Toughie 669 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 669

Toughie No 669 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Another puzzle that I didn’t find to be a genuine Toughie. That makes four Thursdays in a row that I’ve had an easy time of it. I had no problems with this one and didn’t stall once during the solving. I think the large number of anagrams was a big help.

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    Sails in container vessel (6)
{CANVAS} A collective name fro the sails of a ship (from the material used to make them) = a container (for baked beans?) + an anatomical vessel, tube or duct carrying liquid

5a    Leader in Long Island to fix what’s crucial to plan (8)
{LINCHPIN} L (first letter of Long) + a Scottish and Irish word for an island + ‘to fix’ = a person or thing essential to a plan (from the thing used to keep a wheel on its axle)

9a    Dithering in vague matter becomes contentious (13)
{ARGUMENTATIVE} An anagram (dithering) of IN VAGUE MATTER = contentious

10a    So fit all torn 1 here (4,4)
{SAIL LOFT} An anagram (torn) of SO FIT ALL gives a room where 1 across can be spread out

11a    Slight changes in sunlit characters (6)
{INSULT} A slight is an anagram (changes) of SUNLIT

12a    Prevent swelling round top of muscle with a touch of ice (6)
{STYMIE} To put someone in a situation from which it is difficult or impossible to proceed (as was once done on a putting green) = a small inflamed swelling at the edge of the eyelid round M (first letter of muscle) and I (first letter of ice)

14a    Filter water in Southern territory (8)
{STRAINER} A filter = falling water inside S (Southern) TER (territory)

16a    Scamp hides in British boat (8)
{BLIGHTER} A scamp = B (British) + a large open boat used in unloading and loading ships

19a    Take away section of home-made tachometer (6)
{DETACH} ‘To take away’ is hidden in home-maDE TACHometer

21a    Concealed panic finally evident (6)
{COVERT} ‘Concealed’ = C (last letter of panic) + ‘evident’

23a    Military intelligence ordered doctor to reveal miniaturised picture (8)
{MICRODOT} MI (Military intelligence) + an anagram (ordered) of DOCTOR = a photograph of usually secret material reduced to a very small size

25a    Spooner’s Irishman in the horse farm is an old fogey (5-2-3-3)
{STICK IN THE MUD} A spoonerism of this old fogey suggests an Irishman (not Pat) in the farm where horses are kept for breeding purposes

26a    Name in States for a boundary stone (8)
{TERMINUS} A name IN US = a boundary stone

27a    Lorry, not large, carrying Queen’s clockwork model (6)
{ORRERY} Put LORRY with the L (large) removed round our Queen to give a clockwork model of the solar system


2d    A female horse soldier can be unyielding (7)
{ADAMANT} A + female horse (one that’s a mother) + a soldier insect = ‘unyielding’

3d    Watch self-appointed policeman stake out (5)
{VIGIL} A watch (usually on guard or in prayer) = a self-appointed and unofficial policeman with a 4-letter word for a stake at poker removed from the end

4d    Drowsy drunken man, in the end, lost most of money (9)
{SOMNOLENT} ‘Drowsy’ is an anagram (drunken) of N (last letter of man) LOST MONE (money without the last letter)

5d    Included vitamin in revamped 11 medicine (7)
{LINCTUS} The letter assigned to the vitamin otherwise known as ascorbic acid goes inside an anagram (revamped) of the answer to 11 across to give a syrup-like medicine for coughs and sore throats

6d    Canteen’s vulgar as reported by Independent (5)
{NAAFI} A canteen in the services is a homophone of ‘vulgar’ (a word once famously used by Princess Anne in the phrase ‘**** off’) + I (Independent)

7d    Uncomfortable reminder of past misdeeds in Barnet ruined his party with no compensation (4,5)
{HAIR SHIRT} An uncomfortable garment worn by a penitent = Barnet (rhyming slang) + an anagram (ruined) of HIS and RT (party without the letters of PAY)

8d    Frozen sheet could make one feel cold around centre of abdomen (3,4)
{ICE FLOE} A large sheet of frozen water floating in the sea is an anagram (could make) of I (one) FEEL C (cold) round O (middle letter of abdomen)

13d    Attraction of male foreign agent is masculine (9)
{MAGNETISM} ‘Attraction’ = M (male) + an anagram (foreign) of AGENT + IS + M (masculine)

15d    Salad ingredient set around final four portions of gnocchi (9)
{RADICCHIO} A purple-leaved variety of chicory from Italy (used raw in salads) = a set for listening to round CCHI (last four letters of gnocchi)

17d    Inspection of toilet search’s back to front (4-3)
{LOOK-SEE} An inspection = a toilet + ‘to search’ with the last letter put at the front

18d    Strangely in dreams loss of article jogs memory (7)
{REMINDS} An anagram (strangely) of IN DREMS (dreams without the article A) = ‘jogs memory’

20d    Dog starts to devour evening’s rabbit stew (7)
{CHOWDER} A breed of dog originating in China + DER (first letters of Devour Evening’s Rabbit) = a stew or thick soup

22d    Symbol for county? Not quite (5)
{TOKEN} A symbol = ‘for’ + a county in SE England with the last letter removed

24d    Sea-ear’s first of two with no top (5)
{ORMER} A sea-ear (an ear-shaped shell) = ‘the first mentioned of two’ with the first letter removed.

A nice enough puzzle but, once again, I hope for something more challenging next week

7 comments on “Toughie 669

  1. Is there a definition of Toughie? Perhaps it should be called something like Alternative because difficulty is subjective and hard to quantify. My only criterion is enjoyment – too easy or too arcane and there’s none.

  2. I found this to be a quicker solve than the other puzzle today. No particular favourites, but enjoyable all the same.
    Thanks to Warbler, and to Bufo for the notes.

    Re 2d, the soldier is missing from the wordplay explanation.

  3. Definitely not tough – it took me the time the back page should have done but pleasantly enjoyable all the same. Thanks to Warbler for a nice puzzle and Bufo for the review.

  4. Thank you to Warbler for a restful Toughie after the last two days.
    Thank you to Bufo for the review.
    It was more of a workmanlike puzzle than some but enjoyable nonetheless.
    12ac and 16ac, and 13d and 17d all have good surface reading.

  5. Agree that this was a rather easy toughie!

    Faves : 23a, 25a, 27a, 6d, 7d, 15d & 24d.

    Now must cook – Icelandic sea wolf and French fries!

Comments are closed.