Toughie 773 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 773

Toughie No 773 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

My 100th blog for Big Dave features a Giovanni puzzle that was enjoyable to do though not very difficult. Even the pairs of unchecked letters in many of the down answers didn’t cause any significant problems (except perhaps for 1 down where the answer is a word that was new 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    Report of injuries in this physics unit (5)
{HERTZ} A homophone of a word meaning ‘injuries’ is the derived SI unit of frequency

4a    Power brought by rank endlessly leading to anger (8)
{LEVERAGE} Power = a rank with the last letter removed + anger

8a    Fellow passenger arriving perhaps in holed vessel (8)
{COLANDER} A 2-letter prefix denoting ‘fellow’ + someone who may be arriving by plane or boat = a kitchen utensil with holes in

9a    Notice fibre lacking in English soldier who assists senior officer? (8)
{ADJUTANT} A notice (2) + a fibre with the letter E (English) removed + a soldier (insect) = an officer specially appointed to assist a commanding officer

11a    The old woman with dead dog (7)
{MASTIFF} The old woman (i.e. your mother) + ‘dead’ = a thick-set, powerful breed of dog

13a    A mother’s going to American university meeting Harvard’s foremost economist (4,5)
{ADAM SMITH} A + mother’s + the abbreviation for a university in Cambridge, Massachusetts + the first letter of Harvard = a Scottish economist pictured on a £20 note

15a    Natural liar uses manoeuvres — it’s a game (10,5)
{AUSTRALIAN RULES} An anagram (manoeuvres) of NATURAL LIAR USES is a code of football that is very big in Melbourne

18a    Fix vehicle for Spooner to get going (4-5)
{KICK START} Fix vehicle (5,4) is a Spoonerism of ‘to get (an engine) going’

21a    Draw an area for the audience (7)
{ATTRACT} ‘To draw (a crowd, attention, etc)’ sounds like an area

22a    One has a single tube at home for inserting into wine (8)
{CLARINET} A woodwind instrument with a single thin reed = ‘at home’ inside a dark-red wine

24a    What may show recession’s hard — business at Stansted? (8)
{HAIRLINE} What may show that recession is happening on the head = H (hard) + a business that might be based at Stansted

25a    One having inspiration in the break (8)
{BREATHER} 2 meanings: one who inspires air/a break

26a    Prepare to have imprisonment but not for the top people (5)
{DRESS} ‘To prepare’ = a word meaning ‘imprisonment’ from which the letter U (for the top people) has been removed


1d    Tree must be cut that has mark — a strategic move (10)
{HACKMATACK} An American larch = ‘to cut’ + M (mark) + A + strategic move

2d    Takes pleasure in his leers naughtily (8)
{RELISHES} ‘Takes pleasure’ is an anagram (naughtily) of HIS LEERS

3d    Island’s unknown character I found in a Kiwi watering-hole (8)
{ZANZIBAR} An island off the east coast of Africa (now part of Tanzania) = a letter denoting an unknown + I inside A Kiwi (New Zealand) watering hole (pub)

4d    Stars in synthetic fabric not cold (4)
{LYRA} A small constellation = a fabric made from a lightweight elastomeric fibre with the letter C (cold) removed

5d    Follows little girl, being there to offer protection (6)
{ENSUES} ‘Follows’ = a diminutive form of a girl’s name inside ‘being’

6d    Base dipso taken short when imbibing a litre (6)
{ALKALI} A base (as opposed to an acid) = a dipso with the last letter removed put round A L (litre)

7d    Genuine article turning up outside front of Christie’s (4)
{ECHT} A word (from German) for ‘genuine’ is formed by reversing the definite article and putting it round C (first letter of Christie’s)

10d    Jock with a sports vehicle coming to a capital city (8)
{DJAKARTA} A jock (disc jockey) + A racing vehicle + A = the capital of Indonesia

12d    Female isn’t well, a female with little energy certain not to conk out (4-4)
{FAIL-SAFE} F (female) + ‘isn’t well’ + A F (female) E (little energy) = ‘certain not to conk out’

14d    Does what Tom cannot do and gets very cross (3,7)
{HAS KITTENS} A phrase meaning ‘gets very cross’ could also mean ‘does what Tom (a male cat) cannot do’

16d    Soldiers getting stuck in remained in position taken earlier? (8)
{RESTORED} A 2-letter abbreviation for soldiers that are not commissioned officers goes inside ‘remained’ to give ‘in position taken earlier’

17d    Enjoy life without a mounting burden — this can free things up! (8)
{LAXATIVE} ‘To enjoy life’ goes round A + a reversal of burden to give an agent stimulating evacuation of faeces

19d    Rough path gets reported (6)
{COARSE} ‘Rough’ is a homophone of the path along which something moves

20d    Small lake coming into view (6)
{SLIGHT} ‘Small’ = L (lake) inside view

22d    Organisation’s card (4)
{CLUB} An organisation is one of 13 cards in a pack of cards

23d    Old character not quite becoming a god (4)
{THORN} A letter in the Old English, Old Norse and Icelandic alphabets has its last letter removed to give the Scandinavian thunder god

Here’s to the next 100

16 comments on “Toughie 773

  1. Very entertaining puzzle from todays setter, favourites were 11a 14d and 26a thanks to Giovanni and to Bufo for the comments.

  2. Too tough for me! But, I enjoyed the few I solved unaided.

    I’ve read the hints but I still do not understand 4a, 18a & 5d.

    Think I’ll stick to the back-pager.

    1. 4a Rank is LEVEL – remove the final L and add RAGE (anger)
      18a Spooner would transpose the initial letters of the answer to make STICK (fix) + KART (vehicle).
      5d ENS (being or existence) contains (offers protection to) SUE (little girl).

  3. Congratulations on scoring a ton – we could do with you in the England cricket side!

    It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were sitting in the White Horse, both a bit the worse for the wear, and you said “I’ll do blog or two for you”!

    1. Yes! Congrats to Bufo on the century!

      With regard to the contributors’ scores – they were there yesterday (in the right-hand panel) but not today!

      1. That’s because I changed the widget. The old one did not conform with up-to-date WordPress protocol, so I was unable to display it selectively on different pages.

  4. Very enjoyable toughie from Giovanni, a couple of words that were new to me but easily worked out, great fun. Thanks to Giovanni and to Bufo.

  5. Apart from 3 or 4 words that were new to me I didn’t find this much harder than Giovanni’s normal pack-pagers. The unknown words were very clearly clued so, with that and the BRB, I got there in the end . Most enjoyable :smile:

    Many thanks to Giovanni and Bufo (and congrats on the ton :grin:).

  6. Very enjoyable, thank you Giovanni. Never heard of that tree but the wordplay was helpful and then I looked up to make sure it really existed. Lots of favourites today including 17d amongst many other dots by my grid. Thanks to Bufo too and congratulations on the 100. ‘Worse for wear in the White Horse’ – you and Big Dave – never !!! :D

    1. I’d not heard of the tree either, but a quick dip into my refrence books confirmed.

  7. Just had a very quick look before going up the garden – haven’t read hints or comments yet and will carry on later but had to say that I loved 11a!

  8. Finished this puzzle in the early hours of this morning. Very entertaining.

    Never heard of 1d before – used electronic device to get it!

    Liked : 8a, 13a, 18a, 26a, 3d, 7d (in Berlin perhaps?), 14d & 17d.

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