Toughie 662 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 662

Toughie No 662 by Myops

Taken to the cleaners

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

I felt as if I’d been mugged when I finished this extra-Toughie from Myops. I wasn’t helped by the Telegraph Puzzles site giving the setter as MynoT – I spent a while looking for a D in every answer! The puzzle certainly grew on me as I worked on the review. There are still one or two that I’m not completely sure about.

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    Academy in Athens changing name in return for number? (11)
{ANAESTHETIC} – put A(cademy) inside an anagram (changing) of Athens and follow it by a verb meaning to name reversed (in return) to get this number – it’s always worth watching out for this use of number as something that numbs

9a    Block and tackle opponents’ spearhead in this game (5)
{HOIST} – to get this alternative word for a block and tackle put the initial letter (spearhead) of Opponents inside an anagram (game) of THIS

10a    Making comeback in former style past president of the United States requires backer (9)
{SUPPORTER} – reverse (making comeback) a charade of a word meaning in a former style, the abbreviation of Past President and United States to get this backer

11a    You could say this Saturday will be with no Toughie dull (7)
{MUNDANE} – A part-cryptic double definition – dull is the main definition

12a    Sous-chef second in line mixed a pudding (8)
{SEMOLINA} – take the initial letter (chef?) of Sous, a second or instant, a LINE and finally an A, mix thoroughly and the result is a pudding

14a    Difficult situations for the Italian heroine trapped in them initially (8)
{DILEMMAS} – these difficult situations are derived by putting the Italian definite article and the first name of Miss Woodhouse, the heroine of my favourite Jane Austen novel , inside (trapped) the initial letters of Difficult Situations

15a    Dart or arrow (4)
{BOLT} – a double definition – as a verb it means to dart and as a noun it’s an arrow for a crossbow

17a    Reaction that is generally uncomfortable; prickly heat isn’t to be ignored (7)
{ALLERGY} – this reaction to a substance to which the body has become hypersensitive is an anagram (uncomfortable) of THAT IS GENERALLY without (to be ignored) the various letters (prickly) of HEAT ISN’T – hands up if you worked out the answer from the anagram instead of, like me, the other way around

19a    Charge to exchange silver I owe, I’m told (4)
{AGIO} – This charge to exchange money into a more valuable form is a charade of the chemical symbol for silver, I from the clue and a letter that sounds like (I’m told) owe

20a    Contribution of rich and a mite for example (8)
{ARACHNID} – an anagram, curiously indicated by contribution, of RICH AND A gives the type of creature of which a mite is an example

21a    Sick line about last king getting old in foreign state (8)
{AEGROTAT} – this certificate stating that a university student is too ill to attend an examination is derived from A(bout) followed by the cypher for Queen Elizabeth’s father (last king) and O(ld) inside the French (foreign) for state

23a    Doctor Who’s vacated time machine I’ll leave for buffers (7)
{DOTARDS} – start by dropping the inside letters (vacated) of D(octor Wh)O and then add the Doctor’s time machine without the I (I’ll leave) to get these old buffers

25a    Observed male struggling to contain hollow sound (9)
{EMPIRICAL} – this adjective that means based on observation rather than theory or logic is creted by putting an anagram (struggling) of MALE around (to contain) what sounds like an adjective used to describe a hollow victory won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile for the victor

26a    When they are cast by fortune-tellers it’s too much for greater Scots to swallow (5)
{RUNES} – these tiles, inscribed with the letters of the ancient Germanic alphabet, can be cast by fortune-tellers – drop the letters of the answer from fortune-tellers and the result is a three-letter abbreviation meaning too much inside (to swallow) the Scots for greater (thanks to Gazza for that)

27a    Manipulated figures unconvincingly master it including figure I will represent (11)
{MARIONETTES} – these puppets with jointed limbs are manipulated with strings – to get them put an anagram (unconvincingly) of MASTER IT around (including) the figure represented by I in Roman numerals


2d    European support for common sense is out of the question (2,3)
{NO USE} – put E(uropean) under (support for in a down clue) for common sense is out of the question

3d    Express toil extravagantly as Herculean labour? (7)
{EXPLOIT} – EXP(ress) followed by an anagram (extravagantly) of TOIL gives what could be a Herculean labour

4d    Liverpool Street, starting point for trains on Eastern Region originally on new main line (8)
{TERMINAL} – Liverpool Street is an example of this type of station – run together the initial letter (starting point) of Trains, the initial letters (originally) of Eastern Region, an anagram (new) of MAIN and L(ine)

5d    Happy event for Hilary? (4)
{TERM} – I think this is a double definition – the happy event coming at the end of a term of pregnancy and Hilary being the Spring term of the High Court of Justice in England and at Oxford and Dublin universities

6d    School year to cover National Curriculum overseen by church court (8)
{CHANCERY} – put an anagram (school) of YEAR around (to cover) the abbreviation of National Curriculum and precede (overseen in a down clue) with CH(urch) to get a division of the High Court of Justice

7d    Is one grand 1000 bucks I’m winning? (9)
{DISARMING} – an anagram (bucks) of IS I(one) GRAND and the Roman numeral for 1000 gives an adjective meaning winning or likeable

8d    Emphasise uncertainty of broadcasters being overwrought (8,3)
{STRESSED OUT} – what sounds like (of broadcasters) to emphasis uncertainty is actually a phrasal verb meaning being overwrought

12d    Inferior replacements and doctor dart about (11)
{SUBSTANDARD} – an adjective meaning Inferior is constructed from replacement players followed by AND with an anagram (doctor) of DART around it (about)

13d    Dead divers and rough riders (7)
{ADDENDA} – an anagram (divers) of DEAD followed by another (rough) of and results in these riders or amendments

16d    To the north small space — belly button — encapsulates sex appeal from the east (9)
{LEVANTINE} – reverse (to the north in a down clue) a small space in printing and another word for the belly button and put them around (encapsulates) a two-letter word (not SA, the abbreviation) for sex appeal to get an adjective meaning from the eastern Mediterranean

17d    Is Harpo Marx first to play 22? (8)
{APHORISM} – an anagram (to play) of IS HARPO and the initial letter (first) of Marx gives a brief, pithy saying like the answer to 22 down

18d    Scots go on about Lothian’s first independent nerve centre (8)
{GANGLION} – put the Scots for to go and ON around (about) the initial letter (first) of Lothian and I(ndependent) to get this nerve centre

19d    For a ladies’ man love-in-a-mist overcomes resistance (7)
{AMORIST} – to get this ladies’ man put O (love) inside A MIST and then insert (overcomes) R(esistance)

22d    Saying 9 say said say regularly (5)
{ADAGE} – this saying is created by reversing (indicated by the answer to 9 across) the Latin abbreviation of say or for example and the even letters (regularly) of sAiD sAy

24d    Some worms: early cock’s catch? (4)
{SEAR} – hidden inside (some) two of the words in the clue is the catch that holds a gun at cock or half-cock

For today only, try typing the phrase “do a barrel roll” as a Google search. This works in Google Chrome and Firefox browsers, but not in Internet Explorer.

iPhone users can also do a barrel roll on their devices, but Android and Blackberry holders are out of luck.

7 comments on “Toughie 662

  1. 5* difficulty for me too but only about 3.5 enjoyment as I found the whole thing quite exhausting and didn’t find much to smile about. It was definitely one for the Friday slot, so thank you to Myops. Thanks to BD (I did work out 17a from the anagram :) ) and Gazza too for the explanations.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this one! I managed most of it in Costa Coffee before work, and finished the remainder off in the office, with recourse to Chambers.
    Thanks to Myops for the workout, and to BD for the notes.

  3. Jezza described this as a belter in the “other” posts. Too right, I feel like i’ve been belted from pillar to post and back again! A couple i’m still not sure I completely understand are 11a (what’s Saturday got to do with it?) and 5d -but i’ll go with BDs explainations on that one. Heaven knows where I dredged 21a up from (before googling to confirm). Thanks to BD for explaining wordplay for 22a, Fave was 23a, and thanks to Myops

  4. I thought this was pretty tough but more of a grind than a pleasure, favourites were 7d 23a and 25a thanks to Myops and to Big Dave for the explanations.

  5. I think I was grateful to the NHS for summoning me for some urgent tests today. I took it with me and after spending an hour and getting one clue, I consigned it to the bin and moved onto the much more enjoyable Guardian and Times puzzles..

    I just cannot get onto MynoT/Myops’ wavelength and the whole exercise did little for me. I don’t mind a difficult puzzle where I come out the other side and admire it, but I couldn’t understand some of the explanations and some of the definitions were what I term ‘once removed’, in other words an oblique rather than cryptic definition, “sick line” being a good example.

    Add to that the dreadful grid for the Daily Puzzle, having one way in to each corner and it wasn’t a good day for Telegraph Puzzles.

    Incidentally I am still having a rotten time trying to get in to get the puzzles. Despite the assurances, I am no better off in accessing the site.

    Big Thanks to Big Dave for standing-in and apologies for lumbering you with this.

    1. Interesting comment Tilsit – I started this one after the Friday Giovanni which I much enjoyed (but absolutely agree with Libellule’s comment that it was 4 separate little puzzles) and because someone had given a heads-up that it was a MynoT, I had a bit of a go. After about 20 mins I had stuck in half-a-dozen answers in the NW corner area and as regards the rest absolutely not a clue. I’m not a regular Toughie-fan – I sometimes enjoy those that the ‘heavy-brigade’ dismiss as too ‘back-pageish’. Utterly clueless as regards the remainder….I haven’t even read the above as it won’t enlighten or entertain me much.
      I have on occasions tried to have a late-night ‘catch-up’ on the Telegraph Puzzles site, and whereas the midday function seems acceptable again now, it would appear that the office cleaner has unplugged Phil McNeil’s Commodore 64 in the broom cupboard that runs the whole thing to do some late-night hoovering.
      Has anyone who reads the DT newspaper online noticed that the site response has started to mirror what the crossword site became…..???

  6. Big Dave’s accurate analysis is always admirable. I know suggesting allusions can spoil a solver’s satisfaction, but I thought of the widow’s MITE (Mark 12.41ff./ Luke 21.1ff.) and had Monday ‘n’ Saturday in mind for 11 (Does that help Andy?). And I liked yesterday’s (back page) mention of Toby Flood.
    By the way, is not Liverpool Street not a but the starting point and destination for Eastern Region lines?

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