Toughie 729 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 729

Toughie No 729 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Bufo (with a bit of help)

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

How do I rate the difficulty for a puzzle like this where everything is plain sailing apart from one clue? I made OK progress until I was left with 25 down. Although it seemed likely that the answer was what it is, I couldn’t justify it and I needed to have it explained to me.

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    What brings word of source of avian flu? (7,6)
{CARRIER PIGEON} A creature used to transmit messages sounds as if it should be a creature that transmits disease

9a    Feller’s to move clumsily near, cutting hint of escape (9)
{LUMBERMAN} A feller of trees = ‘to move clumsily’ + near (stingy) with the letter E (first letter of escape) omitted

10a    Plump boys, one getting stuck behind sink (5)
{PUTTI} Plump naked boys in art = I (one) after ‘sink (a golf ball)’

11a    No parking for club, say (5)
{UTTER} Remove P (parking) from a golf club to get ‘say’

12a    Book disregarded intelligence in cats and dogs? (4)
{BRAIN} Remove B (book) from intelligence to get cats and dogs (figuratively)

13a    Writing other than the leader achieved prominence (4)
{ROSE} Remove the first letter (leader) from writing (non-verse) to get ‘achieved prominence’

15a    Friend’s after turning in a work for Pixar? (7)
{ANIMATE} Friend follows a reversal of IN A to give ‘to work for Pixar?’

17a    A river once more ebbs and falls (7)
{NIAGARA} – A reversal (ebbs) of A R (river) once more gives some famous waterfalls

18a    Dishes almost complete with apples or pears? (7)
{ENTRÉES} Remove the last letter from ‘to complete’ (3). Add ‘apples or pears?’ to get dishes

20a    Source of bun otherwise served during tea (7)
{CHELSEA} Part of London associated with buns = ‘otherwise’ inside tea

21a    Stream with source blocked produces stink (4)
{REEK} Remove the first letter (source blocked) from stream to get stink

22a    What’s chimney having left at the end — coal? (4)
{FUEL} Take a word meaning chimney and move the L (left) to the end of the word.

23a    Offence church found about the limit (5)
{CRIME} An offence = an abbreviation for a church round limit (edge)

26a    Promotional material sanctions returning car (5)
{SKODA} A reversal of promotional material (2) sanctions (3) is a Czech car manufacturer

27a    Stress is evident in printing unit appearance (9)
{EMPHASISE} ‘To stress’ = IS inside a printing unit + appearance

28a    The GI, say, and the silver (6,2,5)
{PIECES OF EIGHT} This term for old Spanish silver coins appears to indicate an anagram of THE GI


1d    Could this represent dicer’s luck at all? Almost entirely! (10,4)
{CALCULATED RISK} An anagram (represent) of DICER’S LUCK AT AL(L) gives something that gamblers often take

2d    Rising row about manager’s initial scope (5)
{REMIT} A reversal (rising) of row (line or rank) round M (first letter of manager) gives scope

3d    I will get it with beer and whisky! (10)
{INEBRIATED} An anagram (whisky!) of I IT BEER AND gives what too much beer and whisky will make you. I don’t think I’m keen on whisky as an anagram indicator

4d    Pope’s Rome residence incorporates the reverse of such penitence? (7)
{REMORSE} Penitence is hidden in reversed form in Popes Rome residence

5d    Local direction indicator? (3,4)
{INN SIGN} A cryptic definition of something found outside a pub

6d    Spot limitations of erroneous policy (4)
{ESPY} ‘To spot’ is formed from the first and last letters of ErroneouS PolicY

7d    Angle article brought up about Italy and old people born locally? (9)
{NATIONALS} A reversal (brought up) of ‘angle’ and the indefinite article goes round I (Italy) O (old) to gibe ‘people born locally?’

8d    Railway worker’s representative involving me in hierarchy (4,10)
{LINE MANAGEMENT} A railway worker (7) + a representative round ME gives a hierarchy in the workplace

14d    Father on rough sea catching fish’s trail (5,5)
{PAPER CHASE} Father + an anagram (rough) of SEA goes round a fish to give a trail laid in a racing game

16d    Hopes unit is reorganised for it (2,3,4)
{IN THE SOUP} An anagram (reorganised) of HOPES UNIT gives a phrase meaning ‘in difficulties or trouble’. I don’t really get this clue

19d    The rest they use at sea (4-3)
{SHUT-EYE} Rest (sleep) is an anagram 9st sea) of THEY USE

20d    Island ballad? Line in island poem not half about sun (7)
{CALYPSO} A ballad from an island in the West Indies = L (line) in island (3) + PO (half of poem) round S (sun)

24d    Preparation of vegetables, discarding head and topping (5)
{ICING} Remove the first letter (head) from ‘chopping up vegetables into small cubical pieces’ to get topping (for a cake)

25d    A naval group avoiding fighting in prison (4)
{CAGE} It seemed likely that this was the answer but it needed Cryptic Sue to explain it because neither BD nor I could justify it. Take A RN (naval group) from fighting and you get prison. I had hoped that when I had been told the explanation that I would kick myself and say “Of course. Fair enough”. It didn’t happen. I’m still underwhelmed. Where many words can fit in with the crossing letters then I think that the setter should give a fairly obvious clue to a common word. This was far from obvious. And I’m not keen on fighting as a definition for *******

A nice puzzle apart from that

17 comments on “Toughie 729

  1. Very enjoyable puzzle, I struggled to get going but once I did it all came quite quickly. Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo for the review/hints.

  2. Nice gentle fare on offer today favourites 3d 19d and 26a thanks to Kcit and to Bufo for the comments.

  3. 10A) Stumped. New word to me – didn’t get it. Live and learn!

    16D) The anagram was easy, but like Bufo, I just don’t get it!

    The rest seemed easy enough.

  4. I gave it ***/*** as of those crosswords when you get the right answer and then work it out!
    Thanks for the hints-i now know why i solved 27a and 4d and 12a, i was trying to disregard ‘intelligence’ from a book to get the cats and dogs answer instead of the other way round-very enjoyable anyway.

  5. I enjoyed this one, especially as I was in a slightly grumpy mood after the back-page puzzle. As I said earlier, perhaps I got out of bed on the wrong side.
    Thanks to Kcit for the puzzle, Bufo for the puzzle, and Crypticsue for so kindly emailing me the explanation behind 25d.

  6. Because it took me longer to solve the back page puzzle than normal, my solving of the toughie had to be interspersed with work so I can’t really accurately comment on the difficulty, although it did take a while, particularly for the top half’s pennies to drop. I will also admit to the application of Tippex. I partricularly liked 1a and 28a. Thanks to Kcit and Bufo.

  7. Laid up in the san today with the worst recorded case of man flu in medical history so have got time for what I hoped would be a Ray T and a challenge here with the Toughie. No such luck! But heigh-ho such is life. Thanks to setters & reviewers for both.

  8. I presume that the definition of 16d is “for it” as in “You’ll be for it when your father gets home”.

    1. That would be my take on it as well. I well rembember those words from my mother…mental torture from getting in from school until the old man got back from work…

  9. I solved about 60% in the mnorning than filled in the rest on the tube at lunch. I threwq in 25d without understanding (so thanks to CS and all!). Other than that I found it fun enough so thanks to Kcit and to Bufo

  10. Thanks to Kcit & Bufo for the review & hints. I quite enjoyed this one, I was able to do the majority of it, but got stuck on the right hand side, enjoyed using the hints for these. Favourite was 28a.

  11. After a mediocre start to the week there has been 2 really good puzzles today. Best were 1a 17 and 28. When my mother said I was for it I knew I was 16d! 20a was last in with a big guffaw and grinding of teeth.

  12. Having made a flying start on this, I ground to a halt and the final five or so clues took nearly as long as the rest put together. It all came together nicely including 25d so thanks to Kcit for the crossword and to Bufo for the review.

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