Toughie 611 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 611

Toughie No 611 by MynoT

Something fishy!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

When you see MynoT as the setter there is usually a theme in the offing but, apart from a few fishy references, there doesn’t seem to be anything today. [Wrong again!  Thanks to Qix for pointing out that the theme is a work from a series by Edith Sitwell.]

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    Confused Polish champion being held in airport (8)
{SCHIPHOL} – put an anagram (confused) of POLISH around (being held) CH(ampion) to get a Dutch airport

5a    Flier enthralled by female pilot’s appearance (6)
{FAÇADE} – put a flier or promotional leaflet inside F(emale) and an expert pilot to get an appearance or veneer

9a    It is relative in speech essentially (5)
{RATIO} – the relation of one thing to another is created from the middle letters (essentially) of a speech

10a    Devious person’s ox captured by very black devil (9)
{BEELZEBUB} – a devious or slippery person and a humped domestic ox are placed inside the symbol found on very black lead pencils to give another name for the Devil

12a    Stage model upset pet (7,3)
{MALTESE DOG} – an anagram (upset) of STAGE MODEL gives a very small spaniel with long silky hair

13a    Aristocratic sportsman (4)
{BLUE} – a double definition – having an aristocratic blood line and a sportsman who has represented his university

15a    Profit left in to better it once more (7,4)
{CAPITAL GAIN} – this profit made on the sale of an asset is created by putting L(eft) inside to better (3), IT and once more (5)

16a    Water found in resort containing vitamin but there’s no parking (3)
{SEA} – this large quantity of water is created by putting a resort (3) around (containing) a vitamin found in wheatgerm oil, egg yolk, and leafy vegetables and then dropping (there’s no) P(arking)

17a    Payment on arrival of fish (3)
{COD} – the abbreviation of a payment for goods made when they are delivered is also a popular fish

18a    Good finish by member on lake police (11)
{GENDARMERIE} – a charade of G(ood), a finish (3), a member or limb (3) and one of the Great Lakes gives the French police

20a    Disliked Doctor Moor (4)
{FELL} – the disliked Doctor of a nursery rhyme is also another name for a moor

21a    Make fake evil-sounding drug paper covered (10)
{SYNTHESISE} – a word meaning to make chemical compounds by reaction from simpler materials is created by putting a word that sounds like an evil and Crosswordland’s usual drug around a paper or dissertation involving personal research

24a    Chairs short talk about space (9)
{CONVENERS} – these civic heads (chairs) of some regional Scottish councils are created by putting most of a verb meaning to talk around the smaller of the usual printer’s space
24a    Broadcasts even scorn chairs (9) [newspaper version]
An anagram (broadcasts) of EVEN SCORN gives civic heads (chairs) of some regional Scottish councils

26a    Curry, perhaps, with nothing in it for hollow (5)
{COOMB} – put a word meaning to curry a horse around O (nothing in it) to get a hollow in a hillside

27a    Fibrous plants lass is destroying (6)
{SISALS} – these fibrous plants are an anagram (destroying) of LASS IS

28a    Programme of course has sip of beer replacing special dish (8)
{SYLLABUB} – take a programme for a course of studies and put B (a sip of Beer) instead of (replacing) the final S(pecial) to get a dish of cream curdled, flavoured and frothed up


1d    Small person is quiet and right little devil (6)
{SHRIMP} – this small or puny person is a charade of an instruction to keep quiet, R(ight) and a little devil

2d    Popular railway tavern (5)
{HOTEL} – a colloquial word for popular (3) is followed by the US ELevated railroad (haven’t seen that one for a while!) to give a tavern

3d    Goddess to do well in Spain with Penny dropping down (10)
{PROSERPINE} – this alternative spelling of a goddess is created from a charade of a word meaning to do well, IN and the IVR code for Spain with the second P(enny) in the first word dropped a couple of places in this down clue

4d    Cleaner’s resting place reported (3)
{LYE} – this strongly alkaline solution, used for cleansing, sounds like a resting place for a golf ball

6d    Cutter that increases, we hear (4)
{ADZE} – this cutting tool with an arched blade sounds like (we hear) a word meaning increases

7d    Vehicle when there’s no time for walking to church? (9)
{AMBULANCE} – this emergency vehicle is created by dropping the final T(ime) from an adjective meaning walking and then adding the Church of England

8d    Once symbolised space, motorway is buried in ooze (8)
{EMBLEMED} – an archaic verb meaning symbolised is created from a printer’s space (not the one used in 24a but the other one) followed by M(otorway) inside (is buried) to ooze blood

10d         Reformed he betrays Al in test (11)
{BREATHALYSE} – an anagram (reformed) of HE BETRAYS AL gives a word meaning to test how much alcohol someone has consumed

11d         Local weather systems disturb ascetic mole (11)
{ECOCLIMATE} – this local weather system is an anagram (disturb) of ASCETIC MOLE

14d         Small brush could be found in nicer phial perhaps (4-6)
{HAIR-PENCIL} – this small,  fine paint-brush is an anagram (perhaps) of NICER PHIAL

15d         Holds to an opinion about duration of life for birds in aviary (9)
{CAGELINGS} – put a word meaning holds to an opinion around the duration of life to get birds in an aviary

16d         Not ten but a hundred among followers is enough (8)
{SUFFICES} – start with elements placed at the end of a word to form a derivative (followers) and replace the Roman nueral for ten with the one for a hundred to get a word meaning “is enough”

19d         ‘Moderate’ Robert is one who rows (3,3)
{WET BOB} – a charade of a moderate conservative and the affectionate form of Robert gives a boy at Eton who goes in for rowing during the summer term

22d         Poet’s to encircle Italy and not Belgium (5)
{INORB} – a poetic word for to encircle is built from the IVR codes for Italy and Belgium separated by a word meaning “and not”

23d         ‘Heck’ down under (4)
{HELL} – Heck is a euphemism for “down under”

25d         Prince gets fish back (3)
{RAS} – this Ethiopian prince, when reversed (back), gives a marine fish

Once the theme has been uncovered, this is a very clever puzzle.

32 comments on “Toughie 611

  1. Thanks BD – this is about my highest difficulty level of Toughie, completed all but 8d and 22d. Yes I know, doesn’t say much for the Father’s solving skills.

    1. I think that this is one of those times where the printed version and the Clued-Up version differ. In the paper 24A is “Broadcasts even scorn chairs (9)”

      1. Ah. I see! Is that a regular occurence? I have to say the printed version’s clue is easier than the electronic, on this one.

        1. It happens on a fairly regular basis. We had one occasion where the electronic version was required as the clue in the paper didn’t bear any relation to the required solution.

  2. Very nice crossword to get the brain cells working. Thanks to MynoT for the challenge and to BD for the review.

  3. On the tough side for a Tuesday, I thought, although that may have had something to do with being at home with a noisy husband instead of in the peace of the early morning office. I also needed my new law – Prolix’s Law – to get 22d. (It works in the same way as Gnome’s Law but you are more likely to get a response from Prolixic as Gnomey’s new job is sending him to places that start with S and so preventing him from enjoying his crosswords to the full :( !). Thanks to MynoT for the challenging start to the day and to BD for the hints etc.

  4. The theme in this puzzle is “Sir Beelzebub” from the Façade series by Edith Sitwell:

    When Sir Beelzebub called for his syllabub in the hotel in Hell
    Where Proserpine first fell,
    Blue as the gendarmerie were the waves of the sea,
    (Rocking and shocking the bar-maid).
    Nobody comes to give him his rum but the
    Rim of the sky hippopotamus-glum
    Enhances the chances to bless with a benison
    Alfred Lord Tennyson crossing the bar laid
    With cold vegetation from pale deputations
    Of temperance workers (all signed In Memoriam)
    Hoping with glory to trip up the Laureate’s feet,
    (Moving in classical metres) …
    Like Balaclava, the lava came down from the
    Roof, and the sea’s blue wooden gendarmerie
    Took them in charge while Beelzebub roared for his rum.
    … None of them come!

    There are something like 30 poems in the series; I wonder whether MyNot plans to use them all?!

      1. If MynoT decides to use “the winds bastinado” now, that could throw up a bit more of a challenge (Ok melon is in there….)

        1. Andy,
          I have just landed the part of Sir Oliver Surface in our local production of “The School for Scandal”.
          One of my lines is “Bags and bouquets! halters and bastinadoes!”.
          Can you throw a lantern on what the devil it might mean, my good sir !!??

          1. A bastinado is a cudgel, used to beat the soles of the feet, or torture administered in that way.

  5. Pedantry I know but shouldn’t the clue to 3D either be Goddess like (as it ends in E) or ‘to do well in Austria’ (for example).

        1. From the ODE:

          Proserpina (also Proserpine) Roman Mythology

          Roman name for Persephone

          See the quote in Qix’s comment above (#6) – the …ine version is the one used.

          1. Proserpine is the Anglicised (usually 3-syllable) version of the Latin (4-syllable) Proserpina, which, itself, is a Latinised version of the Greek Persephone (4 syllables).

  6. Qix must be very well read to notice the theme – well, I always read his comments!

    Any chance of the explanation for 25d – sorry to be impatient!

    1. It’s an obscure 3-letter term for an Ethiopian prince which, when reversed, is an even more obscure word for several related species of fish.

  7. Also in the quite tricky for a Tuesday club. Often stumped by 4 letter words, but the 3 letter 4d and 25d were the last in after much dictionary scouring. Very cleverly put together with a good theme. Many thanks BD and MynoT

      1. I have to drop No 2 son at the KCC ground in Canterbury for an 8am start (on the catering, not cricket, team!) so will have the trusty paper version ready in good time.

  8. Some people might say that the reason I couldn’t finish this puzzle is that I spent too long discussing the use of the word stingy with regard to wasps.

    But they’d be wrong. I banged the bottom half in quickly enough, but I couldn’t get a foothold in the top half at all, despite a concerted effort.
    Tough, but enjoyable.

    And finally, well done Qix on spotting the link. I think I was off sick the day we did Edith Sitwell at school.

  9. I can usually manage Tuesday’s Toughie but I’m afraid I had to give up after 4 or 5 clues & reading the blog now I now why! This was one for the true professionals among us – I’ll stick to the daily in future & only venture into Toughieland when I think I may stand a chance of finishing.

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