Toughie 691 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 691

Toughie No 691 by Shamus

A Culture Lesson

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

This makes three consecutive Tuesday Toughies that I have enjoyed!

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    Reactionary figure making point with discordant bell in front of young offender (7,5)
{COLONEL BLIMP} – this pompous reactionary figure, invented by cartoonist David Low, is built up from a punctuation mark, an anagram (discordant) of BELL and a young offender

8a    Characteristic of one ruminating companion joined by family in epic TV series? (7)
{CHEWING} – what a ruminant is doing to the cud is a charade of a Companion of Honour and the family around which Dallas was based

9a    On reflection, study term that’s currently hidden? (7)
{DROWNED} – reverse a study and a term to get something hidden by a current of water

11a    By the sound of it, bring about enlightenment (7)
{INSIGHT} – what sounds like a verb meaning to bring about or instigate is actually an enlightenment

12a    Conceit shown by say soul singer in familiar way with money (7)
{EGOTISM} – this conceit is a charade of the Latin abbreviation of say or for example, the first name of the soul singer famous for the posthumous hit (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay and M(oney)

13a    Get to know river taken in by noted director (5)
{LEARN} – a word meaning to get to know is created by putting a R(iver) inside the director of films like Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965), and A Passage to India (1984).

14a    A mean club queried means for getting to theatre? (9)
{AMBULANCE} – an anagram (queried) of A MEAN CLUB gives a means for getting to the hospital theatre

16a    Note a poet and artist in long-running feature on screen (4,5)
{SOAP OPERA} – a charade of a musical note (the one that sounds like a needle pulling thread), A from the clue, the poet who wrote The Rape of the Lock (1712) and An Essay on Man (1733–4) and Crosswordland’s usual artist gives a long-running feature on the TV screen

19a    One strutting fool lacking tips for drink (5)
{COCOA} – take someone who struts and a fool and remove the final letter (lacking tips) from each to get a drink

21a    What’s inhibiting former PM, cut short with a quiet few words to mark departure? (7)
{EPITAPH} – put a two-letter exclamation like what! around (inhibiting) a former Prime Minister without his final letter (cut short), A from the clue and the musical notation for quiet to get a few words written in memory of a person who has died (to mark departure)

23a    Worker touring a lot of island for record of diet (7)
{HANSARD} – put a four-letter word for a worker around most (a lot) of a Channel Island to get a record of Parliament (diet)

24a    European secure in retirement having acquired a source of entertainment (7)
{LATVIAN} – this European comes from a Baltic state is derived by reversing (in retirement) a word meaning to secure with a small metal spike and putting it round (having acquired) A from the clue and a source of entertainment and 16 acrosses

25a    A sailor docked with one in company in island capital (7)
{AJACCIO} – start with A from the clue and a sailor from whom the final K is dropped (docked) and then add I (one) inside CO(mpany) to get the capital of the island of Corsica

26a    Drunk say later associated with rehab after touch of alcoholism is outed — by this? (12)
{BREATHALYSER} – an anagram (drunk) of SAY LATER and REH(A)B without the A (after touch of Alcoholism is outed) gives a means of outing drunken drivers


1d    Scam almost enveloping golfer in team (7)
{CHELSEA} – put most of a verb meaning to scam around a South African golfer to get a football team in West London

2d    Chinese principles taken in by lecturer before drink in extended retirement? (5,2)
{LYING IN} – put one of the two opposing and complementary principles of Chinese philosophy between L(ecturer) and an alcoholic drink to get an extended period in bad

3d    Note eating fancily with no end of satisfaction in treat (9)
{NEGOTIATE} – an anagram (fancily) of NOTE EATI(N)G without one of the Ns ( no end of satisfactioN) gives a verb meaning to treat or deal

4d    Accommodate comic novelist (5)
{LODGE} – a double definition – to accommodate or board and novelist who wrote Changing Places (1975) and Small World (1984).

5d    Lounge containing glasses, cigar finally and paper near can (3,4)
{LOO ROLL} – put a verb meaning to lounge around two letters that can visually represent a pair of glasses and the final letter of cigaR to get some paper found near the can or toilet

6d    Bishops, say, in audience boycott name (7)
Newspaper version: Bishops say in audience avoid comment
{MENTION} – a word for chess pieces, of which bishops are an example (say), is followed by a syllable that sounds like (in audience) a verb meaning to boycott to get a word meaning to name or cite

7d    G Lineker’s current rival holding league list exposing weak area? (8,4)
{ACHILLES’ HEEL} – should you be unfortunate in that the game of football that you would like to watch is on ITV then you will have to listen to this BBC reject who was recently kicked off the breakfast sofa (initial and surname) – insert an L(eague) and add a verb meaning to list or lean and the result is a person’s weak or most vulnerable point

10d    Bond, say, tussling with demon in novel (6,3,3)
{DOMBEY AND SON} – an anagram (tussling) of BOND SAY with DEMON gives a Dickens novel about the wealthy owner of a shipping company

15d    Report of shout beneath tree to get seaside accessory? (9)
{BEACH BALL} – put words that sounds like (report of) a loud cry or shout and a type of tree one under the other to get this seaside accessory

17d    Brown, perhaps, obtaining a prominent position after a lot of struggle (7)
{AVIATOR} – a word that describes either Alcock or Brown, of transatlantic fame, is created by putting A and a prominent position or hill after another A and most (a lot) of a verb meaning to struggle

18d    Old music-maker on foot presumably in Australia (7)
{OCARINA} – this fluty-toned wind instrument with a long mouthpiece is a charade of zero vehicle (on foot presumably), IN and A(ustralia)

19d    What politician may need to do with drink besetting Nationalist societies? (7)
{CANVASS} – what a politician may need to do in order to secure votes is constructed from a white sparkling wine from Spain around (besetting) N(ationalist) and followed by two S(ocietie)s

20d    Opportunist for all to see supplanting Northern writer (7)
{CHAUCER} – take an opportunist and replace the middle N(orthern) with the classification that indicates that a film is for all to see to get the English writer famous for the Canterbury Tales (c.1387–1400)

22d    Intuitive feeling produced by hard part of crossword? (5)
{HUNCH} – this intuitive feeling is a charade of H(ard) and that part of a crossword that is in one answer but not two

That’s it for today!

8 comments on “Toughie 691

  1. Really enjoyed this one, favourites were 1a 12a and 23a but for me the stand out was 7d thanks to Shamus for the challenge and to Big Dave for the dissection.

  2. I didn’t get crossword 5d for Christmas – I got a crossword jigsaw!! I found this tough going in places but as said elsewhere I was preparing veg for 10 at the same time as trying to solve the puzzle which was probably a mistake but did get both jobs done. Thanks to Shamus for the nice start to the Toughie week and BD for the explanations.

  3. An all-round good egg of a puzzle, very enjoyable and ideal for someone who’d ‘drink taken’ at lunchtime. Lots of witty clues and solutions so difficult to select a favourite, however 5d made me laugh out loud. Thanks Shamus and BD.

  4. Enjoyed this one immensely. Just right for a Toughie. Last in were 1a [laugh] and 1d [cry] – I hate ‘almost’ words in clues. Favourite was 5d with 7 a close second.

  5. I found this pretty tough going which was because 45% of the clues had a “general knowledge” content rather than plain wordplay – like for instance the reference to Alcock and Brown. I think this is a cop out on the part of the setter. You can easily see that I don’t like the Monday Hercules crossword.

  6. My edition had a slightly different clue for 6d – “Bishops say in audience avoid comment”. Still struggling with explanation of 22d, though.

    1. Welcome to the blog AK Mild

      I’ve added the alternative for 6 down.

      I’m surprised that no-one has asked before about 22 down. The squares on a crossword grid that contain a letter which is in two crossing answers are described as checked – the other non-black squares are unchecked, or unch for short. This is seen most often in comments about two or more contiguous unches, known as double unches, triple unches, etc..

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