Toughie 766 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 766

Toughie No 766 by Firefly

What’s Your Poisson?

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

We’ve had a game of musical chairs this morning and I’ve ended up in Tilsit’s seat while he’s detained in hospital – get well soon, Tilsit!
I wasn’t overly impressed with this for a Friday Toughie. There’s not too much sparkle and some of the clues seem a bit forced. A basic knowledge of French helps.
[I should have noticed – but didn’t – that the puzzle has a capital theme based on 1a.]
Let us know what you thought and please take the time to record your enjoyment factor by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Resistance insufficiently worn down? (11)
{UNDERGROUND} – double definition – a secret resistance movement and a cryptic way of saying not sufficiently smoothed down.

9a  Cook did pud — I’ve done the sharing out (7,2)
{DIVIDED UP} – a phrasal verb meaning shared out is an anagram (cook) of DID PUD I’VE.

10a  Clear cellar (5)
{VAULT} – double definition, clear as in leap over.

11a  Regularly act in racy French version of the ‘Ring’? (6)
{CIRCLE} – the definition here is ring. Start with the even (regularly) letters of act in racy, then finish with a French version of “the”.

12a  Plum pivotal part of debonair civilian reverting to an insider (8)
{VICTORIA} – this is a type of plum. Reverse (reverting) the central (pivotal) six letters of ‘debonair civilian’ then insert (an insider) TO. The surface doesn’t make much sense to me.

13a  Look out — dog in stable! (6)
{SECURE} – an adjective meaning stable or solid comes from putting a verb meaning to look on the outside of a non-pedigree dog.

15a  Lack of resolution’s first shown by the sailors in 19, perhaps (8)
{NORTHERN} – lack of resolution’s first letter gives us NO R. Add a definite article (in the clue) and our sailors to get a description that might apply to 19a.

18a  I’m up, just, dressed in diving gear (4,4)
{JUMP SUIT} – an anagram (dressed) of I’M UP JUST gives us something originally designed for wearing when diving out of an aircraft but now used for any one-piece garment.

19a  Chilling sound of Noah’s clock? (6)
{ARCTIC} – an informal adjective meaning very cold could (just about) as (3,3) be the sound of a clock on Noah’s vessel.

21a  Go with dream — put in wager on Oscar (6,2)
{BELONG TO} – this is a phrasal verb meaning to go with or be closely connected with. A verb meaning to dream or yearn is inserted in a wager, then finish with the letter that Oscar is used for in the Nato phonetic alphabet.

23a  Checked sharp edges of ashbin (6)
{TARTAN} – the definition here is checked, as in having a check pattern. A synonym for sharp-tasting is followed by the outer (edges) letters of ashbin.

26a  Couched in deceit (5)
{LYING} – double definition, the first cryptic.

27a  Iran loath to use gas installation? (9)
{INHALATOR} – an anagram (to use) of IRAN LOATH gives us another term for a respirator. Installation seems an odd word to use here.

28a  Very sick Italian dictator quietly accepted dietary supplement (7,4)
{VITAMIN PILL} – this dietary supplement is formed from V(ery) and a synonym for sick with between the two (accepted) a) the abbreviation for Italian Vermouth, b) the surname of the old Ugandan dictator and c) the musical abbreviation for quietly.

Down Clues

1d  Medic fills latter two-thirds of chests and leaves high-level station (7)
{UNDOCKS} – insert an abbreviation for a medic inside large boxes (chests) without their first two letters (latter two-thirds) to get a verb meaning separates (from a space station, say).

2d  Vicar’s a kind of card — turning up as loon? (5)
{DIVER} – this loon is a waterbird. An abbreviated title for a vicar is followed by the kind of card that holds personal details, then that is all reversed (turning up).

3d  Arrest led convert into times of increased vigilance (3,6)
{RED ALERTS} – an anagram (convert) of ARREST LED.

4d  Make new version of altar-screen — about quarter lost from sides (4)
{REDO} – this is a verb meaning to give something a makeover or make new. Start with the screen or panelling behind a church altar, then lose the “about” from the front and the cardinal point (quarter) from the back.

5d  A swimmer in Boulogne’s sixth to go for detox (8)
{UNPOISON} – the French (in Boulogne) for an edible swimmer (2,7) loses the sixth letter (sixth to go) to leave an awkward verb meaning to rid of toxic matter.

6d  Victor’s wearing composition jacket (5)
{DUVET} – the letter for which Victor is used in the Nato phonetic alphabet is contained inside a musical composition for two performers. The result is a thick down-filled coat worn by mountaineers.

7d  I daren’t mess about, so get off at 12, maybe (7)
{DETRAIN} – an anagram (mess about) of I DAREN’T produces a verb to get off, at 12a for example.

8d  Food from Brazil, say, having nothing of French ‘ton’ (8)
{NUTRIENT} – this is a word for food. Start with what brazil is a type of (not wax – I’d never get away with the picture!), then add the French word for nothing and T(on).

14d  Carp caught by old member — Frank (8)
{COMPLAIN} – this is a verb to carp or moan. Start with abbreviations for caught, old and member, then add an adjective meaning frank or straightforward.

16d  Sailor-boy wearing waterproof (9)
{TARPAULIN} – a heavy-duty waterproof material is a charade of an informal word for a sailor, a boy’s name and a word meaning wearing.

17d  Quarter of coppers cheated, we hear (8)
{DISTRICT} – this is a quarter or area. The abbreviation for more than one senior detective is followed by what sounds like (we hear) a verb meaning cheated or deceived.

18d  Great rejoicing when Jack meets topless sexy Oriental! (7)
{JUBILEE} – a period of great rejoicing like the royal anniversary that we’re celebrating this year comes from a) the abbreviation used for jack in bridge notation, b) an adjective meaning sexily attractive without its leading N (topless) and c) the abbreviation for oriental.

20d  Principal clarinet I dismissed for discordance (7)
{CENTRAL} – an anagram (for discordance) of CLAR(i)NET with the I dismissed.

22d  Desert attractive Genevieve — partly as comeuppance? (5)
{NEGEV} – a desert region which makes up most of southern Israel is hidden (partly) and reversed (comeuppance) in the clue.

24d  All the undermentioned tried tofu — incredibly — for starters (5)
{TUTTI} – a musical term meaning with all performers is built from the starting letters of five consecutive words in the clue.

25d  Fancy wife with that bloke (4)
{WHIM} – a fancy or impulse comes from W(ife) followed by a male pronoun (that bloke).

My favourite clue today was 2d – what was yours?

37 comments on “Toughie 766

  1. I quite liked this one today. Did anybody else notice the 1a theme….?
    Thanks to Firefly, and to gazza.

    1. Oops, no – missed it completely, but I do live a long way from the capital. Thanks Jezza.

  2. Fairly straightforward for a Friday Toughie but fairly enjoyable. I liked 2d too Gazza and yes, Jezza, I did notice the 1a theme too. Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

    Anyone with time left on this gloomy day might wish to seek out the splendid Arachne cryptic in the Guardian. I have a day off and an interspersing such riveting tasks as freezer defrosting and floor washing with cryptic crosswords. It is a sort of trial/reward thing :)

    1. Agreed Sue, verbatim what I would have posted earlier. Off topic for this Blog I think the spider woman just gets better and better. Firefly and Gazza thanks as always from a very damp Peterborough with increasingly high river levels, eek, and its a bit brrr for May too!

      BD I had a similar issue with another post this week, I couldn’t even copy and paste from MS Word my e-mail address, the scrollbar, happily not there today, wouldn’t allow it.

  3. Finished without recourse to Gazza’s excellent hints, patting myself on the back, you good people didn’t say it was easy….. Hooray :-). Liked 8, 17, 6 and with prompting I twigged the theme, I too live a long way from the capital. Thanks Firefly

  4. Nothing to do with today’s toughie but where has the back page puzzle gone? I can’t find it in the list down the side – it was there much earlier this am – am I being stupid AGAIN?

        1. …in the strange world of the unusual where everyday things happen all of the time…

            1. Do you want me to try to give you hints for those two? I could try to remember the gist of what Digby said in his hints or make them up myself!!

                1. OK – here goes!
                  20a Definition is an image – something to do with photos which is far too clever for me to understand! It is made up from 2 letters for miserable looking – usually followed by “faced” then the usual 3 letter word for model (or pose) followed by the contraction of “I have” from the clue.
                  21d Someone who might give a stirring speech before soldiers go into action. A 1 letter abbreviation of “old” followed by a 3 letter word for “cad” followed 2 letters for soldiers (other ranks)
                  Hope that’s some help and that the wanderers will return soon!

                  1. many thanks Kath- I had just worked them out!! Its funny when you just can’t see it! I had every 2nd lette for 20a and still was getting nowhere! Then I couldn’t understand why! I thought it was to do with pose( model) iv (i have) but was left with IT??? You have put me out of my misery :)

                  2. Thanks Kath – I was stuck on 21d too – great hint. I’m just left with 23a – can you help? Perhaps you should start your own site – Big Kath! :)

                    1. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Kath … whereas Big Dave is… Kath on the other hand … isn’t!

                1. Good – isn’t it amazing what we can do when there’s no alternative to “perservation”!! :grin:

                  1. there’s never an alternative to perservation Kath, it is what it is :-), strange where the back page blog has gone!!

  5. Very enjoyable and untaxing for an amber liquid soaked brain. Thanks to Firefly for the crossword and Gazza for the pictures. (and the hints )

  6. Sorry for hijacking the toughie blog, gazza! Off to cut grass now so won’t be a pest for a while! :smile:

  7. Can anybody tell me whether the criptic crossword has gone out yet. I’m not sure that I’m properly signed in yet

    1. It seems to have disappeared collywobs, it was here earlier, see Kathe comment above!! I’m sure Dave is working on the problem

      1. So am I right Mary in that a number of people, or maybe all the people, are not getting the e.mailed hints

          1. I didn’t get it as an e.mail and I can’t find it on the internet. The hints must be in the ether

            1. do you need any help? If you do go to the ‘comments’ box under ‘contact’ at the top of the page, that way we won’t choke up the ‘toughie’ blog

              1. I rather think that we have already clogged up the toughie blog – so what difference does one more make?! :smile:

  8. Greetings all and thanks to BD for standing in at a bit longer notice than usual. Obstruction was cleared yesterday and all is reasonably ok, though I am a bit tired.

    Pleased to say that I managed a daring escape making a glider out of used pee pots, disguised as a hospital porter, managed to get through unrecognised. I landed home last evening and am having a lazy day today.

    I bought the Telegraph and Times, tackled the Toughie and found it a pleasant solve, although I didn’t spot the ‘theme’ until later on. The Times was a bit tougher and in truth a little more enjoyable.

    If you a looking for a good challenge today, I suggest you tackle Monk in today’s Independent (and i, I think). It’s a really good challenge.

    Now Monk would be a cracking addition to the Toughie pool!

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