Toughie 617 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 617

Toughie No 617 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This week I wasn’t on the setter’s wavelength and so struggled more than I should have done.

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    Supplier of records is caught by judge in part of court with short attention (4,6)
{DISC JOCKEY} Someone who plays records is made up of IS C (caught) J (judge) inside part of a court of law + a word meaning observation with its last letter removed

6a    Special label for man and dog (4)
{STAG} S (special) + a label gives a word that means both a man (attending a party?) and “to dog”

9a    Backward killer with a second name among gendarmes, singularly obsessed sort? (10)
{MONOMANIAC} A reversal of the name of the first ever murderer + A second (short time) + the French word for “name” gives someone obsessed with a single subject or idea

10a    One exhibited some bridal images (4)
{DALI} The name of an artist is hidden in briDAL Images

12a    Target flying feature? Not half (4)
{BUTT} A target in archery/shooting or for ridicule is the first half of the name of an architectural feature that may be preceded by the word “flying”

13a    Twitter report perhaps by excited ornithologist not to be taken lightly (2,7)
{IN EARNEST} This phrase meaning “not to be taken lightly) may conceivably be what n ornithologist may tweet (1,4,4) when within sight or sound of his/her objective.

15a    Prominent position gained by foreigner in southern church (8)
{SALIENCE} A prominent position is made up of a foreigner inside S (southern) CE (church)

16a    Vienna oddly always having a superficial appearance (6)
{VENEER} The odd letters of ViEnNa + “always” gives a superficial appearance

18a    Place of refuge close to penitentiary in a poor area (6)
{ASYLUM} A place of refuge is formed from Y (last letter of penitentiary) inside A poor area

20a    One running a saloon? (8)
{MOTORIST} A cryptic definition where the saloon is a car

23a    Prickly type keeping gold trophy at home amid exercises (9)
{PORCUPINE} An animal with spines is derived from OR (gold) + trophy + IN (at home) inside PE (exercises)

24a    Notice old currency (4)
{MARK} 2 meanings: notice/old (German) currency

26a    One dumped by Welsh politician in test (4)
{EXAM} Someone who is dumped becomes an **. This is followed by an abbreviation for a member of the National Assembly of Wales to give a test

27a    Croat mends tattered footwear (3,7)
{DOC MARTENS} An anagram (tattered) of CROAT MENDS gives a make of footwear with light thick resilient soles

28a    Flower duke pruned is sentimentally pretty (4)
{TWEE} The flower is a river on the border of Scotland and England. Remove D (duke) to get “sentimentally pretty”

29a    Poor knight beginning to waver rocks — be very cautious? (5,5)
{THINK TWICE} “Poor” + KT (knight) + W (first letter of waver) + rocks (diamonds) gives “be very cautious”


1d    Get rid of squalid place (4)
{DUMP} 2 meanings: get rid of/squalid place

2d    Nude lass posed with no end of sangfroid being this? (7)
{SENSUAL} An anagram (posed) of NUDE LASS without the D (end of sangfroid) gives an adjective meaning “tending to arouse sexual appetite”

I'm sure that Shamus meant it, gazza would approve and Bufo wouldn't object so......

3d    Go over the potter’s item reportedly and claim undue precedence? (4,3,5)
{JUMP THE QUEUE} Here the potter is a snooker player and the item is what he uses to pot the balls. A homophone of “go over the potter’s item” means “claim undue preference”

4d    Persuade prisoner with fault to accept latest in rehabilitation (8)
{CONVINCE} “To persuade” = prisoner + fault containing N (last letter in rehabilitation)

5d    English and French race venue without sun promoted in hard material (6)
{ENAMEL} E (English) + a reversal of a French motor racing circuit missing the letter S (sun) gives a vitrified coating (hard material)

7d    Mug with drugs, we hear, an accessory to daredevil activities? (7)
{TRAPEZE} The mug is the mouth. Take another slang term for the mouth and add what sounds like drugs to give a piece of apparatus used by acrobats

8d    Great title I devised covering European film set? (10)
{GLITTERATI} An anagram (devised) of GREAT TITLE I with an E (European) removed gives the current fashionable set (possibly film stars)

11d    Decoration symbolised in home barring outsiders (5,2,5)
{ORDER OF MERIT} A British decoration, instituted in 1902 and awarded for eminence in any field, is abbreviated to the middle letters of hOMe

14d    Fish taken by chaps in fishy set — it shows a steep decline? (10)
{ESCARPMENT} A fish + chaps inside an anagram (fishy) of SET gives the precipitous side of a hill

17d    Source of fear in game boy played on rear of train (8)
{BOGEYMAN} A source of fear (used to frighten children) is an anagram (played) of GAME BOY + N (last letter of train)

19d    Measurement certainly taken up with degree in fashion (7)
{YARDAGE} A measurement of distance is made up of a reversal of “certainly” + D (degree) inside fashion

21d    Begin, perhaps, biblical work facing artist and priest (7)
{ISRAELI} Begin is the statesman Menachem Begin. Use an abbreviation for a book of the Old Testament + an abbreviation for an artist + an Old Testament priest

22d    Put a stop to some rush so bike got held up (6)
{KIBOSH} “Put a stop to” is hidden in reverse in rusH SO BIKe

25d    Hero in court frustrated without peripheral characters (4)
{ASHE} The name of a one-time Wimbledon champion (hero in court) is the middle 4 letters of a 6-letter word meaning “frustrated”

There are some nice touches but overall I was somewhat disappointed. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind.

24 comments on “Toughie 617

  1. I think it must have been you! I was so on Shamus’ wavelength that I did this in very quick order, enjoyed myself throughout and had a big smile on my face having solved two very nice crosswords and all before 9 am. My favourite was the sneaky 21d – that capital B could have been very misleading.

    Thanks to Shamus for a lovely Toughie and to Bufo for the review.

  2. Why does ‘covering’ mean to remove something? Such as removing ‘E’ (European) in 8d

    1. Phil

      I am probably wrong but I read it as the “I” replaces (covering) the “E”, as opposed to the removal of the “E”. The great and the good will provide a better answer!!

      1. Hi. I’m also stuck as to the wordplay in 8d. None of the explanations so far “work” for me (sorry)…

        Also, I’m being thick, but can someone break down 19d for me – just don’t get it :(

        I have amulets (grr autocorrect) smileys

        1. Hi Zak

          “Ay” = sure
          reverse it (taken up)
          gives you YA
          followed by “rage” (fashion, it’s all the rage for example) with the D from degree inserted.

          Now you know why i’d never be able to blog the answers!!

  3. 12A my last in, yet again foiled by a four letter clue. Grrr. Favourite 21d amongst many runner-ups in a fun workout. Many thanks Shamus and Bufo

  4. Very entertaining fun puzzle of which my favourites were 11d and 21d, Thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the comments.

  5. A super crossword from Shamus, so many thanks to him and also to Bufo for the review.
    Favourite 21d but also liked 2d – glad Gazza wasn’t reviewing, think of the likely photo!

    1. Agreed Pommers!. Shamus knows the game I am sure. I’m thinking Joanne Whalley-Kilmer in classic Christine Keeler pose – I might just put the pic in later when I am back on laptop……

  6. A perfect toughie for a solver like me; some reasonable clues to get off the mark, more challenging ones to exercise my solving skills and some that I got right but had to deconstruct to get the wordplay. I really enjoyed it! Many thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  7. Ill suggest it was definitely you today, Bufo. I sailed through this but with a smile on my face throughout. Some simple but lovely clues, 20a for example. Many thanks to you and to Shamus for a very entertaining puzzle.

  8. Rats…….. just couldn’t finish it, 5 left and needed to be told the answers.

    What’s more, I solved SEVEN others without knowing why!

    A bit out of my league I think.

    But let me ask this- Why couldn’t we have this on Monday?

  9. Very late input from me – tackled the puzzle this AM while waiting for the mail to arrive.
    Faves : 20a, 24a, 29a, 3d. 11d & 17d.

  10. A real treat from young Shamus this week. Thanks to him for the crossword and to Bufo for the review.

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