Toughie 531 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 531

Toughie No 531 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I enjoyed this puzzle from Kcit although it didn’t take up much of my morning!

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1a    Being thus makes the GP calm, I fancy (10)
{PHLEGMATIC} – a word meaning calm is an anagram (fancy) of THE GP CALM I

6a    A repeated action, though it’s not apparent in obsessive seaman (4)
{AHAB} – a charade of A and a repeated action without the final IT (it’s not apparent) gives the obsessive seaman who relentlessly pursued Moby Dick

9a    Pass to the side — that’s a pledge (10)
{COLLATERAL} – a charade of a mountain pass and an adjective meaning to the side gives an asset that is used as security for a loan

10a    Tiresome business accommodating new part of denture (4)
{FANG} – put this tiresome business around (accommodating) N(ew) to get a type of tooth

12a    Chaotic sea, mostly coming in weak, without power (6)
{UNTIDY} – to get a word meaning chaotic put most of the ebb and flow of the sea inside a word meaning weak without its initial P(ower)

13a    A floundering enterprise? (4,4)
{FISH FARM} – a cryptic definition of an enterprise that could be rearing flounders

15a    Seduced cashier led astray, ignoring one’s flat feet (6,6)
{FALLEN ARCHES} – a word meaning seduced or disgraced is followed by an anagram (led astray) of CASH(I)ER without the I (ignoring one’s) to get a cause of flat feet

18a    My kitchen’s hazy with a bit of cooking — it needs this! (7-5)
{CHIMNEY-STACK} – an anagram (hazy) of MY KITCHEN’S with A and C (bit of cooking) gives something that might reduce the haze – both Chambers and the OED give this as two words without the hyphen

21a    Wager a lot of reserve covers everyone involved in dance (8)
{BALLETIC} – a wager and most of a word meaning reserve or coolness around everyone to get an adjective meaning involved in dance

22a    Attitude observed in a Southern French city (6)
{AMIENS} – put an attitude or air between A and S(outhern) to get a French city

24a    Uncapped wine is satisfactory (4)
{OKAY} – drop the initial capital letter (uncapped) from a sweetish and heavy Hungarian wine with an aromatic flavour to get a word meaning satisfactory

25a    Layabout (4-2-4)
{NE’ER-DO-WELL} – this layabout comes from an anagram (injured) of DEER ON followed by a spring

26a    Difficult situation in spades opening for troubled bridge team (4)
{STEW} – this difficult situation is a charade of S(pades), T (opening for Troubled) and a pair of partners in the game of bridge

27a    Keenness that could bring about haste, in sum (10)
{ENTHUSIASM} – this keenness is an anagram (could bring about) of HASTE IN SUM


1d    Select elevated answer (4,2)
{PICK UP} – a words meaning to select and elevated are combined into a phrasal verb meaning to answer a phone

2d    Female demon left one in flames (hot) (6)
{LILITH} – this female demon of Jewish folklore, who tries to kill newborn children, is a charade of L(eft), I (one), a word meaning in flames and H(ot) – this name was appropriately chosen for Frasier’s wife in Cheers

3d    Excellent sailor’s turned in some booze (5,7)
{GRAND MARNIER} – a word meaning excellent is followed by a sailor with the internal letters IN reversed to get a liqueur

4d    Top primate seen with cross (4)
{APEX} – this word meaning top is a charade of a primate and a letter shaped like a cross

5d    One article in Latin (translated) worried about the local architecture? (10)
{ITALIANATE} – start with I (one) and then put an indefinite article inside an anagram (translated) of Latin and end with a verb meaning worried or aggravated to get a word meaning about the architecture local to where Latin was spoken

7d    Notice Bill seized by two men? That’s a problem (8)
{HEADACHE] – put a notice and a bill between two male pronouns to get a problem

8d    Good British novelist probing little marital offender (8)
{BIGAMIST} – put G(ood) and a British novelist (father or son) inside a small piece to get someone foolish enough to get married twice (concurrently)

11d    Not much to sustain a hung parliament? (5,7)
{SHORT COMMONS} – a part-cryptic double definition – an insufficient allocation of food and a suggestion that a hung parliament would not last long

14d    One’s brought down in sport? Bet the swine will come in running once (4,6)
{CLAY PIGEON} – a saucer-shaped disc thrown from a spring-loaded trap and shot at as a substitute for various types of game bird is created by putting a word meaning to place a bet and a swine inside an anagram (running) of ONCE

16d    Man still working is holding out, after reduction in plant (8)
{SCABIOUS} – start with a strike-breaker and then put IS around (holding) OU (out, after reduction) to get a plant of the teasel family, long thought efficacious in treating skin diseases

17d    Wrong to interrupt man that’s expert in water flow (8)
{MILLRACE} – put a word meaning wrong or bad inside the title used when writing to a man and then add an expert to get this channel carrying a swift current of water

19d    City information was elusive? Not half (6)
{GENEVA} – this Swiss city is a charade of some information and the first half of a word meaning was elusive

20d    Safety’s unknown in a down-at-heel area (6)
{ASYLUM} – a place of refuge or protection is built up by putting an algebraic unknown inside A down-at-heel area

23d    Demo heading off for prominent edifice (4)
{ARCH} – drop the initial letter (heading off) from a demo to get this prominent edifice

A pleasant puzzle, about the level of difficulty that we have become accustomed to on a Tuesday.

29 comments on “Toughie 531

  1. Enjoyable start to the week and just about a toughie. Although there were some good clues I expect things to get harder as the week progresses. Favourite clues 6d and 22a.

    Thanks to Kcit for the puzzle and to BD for the review.

  2. Thanks to Kcit for an enjoyable Toughie, and to BD for the notes. I failed to solve 2d.

  3. Very enjoyable offering from Kcit today some nice clues of which 14d was my favourite, Thanks to Kcit and Big Dave for his comments.

  4. Thanks Kcit and BD for a lovely start to the toughie week, ditto to all above comments.

  5. No major difficulties with this one. Straightforward and sweet. No one clue really standing out.

    Thanks BD and Kcit!

    1. Two observations, though.
      2d: according to Talmudic lore she was Adam’s companion during the 130 years he lived separated from Eve and their union produced half-humans, “ghosts”, that can be harmful. Her name is derived from a root that means “night”.
      7d: Do you know a word that starts with “HE” and ends with “HE”? The question has two valid answers…

        1. Nice one! Missed that one. So, three valid answers…. The one I am looking for is sneaky.

  6. Nice test of willpower trying to finish without help. Vey enjoyable puzzle.
    Thanks to Kcit for the puzzle and to B Dave for the review.

  7. As all of the above, I found this a fun solve and pitched well for a Tuesday Toughie. Thanks to BD and to Kcit.

  8. Tuesday Toughies are about my level, enjoyable and do-able so thanks to Kcit and B.D. Favourites are 25a, 15a and 8d

  9. Found the SW the trickiest with a couple of the downs 16 and 17 new to me, so thanks for the hints BD and Kcit for a pleaseant solve

  10. Nice puzzle which I enjoyed over breakfast!
    I used to shoot 14 downs so spotted it quickly from a couple of checkers.
    Mis-typing 16d held me up for ages in the SW corner! I think this is a problem of doing the xword online as I wouldn’t have mis-written it on paper! its too easy to type letters in the rwogn order and not notice.
    Thanks to Kcit and BD.

    1. Actually correction to this post.
      I used to shoot AT or in the general direction of 14 downs – didn’t actually hit many!

  11. For 22a was looking for a city in Southern France, which held me up quite a long time ! Otherwise less difficult than most of the Toughies.

    Thanks for the hints which were necessary for some of the clues, though I was pleased with myself when I got 11d without them !

  12. One of my better attempts at a Toughie – did all but two! So, I’m not surprised it’s only given 2* difficulty.

    Missed 17d – MILLRACE – (even Google and Chambers Online don’t provide this answer)
    and 26a – Stew – still kicking myself!

      1. I did check that at the time, and Chambers gives it as one word and the ODE as two. Where there is a differnce the Telegraph usually, but not always, uses the enumeration from Chambers.

      2. Hi Franco
        BD, as usual, is correct but in this case I don’t really think it it makes much difference. The answer came from the wordplay and I remember thinking at the time it should perhaps be 2 words but it didn’t really matter.
        As a sailor I know the term ‘race’ meaning flow of water from a ‘tidal race’ and that is always 2 words (in fact our first yacht was named ‘Tidal Flo’ in honour of my Grandmother, given name Florence but always called Flo by Grandad).

  13. Enjoyable crossword from Kcit – not mind bending but enought to tease and satisfy for a Toughie. Many thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

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