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Toughie 609

Toughie No 609 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

An enjoyable puzzle that was nowhere near as difficult as I thought it was going to be.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Smoke and temperature turning deadly (6)
{TRAGIC} A reversal of a smoke (tobacco product) and T (temperature) gives “deadly”

4a    Box opened by one soft key, one that breaks (5,3)
{SPACE BAR} “To box” goes round one (as in a pack of cards) + B (black / soft as in pencils) to give something that I will be hitting 30 times in keying this sentence

9a    No uniform to purchase? Let one have skirt (6)
{BYPASS} Remove U (uniform) from “to purchase”. Then add “let one have” to give “to skirt”

10a    Hitting out (8)
{STRIKING} 2 meanings: hitting/out (not at work)

11a    Discovered girlfriend entertaining old double act (3,4,2)
{GOT WIND OF) The abbreviation GF for girlfriend is not one I have met before but it appears to be well used in Internet chat. Put GF round O (old) + double + act to get “discovered”

13a    He might send off computers for renovation (5)
{REFIT} The person who might send a footballer off + the abbreviation for all things computing = renovation

14a    Getting off medication (8,5)
{SLEEPING PILLS} A cryptic definition for medication that will help you get off once you’ve gone to bed

17a    Beach or shore’s slippery marine creature (9,4)
{HORSESHOE CRAB} An anagram (slippery) of BEACH OR SHORE’S gives a marine creature

21a    Thug run over — that’s awful (5)
{ROUGH} A thug is formed from R (run) + O (over) + “that’s awful!”

23a    Fonteyn reflects on the man’s analysis (9)
{HISTOGRAM} The first name of Ms Fonteyn reversed (reflects) follows “the man’s” to give a statistical graph

24a    Four jump fairly regularly (8)
{BOUNDARY} A four in cricket is given by “jump” + alternate letters of fAiRlY

25a    No water here — no good for paddling (6)
{WADING} A word from the Arabic for a watercourse which is dry except in the rainy season + NG (no good) gives “paddling”

26a    Was compiler bitter about past? (8)
{COLLATED} “Was compiler” = bitter (temperature-wise) round “past”

27a    Scattered, they primarily run in all directions (6)
{STREWN} “Scattered” = T (first letter of they) + R (run) inside the one-letter abbreviations for all four cardinal points of the compass


1d    Island also has sheltered land (6)
{TOBAGO} An island in the SE Caribbean = “also” round “to land”

2d    First course in mobile software — about to install the wrong way (9)
{APPETISER} The first course of meal = a piece of software for a mobile phone + a reversal of “about” and “to install”

3d    Breathe fire (7)
{INSPIRE} 2 meanings: breathe/to fire (with enthusiasm)

5d    RAF spend most of this on developing radar devices (11)
{PATHFINDERS} An anagram (on developing) of RAF SPEND THI(S) gives radar devices

6d    Twitter, initially, could help idiots sound happy when upset (7)
{CHIRRUP} “To twitter” = CHI (first letters of Could Help Idiots) + a reversal of “sound happy”

7d    Flying instructions (5)
{BRIEF} 2 meanings: flying (as of a visit)/instructions

8d    His girth might be sort of OK (8)
{RIGHTISH} An anagram (sort of) of HIS GIRTH gives OK

12d    It is (not?) high explosive (5,6)
{DEPTH CHARGE} A type of bomb that is a high explosive but which can also be considered not to be a high explosive because it explodes under water

15d    Rake — I stand in both hands, pointy bit below (9)
{LIBERTINE} A rake is formed from I + “to stand” inside LR (left & right = both hands) + the pointy bit of a fork

16d    Cute girl almost hiding drug problem (8)
{CHERUBIC} “Cute” is formed from a slang term for a girl with the last letter removed going round E (drug) + problem

18d    Eastern country receives dead anteater (7)
{ECHIDNA} E (Eastern) + a far-eastern country round D (dead) gives an Australian egg-laying mammal that eats ants

19d    Cereal infected, you might say, resulting in severe reprimand (4,3)
{RIOT ACT} A homophone (near enough) of a cereal grass + infected gives a form of words read as a warning to disperse (also used figuratively)

20d    Girl provides info after one second (6)
{IMOGEN} A girl’s name is derived from I (one) + a second + info

22d    Regularly puts out nearly all stock (5)
{USUAL} “regularly” indicates the alternate letters of pUtS oUt + AL (nearly all) to give a word meaning stock or typical


18 comments on “Toughie 609

  1. Very enjoyable puzzle indeed, although rather gentle compared to some by the setter.

    More please!

  2. A thing of great joy. I thought Elkamere – Anax – this’ll be tough but it took no time at all to solve (weirdly the same time as the back page), had some superb clues and left me feeling happy with the day. Thanks to Elkamere for the fun and Bufo for the review.

  3. Many thanks to Elkamere for a very enjoyable and inventive puzzle. Lots of clues with stars by today but highlights were 9a, 11a, 24a, 26a, 5d, 12d and 19d. Thanks too to Bufo for the review and to Phil McNeill for bringing Anax on board as a Toughie setter.

  4. Good puzzle – managed nearly three quarters on my own, but I don’t understand the explanation for 16d (neither the “slang term for a girl” nor the “problem”). Can anyone hep me out? Thanks

    1. A cute girl is a “chick”. Remove the final letter (cute girl almost) and put inside (hiding) E (for drug) and RUB (for problem – as in there’s the rub).

      1. Thanks – my problem was that I thought the “problem” would be at the end of the answer, not part of the “hiding” part. By the way, did anyone initially go for “Smelling salts” as the answer to 14a (as I did!) on the basis that smelling is getting (or becoming) off (i.e rancid) ?

  5. I had a rather strange experience with this puzzle. I did about half of it fairly quickly for me but then ground to a complete halt! Then I had to go out for a couple of hours and when I came home I thought I might as well give it another go and more-or-less just wrote in the missing answers! Strange are the ways of the subconcious, must have been working on it all the time I was out!
    A really splendid puzzle so many thanks to Elkamere and to Bufo for the review.

  6. Thanks to compiler for excellent work out.
    23a was favorite.
    Less keen on 25a but otherwise accessible and enjoyable.

  7. Found the south went in much quicker than the north for some reason. 3d and 7d double definitions I always find tricky. Once again though this was a delight to solve, 23a I found very amusing. Many thanks to Elkamere and to Bufo for the review.

  8. Most enjoyable puzzle today not over taxing but still good fun favourites were 7d 24a and 26a thanks to Elkamere and to Bufo for the comments.

  9. What a good puzzle…….. but then I always say that when i finish the Toughie on my own.
    Always good to see cricket in the puzzle.

    I didn’t like “Inspire” though- it didn’t feel like a cryptic answer to me, and even with all the letters in I was looking for something else.
    Thanks to all!!

  10. Class as ever. I stared blankly over this at a very hasty lunch break getting about 5 clues but have just sat down in the delightful Wetherspoons in the delightful Slough and everything came in very well.
    I wonder if the setter is going to use the clue for 14a to define VIAGRA any time soon! ;-)
    9a and 6d were favourites along with Prolixic’s selection.
    Thanks to Elkamere and Bufo.

    1. Slough?
      Mon Dieu.

      I spent three weeks there earlier this year working about two hundred yards from the Moon and Spoon, and I would refer my honourable friend to the thoughts of Sir John Betjeman.
      But then, I’m from up North.

      1. Yep! – there are some really odd people here 9but then Wetherspoons attracts them cos its cheap!. Just sitting down to write Sunday’s review for tomorrow and wishing I could attend a rather good Jam Night across the road that just sparked up (I have a Uke with me but would prefer to listen!)

  11. Eh up, amigos, as they say in Northern Mexico. Thanks for all your kind comments and to Bufo for a great review. Glad to know that, by and large, you all enjoyed today’s puzzle.
    The *** difficulty rating is exactly what I hoped to see. Elkamere is the nice guy version of Anax – more seriously, an opportunity for me to enjoy the challenge of writing slightly easier puzzles. I can’t promise it will always be *** but it’s what I’m aiming for.
    Love and respect to all, and hope those attending the 3D S&B on Saturday have a great time. Really desperately sorry I can’t be there; I knew the date wasn’t available to me as soon as it was announced.

    1. Thanks Anax – i can only see my lunchtime attempt as a bit of a mental blip. I would agree with the rating and also comment that this Toughie didn’t contain as much of your ‘signatures’. Hope you continue to enjoy the process and thanks again.

  12. Thanks to setter for a really good Toughie after the below par cryptic. Too many good clues to mention but I thought 6 and 16 were outstanding. Nice to see contributors talking about the clues, different to the cryptic, where they talk of everything else!

  13. Thanks to Bufo and Elkamere, much too tough for me, could only get a few answers, then struggled to understand the hints.

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