Toughie 651 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 651

Toughie No 651 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

I found this Warbler Toughie to be harder than many of her recent offerings. Maybe it was because I am not a great fan of building up answers letter by letter, as was the case in several of the clues.

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.

Warbler has pointed out to me that I totally missed the Nina (not for the first time):

There are four 9a + 6a in the puzzle.

21a + 5d
15a + 24a
12d + 23a
13a + 25a

Did anyone else spot it?


1a    Run away from odd young woman (4)
{DOLL} – remove (away) R(un) from a word meaning odd or bizarre to get a slang word for an attractive young woman

3a    Mate stores most of his in a small bottle (5)
{PHIAL} – put a mate or chum around most of HI(S) to get a small bottle

6a    Feigns when in court? Quite the reverse (4)
{ACTS} – a word meaning feigns or pretends is created not by putting a word meaning when inside the abbreviation of court but the other way around

8a    Game character adopts a mood to be feverish (3,1,11)
{RUN A TEMPERATURE} – start with the two-letter abbreviation of a game currently being played in New Zealand and then put character or quality around (adopts) A from the clue and a mood or disposition to get a phrase meaning to be feverish

9a    Drink twice the specified amount (6)
{DOUBLE} – this drink, particularly nice if it is scotch whisky, ia twice the normal amount

10a    Single high voltage replacement for storage place (8)
{SHELVING} – an anagram (replacement) of SINGLE and the abbreviation of High Voltage gives a place for storing books, for example

11a    See stoat, dead and infested with fleas (8)
{VERMINED} – it’s been a while since I have seen the abbreviation of Vide, the Latin for to see, used in a Telegraph puzzle – add a name for the stoat when in its white winter coat and D(ead) to get a word meaning infested with fleas

13a    Preserve name on old weaponry (6)
{CANNON} – a charade of a three-letter word meaning to preserve in a tin, N(ame) and ON from the clue gives this old weaponry

15a    In France the upper class ultimately defer to the Spanish crown (6)
{LAUREL} – run together the French feminine definite article (in France, the), the single-letter abbreviation for upper class, the final letter (ultimately) of defeR and the Spanish definite article to get this crown made out of bay leaves

17a    He feels repugnance for Northern shirker lolling about (8)
{SHRINKER} – this person who feels repugnance is an anagram (lolling about) of N(orthern) SHIRKER

19a    6 playing before Roman censor are musically disconnected (8)
{STACCATO} – an anagram (playing) of 6 across followed by the famous Roman censor who initiated a vigorous programme of reform, and attempted to stem the growing influence of Greek culture gives a musical term meaning disconnected – a small grumble: when a number could refer to an across or a down clue there is usually an indication as to which one to use

21a    Young tell it in garbled fashion (6)
{LITTLE} – this word meaning young or small is an anagram (in garbled fashion) of TELL IT

22a    Mint is mixed with champagne in this crushing device (8,7)
{STAMPING MACHINE} – an anagram (mixed) of MINT IS with CHAMPAGNE gives this device used for crushing metallic ores

23a    Essentially fellow is exceptionally shrewd (4)
{WISE} – hidden (essentially) inside the clue is a word meaning shrewd

24a    Resolute author (5)
{HARDY} – a double definition

25a    Bowled a long, ultimately lethal delivery (4)
{BALL} – put together B(owled), A, L(ong) and the final letter (ultimately) of lethaL to get a delivery in cricket


1d    Reckless Valerie died, deserted (and) abandoned (4-5)
{DARE-DEVIL} – this adjective meaning reckless is an anagram (abandoned) of VALERIE and D(ie)D without its middle letters (deserted)

2d    Golfer reported weariness (7)
{LANGUOR} – what sounds like (reported) a German golfer is actually a word meaning weariness

3d    Early flowering lavender, reduced by a penny, is replanted below edges of pier (3-6)
{PRE-VERNAL} – this word meaning flowering before spring is derived from an anagram (replanted) of LAVEN(D)ER without the D (reduced by a penny) preceded by the outside letters (edges) of PieR another grumble: when penny is replaced by D instead of P it is usual to indicate as old penny

4d    Set in authority Independent politician does badly (7)
{IMPOSED} – a verb meaning set up in authority or enforced is a built up from I(ndependent), the usual two-letter abbreviation for a politician and an anagram (badly) of DOES

5d    Sweeping Libya’s capital, Royal Artillery turns up — Gaddafi’s original regime’s ending (5)
{LARGE} – this adjective meaning sweeping or wide-ranging is constructed from the initial letter (capital) of Libya, the abbreviation of Royal Artillery reversed (turns up in a down clue), the initial letter (original) of Gaddafi and the final letter (ending) of regimE

6d    I invent a new complex treatment for snake bite (9)
{ANTIVENIN} – an anagram (complex) of I INVENT A N(ew) gives a treatment for snake bite

7d    Hill overlooking Canadian province in the direction of its major city (7)
{TORONTO} – start with a three-letter word for a hill then add the abbreviation of a Canadian province and TO (in the direction of) to get the major city of said province

12d    Longer river’s empty beside Northern town (9)
{MORECAMBE} – combine a word meaning longer or to a greater extent, a river that flows through a university town and the outside letters (empty) of BesidE to get this Northern town

13d    Natural consequence of company register annual return’s unknown (9)
{COROLLARY} – this natural consequence or result is derived from the abbreviation of for CO(mpany), a register or list, the abbreviation of Annual Return and an algebraic unknown

14d    Clever lens almost transformed neuron (5,4)
{NERVE CELL} – an anagram (transformed) of CLEVER and most of (almost) LEN(S) gives a neuron

16d    Rubbish steeped in spoiled saki produces fuel from residue (7)
{ASTATKI} – put another word for rubbish or jumble inside (steeped in) an anagram (spoiled) of SAKI to get the residue of petroleum-distillation, used as fuel – this word was new to me, but the wordplay and the checking letters left only two options

17d    Southern feller who works hard (7)
{SLOGGER} – S(outhern) and a tree feller combine to give someone who works hard

18d    Shakespearian shrew loses male in hurricane (7)
{KATRINA} – take the shrew in a Shakespeare play and drop the male pronoun to get the name of a devastating hurricane

20d    Protestant sect causes Scotsman to lose his head (5)
{AMISH} – this strict Mennonite sect founded by the Swiss preacher Jakob Amman is created by removing the initial H (lose his head) from a Scottish forename

An excellent start to the Toughie week.

13 comments on “Toughie 651

  1. Took a while to get to grips with this one but I got there in the end. Thanks to Warbler for an excellent start to the Toughie week and to BD for the hints. With regard to the 6 in 19a, I started off on the Roman ‘numberals’ route before realising it referred to another clue.

  2. I found this difficult to get into but once started it more or less fell into place, reasonably straightforward with the exception of 16d. Thanks to Warbler for the tough toughie and to BD for the review.

  3. Cracking start to Toughie week favourites 8a and 12d thanks to Warbler and to Big Dave for the comments, Congratulations to the Listeners on last nights quarter-final success.

  4. After today’s back-pager, I was instantly impressed by the smoothness of the surface readings, especially 9a.

    Not too difficult, but very entertaining.

    Wow! Even better now that the theme has been revealed – should have been obvious. Thank you very much, Warbler & BD

    1. Ps. 2d might be considered unfair by non-golfers! What’s happened to “The Big Easy” aka Ernie Els – he used to be quite a favourite with DT compilers?

  5. Much smoother surface readings than the back pager, whilst I did have to check the 2 possible combinations for 16a , all else good fun. Remembering the Roman censor helped to confirm which 6 was needed but agree could be a bit unfair otherwise. Am kicking myself (on the leg that has not been nipped by a Doberman – long story) for getting 9a 6a first and not even thinking to look later on…) Many thanks to Warbler and BD.

    A natural reflex answer to 9a was “always”.

  6. This was only my second attempt at a Toughie. Was pleased with my first attempt until someone commented it was the easiest they’d ever seen! Enjoyed this one but still very much a newbie and needed additional help from BD on several clues. Enjoyable though

    1. It certainly wasn’t the easiest by a long way Jane so well done for completing it on your first attempt.

  7. Excellent stuff! I made the mistake of writing ANTIVENOM which held me up for ages. Missed the NINA but really wel done to Warbler for parading it under our noses!
    Looking forward to the next one and thanks to BD as well for the review.

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