Toughie 774 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 774

Toughie No 774 by Myops

Heavens above!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment *****

Tilsit is still in hospital waiting patiently for his operation so he has handed the baton to me.

It’s always a pleasure to review a Myops Toughie as you get the chance to enjoy it twice over. The blue highlighter is out in force today!

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    Spoils of war figuratively? (4)
{MARS} – this verb meaning spoils is also the name of the Roman god of war

3a    Eccentric person flips over group of stars (5)
{DRACO} – reverse (flips) an eccentric person and then add O(ver) to get a northern constellation of stars

6a    Vet’s box (4)
{CASE} – a double definition – to vet or check out, typically in the phrase “to **** the joint”, and a box

8a    Everyone coming in cold gets great help in anagram to begin with; the way it’s done here (15)
{TELEGRAPHICALLY} – put a three-letter word for everyone inside an adjective meaning cold and precede the result with an anagram of GREAT HELP to get the way it’s done in this newspaper

9a    Naughty child starts to enjoy doing everything to obstruct (6)
{IMPEDE} – start with a naughty child and then add the initial letters of (starts to) three words in the clue to get a verb meaning to obstruct

10a    Commercial traveller has alarm fitted in as device MOT requires (4,4)
{REAR LAMP} – put a commercial traveller around an anagram (fitted) of ALARM to get a device that is required in order to pass the MOT

11a    Honey and French toast originally found in old English egg dish (8)
{OMELETTE} – put a three-letter word for honey, the French for “and” and the initial letter of Toast inside the abbreviation of Old English to get an egg dish

13a    Religious service in the morning: it’s about time sin must be dealt with (6)
{MATINS} – this religious service is held in the morning and comes from the Latin for morning – but the definition is “religious service” and it is derived by reversing (it’s about) the two-letter abbreviation for morning and then adding T(ime) and an anagram (must be dealt with) of SIN

15a    Ivy League university offers accommodation to fine fellow and bird (6)
{YAFFLE} – put an Ivy League university around (offers accommodation to) F(ine) and F(ellow) to get this green woodpecker

17a    Screwtop container is rule in India? No, South America, contrariwise (5,3)
{MASON JAR} – to get this screwtop container, similar to the one invented in the UK by Kilner, construct a charade of the British rule in India, NO, S(outh) and AM(erica) and reverse the lot (contrariwise)

19a    Trumpet about to die down (4,4)
{BLOW OVER} – a charade of a verb meaning to trumpet and a preposition meaning about gives a phrasal verb meaning to die down

21a    Enrolled Nurse to carry tube for adrenaline shot (6)
{EpiPen®}  – put an Enrolled Nurse around (to carry) a tube to get an injection device designed for self-administration of adrenaline in medical emergencies

22a    Nudes fill out gradually pleasing themselves (4-11)
{SELF-INDULGENTLY} – an anagram (out) of NUDES FILL followed by an adverb meaning gradually to get a different adverb meaning pleasing themselves

23a    Eye inflammation or is it eye failing to open? (4)
{STYE} – this eye inflammation is created by dropping the initial letters (failing to open) of three words in the clue

24a    Don’t say anything about yen in recession: you’ll have more withdrawn (5)
{SHYER} – an two-letter exclamation meaning don’t say anything followed by a two-letter word for about and Y(en) both reversed (in recession) gives an adjective meaning more withdrawn

25a    Masseur generally has to press (4)
{URGE} –hidden inside (has) the first two words of the clue is a verb meaning to press or encourage


1d    At border in second American state forming union (9)
{MATRIMONY} – put AT and a border inside a second or brief period of time and an American state to get a union of man and wife

2d    Reneger’s first to pass or decline (7)
{RELAPSE} – the initial letter of (first to) Reneger is followed by a verb meaning to pass to get a decline

3d    Rode roughshod over insect with thoracal wings, a cockchafer (3-6)
{DOR-BEETLE} – put an anagram (roughshod) of RODE around an insect and the outside letters (wings) of ThoracaL to get a cockchafer

4d    Is priest cutting short sermon in time to sprinkle holy water? (7)
{ASPERGE} – put P(riest) inside (cutting) SER(mon) and then put it all inside a long period of time to get a verb meaning to sprinkle holy water – yes, ser. is given in Chambers as an abbreviation of sermon

5d    European agreements board claimed to hear from the other side (5)
{OUIJA} – a new twist on an old chestnut – combine “yes” in two European languages to get a board claimed to hear from the other side

6d    Diagram heads article about Louisiana fraud (9)
{CHARLATAN} – start with a diagram and an indefinite article and then insert the abbreviation of Louisiana to get a fraud or impostor

7d    Israelite king, single, married just after (7)
{SOLOMON} – this wise Israelite king comes from a charade of a word meaning single, M(arried) and a preposition meaning after

12d    Lorna with a fortissimo note, who rose to Berlin’s demands (9)
{LUFTWAFFE} – start with the surname of Judy Garland’s daughter Lorna and add W(ith), the A from the clue, the musical notation for fortissimo and the third note of the diatonic scale of C major to get the air force who rose to Berlin’s demands

13d    Letter soldiers seal and German who carried it (9)
{MESSENGER} – start with the name of a letter in the alphabet inside (seal) some soldiers and then add GER(man) to get the person who night have carried a letter

14d    Worm that’s threadlike in form or up to no good (9)
{STRONGYLE} – to get this parasitic threadworm start with a form or pattern and insert OR reversed (up in a down clue) and the abbreviation of No Good – ok, I’d never heard of it, but I worked it out from the checking letters and the wordplay

16d    Objective lecturer is bound to cover otorhinolaryngology disorder (7)
{AILMENT} – start with an objective around (is bound) a L(ecturer) and then add the hospital department that specialises in otorhinolaryngology to get this disorder

17d    Roman 13 down glad to grab copper (7)
{MERCURY} – this Roman 13 down is derived from an adjective meaning glad around (to grab) the chemical symbol for copper

18d    Saturn’s son taking precedence in celestial order? (7)
{JUPITER} – this son of Saturn dethroned his father

20d    Even USA accepts a Wimbledon champion (5)
{VENUS} – hidden inside the clue is the first name of Serena’s elder sister

There’s a bit of a celestial mini-theme today!

10 comments on “Toughie 774

  1. The celestial theme certainly helped to solve a very fair and challenging puzzle.
    VMT to Myops & My oppo.

  2. A very enjoyable puzzle to end my week. Thanks to Myops, and to BD for the notes.
    I did wonder in 18d whether ‘taking precedence in celestial order’ was a reference to it being closer than Saturn in the solar system.

  3. Super crossword but as usual with Myops, I needed assistance. Many thanks again to Myops for stretching me and to BD for the excellent review.

  4. Even with the dratted worm, I would still only award this 2* Toughie difficulty and about 3.5 for enjoyment. Thanks to Myops for a nice Friday toughie and to BD for the review.

  5. Nice ending to the Toughie week, fairly gentle I thought for a Myops puzzle, favourites 8d11a and 23a thanks to setter and to Big Dave for the comments.

  6. For no reason this took me ages to get a decent foothold, but when the pennies started dropping fell into place very enjoyably. The worm defeated me without resort to electronic help. Thanks to BD and Myops, and best wishes for Mr Tilley

  7. SOLOMON Grundy,
    Born on a Monday,
    CHRISTENED on Tuesday,
    MARRIED on Wednesday,
    Took ILL on Thursday,
    Grew WORSE on Friday,
    Died on Saturday,
    Buried on Sunday.
    That was the end,
    Of Solomon Grundy

    was adapted 22 across to the days of the Toughie, from 1 across to 17, 18, 20 down. See the initial letters of the clues.

    1. aarrgghh, I looked and looked, well done you, and thank you so much , keep them coming please

  8. Re 3d, a Dor Beetle (Geotrupes stercorarius) is a different species altogether from a Cock-chafer (Melolontha melolontha) apparently.

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