Toughie 652 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 652

Toughie No 652 by Kcit

A Tale of Two Cities

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

When I found out (last night) that today’s Toughie setter was to be Kcit I checked out what I’d written about his most recent Toughies and I could really just write “ditto” for this one. The puzzle is fine, it has some good clues, but basically it doesn’t rate as a Toughie and therefore I didn’t enjoy it that much. Now that we no longer seem to get Toughies from Busman, Campbell or Cephas, Kcit’s puzzles are the easiest Toughies – that’s my view. Discuss!

Across Clues

1a  Bustling bar seen in Indian city (7)
{BENARES} – this is a holy city in the State of Uttar Pradesh now generally known as Varanasi. The name is an anagram (bustling) of BAR SEEN.

5a  Take up residence around a US city (7)
{SEATTLE} – and our second city for today is on the west coast of the USA. Put a verb meaning to take up residence or make one’s permanent home round A to form its name.

9a  Betting system followed by millions is a symbolic thing (5)
{TOTEM} – a betting system in which a fixed proportion of the amount taken in is divided amongst the winners according to the size of their stake is followed by M(illions) to make a symbol.

10a  I created a grisly murder (9)
{ERADICATE} – a verb meaning to murder or wipe out is an anagram (grisly) of I CREATED A.

11a  A hill I observed occupying level around central area (10)
{EQUATORIAL} – the definition here is “around central area”, i.e. it describes the regions of the earth furthest from the poles. Insert (occupying) A, a rocky hill and I inside an adjective meaning level or balanced.

12a  Nothing evident in staff complaint (4)
{MOAN} – put O (nothing) inside a verb meaning to staff.

14a  Decaying material requiring moderate line in dispersal (5-7)
{RADIO-ELEMENT} – this was the last answer I got and I spent longer trying to understand what the answer means than I did solving the whole puzzle, ending up going round in circles and none the wiser. It’s a radioactive isotope (and Chambers, though not ODE, spells it as a single word without the hyphen). It’s an anagram (in dispersal) of MODERATE LINE.

18a  Source of funny picture: nude figure heading off behind vehicle, one beside college (12)
{CARICATURIST} – this is someone who draws people (often politicians), exaggerating some of their characteristics for comic effect. Someone who enjoys being in the nude, without the first letter (heading off), comes after a type of vehicle, I (one) and C(ollege).

21a  Scent somewhat ambrosian if fierce (4)
{NIFF} – an unpleasant scent is hidden (somewhat) in the clue.

22a  Mule, say, angry about standing in bottom of river (10)
{CROSSBREED} – mule is a definition by example here. An adjective meaning angry is followed by a prefix meaning about or concerning inside (standing in) a river bottom.

25a  Salesman to begrudge exhibit (9)
{REPRESENT} – a charade of an abbreviated salesman and a verb meaning to begrudge.

26a  Act as beggar, getting day in prison (5)
{CADGE} – insert D(ay) into a type of prison.

27a  Take charge of poetry in Old English (7)
{OVERSEE} – put a synonym for poetry inside the abbreviation for Old English.

28a  Determination to start this again? (7)
{RESOLVE} – double definition.

Down Clues

1d  Book omitting nothing restricted by embargo from servants in service (6)
{BATMEN} – these were personal servants for senior officers in the services (no longer  – apparently the poor things have to run their own baths now). A large book without the O (omitting nothing) goes inside (restricted by) an embargo.

2d  No illegal trader is still expecting deliveries (3,3)
{NOT OUT} – NO followed by an illegal trader is a phrase used in cricket to mean still batting.

3d  Money received? Hand a note found amongst half of receipts (10)
{REMITTANCE} – put a slang term for hand, A and N(ote) all inside the first half of receipts.

4d  Senior, retaining support, giving direction (5)
{STEER} – insert (retaining) a support used on the golf course into the abbreviation for senior to make a piece of advice or direction.

5d  Rugby in a whirl after team has redeployed dubious player (9)
{SHAMATEUR} – this is a sportsman who plays in a non-professional sport but receives payments in a roundabout way (for example, he may have a well-paid token job which enables him to train full-time). Reverse (in a whirl) the abbreviation for a 15-a-side sport and precede this (after) with an anagram (redeployed) of TEAM HAS.

6d  Keen writer of religious songs missing No 1 slot (4)
{AVID} – the supposed writer of the psalms of the Old Testament loses his first letter (missing No 1 slot) to leave an adjective meaning keen.

7d  Kitchen item mostly drawn in bluish-green (3,5)
{TEA TOWEL} – put all except the last letter (mostly) of a past participle meaning drawn or pulled along inside a bluish-green colour.

8d  Something taking no end of time (8)
{ETERNITY} – cryptic definition of something that goes on and on.

13d  Rental arrangements have a reduced impact in outskirts of Leeds (10)
{LEASEBACKS} – put a phrasal verb (4,4) meaning have a reduced impact or slacken off inside the outside letters (outskirts) of Leeds.

15d  Surrounded by rising worry, European about to meddle (9)
{INTERFERE} – there’s a nice bit of misdirection here – “surrounded by” looks like an indicator signalling an insertion but what we need is a 2-letter word meaning surrounded by. Follow this with a reversal (rising) of a verb to worry, E(uropean) and a preposition meaning about or concerning. The whole thing gives us a verb meaning to meddle.

16d  Film plan has trail stopping short above a city (8)
{SCENARIO} – the outline of a film is made up of a trail or spoor without its final T (stopping short) followed by (above, in a down clue) A and a South American city.

17d  First of German airmen’s velocity mostly doing for scuttled battleship (4,4)
{GRAF SPEE} – this is the name of a German pocket battleship which was engaged by British warships in the early days of WWII and was scuttled by its own crew in Montevideo (there was a later film “The Battle of the River Plate” which told the story). Start with the first letter of G(erman) and add our airforce and all but the final D (mostly) of a synonym of velocity.

19d  Town’s target: to block most of local feature getting upset (6)
{KENDAL} – this is a town in Cumbria famous for its mint cake. Put an aim or target inside (to block) the reversal (upset) of a watery landscape feature (of which there are many in Cumbria, hence the “local”) without (most of) its final E.

20d  Stick poster nowhere else (6)
{ADHERE} – a verb meaning to stick or follow closely is an abbreviated poster and an adverb meaning at this (as opposed to some other) place.

23d  Expert player clutching one stringed instrument (5)
{SITAR} – a top actor (expert player) contains I (one) to make an Indian stringed instrument.

24d  Times Square’s filled with rubbish (4)
{MESS} – hidden (filled with) in the clue is rubbish or clutter.

The clues I’d pick out today are 2d, 5d and 19d. What did you like?

17 comments on “Toughie 652

  1. Definitely the easiest Toughie I’ve yet seen. I don’t always try them and always struggle when I do but would rate this only on the marginally hard side of a normal back pager.

  2. I would definitely agree with you about the ‘easiness’ of this one – I was going to call it user-friendly or straightforward just in case of complaints of ‘expertism’ again but it really was slightly trickier back page level rather than Toughie for me. Slightly disappointing after the fun I had sorting out the themed Jay. Thanks to KciT for the crossword and Gazza for the review – could one of the reasons you are not keen on this one be the lack of suitable Gazza-pic opportunities? :D

  3. 14a went in only because it fitted (what has the answer got to do with decaying material) presuming ‘in dispersal’ is the anagrind? Needed to look up 5d as is a new word to me. Last in 19d – my d’oh of the day. Thanks to Kcit and Gazza

  4. Agree about the difficulty but I did quite enjoy it. There again, I’m not up to wrestling with Elgar!
    Thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  5. The bottom half went in considerably quicker than the top, but the whole puzzle did not take very long to complete.
    Thanks to Kcit, and to gazza.

  6. A bit unfair on Cephas given we had one of his crosswords only last month!

    I agree that this was at the easier end of the Toughie spectrum (which usually means I have the Toughie and the Backpage done by Waterloo and have to resort to the Guardian or Independent to keep me occupied for the rest of the journey) but by no means the easiest. Favourite clues were 5d and 17d.

    Thanks to Kcit for the crossword and to Gazza for the review.

  7. Straight-forward and not too taxing this one, favourite 19d thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the comments ( By the way what has happened to Busman ? )

    1. //what has happened to Busman? // You know what buses are like… you won’t see one of his puzzles for ages, and then they’ll all come at once! :)

      And what has happened to Myops? We must surely be due one of his soon!

    2. The last Busman puzzle was on 26th April. I guess he must be busy setting the “Toughie” for the Telegraph Puzzles magazine.

      The last Myops puzzle was on 9th September.

        1. I am getting quite good at spotting when Myops is going to be around next. I am going to take a peek at the Friday Toughie listings and make a guess but top of my head I think this Friday or the next.

          1. By my calculations, its Elgar Friday this week. He seems to turn up every third Friday – although saying that sometimes he doesn’t just to prove the theory wrong.

  8. Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza, I enjoyed it so I suppose I’m in the minority. I didn’t think it was as easy as some have suggested though probably only just in the toughie spectrum.

  9. I originally found this one extremely difficult. After reading Gazza’s review it made me realise My brain must have had a senior day. I feel quite dense. can only be better tomorrow.

  10. There were a few clues that held me up for a while – certainly not the easiest Toughie but nowt wron with it in my opinion.
    Thanks to Kcit and to gazza for the review.

  11. Thanks to Kcit & Gazza. Quite enjoyed this one, but it was a bit frustrating, as I needed 11 hints. Once I saw the hint I could understand it, but couldn’t see the wordplay myself. A lot of the constructions were quite convoluted. No particular favourites.

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