Toughie 1782

Toughie No 1782 by Firefly

A game of two halves

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This was definitely a game of two halves. The bottom half went in with very few problems but then I struggled greatly with the top half even after I’d been sent the correct clue for 12 across (which was then solved instantly). Having spotted two musical works by Ivor Novello I started looking for a third but none of the other answers seemed likely titles

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Pure art, maybe, on view in the poet’s trouble-free transport? (8,7)
CARELESS RAPTURE: This is a reverse anagram in which the first word of the answwr is an anagram indicator and the second word is an anagram of PURE ART. The answer is trouble-free transport or delight and features in ‘Home Thoughts , from Abroad’ by Robert Browning. It was later used as the title of a musical play by Ivor Novello

9a    A barren setting for Anthony, short of time to see personal adviser (5,4)
AGONY AUNT: A + ‘barren’ round a short form of Anthony with the first letter removed. The answer is a female giving personal advice in a magazine or newspaper column. Marje Proops and Virginia Ironside came to mind

10a    Enter fashionable circle (5)
INSET: ‘Fashionable’ + a circle or group of persons

11a    God that’s given thanks in cash (5)
TITAN: ‘Thanks’ inside a slang term for money

12a    Preserve and strengthen a boy adopted by the setter (9)
MARMALADE: A preserve made from citrus fruit = ‘strengthen’, A and a boy inside a personal pronoun denoting the setter. The clue given in the online version was incorrect. Thanks to KiwiColin for pointing that out and to CrypticSue for providing the right clue

13a    Resort to immunotherapy (stupidly) after downing violent pimento (8)
YARMOUTH: The common name of a seaside resort in Norfolk (or it might possibly refer to a place on the Isle of Wight’) is an anagram (stupidly) of TO IMMUNOTHERAPY minus the letters of PIMENTO

14a    Grub involves greens regularly with cutlets for the heart (6)
GENTLE: A soft maggot (grub) used as a bait in angling = alternate letters of GREENS + the middle three letters of CUTLETS

16a    De luxe teapot; pity to return it for a bit (6)
TIPTOP: Hidden in reverse in TEAPOT PITY

18a    Root about in antiquity for a dish (3,5)
POT ROAST: An anagram (about) of ROOT inside ‘antiquity’ = a dish of braised meat, especially with added vegetables

22a & 20d   A prince’s visionary wish appearing perhaps in Metro ad? (9,2,5)
PERCHANCE TO DREAM: Another reverse anagram and another musical work by Ivor Novello. The first word means ‘perhaps’ and the other two words are an anagram of METRO AD. The answer comes from Hamlet’s soliloquy in Shakespeare’s play

23a    Didn’t hurt being initially cut and shaved (5)
PARED: Remove the first letter from a word meaning ‘didn’t hurt’ or ‘refrained from hurting’

24a    Prevail or surrender — seconds out! (5)
REIGN: Remove the letter S (seconds) from a word meaning ‘to surrender’

25a    In harm’s way — where the brazier is? (5,4)
UNDER FIRE: This term meaning ‘in harm’s way’ or ‘being shot at’ also tells you where the brazier is

26a    I detest veg, Sis — my poor guts! (9,6)


1d    Endowment of books kept in fastidious surroundings (7)
CHANTRY: An endowment, or chapel, for the celebration of masses = one of the main divisions of the Bible inside ‘fastidious’ or ‘cautious’. This caused me problems because I didn’t know this word

2d    Roll with nowt in gets the bird! (7)
ROOSTER: A roll or list of names round O (nowt) = a domestic cock

3d    Curative operation for which the manual might be required? (6,2,2,5)
LAYING ON OF HANDS: A method of spiritual healing in which the manual parts of the body are placed on, over or near an ill person

4d    Single reported defeat for alter ego (4,4)
SOUL MATE: A homophone of ‘single’ + ‘to defeat at chess’

5d    Turning circle’s limited by accident on track (6)
ROTARY: The letter O (circle) inside the abbreviation for a road traffic accident + the abbreviation for railway (or track). It took me ages to parse this one

6d    Squaddie’s characteristic in his own land (7,8)
PRIVATE PROPERTY: A squaddie + a characteristic = something (possibly land) owned by an individual

7d    Newfangled lifts Jack bought in the end (7)
UPSTART: ‘Lifts’ (3) + Jack (a sailor) (3) + the last letter of BOUGHT

8d    Most violent quake — predominately in river (7)
EXTREME: The first four letters of a six-letter word meaning ‘quake’ inside a river of SW England

15d    Degree of muddle — not what you see in a tidy library? (4-4)
FORE-EDGE: An anagram (muddle) of DEGREE OF = part of a book furthest from the spine

16d    Embarrassed after strip, faded away (7)
TAPERED: A strip of material + ’embarassed’

17d    Standard ring — as performed by the solver? (7)
PARSING: A standard (3) + ‘to ring’ = the task of explaining the whys and wherefores of crossword clues

19d    Transport by means of glider? (7)
AIRLIFT: A transport operation often carried out in an emergency. It could also be what is needed to keep a glider off the ground

20d    See 22 Across

21d    Nightmares for runners-up in discus — one scatty judge absolutely tipsy (6)

This was one of those puzzles where I wasn’t sure whether I’d enjoyed it or not. In the end I decided that I must have done


  1. KiwiColin
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:45 am | Permalink | Reply

    Toughie 1782 has an error.
    For 12a they have used the clue that was 18a in Toughie 1781. It has nothing at all to do with the correct answer. We actually guessed what the answer should be from the checking letters.

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink | Reply

      The paper clue for 12a says Preserve and strengthen a boy adopted by the setter’

      • crypticsue
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink | Reply

        Clue is now correct on line

  2. Sheffieldsy
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This was a fearsome puzzle and we award it 4*/4* without hesitation. Of the many marvellous clues, we selected 9a, 12a, 13a and 21d with the last of these getting podium place on the grounds of admiration alone.

    We couldn’t see why the answer to 16a was what it was for far too long – a joint blind spot followed by a penny-drop moment when we did get it and then the desire to bang one’s head against a brick wall until bleeding profusely in an attempt to knock some sense into oneself.

    We worked on this puzzle from the physical edition, in which 8d has the word (if it deserves to be called that) “predominately” when, surely, “predominantly” is what is meant and required. This isn’t the first time there’s been a suspicion that the Telegraph’s proof readers are asleep at the wheel.

    Thanks to Bufo for the review and to Firefly for a great Toughie.

  3. stanXYZ
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    12a – Thought I’d seen it somewhere before!

    I see that it has now been corrected in the on-line version.

  4. neveracrossword
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I enjoyed the tussle I had with this. I agree that the top half was much tougher than the bottom. Was blissfully unaware that there was a mistake in the clue to 8d. I thought that 1a sounded like a play by Noel Coward – I was in the right area, at least.
    Many thanks to Bufo and Firefly.

  5. jane
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Definitely up at the top end of my solving abilities, but very satisfying to get a completion.
    New ‘stuff’ learned in 15&21d and – although I’m familiar with the word – I didn’t know the correct definition of 1d.
    That particular god is certainly popular today!

    Top three for me were 9a, the 22/20 combo and 3d. The latter evoked the biggest smile.

    Thanks to Firefly for the challenge and to Bufo for all the research work.

  6. LetterboxRoy
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    That was heavy going since I didn’t know quite a bit of it, so had to parse it out. Lots of looking up, last in was 22/20. No fave today.
    Satisfying, though, so many thanks to Firefly for the challenge and to Bufo for a few pointers. ****/***

  7. Una
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I enjoyed trying to solve this and succeeded in getting 5/7 ths of it.
    Lots of great clues , including 3d, 6d and the 22a/20 d combo.
    Thanks to firefly and Bufo.

  8. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This one had us working harder than we usually expect from a Firefly puzzle. Luckily the error in 12a did not cause much delay as we spotted instantly that it was a repeat of a clue from Tuesday’s Petitjean puzzle. We just left this one until we got to the end. We then looked at the checking letters and made a guess at what the intended answer might be and surprised ourselves by getting it right. Perhaps we don’t need clues at all? Plenty to enjoy here and the two long reverse anagram clues deserve special mention.
    Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

  9. crypticsue
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Osmosis tomorrow

  10. Shropshirebloke
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    If there’s such a thing as a satisfying slog, then this was one. I needed help for 1d and have to admit that I’ve never before associated chary with fastidious. Personal favourites have to be 13a and 24a. Thanks to both Firefly and Bufo.

  11. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 5:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Found the top half much harder than the bottom too.
    In fact I never got the first word of 1a, 12a for which I had yesterday’s clue, 1d although I saw it could be some kind of ministry and 3d even if I guessed the last word.
    Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo.

  12. dutch
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 7:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found this quite hard. got the construct but didn’t know the poet reference in 1a, and didn’t know the prince in 21a. still not sure about ‘ring’ in 17d though the answer was clear – a 1 letter change? Had to investigate to understand 15d, and hadn’t heard of the grub in 14d. The expression in 3d didn’t mean much to me, but i liked the other long clues.

    I think the clue i enjoyed most was 12a

    many thanks firefly and bufo

  13. the_toff
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I did the unedited online version with 12a strangely my last in on the basis nothing else fitted. Came here for enlightenment , relieved and annoyed with equal measure to find the clue was wrong.Think the online version or something very similar appeared in the Times recently. Moving on, knew the grub from my angling days, the endowment dragged up from somewhere dark. Very much a game of 2 halves.TY to F & B

  14. Kath
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Oh dear – I’m having a very tough Toughie week – failed so badly yesterday that I didn’t even get round to commenting and today was no better.
    Perhaps I’ll just leave it at that and trot off somewhere quiet to do a quick count of the marbles, assuming that I can at least still count. :sad:
    Thanks anyway to Firefly and Bufo.

  15. Expat Chris
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    i saw immediately that 12A was a repeat clue from yesterday but thought it was some intentional skullduggery going on to trip us up. Hence, I struggled mightily with the solve, I had marmalade in mind because it fit but couldn’t justify it. I hadn’t yet solved 7D and 14A either because I was so hung up on 12A. Eventually I gave up and came to the blog only to find the error. How does a clue from one crossword find its way into another crossword? 12A was then easy and 7D popped right in. 14A was a guess and new to me. I got 15D completely wrong. Well, my librarian niece would agree she’s not bone idle at work! I needed the review to parse 1A and 5D RTA is a new one on me. .I did like 3D, 4D and 21D in particular. Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

    • the_toff
      Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think it’s called osmosis or more technically incompingtence.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted March 23, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Watch what you’re saying! Osmosis is a most competent toughie setter and he’s up tomorrow!

        • the_toff
          Posted March 23, 2017 at 9:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

          I’m looking forward to it !

  16. Jon_S
    Posted March 23, 2017 at 11:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Definitely a **** for difficulty. I got about half fairly quickly, spread pretty thinly about the grid, but then came to a grinding halt. Eventually got 1ac, at which point the rest fell without too much trouble. Last in 14ac. A what? :-)

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