been looking for Toto all afternoon – where is he?

    Woof! Woof!

    As for:

    6d – See 17 Across (6) and

    23d – See 17 Across (4)

    Grrrr !! Give us a clue!

    1. I expect he’s with Auntie Em, which reminds me of one of my favourite Gary Larson cartoons (click on the image to get a larger version):

      1. The Far Side. Yay! I love that particular cartoon too. :good:

        Safe to say I have all the books.

          1. Impeccable taste.

            I have just gone and got The PreHistory of The Far Side book where he explains all his ideas Love his pics he did when he was a child that clearly showed what was to come.

            Anyway the reason I got the book off the shelf as I was sure there was something about it in there..there was.

            Initially his editor rejected the cartoon on the grounds not many people would get The Wizard of Oz reference. was of course eventually accepted. It was this bit that made me laugh..

            “Strange when you think of the weird, confusing cartoons they never hesitate to print”

            And he’s right. :smile:

            I’m now going to stop the work I was doing and have a scan through the book.

          2. “Oh! Dear” as today’s Birthday Girl might say.

            I don’t understand the Gary Larson cartoon!

            I’ve only recently become a fully fledged OAP – but I already need hints and tips to understand the jokes!


            1. Just as in Wiz when Dorothy clicks her heels together and says, “There’s no place like home…there’s no place like home”, the delicious lobsters are hoping to be returned to the cool and calm sea instead of being boiled alive. :yes:

  10. I spent longer on the unfair 6/23 combo that the whole of the rest of the crossword. Had it not been for them, I’d have given it 0.5 difficulty but they took it into 1.5* difficulty.

    Thanks to MynoT and Bufo

  11. I haven’t seen the film nor read the book, but once 17a popped into my head , from 12a, a great deal of the rest followed.I had to ” click here” for 23d .

    Still, it was a lot of fun , including 4d and 22d.

    Thanks to Bufo and MynoT.

  12. Got the theme pretty quickly after putting in 8a and 17a – ‘friends of…..’ is one of the many meetings that appear regularly on a cruise ship’s daily itinerary. One other that I thought a tad unfair was the daily AA meeting – generally held in one of the bar areas.

    I’m in with the ‘unfairness 6/23 combo crowd’ – I really do like connected clues but to say ‘see 17a’ doesn’t really help in this instance.

    I liked 11a but again not too sure of the fairness of that one either, especially if you weren’t a British Daily Mirror reader. I also had a tick beside 12a, good old Jim Bowen – ‘See what you could have won’ is surely one of the harshest comments after you’ve gambled all your money and prizes and lost – closely followed by here’s your BFH.

    Thanks to MynoT for the puzzle and to Bufo for his review.

  13. 6d and 23d took us longer than the rest of the puzzle put together. We searched in all sorts of places on the internet and even skim-read the book again to try and sort it out. It is hard to understand now why we did not look under ‘yellow’ in BRB, it was sitting there beside us all the time. Huge penny-drop moment when we did see it. We thought it was good fun.
    Thanks MynoT and Bufo.

  14. Unlike most I did not enjoy this puzzle at all – basically too many unknown words for me. In fact probably into double figures with the cartoon one having two in one clue!. Oddly I got the path to Oz almost immediately from b+rick – that path came straight to mind.
    I managed to get the related down clues wrong – I opted for “nights tale” which seemed very uncertain but at least it related to the dream of Dorothy’s. I had no idea riches and fame were related! Nor do I have access to Chambers – and I would not really have expected to find such a path in the dictionary. I also initially put in City and then wondered if Emerald had a magic Oz spelling with fewer letters.

    Elkamere tomorrow I believe so should be good

    PS Just looked online and the free version of Collins Dictionary does mention the two sought words

  15. Ho hum. Not being a fan of the film in question (I was very small, and the flying witches gave me nightmares), and not possessing Chambers, I found little to get hold of in this puzzle. With three hints, I eventually completed in 4*-ish time, but I didn’t really enjoy the experience. Still, thanks to MynoT and Bufo.

    1. Not sure about the witches but if you meant the monkeys they scared the bejesus out of me too as a child. And that toe curling thing!

      1. And there was I, thinking that witches flew on broomsticks, only to find they fly on monkeys :scratch:

        1. Monkeys can fly and they live in cemeteries where they hire out their services to passing witches by advertising their ‘Tap and Ride’ on Uber..much to the chagrin of local broomstick companies. They can charge a fortune mind and a bet the fleas are a nightmare. I’ll stick to my local taxi company.

          1. Ah. The Monkey Cemetery. London Road Cemetery in Coventry. Where the monkeys that escaped from Coventry Zoo set up a colony where they live successfully to this day.

            1. And have set up and Uber app for passing witches to use…naturally. No mention of where the lions are.

      2. Flying Monkeys are available for sale here as a novelty item. One of our less desirable business development guys bought a bunch and released them on unsuspecting attendees at an important trade show. He is no longer with the company.

  16. I have never seen the film so the theme only hit reading the blog. Overall just no. No. No. No. And Why? Sorry to the setter. I enjoyed the fair clues. Ta to all as usual

  17. Please can somebody explain why the answers to 6 and 23 down are what they are? We have racked our brains and read all the comments but still don’t understand. Are we being very thick? Enjoyed the puzzle apart from those two (non)-clues. We’ve been tackling the toughie for a while now and usually manage to finish it (with a bit of help sometimes) – but this is the first time we’ve decided to comment so hope this is okay.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Tanzy.
      The answer to 17a (Yellow brick road) means, according to Chambers, ‘a path to fame, wealth, etc.’ so the answers to the two are FAME and RICHES. (not very satisfactory clues, in my opinion).

  18. Sorry, very late coming to this as it’s been in my backlog for a few weeks.

    I agree with others that 6d and 23d were unsatisfactory and unfair. For 6d I had WISHES, which, in my opinion, is a perfectly good answer since it describes what Dorothy and co. were granted when they reached the Emerald City.

    Overall, I didn’t think it was a great crossword – spoilt by the bridge, use of girl to equal girl’s name, botanical ambiguity, 6d and 23d.

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