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Toughie 1742

Toughie No 1742 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I found this quite tricky for a Firefly puzzle. At one time I had the top half filled in and almost nothing in the bottom half. It all came together in the end though and I enjoyed it

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a/16a    For this number to dance in front of Guildhall, drugget’s laid out (8,7)
WALTZING MATILDA: A number (song) associated with Oz = ‘to dance’ + IN + the first letter of Guildhall + a drugget + an anagram (out) of LAID

5a    Extract of some gigantic lemons from the east one’s quaffed (6)
ELICIT: ‘To extract’ = a reversal of five consecutive letters of GIGANTIC LEMONS round I (one)

9a    The lot of tiny tree? Shredding (8)
ENTIRETY: An anagram (shredding) of TINY TREE

10a    Scrap starts from Tom’s tiddlers getting dumped in hat (6)
TITTLE: A scrap (the smallest part) = the first letters of Tom’s Tiddlers inside a slang term for a hat

12a    Stamp collecting guaranteed to be highly valued (9)
TREASURED: ‘Guaranteed’ inside ‘to stamp’. I couldn’t justify PHILATELY as the answer!

13a    Dispose of tick on pet (3,2)
MOP UP: A tick (short time) + a young animal kept as a pet

14a/22d    Waters squandered a point before end of game (4,6)
BLUE DANUBE: A piece of music named after a stretch of water = ‘squandered’ (5) + A + a point (3) + the last letter of gamE

16a    See 1 Across

19a    Rome (pre disintegrating) was his (7)
EMPEROR: An anagram (disintegrating) of ROME PRE

21a    Shift end of couch for tenor to get to piano (4)
SOFT: Replace the last letter of a couch by T (tenor)

24a    Scroll down regularly, and stop? (5)
COLON: Alternate letters of SCROLL DOWN

25a    Officer orders: ‘Stow a bit of ammunition in box’ (9)
BOATSWAIN: An anagram (orders) of STOW A A (first letter of Ammunition) inside a box

27a    Mark aboard Sydney’s van: ‘This is Lilliputian!’ (6)
MINUTE: M (Mark) + ‘aboard’ + an Australian term for a small pick-up truck or van

28a    Firm embraces wire-taps outside to pick up front to back (4,4)
BEAR HUGS: Wire-taps round ‘to pick up’ with the last letter put at the beginning

29a    Joint where jacket‘s suitable (6)
REEFER: 2 meanings: a joint of marijuana/a short thick double-breasted jacket

30a    Following a rest, setter and colleagues take note, after a fashion (2,2,4)
AS IT WERE: A + ‘to rest’ (3) + ‘setter and colleagues’ (2) + a musical note (2)


1d    Arrangement that’s outcome of the war? (6)
WREATH: An arrangement of flowers and foliage (which may be an outcome of war) is an anagram of THE WAR

2d    Second dish has penny off (6)
LATTER: Remove P (penny) from a large flat plate or dish

3d    Cast froze when female’s ignored onset of sweet nothings (5)
ZEROS: An anagram (cast) of ROZE, i.e. FROZE less F (female), + the first letter of Sweet

4d    Hazel maybe having invalid return ticket when hoax emerges (3-4)
NUT TREE: An anagram (invalid) of RETURN ET, i.e. RETURN TICKET minus TRICK

6d    Theme mentioned illumination surrounding channel on reservation (9)
LEITMOTIF: A recurring theme = a homophone of ‘illumination’ and a channel surrounding a castle + a reservation

7d    A strike during fashionable project (8)
CATAPULT: A strike (gentle knock) inside ‘extremely fashionable’ = ‘to project a missile’

8d    Article on spelling Scotsman finds dramatic (8)
THESPIAN: The definite article + an abbreviation for ‘spelling’ + a Scottish man’s name

11d    ‘Dead Calm’? From time to time it’s cheesy (4)
EDAM: Alternate letters of DEAD CALM

15d    Endless correspondence about (a free) instrument’s specs (9)
LORGNETTE: An item of correspondence with the last letter removed goes round a musical instrument with the letter A removed to give spectacles with a handle

17d    Novice servicewoman in kerfuffle mislaying visa (8)
NEWCOMER: An anagram (in kerfuffle) of ERCEWOMN, i.e SERVICEWOMAN minus VISA

18d    Formerly, sending in puzzle with unfilled centre could bring prosperity (8)
OPULENCE: ‘Formerly’ round PUZZLE with the middle two letters removed

20d    Rock problem on summit of Yewbarrow (4)
RUBY: A rock (precious stone) = a problem + the first letter of Yewbarrow. Oh to be in Wasdale again!

21d    Gliders taking son and duchess over empty rivers (7)
SKATERS: S (son) + the Duchess of Cambridge + the first and last letters of RiverS

22d    See 14 Across

23d    Leisurewear article is enough to rise in (6)
ONESIE: Hidden in reverse in ARTICLE IS ENOUGH

26d    Rod / Peacock (5)
STRUT: 2 meanings: a rod that resists pressure/to peacock (i.e. act like a peacock)

22 comments on “Toughie 1742

  1. Not sure about 5a – if you don’t have the entire hidden word, it isn’t really a reverse hidden clue, and you are just gathering fodder in which case ‘some’ feels inadequate as indicator (since you don’t have the formation of a word to indicate which part of the fodder is needed)

    I was worried about the word for squandered (14a), but there it is in brb at the very end of the entry

    I liked 3d (sweet nothings), 28a, 17d, 23d but favourite is the lovely 24d

    Many thanks Firefly and Bufo

    1. While I didn’t particularly like 5a, I was more concerned about the lack of indication that the letters of VISA, the word to be removed in 17d, did not appear in the same order in the fodder.

      1. Appears to be a trait of his – Toughie 1597 Firefly used this mechanism three times. Remember looking up ‘bluestocking’. That was 17d, too!

  2. Not as easy as Tuesday and Wednesday but after most of last week it seemed like a holiday! Some good stuff with 15 being my favourite.

    Thanks to Firefly and Bufo (although so far this week I haven’t needed the blog to help me over the line).

  3. Had the same feeling about 5a. Wrote “strange” by the side of the clue.
    14/22 was a bit of a guess and 28a was last in.
    Not too keen on the grid.
    Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo.

  4. As Bufo did,I found the lower half much more troublesome than the upper but 3.5 is about right overall.
    I wouldn’t fault 5a because the cryptic instruction for the wordplay is perfect – the fact that “some” isn’t qualified further doesn’t bother me. But I do agree with BD re 17d and LBRoy that it seems to be a habit of Firefly not to indicate fully that an anagram of one word is to be removed from another to form the fodder for an anagram. There seems to be a convention about the latter but nothing similar for the former.
    Liked Sydney’s van in 27a and a free instrument in 16d.

    Thanks to Firefly and Bufo.

  5. Re 17down… My original submission was: “Novice servicewoman’s visa reissued and mislaid in kerfuffle”. A tweak from our editor brought: “Novice servicewoman with visa to travel mislaid in kerfuffle”. Either of these would have served, but something seems to have happened between there and publication!

    It’s not a habit — our esteemed editor wouldn’t let us get away with this error, ever!

    Thanks for your comments — off all kinds!

    1. Your original clue is perfect. I can imagine quite a lot of head scratching before the dropping of the penny.

  6. Relieved to see that you found it rather more tricky than usual for a Firefly, Bufo!
    Things I didn’t know included the meaning of drugget, the ‘scrap’ in 10a and the word for ‘squandered’ in 14/22.
    Add to that the fact that I forgot the wretched Australian vehicle (again) and needed help to parse 4d.
    Filled the grid but didn’t exactly romp through the clues!

    No particular favourite as the definitions I liked (eg 28a) weren’t matched by good surface reads.
    Thanks and apologies to Firefly and thanks to Bufo for the help with parsing.

  7. In 27a we think that Firefly has got the Sydney’s van wrong. In this part of the world a UTE or UTILITY is a small truck or pickup that has a separate cab and usually open back. A van is a distinctly different type of vehicle and the two words are never interchangeable. Despite that we got the correct answer. A significant tussle and plenty to keep us amused.
    Thanks Firefly and Dutch.

    1. Yes, ‘truck’ would have been more accurate. I lived in Oz for a while and saw very few vans, mostly pick-up trucks, Utes.

  8. Got there in the end but it took two sittings, so 4*/3*.

    Bufo said he had most of the top and little of the bottom at one stage. We were rotated 90 degrees – at one stage we had all the LHS but none of the RHS.

    Mrs Sheffieldsy remembered UTE from our recent antipodean excursion. 14a reveals an extremely uncommon meaning of an extremely common word that we’ve never come across before.

    Favourite clue was probably 13a.

    Thanks to Bufo and Firefly.

    1. I did but haven’t had time to get to the blog until now. Spotting them was one of the things that added to my enjoyment of the crossword

      Thank you to you and Bufo too

  9. About *** for difficulty sounds right, with some parts of the grid falling faster than others. I mean, what else could 1/16 be, following a few checking letters? :-) Is this the first time a setter’s tried something like 5a? I don’t think I’ve seen it done before. The answer was plain enough, anyway. Thanks, Firefly, for an enjoyable challenge!

  10. Gusting 4* difficulty, but the same for satisfaction. A splendid tussle, and I liked 8d and the 14a/22d combo particularly. Many thanks to Firefly and Bufo.

  11. Got there in the end apart from 25a although it should have been obvious. Couldn’t parse 1 and 16a or 12a. Thought there were some clever clues and the whole thing was enjoyable. Favourite was 6d.

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