Toughie No 103 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 103


1a Consecutive communication between footballers? (4-2-4)
A double definition – consecutive, like in two successive wins; a pass from one football defender to another

6a Religious follower taken aback by some French kissing (4)
The answer is hidden (some) reversed (taken aback) in the clue

9a Outrageous fellow imprisoning lad in apartment (10)
This answer has two levels of nesting – FLAT (apartment) around MAN (fellow) itself around BOY (lad) giving a synonym for outrageous

10a What contains claret or plonk that English’ll tuck into (4)
Claret, in this context, is a synonym for blood, which runs through this vessel – VIN (plonk) around (tuck into) E(nglish)

12a I wish one pilot to carry on (2,4)
This is a very nice clue – I (one) FLY (pilot, as a verb) around (to carry) ON giving an interjection similar to “I wish”

13a Soldier engaging in exercises with dull precision (8)
Another really nice clue – ANT (soldier, as in soldier ant) inside PE (exercises) and DRY (dull)  giving a synonym for the kind of precision that is beneficial to solving crosswords!!

15a Rebellious agitator tries releasing one from entry to prison (8,4)
An anagram (rebellious) of AGITATOR TR(i)ES without I (releasing one) to give the entry to the prison in the Tower of London

18a Clever boy, not working – one should provide continuous supply (8-4)
A very nice anagram (working) of CLEVER BOY NOT giving a continuous supply, such as in a car manufacturing plant

21a Pinned hoax on feeble type penning lines (8)
DO (hoax, as in to do somebody) then WEED (feeble type) around (penning) LL (lines) giving a way in which a joint between two pieces of wood can be fixed (pinned)

22a University investing in a well-organised entrance hall (6)
U(niversity) inside (investing in) A TRIM (a well-organised) giving a name for an entrance hall

24a Correspondence – African country rejecting half (4)
Take MALI (African country) and reverse the last two letters (rejecting half) and you get a form of correspondence that is used by snails!!

25a Eavesdrop, being quiet – that is, restraining detectives (10)
STILLICIDE (eavesdrop – the water that falls from the eaves of a house) – STILL (being quiet) IE (that is) around (restraining) CID (detectives)

26a Top copy given a critical mark (4)
APE (copy) then X (given a critical mark / an indication that an answer is wrong) giving a word for top , of a mountain for example

27a PM’s securing quality audio equipment (5,5)
BROWN’S (PM’s / Prime Minister’s) around (securing) GOOD (quality) giving a name for audio equipment that I had never heard before, although the term white goods for kitchen equipment like fridges, freezers and washing machines is well known


1d Mad scientist’s away into asylum (6)
OFF (away) inside BIN (loony bin, colloquial for lunatic asylum) giving a mad scientist, like Dr Strangelove

2d Study includes source of light and source of shade (6)
CON (study) around (includes) RAY (source of light) giving a coloured pencil, which comes in one of many shades

3d Ornate blurb all set to capture first appearance of unique rock album (7,5)
An anagram (ornate) of BLURB ALL SET around (to capture) U (first appearance of Unique) giving the classic rock album by Mike Oldfield that made the first of many millions for Richard Branson

4d Purchases extra items in the audio department? (4)
It’s those cricket extras again, this time byes, which sounds like (in the audio department) a synonym for purchases

5d French composer unable to compose, having lost heart, unfortunately (10)
(Joseph) CANTELOUBE (French composer) – an anagram (unfortunately) of  UNABLE TO ComposE (having lost heart / just the first and last letters of compose – clever as this word is often an anagram indicator) – when I complained to Peter Biddlecombe of the obscurity of this composer, he sent me this link

7d One broken latrine, showing unwillingness to shift? (8)
INERTIAL (showing unwillingness to shift) – I (one) then an anagram (broken) of LATRINE

8d Hard drink, unknown booze, not entirely a stinger? (5,3)
H(ard) ONE (drink, as in I’ll just have a quick one) Y (unknown) BEE(r) (booze / beer,  not entirely) giving a stinger

11d Triangle blended with piano? It’s hardly this! (3-9)
EAR SPLITTING (hardly this!) – an anagram (blended) of TRIANGLE with (blended with) P(iano) and IT’S

14d Ballerina in troupe tries endless spinning (10)
PIROUETTER (ballerina) – an anagram (spinning) of TROUPE TRIE(s) (endless / without last letter)

16d Accountants targeted rising universities (8)
ACADEMIA (universities) – ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant / accountants – being pedantic, I think this should have been accountant, singular) with AIMED (targeted) reversed (rising)

17d Mountain feature beginning to seduce one bird in nine (8)
S (beginning to Seduce) then OWL (one bird) inside NINE giving the LINE above which an area is under permanent SNOW

19d Impulse for business proposal limited by rising fuel (6)
LIBIDO (impulse) – BID (business proposal) inside (limited by) OIL (fuel) reversed (rising)

20d City, one on bearing to south (6)
AMIENS (City) – A (one) on MIEN (bearing) to S(outh)

23d Fellow’s inferior legislation, showing an error (4)
F(ellow) with LAW (legislation) below (inferior – a down-clue only construct) giving an error

There is now only one day each week that I have two puzzles to blog, and this week it’s today.  Should anyone fancy doing this blog for one or two days a week, please email me (via Contact) – if you don’t fancy the Toughie, then try the daily cryptic.  It is great fun, but I must admit that the seven each week that I do, plus the two “hints only” weekend posts, can be very tiring.

4 comments on “Toughie No 103

  1. Plenty of challenging stuff in this one. Kcit is Paul Henderson, also Phi in the Independent and Listener series. His clues can be difficult when he wants them to be, but they always make logical sense. The four-star difficulty answer for me was 25A – I didn’t know about STILLICIDE, nor even that eavesdrop means rain falling from eaves. In the end I decided that the back end had to be CID in i.e., and that STILL was the only show in town for “quiet” or “being quiet” as the first half. I confess to getting CANTELOUBE the wrong way – “unable to” made me think of CAN’T, and that plus some checking letters did the trick. Sloppy work, as CAN’T = “unable to” rather than “is unable to” is exactly the sort of nonsense you can rely on Phi/Kcit not to use (though as solving the anonymous on-line version, I didn’t know who it was).

  2. Peter
    I scanned Wikipedia’s list of French composers for Cant….., for the same reason that you gave. I guess that piece of misdirection, together with”compose” not being an anagram indicator, makes the clue more clever than you first realise.

  3. Good call on ACA – I assumed it must be “Association of Chartered Accountants”, but not so – just one Accountant.

    I hope there are folk out there willing to take the plunge and blog a puzzle a week for Dave. You may find that the obligation to explain things properly improves your solving as the weeks go by.

  4. Peter
    I certainly hadn’t realised how many clues I used to answer without knowing the full wordplay. The review is a bit like doing the puzzle all over again, and savouring some of the gems that you missed first time round.

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