Toughie 564 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 564

Toughie No 564 by Shamus

A Couple of  ‘Unches

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

For the second day running I’m reviewing a Shamus puzzle. I thought that it was very entertaining with some good “doh” moments and only three anagrams (hurrah). I was proceeding quite rapidly until I reached the final (NE) corner where I came to a juddering halt for a little while.
I don’t usually pay much attention to the grid (in many years of doing crosswords before starting blogging here I hardly ever noticed them), but after yesterday’s discussion on “double unches” etc I thought I’d better inspect today’s. I see that it has two clues with a double unch and with less than fifty percent of the letters checked – this may be of little consequence or it may be a hanging offence; I don’t know and it doesn’t worry me.
Let us know what you thought of the puzzle in a comment.

Across Clues

4a  Retired VIP, one in residence showing friendliness (8)
{BONHOMIE} – reverse (retired) an informal term for a person of high social standing, then add where you live with I (one) inside to make friendliness or geniality.

8a  Sign of amusement from European ambassador in driving position? (3-3)
{TEE-HEE} – the sort of driving being referred to is done standing up with club in hand. Put the place where you do this around E(uropean) and the abbreviation of the title given to an ambassador.

9a  Cheer coming second gained by Irish novelist among set of workers (8)
{TIRAMISU} – cheer here just means food and coming second indicates that it’s something served after the first course. Put an abbreviation of Irish and an English novelist (you can pick either father or son) inside the abbreviation for a workers’ organisation.

10a  Politician in America having entered a jet fidgeted in part of plane (4,4)
{JUMP SEAT} – this is a part of a plane where a member of the cabin staff may perch during take-off and landing. Put the abbreviation for an elected politician inside an abbreviation for America, then insert all that inside an anagram (fidgeted) of A JET.

11a  Brief period of time for bit of solitude in part of India here? (6)
{ASHRAM} – start with a state in North-East India which is noted for the quality of its tea. Now replace the second S (bit of S(olitude)) with an abbreviated period of time to make a religious retreat. A very pleasing semi-all-in-one clue.

12a  Temptation enthralling sailor with ring on right hand (8)
{LABOURER} – the definition is the well-disguised hand, in the sense of worker. Put a temptation or enticement around (enthralling) an abbreviation for a sailor plus O (ring), then finally add R(ight). The use of “on” here doesn’t conform to the normal convention for an across clue.

13a  Authority on board landed close to company — it’s required in partnership? (8)
{FIDELITY} – authority on board is a lovely way of clueing the initials of the World Chess Federation (Fédération Internationale des Échecs). Follow this with the past tense of an old verb meaning to land and the last letter (close) of (compan)Y.

16a  Show of expertise that’s weak about computers etc kept by doctor (8)
{PUNDITRY} – put an adjective meaning weak or feeble around the abbreviation for information technology (computers etc.) which is, in turn, inside (kept by) one of the many abbreviations for doctor. We’ve had it a few times but it’s worth repeating Chambers’ definition of one of these “experts”: Someone who considers himself or herself an authority.

19a  Celebration characterising a late party? (8)
{OBITUARY} – this is a cryptic description of an article summarising the life and character of someone who has recently died (a late party). I am reminded of the lines of one of our most talented young poets (E. J. Thribb) on the death of the singer Tiny Tim:

So. Farewell then
Tiny Tim.

Once you sang “Tiptoe through
The tulips”. Now you’re
Pushing up the

21a  Outlaw confronting queen, old person with ghostly appearance (6)
{BANQUO} – start with a verb to outlaw or prohibit and follow this with abbreviations for queen and old. The result should be a character who appears as a ghost in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

23a  Solid sort kept by bird near island (8)
{CONCRETE} – this is an adjective meaning solid or real, as opposed to abstract. Bird is a slang term for prison so start with an informal term for a person (sort) incarcerated (kept) in prison, then add a Greek island.

24a  Caution a man of habit endlessly trapped by attractive figure (8)
{ADMONISH} – we want a verb meaning to caution or reprimand. Put a man who wears a habit, without his final K (endlessly), inside A and a dated term for an attractive young lady.

25a  Very small amount daughter disowned not long ago (6)
{RECENT} – the very small amount is a North American phrase for the smallest coin in circulation (3,4) (so called because it was originally made of copper). Remove (disowned) the D(aughter) to leave an adjective meaning not long ago.

26a  Term for one with new fat having consumed extremes of gunge? (8)
{ENLARGED} – this is an all-in-one clue. Term here is used in the sense of boundary or limit, so start with the last letter (term) of (on)E, then add N(ew) and a type of fat used in cooking which goes around (having consumed) the end letters (extremes) of G(ung)E.

Down Clues

1d  Man in service uniform (7)
{REGULAR} – double definition – man in service / uniform.

2d  Offerings hastily gathered with fashionable drinks (4-5)
{WHIP-ROUND} – this hastily gathered collection is a charade of W(ith), an informal synonym for fashionable and an order for drinks.

3d  Outward sign of respectability always archdeacon put first (6)
{VENEER} – this skin-deep sign of respectability or refinement is a literary contraction of a synonym for always preceded (put first) by the abbreviation of the title afforded an archdeacon.

4d  Plant having filthy bud rector repositioned (9,6)
{BUTTERFLY ORCHID} – an anagram (re-positioned) of FILTHY BUD RECTOR produces a flowering plant.

5d  Opera associated with day in New York? Place familiar to the French (8)
{NORMANDY} – follow the name of an opera by Vincenzo Bellini with D(ay) inside the abbreviation for the Big Apple to get a region of France.

6d  Sound coming from brass instrument devoid of a magnetism (5)
{OOMPH} – start with the informal word for the sound made by a brass instrument and remove (devoid of) the A to leave another informal term for vitality or personal magnetism.

7d  Mo Mowlam initially missed by man with stint in work (7)
{INSTANT} – there’s definitely a bit of lift and separate required here because the definition is the first word. It’s an anagram (in work) of (m)AN (missing the initial letter of Mowlam) and STINT.

14d  Hard stuff taken by reserve — or something sweet? (9)
{LIQUORICE} – a charade of alcoholic drink (hard stuff) and reserve or frigidity gives us some sweet, chewy stuff.

15d  Son with love to enter activity at bar, tall man’s recourse? (8)
{STOOPING} – start with S(on) and add a present participle meaning drinking alcohol with O (love) inside. This is what you might see a tall man doing in a room with low ceilings.

17d  One from old colony inhibited by bug and angina (7)
{UGANDAN} – hidden (inhibited by) in the clue is someone from a former British colony.

18d  Pompous character at centre for economics showing evidence of inflation? (7)
{OROTUND} – this word means pompous or pretentious. Start with the middle letter of economics and add an adjective meaning round and plump (possibly showing evidence of having been inflated).

20d  Pass by women in Rome avoiding sun (6)
{IGNORE} – this is a verb meaning to pass by or give someone the cold shoulder. It’s the plural form of address for Italian women without S(un).

22d  Question list of duties that’s got rid of initial allowance (5)
{QUOTA} – start with an abbreviation for question and add a list of who’s on duty when without its initial letter. What you should end up with is a fixed allowance.

Among the clues I liked were 8a, 13a and 21a, but my favourite was 11a. Let us know what you liked in a comment.

10 comments on “Toughie 564

  1. Once again we are in agreement, Gazza. I never look at the grids – as you say too many years of just solving the crossword without taking too much notice of the technicalities. I also like the same clues as you in what was a really great Toughie from Shamus, so thank you to him for the puzzle and to you for the hints. I think Pommers has outdone you on the Gazza-pic front today :D

  2. Thanks to Shamus for an excellent crossword and to Gazza for a great review, fav. was 13a.

  3. The NE was the hardest for me, and I spent ages trying to work out why ‘e’ was the first letter of 26a.
    Favourite clue was 8a.
    I found this a struggle, but a good one. Thanks to Shamus, and to gazza for the notes and explanations.

  4. I didn’t find this on the easier end of the Shamus scale by any means, but plenty of d’oh moments led to a very enjoyable completion (with hints for 18d just to confirm answer) . Never heard of the word in 15d meaning bar activity, but answer “gettable” by reversing (forgotten the term) the answer back to the clue. As for Grids… I don’t mind as I long as I can fill in the answers! Many thanks to Shamus and Gazza

  5. Lovely puzzle, thanks Shamus.
    8a and 6d were favourites for me. I had to scratch my head on a lot of these clues but the rewards were good. Thanks to Shamus and gazza!

  6. Took me ages to get the 4d anag – but then stalled again in the se corner , I thought difficult but v. enjoyable – thanks to Shamus and Gazza for the review – still needed confirmation of 13a and 18d .

  7. Good fun puzzle that was finished all too quickly.

    I’m with Gazza on the multiple unches too, although I know that they do upset some. Ximenes wanted half the letters in each solution to be checked, but I think that that’s excessive, certainly for something called a “Toughie”.

    Many thanks to Shamus for the entertainment and Gazza for the blog.

  8. Thanks as ever to Gazza for his superb blog and colourful illustrations (particularly like the orchid!) and everyone for their comments

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