Toughie 1947 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1947

Toughie No 1947 by Myops

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

I haven’t had the pleasure of blogging a Myops puzzle before, and I hope we see more. It seems he was a regular contributor more than 10 years ago, then he had Toughie 1917 appear last November (blogged by Gazza).  I thought this was an excellent puzzle with accurate and inventive clueing. It fits the toughie bill very nicely, with plenty to think about, without being overly fiendish – allowing steady progress, well,  until I got to SW, where I was held up by the parsing for 27a and had to phone a friend. I also needed a bit of googling to confirm some of the general knowledge.

As always, the definitions are underlined and the hints are intended to help you untangle the wordplay. If you wish, you may reveal the answer by clicking on the CLICK HERE buttons. Please leave a comment telling us how you did and what you thought.


1a    Smelling a rice wine and, swallowing it, drunk (4,2,1,4)
HIGH AS A KITE: A 4-letter word meaning smelling as in smelly. A from the clue, then a Japanese rice wine surrounding (swallowing) IT from the clue

9a    Barrie plays about Troy’s leader and Paris in prelude to war? (7)
ARBITER: An anagram (plays) of BARRIE goes around (about) the first letter (leader) of Troy. I guess the reference is to the role of Paris in choosing the most beautiful woman for Zeus before the Trojan war

10a    Reach non-drinkers admitting what they want to be — accepted (6)
ATTAIN: The abbreviation for a society of people who are stopping with drinking (non-drinkers) goes around (admitting) an abbreviation for an abstainer (what they want to be) plus a 2-letter word meaning accepted

12a    Toughie hot and cold savannah to the north from the east (4,3)
HARD NUT: The abbreviation for Hot plus a reversal (from the east) of a ‘cold savannah to the north’

13a    Even loch reduced by volume could be this level (7)
ECHELON: An anagram (could be) of E(v)EN LOCH without (reduced by) the abbreviation for Volume

14a    For instance 16’s selection turns colour (5)
TINGE: The reversal (turns) of both the abbreviation of for instance or for example plus what 16d would ‘select’ or pick

15a    They promise to provide money and forbid counterfeit tokens (9)
BANKNOTES: A 3-letter word meaning forbid or bar plus an anagram (counterfeit) of TOKENS

17a    Sky programme meant to trail business (9)
FIRMAMENT: An anagram (programme, as an imperative verb) of MEANT comes after (to trail) another word for business or company

20a    Pack leader also known as tours leader for Ecuador Line (5)
AKELA: The abbreviation for ‘also known as’ goes around (tours) the first letter (leader) of Ecuador plus the abbreviation for Line

22a    Sequence to resolve discord shown by peasants’ leader, one leaving French city (7)
CADENCE: The leader of a popular revolt against the English Government in 1450, plus a well-known French resort city without the “I” (one leaving). The answer can be a series of chords that harmoniously release the tension at the end of a musical sequence or melody

24a    Being old almost rambling and low (7)
IGNOBLE: An anagram of BEING OL(d) without the last letter (almost)

25a    Epitaph contains everything about staunch supporter (6)
PILLAR: The reversal (about) of an abbreviated epitaph which contains a word meaning everything

26a    Kelts abroad penning note for a flier (7)
KESTREL: An anagram (abroad) of KELTS contains (penning) the second note on the sol-fa scale

27a    Man of the world hearing about art going wrong (11)
TERRESTRIAL: A court hearing goes about a 6-letter Old English way of saying (thou) “art going wrong”. Thanks Gazza!



2d    Concentrated on European as one counts (7)
INTENSE: On top of the abbreviation for European (on, in a down clue), we have a (2,4) expression for our usual way of counting

3d    That can be passed on to those succeeding with their bats on the ball (9)
HERITABLE: An anagram (bats) of THEIR plus a word meaning ‘on the ball’ or skilled

4d    Small step that Armstrong went through (5)
SPACE: The abbreviation for Small plus another word for step or stride

5d    Percussionists know about hankering (7)
KITCHEN: The Scottish word for know goes around (about) a word for hankering or yen. The answer is an informal word for the percussion section of an orchestra

6d    Initially tennis rule included playing additional serve or three in a set (7)
TRIPLET: The first letters (initially) of 4 words in the clue plus a word meaning ‘additional serve’ (e.g. after a net ball)

7d    Maxim about popular successes where expression appears to justify outlay (4,3,4)
WASH IT’S FACE: The reversal (about) of a 3-letter maxim, then some popular successes, and where on your body expressions appear

8d    Honour queen supported by fairy king (6)
OBERON: A 3-letter abbreviated honour or medal, a single-letter abbreviation for Queen (or King), followed by a small word meaning ‘supported by’ (e.g. ** the dole)

11d    Beau led May astray after university without a blush (11)
UNASHAMEDLY: The surname of Beau, the Master of Ceremonies at Bath and a celebrated dandy and leader of fashion, followed by an anagram (astray) of LED MAY, all after the abbreviation for University

16d    Pedant‘s transpositively said to be one who steals mine? (3-6)
NIT-PICKER: To say something transpositively would be Rev. Spooner’s speciality. A spoonerism of ‘one who steals mine’

18d    On reflection, the Queen with Northumbrian king entered tent? (3,4)
RED WINE: A reversal (on reflection) of the usual abbreviation for our Queen contains (with …. entered) the King of Northumbria from 613 to 633. The question mark here indicates a definition-by-example (dbe), since the answer is exemplified by the Spanish variety in the clue

19d    Fourth finger for a fourth key after Delete? (7)
ANNULAR: A from the clue plus the fourth key on your QWERTY key-board come after another word for delete. The answer corresponds to the perhaps better-known ring-finger

20d    Failure to recall men deployed in India &c (7)
AMNESIA: An anagram (deployed) of MEN goes inside (in) the region than includes India etc.

21d    Smouldering remains of romance at the end of four months (6)
This has now been changed online to  “Smouldering remains of romance at the end of three months (6)”
EMBERS: The endings of the last four months of the year – oops, shouldn’t that be three? And should end be plural? Does anyone have an alternative parsing?

23d    Works for sailors in turbulent sea (5)
EARNS: The abbreviation for serving men at sea inside (in) an anagram (turbulent) of SEA

My favourite penny-drop moment was 19d, when I finally realised what the 4th key was. I was misled into looking for the 4th key next to my delete key, and was cursing the variation in keyboards, duh.

I also liked 1a, 10a, 3d, and the spoonerism-by-another-name and its cross-reference. Which clues were your favourites?

26 comments on “Toughie 1947

  1. Unusually for me I’ve managed all four Toughies this week. I was particularly amused by 5d ‘kitchen” a name as Dutch says for a percussion section which I;d never heard before. “tent” for a red wine was also new to me. I agree with Dutch again in liking 16d – the clue “transpositively said” is a wonderful alternative for a Spoonerism. I have no alternative parsing for 21d which held me up for some time.

    Thanks to all

    1. There appears to be more tent in crosswords than in any well-known high street off-licence, not that I’ve ever looked in the latter but it is a regular appearer in crosswords

  2. A lot more friendly than Myops of old when I seem to recall a dictionary of Scottish words was required on a regular basis.

    with regard to 21d, there are four lots of Ember days in a year, but they aren’t at the end of a month as far as my researches can tell

  3. Very enjoyable – thanks to Myops and Dutch. I do like the ‘new’ Myops even with the high number of anagrams. Myops used to look in to explain where we’d gone wrong – let’s hope he does so today to reveal the secret of 21d.
    The clues I liked best were 1a, 2d and 7d.

    1. Thank you for the kind comments, undeserved. In Octember I erred. Far from ‘new’ Myops I was reminded of a clue in a puzzle last week: What I do with i? I delayed, being senile (6), The solution was a good Scots word, in Chambers.

      1. Many thanks Myops for dropping in, that is always highly appreciated. Must admit i entered EMBERS without a second thought. The puzzle was carried by the overall quality, rest assured.

        Hope to have more from you soon.

  4. Most enjoyable. Although I finished the puzzle I did need some answers explained, notably 27 and 7d. Still, it’s Friday and to get this far is an achievement! Thank you Dutch and Myops.

  5. The 4th key after ‘del’ on my keyboard is ‘pg dn’ which didn’t help a bit but led to all manner of confusion over 19d!
    Thanks to The Antiques Roadshow, I did recall 7d – haven’t heard it used in any other sense although it probably is.
    Forgot the Spanish wine – AGAIN – but managed to arrive at the answer after which the penny dropped loudly.

    Still pondering 21d – I like CS’s reference to Ember days but still can’t quite make it work.

    Tops for me were the 1a drunk and the best version of a Spoonerism I’ve ever seen at 16d.

    Thanks to Myops and to Dutch for the blog.

  6. Very nice puzzle, although it took quite a while for me to get going. Finished it but didn’t understand all the parsing. Favourites (of course?) were 27a (impenetrable) and 16d. In 21d, I was looking for a reason why “embe” would mean “romance”!!

  7. A lovely puzzle from one of my favourite setters. A confident start with 1a going in straight away, but a couple held me up for a while.

    Many thanks to Myops, and to Dutch.

  8. 21D…..the last 4 months end in ember making 4 embers. The romance seems superfluous, though that may be just my age.

    1. Yep, that’s what I thought – then I got an email from gazza reminding me that October doesn’t quite fit the bill….

  9. A puzzle of two halves for me. The RHS went in at a good pace, but I slowed down significantly on the left, especially the SW corner. I have never heard of 7d or the tent wine. Needed parsing help for 27A and 19D, and loved 16D. Thanks Myops and Dutch

  10. On the whole I enjoyed this very much. Like Expat Chris, the right half went in relatively easily for me, and the left half a lot more slowly. In the end, and very disappointingly, I was left with four that I really did not fully have. I, too, was not familiar with the expression in 7d, nor the term in 19d. I had the idea of Qwerty, but the working of it did not seem to make sense on my keyboard. I had 22a and 27a penciled in the margin, but I had never heard of the 15th century revolt leader (although I had the one leaving French city), nor old English saying needed to make full sense of 27a. At present, my disappointment by far exceeds my sense of accomplishment. My thanks to all.

  11. Our biggest hold up (apart from 21d of course) was the phrase in 7d. It is something we had never heard before and we spent ages trying to work out what could possibly fit with the checking letters we had. Diligent Googling eventually found it. Certainly well deserving of the label on the tin for us. A significant challenge and very satisfying to get it sorted.
    Thanks Myops and Dutch.

      1. On Bargain Hunt any lot in the auction which makes neither a profit nor a loss is said to ‘wipe its face.’ However I doubt if Bargain Hunt (involving two teams of pairs of amateurs trying to gain the larger profit or smaller loss in buying and selling antiques) would be broadcast in New Zealand.

        1. No we don’t recognise that one but Antiques Road Trip is playing here at present and sounds somewhat similar.

          1. Yes – if you look at my comment, that’s where I got it from, although I inadvertently wrote ‘Show’ instead of ‘Trip’.

  12. Rather a nice puzzle I feel, with possibly a variation in difficulty in the SW.

    I’d be interested to know why a compiler would appear so infrequently. Anyone?

    Many thanks to all.

    1. maybe he has spent a decade exploring the amazing offerings of our world. Crosswords aren’t everything. but i do like them.

  13. A little trouble at the close on 7d and 27ac, but the rest wasn’t that difficult, for a Friday Toughie at least. :-)

  14. Yes, it’s very good to have Myops back again, hopefully on a fairly regular basis. Plenty of clever clues here, including 17a, 19d and 27a, which I couldn’t parse properly. Thanks Myops, and Dutch for the blog. Happy New Year to all setters and bloggers.

  15. I was really enjoying this until I ran aground on the last few in the SW. Was hoping to find out what I’d missed for 21d, when what I’d actually completely overlooked was the possibility of a mistake.

    Errest caused my eyebrow to raise (quite considerably since they started from the lowered frowny position!). I’d also never heard of the 7d expression, so that was harder than it would have been. Interesting alternative Spooner indication in 16d.

    Thanks to Myops and thanks Dutch for the blog — I like how the 3d illustration works with regards to temperature too.

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