Toughie 731 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 731

Toughie No 731 by Cephas

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

A pleasant puzzle, albeit not at the difficult end of the Toughie spectrum.

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    Scot’s exam covering state of Germany (10)
{HIGHLANDER} – a inhabitant of a mountainous region of Scotland is created by putting a (Scottish) exam around the German for a state or country (in their case preceded by Deutch)

6a    Ambassador assuming work may be long (4)
{HOPE} – put the usual abbreviation of for His Excellency the Ambassador around a short word for a musical work to get a verb meaning to long or wish

8a    African spirit returns, meeting Queen in a novel (8)
{NIGERIAN} – to get this African start with an alcoholic spirit, reverse it (returns) add the usual abbreviation of Elizabeth Regina and an anagram (novel) of IN A

9a    Amateur songster? (6)
{LAYMAN} – this amateur could be someone who writes songs

10a    To blame clue is misguided — it’s about record by Jack (8)
{CULPABLE} – an adjective meaning deserving blame is created by putting an anagram (misguided) of CLUE around an old vinyl record and a jack or sailor

11a    Voracious journalist in dull surroundings (6)
{GREEDY} – an adjective meaning voracious is derived by putting the usual senior journalist inside (surroundings) a word meaning dull or gloomy

12a    Record will be playing in little while (4)
{MONO} – a record which gives the effect of sound from a single direction is created by putting a word meaning playing inside a little while or brief period of time

14a    Doctor’s admitted favouring South Africa’s old detached area (7)
{FORMOSA} – put a doctor inside (admitted) a word meaning favouring and the abbreviation of South Africa to get the old name for the island (detached area) of Taiwan

18a    American’s in a submarine, maybe, enjoying life? (2,1,4)
Newspaper version – Going round having period of good fortune ( 2,1,4) [Thanks Pegasus]
{ON A ROLL} – this could mean in the type of long sandwich that the Americans call a submarine actually means enjoying life

20a    One continuing to hold it back (4)
{UNIT} – a word meaning one is hidden and reversed (hold it back) inside the clue

23a    Summer term when Masters course is cut short (6)
{AUGUST} – this summer month can be derived by dropping the final letter (cut short) from the golf course where the US Masters is played

24a    Refasten broken window (8)
{FENESTRA} – an anagram (broken) of REFASTEN gives a window or small opening – easy if you know your Latin!

25a    Woman or a man in sporting alliance (6)
{FATIMA} – to get this woman’s name put A from the clue and a man’s name inside the alliance that runs football in the UK

26a    Tough had jumped right queue (8)
{HARDLINE} – to get this adjective meaning tough put HAD around (jumped) R(ight) and add a queue

27a    Reported dirty place that’s an eyesore? (4)
{STYE} – what sounds like a dirty place inhabited by pigs is actually an eye infection

28a    Suit(e) (5-5)
{THREE-PIECE} – this can be either a suit of clothes or a suite of furniture


1d    Restrain worker on strike (8)
{HANDCUFF} – this verb meaning to restrain is a charade of a worker (not the usual ant or bee, but a human worker!) and a verb meaning to strike with the open hand

2d    Soldier’s turn with vulgar-sounding escort (6)
{GIGOLO} – run together a US soldier, a turn and what sounds like an adjective meaning vulgar to get a male escort

3d    Rope in the Parisian — number left laughing (6)
{LARIAT} – this rope is built up from the French feminine definite article and an adjective meaning laughing from which the N(umber) has been dropped (left)

4d    Male youth who could be a miss? (6,3)
{NEARLY MAN} – a slightly cryptic definition of someone who narrowly fails to achieve expected success

5d    More than fifty will get access to area code (8)
{RELIGION} – put the Roman numerals for fifty-one inside (will get access to) an area to get this code or belief

6d    Bit of a laugh before unknown excitement causes snitch irritation (3,5)
{HAY FEVER} – put a bit of a laugh (two letters that are usually repeated) in front of a mathematical unknown and add some excitement to get an irritation of the nose (snitch) caused by pollen

7d    Relating to meal Dan and April prepared (8)
{PRANDIAL} – this adjective meaning relating to a meal is an anagram (prepared) of DAN and APRIL

13d    French church remote and ornate (5-4)
{NOTRE-DAME} – this Gothic cathedral church in Paris, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is an anagram (ornate) of REMOTE AND

15d    Tenant put pound initially into different account (8)
{OCCUPANT} – this tenant is created by putting the initial letter of Pound inside an anagram (different) of ACCOUNT

16d    Very small details, two different ones appearing in time (8)
{MINUTIAE} – these very small details are derived by putting I and A (two different ones) inside(appearing in) a unit of time

17d    Take away vehicle over land (8)
{SUBTRACT} – a mathematical operation meaning to take away is built up from the reversal (over in a down clue) od a public service vehicle followed by an area of land

19d    Beans Lee served up for people in the country (8)
{LEBANESE} – a rather obvious anagram (served up) of BEANS LEE gives these people from a Middle Eastern country

21d    Nonconformist padre acquires university study (4,2)
{READ UP} – put an anagram (nonconformist) of PADRE around (acquires) U(niversity) to get a phrasal verb meaning to study

22d    Mark of corporal (punishment) (6)
{STRIPE} – a corporal in the army wears two of these marks on his sleeve – it can also be the mark left by of corporal punishment

A very gentle start to the week. What will tomorrow bring?

16 comments on “Toughie 731

  1. Straightforward fare today, I notice 18a is totally different in the paper Going round having period of good fortune ( 2,1,4) thanks to Cephas and to Big Dave for the hints.

  2. Pleasant enough start to the week. No real difficulty, although I missed the reversal in 17d, assuming the vehicle was SUB(marine).
    Thanks to Cephas, and to BD.

  3. I don’t normally do the Toughie, but inspired by a couple of comments on the DT26806 page about it being easy, I decided to try my luck. It was easier than today’s back pager in my opinion – and that was pretty simple today too. Just to add my two-penny worth re 17d, I agree with Jezza’s comment re SUB. Thanks to Cephas and BD.

  4. I often have a look at the Toughie and can occasionally get half way through, but today was definitely an ‘easier than usual’ puzzle. It gives me hope that one day I will be able to complete the real thing! Thanks to setter and to BD for explanations to the couple of clues I got stuck on.

  5. About 10% of the clues were worthy of “Toughie Status” but it was a pleasant enough work-out. And it might encourage one or two shrinking violets to graduate from the back page. Thanks Cephas; and BD for explaining why I had 5d right.

  6. This was by no means a Toughie as it took as long as the backy which was not very long. Did like 1a 4 and 28 but thought 25 was pretty naff. Now let’s watch Brummy stuff The Blues.

  7. Certainly a good crossword to inspire Toughie novices to dip their toes in the water. Thanks to Cephas for a gentle start to the Toughie week and to BD for the review.

  8. Yep, agreed on most of the above – plenty of Toughie constructions for the Toughie beginner without too much head scratching. Thanks Cephas and BD

  9. I felt encouraged to have a go at this one by comments in “the other place”. If this is a 2* toughie then I’m a fair way off ever being able to finish one regularly although I did once, in the dim and distant past. I managed most of this one but the top left corner remained blank apart from Id. I KNOW that it’s all to do with the frame of mind – it’s a toughie so I can’t do it – but some of these I would never have got. I enjoyed doing the 3/4 that I DID manage and hope that I’ve learnt something from the 1/4 that I didn’t. With thanks to Cephas and BD.

  10. Back page difficulty, but a very enjoyable puzzle nonetheless.

    Thanks to Cephas and BD.

  11. Don’t understand explanation for 3dn. La (French feminine def article) ok, which leaves riat. How does that become an adjective for laughing when you replace the n for number somewhere within it? It could only become riant or rinat

    1. Welcome to the blog BillyB

      You’ve got it! Riant means laughing. From the Latin ridere – to laugh – via the French rire.

      1. Hi BD. I’m actually BillyBusker and not new to the blog. Something strange happened when I wrote the above and it got sent before I’d filled in my name properly!! I couldn’t find riant in the Big Red Book (not in my edition anyway) but looked in a very old dic of my mother’s and hey presto, there it was. I felt a bit of an idiot and thought thank God I hadn’t identified myself properly. But then my mother always taught me honesty is the best policy, ha-ha! Thanks for all your efforts in making this a great site. I know I don’t blog very often but I look at the site every day. Regards, Billy.

  12. Thanks to Cephas & Big Dave for the review & hints. Agreed it was doable, needed 3 hints to finish. Nice puzzle. Favourite was 24a which I managed to solve without a hint!

Comments are closed.