Toughie 776 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 776

Toughie No 776 by Kcit

Sock It To ‘Em

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

As Toughies go this was at the easier end of the difficulty spectrum but I found it very enjoyable with a number of LOL clues.
Let us know how you got on and please take the time to grade the puzzle for enjoyment by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Hard to avoid astonishment if only wearing this? (4)
{SOCK} – you might well be astonished to come across someone wearing only this. Remove the H (hard to avoid) from a synonym of astonishment or amazement.

3a  Explains clue — unravelling is about time (10)
{ELUCIDATES} – an anagram (unravelling) of CLUE is followed by IS containing a time.

9a  Hard to take in an increased level of attention (4)
{HEAT} – H(ard) followed by a verb to take in or ingest makes an increased level of attention or pressure. If you can’t stand it get out of the kitchen.

10a  No new dispute after cancelling library’s core book classification (3-7)
{NON-FICTION} – NO and N(ew) are followed by a dispute without the central (core) letter of (lib)R(ary).

11a  ‘Goddess’ is a term abused (7)
{ARTEMIS} – this Greek goddess comes from an anagram (abused) of IS A TERM.

13a  Recalled article I regret about a Southern part of the globe (7)
{EURASIA} – this is a portmanteau word used to refer to the large part of the globe covered by two connected continents. String together an indefinite article, I and a verb meaning to regret, then reverse (recalled) what you have so far and insert A and S(outhern).

14a  Hispanic King limited by curious precaution (6,5)
{PUERTO RICAN} – an Hispanic native of a Caribbean island is constructed from a single-letter abbreviation for king surrounded (limited) by an anagram (curious) of PRECAUTION.

18a  Superior beer running short after one’s working behind bar (11)
{EXCEPTIONAL} – this is an adjective meaning superior or out of the ordinary. A word for beer without its final E (short) goes after I (one) and an adverb meaning working. Then, all that follows (behind) a preposition meaning bar or besides.

21a  Several deliveries appear short — what should captain do? (7)
{OVERSEE} – after several deliveries (six, normally) we want a verb to appear without its final M (short). This is obviously the word of the day because it also turns up on the back page.

22a  English militiaman finally invested in quality explosive (7)
{GRENADE} – E(nglish) and the final letter of (militiama)N are inserted (invested) in a synonym of quality or calibre.

23a  Get on with endless duties, unfortunately unable to speak (6-4)
{TONGUE-TIED} – this is an anagram (unfortunately) of GET ON and DUTIE(s).

24a  Some proper upbringing, in the country (4)
{PERU} – hidden (some) in the clue is the name of a country.

25a  No promises to arrange bird-watching? (10)
{SPOONERISM} – an anagram (to arrange) of NO PROMISES gives us a type of word botching.

26a  Likely to hum a line (4)
{RANK} – double definition.

Down Clues

1d  Head of Physics in school dozes? It’s the drink (8)
{SCHNAPPS} – this is a distilled alcoholic drink (of many different types, including some resembling gin). An abbreviation for school is followed by a verb meaning dozes, then the first letter (head) of P(hysics) is inserted.

2d  Plan a lot of time off in cathedral city (8)
{CHARTRES} – a cathedral city in northern France is constructed from a plan or map followed by a word for time off without its final T (lot of).

4d  Rugby team, note, covered in dirt? Just the reverse (5)
{LIONS} – this is a rugby team which comes together every two or three years to represent the whole of the British Isles. N(ote) is contained (covered) in a word for dirt reversed.

5d  One may have grounds to show if one’s drunk (6,3)
{COFFEE CUP} – cryptic definition of what may contain grounds.

6d  No criteria out of place following director with fixed opinions (11)
{DOCTRINAIRE} – an adjective meaning with fixed opinions or dogmatic comes from an anagram (out of place) of NO CRITERIA after D(irector).

7d  Non-drinker suppresses his, swallowing water ultimately! (6)
{THIRST} – what a non-drinker suppresses is formed from the abbreviation for a non-drinker containing (suppresses) HIS which, in turn, contains (swallowing) (wate)R.

8d  Crime supported by evil sailor (6)
{SINBAD} – the sailor hero of one of the stories in the Arabian Nights is another word for crime followed (supported, in a down clue) by a synonym of evil.

12d  Gin in Thermos? (7,4)
{MOTHER’S RUIN} – this is a slang term for gin. If you take the answer as an instruction to form an anagram you’ll end up with Thermos.

15d  List includes revolutionary romantic hero (9)
{ROCHESTER} – the object of Jane Eyre’s romantic interest comes from a list or schedule of duties with the usual South American revolutionary inside.

16d  American bananas not for public consumption (2,6)
{IN CAMERA} – an anagram (bananas) of AMERICAN gets us a phrase meaning taking place with the press and public excluded.

17d  Down with horseplay ending in stark panic (4,4)
{BLUE FUNK} – this state of great panic is made from an adjective meaning down or depressed followed by a synonym for horseplay or merrymaking and the end letter of (star)K.

19d  Wary, being upset over excluded juveniles (6)
{YOUTHS} – an adjective meaning wary or reticent is reversed (upset) and placed round an adverb meaning excluded or no longer involved.

20d  Shed’s thin roof not quite finished (4-2)
{LEAN-TO} – a shed is constructed from an adjective meaning thin followed by a synonym for roof without its final P (not quite finished).

22d  Reckon visitors will take time out (5)
{GUESS} – remove the T (time out) from invited visitors to leave a verb meaning to reckon or surmise.

My top clues today were 25a, 12d and 16d. What did you like?

8 comments on “Toughie 776

  1. Very enjoyable, thank you Kcit. Thanks to BD I agree with both your star ratings and favourite clues. My main hold up came with trying to find an English cathedral city to fit in 2d – I think it is a hazard of living and working near/in one ;)

  2. A really fun puzzle. Agree not all that hard but very well constructed. Like CS I spent some time trying to find an Engish city for 2 down – did you hear the penny drop?

    Favourite was 25a, and I don’t usually like Spoonerisms but this one was great :lol:

    Many thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  3. Got about half done then resorted to hints –to find some of my first ideas were correct but couldn’t see why so thanks to B.D. for lucid explanations and Kcit for the crossword. favourites, 3 and 13A, 16 and 17D

  4. Thanks Kcit for an enjoyable toughie and Gazza for the review, I agree with Pommers re 25a, very clever!

  5. No real difficulties with this one, only the enjoyment of filling it in.
    Thanks to Kcit, and to gazza.

  6. Good entertainment from todays setter, favourites were 12d 18a and 25a thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review.

  7. I did like the reverse Spoonerism! All in all not too tricky but still an enjoyable solve. Thanks Kcit and BD!

  8. Thanks to Kcit and Gazza for the review and hints. Don’t often venture into Toughieland, but I’m glad I did. Very enjoyable even though I needed 12 hints to complete. Favourite was 25a, which reminds me of a Spoonerism about birds. What’s the difference between a bad marksman and a constipated owl?

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