Toughie 439 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 439

Toughie No 439 by Cephas

Smooth progress

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

An easy puzzle today – many have already said easier than today’s regular cryptic.

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1a    Former pupil, legal scholar, in the side moving unsteadily (8)
{WOBBLING} – put a former pupil and a Bachelor of Law (legal scholar) inside a side or flank to vet a verb meaning moving unsteadily

5a    Rotten place, one getting in the way (6)
{PUTRID} – a word meaning rotten is built up from a verb meaning to place followed by I (one) inside an abbreviated way

8a    Three notes, one repeated before one has to rub out (6)
{EFFACE} – three notes of the diatonic scale of C major are followed by a playing card with a single spot on it to get a word meaning to rub out or remove

9a    Starting proceedings without American, taking food (8)
{LUNCHING} – take a word meaning starting proceedings and remove the A(merican) and you get taking food at midday

10a    Set out and returned relaxed (4-4)
{LAID-BACK} – a charade of set out (the table perhaps) and returned gives relaxed or at ease

11a    Plant carrier inside spy organisation (6)
{CASSIA} – this genus of leguminous shrubs whose pods yield senna is derived by putting a beast of burden inside the American spy organisation

12a    Coasting casually as a ‘don’t know’ (8)
{AGNOSTIC} – an anagram (casually) of COASTING gives a religious ‘don’t know’

13a    Add a couple of pages with piece left over (6)
{APPEND} – a word meaning to add is a charade of A, P(age) repeated and the piece that’s left over

15a    One imagining diamonds dropped tool (6)
{REAMER} – take someone who is imagining and drop the D(iamonds) from the front to get a tool for enlarging, shaping or finishing a bore

18a    Wrong being dishonest away from the centre (8)
{OUTLYING} – a charade of wrong, as in a total not balancing, and being dishonest gives an adjective meaning away from the centre

20a    Copper to play very loudly and end abruptly (3,3)
{CUT OFF} – combine the chemical symbol for copper with TO and the musical instruction to play very loudly and you get a phrasal verb meaning to end abruptly

21a    Thousand joining, most dark and most twisted (8)
{KINKIEST} – combine the letter used to indicate a thousand in the metric system with a word meaning most dark to get the most twisted or perverted

23a    Leaving New Zealand horizontal, excitable libertine (8)
{LOTHARIO} – an anagram (excitable) of HORI(Z)O(N)TAL without the letters of N(ew) Z(ealand) gives a libertine – I’m never happy about removing disconnected letters from the anagram fodder without due indication

24a    Said to be path of woman on way to union (6)
{BRIDAL} – what sounds like a path for those riding horses is actually an adjective meaning relating to a woman who is getting married

25a    Withdraw engineers’ flag (6)
{RECEDE} – a word meaning to withdraw is a charade of the Royal Engineers and to flag or give up – I’m not too sure that flag is a suitable synonym for the last part of the wordplay

26a    Professional wailer’s eagerness? (8)
{KEENNESS} – this eagerness could possibly be that of a professional wailer but isn’t (hence the ?)


1d    Now he elopes, pocketing ring (5)
{WHEEL} – hidden inside the clue is a ring

2d    Coming from Broadmoor to place where decisions are made (9)
{BOARDROOM} – an anagram (coming from?) of BROADMOOR gives a place where decisions are made

3d    I name old work that’s rough (7)
{INEXACT} – a charade of I, N(ame), old, as in old flame, and a word meaning work, as in the tablets will work soon, gives an adjective meaning rough or approximate

4d    Progress smoothly on tick? (2,4,9)
{GO LIKE CLOCKWORK} – a phrase meaning to progress smoothly could mean to tick (or tock!)

5d    Criticise expert with a universal medicine (7)
{PANACEA} – a charade of a verb meaning to criticise, an expert and A gives a universal medicine

6d    Reprint acceptable in different series (7)
{REISSUE} – a reprint of a book or magazine is derived by putting acceptable inside an anagram (different) of SERIES

7d    Cannibalistic competition? (3-3-3)
{DOG-EAT-DOG} – a ruthless pursuit of one’s own interests could be a domestic pet devouring one of its own kind – according to Chambers the words are hyphenated for the adjective but not the noun

12d    Cur Laura and I stupidly told privately (9)
{AURICULAR} – an anagram (stupidly) of CUR LAURA and I gives a word meaning told privately

14d    No end of science in a new form for doctor (9)
{PHYSICIAN} – take all bar the final S (no end) of a science subject and add an anagram (new form) of IN A to get a doctor

16d    One still without polarity (7)
{ASTATIC} – combine A (one) with a synonym of still to get an adjective meaning without polarity, as a pair of magnetic needles set in opposite directions

17d    Pitched battle arbitrator? (7)
{REFEREE} – a cryptic definition of the arbitrator of a football match

19d    Number having the necessary power can be defended (7)
{TENABLE} – a number is followed by having the necessary power to get a word meaning can be defended

22d    Part of body to inhibit a lustfulness inside (5)
{TALUS} – the ankle-bone is hidden inside the clue

A fairly easy one from Cephas today – I bet he wished he’d had three like this in the Times Championship on Sunday!

20 comments on “Toughie 439

  1. An easy start to the Toughie week. My only problem was caused by entering RETIRE at 25a, which caused some head scratching for a while!

  2. Many thanks for to Cephas for the crossword and to BD for the notes.

    For 25a, my original answer was RETIRE, which I still think is a better solution for the wordplay and definition. As I needed the C for 16d, I reluctantly changed it to the correct answer!

  3. Can I third the wordplay indicating the word RETIRE for 28a. Struggled for ages with 16d before the Gnome said I should have got it so I realised that 28a must have been wrong. Apart from that it was a really enjoyable puzzle which took only slightly longer than the Cryptic. Thanks to Cephas and BD.

  4. The first time I have ever almost finished a toughie without checking on here and as with regular contributors I stumbled at 16d due to having 28a as reTire. Have found this site very helpful in learning about clue constructions, thanks to all . And today thanks to Cephas and BD.

  5. I think I had resign in, not retire originally!
    A straightforward but enjoyable puzzle from Cephas so thanks to him and to BD.

  6. Good enough fun but not really toughie standard, I thought the cryptic was more difficult. Thanks Dave and Cephas.

  7. None of my reference aids offer CEDE as a synonym for FLAG, so I agree that 25a is a bit misleading. Could it be indicating surrendering via a white one? Otherwise no issues, so cheers Cephas and The Guvnor.

  8. Still puzzled by 26a – despite BD’s hints – “wailer”?

    As a frequent viewer of “The Apprentice” – I quite enjoyed 2d. Perhaps, some of the contestants would be more suited to Broadmoor than Lord Sugar’s Boardroom!

  9. I am pleased with myself – I have finished a Toughie – with help from books and confirmation from your review BD but first time for a long time I have done one and felt good about it. Last one in for me was 9a and when it clicked I kicked myself.

    Thanks for BD and to Cephas. Probably the last one this week but at least I have done one.

  10. Took the lead from the cryptic blog and tried this Toughie. For me it was harder than the cryptic but enjoyable nonetheless.
    Satisfaction was completion without resorting to the hints. I agree with the above comments about 25A, I also put “retire” after first run through.
    Thanks to Cephas for making my day and Big Dave for the hints.

  11. Pretty easy for a toughie but engaging, nonetheless. I thought the regular cryptic was more difficult than this..

  12. Solved this in the early hours of this morning.
    The only one that I had trouble with was 25a as I first put in retire which jiggered 16d. so removed the tire, got astatic in, and corrected 25a. Think it is weak.

    Perhaps is closest – comment #7.
    No input from Cephas?

  13. To BD – after further thought re 25a, is this a clue where the sum is greater than the parts?

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