Toughie 719 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 719

Toughie No 719 by Warbler

Love is in the air!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Today Warbler has given us another delightful puzzle. Several of the down clues are topically themed.

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    Signs of season in Australian states (8)
{AUSPICES} – these signs or omens are created by putting a condiment used for seasoning food inside A(ustralian) and the United States

5a    Top this to be the star (6)
{BANANA} – precede this answer with top and the result is the star comedian in a show

8a    Feeling of sorrow about finding headless bird (6)
{REGRET} – to get this feeling of sorrow start with a two-letter word for about and follow it a white heron minus its initial letter (headless)

9a    Roving Vatican spy famously captured Turkish commander (8)
{VAGABOND} – an adjective meaning roving is derived by putting the IVR code for the Vatican City and a famous fictional spy around a Turkish commander

10a    Turn decline into unexpected good fortune (8)
{WINDFALL} – a charade of a verb meaning to turn or twist and a decline gives this unexpected good fortune

11a    Make public former attitiude (6)
{EXPOSE} – a verb meaning to make public is a charade of a former partner and an attitiude

12a    Cap ridiculous bank rise (8)
{BEARSKIN} – this high fur cap worn by the Guards in the UK is an anagram (ridiculous) of BANK RISE


13a    Cooks in pans (6)
{ROASTS} – a double definition – cooks on a spit and pans or criticizes

15a    Qatar suspected to be hiding bones (6)
{TARSUS} – hidden inside the clue (hiding) are these bones forming part of the foot

18a    Finally hinted obliquely about letter (2,3,3)
{IN THE END} – this phrase meaning final is created by putting an anagram (obliquely) of HINTED around the fourteenth letter of the alphabet

20a    Note seabird swallowed stoat (6)
{ERMINE} – put the third note of the scale in sol-fa notation inside a sea-eagle to get a stoat wearing his winter coat

21a    Community project’s original choir off-key, high (8)
{EUPHORIC} – start with the economic community run by Germany & France for Germany & France (and certainly not for Greece, Italy, Spain & Portugal!) and follow it with the initial letter (original) of Project and an anagram (off-key) of CHOIR to get an adjective meaning high or elated

23a    Fancy diner in South of France may use such tomatoes (3-5)
{SUN-DRIED} – put an anagram (fancy) of DINER inside the French for South to get a way of preparing tomatoes

24a    Journey in the saddle, as a jumper might (4,2)
{RIDE UP} – a charade of a journey and the usual two-letter word meaning in the saddle gives what a jumper or sweater might do

25a    Reluctant to swear in front of small people in the end (6)
{AVERSE} – this adjective meaning reluctant comes from a charade of a verb meaning to swear, S(mall) and the final letter of (in the end) peoplE – not the best way to indicate a final letter when the phrase has been previously used!

26a    Sang, guided backwards and forwards by a couple of youngsters (8)
{YODELLED} – a verb meaning sang while changing frequently from the ordinary voice to falsetto and back again is derived from a word meaning guided which is both backwards and forwards preceded by the first two letters (a couple) of YO(ungsters)


1d    Limited non-nuclear missile for 22 (5)
{ARROW} – take a word meaning limited or restricted and drop the N(uclear) to get a missile of the kind used by 22 down

2d    Soldiers inside tourist accommodation (9)
{PARADORES} – put some airborne soldiers around an anagram (wildly) of RODE to get these types of dwellings, e.g. castles, convents, etc., converted for use as tourist accommodation in Spain

3d    Model route? (7)
{CATWALK} – a cryptic definition of a narrow footway used by the models in a fashion show

4d    In playful vein Sylvia sent date one, essentially to mark this? (2,10,3)
{ST VALENTINE’S DAY} – an anagram (in playful vein) of SYLVIA SENT DATE N (oNe essentially) gives the reason for the theme

5d    With defect suffer pain (7)
{BUGBEAR} – a defect in a computer program is followed by a verb meaning to suffer to get someone who is a pain

6d    Classically I love to almost stir up such thoughts on 4 (7)
{AMOROUS} – the Latin (classically) for “I love” is followed by most of a verb meaning to stir up to get an adjective describing one’s thoughts on the occasion of 4 down

7d    Directed a designated driver to take upcoming course, cut short (9)
{ADDRESSED} – this verb meaning directed or labelled is derived from the A in the clue, the abbreviation for designated driver and the reversal of (upcoming) most of (cut short) one of the courses of a meal

12d    Attacks over river at capital’s former site of power (9)
{BATTERSEA} – a charade of a verb meaning attacks and that word meaning a river or running water that is only ever seen in crosswords gives the former site of one of London’s power stations – the power station was “over the river” on the south side of London

14d    Glandular upset ailed an old Democrat (9)
{ADENOIDAL} – this adjective meaning glandular is an anagram (upset) of AILED AN O(ld) D(emocrat)

16d    As part of 4 Abramovich, say, goes to church (7)
{ROMANCE} – another answer thematically linked to 4 down is a charade of the first name of the owner of Chelsea football club and the Church of England

17d    Lacking in creativity Civil Engineer quits Leicester in frustration (7)
{STERILE} – an adjective meaning lacking in creativity is derived from an anagram (in frustration) of LEI(CE)STER without (quits) CE (Civil Engineer)

19d    Irishman turned up before last of band and whittled away (7)
{TAPERED} – reverse (turned up)the name of the archetypal Irishman and follow him with a word meaning before and the final letter (last) of banD and to get a verb meaning whittled away

22d    Bowman’s prize fish (5)
{CUPID} – this topical bowman is a charade of a prize and a two-letter fish

Just the level we have come to expect from a Tuesday Toughie.

Today’s musical interlude!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

41 comments on “Toughie 719

  1. Having struggled with the normal cryptic puzzles this week, I was relieved to get through this one unscathed.
    My last one in was 5a.
    Thanks to Warbler, and to BD.

    1. Hi Jezza

      A quick note of thanks for giving me the idea of Amazon! Never occurred to me they would deliver to Spain as there is an, but they don’t have the BRB listed. Great service, ordered last Thursday evening and it arrived on my doorstep at 0930 today, and no delivery charge :grin:

      1. I got mine through Amazon last year. I still pick it up with the same amount of care as one would show to an explosive device! :)

  2. Pretty good fun. I liked the self-referential 4D a lot. Not so keen on the link words in 10a and 6d, but a nice puzzle nonetheless.

  3. Lovely stuff from Warbler. 4d is superb given that Warbler is the pseudonym of Sylvia Jordan. Thanks to our setter and to BD for the review.

  4. I enjoyed this a lot. As you said Dave, just the right level for a Tuesday. No particular favourites, just all-round good stuff.

    My last in was 5a too.

    Many thanks to Warbler and BD.

  5. Enjoyable start to Toughie week favourites were 3d 4d and 9a, 5a was also last in for me. Thanks to Warbler and to Big Dave for the comments.

  6. Super stuff – perfect Tuesday Toughie – I too thought 4d was brilliant and I did like 12d. Thanks and Happy Valentines Day to Warbler, BD and everyone else too.

  7. One of the rare occasions when I managed to complete a Toughie! Quite pleased with myself. Dave, just to complete my crossword education can you clarify the derivation of the last two letters of 12d – I don’t quite get “that word meaning a river or running water that is only ever seen in crosswords”. Thanks in anticipation.

    1. From Chambers

      ea (dialect)
      * A river
      * Running water
      * A drainage channel in the Fens, sometimes eau, as if taken from French

      ORIGIN: OE ēa; related to L aqua water

    2. Hi Andy

      EA was the first word I looked up in my new BRB so now I’ll never forget it :grin:

      Chambers gives

      EA (dialect) n. a river; running water;a drainage channel in the fens.

      1. I’ve seen EA many times now – but I always seem to forget it. A bit like “Neat” – cows etc.

        A nice puzzle from Warbler today! Particularly liked the “Catwalk” clue.

        pommers – I’m impressed by your italicization when quoting from your brand new Big Red Book! My only criticism of Chambers is that it is too heavy!

    3. Thanks for asking that – those two letters were the only ones in the whole crossword that I didn’t “get”!

  8. Thanks for your kind comments. Glad you enjoyed the solving. I enjoyed the compiling.
    Happy Valentine’s Day to all .

  9. Just wanted to leave a comment for Warbler… This was a super Tuesday crossword, some nice references to today, and some gentle well pitched, but very enjoyable clues. Basically good solid all round entertainment. Due to a busy day, I finally solved this over a glass of wine early this evening.

  10. I found this somewhat easier than the Cryptic today. Is it possible that the two were interposed?

    1. Not likely DOn Pedro. As far as we all know Warbler doesn’t set on the back page. I think that the Tuesday Toughie is often quite gentle (although I agree with the rating here) and I have also noticed that the back pager has been mixing up the difficulty recently. Personally I don’t mind the variety as I find it makes me approach each puzzle with no preconceptions.

          1. There may be a lot words being eaten by me tomorrow but normally a Wednesday Notabilis is gentler than the Friday equivalent (though just as entertaining).

            1. Three actually, the BRB, the Crossword dictionary and I threw in a copy of ‘The Haggis’ for a bit of a laugh as it was only £3.

              1. Pommers, whilst I agree with your masterly reviews and summings up, I cannot and do not find the Immortal Bards’ Address in the least amusing, at least not when given whilst under the influence of the Water of Life, a little of which should be poured over the Great Chieftan o’ the Pudden Race and the rest of the bottle supped from a silver quaich. Heres tae us, wha’s like us?, Damn few an’ their a’ deid.

  11. Thanks to Warbler & to Big Dave for the hints. I quite enjoyed this one, but got stuck at top, needed 7 of Dave’s excellent hints to finish. No real favourites.

  12. This is the first toughie that I have EVER managed completely on my own – no books, no hints (no electricity or internet) in fact absolutely nothing. I had two letters (the last two of 12d) that I couldn’t explain but apart from that I did it. I was expecting it to be a 1* for difficulty – I found this easier, and did it more quickly, than today’s back page puzzle which I found quite difficult. I really enjoyed it so thanks to Warbler and BD.

    1. Congrats, Kath!

      This was a nice puzzle, although you’re doing yourself a disservice to suggest that it was so easy. Hopefully this will be the first of many.

  13. I quite enjoyed this today but finished it so early I was put on Grandchildren duties whilst Mrs. Y and Daughter Y went galavanting in our illustrious Capital ( Edinburgh that is , not London )Thanks to Warbler for an enjoyable if untaxing toughie and to BD for the review

  14. I enjoyed this Toughie which I finished unaided. It was just tricky enough for me to feel pleased when I got the answers. I knew 22d had to be Cupid but had never heard of a fish called id – one lives and learns.

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