Toughie 1950 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1950

Toughie No 1950 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Another steady solve with nothing requiring too much thought.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a & 4a    Glibness possibly producing a ‘9-cum-24’ outcome? (5,8)
MIXED BLESSING: The answer provides wordplay leading to GLIBNESS with the first word being an anagram indicator and the second word an anagram of GLIBNESS. The 9 and 24 in the definition refer to the answers to 9 across and 24 across

4a    See 1 Across

8a    Ulster hugged by sibling on the left (8)
SINISTER: ‘Ulster’ inside a female sibling. Who cares that Ulster and Northern Island are not the same thing?

9a    Certain naval officers with sex appeal regularly in view (8)
POSITIVE: Petty officers + sex appeal + alternate letters of IN VIEW

11a    Ophidian having rest on pitch (7)
ASPHALT: An ophidian (snake) associated with Cleopatra + a rest or ‘to rest’

13a    Wings of Ugandan barrage ancient, but sound (9)
UNDAMAGED: The first and last letters of UGANDAN + a barrage + ‘ancient’

15a    Vision in trousers — the design’s smashing (4-11)
LONG-SIGHTEDNESS: An anagram (smashing) of THE DESIGN’S inside trousers (not shorts)

18a    Daughter takes the Underground west, given advance payment as a newcomer (9)
DEBUTANTE: D (daughter) + a reversal (west) of the Underground + an advance payment

21a    Timepiece put back post-daylight (7)
SUNDIAL: Daylight + a reversal of ‘put’

22a    In jam, Tories veer off (8)
CONSERVE: Tories + an anagram (off) of VEER

24a    Retrospectively, Lloyd Webber’s musical background is unfortunate (8)
NEGATIVE: A reversal (retrospectively) of an Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical and background or general information

25a & 26a    Risky route indicated by poles, maybe? (8,5)
SLIPPERY SLOPE: The answer provides wordplay leading to POLES with the first word being an anagram indicator and the second word an anagram of POLES

26a    See 25 Across


1d    Botched dish led man into trouble (10)
MISHANDLED: An anagram (into trouble) of DISH LED MAN

2d    Greek historian‘s cross, English number to call cut short (8)
XENOPHON: A letter shaped like a cross + E (English) + an abbreviation for ‘number’ + ‘to call’ with the least letter removed

3d    Abandons a way to access records (8)
DISCARDS: A and an abbreviation denoting ‘way’ inside ‘records’

4d    Gas escape rising right inside local (4)
BURP: A reversal of R (right) inside a local

5d    Wriggle as old attendant finishes early mass (6)
SQUIRM: An old attendant with the last letter removed + M (mass)

6d    Hanging around ruined buildings after coach coming round leaves (6)
IDLING: An anagram (ruined) of ILDING, i.e. BUILDINGS minus the BUS (coach) on its outside

7d    Audible pace in passage (4)
GATE: A homophone (audible) of a pace or way of walking

10d    Unusual items –- like jar from Jaafra, possibly? (8)
ODDITIES: Note the positions of the letters J, A and R in JAAFRA

12d    This writer didn’t urge never-ending embraces (8)
TURGENEV: The surname of a Russian writer is hidden in DIDN’T URGE NEVER-ENDING

14d    Besides endlessly and incorrectly incorporating falsehood, verse occasions doubt (10)
DISBELIEVE: An anagram (incorrectly) of BESIDE (BESIDES with the last letter removed) goes round a falsehood and V (verse)

16d    Dishes dirt initially on Andersen –- a dark soul at heart (8)
DHANSAKS: Indian dishes of meat and vegetables cooked with lentils = the first letter of DIRT + the first name of Mr Andersen who wrote fairy tales + A + the middle two letters of DARK SOUL

17d    Without any ingredients, former partner’s put on new nail polish after dreadful ‘slap’ is abandoned (2,6)
EX NIHILO: A Latin term meaning ‘out of nothing’ = a former partner + an anagram (new) of NAIL POLISH minus the letters of SLAP. I didn’t know this term but had no problem working it out from the wordplay

19d    Upwardly mobile setter an elitist? It shows restricted growth (6)
BONSAI: A reversal (upwardly mobile) of a personal pronoun denoting the setter and A and an elitist

20d    Serve up in best protective cover (6)
TOECAP: A reversal of an unplayable serve in tennis inside ‘best’

22d    Fleeces for inmates? (4)
CONS: 2 meanings: fleeces or swindles/inmates in a prison

23d    Every second of recital’s incandescent; every lyric manifesting desire (4)

This seemed a quick review to write with there only being 27 clues

18 comments on “Toughie 1950

  1. Not that difficult – which seems to be the case more Thursdays than not. I liked the linking of the solutions at the top and bottom of the puzzle

    Thanks to Firefly and Bufo

  2. We found this a steady solve and satisfying to boot. 3*/3.5*

    Bufo, in 15a we didn’t have trousers around the rest of the answer; we thought the first five letters of the answer were the trousers. Guess the clue works whether “in” is considered a containment indicator or simply a way of joining the two halves of the clue together (as it often is)?

    We noticed the letter ‘V’ was quite prevalent – five (V) of them, in fact. 6d was our favourite.

    Thanks to Bufo and to Firefly.

  3. I agree it was a nice steady solve. 16d was my favourite and the last one in after a fair bit of head scratching.
    Thanks to F and B

  4. I have previously found Firefly to be a bit strange, but I think I am warming to his style. Enjoyed this a lot, even the cross-referenced clues which normally put me off right from the start. I spent ages trying to remember the Greek historian at 2d, only to slowly discover I was trying to remember the wrong fellow anyway! Should have concentrated on the clue rather than trying to remember.

    Good fun, so thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for the review.

  5. This seemed tricky but still solved in normal time – maybe it was all the double unches.

    Thanks bufo for (1) i imagined 9-cum-24 was some sports jargon i hadn’t come across and ignored it and (2) in 24a i was stupidly thinking of a ski slope which is often signposted (indicated) by poles (regularly displaying the piste number), i guess that might be a bit specialist

    Nice having the two inverse anagrams symmetrically top and bottom and cleanly across a row.

    I liked the poetic 23d, though the not dissimilar 14d seemed less exciting to me. Also liked 20d and 16d.

    many thanks Firefly

  6. Like Jules, my last one in was 16d – kept trying to put Mr Anderson’s forename at the end of the answer. I did need to check with Mr Google that I’d correctly worked out the names of the Greek historian and the Russian author and 17d was definitely a ‘bung it in and check later’.

    4d made me smile and I did like the correlation between the top line and the 9/24 combo.

    Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo – particularly for the full parsing of 10d which had passed me by.

  7. Tell me folks, in the Toughie are multi-light solutions allowed? Are themes allowed? Linking of one clue to another or several others? I see that most of these great puzzles don’t feature such things, but that some do, well, occasionally at least! I’d like to know.

    Another very enjoyable puzzle, and I too liked the ‘across the clues’ trick.

  8. There were all sorts of things that were unfamiliar to me in this, and disappointingly I went down to defeat only with 16d, and is my vote for least favourite! In general I found the bottom quarter much trickier than the upper three quarters. Lots of double unchecked letters to make things just a little more challenging. Many thanks to all.

  9. We had trouble in the SE. In 24a we had difficulty justifying GEN = background and ‘unfortunate’ as a synonym for the answer. This all made the new word to us for 16d very tricky. Needed to reveal a letter to sort out that lot. Suspect that all the double unches added to our problems. The rest of the puzzle had all gone together without very much resistance.
    Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

  10. Not often I tackle a Toughie but after getting 1 and 4 across I persevered and whoopee I finished … and enjoyed. Thanks to Firefly and Bufo.

  11. Enjoyable especially 15a and 16d: didn’t know 17d but worked it out. I had “LAGS” at first for 22d until I got 22a.

  12. Didn’t do very well this morning when I first had a look but by this evening everything fell smoothly.
    Just 19d which I started to parse as I’m a nob and actually checked if Bonami existed.
    Apart from this senior moment, I have nothing to declare.
    Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo.

    1. Loving your senior moment, JL! Worry not, you will always be an extremely ‘bonami’ to all of us on the BD blog.

  13. I hit a few spots of difficulty but my solve for the most part fit Sheffieldsy’s description of steady and satisfying. Thanks to Firefly and Bufo.

  14. Easy going throughout, though with a sting in the tail at 16d. No, I didn’t know the dish, and it took an absolute age to get it! So ** for difficulty without 16d, *** with it. :-)

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