Toughie 413 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 413

Toughie No 413 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I’m fairly neutral about this one. It was a competent enough puzzle and the clues were perfectly fair. But there was nothing about it that got me excited.

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    Artist, a guy not unknown in a plug broadcast around university (4,7)
{PAUL GAUGUIN} A French postimpressionist who went to the South Pacific is an anagram (broadcast) of A GU(Y) IN A PLUG around U (University)

7a    Lower reputation of church primate in start of notice? (7)
{CHEAPEN} CH (church) + primate (animal) in EN (first letter of notice) gives a word meaning “lower reputation”

8a    One examining car by hill (7)
{AUDITOR} A German car manufacturer + a hill gives someone who examines the accounts

10a    Derision that’s clear in much of republic on reflection (8)
{RIDICULE} Put a 5-letter word meaning clear inside the Irish Republic with the last letter removed and reverse it all

11a    A writer entertaining artist from the Gulf? (6)
{ARABIC} RA (artist) goes inside A brand of mass-produced ballpoint pen

13a    In revolution, proud Russian defended language (4)
{URDU} A language is hidden in the reverse of “proud Russian”

14a    Royal woman? Representation of lean bony one losing head (4,6)
{ANNE BOLEYN} An anagram (representation) of LEAN BONY (O)NE gives a queen consort who was beheaded

16a    Outline is backed by character right away safeguarding a lot of time (10)
{SILHOUETTE} An outline usually done in solid black on white is made up of SI (is backed) + a character missing an R (right away) round 60 minutes without its last letter (a lot of time)

18a    Sacred feature in Hebrew greeting excluding outsiders (4)
{HALO} Something that may surround the head of a sacred person is formed by the middle 4 letters of a 6-letter Hebrew greeting

21a    Pull back when entering obscure fen and swamp (6)
{ENGULF} A reversal of a word for “pull” inside an anagram (obscure) of FEN gives a word meaning “to swamp”

22a    Exhausted down-and-out (8)
{DEADBEAT} 2 meanings: (i) a down-and-out and (ii) exhausted in which case the enumeration should (4,4) or (4-4)
[Chambers, in its great wisdom, gives (4-4) for the first definition and (8) for the second! BD]

24a    Measure the strength of Asian attribute by the sound of it (7)
{TITRATE} A word meaning “measure the strength of” sounds like Thai trait (Asian attribute)

25a    Country lane fringing college beginning to exhibit fabric (7)
{BROCADE} A numbered local route (having a lower traffic density than a main trunk road) goes round C (college) and is followed by E (beginning to exhibit) to give a rich fabric

26a    Nice purpose? (6,5)
{RAISON D’ETRE} Once again Nice refers to the place and the answer is merely a French term for purpose (6,1’4)


1d    Element in exercise by department put forward in case? (7)
{PLEADED} A metallic element is put inside PE (exercise) + D (department)

2d    Open group of peacekeepers? (6)
{UNPACK} What you do when you reach your holiday destination could be a United Nations group of people

3d    James, maybe, making tight turn before delay (10)
{GUNSLINGER} The James in question is Jesse James. Take the reverse a word for tight (or cosy) + to delay (tarry)

4d    Tree with dark substance, we hear, in a state (4)
{UTAH} Homophones of a tree (one letter) and dark substance (3-letters) give a US state

5d    David, perhaps, grounded sadly (8)
{UNDERDOG} The David is the one who fought Goliath. The answer is an anagram (sadly) of GROUNDED

6d    Famous army retained by aristocrat (7)
{NOTABLE} TA (army) goes inside an aristocrat

7d    Cautious male trapped in place of entertainment favoured round clubs (11)
{CIRCUMSPECT} A word meaning “cautious” is derived form M (male) inside a place of entertainment (with clowns) + a word meaning “favoured” round C (clubs)

9d    Survey one client left out or mixed up after start of review (11)
{RECONNOITRE} An anagram (mixed up) of ONE C(L)IENT OR follows R (start of review) to give “to survey”

12d    Indulge old man taking in English part of garden (10)
{FEATHERBED} Your old man surrounds E (English) before part of the garden to give a word meaning “indulge” (or something you might sleep on)

15d    Old Chancellor with puzzled air consuming black vegetable (8)
{KOHLRABI} A variety of cabbage is given by a former German chancellor (Helmut) and B (black) inside an anagram (puzzled) of AIR

17d    Wretch ignoring British boat used in unloading? (7)
{LIGHTER} Another word for wretch loses its initial B (British) to give a large open boat used in loading and unloading ships

19d    Mean adult with a lot of words lacking heart (7)
{AVERAGE} The mean value is derived form A (adult) + an 8-letter word for a superfluity of words from which the middle 2 letters have been removed

20d    Ingenious medic featuring in a final article book left out (6)
{ADROIT} DR (medic) is put inside A + a short form of an account of a deceased person lacking B (book)

23d    Cheaply constructed sign containing German (4)
{LEGO} G (German) goes inside a sign of the zodiac to give a toy

20 comments on “Toughie 413

  1. I enjoyed this puzzle. Took an average time but I have marked at least 8 clues I liked, 14a, 18a, 3d 12d, and 23d which was my favourite. Quite a few clues where I got the word but then had to really look at the clue and think why, with a few D’Oh moments. Thanks to both Shamus and Bufo.

  2. Reasonably enjoyable, and not too tricky. Solved on and off during the morning, whilst trying to do some work at the same time. Thanks to Bufo for the notes( and explaining the reason to16a, as I could not see the wordplay), and to Shamus.

  3. Wow – complete one at last! Had to use a couple of hints and like Crypticsue had a few D’oh moments. Struggled with 6d for ages, and I though 15d was 2 words (according to my cook book). And for some reason Clued up still gave me the time bonus even though I was over the hour. Shouldn’t complain though!
    Thanks to Shamus and Bufo – needed you today.

  4. Agree almost word for word with Jezza, very enjoyable and not too hard. Thanks Shamus and thanks Bufo, liked 18a for it’s simplicity.

  5. I found this good fun to solve with lots to get your teeth into and unravel. Many thanks to Shamus for the puzzle and to Bufo for the notes. Lots of good clues, but highlights for me were 14a and 5d.

  6. First attempt for a long time at a Toughie…….Completed with prompts on just 4 of the clues……helped that some of the longer clues were on the easy side of the spectrum which gave lots of lovely letters for the harder ones!!!

  7. 3d was favourite for me in what I found to be a fun but not over hard puzzle – I’m due to be brought down to earth with a bump soon as this week I seem to have been on form with the Toughies.
    Thanks to Bufo and Shamus.

    1. Tomorrow could be that bump!… I still have not recovered from the ‘Elgar’ from Friday, 2 weeks ago. I took that newspaper to France for a week, and still had blanks in it when I returned!

  8. Some nice clues today, I thought, but I needed hints to finish it! Liked 15d best. Thank you Shamus and Bufo

  9. Re Bufo’s opening comment that the clues were “perfectly fair”, I’m not entirely sure what that means, but in 7a, the first letter of Notice = EN. I wouldn’t call that unfair, but certainly unconventional.

    1. My thought on solving the puzzle was that there was an error in 7a. Bufo’s explanation is ingenious, but, as you say, it’s quite unconventional.

      1. Would we have liked it better if our favourite revolutionary had been put with the primate and the N?

  10. Very enjoyable toughie – first attempt from me at toughies for a long time.
    Got it all out except 26a as it should have been indicated as 6,1,4 not 6,5 Shamus.
    (I switched off my French on return to NL a month ago!)
    I liked 1a,14a, 24a ,3d & 15d.

    Greetings Shamus and Bufo.

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