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Toughie 1977

Toughie No 1977 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

We have a theme today in a Toughie which is quite pleasant but reasonably gentle. Thanks to Firefly for the entertainment.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a Guy gets brother involved in ‘domestic’ … (6)
HOMBRE: put an abbreviation for brother into an adjective meaning domestic. This was my first answer and I wondered if we were in for a Spanish trip following yesterday’s excursion to Italy, but it was not to be.

5a … it may be about his present computer image: ‘Gin-soaked Wife’ (4-4)
GIFT-WRAP: start with a 3-letter format for computer images and append the abbreviation for wife contained inside what a gin is a particularly nasty type of.

9a Married a New York tenor initially — Henry’s son? You shouldn’t have! (4,6)
MANY THANKS: we have no less than six bits to stitch together here – the abbreviation for married, A, the abbreviations for New York and tenor,  Start with the initial letters of the first five words of the clue and add a common nickname for a man called Henry and, finally, the abbreviation for son. Thanks to Ora Meringue for correcting my flawed parsing.

10a Grow apart from grand primate (4)
GAPE: the abbreviation for grand and a primate of the animal kind.

11a Pope’s digested pronouncements mentioning knowledge of guns? (5,3)
CANON LAW: this is a digest or compilation of ecclesiastical rules laid down by Papal pronouncements. It may sound to some (but not to me) like ‘ knowledge of guns’ (CANNON LORE).

12a See 24 Down

13a Women having a way with patients (4)
WARD: fuse together the abbreviation for women, A and the abbreviation for a way or route.

15a Friar’s jaunt into candy store (4,4)
TUCK SHOP: start with the name of Robin Hood’s religious comrade and add the ‘S and a word for a jaunt or short trip.

18a/2d: At heart, Carol’s worried for her in 5 (8,5)
SCARLETT O’HARA: the heroine of 5d is an anagram (worried) of AT HEART CAROL’S.

19a Game of pool I dropped out of — you, we hear, substituted? (4)
LUDO: an open-air swimming pool has its I replaced by the letter that sounds like ‘you’.

21a Fasten in place and push! (6)
PROPEL: a verb to fasten or tether goes inside the abbreviation for place.

23a Disc with edge half-destroyed — these things don’t last (8)
EPHEMERA: assemble an old disc format, a synonym for edge or fringe and half of a verb meaning destroyed or expunged.

25a Farewell from Lancashire estate in 5 (4)
TARA: double definition, the first a common word for goodbye in the North of England (often followed by ‘chuck’).

26a Manual trades’ criteria? (10)
GUIDELINES: charade of another word for the sort of manual that comes with new equipment (invariably placed unopened on a shelf and only consulted if all previous attempts to get the damned thing to work have failed) and a synonym for trades or professions.

27a Don’t need to get involved in a row (3-2-3)
END-TO-END: an anagram (to get involved) of DON’T NEED.

28a Contract Jobcentre at Yeovil — do it! (6)
TREATY: contract or shorten words 2-4 of the clue by removing letters from both ends. ‘Contract’ seems to be doing double duty.

Down Clues

2d See 18 Across

3d Prodigy, currently growing up in Derby, trained with zero input (3,6)
BOY WONDER: reverse an adverb meaning currently and insert it into an anagram (trained) of DERBY with the letter resembling zero brought in.

4d Former husband on drink? Blow! (6)
EXHALE: string together the usual prefix meaning former, the abbreviation for husband and an alcoholic drink.

5d Dead from flatulence — that’s novel! (4,4,3,4)
GONE WITH THE WIND: today’s theme, the title of which could mean, cryptically, died due to flatulence.

6d Among the running deer he may gain a speedy advantage (4,4)
FAST BUCK: cryptically this could be a male deer who could outpace the rest of the herd.

7d Isle of Man? (5)
WIGHT: double definition, the second an archaic or dialect word for a person (new to me).

8d Material irritated poodle’s paw — no suggestion of soreness (9)
APPLEWOOD: an anagram (irritated) of POODLE'[s] PAW without the first letter (suggestion) of soreness.

14d Discover a crime without trace, unusually … (9)
ASCERTAIN: A and a sort of religious crime contain an anagram (unusually) of TRACE.

16d … turning up misdemeanour in exclusive Middle East setting, celebrate (9)
SOLEMNISE: the misdemeanour is the same one we had in the previous clue! Reverse it and place it inside an adjective meaning exclusive and the abbreviation for Middle East.

17d Georgia’s wearing changed style in glee — such revelatory attire! (8)
NEGLIGÉE: the IVR code for Georgia goes inside an anagram (changed style) of IN GLEE.

20d For that reason, first European’s dropped ultimatum (6)
THREAT: start with an archaic adverb meaning ‘for that reason’ or ‘on that account’ and remove the first E.

22d Pull a pint regularly in Barnet? (5)
PLAIT: select regular letters from the first three words. Barnet is Cockney rhyming slang (derived from Barnet Fair).

24d/12a: Letter Ruth redirected about book for him in 5 (5,6)
RHETT BUTLER: an anagram (redirected) of LETTER RUTH contains the abbreviation for book. Who gives a damn?

The clues I liked best were the connected and amusing 1a and 5a. Which one(s) appealed to you?

42 comments on “Toughie 1977

  1. Well, that was fun, I enjoyed the themed clues that started with 5d, completed at a gallop – **/****.

    Favourite – any or all of 5d, 18a/2d, and 24d/12a – I would probably have to go with 5d as it provides the key to the two pairs.

    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

  2. 5d had us spilling coffee over the paper, excellent!
    Great crossword we completed all 3 from today in a couple of hours.
    5d was so good we sent it to the in laws for their amusement.

  3. Particularly Floughie, not least because once you’d got 5d quite a few of the other themed solutions just wrote themselves in. Are the Lancashire goodbye and the ‘estate’ supposed to sound the same, because they don’t

    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza

    1. There’s no homophone involved in 25a so there’s no problem with the two definitions being pronounced differently.

    2. Re 25a – I agree pronunciation is completely different. But, there is no homophone indicator so that might suggest that Firefly is aware that it is a bit of a stretch.

  4. Loved the description for 26a. Don’t forget such manuals are usually written in “Chinglish” to confuse even more!

  5. Not too tough today, I thought, and made easier by the links to 5d as others have said. (Mind you, you had to have spotted that it was 5d not 5a that was being referred to)…. I liked 16d.
    Actually the clue for 5d was very similar to a favourite old joke of my dad’s, so known to me for 50+ years and a great start. Thanks to all

  6. My third puzzle today. Greatly enjoyed. Thanks to Firefly and thanks to Gazza for the answer to 16d. Completely missed the anagram at 27ac but Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

  7. An enjoyable puzzle which I found considerably less chewy than yesterday’s. I didn’t understand how “do it!” could work as an inclusion indicator in 28a, but now see that it refers to the definition part. As sometimes wordplay does reference the definition in this way I think it’s ok.

    I actually had 25a down as a single definition with the first bit differently punctuated as I’d normally put a hyphen in the middle of the farewell. But I’ve no doubt some people wouldn’t hyphenate it, so the double definition makes sense too.

    Had to check 7d and 16d definitions after the solve. (I don’t feel so bad about the man in 7d, as brb says it’s archaic, dialect or ironic.)

    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza. Liked the cartoons!

      1. I’m still not convinced. Contract is used twice – once as the definition and once as (part of) the instruction to reduce the fodder.

      2. yes I see your point. I think it can be claimed that “contract” is the definition, and the instructions for reducing the fodder are contained in “do it”, admittedly with a reference to the whole clue as read. Without the “do it”, the double duty would be more in your face.

        1. To me, 28a is another of those clues that doesn’t quite fit exactly into a clue “type” pigeon-hole because the construction is a bit unconventional and the parsing is a tad subjective. On the back page, the setter would have probably gone for something more straightforward like Contract in Jobcentre at Yeovil (6). But that would be too transparent/easy for a Toughie. I think the clue is (just about) OK, as Dutch describes, but requires some inventive lateral thinking and the generosity to give the setter the benefit of the doubt. A good clue, but maybe not one for the purists.

  8. Enjoyed this though wondered if more could be done with the characters instead of anagrams – but was all nice.

    always fun to see the stories other setters create for a clue. I had 23a in my very first Indy puzzle (no 9465, feb 13 2017, a year ago!) “He married in record time – these things never last!”. However I’ll quickly concede that Firefly has a better claim to the answer!

    Many thanks Firefly and Gazza

  9. My heart always sinks a little when we’re faced with inter-connecting clues in a puzzle but, for once, I was quite willing to forgive that – probably down to the fact that all the answers were so familiar!

    Learned something new in 7d and was a bit concerned, like Gazza, over the parsing of 28a. I can just about see the sense of it from Dutch’s comment but have to say that I’m not overly impressed.

    Top two for me were 5d and the rotund Friar at 15a.

    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for the blog – mightily relieved that my days of ‘pushing’ are long behind me!

  10. Well I loved this puzzle, managed to complete in a reasonable time for me. 5d made me laugh out loud and I enjoyed the interconnecting clues. 7d was pulled from the depths of my brain somehow, I must have come across the word at sometime. Could not parse 17d at all, so thanks to Gazza for the hints and Firefly for the challenge. Must have been on the right wavelength today, I always find it so encouraging and such a delight to solve the Toughie!

  11. Oh dear – it appears I’m in a minority of one here.

    I am not a fan of cross-references clues for a start, and although I have heard of it, I have never seen the film. I hate films, they bore me to tears.

    I don’t think it’s really very fair to have much of a crossword based on a film from 79(!) years ago.

    I did like some of the cluing, 5d raised a smile, 9a & 15a also entertained, but overall I’m afraid this puzzle was clearly not for me.
    Very disappointing, frustrating and therefore rather unsatisfactory. Sorry.

    Many thanks to Firefly anyway, and thanks to Gazza.

    1. It was a book first – quite a large book which I read in four days while also revising for three A-level!

    2. Goodness, you do surprise me, LbR – to quote from the book’s dust jacket – ‘It has sold more than 28 million copies in 27 languages making it the biggest-selling book in the world after the Bible’.
      I re-read my copy only a couple of months ago along with Scarlett – the sequel.

    3. I read the book when I was a teenager. Very enjoyable. When Gone With The Wind was showing at The Rex in Coventry a bomb hit the cinema and a later bomb finished the job off

  12. Once I had spotted the theme, and that was quite early in the solve, it all went together smoothly. Smiles and chuckles all the way through, especially with the wordplay for 5d.
    Thanks Firefly and Gazza.

  13. I also got confused for the references to 5 between a and d until I’d got 5d. It’s a long time since I’ve seen the film or read the book, so had TATA (maybe that’s more London than Lancs?) for 25a until Gazza enlightened me. Liked 5a and 15a. Last in was 17d……must be my age.

    Thanks to Gazza and Firefly.

  14. That was fun , though I was defeated by 1a and 13a.
    I liked the theme .
    Thanks to firefly and Gazza .

  15. Nice puzzle. Nearly weakened in SE corner but when 26a went in the rest fell together like a demolished jenga. My favourite 23a.
    Thanks to all…

  16. No harder than the back-pager, particularly once the penny dropped on 5d: Call it 2*/4*. My favourite was 5a. VMTs to Firefly and Gazza.

  17. Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but my lack of knowledge of 5d didn’t help. I got 25a wrong, so couldn’t get 22d. Needed the hints for 16d&21a. Favourite was 5d. Was 3*/3* for me.

  18. Well, that was very very good, thoroughly enjoyable. 5d raised one almighty groan, together with a smile, and you can’t ask for much more than that from a crossword. I’d been struggling with the other themed answers until that point, but from then on it was plain solving. *** for difficulty overall and time well spent.

  19. I very rarely even look at the Toughie, but the combination of snow and the encouraging review made me give thus chap a go….and how pleasantly surprised was I? Very!

    Had to check on 7d which I guessed as it was rolling about in a deep recess of my noodle. Also could not see 5a until I read the hint.
    So delighted with my efforts.
    Totally agree with Gazza re alleged homophone at 11a

    Hesitate to say this in such exalted company, but I read 9a quite differently.
    M(arried) A N(ew) Y(ork) T(enor) initially -then the rest as per above.
    Ora Meringue?

    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza.

    1. That’s what my hint for 9a says, OM, though I probably could have worded it better.

      1. I saw them as the initial letters of the first 5 words, not as abbreviations.

        Comes to the same in the end.

        1. Ah – I see what you mean now. Yes – you’re quite correct and it’s just a coincidence that it also works using abbreviations. I’ll update the blog for the sake of accuracy.

          1. Red letter day for me today!
            Almost completed the Toughie on my own for the first time and changed the parsing of a clue.

            Having difficulty getting through doors now as head has swollen so much.


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