Toughie 517 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 517

Toughie No 517 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I enjoyed this puzzle. I was becalmed for a while in the top left-hand corner but overall thought it of average difficulty.

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1a    One might be found in a quiver with all reportedly getting ratty? (11)
{QUARRELSOME} A square-headed arrow as for a crossbow precedes a homophone of a word meaning all (or total) to give a word meaning ratty (irritable)

9a    What could chew oral bit of material? (5)
{MOLAR} An anagram (what could chew) of ORAL + M (bit of material) gives a type of tooth

10a    Hunt down, essentially, division associated with earl (9)
{PERSECUTE} “To hunt down” is made up of a Latin phrase (3,2) meaning essentially + a division (3) + E (earl)

11a    Aged relative with knowledge importing Eastern cloth (7)
{NANKEEN} Your grandmother + knowledge goes round E (Eastern) to give a buff-coloured cotton cloth first made in China

12a    A doctor taken with men in military vehicle snubbed lively gathering (8)
{JAMBOREE} A + a 2-letter abbreviation for a doctor + a two letter abbreviation for men (in the army) goes inside a military vehicle with the last letter removed. The result is a large and lively gathering

14a    Loveless confection or last bit of pastry? It’s not important (8)
{NUGATORY} Remove the letter O (loveless) from a hard, chewy confection. Then add OR + Y (last bit of pastry) to give “not important)”

15a    Democrat that’s noted claret (4)
{GORE} A US Democrat vice-president’s name is another word for blood (claret)

17a    Conditions seen as cold, note, around foreign capital (7)
{CLIMATE} C (cold) + a note of the sol-fa scale goes round a South American capital city

19a    Greek character, one seeking game by the sound of it (4)
{BETA} A letter of the Greek alphabet sounds like a person who rouses game

20a    Amateur lacking time abandoned fishing equipment with a hook (8)
{AQUILINE} A (amateur) + a word for abandoned with the letter T removed (lacking time) + an item of fishing equipment give a word meaning hooked (like an eagle’s beak)

21a    Long to interrupt diva showing lousy quality (8)
{ROPINESS} “To long” goes inside a diva (Diana presumably) to give a lousy quality

23a    Game opening shortly is being played (7)
{VENISON} Game (as in the flesh of animals) is made up of an opening with the last letter removed + IS + being played

25a    Film a drag for audience when following turn in English hotel (5,4)
{ANNIE HALL} A Woody Allen film comes from A + a homophone of “to drag” following a reversal of E (English) hotel

26a    Nine upset by end of matador in area near bull (5)
{INNER} An anagram of NINE + R (end of matador)

27a    Use men next in order to keep old direction in house? (6,5)
{EXEUNT OMNES} An anagram (in order) of USE MEN NEXT goes round O (old) to give a stage direction meaning “all go out”


2d    Theological body taking part in miniscule matter (5)
{ULEMA} A body of professional theologians in a Muslim country is hidden in miniscule matter

3d    Absurd anger consuming brother, say (7)
{RISIBLE} A synonym of “to anger” goes round a shortened form of a word meaning brother or sister

4d    Bring up haunt with old box that’s lacking in a palace (8)
{ESCORIAL} A reversal (bring up) of a haunt (den) + O (old) + a box with a letter a removed gives a village in central Spain, the site of a palace

5d    Hot place with appeal to archdeacon (4)
{OVEN} A hot place (for cooking) could be an appeal to an archdeacon (O + an abbreviated form of the way you address him)

6d    Bloggers’ girlfriend maybe to correct errors (8)
{EMENDATE} Bloggers of the male variety could be described as *-***. Add a person that one goes out with to get “to correct errors”

7d    Instant struggle faced by Conservative to get steamy work? (4,5)
{BLUE MOVIE} An instant (2) + to struggle (3) follows conservative to give a naughty film

8d    Bachelor with lustful girl holding grand container for drink (6,5)
{BRANDY GLASS} B (bachelor) + lustful + a girl going round G (grand) gives something you might drink your Cognac from

12d    Prison formulated a rule about very popular, essential lifeline (7,4)
{JUGULAR VEIN} Prison + an anagram (formulated) of A RULE round V (very) + popular gives a tubular part of the body (essential lifeline)

13d    Requirement for food and brewed beer to entertain miners (1,6)
{E NUMBER} An anagram (brewed) of BEER goes round a miners’ trade union to give an identification code for food additives

16d    Disgusting European dog with number caught in storm (9)
{REPUGNANT} E (European) + a small dog with a wrinkled face + N (number) goes inside “to storm” to give “disgusting”

17d    Firm learning given about origins of damaged skin and blister (4,4)
{COLD SORE} The usual 2-letter abbreviation for firm + learning containing DS (first letters of damaged skin) gives a blister found on or near the mouth

18d    One’s speechless following order? (8)
{TRAPPIST} A cryptic definition for a member of a religious order noted for its rule of silence

19d    Tendency associated with amateur philosopher (7)
{BENTHAM} A tendency + an amateur (possibly a radio operator) gives the surname of a British philosopher (1748-1832), the founder of utilitarianism

22d    Hail victor in rugby team (5)
{SALVE} “Hail!” is given by V (victor) inside a rugby union team who now play in Stockport

24d    Cite end of prayer latterly coming to the fore (4)
{NAME} Take the word that usually ends a prayer and move the last letter to the front

I found all the clues to be perfectly fair and reasonable

16 comments on “Toughie 517

  1. I really enjoyed this one. Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.
    I couldn’t decide whether the diva in 21a was Diana or Jonathan :D

  2. Just finished this most enjoyable Toughie! Vintage Shamus.

    I have not understood all wordplay. E.g., I still have not parsed the old box in 4d although I am 100% certain of the answer.

    It’s the complex wordplay that distinguishes Toughies from backpagers and this one more than fits the bill.

    Diff: ****, enjoyment *****

    Acknowledgement of compiler and reviewer:

    Famous husband upset seeing setter with toad (6,3,4)

    1. in 4d the old box is ‘o case’ backwards without the ‘a’ (ie that’s lacking) = ‘esco’

  3. Super crossword from Shamus today, I was the exact opposite to Bufoin that I was held up by the bottom right hand corner. Overall a great crossword and a cracking review. ( I confess I would like to see what Gazza would have done for 7 & 8d ) Many thanks Bufo and Shamus.

  4. Really nice puzzle today from Shamus with much head-scratching needed by me although only one reference to Chambers (for 2d). Too many good clues to mention.

    Great fun – thanks to the setter and to Bufo for the notes.

  5. A proper Toughie today thank you Shamus. I had forgotten what Shamus said the other day about not always having a pangram and tried for ages to make this one. I was becalmed in all sorts of odd places but eventually got there with the aid of Tippex, perservation and Gnome’s Law. Thanks to Bufo for the explanations – didn’t envy you having to work that lot out! If this is the Thursday toughie, goodness knows what Friday will bring.

    1. If you perservate, you will initiate a whole new converserance about neologism ;-)

      Circus type acrobatics show linguistic innovator (7,3)

    2. I, too, made this unnecessarily difficult; having seen a couple of “Q”s and a “J”, I was looking for the “F” and “Z” that weren’t there. I wonder if Shamus’ comment the other day was a preface to this one or not…

      Also, having entered 15A and 17A, I was expecting 19A to be thematically linked, but it wasn’t to be.

      Overall I enjoyed this one a lot, and found it about average difficulty for a Toughie.

  6. I struggled to get going on this and also struggled in the NW corner where I eventually finished. Very nice puzzle – thanks to Bufo and to Shamus.

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