Toughie No 94 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 94

Toughie No 94 by MynoT

A moderately hard, but interesting puzzle

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

There are a few lesser known words in this puzzle, but overall it’s not too bad.  Don’t forget that clicking on the links will reveal items of interest, and often the answer!


1a Hot eggs to do badly and be ruined (2,2,3,4)
A nice anagram (badly) of “hot eggs to do” meaning to deteriorate badly

7a Main line about theory of earthquakes (7)
Clever construction – Sea (main) l(ine) about ism (theory) giving a word meaning of or related to earthquakes

8a Clip for attendant at Oxford (7)
Double meaning – a type of clip used to hold papers together, and a proctor’s attendant at Oxford

10a Gaffes to become unavailable to audience (3-5)
Another pleasing anagram (become) of “gaffes to” describing action that is not visible to the spectators – this is quite clever as the expression “to audience” in a crossword usually means “sounds like”, but not here

11a Food for Daddy’s little girl (6)
Pa (Daddy) Ella (little girl) giving a Spanish dish, usually made with seafood – one staff restaurant that I used to use served up sausage paella, to the great amusement of most of the Spanish staff!!

13a Return of initial contribution for vessel (4)
An initial contribution to a game of poker is an ante – reverse it (return) and you get, not only a volcano, but also a  vessel for heating liquids in a saucer of burning alcohol

14a & 16a Song for sunbathers? (3,4,3,10)
Easy when you know the answer – the title of a well known song by Noel Coward about those who go out in the midday sun

18a Mountain of bones (4)
Double meaning – a mountain in Greece (or Tasmania) and a word meaning bones

21a Terrible jail in Mississippi where some politicians expect to go (6)
An anagram (terrible) of jail inside Ms (Mississippi) giving a little known word for an assembly or council in various N African and Middle-Eastern countries

22a Cooks drug for freckle (8 )
Heats (cooks) pot (drug / cannabis) giving a freckle

24a Soldier occasionally in estate register (7)
Double meaning – a colloquial word for a member of the Territorial Army (soldier occasionally) and a register or roll of a landed estate

25a Soldiers’ mess in Greece has more fruit (7)
RA (Royal Artillery) + pie (mess / confusion) inside Gr(eece) giving a word that means tasting more like grapes – the sort of word better suited to Countdown!

26a Sick blockhead in Togo getting depression (3,5,3)
An anagram (sick) of blockhead inside Tg (Togo: is there no end to these abbreviations for countries?) – Winston Churchill suffered from this type of depression


1d True facts concerning fabulous beast (7)
Griff (true facts – not the first word that comes to mind) on (concerning) giving a fabulous beast

2d Lures politician into foolish test (6)
MP (politician) inside an anagram (foolish) of test giving a word meaning lures

3d Newspaper having unknown means of communication (10)
This newspaper + y (x y and z are often referred to as unknowns – a reference to algebra)

4d Declines French art in books? On the contrary (4)
Tricky bit of wordplay – es (thou art is tu es in French) about (in – on the contrary) bb (books) – you see this quite a few times, where the wordplay is reversed by a phrase like “on the contrary”

5d Abandoned by Henry, Russian girl has got hold of one large measuring instrument (3-5)
This is also neat – Olga (Russian girl) around I (one) + uge (large / huge without the “h” – abandoned by Henry) giving oil gauge (measuring instrument)

6d Seats for dailies, possibly ? (7)
An anagram (possibly) of dailies giving seats, usually three, often in niches, for the officiating clergy, on the south side of the chancel

7d Is donkey to direct film for protective headgear? (5-6)
s (is as in it’s not my fault – I don’t like this, but it’s here to stay!!) with moke (donkey) helm (direct) and ET (film) giving an item of headwear that could be worn by a fireman

9d Piano teacher is expert player (11)
Grand (piano) master (teacher)

12d One anorak turned up with some work, in charge of stimulation (10)
a (one) dren (anorak / nerd turned up) erg (some work – an erg is a unit of work) ic (in charge) giving a little used word for meaning of or related to stimulation

15d Stupid arrogance heard in compound (8 )
Sili cide (heard / sounds like silly side / stupid arrogance)

17d Sailor with a glass of beer gets up in a state in India (7)
Tar (sailor) a jug (a glass of beer) reversed (gets up – one of those constructs only for down clues) giving an Indian state

19d Tree when young taking upward step with Heather (7)
Sap (step / pas reversed / upward) with ling (heather) – this time ling is heather, other times it’s a fish

20d Leave in a helpless position in yarn (6)
Double meaning – yarn in this context is a thread twisted or plaited with others to form a rope

23d Examination of gold left after a bit of alchemy (4)
The nice easy one to finish the puzzle – or (gold) + al (a bit of alchemy) giving a spoken, not written, exam

Feel free to leave a comment.

3 comments on “Toughie No 94

  1. Twice as long as the main puzzle for this one, but one mistake which I put down to impatience – stupidly guessing at SILICITE for 15D. My fault entirely – CIDE=”side” was perfectly possible to get.

    Full marks for the grid today – 50%+ checking everywhere, and all parts well-connected.

  2. Not so many marks for the printed online version on 14 and 16. These are shown as:

    14 Song for sunbathers? (3,4,3)
    16 See 14 (10)

    It was only when some checking letter help showed me that the last word of 14 had to be AND, that I realised no song’s name would end AND and the count for 14 had to be (3,4,3,10). If the garbled version is forced by software that counts letters in entries, they need to be able to override it. My guess is that it’s just down to manual transfer of information by someone who doesn’t understand enough about xwds.

    Small stuff I know, but they can surely get it right.

  3. Peter
    I have already complained about this, but emails to the Telegraph are greeted with an immediate automated “thank you” followed by cyber-silence. I hope now that I have contacted their Puzzles Editor that they might take some notice.

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