Toughie 705 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 705

Toughie No 705 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

When Anax posted yesterday that there would be an Elkamere puzzle today I got the knives out and started sharpening them. Sadly I’ll have to put them away for another week at least. But we did get an enjoyable puzzle today which wasn’t too difficult once I’d established a bridgehead. I needed to think a bit more than usual to work out some of the wordplay.

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    Tipsy refugee clutching book in confines of bar — and fried food (10)
{BEEFBURGER} An anagram (tipsy) of REFUGEE goes round B (book). This then goes inside BR (first and last letters of bar) to give a food item that can be fried or grilled

6a    Fool perhaps trailing second jacketed type? (4)
{SPUD} The fool is a dessert. Put the fool after S (second) to give something with a jacket (skin) that you eat

10a    Top firearm after tip-off recalled for hunter (5)
{ORION} If you’re top then you’re number one. Reverse an abbreviated form of ‘number one’ and a word for a gun with its last letter removed. This gives a great hunter from Greek mythology

11a    Role in fake celebration before match? (4,5)
{STAG PARTY} A role goes inside ‘fake’ to give a celebration that occurs before a wedding (match)

12a    Good man with sign of inflation saving a tiny bit of money? It’s constant (7)
{STAUNCH} A good man (saint) goes before a sign of inflation (caused by eating and drinking too much) with the letter P (penny) removed. This gives ‘constant’

13a    Who possibly lacking depth is seen around extremely bothersome period? (7)
{OCTOBER} ‘Who’ refers to the TV character. Remove D (depth) from his title and put what’s left round BE (first and last letters of bothersome) This gives a month (period)

14a    A sinful pride that’s woeful — it exposes an unconscious thought? (8,4)
{FREUDIAN SLIP} An anagram (woeful) of A SINFUL PRIDE gives a slip of the tongue supposed to reveal an unconscious thought

18a    Champion retained by very expensive contract for race (12)
{STEEPLECHASE} CH (champion) goes inside ‘very expensive’ and ‘contract’ to give a race over obstacles (for horses or humans)

21a    Occupant of bench in way of working backed in old TV programme (7)
{OMNIBUS} A reversal of someone on the bench (at a football match) + IN + an abbreviation denoting ‘way of working’ gives the name of an arts-based BBC TV documentary series which ran from 1967 until 2003

23a    Points to be covered among a lot of spots in green state (7)
{RAWNESS} The four points of the compass go inside a lot of spots (on the skin) with the last letter removed. This gives a green (unripe) state

24a    Material on reflection retaining edge before a party that’s staged regularly? (3,6)
{THE MIKADO} A reversal of material (equipment) goes round ‘edge’. This is followed by A + party to give a G & S comic opera

25a    No moderate found among awful traditionalists (5)
{ULTRA} Someone who is not a moderate is hidden in awfUL TRAditionalists

26a    Speed shown by regulars in drab rota (4)
{DART} ‘Speed’ is formed from alternate letters of DrAb RoTa

27a    Girlfriend entertained by French chap in temporary lodging (4-1-5)
{PIED-A-TERRE} A girlfriend (someone you’re taking out) goes inside a French man’s name to give a dwelling kept for temporary, secondary, or occasional lodging


1d    Read casually arguments held by outsiders in brigade (6)
{BROWSE} ‘To read casually’ = arguments inside BE (first and last letters of brigade)

2d    Priest before pilgrimage held up as prophet (6)
{ELIJAH} An Old Testament priest + a reversal of a pilgrimage to Mecca = an Old Testament prophet

3d    Cap annual bribe that’s corrupted client state? (6,8)
{BANANA REPUBLIC} An anagram (corrupted) of CAP ANNUAL BRIBE gives a small country that is politically unstable and is dependent on foreign capital

4d    Book shortly to probe beef, not good as an amenity for travellers (4,5)
{REST HOUSE} An abbreviation for a book of the Old Testament goes inside ‘to beef’ with a letter G (good) missing to give a place where travellers stop

5d    Leading man in Stratford keeping a time for creative influence (5)
{ERATO} The Stratford in question is the one in east London. Put ‘leading man’ as a Cockney might say it round A T (time) to give the Muse of lyric love poetry

7d    Curve in a tennis shot coming up after one following service? (8)
{PARABOLA} A mathematical curve = a reversal of A + tennis shot that goes high in the air following a member of the armed services. I hope I’ve interpreted this one correctly

8d    Party food put around tray clumsily in brief excursions (3,5)
{DAY TRIPS} Party foods goes round an anagram (clumsily) of TRAY to give short excursions

9d    Spartan dad puts twins as excitable (4-3-7)
{SPIT-AND-SAWDUST} Spartan (as some pubs used to be) = an anagram (excitable) of DAD PUTS TWINS AS

15d    Novelist getting hint of damages after notable novel is taken into Irish court (9)
{ISHERWOOD} The surname of an English-American novelist (1904-1986) = D (last letter of damages) going after the name of a Rider Haggard novel which is inside IR (Irish) + ‘to court’

16d    A tune outwardly defended by uppity rival of A Franklin with variety? (8)
{ASSORTED} A + TE (first and last letters of tune) inside a reversal of the name of a singing rival of A(retha) Franklin gives ‘with variety’

17d    Former Home Secretary always protecting Northern animals (8)
{REINDEER} The surname of a Home Secretary in Tony Blair’s government + ‘always’ goes round N (Northern) to give animals

19d    Train planned with wonder, we hear (6)
{MENTOR} ‘To train’ consists of homophones of ‘planned’ (5) and ‘wonder’ (3) run together. This was the last clue I solved

20d    Class of people in car (6)
{ESTATE} 2 meanings: class (rank) of people/type of car

22d    Morning in Westminster for religious instructor (5)
{SWAMI} AM (morning) inside the postcode for Westminster = a Hindu religious instructor

A very acceptable offering

22 comments on “Toughie 705

  1. This is my 3rd successfully completed toughie this week. Either I’m improving or they’ve been easier than normal. I think I know the answer…
    Thanks to Elkamere & to Bufo for the review

  2. Very enjoyable crossword with at least one “duh” moment at 19d. I’m not a big fan of homophones (probably to do with my Scottish accent ), but I loved this one. Many thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the terrific review.

  3. Very enjoyable, thank you Shamus. My particular favourites were 5d and 16d. Thanks to Bufo too – it was definitely one where the solution was obvious but the wordplay cleverly not so.

  4. Nice one Shamus! One of these days I’ll remember ROD for gun!!!!!

    Thanks to Shamus for a very enjoyable puzzle and to Bufo for reminding me of said rod!

  5. No sharpened knives needed by me today! I thought this had all the ingredients of a good puzzle; a few easy ones, a few to ponder over, and a few that I had to come back to later.
    3 star difficulty, 4 star enjoyment. Thanks to Shamus, and to Bufo for the notes.

  6. I thought that this was very enjoyable, just the right level for a Toughie (and not an obscure word in sight). I loved 16d (especially the amusing “uppity”) although I don’t understand the significance of “notable” in 15d. Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

    1. I can’t see what “notable” brings to the party either. All I can think is that it’s not just any old novel but , according to Wiki, is 8th in the all-time best seller list for a single-volume novel with 83M copies sold in 44 languages (just above the Da Vinci Code)!

  7. Nice offering from todays setter favourites 5d 7d 19d and 24a thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the review.

  8. I found this one much easier than yesterday’s – and that was easier than most of the ones that I’ve ever tried. Managed to get answers for all but a few in the bottom left corner but needed the hints to explain lots of them. Sorry to be dim but I still don’t quite understand 21a – who is the “occupant of the bench”? The rest of the workings of that clue I can cope with. Also I’m completely at sea with 16d. I WILL keep trying and I WILL get better and then I’ll stop making a nuisance of myself!! With thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

    1. 21a Occupant of the bench is a SUB(stitute) (i.e. in the dugout waiting to be brought on, in a football match).
      16d The rival of A(retha) Franklin is D(iana) ROSS. Start with A then reverse DROSS (uppity) around T(un)E.

      1. Thank you Gazza – all is now clear. Blasted football!! Should have thought of Diana Ross – was she really a rival or just a contemporary – I don’t know but don’t suppose that it matters too much.

        1. Many of us solve some Toughie clues by anticipating the answer from the definition and then retrofitting the wordplay. 16d was definitely one of those for me.

          Are you able to come next week? The pub is within walking distance of Paddington Station. Perhaps you might be able to persuade him indoors as well!

  9. Please put me out of my misery. Re 10a, I get No 1, but what is the name of the gun I can’t think of without its end?

  10. Thank you also to Shamus for setting the puzzle and to Bufo for the hints. One day I hope to finish a toughie without help, but for now I thank goodness for this site.

  11. Its been a long grind, punctuated by an hour in the pub, but I got there in the end. Really good toughie with much brain stretching and some really great clues of which 3 5 16 and 17 stood out. Last in was 19 which gave me a pennydrop moment and great gnashings of teeth.

  12. Thanks to Shamus for the puzzle & Bufo for the review and hints, of which I needed 4 to finish. A nice puzzle, I felt was doable. Got 15d & 24a without being able to parse them. Favourite was 16d, which I didn’t get, thought Franklin was a literary reference, I was brought up on Mowtown amidst heavy rock, so that was a great bit of misdirection.

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