Toughie 661 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 661

Toughie No 661 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I worked steadily through this with the only hold-up being in the SE corner where I had to make up the answer to 25 across before I could get a handle on 23 down. An enjoyable solve that has a bit of an American flavour.

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1a    Drink I raise facing sun with period of time on the sidelines? (6,4)
{WHISKY SOUR} A mixed drink containing a particular spirit and lemon juice is made up of I + hit high in the air (raise) + S (sun) all put inside W (with) and a period of time

6a    Exchange in prisoners recalled (4)
{SWOP} ‘To exchange’ is a reversal of an abbreviated form of prisoners captured during a conflict

9a    Bust indoors not extra large — by him? (5)
{RODIN} An anagram (bust) of INDOORS with OS (extra large) omitted gives the name of somebody who made busts

10a    A set of old books I extract with no end of fervour? (9)
{ANTIQUARY} The wordplay gives A + NT (set of old books = New Testament) + I + ‘extract from an open excavation’ with a letter R (last letter of fervour) omitted. The whole clue provides a definition

12a    One seeking belt transformed rig with rescue (13)
{CRUISERWEIGHT} The belt is one that may awarded to a boxer derived from an anagram (transformed) of RIG WITH RESCUE

14a    Secure establishment conflicted, we hear, with theologian (4,4)
{FORT KNOX} A secure establishment in the USA is a homophone (but not to everybody) of ‘conflicted’ + the surname of a Scottish theologian

15a    A cricket match full of runs becoming leisurely (2,4)
{AT REST} An international cricket match goes round R (runs)

17a    On reflection, Miliband with skill restricts one making offensive speech (6)
{TIRADE} A reversal of the first name of the Labour Party leader + skill round I (one) gives an offensive speech

19a    Pass men with trouble in state (8)
{COLORADO} A mountain pass + OR (men) + trouble gives a US state

21a    Motto that’s blue in rumpus spread around university (1,8,4)
{E PLURIBUS UNUM} The motto of the US (one out of many) is an anagram (spread) of BLUE IN RUMPUS round U (university)

24a    A soft sheep going over plant (9)
{AMARYLLIS} A + a reversal of soft (weak in mind) + a male sheep gives the belladonna lily or a related flower

25a    Club largely sealing approval for exotic tree (5)
{IROKO} A golf club with the last letter missing goes round an approval to give a timber tree of central and W Africa

26a    National symbol is close to bell with a frightening sound (4)
{LEEK} The national emblem of Wales = L (last letter of bell) + an interjection denoting fright (used conventionally in children’s comics)

27a    At sea ketch hid half of tern and duck (3,3,4)
{HIT THE DECK} An anagram (at sea) of KETCH HID TE (half of tern) gives ‘to duck’


1d    Caribbean engineers make communication (4)
{WIRE} An abbreviation denoting Caribbean (think cricket) + the Royal Engineers gives a telegram

2d    Spirited driver’s first with a lot of speed turning up in this? (4,3)
{INDY CAR} A word meaning spirited or animated + D (first letter of Driver) + most (a lot) of a word meaning to speed or go quickly all reversed (turning up) gives an American racing vehicle.

3d    Man getting food produced in upturn during years for noted race (8,5)
{KENTUCKY DERBY} A man’s name + food + a reversal of ‘produced’ inside YY (years) gives an American horse race

4d    Instant record showing game’s exciting (8)
{SNAPSHOT} An instant record when split (4’1 3) gives ‘game’s exciting’ with the game being a children’s card game

5d    Complete mess Sri Lanka ignored (5)
{UTTER} ‘Complete’ = a mess with the IVR for Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) omitted

7d    Dispute produced by Republican in crafty exercise (7)
{WRANGLE} A dispute = R (Republican) inside a crafty exercise

8d    Chatter on the rise? It’s not a ground or place for speaking among Americans (3,7)
{PAY STATION} A reversal of ‘to chatter’ + an anagram (ground) of IT’S NOT A gives a telephone call-box in the US

11d    What could be scribbled in a note’s found among some papers — statistician’s material? (13)
{QUESTIONNAIRE} An anagram (scribbled) of IN A NOTE’S goes inside 24 (or 25) sheets of paper to give a document that may be filled in to give data for statistical analysis

13d    Unconventional way to describe places near centre of old Berlin? (3,3,4)
{OFF THE WALL} A phrase meaning ‘unconventional’ might have describes places near the centre of Berlin for 30 years from 1961

16d    What domestic minder may do with success protecting old customs? (5-3)
{HOUSE-SIT} What domestic minder might do = a success round O (old) customs

18d    Film, perhaps, much of dance around meadows (7)
{RELEASE} A film, perhaps, (just out) = a lively dance with the last letter missing round meadows

20d    Part of clothing found in a jolly secret place (7)
{ARMHOLE} Part of a garment = A RM (jolly = Royal marine) + a secret place

22d    Indian food taken up among unfit labourers (5)
{BALTI} An Indian dish is hidden in reversed form in unfIT LABourers

23d    Burden, we hear, is something attractive to soldiers? (4)
{YOLK} A homophone of a burden is something you might dip soldiers into at breakfast time

The Toughies this week have so far been fairly benign. Will Tilsit suffer for it tomorrow? [Probably not as he has passed the baton to me! We are expecting Firefly, but we could be wrong. BD]

6 comments on “Toughie 661

  1. Not particularly tough. Very enjoyable as we expect a Shamus toughie to be so thank you to him. I was impressed that I remembered enough of the motto in 21a to sort out the anagram and I remembered the tree in 25a. II did like 4d for no particular reason but d’oh of the day has to go to 23d. When will I ever remember about ‘soldiers’? :) Thanks to Bufo for the review too.

  2. Enjoyable fare from today’s setter favourite for me 23d thank’s to Shamus and to Bufo for the comments.

  3. Slowed up by putting “reliquary” in 10ac but otherwise straightforward stuff.
    Review reminded me about OR (other ranks) for the hundredth time!
    24ac and 21ac were fun.
    Thanks for review and to Shamus.

  4. It’s MynoT tomorrow BD.

    I meant to say earlier that if anyone can get to Margate’s new Turner Gallery in the next year-ish, they currently have 9a’s The Kiss on display. No 2 was very intrigued/amused by the fact that the sculptor took more care over the lady’s body than the man’s which he described as ‘lumpy’ . There are also three drawings done by Turner when he was nine which are worth the visit alone.

  5. Indeed. Thanks to Shamus for a pleasant workout today, probably about the level I could cope with.

    Thanks too to BD for covering for me tomorrow while I am being poked and prodded and fitted with a 48 hour doobry to measure my splenetic apoplexy.

  6. Sorry to be so late on parade but just one of those days!
    V enjoyable puzzle and not too hard – I’ve liked this week’s Toughies in that, so far, they haven’t been mindbending but better than the back page.
    I await MynoT tomorrow with trepidation! I may not get a chance at it as I’m at Alicante hospital tomorrow morning to get the eyes checked out for glaucoma and then playing bridge in the afternoon – if I can still see the cards!
    Thanks to Shamus for great puzzle and to Bufo for the review.

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