Toughie 671 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 671

Toughie No 671 by Cephas

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Cephas serves up some slightly tougher fare than one of his Saturday puzzles today.

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1a    Got golfer better? (8)
{PROCURED} – this verb meaning got or obtained is a charade of the informal contraction of someone who engages in golf for a livelihood and an adjective meaning better or restored to health

9a    It’s grave after a mob trashed device (4,4)
{ATOM BOMB} – put a grave after the A from the clue and follow it with an anagram (trashed) of MOB to get a nuclear device

10a    Half of ancients butchered by emperor (4)
{INCA} – an anagram (butchered) of the first half of ANCI(ents) gives an emperor of an ancient South American people

11a    One cannot travel back with it (6,6)
{SINGLE TICKET} – if you have one of these you will need to pay for the return journey

13a    Last month soldier returned with force but little weight (8)
{DECIGRAM} – a charade of the abbreviation of the last month of the year, and American soldier reversed (returned) and a verb meaning to force gives a very small metric weight

15a    Gold equipment given to a group of stars (6)
{AURIGA} – another charade – this time you need the chemical symbol for gold, some equipment and the A from the clue to get a prominent northern constellation of stars

16a    Keen to have most sweet stuff (4)
{HONE} – an obscure word meaning keen, weep or grieve is derived by dropping the final Y from some sweet stuff made by bees from the nectar of flowers

17a    Secret place to go (5)
{PRIVY} – a double definition – as an adjective it means secret and as a noun it is a lavatory, especially one in its own shed or outhouse

18a    Fellow spinner? (4)
{EDDY} – this fellow, who is usually spelt with IE at the end, is also a current running back against the main stream, so causing a circular motion in the water

20a    Hardly ever count soldiers at the front (6)
{RARELY} – this adverb meaning hardly ever or seldom is created by putting a word meaning to count or depend after the Royal Artillery

21a    Trying to get away from impasse Charlie’s trapped in (8)
{ESCAPISM} – this word meaning trying to get away from reality is an anagram (from) of IMPASSE with C(harlie) inside (trapped in)

23a    Gift of half buck bestowed in sorrow (12)
{CONTRIBUTION} – this gift or donation is created by putting the first half of BU(ck) inside (bestowed in) a word meaning sorrow or remorse

26a    Matt slow to learn (4)
{DULL} -a double definition

27a    Old US coin Rex left in pecuniary arrangement (8)
{PICAYUNE} – this old US coin, which was new to me, comes from an anagram (arrangement) of PECUNIARY without the R (Rex left)

28a    Serious depression? (4,4)
{DEEP DOWN} – a charade of words meaning serious and a depression gives a serious depression

Back now from getting a new photo for my driving licence. Clever stuff – the Post Office send the photo and application electronically in a fraction of a second to DVLA and then it takes them three weeks to post the new licence.


2d           Hear about Ron being upset by farmer (8)
{RANCHERO} – an anagram (being upset) of HEAR C (about) RON gives this farmer In Mexico and south-west USA

3d           It is given to correct the mess I can’t put right (12)
{CHASTISEMENT} – something doled out as a punishment is an anagram (put right) of THE MESS I CAN’T

4d           One operating as a smuggler (6)
{RUNNER} – a double definition – something that is operating satisfactorily, like a second-hand car, and a smuggler – or is this simply a cryptic definition?

5d           Cleaner’s limited diet (4)
{DAIL} – drop the final Y from a cleaner to get a diet or parliament, in this case lower house in the Republic of Ireland

6d           Quite like Mary opposite (8)
{CONTRARY} – quite like Mary in the nursery rhyme

7d           Hair fastener (4)
{LOCK} – a reasonably straightforward double definition

8d           Passing judgement (8)
{OBITUARY} – a judgement of someone who has passed away

12d         Seconder with drop-out conformed (12)
{CORRESPONDED} – an anagram (out) of SECONDER with DROP gives a word meaning conformed or matched

14d         ME or NE US state (5)
{MAINE} – ME is the abbreviation of for a state in NE USA – if there is anything more to this then it has escaped me!

16d         Difficult to please cheat with printout (4,4)
{HARD COPY} – a charade of an adjective meaning difficult to please and to cheat by duplicating someone’s work  gives a printout on paper

17d         Feeling of anger going round confused shy figure (8)
{PHYSIQUE} – put a feeling of anger or annoyance around an anagram (confused) of SHY to get a figure or body

19d         Almost repudiate everything within veto (8)
{DISALLOW} – drop the final N (almost) from a word meaning to repudiate and then insert (within) a word meaning everything to get a verb meaning to veto

22d         Item of jewellery found in church stoop (6)
{CRINGE} – put an item of jewellery inside the Church of England to get a verb meaning to stoop in a servile manner

24d         Thief might do it and end up in it (4)
{NICK} – a double definition – as a verb, something a thief might do and as a noun an informal word for  a prison or police station

25d         Ushered her out, exhausted (4)
{USED} – start with US(her)ED and remove “her” to get a word meaning  exhausted

23 comments on “Toughie 671

  1. Slightly tougher than a back page Cephas but somehow not as much fun. No particular favourites for me. Thanks to Cephas and BD too.

    1. I looked at that possibility, but decided in favour of the grieving.

      Chambers has:

      keen:To wail over the dead

      hone:To pine, moan, grieve (for or after)

      1. I just looked it up. I think you’re right Big Dave, the answer can mean to yearn or moan and groan. I may have stumbled across the answer via the erroneous sharpen route?

  2. A good mixture of clues I thought, for the Tuesday puzzle. I liked 25d for its simplicity. Thanks to Cephas, and to BD.

  3. Thanks to Cephas and Big Dave for the review. I’m enjoying this one, still 4 left to solve. I think 16a is from keen meaning to sharpen, I haven’t looked this up, but I feel this works ok too.

  4. I thought it quite enjoyable. Liked in particular 9a and 17a. I was a bit miffed by 2d as the addition to the anagram fodder is not a direct abbreviation, which I think is the generally accepted rule. But wasn’t too hard to spot after a few checkers. Thanks BD and Cephas.

      1. I would say it is to do with fairness. Too much of this and the balance is tipped away from the solver. I can just about see it if Celsius was used, for example, to indicate C, or even circa. But ‘about’ in crosswordland abbs can be c, ca, re…in any case, the editor is the one who decides. I am just sticking up for the big X..

      2. Generally I would agree but in this case this case I think Cephas can get away with it because, once you twig it’s an anagram of HEAR, RON and an abbreviation for about then the enumeration means it has to be a single letter abbreviation and there is only one of these for about as far as I know. Might be wrong there but I can’t think of any apart from C.

  5. This was much easier than todays backpage crossword in fact it was the easiest Toughie for the last few months. Maybe it is because apart from PICAYUNE which was an obvious anagram and easily guessable there was no obscure foreign slang in the clues and no stupid answers like SLOP PAIL (in a previous Toughie).

    1. Can’t agree it was easier than the back pager but only because that was so simple. Nowhere near 3 star difficulty though IMHO.

  6. Gentle fare to kick off the toughie week no stand-outs but 17d was pretty good thanks to Cephas and to Big Dave for the comments.

  7. I liked this for a Tuesday slot. As usual there were a few to hold me up (Mainly a D’OH moment at 21a which required an email to Crypticsue!).
    Regarding the KEEN/HONE debate I can’t find my iPhone so don’t have the definitive but I recall both definitions (HONE as the verb being more obscure as a wailing verb). Of course, one hones something to a keen edge. Am I helping?
    Thanks to Cephas and to BD (Yeah – DVLA!!) for the puzzle and the hints.
    Sorry I haven’t been around much (like everyone missed me!) – wil try harder in future!

      1. Awwww! Cheers, fellah! (you are aware that BROMANCE is now available in Chambers dictionary!) Work has been a bit good recently (like I have some!) so I don’t tend to be online as much as when I had a brief hiatus this year but I always check in even if I don’t comment.

  8. This took me ages as I put ‘slim’ in for 5d and I was convinced it was right. Live and learn – don’t take anything for granted. Loved 17a as it made me chuckle. 27 was a new one for me. A most enjoyable solve.

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