Toughie 100012 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 100012

Toughie No 100012 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Dutch seems to have gone awol today, so this was put together quickly.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a, 13d and 15d        17ac — mystery or legend? Agreement is uncertain, article being mislaid (3,4,2,5,9)
GOD REST YE MERRY GENTLEMEN: an anagram (is uncertain) of MYSTERY OR LEGEND [A]GREEMENT without the A (indefinite article

8a    See 14 Across

10a    See 18 Down

11a    Left in Britain in November, gaining attention with ITV, say? (8)
NEARSIDE: the answer is the left for countries, like Britain, which drive on the left – the letter represented by November in the NATO Phonetic alphabet is followed by a three-letter word meaning attention and a word for a TV channel, like ITV

12a    ‘Fragrance’ from tramp enveloping Scottish port (3,3)
BAY RUM: a three-letter word for a tramp goes around (enveloping) a Scottish port

14a, 8a    Len is stupidly tipsy round mid-morning in 17ac (6,5)
SILENT NIGHT: an anagram (stupidly) of LEN IS followed by a word meaning tipsy around the central (mid) letter of morNing

16a    The setter gets notice — for sauce? (4)
MEAD: a two-letter pronoun for the setter followed by a notice

17a    She resides in bachelor actor’s retreat (5)
CAROL: this answer, which is the definition in several clues, is hidden (in) and reversed (retreat) inside the clue

18a    Tense success achieving double … (4)
TWIN: T(ense) followed by a success

19a    … chatter among Saints follows! (6)
STALKS: a word meaning chatter is sandwiched between two of the single-letter abbreviations for saint

21a    Bet you all need kissing for starters, close to mistletoe? Ecstasy! (6)
YANKEE: the initial letters (for starters) of four words in the clue followed by final letter (close) of mistletoE and E(cstasy)

24a    Member of clergy is always interrupting break (8)
REVEREND: a word meaning always inside (interrupting) a verb meaning to break

26a    Time to plunder pudding? (6)
TRIFLE: T(ime) followed by a verb meaning to plunder

27a    Drift off in north-easter — hearts sadly sinking (5)
TENOR: an anagram (off) of NORT[H-EAST]E[R] after the various letters (sadly) of HEARTS have been dropped

28a    Subject to confusion, having long time sharing party line? (2-7)
ON MESSAGE: a two-letter word meaning subject to followed by a confusion and a long time


1d Chop-chop! Seconds slipping away! Ace is in the drink! (5)
COCOA: drop every second letter from C[h]O[p] C[h]O[p] and add A(ce)

2d Carte blanche with no typing required? (8)
FREEHAND: two definitions – the first splits as (4,4)

3d Groom loiters uneasily: ‘I may be jilted’ (6)
OSTLER: an anagram (uneasily) of LO[I]TERS without the “I”

4d That man is discussed in 17ac (4)
HYMN: sounds like (is discussed) the three-letter pronoun for that man

5d 14ac could design decoration (6)
TINSEL: an anagram (design) of that part of the answer at 14 Across

6d Killer question? (9)
WHODUNNIT: a cryptic definition of a question about the culprit in a murder/mystery

9d Maiden as Donald’s opening over mixed seam with length (6)
DAMSEL: the initial letter (opening) of D[onald] followed by an anagram (mixed) of SEAM and L(ength)

13d See 7 Across

15d See 7 Across

17d Funds The Telegraph returned for nutty article (6)
CASHEW: some liqid funds followed by the reversal (returned) of the pronoun which applies collectively to the staff at The Telegraph

18d, 10a US taxmen caught in heist — no issue for 17ac (3,5)
THE FIRST NOWELL: the abbreviation for the US taxmen inside a heist and followed by NO from the clue and a verb meaning to issue

20d Hide in Speaker’s bed? (3,3)
LIE LOW: sounds like (speaker’s) a brand of inflatable bed

22d Margaret supports 17dn maybe, a spicy item! (6)
NUTMEG: an affectionate form of the name Margaret follows that which the answer to 17 Down is an example

23d Swallows — rising head to tail — seen in commercials (5)
PLUGS: reverse (rising) a verb meaning swallows and then move the first letter (head) to the end (tail)

25d Great he may be, but disposed to be gloomy! (4)
DANE: the answer preceded by Great gives a type of dog – but the answer preceded by Gloomy is a frequent description of Hamlet


9 comments on “Toughie 100012

  1. I got 7a and 17a immediately – this helped enormously. Pleasingly topical. I liked 20d & 6D. I never like 5d clue types which require you to solve another clue first.

    A toughie that for me on the gentler side.

    Thanks to BD & setter

  2. At the gentle end of the Toughie spectrum but perfect for Christmas Day when there are other things to do

    Thanks to BD and Firefly

  3. Spot on for a Christmas Day afternoon. Lots to enjoy, not too taxing but loads of seasonal fun. I really enjoyed the linked clues.

    Many thanks as always to BD and to Firefly for the challenge.

  4. Plain sailing (**) until I ran firmly aground on 11a, 27a and 6d (****?!). Came back to it and got 11a and 27a but resorted to e-help for 6d thinking it might be a fatal disease ending in ‘ia’ that I had not heard of… Oh, well – I should have patiently gone through the alphabet on a couple of the blanks. 1d appealed to me, as did 27a once the penny had dropped. Super anagram for 7a etc! Thank you, Firefly, for providing an entertaining challenge on a uniquely quiet Christmas Day. Hopefully I will not be given free time for crossword puzzles next Christmas Day! And my thanks to BD, as ever, for the review and blog hosting.

  5. Many thanks to Firefly for this puzzle which I completed on the M6 whilst driving home. I’m not a fan of puzzles that rattle around the numbers like this one so that lessened my enjoyment. Also once the obvious 17 across was solved it was simple to fit the songs to their enumeration. Still it passed a few miles.

  6. Terrific puzzle, which I finished last night as Santa was buzzing the roof of my house. Lovely carols, neat sleights-of-hand, and enjoyable anagrams. Thanks to BD for stepping in at the last minute; hope you’ve had a good Christmas anyway, and many thanks to Firefly. Hope Dutch is all right.

  7. Maybe not the best idea to start as the midnight hour approaches after a few glasses of wine but I found it tough going & needed to reveal 6d/11a checker to complete. The letter D immediately got me those two which left 27a & that took a while. Wasn’t familiar with the 10a spelling or the 12a cologne so Mr G needed to confirm. Like MP I’m not a fan of crosswords where the answers are multiple numbers & reference an answer but still enjoyed this nonetheless.
    Thanks to Firefly, BD for stepping in & trusting all is well with Dutch

  8. Apologies! I had it my head that instead of this one, there would just be the Elgar double toughie today which someone else normally blogs. I should have realised

    Very grateful to Big Dave for stepping in, thank you.

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