Toughie 414 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 414

Toughie No 414 by Myops

Like swallowing a dictionary!

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

Fitting in the answers was a struggle for many of the clues. Explaining the wordplay is even harder. Myops is one of a handful of setters worthy of the Friday Toughie slot (along with Elgar, Notabilis, Osmosis and Micawber).

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1a    Quality of bananas naturally includes swollen bananas (10)
{YELLOWNESS} – the colourful quality of bananas is derived by putting naturally, as an interjection, around an anagram (bananas) of SWOLLEN

6a    Extremely enthusiastic about power or unenthusiastic (4)
{DAMP} – take a word meaning extremely enthusiastic, reverse it (about) and add P(ower) to get unenthusiastic or wet

9a    Mad cow taken ill? Ten letters go out (5)
{WACKO) – a word meaning mad is an anagram (ill) of COW (T)AK(EN) after removing the letters of TEN (ten letters go out)

10a    One rigidly sticking to rules he’s imposing about grid construction (9)
{GRADGRIND} – someone rigidly sticking to the rules, after the notorious headmaster in Dickens’s novel Hard Times, is derived from a synonym for imposing around (about) an anagram (construction) of GRID

12a    Banal adult tips bandied about in Open University (13)
{PLATITUDINOUS} – a word meaning banal or flat is an anagram (bandied) of ADULT TIPS around (about again) IN O(pen) U(niversity)

14a    Director’s cut version deployed horde after horde (2,6)
{IN DROVES} – put D(irector) inside (cut) an anagram (deployed) VERSION to get horde after horde or large numbers

15a    Intrigue. It boils down to two characters: a fellow with female active in a retreat (6)
{AFFAIR} – an intrigue that I think is built up from RI (intRIgue boils down to two characters) followed by A F(ellow) F(emale) and A(ctive) all reversed (in a retreat) but I’m open to offers

17a    Usual glad eye for European male (6)
{COMMON} – a word meaning usual is derived from COME ON (glad eye) after exchanging the E(uropean) for a M(ale)

19a    Useless traces give it as ‘reduced’ (8)
{VESTIGIA} – these useless traces are an anagram (reduced) of GIVE IT AS

21a    Wife ran with doors ajar once like one who wandered lonely (13)
{WORDSWORTHIAN} – W(ife) is followed by an anagram (ajar / jarred) of RAN WITH DOORS to get someone who wandered lonely as a cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

24a    Shirt tumbling with pinnie in US drier (9)
{THIRSTIER} – an anagram (tumbling) of SHIRT followed by an American word for a child’s pinnie (pinafore / apron) gives drier, as in more dry

25a    Tangle with unruly mob in backward country here (5)
{KOMBU} – to get an edible brown seaweed put an anagram (unruly) of MOB inside the United Kingdom reversed

26a    Repetition this inept one issues regardless of the effective origins (4)
{ROTE} – the kind of repetition issued by an inept person comes from the initial letters (origins) of Regardless Of The Effective

27a    Bottom for one without intelligence (10)
{MECHANICAL} – Nick Bottom, a character in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is a member of a group whose name can also mean without intelligence


1d    Any sort of casing with an opening (4)
{YAWN} – an anagram (sort) of ANY around (casing) W(ith) gives an opening

2d    Moss here in America is stopped by cop in outskirts of Long Island (7)
{LYCOPOD} – a club moss is built up from what Americans say to indicate their presence during a roll call around (stopped by) a COP and all inside the outer letters (outskirts) of Long IslanD

3d    Number in a top 10 Moses collected is making sound sense (13)
{ONOMATOPOESIS} – put NO (number) inside an anagram (collected) of A TOP IO (10) MOSES to get the formation of a word in imitation of the sound of the thing meant (making sound sense)

4d    What is it about nubile girl impressing everyone? The diaphanous dress (8)
{NEGLIGEE} – take the outer letters (what it is about) of NubilE GirL ImpressinG EveryonE to get a diaphanous dress – I just loved the surface reading!

… for Gazza

5d    Mayhem. United supporters will be up for it (5)
{SNAFU} – mayhem of chas results from U(nited) and supporters all reversed

7d    Street atlas covers state of North America. Apache State (7)
{ARIZONA} – put the usual street atlas around the smallest US state and then add O (of, as in John O’Gaunt) N(orth) and A(merica) to get another US State, known as the Apache State

8d    One attending GP for years say ran despite being ordered otherwise (10)
{PEDESTRIAN} – I thought this might be someone attending, on foot, a Grand Prix but that doesn’t account for the years, say One who has been attending Grands Prix for years is (Murray) Walker, which gives us our definition [a special thankyou to Moggy for that explanation]- it is certainly an anagram (being ordered otherwise) of RAN DESPITE

11d    The last king — nice king — frets about showing emotion (5-8)
{GRIEF-STRICKEN} – the last king, George VI, was designated as Georgius Rex Imperator (Latin for George, King and Emperor) – add an anagram (about) of NICE K(ing) Frets to get a word meaning showing emotion

13d    Cook watched it run but it may be still in drain (10)
{DITCHWATER} – an anagram (cook) of WATCHED IT R(un) gives something that could be still, or motionless, in a drain – Chambers and the ODE give the enumeration as (10), others give (5-5)

16d    Henry dissolved chapter and he ruled with six others (8)
{HEPTARCH} – H (Henry as the SI unit of inductance) is followed by an anagram (dissolved) of CHAPTER gives someone who ruled with six others

18d    Left-winger’s cross is in Man U’s half, right? (7)
{MARXIST} – one of Karl’s followers is built up from X (cross) IS inside MA(N U) RT (right)

20d    Becoming confused missing second in series of complete set of chromosomes (7)
{GENOMIC} – an anagram (confused) of (B)ECOMING without (missing) the second letter of the alphabet gives a word meaning “of the complete set of chromosomes of an individual”

22d    Source of oil and hope of peace? (5)
{OLIVE} – a double definition – be thankful for an easy clue!

23d    Regularly double line means ‘slow-moving’ (4)
{DULL} – the odd letters (regularly) of DoUbLe followed by L(ine) gives a word that means ‘slow-moving’

When you finish this one you know you’ve gone through the mill!

44 comments on “Toughie 414

  1. Agree this was a mental workout but enjoyed it. Can offer no help with 15a regarding last three letters. Thanks BD & Myops.

  2. Man Alive that was hard work! I have sweated, groaned and smiled my way through this one all day and ended up with a handful that I couldn’t explain (4d and 8d included).
    I was unaware of ‘Tangle’ as a Seaweed and had to look up the answer that I got from the wordplay.
    1a was a grinner as was 27a.
    Many thanks to Big Dave for the explanations and Myops for a right hard workout with some lovely clues.

  3. Looking at 15a I like your reasoning since the IR is directly in the middle so last to boil off!. Better than I could do to explain!.

  4. Blimey! This was certainly worthy of a Friday Toughie, and one which was too clever for me! Had a good crack at it, but failed to complete it. Well done BD on an excellent review, and thanks to Myops.

    1. Not quite the bump I thought it would be today Jezza – the emergency chute opened at the last minute!

  5. This took me on and off all morning at work, a cogitate for two hours round the town, and then a check in the Red Book when I got home as I knew what I had for 3d existed but none of the sources available to me in the office had it. Loved all the amazing long words, 12a and 21a, but my favourites are 1a and 27a. Thank you Myops for a toughie and three quarters and BD for the explanations – why I couldn’t see where 4d came from I do not know.

    1. If it’s any consolation I only managed to work out the wordplay for 4d after I had written in the draft that i couldn’t see it – then the penny dropped.

      1. That makes me feel much better, thank you. I wonder if you stared at it as long as I did?

  6. No chance whatsoever, I managed about a half then had to give in. Thanks dave for the explanations and thanks Myops ( I think ) for the really tough toughie.

  7. Once again a crossword for a mere half dozen readers of the daily Telegraph.

    Utterly pointless and once again an utter waste of newsprint.

    1. Not quite sure I follow your logic Woffy. To be “utterly pointless” this puzzle would have to have appealed to absolutely no solvers at all, rather than a half dozen.

    2. At the time of writing 26 users of CluedUp have completed the puzzle – well over half of those were before I posted the hints. The number usually rises in the evening as people come home from work.

    3. Don’t forget all the people who solve in the paper, many of whom won’t know this blog existed. By my calculations (and I must quickly point out that Mr CS is the numbers person in our house), the space taken up by the Toughie actually represents only 0.00625p of the £1 that I paid for the paper. Very good value for all those hours of entertainment.

  8. That’s what I call a Toughie!
    In 26a the answer is also an anagram (indicator?) of REPETITION after the letters of INEPT and I (ONE) have been removed (issues).

  9. Have finished!!! With your help to start me off I managed about 12/13 by myself.. generally the short ones or anagrams! I then got enough other letters to ‘guess’ and often got the answer right but could not see why without your blog! Others left me completely lost! Will keep trying!! It is good to get an answer and then check why ! many thanks for your help and encouragement!

    1. Well done Liz. This was a definitely Friday level toughie with which I cogitated and perservated for hours. I can picture that eclair …….

  10. Some day soon!!!!! My waistline is already to large, but what the heck! Will keep trying ;)

  11. Goodness – this was a treat to last the day. Just got the final two. One of those puzzles where the pennies drop slowly but when they do, you think why didn’t I spot it earlier. A big thank you to Myops and to BD for the blog.

  12. I sense that I have trodden on the toes of the members of your little clique.

    I think I can manage without the assistance of your web-site so in Dragons’ Denspeak, I’m out!

    1. Here is a selection of your previous comments:

      “Recent Toughies have been so difficult (for me at any rate) that there must have been complaints. Today #234 was relatively so easy that it was at the opposite end of the scale of difficulty range. We just need a ‘pleasant spiritualist’ !” – 15/10/09

      “A waste of newsprint.” – 16/07/10

      “Another stupidly obscure toughie – an utter waste of time and devoid of any enjoyment whatsoever.” – 20/05/10

      “Another utter waste of newsprint. If I can’t even get started then there must be loads of others in the same position.” – 16/06/10

      “Utterly un-doable except for the nerds.
      Complete waste of newsprint. DT should be ashamed to publish when the vast majority of readers cannot even start it.” – 13/08/10

      “Once again a crossword for a mere half dozen readers of the daily Telegraph.
      Utterly pointless and once again an utter waste of newsprint.” – today

      We will all miss such originality.

  13. Why are all you Pommies so stressed out about a f*****g crossword puzzler? Just take it easy, Folks!!!

  14. Someone commented on one of the other crossword blogs the other day, in response to cries of “too easy”, that we should all remember that someone somewhere had been able to complete the cryptic puzzle for the very first time and that we should all remember the first time we did that. I did comment to BD at the time that the reverse was true, that solvers should remember that for those of us who have done the DT Cryptic for years and years, the chance to really stretch our brains on a puzzle such as the Friday toughie, of which today’s was a superb example, is to be welcomed. I think the DT does a splendid job, providing us with 11 puzzles a week of varying degrees of difficulty to suit all its readers/crossword fans and long may they continue.

    1. Jeez, Tht was a long opening sentence – not allowed in Wonga-Alonga,South Australia! Good-Night to my Favourite, the Loveley Sue!

      1. Belatedly (detained by Bruckner) & briefly (we’ve to be up early for Lord’s) my thanks for the generosity and acuity of Big Dave, Gazza, Moggy and all others who didn’t say it was pedestrian, dull as …..


            1. It WAS rather good, wasn’t it!
              Everyone who attended must have had a thrilling day – I hope that they dont have tickets for Monday!!

  15. Late posting, Only tackled this on Monday evening due to other pressing demands.

    Thanks to Puzzlex and guesswork, completed this without the blog. Can’t say I enjoyed it at all, at least nine words outwith my vocabulary. Hardly likely to ever use them again, unless they crop in another crossword, by which time I’ll have forgotten them. Obviously a sign of my inferior education.

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