Toughie 100009 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 100009

Toughie No 100009 by proXimal

Bah Humbug!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment *

I feel like Scrooge today.  I usually look forward to the Christmas, online only, Toughie but I found this to be a lack-lustre slog, unlike the Double Toughie which I have completed but am still trying to resolve some of the wordplay (is it me, or is the anagram in 4 Across flawed – I am missing an “O” and have a spare “I”?, it helps if you right the correct phrase down when resolving the anagram!)

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Stray animals’ location after flooding engulfs millions (3,3,4)
OFF THE MARK: the location of some pairs of animals after the great flood in biblical times (3,3,3) around M(illions)

6a    On which one might walk for miles (4)
PROM: a word meaning for followed by M(iles)

9a    Criminal gang includes doctor (7)
BRIGAND: a gang around a verb meaning to doctor

10a    Loose tea in urn Fiona used regularly (7)
UNCHAIN: a a colloquial word for tea inside the odd letters (used regularly) of two words in the clue

12a    Speculation against Derby, perhaps — a model Prime Minister, nevertheless (2,4,2,2,3)
BE THAT AS IT MAY: a three-letter speculation or gamble followed by the type of headwear of which Derby is an unindicated US example, the A from the clue, a verb meaning to model and the surname of our Prime Minister (at the time of writing)

14a    White swan‘s body better seen with wings lifted (6)
ODETTE: the name of the White Swan in the famous Tchaikovsky ballet is derived by dropping the outer letters (with wings lifted) from two words in the clue

15a    Jesting cordless tape recorder works (8)
REPARTEE: an anagram (works) of TAPE RE[cord]ER without CORD (cord-less)

17a    Dressing fellow with posh girdle (8)
MANURING: this verb meaning dressing or enriching soil with a fertilizing substance is derived from a fellow or chap followed by the single letter which indicates posh and a girdle or belt

19a    Fruit peeled, duly cutting veg (6)
RESULT: the fruit, as in the fruits of one’s labour, is derived by putting [d]UL[y] without its outer letters (peeled) inside (cutting) a verb meaning to veg(etate)

22a    Recognised daughter is put out with ex gone (13)
DISTINGUISHED: D(aughter) followed by IS from the clue and a verb meaning put out, as in put out a fire, without (gone) the EX

24a    Baronet disheartened hosting rotten bore (7)
BROUGHT: B[arone]T without its inner letters (disheartened) around (hosting) an adjective meaning rotten or unwell gives a verb meaning bore or carried

25a    After working, Joe knocked back wine that’s discounted (7)
IGNORED: the reversal (knocked back) of a two-letter word meaning working and an American soldier (Joe) followed by a type of wine

26a    Player quick to take an extra stroke (4)
EAST: to get this bridge player, start with an adjective meaning quick and add an extra horizontal stroke to its initial letter

27a    Fault in date on shoddy commercial document (6,4)
ADVICE NOTE: a fault or weakness inside an anagram () of DATE ON


1d    Balls trapped by Middlesbrough man, centre-back? (4)
ORBS: reverse (back) the centre of “MiddleSBROugh man”

2d    Flying saucer leaves with bachelor aboard (7)
FRISBEE: a variety of curly endive (leaves) around (with…aboard) B(achelor)

3d    Exhilarating run, arduous outside with suit on (5-8)
HEART-STIRRING: R(un) inside an adjective meaning arduous or exhausting preceded by a card suit

4d    Wall to be erected, Trump is reckless (6)
MADCAP: the reversal (t be erected) of a wall built to hold back water is followed by a verb meaning to trump or outdo

5d    Firm radically shifted from formularised fluid for baked rolls (8)
ROULADES: an anagram (fluid) of [F]O[RM]ULAR[I]SED without (shifted from) the assorted (radically) letters of FIRM

7d    Once more accept scanned pass cut at top (7)
READMIT: a verb meaning scanned followed by a verb meaning to pass or discharge without (cut) its initial letter (at top)

8d    Spooner’s rabbit runs in which Americans might put greens (5,5)
MONEY BELTS: start with a colloquial word for a rabbit and a verb meaning runs or changes from solid to liquid, then Spooner style, swap the initial letters – yet another Spoonerism that fails to convince – by the way, greens are US bank notes

11d    Volatile chemical agent is environmental concern (7,6)
CLIMATE CHANGE: an anagram (volatile) of CHEMICAL AGENT

13d    Awe-inspiring tale about soldiers and shadowy uprising (10)
FORMIDABLE: a tale or story around some non-commissioned soldiers and the reversal (uprising in a down clue) of an adjective meaning shadowy

16d    The king deteriorating, duke is given new rank (8)
KNIGHTED: an anagram (deteriorating) of THE KING followed by D(uke)

18d    Eat massive sandwiches with people not here (2-5)
NO-SHOWS: a colloquial word for to eat followed by a large clothing size (massive) around (sandwiches) W(ith)

20d    Bear‘s base in rocky ground (7)
UNDERGO: the base of natural logarithms inside an anagram (rocky) of GROUND

21d    60s blocks initially revolutionary in Italian city (6)
RIMINI: the amount of time represented by 60 s(econds) inside (blocks) the initial letters of three words in the clue

23d    Mind clues missing every other letter? That’s futile (4)
IDLE: the even letters (missing every other letter) of the first two words in the clue

Merry Christmas everyone.


15 comments on “Toughie 100009

  1. Given that we aren’t supposed to discuss ‘other puzzles’ on another puzzles blog, I’ll email you about the Double’s 4a

    I had my usual problems with Mr X’s wavelength, but I did really like 26a

    Merry Christmas

          1. Yes – just the same, except that I wrote the incorrect version in the grid and then tut-tutted about the Telegraph’s proof-readers!

  2. Sorry you didn’t enjoy the puzzle, BD. Especially today of all days and having to blog it!
    My thanks to you and the team for the excellent services provided throughout the year, particularly to Dutch, who seems to get the majority of my puzzles to blog. Merry Christmas to all the bloggers and solvers.

    1. Thanks for calling in to pass on your festive greetings, proXimal – I enjoyed today’s offering, but then I enjoy any of your puzzles that I can actually complete unaided!
      Could I ask you – I know that I’ve seen 14a before, have you treated the lady in the same way in a previous puzzle?

      1. Hi Jane
        No, I don’t believe I have written a clue for that entry before. From a quick search of here and another place, it seems the entry is not very common and I can’t really help you with where you might have seen it before.

  3. No ‘bah humbug’ here – I really enjoyed it. Perhaps because I haven’t had a million and one other things to achieve today?!!

    14a drove me mad for quite a while – I know I’ve seen the clue in a previous puzzle but could I remember it……….
    3d was another sticking point when it came to the second word. I suppose that, had I already sorted out my white swan by that stage, it would have been far easier.

    Forgot about the device used in 26a so that one remained semi-parsed until I read BD’s hint.

    Managed the Spoonerism – my Christmas cup overfloweth!

    Thanks to proXimal and to BD for services above and beyond.

  4. I found this hard, hard, hard. (I’d got much further in the Elgar Double in the same time as I gave this.) For a normal Toughie I hit the maximum amount of time and effort I wanted to spend, so I brought out the electronics to help me finish. So I’d have to add another star to the difficulty rating. :phew:

    As for the enjoyment … well, I’ve been well supplied with bubbly and red win (sic) so I’m out of Humbugs until that wears off … :)

    Thanks and Happy Christmas to proXimal for the Tough Toughie and to BD for the blog (both this post and the whole shebang).

  5. I realize that I am very late in the day to be posting, but for the longest time I did not realize there was a toughie today. I did enjoy this – my only disappointment was that my knowledge of ballet was not nearly strong enough to come up with 14a. Many thanks, and Christmas greetings, to all.

  6. I’m a day late ( and probably a dollar short ) but thanks for blogging, BD.
    Can we have all but the really convincing spoonerisms banned ? There are good ones from time to time . Besides , Bunny does not equal Boney and hence the spoonerism doesn’t work.
    I really liked 12a and 1a.
    Thanks and seasons greetings all round.

  7. Since spoonerisms can transpose sounds as well as letters, 8d works OK, certainly in West Riding speech, but I would not be disappointed if they were all excluded from crossword clues.

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