Toughie 809 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 809

Toughie No 809 by Shamus

It’s all Greek to me!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I breezed through this until I reached the SW corner. Up to then I was giving it barely 2* for difficulty and then 23 across and 21 down brought me to a complete standstill until I eventually dredged up the answer to 21 down. That left 23 across for which I had to resort to making up words from the wordplay until I came up with an answer that seemed reasonable even though I’d never heard of it. Despite my difficulties getting these last couple of answers I decided on 3* for difficulty on the basis that the rest of you will be more familiar with Greek cuisine than I am.

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.


8a    Proper conduct having taken in cold food abroad (4)
{TACO} Right or proper conduct (e.g. in Confucianism) goes round C (cold) to give a Mexican pancake

9a    Fellow in the same place producing pork pie (3)
{FIB} F (fellow) + an abbreviation denoting ‘in the same place’ = a pork pie (lie)

10a    Enticement in a liberal law after switching sides (6)
{ALLURE} Enticement = A + L (liberal) + a word for a law with the letters R (Right) and L (left) transposed

11a    Earnings largely cut by paper in which setters are exhibited? (6)
{CRUFTS} Earnings with the last letter removed goes round a pink newspaper to give somewhere setters (dogs) are exhibited

12a    Uncommunicative cretin stupidly holding electronic timetable’s cover (8)
{RETICENT} ‘Uncommunicative’ = an anagram (stupidly) of CRETIN round E (electronic) + T (first letter of timetable)

13a    Militant unionist in road getting round ban without a new challenge to authority? (15)
{INSUBORDINATION} An anagram (militant) of UNIONIST IN ROAD goes round B (ban with A N omitted) to give a challenge to authority

15a    Charge girlfriend? (7)
{MANDATE} A word for a charge when split (3,4) might suggest a girlfriend on a night out with a bloke

17a    Eccentric comedian missing first part of a game? (7)
{ODDBALL} ‘Eccentric’ = the surname of a comedian from Knotty Ash with the first letter removed + an item used in many games

20a    Frock with garb tailor altered in territory overseas (4,2,9)
{ROCK OF GIBRALTAR} An anagram (altered) of FROCK GARB TAILOR gives the site of a British colony

23a    Person consuming very similar restricted foreign fare (8)
{SOUVLAKI} An informal word for a person goes round V (very). This is followed by a word meaning ‘similar’ with the last letter missing. The answer is a Greek dish of lamb similar to a shish kebab. Made-up words I rejected were bodvyaki and covveaki

25a    Group of individuals in house right to enter short function (6)
{COHORT} A group of individuals = HO (house) R (right) inside the abbreviation for a trigonometrical function

26a    March is not seen in blissful state (6)
{PARADE} A march (or ‘to march’) = a blissful state from which IS has been removed

27a    Foreign character accommodated in superior hotel (3)
{RHO} A Greek letter is hidden in superioR HOtel

28a    Lecturer dismissed aggressive youth (4)
{LOUT} L (Lecturer) + ‘dismissed’ = an aggressive youth


1d    Unproductive lawyers’ fee falling short (6)
{BARREN} ‘Unproductive’ = lawyers collectively + a fee (for use of another’s property) with the last letter removed

2d    Perplex politician with an empty store of money? (8)
[CONFOUND} ‘To perplex’ = a politician of a particular party + a store of money containing O (nothing). The store of money is empty because it’s got nothing in.

3d    Criminal oafs without fear getting one in an uncomfortable situation (1,4,3,2,5)
{A FISH OUT OF WATER} An anagram (criminal) of OAFS WITHOUT FEAR gives someone n an unaccustomed or unsuitable situation that makes them ill at ease

4d    Doubt possibly about King beginning to emerge and become prominent (7)
{OBTRUDE} An anagram (possibly) of DOUBT goes round R (king). This is followed by E (first letter of emerge) to gibe ‘become prominent’

5d    One determining roles caught by a deception with inspector and minister (7,8)
{CASTING DIRECTOR} The person responsible for finding actors for the roles in a film = C (caught) + A + a deception + the abbreviation for a Detective Inspector + a minister

6d    Evoke priest with short name (6)
{ELICIT} ‘To evoke’ = the name of an Old Testament priest + ‘to name’ with the last letter missing

7d    Endless jar producing smile (4)
{GRIN} ‘To jar’ loses its last letter to give a smile

14d    Game fellow abandoned wise sort (3)
{OWL} Remove F (fellow) from game (birds) to get a creature considered to be wise

16d    Regular features in Cold War promoted trouble (3)
{ADO} Reverse (promote) alternate letter in COlD WAr to get trouble

18d    Sprinter restored to health, we hear, in secluded place (8)
{BOLTHOLE} The surname of a Jamaican sprinter + a homophone of ‘restored to health’ = a secluded place

19d    Impressionist’s art found in operatic character with contralto really pouring out heart? (7)
{MIMICRY} The art practised by an impressionist (e.g. Mike Yarwood) = the leading female role in the opera La Bohème + C (contralto) + the first and last letters of really

21d    Fibre that’s not good I removed in short low vehicle (6)
{KEVLAR} A lightweight synthetic fibre of exceptionally high strength and heat resistance = ‘not good’ with the letter I removed inside a low racing vehicle with the last letter removed

22d    A university concealed by neat courtyard (6)
{ATRIUM} A + U (university) inside ‘neat’ = a courtyard

24d    Stretch of romantic country with a lot of desert (4)
{OMAN} A country with a lot of desert is hidden inside rOMANtic

How do you mark the difficulty of a puzzle where you fill in 95% of the squares with no problem and then spend ages getting the last 5%?

7 comments on “Toughie 809

  1. I had to cheat and buy letters, as well as use Onelook, to solve 23a (never heard of it), and 21d (I have heard of it). The other one of my three I had to think about was the nicely disguised hidden word in 24d, which I did kick myself for when I spotted it. Without cheating on 23a, I would have sat here until the end of time and still not completed it.

    Many thanks to Shamus, and to Bufo for the dissection.

  2. I had the exact same experience has Bufo the SW taking as long as the rest of the puzzle, favourites were 11a 18d and 19d thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the comments.

  3. I would give the SW corner 5* and the rest of the puzzle 3*. I went through various food items ending in AKI before the wordplay and the item matched. Thanks to Shamus and Bufo too.

  4. Didn’t like anything about this. So many of the clues didn’t make sense What does “Endless jar producing smile” mean? Found it amateurish and totally boring.

  5. Not my favourite puzzle but I didn’t have the same problem with the SW corner as others appear to have had. Familiar with the fibre (used for racing yacht sails) and I’ve eaten more of the Greek stuff than I care to remember! Helps to have done a lot of sailing around the Greek Islands :smile:

    Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  6. I enjoyed this puzzle very much and whilst it was quite tricky in parts, overall it was fairly straightforward and definitely “gettable”. Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

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