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Toughie 630

Toughie No 630 by Myops

Have you heard the one about the singing dog?

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

Tilsit is unavailable today, so I’m filling in.  Once again he has missed reviewing a superb puzzle.  Myops is a retired Classics master (at a school in Glasgow) and his background shows through into his puzzles.

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    Proverbs about cat Number Ten rejected; it’s likely to lead to retaliation (11)
{PROVOCATION} – the abbreviation of the book of Proverbs in the Bible is followed by CAT inside (about) N IO (Number Ten) reversed (rejected) to get an act likely to lead to retaliation

9a    A French river with waves (5)
{UNDEE} – a charade of the French indefinite article and a river famous for its jolly miller gives the heraldic term for “withy waves” or wavy

10a    Pet having chewed Aunt Aggie’s pie eats out (6,3)
{GUINEA PIG} – this pet rodent is an anagram (chewed) of AUN(T A)GGI(E’S) PIEwithout the letters of EATS

11a    Persons corresponding with English director face to face (7)
{OPPOSED} – the abbreviated form of these people who hold corresponding positions in different organisations are followed by E(nglish) and D(irector) to get a word meaning face to face

12a    One who plays the piano in North America is making a comeback (8)
{THESPIAN} – lift the definition (one who plays) and what is left is THE followed by P(iano) inside N(orth) A(merica) IS reversed (making a comeback)

14a    Skewer nearer the bone is pinning the same as ring in front (8)
{OBLIQUER} – here skewer is not a noun but a comparative adjective – put a word meaning nearer the bone, of humour, around the abbreviation of the Latin expression idem quod (the same as) and precede the lot with a letter shaped like a ring

15a    Food worries (4)
{EATS} – a straightforward double definition – food, as a noun,, and worries, as a verb

17a    Head back, St Trinian’s creator’s unable to hear (7)
{EARLESS} – take the possessive form of the creator of St Trinians and move the initial letter (head) to the end of the word (back) to get a word meaning unable to hear due to lacking the organs of hearing

19a    Is one and one unbalanced? (4)
{GAGA} – one, in the sense of “have you heard the one about?”, is followed by A (one) to get someone who is unbalanced – thanks to Gazza for explaining this one to me

20a         Places where it’s potentially risky to postpone 50% of random discharges (8)
{HOTSPOTS} – to get these places where it’s potentially risky move the first 4 letters (postpone 50%) of a word meaning random discharges with a gun to the end of the word

21a         Hardened traveller encountered from east with last traces of antique land (8)
{TEMPERED} – a word meaning hardened is created by reversing (from the east in an across clue) synonyms for a travelling salesman and encountered and then adding the final letters (last traces) of antiquE and lanD

23a         Prie-dieu serves our want to pray regularly (7)
{ORATORY} – to get another word for a prie-dieu or praying-desk take the odd letters (regularly) of four of the words in the clue

25a         Indian maid can go over Genesis to Malachi backwards for religious leader (9)
{AYATOLLAH} – put an Indian maid around (can go over) a way of describing the set of books of the Bible from Genesis to Malachi (3,2) reversed (backwards) to get a Muslim religious leader

26a         Part of Rome some might revisit. Wishful thinking? (5)
{TREVI} – hidden inside two of the words in the clue is a fountain in Rome into which coins are thrown and wishes made

27a         One in stalls possibly put Queen on to sure thing in African republic (11)
{CONCERTGOER} – this person to be found in the stalls listening to music is derived from the abbreviation for Elizabeth Regina after a sure thing (4) inside an African republic


2d           Golfer ought to get round or over it (5)
{ROUGH} – hidden inside (to get round) the first two words in the clue is something the golfer ought to get over (or round)

3d           Objective we found surrounded by seven spent shells (7)
{VENUSES} – start with the objective form of “we” and put it inside (surrounded by) an anagram (spent) of SEVEN to get these shells of  a mollusc of a genus of lamellibranch molluscs

4d           Name-dropping chairman’s cultivated a God-given talent (8)
{CHARISMA} – an anagram (cultivated) of CHAIRMA(N)’S without the N (Name dropping) gives a God-given talent

5d           Current and past villain (4)
{IAGO} – the symbol for electric current is followed by an adverb meaning past to get a Shakespearean villain

6d           Emin’s put works out for idiots (8)
{NUMPTIES} – an anagram (works out) of EMIN’S PUT gives these idiots – Scottish ones according to Chambers!

7d           Duke’s aunt threatened to finish Parliament, according to Speaker (9)
{EDUSKUNTA} – an anagram (threatened) of DUKE’S AUNT  gives the Finnish (finish … according to Speaker) Parliament,

8d           It could be a display of course of directors’ support for chairman (6,5)
{LEADER BOARD} – something that is displayed on a golf course during a tournament is derived from the directors of a company under (support for) a chairman or chief

12d         Mac — not one put out by chanter Scot’s skirling (6,5)
{TRENCH COATS} – more than one short waterproof belted mackintosh is an anagram (skirling) of  CHANTER SCOT

13d         Sleb? Not sort Brutus was, said Antony (7)
{NOBLEST} – an anagram (sort) of SLEB NOT gives the type of Roman that Brutus was, according to Marcus Antonius in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (Act 5, scene 5)

16d         Top supplier meant to get in shape in difficult trek (9)
{TENTMAKER} – someone who supplies big tops is derived from an anagram (to get in shape) of MEANT inside another (difficult) of TREK

17d         On top of the world or higher, in heroic assembly (8)
{EUPHORIC} – to get an adjective meaning on top of the world put a two-letter word meaning higher inside an anagram (assembly) of HEROIC

18d         Mark it leaves may be one mark it cuts (8)
{SCIMITAR} – put the mark left by being struck with the answer to this all-in-one clue around (cuts) I (one) M(ark) IT

19d         Goose lay tail up covered by gander’s wings, say (7)
{GREYLAG} – I had seen this goose before, but still needed all of the checking letters – put LAY, with the Y moved to the front (tail up) inside (covered by) the outside letters (wings) of GandeR and the Latin abbreviation for say or for example

22d         Wipe before swallowing arsenic (5)
{ERASE} – a word meaning to wipe out is created by putting a poetic word for before around the chemical symbol for arsenic

24d         What’s spun? (Answer runs between positive and negative) (4)
{YARN} – this is spun as a thead and as a sailor’s story – put A(nswer) and R(uns) inside the abbreviations for positive and negative answers

A whole puzzle brimming over with excellent clues!

20 comments on “Toughie 630

  1. Enjoyed this but didn’t find it straightforward at all. Faves 14a 17d and 7d (Pub quiz question not so long ago – glad I could remember it.) Thanks to Myops and BD

  2. I enjoyed this Toughie very much, just the right level for a Friday – the left hand went in first and reasonable quickly, the NE corner held out the longest, including my pet hate, one of those clues where you need the interweb too. 7d – I could see the defniition, I could see the anagram fodder but couldn’t look it up anywhere until lunchtime. Luckily Prolixic came to my rescue, so thank you to him. Thank you also to Myops and to BD too.

    1. If that question is addressed to me, I can’t really remember but I think 10a, closely followed by 17a and 26a.

      1. Addressed to one and all.

        I overthink on the Tuffies. Having got 13D next I had last lett N for 12A.

        Well I have tried ever so hard to justify Assassin with the idea of a Chicago Piano in my head and realised that 4D was, as said earlier, straight forward so working on it again.

    2. 13d was my first – not many thereafter alas. Of the other few I managed – 8d was pretty good. Might try again later?

  3. Well, I enjoyed it but I wasn’t too keen on some of the surface readings – quite clunky, eg 12d, 13d, 21a. Nevertheless, a real challenge so thanks to Myops and BD.

  4. 12d – in what sense is skirling an anagram indicator? Never heard of the verb skirl before but Chambers 12th Edition says:-

    “to shriek or sing shrilly”
    “to make the sounds of the bagpipes”

    1. Skirl is also an intransitive verb meaning “to whirl”. That sense is in the OED, although not in Chambers.

  5. Thoroughly enjoyed this one which I thought was at the upper end of the Toughie scale, favourites were 7d and 27a thanks to Myops and to Big Dave for the excellent review.

  6. I did not have too much of a problem completing the puzzle, but explaining the answers for a few of them was harder!
    9a and 14a were the two I struggled on – although the wordplay for 9a was obvious, I could not find the word in a dictionary (I do not have the BRB).
    Thanks to Myops for a most enjoyable puzzle, and to BD for the explanations.

  7. I was extremely pleased that I needed your hints for only 3 clues today 3,7 and 16d so many thanks for the hints Dave and many thanks to Myops for stretching me beyond my meagre limits.

  8. I am, as ever, grateful to Big Dave for the generosity of his review and glad that the puzzle diverted.

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