Toughie 725 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 725

Toughie No 725 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I thought this was more back-page standard than Toughie standard. I’d never heard of 14 down but it was easy enough to work out from the wordplay and it took me a bit of thought to unravel the wordplay at 17 down. Otherwise I had no problems whatsoever.

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1a    Banish debilitating influence that is enveloping jazz fan (9)
{RUSTICATE} ‘To banish’ = a debilitating influence (4) + IE (that is) round a jazz fan (3)

6a    Some fetid algae subject to ebb and flow? (5)
{TIDAL} Hidden in feTID ALgae

9a    Venture a CV in Hollywood after bit of publicity (7)
{PRESUME} ‘To presume’ = an American word for a CV after P (first letter of publicity)

10a    Deadly vehicle curtailed amid genuine practice (9)
{REHEARSAL} Remove the last letter from a vehicle used for transporting a dead body and then put it inside ‘genuine’ to give a practice

11a    Calm sound of bells almost detected in part of church (7)
{APPEASE} ‘To calm’ = a sound of bells with the last letter removed inside a recess in a church

12a    Plan in stages publicity plugging award in modern music (4,3)
{ROAD MAP} A plan for achieving a goal via a series of intermediate stages = publicity (2) inside a British award (2) inside a rhythmic monologue delivered over a musical background (3)

13a    Book representing forsaken hatreds (5,2,8)
{HEART OF DARKNESS} A novella written by Joseph Conrad is an anagram (representing) of FORSAKEN HATREDS

18a    Put off a grim Nationalist restricting justice (7)
{ADJOURN} ‘To put off’ = A grim N (Nationalist) round J (justice)

20a    Bird, thin with wings obscured, probing nut (7)
{PELICAN} A large waterfowl with an enormous bill = the middle two letters of a 4-letter synonym of thin inside a hickory nut

22a    Aggressive youth associated with Welsh town near fellow (9)
{SKINFLINT} An aggressive youth with closely cropped hair (4) + a town in NE Wales (5) = someone who is near (stingy)

23a    Concern shown by popular European about incomplete car (7)
{INVOLVE} ‘To concern’ = popular (2) + E (European} round a Swedish make of car with its last letter removed

24a    Bachelor with bird taking off grand headwear (5)
{BERET} B (Bachelor) + a type of heron with the letter G (grand) removed = a flat, round cap

25a    Dog messed up a shop alas (5,4)
{LHASA APSO} A Tibetan small, long-haired dog is an anagram (messed up) of A SHOP ALAS


1d    Note sweater finally worn by cook dressing down (8)
{REPROACH} The second note of the scale + R (last letter of sweater) inside ‘to cook (e.g. an egg)’ = a dressing down

2d    Tape’s wound around very small plant (5,3)
{SWEET PEA} An anagram (wound) of TAPE’S round ‘very small’ = a garden plant with bright-coloured flowers

3d    Lizard protected by Antiguan anthropologist (6)
{IGUANA} A lizard is hidden in AntIGUAN Anthropologist

4d    Not favouring a very old language (6)
{AVERSE} ‘Not favouring’ = A + V (very) + a Gaelic language

5d    Plant bee’s left giving one elated feeling (8)
{EUPHORIA} Remove B (bee) from a plant of the spurge family to get an elated feeling. It’s not that long since a variant of this clue last popped up.

6d    A test held up bellicose type getting weapon (8)
{TOMAHAWK} A reversal of A test done on motor vehicles + a bellicose type = a weapon associated with Native Americans

7d    Obscure report of a certain exotic food (3,3)
{DIM SUM} ‘Obscure’ + a homophone of ‘a certain’ = a selection of Chinese foods

8d    Lounge lizard initially left in swimming area on reflection (6)
{LOLLOP} ‘To lounge’ = L (first letter of lizard) L (left) inside a reversal of where you go for a swim

14d    Director tense about game with fine fellow (8)
{TRUFFAUT) The surname of a French film director = tense (4) round a game (2)+ F (fine) + F (fellow

15d    Whimsical follower with a condition entering limited sect (8)
{FANCIFUL} ‘Whimsical’ = a follower (e.g. of a football team) + a condition inside a sect with the last letter removed

16d    Upstanding European holding thin plate with no sign of edible dish (8)
{ESCALLOP} A reversal of a native of a particular European country goes round a thin plate with the letter E (first letter of edible) removed. This gives a dish in which oysters, etc., are cooked

17d    Novelist, Russian male, runs off to tour Eastern US city (3,5)
{SAN DIEGO} Take the assumed surname of a female French novelist + a Russian male forename with the letter R (runs) removed. Put this round E (eastern) to get a US city.

18d    Digest a book introducing special world (6)
{ABSORB} ‘To digest’ + A + B (book) + S (special) + world

19d    Clash about deception with pair swapping for official in a stir? (6)
{JAILER} ‘To clash’ goes round a 3-letter word for deception with two of the letters transposed. This gives someone who works in a stir (prison)

20d    Film, amateur stuff that can be mined, covered by news service (6)
{PATINA} A film (e.g. on metals) = A (amateur) + a metal (that can be mined) inside the abbreviation for the national news agency of the UK

21d    A vital ground in country (6)
{LATVIA} An anagram (ground) of A VITAL gives one of the Baltic states

Having finished this puzzle I started on today’s Times puzzle. That turned out to be a real toughie!

16 comments on “Toughie 725

  1. Pretty much agree with Bufo, a not overly difficult solve but some answers more in line with a GK type crossword, I’m not sure that I enjoyed it tremendously. Thanks to Shamus and to Bufo.

  2. I agree with Bufo on this one, it seemed to lack a bit of zing, thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the notes.

  3. Not overly difficult, not overly fun although I did like the ‘deadly vehicle’ in 10a. Thanks to Shamus and Bufo too.

    Off home now for a lovely walk in the sun – it is warm enough here not to need a coat :)

  4. A bit on the easy side but there were still some nice clues, especially 10 and 22, which was last in. 25 is getting quite a regular these days. Had never heard of 14 but Onelook came up trumps. Thanks to Shamus for a good if not too difficult puzzle.

  5. A bit disappointing really. I usually use the back-pager to warm up the brain cells for the Toughie, but the Toughie was easier today.

  6. Another relatively easy “toughie” and a stinker of a “back page”. Just look at the number of comments raised by 26796 compared with 6 ( well 7 including mine) for this!

    1. If it is who I think it is tomorrow, I don’t think you will be complaining about an ‘easy’ toughie :D

  7. I’m not complaining about an ‘easy’ toughie, I was thrilled just to be able to complete most of it without the hints – all except the SW corner anyway. Obviously some of us are more easily pleased than others – that and the fact that I could sit in the sun in the garden this afternoon! Absolute bliss considering that I’m in the UK at the moment and not in Dubai.

  8. A very gentle puzzle for Thursday and, without too much strain, I completed all bar 17d which I don’t understand. I guessed at it and, because of the cross letters, I got the answer, but don’t understand why. If someone could please spell it out for me, I’d be very grateful. Thank you to Shamus for setting it and to Bufo for the hints.

    1. 17d The novelist is (George) SAND, the Russian male is IGO(r) with R(uns) off. This goes around E(astern) to make a US city.

  9. Believe me, I’m not complaining! I’m preparing to be humiliated tomorrow – I just didn’t expect to be beaten by today’s cryptic

  10. Thank you so much, Gazza. If there’s one thing I’m learning from trying to tackle Toughies, it’s that one never stops learning!

  11. 17d was my downfall here – although I had the answer I couldn’t parse the clue not getting SAND. All in all I thought this was a fun but not too tricky Shamus Toughie (I had to think a bit in the SW corner) so my thanks to him and to Bufo.

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