Toughie 693 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 693

Toughie No 693 by MynoT

What an Effin’ Toughie!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

The first thing I did with this Mynot puzzle was to determine which letter he has reached in his journey through the alphabet. Once that was established it was a fairly easy solve which I might well have given ** for difficulty had I not stalled on the last couple of clues.

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    Southern sailor has angles on marine creatures (10)
{STARFISHES} S (Southern) + sailor + angles (as a verb) = marine creatures

6a    Little news of priestess embracing right-wing party (4)
{INFO} An abbreviated form of a word meaning ‘news’ is formed by putting the name a priestess of Hera who was seduced by Zeus round an abbreviation for an extreme right-wing political party

8a    Joints for eastern wives (8)
{FORERIBS} Joints (cuts of beef) are formed from FOR E (eastern) + wives. This word does not appear in Chambers and I had to resort to a big Websters (and Google) to verify it

9a    Exactly memorised start time covering each year (3,3)
{OFF PAT} ‘Exactly memorises’ = the start + T (time) round an abbreviation for each year (per annum)

10a    Solution in coalition (8)
{INFUSION} A solution in water of a vegetable substance (e.g. tea) = IN + coalition

11a    Close to promiscuous, heartless boy (4,2)
{FAST BY} ‘Close to’ = promiscuous + BOY without the middle letter

12a    Pipe sounding ‘Gone Away’ (4)
{FLUE} A pipe for conveying hot air, etc., is a homophone of ‘gone away’

14a    Loose alien priest in diocese (3,4)
{SET FREE} ‘To loose’ = an alien (extraterrestrial) + an abbreviation for father (priest) inside a diocese

18a    Nude elf — dressing up is required! (7)
{NEEDFUL} An anagram (dressing up) of NUDE ELF = ‘required’

20a    Good fliers count in Germany (4)
{GRAF} G (good) + the branch of the armed services concerned with flying = a German count

23a    Edith has left to join originator of fish dish (6)
{PILAFF} The surname of a French singer called Edith goes round L (left). This is followed by F (first letter of fish) to give a highly spiced Asian dish

24a    In part of fish I note space (8)
{INFINITE} IN + part of a fish + I + a musical note = space (something with no determinate bounds)

25a    Expedition’s at a distance in South Island (6)
{SAFARI} An expedition = ‘at a distance’ inside SI (South Island)

26a    End stormy sail in beautiful surroundings (8)
{FINALISE} ‘To end’ = an anagram (stormy) of SAIL inside ‘beautiful’

27a    Fine summer in France for holiday (4)
{FETE} F (fine) + the French word for summer = a holiday

28a    Accommodation for boss, one mostly recently (6,4)
{STUDIO FLAT} Accommodation (a small apartment) = boss + I (one) + ‘recently’ (2,4) with the last letter removed


1d    Whipping up loud fuss about reserve is enough (8)
{SUFFICES} An anagram (whipping up) of F (loud) FUSS goes round ‘reserve’ to give ‘is enough’

2d    Off course in a heap of snow (6)
{ADRIFT} ‘Off course’ = A + a heap of snow

3d    Warning with spotlight peripherally lighting up group (6)
{FOREST} A warning (on a golf course) + ST (first and last letters of spotlight) = the acronym for a pressure group that campaigns from a pro-smoking perspective

4d    Very low speaker to make an advance to solicitor holding bit of freehold (9)
{SUBWOOFER} A loudspeaker for reproducing the lowest frequencies = an advance + a solicitor containing F (first letter of freehold)

5d    No penalty as Celtic player’s unimpeded (4-4)
{SCOT-FREE} ‘Entirely free from penalty’ = a person from north of the border (two of which were in Celtic’s starting line-up yesterday) + ‘unimpeded’

6d    Swarmed over jester in India once (8)
{INFESTED} ‘Swarmed over’ = the name of the jester in Twelfth Night inside a poetic name for India

7d    Trick boyfriend with torch (8)
{FLAMBEAU} A trick + a boyfriend = a flaming torch

13d    Mad naif dunce not likely to succeed (9)
{UNFANCIED} An anagram (mad) of NAIF DUNCE = ‘not expected to win’

15d    Enfield’s got a broken rake (8)
{ENFILADE} An anagram (broken) of ENFIELD A gives ‘to rake’ or ‘to fire across the entire line of one’s enemy’

16d    Smelly plant flourished by water near outskirts of Bayonne (4-4)
{FLEA-BANE} A plant whose strong smell is said to drive away certain insects = FL (flourished) + running water (2) + the first two and last two letters of Bayonne

17d    Blitzed figs gel softly for drinks (3-5)
{EGG-FLIPS} An anagram (blitzed) of FIGS GEL P (softly) gives drinks

19d    Officer holding unusual belief as aid to survival (8)
{LIFEBELT} An abbreviation for lieutenant (officer) contains an anagram (unusual) of BELIEF to give an aid to survival in the water

21d    Barber’s fair go for styling (6)
{FIGARO} The barber of Seville is an anagram (for styling) of FAIR GO

22d    For offspring fill in first-class return? On the contrary (6)
{FILIAL} ‘For offspring’ = a reversal of first-class inside FILL

That’s it for 2011. A Happy New Year to everyone and may 2012 bring us many challenging and entertaining puzzles.

15 comments on “Toughie 693

  1. I agree with the enjoyment rating but I would only give this 1* for difficulty as it was solved in the sort of time reserved for an easier back pager. I was also somewhat confused as I didn’t think we had had E yet in these alphabetical puzzles. Thnks to MynoT for a Toughie which left me loads of time to sort out what all the leftovers lurking in the fridge wer and whether they could still be eaten, and to Bufo for the explanations – perhaps the New Year will bring you a proper tough Thursday Toughie.

        1. I had forgotten about the vowels – silly me! It will be interesting to see how he fits a Q into every clue when we get that far.

      1. By my reckoning, with the vowels and, if I recall Y, done, only another 16 months of this to go!

  2. A day for gentle puzzles methinks! There’s this, the DT back pager and a very easy Grauniad! Perhaps the setters think we’re all still hungover!

    No particular favourites in this one, and I’d completely forgotten the alphabetical bit but when I was coming to the end I did notice there were an inordinate number of F’s, D’oh!

    Thanks to MynoT and Bufo.

  3. Gentle fare today in fact I didn’t even notice the theme thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for the notes.

  4. Thanks to MynoT for the puzzle and to Bufo for the review and hints. Needed 4 hints to complete, and needed to look up 3 of those. Found it a bit boring having read the review first, then was looking for words containg the mystery letter from quite early on. Favourite was 4d.

  5. Don’t understand the reference to running water (2) in 16d. Also FL for flourished is a bit tenuous I think. Apart from that, quite easy.

    1. The running water catches everybody out the first time they encounter it in a crossword. After that you remember that EA is an archaic term for a river or running water.FL is shown in Chambers as an abbreviation for flourished.

    2. Both are in Chambers

      Fl is the abbreviation for the Latin Floruit – the period during which a person flourished

      Ea is defined as:


      1. A river
      2. Running water
      3. A drainage channel in the Fens, sometimes eau, as if taken from French

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