Toughie 673

Toughie No 673 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I was surprised in the middle of the morning to receive an email from BD about today’s puzzle. It hadn’t occurred to me that it was Thursday today and hence my Toughie day. However I soon got my brain into gear and found the puzzle to be yet another non-too-taxing Thursday offering. My only problem was with 22 across but this was caused by my carelessly writing in –ANT at the end of 3 down instead of –ICE.

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    Shakespeare’s first rude mechanical deprived of a limited opportunity (4,6)
{SLIM CHANCE} S (first letter of Shakespeare) + an anagram (rude) of MECH(A)NICAL gives only a limited opportunity

6a    Bar Suggs being almost half-cut, Madness’ hard core is entertained (4)
{SNUG} A bar in a public house (once patronised by Ena Sharples et al.) is made up of the first three letters of Suggs round the middle letter of Madness

9a    Popular dope — one may take double or single (10)
(INDIVIDUAL) Popular (2) + a dope (3) + I + double (4) = single

10a    What anglers now and again spend on the riverbank (4)
{AGES} Take alternate letters of AnGlErS

12a    Bruising relations with minor celebrity (5,7)
{BLOOD BLISTER} Something that may be caused by a bruise = relations (family) + a minor celebrity (1-6)

15a    Plant with more nuts (6)
{MADDER} 2 meanings: a plant whose root produces a red dye/more nuts (crazier)

16a    Lie about Republican resistance (8)
{FRICTION} A lie (untruth) goes round R (Republican) to give resistance to movement

18a    A sparse, essentially loveless Dvorak composition — hence his long face? (8)
{AARDVARK} A + the middle two letters of sparse + an anagram (composition) od DV(O)RAK (O = love) gives an animal with a long nose

19a    Band full of gems — girl briefly had them in EastEnders (6)
{DIADEM} A jewelled headband = a girl’s name (2) + ‘had them’ as said by someone from the East End (‘2 ‘2)

21a    Members of Scottish Chamber perhaps happening to show ability (12)
{MUSICIANSHIP} Members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra combined with a three-letter word meaning happening or trendy gives the ability shown by said members

24a    Drain surface off water jug (4)
{EWER} Remove the first letter from a drain to get a water jug

25a    Thin soup had in a mess (10)
{DIAPHANOUS} ‘Thin’ is an anagram (mess) of SOUP HAD IN A

26a    Zapata potentially revealed as last of revolutionaries to wear cocked hat (4)
{TASH} A Zapata is an example of this answer. Put S (last letter of revolutionaries) inside an anagram (cocked) of HAT

27a    Left alone, Stubbs was apt to take a nip of turpentine (10)
{UNATTENDED} ‘Left alone’ = the first name of the actress with the surname Stubbs + ‘was apt to’ containing T (first letter of turpentine)


1d    Mini maybe losing top end of revs giving you a funny turn (4)
{SKIT} Remove R (first letter of revs) from a garment that might be a mini to give a satirical sketch (a funny turn)

2d    Oval the venue for this sport (4)
(INDY) A straight definition of a form of motor racing in which cars compete on an oval circuit.

3d    Lay water supply for one in public sector (5,7)
{CIVIL SERVICE} Lay (not ecclesiastical) + a utility such as water supply = the public sector

4d    A navy vessel? You bet! (3,3)
{AND HOW} A + N (navy) + an Arab vessel of the Indian Ocean = “You bet!”

5d    Climbs will get hard for late starter making room for judgment (8)
{CHAMBERS} Take a synonym od “climbs” and replace an L (first letter of late) by H (hard) to get a judge’s room for hearing cases not taken into court

7d    Computer buffs, according to Spooner, are not early-to-bed types? (10)
{NIGHTBIRDS} If Spooner were to say this word for people who are active after dark, it would sound like an amount storage space on a computer + computer-literate geeks

8d    Gourmet banker from Basel perhaps devouring fancy roast (10)
{GASTRONOME} A gourmet = a facetious word for an international banker round an anagram (fancy) of ROAST

11d    Select police officers put on anti-crime manoeuvre (12)
{DISCRIMINATE} “To select” = police officers (of the rank of detective inspector) + an anagram (manoeuvre) of ANTI-CRIME

13d    Lamb cooked in cheese not a learner’s preservation process (10)
{EMBALMMENT} An anagram (cooked) of LAMB inside a Swiss cheese from which A L (learner) has been removed gives a process for preserving dead bodies. Doesn’t the double letter in the answer look odd?

14d    Cruelly erased Des’s from names on Christmas card list? (10)
{ADDRESSEES} An anagram (cruelly) of ERASED DES’S gives the people to whom letters are sent

17d    Production of intro to Chris Rea disc is in the can (8)
{CREATION} A production = C (first letter of Chris) + REA + O (disc) inside a can

20d    A post-pub expectoration where the burnt-out dregs may be chucked out? (3,3)
{ASH PIT} An expectoration as pronounced by someone who has been drinking heavily = somewhere that the remains of a fire may be put

22d    Wife or daughter providing assurance (4)
{WORD} W (wife) OR D (daughter) assurance

23d    Subaru sedan’s interior showing signs of wear and tear (4)
{USED} The answer is hidden in subarU SEDan

Well that’s it for another week. I hope to see some of you in Derby.


  1. crypticsue
    Posted November 24, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Although far from being the toughest toughie, I thought it was slightly more taxing than the previous few Thursday toughies, the RH side being more straightforward than the left. I also didn’t think it was quite as much fun as a Petitjean can be, sorry Petitjean, but thank you anyway. Thanks to Bufo too.

  2. BigBoab
    Posted November 24, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to Petitjean and to Bufo. Favourite clue was 12a, enjoyable crossword but only just a toughie.

  3. pegasus
    Posted November 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this one favourites being 4d 12a 19a and 20d thanks to Petitjean and Bufo for the comments.

  4. Boltonbabs
    Posted November 24, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Only just graduated to the toughie, so was delighted to finish it. I feel it is much easier to get the whole word and then work out the reasoning, whereas in the cryptic it is the other way round. Perhaps I will change my mind, but, at the moment, I much prefer the cryptic. However, as we are confined to the house with colds, it is wonderful to have both!
    Thanks for a wondeful site.

  5. eXternal
    Posted November 24, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I thought 5d and 7d (the Spoonerism) good. I quite enjoyed the puzzle today. Thanks to blogger and setter.

  6. Jezza
    Posted November 24, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Too many distractions at work, and I did not find the time to finish this one. I did like the Spoonerism clue. Thanks to Petitjean, and to Bufo.

    Tomorrow it’s Firefly – I’m hoping for a tougher one than his last!

  7. Posted November 24, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this one today, chuckling in places. Thanks to Bufo and to Petitjean