Toughie 637 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 637

Toughie No 637 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Many thanks to Tilsit for standing in for me last week while I was away. I got back yesterday after a week without my daily crossword fix. However, this turned out to be a nice gentle puzzle which was just right for getting the brain back in gear.

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    Name changes so he forgets (7)
{AMNESIC} An anagram (changes) of NAME + the Latin word for “so” gives someone who forgets

5a    Support near perfect vineyard with money (7)
{FULCRUM} A support is given by “perfect” with the last letter removed + a vineyard + M (money)

9a    Hair removal finds Greek character overcome by joy (9)
{EPILATION} Hair removal = a Greek letter inside joy

10a    In flight geese pelt around Spain (5)
{SKEIN} The collective name for a flock of geese in flight = a pelt round E (Spain)

11a    European root crop (5)
{SWEDE} 2 meanings: a northern European/a root crop

12a    Tut! That’s fantastic English epic work (9)
{PIECEWORK} Tut (as a dialect word which is given in Chambers) is an anagram (fantastic) of E EPIC + WORK. It clue would have been a better clue had “work” been replaced by something else (composition?)

13a    Flight boost? (9)
{STAIRLIFT} A cryptic definition for a device that helps one climb a flight of steps

16a    Does sweet girl want this kind of Daddy? (5)
{SUGAR} Something sweet is a word that goes before “daddy” to give an older man who lavishes money or gifts on a younger woman

17a    Steer front of boat round bend in river (2-3)
{OX-BOW} A steer (animal) + the front of a boat = a horseshoe-shaped bend in a river

18a    The men put away the last of many (9)
{UMPTEENTH} An anagram (away) of THE MEN PUT = the last of many

20a    Points awarded after set skiing manoeuvres (9)
{TELEMARKS} “Points awarded” goes after the set you watch to give sudden turns on the outer ski named after somewhere in Norway

23a    Some strive to attract attention (5)
{RIVET} “To attract attention” is hidden in stRIVE To

25a    Hidden part of target (5)
{INNER} 2 meanings: hidden/part of an archery target

26a    Force forwards as French go back to border (9)
{FROGMARCH} “To seize from behind and force forwards while holding firmly by the arms” = an abbreviation for French + GO reversed + a border

27a    In the end Chinese flagrantly ignore this part of the upper atmosphere (1-6)
{E-REGION} The last letter of Chinese + an anagram (flagrantly) of IGNORE = another name for the Kennelly-Heaviside layer of the upper atmosphere

28a    Associate with criminal class (7)
{CONSORT} “To associate” = a criminal + a class


1d    Australian snake exists in poison-free state (7)
{ASEPSIS} A (Australian) + a venomous snake mentioned by classical writers + “exists” = a poison-free state

2d    Simply natural water rises (5)
{NAÏVE} “Simply” is a reversal of a French brand of bottled water

3d    He guards ploughed acres with triumph (9)
{SCARECROW} An anagram (ploughed) of ACRES + “to triumph” gives a figure that guards ploughed acres

4d    Short snack (5)
{CRISP} 2 meanings: short (terse)/a potato-based snack

5d    Digital in the extreme! (9)
{FINGERTIP} A cryptic definition for the end of one of your digits

6d    I sell twisted yarn (5)
{LISLE} An anagram (twisted) of I SELL gives a cotton yarn

7d    Take Grade one playing this instrument (4,5)
{REED ORGAN} R (take) + an anagram (playing) of GRADE ONE gives a keyboard instrument

8d    As an alias Keir changed second name first (7)
{MONIKER} An alias (originally tramps’ slang according to Chambers) is an anagram (changed) of KEIR following second (short space of time) N (name)

14d    Can a mule cantering around be contracted as a mode of transport? (9)
{AMBULANCE} An anagram (cantering) of CAN A MULE goes round B (be with the last letter removed) to give a mode of transport for the sick and injured

15d    Drug given by posh fellow replacing playwright’s heart (9)
{IBUPROFEN} An anti-inflammatory drug is obtained by taking the surname of a Norwegian dramatist and replacing the middle letter by U (posh) fellow (academic)

16d    Pilot small stricken steamer to haven ultimately (9)
{STEERSMAN} A pilot = S (small) + an anagram (stricken) of STEAMER + N (last letter of haven)

17d    Sketch remote lake in Europe (7)
{OUTLINE} “Sketch” = remote + L (lake) + IN + E (Europe)

19d    Cutter’s opening in deck leads to engine turbines (7)
{HATCHET} A small axe = an opening in a deck + the first letters of Engine Turbines

21d    It’s essential for commercials to provide thanks when abroad (5)
{MERCI} The French word for “thanks” is hidden in comMERCIals

22d    Long-suffering Saint Oswald’s first to join leaders in island church (5)
{STOIC} “Long-suffering” = the abbreviation for Saint + the first letter of Oswald + The first letters in Island Church

24d    Amazon washing away a sign (5)
{VIRGO} Remove the letter A from an amazon to get a sign of the zodiac

A pleasant and perfectly fair puzzle but not too taxing.

25 comments on “Toughie 637

  1. Agree completely that this was a gentle but very enjoyable Toughie. I do like starting my day with two nice cryptics. Thanks to Warbler and Bufo too.

  2. Thanks to Bufo for explaining why 1d was correct – if I had bothered to check my new Chambers, I have have found ‘seps’!
    Thanks to Warbler for an otherwise gentle, and pleasant puzzle.

  3. And thanks from me too Bufo for 1d. Groans as completely missed the hidden word in 21d despite having answer from checking letters! Thanks also to Warbler

  4. Quite a few new words & their meanings for me today – Tut, Seps and March – a lot of guess work involved.

    Thanks to Bufo for the explanations. I still do not understand R = “Take” in 7d.

    1. It’s the abbreviation for the Latin “recipe”, which means “take” as in “take 2 tablets three times a day” on a prescription. It is often represented by a symbol which is an R with the sloping leg crossed –

      1. BD, Thanks!

        I’m sure that your reply was different a few hours ago!

        Hope that the “℞” didn’t take too long to find.

        (If only we mere mortals were allowed to change our comments – or delete them?)

        1. I just cut and pasted the symbol from a google result, but it took quite a while to find the appropriate unicode – 211E

          Just leave a comment saying what you would like to do – one of us will do the rest.

  5. I’m going to have to award this one poor marks. The unwritten but golden rule that the Answer does not appear in the clue is a rotten apple here especially as it would have taken so little work (ironically) or effort (perhaps) to replace the problem piece (hmm) of fruit.

  6. I see in my chambers dictionary that a definition of ‘R’ is ‘take’ which of course I, and I’m sure many others, would not have known to help answer 7d. Can someone enlighten me as to why ‘R’ means ‘take’?

  7. Very enjoyable crossword from Warbler today – nothing too mind bending but lots of nicely observed clues and little tricks to keep us on our toes. I too have a slight niggle with 12a with the final four letters being part of the clue and the answer but it did not detract from the remainder of the crossword for me.

  8. A very enjoyable puzzle, if not exactly tough. However, 12a grated by having part of the clue as part of the answer. The mem and I pored over it for a long time, thinking we’d missed something before reaching the conclusion that it couldn’t be anything else.

  9. I think that there is much to be admired in this crossword. It certainly cheered me up whilst in a Hotel in Slough. The U PROF had me going for a while – I considered TramlineS instead of TelemarkS until I got some checking letters and had to assumes the unknown SEPS. I also made the mistake of trying to fit SISLE in instead of LISLE. Boo Me!
    Another puzzle to show that Toughies can be enjoyable without being so difficult (although this did make me think after a hard day at work. Many thanks to Warbler and to Bufo for the review.

    1. Long before you were even a twinkle in your dad’s eye, some of us had to wear lisle stockings as part of winter school uniform.

    2. Goodness me, still in a hotel in Slough? You really are a glutton for punishment!
      Please don’t tell me you are working at Fujitsu, I couldn’t stand the irony, having spent a month there earlier in the year.

      Get yourself down to t’ Moon and Spoon and have one for me.

      1. Just back today/tomorrow and next week. I stayed in the hotel last night but will hit the Moon and Spoon next week. Very good pub round the corner that does live music as well.
        I am actually at a data centre on the trading estate over the railway lines from the Bath Road – you probably know it.

    3. At least you weren’t as stupid as me and tried to put SISAL… fortunately I realised after a few seconds there was no ‘a’ in the anagram fodder!

  10. I enjoyed that, and as usual was stuck with one unsolved clue- asepsis, even though I’ve “learnt” that one before.

    Really enjoyed 26a, although I can’t help thinking it is vaguely racist!

  11. Thanks to Warbler for a lovely puzzle & to Bufo for the hints, of which I needed 9 to finish, but at least it was do-able and very enjoyable. I learnt two new words, Sep and Cru. Favourites were 13 & 26.

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