Toughie 803 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 803

Toughie No 803 by Kcit

A pleasant diversion

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

A typical Tuesday not-very-Toughie from Kcit. A pleasant enough puzzle, but Kcit doesn’t seem to have embraced what is expected, by me at least, from a Toughie. Unusual definitions and obscure places are not enough.

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    Tyrant’s clean? (6)
{DESPOT} – if this tyrant is split as (2-4) it could mean to clean

5a    Thoughtless behaviour this month in court (8)
{INSTINCT} – this fixed pattern of behaviour in response to certain stimuli comes from a charade of the abbreviation, used in business communications, for the current month, the IN from the clue and C(our)T

9a    Hard-core, like an off-colour yarn? (4-2-3-4)
{DYED-IN-THE-WOOL} – a hyphenated word meaning hard-core or entrenched could describe some yarn that has had its colour changed

10a    High-pitched confrontation after one drops from plough? (8)
{FALSETTO} – to get this high-pitched singing voice of a range or register above its natural one put a hyphenated noun (3-2) meaning a confrontation after I (one) is removed (dropped) from a verb meaning to plough an exam – the answer was easy enough, but to plough is an antiquated usage

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a    Mother imbibing a good new bottle of champagne? (6)
{MAGNUM} – put a mother around (imbibing) A G(ood) N(ew) to get a bottle of champagne equivalent in size to two ordinary bottles

12a    Fell? Allowed to stop without finishing (6)
{LETHAL} – an adjective meaning fell or deadly is derived from a verb meaning allowed followed by most of (without finishing) a verb meaning to stop

14a    German town’s pipes almost complete (8)
{TÜBINGEN} – to get this university town in central Baden-Württemberg, Germany, start with some pipes (6) and then add most of a verb meaning to complete or finish

16a    Very independent attitude backing consuming drink or tobacco (8)
{VIRGINIA} – V(ery) and I(ndependent) are followed by an attitude or manner reversed (backing) around (consuming) an alcoholic drink to get this tobacco grown in the USA

19a    Memory about ‘coloured’ is evoking this? (6)
{RACISM} – put some computer memory around (about) C(oloured) and IS to get a word meaning discrimination on the grounds of colour

21a    Hallucination from drugs (excessive amount thereof)? One has a third leg (6)
{TRIPOD} – combine the hallucination from taking drugs (4) with the result of taking an excessive amount of drugs to get a stand which has three legs

23a    Is copper lurking in Scottish club a plant? (8)
{HIBISCUS} – put IS and the chemical symbol for copper inside an Edinburgh football team to get this plant with large colourful flowers

25a    ‘Cooked meat includes farm animals — it’s wrong,’ I comment briefly (13)
{EPIGRAMMATIST} – put an anagram (cooked) of MEAT around a couple of farm animals then add an anagram (wrong) of IT’S to get someone who might comment briefly by writing a short poem

26a    Bloke chasing group of puppies that’s made a mess (8)
{LITTERED} – put a two-letter shortened form of a man’s name after (chasing) a group of puppies to get a verb meaning made a mess

27a    Relative individual’s heading off with expression of relief (6)
{NEPHEW} – to get this male relative drop the initial letter (heading off) from an individual and then add an expression of relief


2d    Friend half ignored with lame approach to mate (7)
{ENDGAME} – the second half of (FRI)END is followed by an adjective meaning lame to get the phase of a chess match which leads up to checkmate

3d    Rags in cupboard? (5)
{PRESS} – a collective word for rags or newspapers is also a type of cupboard used for storing linen

4d    Difficult time, working round most of the athletic event (9)
{TRIATHLON} – put a difficult or testing time (5) and a word meaning working around most of TH(E) to get this athletic event consisting of swimming, cycling and running

5d    Choral piece in easy pace engrossing one (7)
{INTROIT} – the choral piece sung at the beginning of Mass is derived by putting IN and an easy pace, especially for a horse, around (engrossing) I (one)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

6d    Gas main cracked by time and misuse primarily (5)
{STEAM} – to get this gas which is created by boiling water put the (Spanish) main around (cracked by) T(ime) and add the initial letter (primarily) of Misuse

7d    Carbon in silver and iron compound? Just the reverse — not carbon-based (9)
{INORGANIC} – start with the chemical symbol for carbon, add IN, the chemical symbol for silver and an anagram (compound) of IRON then reverse the lot (just the reverse) to get an adjective meaning of or relating to compounds which do not contain carbon

8d    Collection of micro-organisms ultimately used in treatment (7)
{CULTURE} – this collection of micro-organisms is derived by putting ULT(imately) inside (used in) a treatment or remedy

13d    Wildly hoping to fill successful disc for No. 1 slot? (4,5)
{HIGH POINT} – put an anagram (wildly) of HOPING inside (to fill) a successful disc to get the No. 1 slot or most memorable occasion

15d    Fool swinging both ways on road? Refuse to go round one (9)
{BIRDBRAIN} – this fool is derived from a prefix meaning swinging both ways (2), R(oa)D and some refuse or husks around I (one)

17d    Upset listeners left, interrupting two from Mediterranean country (7)
{ISRAELI} – reverse a pair of listening organs add L(eft) and insert the lot inside (interrupting)  the Roman numerals for two to get someone from a Mediterranean country

18d    A bogus editor should be mortified (7)
{ASHAMED} – a charade of A, an adjective meaning bogus and ED(itor) gives an adjective meaning mortified

20d    Spacecraft sealed and let loose (7)
{SHUTTLE} – this spacecraft which is able to make repeated journeys is derived from an adjective meaning sealed followed by an anagram (loose) of LET

22d    German artist more sullen, having lost love (5)
{DÜRER} – to get this German artist start with an adjective meaning more sullen and drop (having lost) the O (a score of love in tennis) – I still vividly remember an exceptionally boring school trip to an exhibition of this artist’s work

24d    Avoid investing money? Avoid spending it, too! (5)
{SKIMP} – start with a verb meaning to avoid and then insert (investing) M(oney) to get a verb meaning to avoid spending money

Note to the Crossword editor – please read your description of a Toughie.  It’s on your website  !

20 comments on “Toughie 803

  1. I found parts of this tricky (mostly in the NW) so 2.5* difficulty for me. Averagely entertaining for a Tuesday. 27a is obviously word of the week as it is in the Guardian crossword too. Thanks to Kcit and BD.

  2. Not overly difficult but I did enjoy it, favourites were 15d 25a and 27a thanks to Kcit and to Big Dave for the comments.

  3. I enjoyed this very much and did it more quickly than I’ve ever done a Toughie before so am feeling quite pleased with myself, even if BD has only given it 1* for difficulty!
    I needed the hint to explain 10a and will need the hint to explain my answer for 15d. I don’t think that I would have got 24d if we hadn’t had it quite recently in another puzzle – possibly the last NTSPP.
    With thanks to Kcit and BD.

  4. I wonder…..why? Why why why why why ….was this given just a 1* difficulty rating? Parsing 10a was beyond me!

  5. Don’t usually do the toughie as I’m too mean to buy the paper (although one wonders why they don’t have the toughie in the electric edition).

    Anyway quite enjoyed this one and didn’t find it too taxing.

    Thanks to the reviewer and to the compiler.

    1. Perhaps they know that if they tried to publish two puzzles each day on the iPad the chances of screwing it up would increase exponentially.

  6. This would not have been out of place on the back page. I quite enjoyed it though. We have a 23a in a big pot in the courtyard and it looks great at the moment :smile:

    Thanks Kcit and BD.

    1. I love 23a – we have two in the garden – one is quite a deep pink with double flowers and the other, my favourite, is blue. They don’t do all that well in an AVERAGE English summer so what’s going to happen to them this year is anyone’s guess.

  7. Well I found it tough!. I was going for *** myself. Perhaps it was just me. I did enjoy the puzzle though so thanks to Kcit and to BD.

  8. 2 / 3 * for me, but brain not functioning too good at moment. Agree with CSue that NW held me up. Thanks to BD and Kcit

    1. I’m not surprised that your brain isn’t functioning too well at the moment – I’m surprised that it’s functioning at all!

      1. Life moves on m’dear, Cynthia and Cuthbert still need me, your lord I feel sick to the stomach though, trying to get the images of the aftermath out of my head. Hope BD doesn’t mind me using the word BASTARD on his site…..

          1. Cheers, been so touched by the kind comments and support from this site. Libellules kind words this morning via e-mail, Pommers and Pommettes too, Thanks all of you, time for another sloggers and betters methinks, BD is Tilsit on the mend, do so hope so

              1. too true pommers, Also would be nice to meet some more contributors, not scary events at all….

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