Toughie 519 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 519

Toughie No 519 by Kcit

The quality of mercy!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

As has been commented elsewhere, as Toughies go this one was a bit too easy. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable.

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    Activity improving the mouth, long hair and eye, possibly (4,7)
{ORAL HYGIENE} – the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums is an anagram (possibly) of LONG HAIR and EYE

9a    I spot one about to swallow iodine — that’s foolish (7)
{IDIOTIC} – put I, a small spot (3), another I (one) and a one-letter abbreviation for about around the chemical symbol for Iodine to get a word meaning foolish

10a    Son seen in a tie in part of Europe (6)
{ALSACE} – put S(on) inside A and a tie used to secure a shoe to get this part of Europe

12a    Drink line, one line not fully supplied by vintner, ultimately (7)
{LIQUEUR} – an alcoholic drink is a charade of L(ine), I (one), most of a line of people and the final letter (ultimately) of vintneR

13a    Girl here is engaged in expression of gratitude (7)
{THERESA} – this girl’s name is created by putting the shortened for of “here is” inside an expression of gratitude

14a    Drug source includes phosphorus (5)
{SPEED} – this illegal amphetamine is created by putting source, beginning or germ around the chemical symbol for phosphorus

15a    Satisfied a sailor is twisting bones (9)
{METATARSI} – a charade of a word meaning satisfied (3), A, a sailor (3) and IS reversed (twisting) to get these bones found in the foot

17a    Animal’s limb getting hurt in activity (9)
{ARMADILLO} – this animal is constructed by starting with a limb and then putting a word meaning hurt or unwell inside some activity

20a    Drink in cold bar initially providing limited comfort? (5)
{CRUMB} – put this alcoholic drink inside the initial letters of Cold and Bar to get this limited comfort

22a    It’s discourteous of female worker (7)
{OFFHAND} – to get this a word meaning discourteous or blasé start with OF and then add F(emale) and a worker

24a    Mum’s to dole out onion (7)
{SHALLOT} – an interjection meaning keep mum or hush is followed by a word meaning to dole out to get this species of onion

25a    Item almost allowed after bold move (6)
{COUPLE} – this pair of people are often described as an item – put most of a word meaning allowed after a bold move, against a despotic leader perhaps

26a    Merchant, one not taken aback in a negative response (7)
{ANTONIO} – the merchant who borrowed money from Shylock is constructed by putting I (one) and NOT both reversed inside A and a negative response

27a    Advance with titled lady, then stop, see (2,3,6)
{LO AND BEHOLD} – a charade of an advance of money (perhaps to 26 across!), an abbreviation of an award made to a lady and a word meaning to stop gives a phrase meaning “see!”


2d           After the accident, finally studied the tyre (7)
{RETREAD} – the final letters of the first three words are followed by a word meaning to study, particularly at university, to give a cheap tyre – I haven’t purchased one of these since one disintegrated while I was doing 70mph on the M40 many years ago.

3d           In tears all March, upset about end of February (9)
{LACHRYMAL} – an adjective meaning in tears is an anagram (upset) of all March around Y, the end of FebruarY

4d           Fungus still besetting a section (5)
{YEAST} – this type of fungus is created by putting an adverb meaning still or up till now around A and S(ection)

5d           Carefully assess first of papers in entomologist’s subject (7)
{INSPECT} – a word meaning to carefully assess is created by putting P (first of Papers) inside something that is studied by an entomologist

6d           Centrally focused? It’s scarcely different from not focused (7)
{NUCLEAR} – a word meaning relating to the centre is derived by swapping the first two letters of a word meaning not focused

7d           Journalistic period that (paradoxically) could be so sane (5,6)
{SILLY SEASON} – the time of year when journalists have nothing sensible to write about (which doesn’t usually stop them from writing about something!) could be a clue for an anagram of SO SANE

8d           Sports handicap system: book is rather overlooking it (6)
{BISQUE} – a term in some sports for the handicap whereby a player allows a weaker opponent (at the latter’s choice of time) to score a point in a set, deduct a stroke at a hole, take an extra turn in croquet, etc. is built up from B(ook), IS and a word meaning rather from which IT is dropped (overlooking it)

11d         Criticise revered figure about subject of humour? It’s how the distressed can respond (5,6)
{PANIC BUTTON} – start with a three-letter word meaning to criticise and follow it with a  revered figure placed around the subject of a joke to get a method by which the distressed can summon help – I tried attack as the second word but although it seems to fit the definition better than the actual answer it does not fit the wordplay!

16d         ‘Way to be followed is for every individual’ — European leader (9)
{TAOISEACH} – the way to be followed in Confucianism (and some other philosophies) followed by IS and a word meaning for every individual gives this European leader – a job that very recently changed hands!

18d         Gangster family turning up: Italy soon almost devastated (7)
{MAFIOSO} – this gangster of Italian descent is created by reversing the abbreviation of FAM(ily) and following it with an anagram (devastated) of I(taly) SOO(n)

19d         Passed on segment of film scene giving nothing away (7)
{DEADPAN} – a charade of a word meaning passed on and a segment of a film in which the camera is moved about an axis gives an expression that giving nothing away

20d         A way to block fuel from the shore (7)
{COASTAL} – put the abbreviation for a street inside a solid fuel to get a word meaning from the shore

21d         Hilltop plot covered in mud? Not at first (6)
{UPLAND} – to get this hilltop put a plot or scheme inside (M)UD

23d         Daughter with little black anorak? (5)
{DWEEB} – a charade of D(aughter), the Scottish word for little and B(lack) gives an anorak or nerd

Nothing stood out for me – but it was an enjoyable diversion.

20 comments on “Toughie 519

  1. I agree that it was a bit easy. Nevertheless – and as mentioned in Another Place – I struggled with the wordplay of 2d although the answer was pretty clear from the checks.

  2. A nice gentle Toughie to start the week. Many thanks to Kcit for the crossword and to BD for the half-time score. Favourite clue was 11d.

  3. Enjoyable if not too difficult, favourite clue was 16d. Thanks Kcit and of course BD.

  4. Didn’t like the definition of 15A as “bones”, although it’s given as such in some dictionaries.

    Otherwise, a pleasant and fairly gentle Toughie. I half-expected it to be a pangram after the first few clues, but I’d just solved today’s Shamus back-page puzzle a few minutes earlier.

  5. I found most of this fairly straightforward, although there were a few that i needed to think about.
    Thanks to Kcit, and to BD.

  6. Thanks to Kcit and BD. No particular favourites, just a nice Tuesday Toughie.

  7. Keeping this crossword for later but I do have a question for Big Dave.
    I frequently note that you refer to Websters Dictionary as the crossword bible. Out of interest I checked this out and found a selection of Websters ranging in price from about £15 up to £80. Which one do you , probably a silly question but I thought I would ask.
    Hope to hear from you.

    1. Pete

      Not Webster’s – it’s Chambers Dictionary. The one to buy is the 11th edition of “The Chambers Dictionary”. There are other dictionaries from Chambers but none of them has the same depth of words and definitions.

      Currently available from Amazon for £22.28:

  8. I agree with all the above – enjoyable, not too difficult and just about a toughie. I quite liked 27a, 6d and 8d but most clues were good.

    Thanks to Kcit and BD.

  9. Found this one really strange

    98% of it was really straightforward but never heard of 9d in that sense and I still cannot find an answer for 16d

    Is it a european statesman I’ve never heard of?

    1. 16 down is a job that changed hands in the last week! You have probably heard of it, but pronouncing it and spelling it is a different matter.

  10. Had never heard of 8d, had to resort to computer, otherwise a crossword that made us feel quite clever!

  11. Only the second time that I’ve ever completed a Toughie (almost) unaided – and for the second time I discover that it’s not very tough at all! Nonetheless, very enjoyable puzzle from Kcit!

    16d – I knew how to pronounce the Irish PM – but had to check on the spelling!

    1. Thee-shock is as near as I think you can get without the Irish accent. Nice puzzle, but it took until this morning to complete.

  12. Thanks Kcit and Big Dave.
    My PinC started this and I wasn’t exactly back in a ticK (unlike the setter), by which time it was virtually complete. A real beauty to read through and see what was done. Particularly enjoyed 7d and 11d as well as 27a and 3d for a lovely topical surface reading. Struggled to get the wordplay in 2d, so now kicking myself!

  13. Agree with Gazza that this is easier than the back page cryptic. Very enjoyable though and agree with previous post that 3d is an absolute belter. 4*/2*.
    Thanks both.

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