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Toughie 575

Toughie No 575 by Petitjean


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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Once you spot the theme, this puzzle is not too difficult. There were too many convoluted clues for my liking and the usual dreadful homophone (are they mandatory these days?).

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    March for one or two amateurs ejected from foreign marathon (1,5)
{R MONTH} – a characteristic of MaRch that means it is OK to eat oysters is an anagram (foreign) of M(A)R(A)THON after two A(mateur)s have been removed (ejected)

4a    Comedian with chutzpah’s opening play area at leisure centre (1,1,6)
{W C FIELDS} – this old comedian is a charade of W(ith), C (Chutzpah’s opening), a play area and the middle letter (centre) of leiSure

10a    Clapton initially greeting sound of guitar effect as insignificant nuisance on the end of a lead (9)
{CHIHUAHUA} – a charade of C (Clapton initially), a greeting and what allegedly sounds like a guitar effect gives a poor little pooch (what has he done to upset the setter?) – the last part of the answer is pronounced wä wə and the guitar effect as wä wä; a dodgy homophone!

11a    Note brimless hat in fashionable felt (1,4)
{E FLAT} – this musical note is created by putting A (hAt without its outside letters / brimless) inside an anagram (fashionable) of FELT

12a    Is a colt being broken indifferent to pain? (7)
{STOICAL} – an anagram (being broken) of IS A COLT gives a word meaning indifferent to pleasure or pain

13a    This contains half of milk in low-calorie recipe (7)
{LIMITER} – a device for controlling or containing is created by putting MI (half of MIlk) inside an adjective meaning low in calories and then adding R(ecipe)

14a    Nothing in outbreak of lice suggests a form of bacteria (1,4)
{E COLI) – put O (nothing) inside an anagram (outbreak) of LICE to get a form of bacteria

15a    Underground hot quartet enthrals us more than once (4-4)
{HUSH-HUSH} – to get a word meaning underground or secret, put H H H H (Hot quartet) around (enthrals) US and US (us more than once)

18a    Lose one’s temper about customs house sitting on case of provisions and alcohol (8)
{SCHNAPPS} – put a word meaning to lose one’s temper around Customs House and add PS (outside letters / case of ProvisionS) to get this alcoholic drink

20a    Good design of furniture in 9? (1,4)
{G PLAN} – a charade of G(ood) and a synonym for design gives a brand of furniture – the rest of the clue seems to be unnecessary padding

23a    Publicly expose drawback in exterior (7)
{OUTWARD} – a charade of a word meaning to publicly expose and DRAW reversed (back) gives a word meaning exterior

25a    Chase up brewed condiment (2,5)
{HP SAUCE} – an anagram (brewed) of CHASE UP gives a branded condiment – I prefer Daddies!

26a    City Road gets a modern replacement for post (1-4)
{E-CARD} – the postal district of the City of London and the abbreviation of R(oa)D are placed around A (from the clue) to get a lazy way of sending a greeting

27a    Look into lack of quality in liquor company diversifying into paint (3,6)
{OIL COLOUR} – put a two-letter word meaning look inside an anagram (diversifying) of LI(Q)UOR CO(mpany) without the Q (lack of Quality) to get a type of paint

28a    Two medium and extra large cola ordered for US activist (7,1)
{MALCOLM X} – an anagram (ordered) of M M (two Medium), XL (extra large) and COLA gives a US activist

29a    Attack taking edge off revelry (6)
{ASSAIL} – a word meaning to attack is derived by dropping the initial W (taking edge off) a revelry usually associated with Christmas


1d           Drowned by woodwind this French leading string section stopped temporarily (8)
{RECESSED} – put a term for a woodwind instrument around (drowned by) the French for “this”, S (leading String) and S(ection) to get a word meaning stopped temporarily

2d           Noir mystery with Columbo heading aboard miniature railway for Wimbledon Green (7)
{ORINOCO} – an anagram (mystery) of NOIR followed by C (Columbo heading) inside (aboard) a gauge of miniature model railway to get an eco-friendly Womble

3d           Tajikistan anointing place where travellers often come to rest (1-8)
{T-JUNCTION} – the IVR code for Tajikistan is followed by an anointing to get a place where travellers often come to rest before deciding whether to turn left or right

5d           Cartoonist doodled small churches on the back of A-Z (7,1,6)
{CHARLES M SCHULZ} – the cartoonist who invented Charlie Brown is an anagram (doodled) of SMALL CHURCHES over (on in a down clue) Z (the back of A-Z)

6d           One smiles radiantly in support (1-4)
{I-BEAM} – a charade of I (one) and to smile radiantly gives this metal girder

7d           Records suppressing previous signs of inexperience (1-6)
{L-PLATES} – put some old-fashioned albums around a word meaning previous or former to get the signs of an inexperienced motorist

8d           Superior condition of Passat or Isuzu (6)
{SATORI} – this superior condition is hidden inside the last three words of the clue

9d           Film’s rehashed plot about Missouri rising (3,1-6,4)
{THE L-SHAPED ROOM} – this 60s film is an anagram (about) of REHASHED PLOT followed by the zip code for Missouri reversed (rising in a down clue)

16d         ‘Ghost Ship’ remake’s most exciting moments (4,5)
{HIGH SPOTS} – an anagram (remake) of GHOST SHIP gives these most exciting moments

17d         Altering shapeless whole (8)
{INTEGRAL} – it’s old-chestnut time! – an anagram (shapeless) of ALTERING gives a word meaning whole

19d         Ring dropped by local act juggling gets disapproving whistle (7)
{CATCALL} – an anagram (juggling) of L(O)CAL ACT without the O (ring dropped) gives a disapproving whistle

21d         Otherwise lame university getting to grips with care of eye disease (7)
{LEUCOMA} – place an anagram (otherwise) of LAME U(niversity) around (getting to grips with) the abbreviation for Care Of to get a white opacity of the cornea (eye disease)

22d         New energy in Moby remix for disco veterans (5,1)
{BONEY M} – put N(ew) E(nergy) inside an anagram (remix) of MOBY to get these disco veterans

24d         Sound of a bogus duo about Milli Vanilli’s backing (5)
{AUDIO} – this word for sound as opposed to vision is constructed by putting A (from the clue) and an anagram (bogus) of DUO around I (the last letter / backing of MillI and VanillI)

My favourite clue, by a long way, was 15 across  but I found most of the rest of the puzzle to be somewhat boring – perhaps I didn’t have my “slightly mad” hat on today!

28 comments on “Toughie 575

  1. I dunno, BD I enjoyed solving this and actually liked 10a a lot (even though I agree that the homophone isn’t exactly right). It didnt take too long although I did have to go back to a couple to work out the wordplay.
    Thanks to you and to petitjean.

  2. I am with Gnomey on this one, BD. It didn’t take long to solve this puzzle but I did enjoy the process. I did like 10a, peculiar homophone notwithstanding. I also liked 2d and 5d. Thanks to Petitjean and BD too.

  3. Ditto with the above Dave, I also liked 2d and 12d and 25a. Thanks to Petitjean and of course to your good self for the hints.

  4. I thought that the theme became tedious although I did enjoy some of the non-themed clues (notably 15a and 2d). My main complaint is that there are no less than 15 anagrams in 30 clues – whatever happened to the Telegraph guidelines that there should be no more than six anagrams per puzzle?
    Thanks to Petitjean and BD.

  5. And a further ditto. 10a made me laugh – insignificant nuisance on end of a lead is exactly how I view that breed. 13a I wrestled with for an age as couldn’t fathom the wordplay. 2d and 5D liked. Thanks to Petitjean and BD

  6. A curate’s egg of a puzzle, which will hopefully upset any “rats on a bit of string” owners out there. 24d was over-complicated (and I’d never heard of them till now) but 2,3 & 5d were all “OK Clues”. BD possibly having a Sir Grumpy Day, but thanks to him and pJ. Now, to see if England can squeeze out another win.

    1. Oh; is Milli Vanilli a ‘them’? I thought it was a ‘she’.

      A slightly tiresome puzzle after a while. The poor homophone in 10a did nothing to improve my ill-humour with this.

      1. It was a group of sorts; best known for lip-synching rather than singing their hits. The producer behind this lot was also the producer (and, mostly, vocalist) behind 22d, another “front” group. They’d both be right at home in the charts today.

  7. I must have had the ‘slightly mad’ hat on today as I finished this one!
    Also with Gnomey CS and others in that I quite liked the puzzle and 10a must be the funniest definition I’ve ever seen in a crossword! Been chuckling at it all afternoon!
    Thanks to Petitjean and BD (hope you’ve regained the will to live by now!).

  8. didn’t like this much…bit too contrived to the theme-never heard of 21d before

  9. The theme was a nice idea, and mostly worked OK, I thought, but the number of solutions involving single letters made it a very simple puzzle indeed to solve.

    Nevertheless, some good clueing again, and it was fun while it lasted.

    Thanks to Petitjean and BD.

  10. I think that 6d is a bit dodgy – “One smiles radiantly in support” – to get “beam” (rather than “beams”) it should read “One with radiant smile in support ” – shouldn’t it?

    1. I think that it’s meant to be a kind of pastiche-Queenspeak – “One smiles” – “I beam”.

      However I agree that there is an element of dodginess at play.

      1. I rationalised it for the same reason having initially frowned.
        How are you on the homophone Qix?, I know that you lot North of Hadrian’s Wall are usually worst served in that department!

        1. The homophone actually works OK for me because where I come from the dog is pronounced that way.
          I see that petitjean is from Carlisle so perhaps that explains it – NW of England pronunciation!

            1. He clearly forgot to look up one or two, such as AWE/OR from the other day. I wonder which accents aren’t regional?

              This homophone is OK, I think, although some people dislike word-fragments clued as homophones. No Caledonian pronunciation issues here.

              1. My comment was intended to provoke discussion!

                My view is that if it don’t work everywhere it ain’t a homophone.

  11. Been at a conference all day at the NEC but rattled this off in about the same time as the backpage. I enjoyed it! Thanks to Petitjean for the crossword and to BD for the review.

  12. Good fun puzzle today not too taxing favourites for me were 2d and 15a thanks to Petitjean and to Big Dave for his comments.

  13. Congratulations to Petitjean for a very different and unusual puzzle. I had to sleep on it and eventually found that I had spelt 5d wrong. it is comforting to see that BD has too, but his doesn’t fit! Favourites were 15 and 16 . I don’t know what all the stuff is below and I hope this works. Here goes.

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