Toughie 631 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 631

Toughie No 631 by Cephas

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

A Toughie of the kind we have been used to on a Tuesday.  Although it was not particularly hard, I made life difficult for myself by trying to fit 13 across into a (5,2,5) pattern instead of (5,7)!

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 Note: decorative work involves time (8)
{CROTCHET} – A musical note is created by putting some decorative needlework around (involves) T(ime)

6a Father reaches limits of curacy in religious office (6)
{PAPACY} – a colloquial way of saying father, which can also be used for the Holy Father, is followed by the outside letters (limits) of CuracY to give the religious office of said Holy Father

9a Carry On’s last act finished? (4,2)
{PLAY UP} – to carry on or misbehave could also mean that the last act of a theatrical production has finished

10a Alan flitting between both sides in ring for particular object (8)
{NEUTRINO} – remove AL (Alan flitting) from a word meaning taking no part on either side and then add IN and a ring-shaped letter to get an uncharged particle with zero mass when at rest

11a Plant waiter is cultivating (8)
{WISTERIA} – a plant that is popular with crossword setters is an anagram (cultivating) of WAITER IS

12a Unusually large safety device (6)
{BUMPER} – a double definition – unusually large an a safety device found on the front and rear of most cars

13a Address books unintentionally reveal much (5,7)
{SPEAK VOLUMES} – a charade of to address or talk to and a number of books gives a phrase meaning to unintentionally reveal much or convey a great deal without using words

16a Disclose dark secret? (5,2,5)
{BRING TO LIGHT} – to reveal, perhaps by illuminating!

19a Go through shower (6)
{PEPPER} – a charade of go or vigour with a word meaning through or via gives a verb meaning to shower or spatter

21a Flat number cockney male indicated noisily (8)
{TENEMENT} – a flat in a building providing dwellings for a number of families is a charade of a number (3), the male 3rd-person pronoun as used by a cockney (unaspirated) and what sounds like (noisily) a synonym for indicated or implied

23a Where pilot has treatment? (8)
{HOSPITAL} – an anagram (treatment) of PILOT HAS is described by the whole clue

24a Drug element (6)
{SULPHA} – this synthetic antibacterial drug sounds like (rumoured) a non-metallic element

25a The man takes ladder round northern enclosure (3,3)
{HEN RUN} – Put the male 3rd-person pronoun and a ladder in stockings or tights around N(orthern) to get an enclosure for fowls

26a Care needed when there’s trouble afoot (8)
{PODIATRY} – a cryptic definition of the kind of care we always used to call chiropody


2d Again put down the Parisian getting up during attack (6)
{RELAID} – a word meaning put down again is created by reversing (getting up) and inserting (during) the French definite article inside an attack

3d Unruly tyrants avoiding an engagement (5)
{TRYST} – an anagram (unruly) of TYR(AN)TS without (avoiding) AN gives an engagement or private romantic rendezvous

4d Over-excited by matter, linking words (9)
{HYPERTEXT} – a charade of an adjective meaning over-excited and a matter or content gives a system that contains key words that act as links

5d Nail colour with fire, no hint of subtlety (7)
{TINTACK} – this nail is a charade of a colour or hue with a word meaning to fire or dismiss without the leading S (no hint of Subtlety)

6d Lead protecting chimney exactly (5)
{PLUMB} – put the chemical symbol for lead around a Scottish chimney to get an adverb that means exactly or precisely

7d Greatest soldier on horse (9)
{PARAMOUNT} – a word meaning greatest or supreme is a charade of an airborne soldier and a horse

8d Allowed at one time to enter record on Edward (8)
{CONCEDED} – a word meaning allowed or accepted is created by putting an adverb meaning at one time or previously inside a small disc from which digitally-recorded sound can be read by laser and then adding an abbreviated form of Edward

13d Pane drips, overflowing wader (9)
{SANDPIPER} – a rather obvious anagram (overflowing) of PANE DRIPS gives a wading bird

14d Co-ordinated grandiose characters in a new order (9)
{ORGANISED} – this verb meaning co-ordinated is an anagram (characters in a new order) of GRANDIOSE

15d Monstrous rose mentioned by a few (8)
{GRUESOME} – a word meaning monstrous is a charade of a syllable that sounds like (mentioned) rose or increased and a few

17d Allow cricketer to give the game away (3,4)
{LET SLIP} – a charade of a verb meaning to allow and a cricketer who fields near, but behind, the stumps gives a word meaning to give the game away

18d It weighs salt? On the contrary! (6)
{ANCHOR} – reverse the wordplay (on the contrary) and you get something a salt weighs or takes up when ready to start sailing

20d I may leave allotment in desert (3,2)
{RAT ON} – remove the I from an allotment or share and then split what is left (3,2) to get a phrasal verb meaning to desert or abscond

22d Cross country (5)
{MALTA} – a gently cryptic definition of the country whose people were awarded the George Cross in recognition of their heroic struggle against occupation

I quite liked this one, but nothing in particular stands out.

8 comments on “Toughie 631

  1. Pleasant start to Toughie week not too taxing, I liked 5d and 13a best. Thanks to Cephas and to Big Dave for the review.

  2. A gentle start as is customary for a Tuesday. I was held up with 22d for a while, as I initially entered pedicure for 26a.
    Thanks to Cephas, and to BD.

  3. I liked this one even though it was not the hardest. 13a was my favourite and 3rd to last in. I’m not sure I liked 10a but looking at it I am sure it is fair. I got the answer in any case.
    Thanks to Cephas and to BD for the review.

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