Toughie 1630

Toughie No 1630 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I always start with the down clues and thought I might be in for a hard time when I only solved one of them on the first read through. Then I looked at the across ones and did most of them on the first reading after which everything was straightforward. It just about merits the second star for difficulty but if I’d started with the across clues I think it would have only been one star. I’ve given it the extra half star for enjoyment because I enjoyed writing the blog.

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 / 5a    Solecism a no-no? (6,8)
DOUBLE NEGATIVE: The word ‘no’ appears twice in no-no. This solecism is a construction with two ********s when only one is required

9a    Incomplete concept leads to Mrs Leadbetter returning … it could be a hash! (8)
IDEOGRAM: A concept (4) with the last letter removed + a reversal of the first name of Mrs Leadbetter (the neighbour of Tom and Barbara Good) = a graphic symbol such as a hashmark

10a    Bill’s welcoming conjunction that’s about to happen (2,4)
AT HAND: A bill (publicity material) goes round (welcomes) a 4-letter conjunction

11a    Son frequently going to Oxford, say, dancing (4-4)
SOFT SHOE: S (son) + ‘frequently’ + footwear such as an Oxford = an adjective relating to a form of tap-dancing

12a    Humble fellow lets one in (6)
DEMEAN: ‘To humble’ = a man’s name round ‘one’. I also considered an alternative answer where old man = old ****

13a    Chelsea perhaps joining party in reform centre (4,4)
BOOT CAMP: Footwear such as a Chelsea **** + a party supporting a certain set of beliefs or doctrine

15a    One picks it from hilly regions (4)
LYRE: A stringed instrument is hidden in hilLY REgions

17a    Cousin of 15‘s keen: ‘Seconds out!’ (4)
HARP: Another stringed instrument = ‘keen’ with the letter S (seconds) removed

19a    Implication of union agitating to embrace objective (8)
INNUENDO: An anagram (agitating) of UNION round an objective

20a    Turn by female lead — she was barely supported! (6)
GODIVA: A turn + the leading female singer in an opera company = a naked lady on a horse

21a    A very loud, funny niece about to provide reviver (8)
CAFFEINE: A and an abbreviation denoting ‘very loud’ inside an anagram (funny) of NIECE = a stimulant found in coffee, etc.

22a    Take a steer in mostly corroded limousine with no innards (6)
RUSTLE: A word meaning ‘corroded’ with the last letter removed + the first and last letters of LimousinE. Steers are cattle

23a    How to move the earth, beyond doubt! (2,6)
IN SPADES: You move the earth using broad-bladed digging tools

24a / 25a    Gerrup! On yer feet! Them’s regulations! (8,6)
STANDING ORDERS: This term for regulations for procedure adopted by a legislative assembly could also be instructions to rise to one’s feet such as ‘Gerrup!’ and ‘On yer feet!’


2d    Bob Tanner’s inheritance? (3,5)
OLD MONEY: This term for wealth that has been in the same family for several generations could also refer to ‘bob (shilling)’ and ‘tanner (sixpence)’

3d    US TV’s top for ladies (4,4)
BOOB TUBE: 2 meanings: an American term for a television set/awoman’s garment of stretch fabric covering the torso from midriff to armpit

4d    Singularly abhorrent mortal (9)
EARTHBORN: An anagram (singularly) of ABHORRENT

5d    More unfeeling, biting and calculating (6-9)
NUMBER CRUNCHING: ‘More unfeeling’ + ‘biting or chewing noisily’

6d    A number on dope discovered in port (7)
ANTWERP: A + N (number) + a dope = a Belgian port

7d    Catholic queen needs investment warning — austerity’s beginning! (8)
ISABELLA: The name of the Queen of Castile and husband of Ferdinand = a tax-free investment + a warning + the first letter of Austerity

8d    Arriving — or, as described, ‘garrivin’? (6,2)
ENDING UP: An instruction to put the last letter at the beginning, e.g. ‘arriving’ becomes ‘garrivin’

14d    Chap I briefly own up to in statement (9)
MANIFESTO: A chap + I + an informal American word for ‘to own up’ with the last letter removed + TO

15d    Convicts about to lug up snails (8)
LAGGARDS: Convicts (4) round a reversal of ‘to lug’ (4) = snails or sluggish people

16d    So I hared off for the old country… (8)
RHODESIA: An anagram (off) of SO I HARED is a former name of an African country

17d    …where natives live in house with male antelope (8)
HOMELAND: An abbreviation for ‘house’ + M (male) + a South African antelope

18d    Ruminants held sway ‘ereabouts, reportedly (8)
REINDEER: The name of these ruminants found in northern regions is a homophone (reportedly) of ‘held sway ‘ereabouts’ (6,’3)

19d    Singleton and I had to support hip patient (7)
INVALID: ‘Hip or fashionable’ + the first name of Ms Singleton of Blue Peter fame + ‘I had’

I’m away next week so I’ll see you in a fortnight.


  1. dutch
    Posted June 30, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    1a was my first one in and I liked it. I enjoyed the rest of the puzzle too

    I thought 10a was good because I was trying to use the ‘and’ as the conjunction

    didn’t like ‘one’ in 12a. 8d might have been better if garrivin was a word, and I didn’t think Gerrup! added anything.

    Liked 4d’s simplicity, love the way the definition is worked into 5d,

    took me a while to parse 19d (Singleton…) – nice first-word capital deception

    Many thanks Bufo and Firefly

    • halcyon
      Posted June 30, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Gerrup in 24/25a helps justify the plural definition.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted June 30, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Back to the antonym list again today – I’ll go for undemanding, agreeable, and painless but a backpager rather than a you-know-what it should be.

    Thanks to Bufo and Firefly

  3. Expat Chris
    Posted June 30, 2016 at 2:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I agree that it’s on the low end for difficulty, but for me it made up for that in fun. I really enjoyed it. Several clues made me smile, including 23A, 24A and 18D. Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

  4. halcyon
    Posted June 30, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Firefly can be pretty tough but not today. Fun nonetheless with some nice deceptions [eg 10a] and clever refs [particularly 22a]. Also l chuckled at 18d.

    Thanks to him and to Bufo.

  5. Kath
    Posted June 30, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I enjoyed this one and I could do it so guessed that people would think it was easy – I didn’t.
    Spent too long trying to make the 10a bill ac just because it usually is.
    I was fooled by the 19d Singleton so that took a while to understand.
    I liked 15a and 5 and 7d. I think my favourite has to be 9a if only because I loved ‘The Good Life’ – even now after all this time I only have to hear the music to be laughing.
    With thanks to Firefly and to Bufo – I liked the rather euphemistic hint for 3d.

  6. Jane
    Posted June 30, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Found a lot more to enjoy in this one than in the back-pager although I’m not surprised to learn that it didn’t measure up to CS’s Toughie criteria.
    Made a couple of slip-ups along the way – don’t think I’ve come across ‘singularly’ as an anagram indicator before, so started out with ‘earthling’ for 4d and also tried initially to make ‘marching orders’ fit into 24/25.
    As Dutch said, 8d didn’t really work very well given that ‘garrivin’ isn’t a word and I confess to not knowing the American expression for a TV set.

    Top picks for me include 23a plus 5,7&18d.
    Many thanks to Firefly and also to Bufo for the blog – hope you enjoy your holiday.

  7. stanXYZ
    Posted June 30, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Knowing Mrs Leadbetter and Ms Singleton helped a lot.

    12a – I parsed it as “fellow” = dean at university and “one” = me (as the queen would say)

    I enjoyed this one – so thanks to all involved.

    But “garrivin” – what’s that doing in a DT cryptic puzzle?

    • crypticsue
      Posted June 30, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

      That’s how I saw 12a too.

    • Jane
      Posted June 30, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I certainly had the ‘fellow’ down as a Dean but I think HM would refer to herself as ‘we’ – at least in official parlance.

    • Posted June 30, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I thought that was what Bufo put in the hint.

    • Verlaine
      Posted June 30, 2016 at 4:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, I certainly raised an eyebrow to “garrivin” – what on earth was that all about?

      A very easy puzzle but mostly painless or even pleasant. My favourite was 19d as it took a minute for the “singleton” penny to drop.

  8. Sheffieldsy
    Posted June 30, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Lovely crossword, though definitely at the easier end of the Toughie spectrum. I have never heard of that use of Chelsea but fortunately Mrs Sheffieldsy knows her onions in that direction. Thought 8d was quite neat even if garrivin isn’t actually a word. Not happy with 12a, it felt a little weak in the construction side. 2d was nice too, but best clue award from us goes to 19d for the penny-drop moment when we realised what singleton was in the clue for – lovely work.

    So thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for the review.

  9. The Bear
    Posted June 30, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    There was me thinking I was getting more cleverer (see 1 and 5 across) by completing two toughies this week, then I noticed the difficulty ratings so I remain an ordinary bear. Since we are supposed to be leaving the EU, does that mean we can only use phemisms from now on? Or swim in the Phrates smelling of Calyptus? Ripedes will not be phoric about clidean matters no matter how he manovres…and now England are out of the Euros did anyone else have a sense of Deja Veu …sorry, I’ll get my coat… :)

  10. crypticsue
    Posted June 30, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Sparks tomorrow :yahoo:

  11. 2Kiwis
    Posted June 30, 2016 at 8:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The two ladies, Leadbetter and Singleton both needed investigoogling but we had worked out from the wordplay what names we were looking for so it did not delay us for long. Plenty of stuff to enjoy here so we are happy.
    Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

  12. Salty Dog
    Posted June 30, 2016 at 9:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A bit of a doddle, but lots of fun: 1*/4*. My favourite clue is either 19d or 22a, and I think the former takes the prize (no man of my vintage could possibly resist Val Singleton!). Thanks to Firefly and Bufo.

  13. HoofItYouDonkey
    Posted June 30, 2016 at 9:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for the hints….

  14. jean-luc cheval
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 12:07 am | Permalink | Reply

    Everything went smoothly with this one.
    Not too easy and not too tough.
    Just a very pleasant solve.
    Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for the review.

  15. Una
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I definitely liked this one.
    There are almost too many good clues to pick just one favourite , so I opt for 3 : 1 and 5 a, 5d and 13a.
    Thanks to Firefly and Bufo.
    Could Wimbledon be changed to some time of year when we need rain ?

  16. Posted July 1, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Finally catching up with Toughies.

    Very enjoyable, and I have learnt something I didn’t know: the 3d US TV.

    Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

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