Toughie 1997 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1997

Toughie No 1997 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

This seemed to offer an average Wednesday level of difficulty but I’m a bit disappointed that of the four 15-letter answers three are straight anagrams and the other is a reverse anagram. Thanks to Firefly.

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

Across Clues

1a Frenzied dancer conceivably shivered upon withdrawal of a tablet (8,7)
WHIRLING DERVISH: reverse anagram which leads to SHIV[e]RED without one of the abbreviations for an Ecstasy tablet.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a Make it snappy? (4,5)
LOOK SMART: cryptic definition of an instruction which can mean either hurry or dress neatly.

10a Ditch ex cathedra intervention (5)
DRAIN: hidden (ex) in the clue.

11a Acclaim oddly lacking given medic’s uphill struggle (5)
CLIMB: the even letters of ‘acclaim’ followed by one of the abbreviations for a medic.

12a I frolic madly among maidens in diminutive photos! (9)
MICROFILM: an anagram (madly) of I FROLIC placed between two instances of the cricket abbreviation for a maiden over.

13a Setter I teased with article in paper (8)
TREATISE: an anagram (teased) of SETTER I with an indefinite article inside.

14a A huge stream of opposing points circling perpetually (6)
SEVERN: opposite cardinal points contain a synonym for perpetually. The ‘huge’ here presumably refers to the large surge produced by this river.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

16a Counterfeit abridged books overlooked (6)
FORGOT: join together a verb to counterfeit without its last letter and the abbreviation for some Biblical books.

18a Occasion when English knight has sex? (8)
ENGENDER: start with the abbreviations for English and a chess knight and append a word meaning the quality of being male or female. Occasion here is a verb, not a noun.

22a Scripture saying nothing about one being unshockable (9)
RESILIENT: string together the abbreviation for learning scripture and an adjective meaning ‘saying nothing’ containing the Roman numeral for one.

23a Runs joint enterprises (5)
COOPS: I’m pretty sure this is meant to be a double definition but it doesn’t really work for me because the word for joint enterprises is always spelt with a hyphen. Also, I don’t think the answer which means cages or confined places can really be described as runs (in which chicken, for example, can move about freely).

24a Wool lacking lanolin and making attire, primarily (5)
LLAMA: the primary letters of five words in the clue.

25a Water board question a project in outskirts of Ambleside (9)
AQUAPLANE: insert an abbreviation for question, A and a project or scheme between the outer letters of Ambleside.

26a Predacious type in water rakes thigh — beat it! (5,5,5)
GREAT WHITE SHARK: an anagram (beat it) of WATER RAKES THIGH.

Down Clues

1d Comic in middle of cold call; reversing that is unauthorised (7)
WILDCAT: don’t put the comic or funny person between the middle four letters of ‘cold call’ but do the opposite (reversing that).

2d This compiler had erected tower on summit of eminence — for worship (7)
IDOLISE: start with the contracted form of ‘this compiler had’ in the first person and follow that with the reversal of a tower for holding grain and the first letter of eminence.

3d In at number 11 –- no rabbit though — bats with talent — us lot faltering (4,3,3,5)
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: although the batsman may be at the bottom of the batting order he’s not the worst performer. We need an anagram (faltering) of BATS TALENT US LOT.

4d Narrow squeak when gaining on girl (4,4)
NEAR MISS: an adjective meaning gaining or ‘getting close to’ followed by a young lady.

5d Cut off in kind of wing, left evacuated children (6)
DETACH: a kind of wing (so named because it’s shaped like a Greek letter) has the abbreviation for left removed and the abbreviation for children appended.

6d Wave detectors using complex earpieces — lots do (5,10)
RADIO TELESCOPES: an anagram (complex) of EARPIECES LOTS DO.

7d The setter’s opposed to European judge (7)
IMAGINE: knit together the contracted form of ‘the setter is’ in the first person, an informal preposition meaning ‘opposed to’ and the abbreviation for European.

8d Drop piece in grim game (7)
HANGMAN: a verb to drop or dangle and another word for a piece in chess.

15d Coach cuts in stupidly, closing right up (8)
INSTRUCT: an anagram (stupidly) of CUTS IN contains the reversal of a 2-letter abbreviation meaning right.

16d Front member wishing to have short requiem (7)
FORELEG: a preposition meaning ‘wishing to have’ or ‘in favour of’ is followed by a type of requiem without its final letter.

17d Got up and breakfasted perhaps on salmon? (7)
ROSEATE: join together verbs meaning ‘got up’ and ‘breakfasted perhaps’.

19d Couturier with a degree shows model in 3D (7)
DIORAMA: assemble a French couturier, A and an arts degree.

20d Echo reaches painless climax (7)
RESPEAK: I’d not heard of this Shakespearean verb (now obsolete apparently) meaning to echo. Remove the pain from the word ‘reaches’ and follow that with a word meaning climax or pinnacle.

21d Heavenly creature from Spenser: Aphrodite (6)
SERAPH: one of a whole hierarchy of imaginary creatures featured in the Bible is lurking in the clue.

My favourite clue today was 18a. Which one(s) made it on to your hit parade?

18 comments on “Toughie 1997

  1. Very slightly trickier than Firefly of old. This one contains the first of two mentions of Crosswordland’s game of the day at 8d

    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza too

  2. I think I have had success with at least one other Firefly Toughie. This one was very enjoyable and not too difficult – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 23a, 7d, and 19d – and the winner is 7d because of the synonym for opposed to that appears in the answer.

    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

  3. An enjoyable puzzle, which took me longer than it should with an early mistake on 9a (Look Sharp instead of Look Smart )
    Struggled to parse 5d, completely mislead by “wing”, then a very red face when the penny finally dropped, having spent many happy years sat in front of one!!
    Many thanks to Firefly and Gazza

  4. This was a nice level of difficulty for me and I enjoyed it. It’s not often that a 13 word clue will get my vote as favourite but 3d does today combining two of my favourite things: cricket and rabbits.

    Many thanks to Firefly for the entertainment and to Gazza, whose review I needed to parse 1d.

  5. I often struggle with this setter’s style but didn’t do too badly today although I had to verify 20d and wrote in the answer to 3d long before the anagram fodder occurred to me!

    Top three for me were 9&18a plus 8d.

    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for the blog and the interesting video clips.

  6. Enjoyed that, only held up by initially making the same error as Bellerophon for 9a – it could be either in fairness. I hesitated at 23a for the same reasons noted by Gazza, and also go along with 18a as pick of the bunch with 14a not far behind.

    Thanks Firefly and thanks Gazza.

  7. Very enjoyable, steady solve but held up for quite some time with 5d as I had sharp , as in sharp dresser, at 9a. Eventually, I decide to put in what I thought was the answer to 5d and the penny dropped. Was on the right wavelength today, always a good feeling to complete a Toughie.
    Thanks to Firelfly and Gazza.

  8. I found this another very enjoyable puzzle. My only hold up was, like several others, initially putting ‘sharp’ for the second word in 9a. Many thanks to all.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Linda.
      1a is a reverse anagram (i.e. the anagram indicator and fodder are in the answer rather than in the clue). So we need an anagram (whirling) of DERVISH giving us SHIVERED without one of the Es.

    2. Hello Linda can I add this is the type of clue which more often than most catches me out, today I got there, another day I will no doubt be floundering :)

  9. Nice puzzle not as tough as some still needed a hint for a few. I had look sharp for 9a and I was pretty confident. The hint for 5d put me right. And now I feel a right clodpoll. 7d 2d 17d are my podium for COTD. I agree re 23a not sure that Runs and Coops are synonymous.
    Thanks to Gazza and Firefly.

  10. We also had sharp as the second word for 9a which gave us problems with 5d. Eventually got it sorted. Plenty of smiles during the solve and probably the biggest one with 18a.
    Thanks Firefly and Gazza.

  11. Another one who went with LOOK SHARP, thus causing more problems towards the close than was necessary. 1ac took too long to spot and was quite nicely done. 23ac was my LOI and no, it doesn’t work, but never mind…

  12. Another person looking sharp over here. That did rather screw things up, but other than that I found this more fun that did our reviewer, while having picked the same favourite.

    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza – I liked Sabotabby!

  13. Late to this one, so just to echo a certain disappointment regarding the long entries being anagrams. This for me made it a Toughie-less-tough, though I’m not for a minute taking any value away from the many ncie clues that were on display here. Thanks both.

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