Toughie 604 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 604

Toughie No 604 by Kcit

What Ho!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

As Toughies go I thought that this one was pretty much plain sailing (I’m trying to find alternative ways of saying straightforward) but I did enjoy it a lot. If, like me, you’re a Wodehouse fan then the 5d answer leaps out and is a massive help.
Let us know how you found it and please take the time to click on one of the stars below to register your enjoyment factor.

Across Clues

1a  Warlike nation in fight with soldiers (6)
{SPARTA} – this is a city-state in ancient Greece where the citizens were famous for their military prowess. It’s a charade of a verb to fight and our part-time soldiers.

5a  I brought in books (University left us holding nothing) ready to drink in volumes (8)
{BIBULOUS} – put I between two abbreviations for book then add letters as instructed inside the brackets. The resulting adjective describes a heavy drinker.

9a  Study everything — end of game should be perfect (10)
{CONSUMMATE} – to get this synonym for perfect we need a charade of a verb to study, a word meaning the whole thing and the objective in a game of chess.

10a  Government abandoning move in seaside resort (4)
{BUDE} – take G(overnment) out of a verb to move to leave a resort in North Cornwall.

11a  Bone in tumulus showing indication of death (8)
{MORIBUND} – put one of the bones that protects the chest cavity and its organs inside an elevated ancient burial place (tumulus) to form an adjective meaning at the point of death.

12a  Friend’s bash, not very lavish (6)
{PALTRY} – a charade of a friend and a bash or attempt.

13a  Instrument engaged in rolling over, knocking out rear of piano (4)
{TUBA} – start with a preposition meaning engaged in, then reverse it (rolling over) and remove the last letter (rear) of (pian)O to leave a brass instrument.

15a  Pardon me, if moved to affect importance (4-4)
{NAME-DROP} – an anagram (moved) of PARDON ME produces a verb meaning to mention in passing a famous person as if he/she were an intimate acquaintance in order to appear important (Rupert Murdoch comes in by the back door whenever he calls round to give me my instructions).

18a  Nonchalant expression of affection ensnares the French (8)
{CARELESS} – an adjective meaning nonchalant or casually relaxed is a gentle touch (expression of affection) around (ensnares) the French definite article (masculine singular).

19a  Ill-feeling in hiding piano’s location (4)
{SITE} – from a synonym for ill-feeling or malice remove (hiding) the letter used to mean piano or quiet.

21a  It provided backing before company failure (6)
{FIASCO} – “it” here is being used as an informal term for personal magnetism or the ability to arouse desire in others. We want an abbreviation for that, followed by a conjunction meaning provided, then we have to reverse everything we’ve got so far and finish with the abbreviation for a company.

23a  A location of intimacies in woman’s novel (4,4)
{ADAM BEDE} – I love “location of intimacies” for this place where intimate secrets and other things may be shared. The title of a 19th century English novel is constructed from A and a titled woman with the intimate place inserted. This is a very cleverly worded clue because although the author of the novel appears to be male it was actually written by a lady called Mary Ann Evans so it is definitely a “woman’s novel”.

25a  Member showing absence of progress, nothing less (4)
{LIMB} – start with an intermediate state where nothing really happens and remove the final O (nothing less) to leave a bodily member.

26a  Fashionable Father excited about it, being ecumenical (10)
{INTERFAITH} – a short informal word for fashionable is followed by an anagram (excited) of FATHER around IT.

27a  Appearance of text borders on totally precise — fellow’s excellent (8)
{TYPEFACE} – the definition here is appearance of text. Begin with the outer letters (borders) of T(otall)Y and P(recis)E then finish with F(ellow) and an informal adjective meaning excellent.

28a  Implausible item in musical getting cut? Very likely (4-2)
{ODDS-ON} – an implausible item in a musical could be an odd song. Drop the last letter (cut).

Down Clues

2d  Hoping initially to get in shoot, with nothing in print (5) (online version)
Hot to get in shoot, with nothing in print (5) (paper version)
{PHOTO} – insert the initial letter of H(oping) (H(ot) in the paper version) in a verb to shoot and finish with O (nothing),

3d  Evidence of lack of work that is around cool guy, leading to ban from college (9)
{RUSTICATE} – this is a verb meaning to suspend a student from a university. Start with the evidence of lack of work (a reddish-brown coating if we’re talking of machinery or the need to take a very long time if it’s a crossword solver) then put the abbreviation for that is round a hip term for a cool guy.

4d  A play about robots involving second coating of metal (6)
{ARMOUR} – in 1921 the Czech writer Karel ­Capek wrote a play which introduced the word robot to the English language. Start with A and add the play’s title (short for Rossum’s Universal Robots) around (involving) an informal word for a short time (second) to make a metal coating used for personal protection.

5d  Uninspired actors in broadcast of single setting of comic novels (9,6)
{BLANDINGS CASTLE} – this setting is the ancestral pile of Lord Emsworth in the P G Wodehouse books (where the most important resident is the Empress – not his wife, but his prize-winning pig!). Start with an adjective meaning uninspired or monotonous and then insert all the actors in a play or film inside an anagram (broadcast) of SINGLE.

6d  Feature of pub, with busy person behind, bearing first of pints (4,4)
{BEER PUMP} – a metaphor for a busy person is followed by a synonym of behind (in the bodily sense) with P(ints) inserted (bearing).

7d  Book that’s put in fake story initially liable for this? (5)
{LIBEL} – a semi-all-in-one. Put B(ook) inside a false story and finish with the first letter (initially) of L(ibel).

8d  Dean and Court rubbished first application (9)
{UNDERCOAT} – the first application (when you’re decorating, for example) is an anagram (rubbished) of DEAN and COURT.

14d  Everyone agreeing international group’s elevated in blocking friendship (9)
{UNANIMITY} – the definition here is everyone agreeing. Start with the abbreviation for the international group based in New York, then reverse (elevated) IN inside a synonym for friendship.

16d  Panel of motorists to frustrate directors (9)
{DASHBOARD} – a verb meaning to frustrate (one’s hopes perhaps) is followed by directors of a company to make a motorists’ panel.

17d  Female carnivore digested no end of liver (8)
{VERONICA} – the answer here is a female name (think of Ms. Lake the American film actress and pin-up of the 1940s). It’s an anagram (digested) of CARNIVO(r)E without the last letter of liver.

20d  Bob, say, cheated on love, suppressing a lot of passion (6)
{HAIRDO} – what a bob is an example of (say) is derived from a verb meaning cheated followed by O (love) with the first two letters (a lot) of a word meaning passion or anger inside (suppressing).

22d  Demand to include black — described thus? (5)
{SABLE} – put B(lack) inside a synonym for demand or turnover (Chambers gives demand as one of the meanings of this word but it seems a bit tenuous to me) to make a literary or heraldic term for black.

24d  Some received it today, just as before (5)
{DITTO} – hidden (some) in the clue is a word meaning just as before.

The clues I liked best today were 21a, 23a and 5d. Let us know your favourites in a comment.

19 comments on “Toughie 604

  1. 3* difficulty for me and I needed Gnome’s Law to see the light in the NW corner – as usual once I had ‘got’ them, I couldn’t see why I hadn’t done so before. Thanks to Kcit for a nice Toughie. Thanks to Gazza too – once again, my favourites are the same as yours.

  2. 17d defeated me today – I kept thinking ‘senorita’, and tried to google a carnivore called a seita! I also scratched my head trying to explain away the middle 2 letters of 21a (I totally missed the IT/SA reference)
    I enjoyed working my way through this one. Thanks to Firefly, and to Gazza for the notes and explanations.

    1. Your comment made me rush to see if I’d made a big mistake, but no – the puzzle is by Kcit rather than Firefly.

      1. My apologies! – Thanks to Kcit for the puzzle. Thanks to Firefly for his next puzzle I solve :)

  3. Highly enjoyable crossword from Kcit. Many thanks to him for the fun. I agree with the difficulty rating. It took more or less the same time to solve as yesterday’s Toughie Favourite clue was 23a.

  4. Note that in 2d the paper version has a different start to the clue – “hot to get into shoot”. Convinced I had the answer wrong as seemed to obvious! Thanks to BD for the explanation of 4d and to Kcit for waht I thought was more of a 3* challenge

      1. And I should have thanked you not BD for the review. I made a slight typo – its “hot to get in shoot”, not into shoot. Sorry.

  5. Very enjoyable toughie today. I made exactly the same mistake as Jezza with 17d – I too thought ‘senorita’ and googled seita! I also got fixated on “body” as the second half of 23a which held me up, but overall I found this do-able and entertaining. Thanks to Gazza and Kcit.

  6. I’ll never understand this game! I’ve just completed this Toughie in about half the time I took to do Jay’s back pager last night! How does that work?
    Agree with your favourites Gazza but also liked 10a for its smooth surface.
    Thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  7. Excellent crossword from Kcit and the usual superb review from Gazza, thanks to both.

  8. I thought this was pretty tough today I also had senorita for 17d and I’ve never heard of 5d but worked it out from the clueing, favourites were 6d and 23a. Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the comments.

  9. Its strange (or maybe it isn’t) how different solvers consider whether puzzle is tough or not. I personally had a struggle with this one and
    didn’t consider it to be two stars for difficulty, three star + for me. However I do agree with the four stars for enjoyment, fun puzzle and I enjoyed solving it. Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

  10. 1d (written version) was a tad confusing with HOT being part of the answer. 23a stumped me, I tried ALAN BODY, but the origin of NBO was a mystery. The Rock aside, Eliot is an unknown country [no pun] to me. I got there in the end. I liked 5a and 11a.

  11. I’m with Libellule here, I completed most of the RHS and struggled on the Left. Still very enjoyable and I did kick myself a couple of times when I finally got the answers!
    Thanks to gazza and to Kcit.

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