Toughie 687 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 687

Toughie No 687 by Warbler

A piece of 11 across!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Today Warbler presents us with a fairly easy Toughie, as has become the custom for the Tuesday slot. There is a tasty theme running through several of the across answers!

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1a    Company charge includes fine for a kind of 11 (6)
{COFFEE} – between CO(mpany) and a charge put F(ine) to get a kind of 11 across

4a    Parasitic sort of 11? (6)
{SPONGE} – a word meaning parasitic is another sort of 11 across

8a    Indian fare spilled into road (8)
{TANDOORI} – this type of Indian cooking in which meat, vegetables, etc. are baked over charcoal in a clay oven is an anagram (spilled) of INTO ROAD

10a    11 variety’s weight announced (6)
{CARROT} – our 3rd 11 across sounds like (announced) a unit of weight used for gems

11a    Hard mass crackled every now and then (4)
{CAKE} – it always helps when the clue which gives subject of a theme is easy to solve! – this hard mass comes from the alternate letters (every now and then) of a word in the clue

12a    Cunningly iterating answer to try to gain favour (10)
{INGRATIATE} – an anagram (Cunningly) of ITERATING A(nswer) gives a verb meaning to try to gain favour

13a    Exercises damaged special strobe — little luminance lost (4,8)
{STEP AEROBICS} – these exercises (specially designed for masochists!) are an anagram (damaged) of SPECIA(L) STROBE without the L (a little Luminance lost)

16a    Judge in new venue embroiled in revolt is feeling young again (12)
{REJUVENISING} – put J(udge) inside an anagram (new) of VENUE and then put the whole lot inside (embroiled in) a revolt to get a verb meaning feeling young again – I wondered what was the difference between the answer and the similar word spelt with “at” in the middle, and according to Chambers there is none!

20a    Nyctalopic’s near tight, finally drunk (5-5)
{NIGHT-BLIND} – this adjective meaning nyctalopic or suffering from a reduction or loss of vision in dim light is a charade of a word meaning near, the final letter of tighT and an adjective describing someone who is extremely drunk

21a    Laughter concealed depression (2-2)
{HA-HA} – a double definition – laughter and a concealed depression or ditch between a garden and surrounding parkland forming a barrier without interrupting the view

22a    Looking back some sullen misanthropes give an 11 (6)
{SIMNEL} – reversed (looking back) and hidden (some) inside two of the words in the clue is an 11 across which is traditionally eaten at Easter, or sometimes Christmas

23a    Houdini dropped round record for Walter Mitty, say (8)
{ESCAPIST} – take an adjective that describes Houdini and drop O (round) and a record or diary to get a different adjective, this one describing James Thurber’s famous dreamer

24a    Trap’s dangerous in the middle for a sort of 11 (6)
{GINGER} – a charade of a trap or snare and the middle letters of danGERous gives yet another sort of 11 across

25a    Large male working in a day makes another 11 (6)
{ALMOND} – put L(arge), M(ale) and a two-letter word meaning working between A, from the clue, and D(ay) to get my favourite 11 across


1d           Spies check up on volunteers making bread (8)
{CIABATTA} – the US agency responsible for spying is followed by the restaurant check or bill reversed (up) and the army manned with volunteers to get this type of bread

2d           Fake sweet (5)
{FUDGE} – a double definition – a verb meaning to fake and a sticky sweet – and another type of 11 across!

3d           In the end pure reason can be moving (7)
{EMOTIVE} – the final letter (in the end) of purE is followed by a reason to get an adjective meaning moving or sensitive

5d           A politically correct vice translates as an admission of guilt (7)
{PECCAVI} – another one of those anagrams which contain an abbreviation in the fodder – indicated by translates, an anagram of A PC (politically correct) VICE gives an admission of guilt, derived from the Latin for “I have sinned

6d           Drugs agent is suspicious — he’s obsessed with his image (9)
{NARCISSUS} – a charade of the US slang for an official narcotics agent, IS and a slang contraction of suspicious gives someone who is obsessed with his image

7d           In Egypt snake’s beginning to scuttle German craft (1-5)
{E-BOATS} – put the IVR code for Egypt around a snake that kills its prey by squeezing and add the initial letter of (beginning to) Scuttle to get these fast German warships which discharged torpedoes

9d           Playing video, cooing and singing well (2,4,5)
{IN GOOD VOICE} – an anagram (playing) of VIDEO COOING gives a phrase meaning singing well

14d         Ornate throne discovered in god’s temple (9)
{PARTHENON} – put an anagram (ornate) of THRONE inside (discovered in) the  Greek god of pastures, flocks, and woods to get the temple of Athene, on the Acropolis at Athens

15d         Waxed lyrical about the nudes newly displayed (8)
{ENTHUSED} – this verb meaning waxed lyrical about is an anagram (newly displayed) of THE NUDES

17d         First of all join us British in loyal expressive exuberance during this time of celebration (7)
{JUBILEE} – the initial letters (first of all) of seven words in the clue gives a time of celebration

18d         International professor returns to state of intersections of celestial bodies (7)
{NODICAL} – start with I(nternational) and a university professor, reverse the lot (returns) and then add the abbreviation of a US state to get an adjective meaning of intersections of celestial bodies

19d         Old county division is annoying (6)
{RIDING} – this old county division of Yorkshire is also a word meaning is annoying or grating

21d         African native — one very quiet in house (5)
{HIPPO} – this animal, native to Africa, is created by putting I (one) and the musical abbreviation for very quiet inside HO(use)

A very festive start– I wonder what else the week will bring!

17 comments on “Toughie 687

  1. I did enjoy this one thank you and Happy Christmas to Warbler. Surprised there wasn’t a mention of the current seasonal theme related items. Thanks to BD too.

  2. Apart from spending a while trying to justify a different bread (which fitted with the checking letters) in 1d, a gentle start to the Toughie week.
    This is one of those weeks where the difficulty of toughies probably should have gone in reverse order, as I am sure my ability to solve them will diminish as the week progresses… starting with the office party at lunchtime tomorrow!
    Thanks to Warbler, and to BD for the notes.

    1. Jezza,
      I had the same problem with 1d, but no matter how hard I tried to work out why, it just wasn’t going to work. Then a hey presto moment and all was done. Although I don’t comment that often, I have to say I enjoyed this. Not tough, but well crafted and fun.

      1. If you both had the food item I think you did in 1d, Gnomey had it too before the d’oh moment struck. :D

  3. A fine puzzle IMHO. Not too hard but very well crafted and quite entertaining.

    I might have to go out for a coffee and a slice (or two!)- all those pictures have made me quite peckish!

    Thanks and a Merry Christmas to Warbler.

  4. i am getting on quite well with this for me, but obviously it would be a great help if i could get 11a. Please could someone tell me what are the rules for “now and then “, presumably more random than odd and even letters ? I don’t want to look at the hints yet if possible.

    1. The puzzle is quite a bit harder if you haven’t solved 11 across!

      Warbler intends that you take alternate letters from the target word in the clue.

      1. Thank you, in the end i had to peep at that hint, making sure that i didn’t see any of the others !

        I must be a masochist as I go to 18a on Monday mornings, and the second part of the answer on Thursdays.
        Hadn’t heard of 18d.
        Thank you for a nice puzzle and the hints. Made me fell quite hungry seeing all the 11a s. Merry Christmas to all.

  5. Anncantab. Try every other letter.
    Good one today though a bit easier than the cryptic methinks. Thanks to Warbler & BD

  6. Thanks to Warbler for a fun and accessible puzzle. Thanks too for the seasonal wishes forwarded by BD and may I wish you all the best for Christmas and the New Year (when I expect we will next see you again).
    This was just right for a Tuesday IMHO but the main problem was the lack of Lemon Drizzle! (q.v. ‘The Naughty Corner’, Weekend Prize Puzzles).
    Cheers to BD for the review as well.

  7. Thanks to Warbler for an enjoyable if untaxing crossword, not really toughie standard but fun. Thanks also to BD for the hints.

  8. Thanks to Warbler and to Big Dave for the review and hints. I did enjoy this one, especially as this is the first Toughie I’ve ever completed unaided.Also thanks to Pommers for posting an encouraging comment on the back-page blog. Had real difficulty with 16a, but got there in the end. Last in was 1d. Favourites were 1d & 23a. Lots of clever clues, Merry Xmas to all :-)

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