Toughie 783 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 783

Toughie No 783 by Messinae

Rainy Day Women

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment **

A very easy Toughie for a very rainy Jubilee Bank holiday. Being able to guess the songs from just a few letters helped, but the whole puzzle was done and dusted very quickly.

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    Cause confusion in performing acid blues to mob (14)
{DISCOMBOBULATE} – this verb meaning to cause confusion seems to come up more often in crosswords than it does in real life! – it’s an anagram (performing) of ACID BLUES TO MOB

9a    Former prisoner at length holds one reference (7)
{LEXICON} – start with a former prisoner (2-3), precede him with L(ength) and insert (holds) I (one) to get another name for a dictionary

10a    Certainly covered by ethos of such as Boris (7)
{MAYORAL} – put a two-letter word for certainly or yes inside an ethos to get an adjective that could be applied to Boris Johnson

11a    Main entrance perhaps (4)
{ARCH} – a cryptic definition of what could be the main entrance to a building

12a    Norm keen to catch one rare group of owls (10)
{PARLIAMENT} – start with a three-letter word meaning the norm and follow it with a verb meaning to keen or wail over the dead and finally insert I (one) to get a little-used term for a group of owls – but it’s in The Mine!

14a    One with obligation to run after posh girl (6)
{DEBTOR} – to get this person with an obligation to repay a loan start with TO and R(un) and precede them with a short word for a posh girl

15a    Work by Romantic poet Donne I’m reworking with unknown content (8)
{ENDYMION} – this poem by Keats is an anagram (reworking) of DONNE I’M around (with … content) a mathematical unknown

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever;
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways::
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
‘Gainst the hot season; the mid forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.

17a    Dons make slow progress to get ready in emergency (8)
{SCRAMBLE} – the three-letter abbreviation of Senior Common Room (dons / members of the teaching staff) is followed by a verb meaning to make slow progress to get a verb meaning to get ready in an emergency

18a    Books of the dead first concealed (6)
{LATENT} – some books of the bible are preceded by a word for the dead to get an adjective meaning concealed

21a    Complete mess could be nerd’s doing (4,6)
{DOG’S DINNER} – this complete mess comes from an anagram (could be) of NERD’S DOING

22a    Restrict range of actor (4)
{CAGE} – a verb meaning to restrict is also the stage name of actor Nicolas Coppola

24a    Exclusive group holds function by lake (7)
{COTERIE} – this exclusive group comes from a charade of a the abbreviation of a trigonometrical function and a Great lake

25a    Going astray through entering iniquitous place — Thailand’s capital (7)
{DEVIANT} – this adjective meaning going astray is derived from a word meaning through inside (entering) an iniquitous place followed by the initial letter (capital) of Thailand

26a    Party as celeste gets played as provider of music (8,6)
{CASSETTE} – an anagram (gets played) of PARTY AS CELESTE gives an outdated provider of music


1d           Lord turned up — fat dense chap (7)
{DULLARD} – reverse (turned up in a down clue) a slang word for lord (usually preceded by m’) and add some fat to get a dense chap

2d           Royal family cruelly tax 22 boroughs (4-6-5)
{SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA} – this royal family that was started by the son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert was renamed to Windsor by George V – it’s an anagram (cruelly) of TAX, the answer to 22 across and BOROUGHS

3d           Killer from Northern Isles — not half (4)
{ORCA} – this killer whale comes from the first half of an adjective meaning from some islands off the Northern coast of Scotland

4d           Forbid keeping some exotic tree (6)
{BANYAN} – put a verb meaning to forbid around (keeping) a word meaning some to get an exotic tree

5d           Lazy guy rocks perhaps making unsteady progress (8)
{BUMBLING} – a lazy guy is followed by some flashy jewellery to get a verb meaning  making unsteady progress

6d           Dylan song 7 featuring only one of the Three Degrees (3,4,3)
{LAY LADY LAY} – a famous song by Bob Dylan is constructed from 7 down, but without the the D(egree)s for two of them

ARVE Error: need id and provider

7d           Treble with a song about diamonds — The 13 sang it (5,5,1,4)
{THREE TIMES A LADY} – start with a phrase meaning treble (5,5) and add the A from the clue and a song with D(iamonds) inserted (about) to get a song by 13 down

8d           Part of press write about John (6)
{PLATEN} – the part of a printing press which presses the paper against the type is derived from a verb meaning to write around an abbreviation of a john or toilet

13d         Officers mess facilities infiltrated by privates (10)
{COMMODORES} – these officers are constructed by putting pieces of furniture containing concealed chamber pots () around some soldiers who are not officers

16d         Scheme to get chap making a noise (8)
{PLANGENT} – a scheme followed by a chap gives an adjective meaning making a noise

17d         Corrupt bishop’s office keeps something to chew over (6)
{SEDUCE} – this verb meaning to corrupt is derived by putting a bishop’s office around (keeps) something to chew which has been reversed (over)

19d         Speaker — one addressing the world at large (7)
{TWEETER} – a speaker in a hi-fi system is also someone with nothing better to do than to tell the world at large what a sad boring life they are leading

20d         Interfere with announcement of award (6)
{MEDDLE} – this verb meaning to interfere with sounds like (announcement of) an award given to each of the first three finishers in a competition

23d         Dickens not starting off bad (4)
{EVIL} – start with Dickens or Satan and drop the initial D (not starting off) to get an adjective meaning bad

Simple and straightforward, but definitely not a Toughie.

19 comments on “Toughie 783

  1. I did enjoy this – it might have been on the easy side for a Toughie, taking only a smidge longer than the back pager, but was entertaining, even allowing me to have a sing as I went along (and yes I am old enough to have sung the Dylan 6d the first time round). 12a is my favourite of all the collective nouns as it always conjures up a vision of a whole lot of owls sitting around debating.

    Thanks to Messinae for a nice start to the Toughie week and to BD too.

  2. Thanks to Messinae for a gentle but enjoyable start to the toughie week and to BD for the hints.

  3. Entertaining start to the Toughie week, favourites being 5d 12a 13d and 19d thanks to Messinae and to Big Dave for the comments.

  4. Like CS I enjoyed this one and ended up singing the Dylan(if you can call what I do singing)! Thought it wouldn’t have been out of place on the back page though. Dave’s right in that the songs came too easily with just a couple of checkers and then the band was a “gimme”. Think fav was 25a.

    My favourite collective noun isn’t a real one – it’s a WUNCH (of bankers) :lol:

    Thanks to Messinae and BD.

  5. Stuck in with a cold and enjoying the (ITV) coverage of the Jubilee, I took on both puzzles by my colleagues today. Enjoyed both of them and thought the prime bloggers were a little lacking in generosity. Both had some nice clever stuff and I am glad that the follow-on bloggers were more appreciative. It would be unfair of me to press the star buttons, as I am really only a guest here.

    1. My enjoyment rating for a Toughie is geared to the expectation that it has some challenging clues – there weren’t any here.

          1. It wasn’t them, but my all time favourite collection noun that got the extra *

            1. Now it’s been posted…I don’t think my discography post would have given anyone any extra clues, the clue was pretty much in the question…but as to your query, I was a few months old when this was released, so does that mean using Wiki was allowed?

                1. That’s exactly what I think! It also helps one understand the compiler’s method. Or indeed, for pedants, the compilers methods… Also, apropos of nothing, really enjoying Djokavic v Tsonga at the moment!

    2. I’ve enjoyed both of today’s crosswords. I can’t usually do the toughies so just occasionally it’s good for the morale to have one that I CAN do – by definition that makes it far too easy to satisfy the real experts who like much more of a challenge.
      I hope that you feel better soon.

  6. I liked this – and not just because I could do it (well, most of it!) I couldn’t do 2 or 8d – have never heard of either.
    1a is a favourite expression of one of my closest friends and, until it came up in a crossword some time back, I had always thought that it was an invention of hers!
    My favourites include 12 and 25a and 5, 6, 7d.
    Thanks to Messinae and BD – now have to go and find husband to tell him what BD said in his hint for 19d!! :grin:

  7. Can anyone explain the use of red ink? It looks a bit schoolmasterly angry — though I know that the genial BD isn’t like that!

    1. It’s just the colour I chose for my own comments on my own posts.

      You can please some of the people all of the time …….

  8. Hi Dave, thanks for the Dylan clip. Now I’ve heard it again my singing don’t sound as bad as I thought! Great song though. At least you had the decency to spare me Lionel Ritchie :grin:

  9. Thanks to Messinae and to Big Dave for the review & hints. Most enjoyable, also frustrating , I had good start getting the songs and even 15a.then came to a stop and used 10 hints to finish, not an easy one for me.favourite was 19d

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