Toughie 877 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 877

Toughie No 877 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I encountered few problems filling in the answers but struggled with some of the explanations and had to resort to Googling for a couple of them.

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5a    Captivated by chintzy decor that’s noted in Louisiana (6)
{ZYDECO} Hidden in “chintzy décor” is a type of accordion-based popular dance music originating in Louisiana and partaking of French, Caribbean and blues influences. Thanks to Chambers for that definition – I’d never heard of it [Wot! Never heard of Clifton Chenier? BD]

8a    Pair sued wrongly for appearance of glass in toast (8)
{UPRAISED} An anagram (wrongly) of PAIR SUED

9a    Minor nuisance limiting drip (7)
{TRIVIAL} A nuisance goes round an abbreviation for a drip introduced to a vein

10a    Return of low prices originally attracting hotel’s enthusiasm (5)
{OOMPH} A reversal of “to low” + the first letter of prices + H (hotel)

11a    Classic model car — his first Jaguar (9)
{ARCHETYPE} An anagram of CAR H (first letter of his) + a model of Jaguar car manufactured between 1961 and 1974. Is the “model” doing double duty here, as part of the definition and as the anagram indicator?

13a    Apology for a dance (6-2)
{EXCUSE-ME} 2 meanings: an apology/a dance during which one may change partners

14a    United prime bent ref (6)
{UMPIRE} An anagram (bent) of U (United) PRIME

17a    Gull‘s cry (3)
{MEW} 2 meanings: a gull/cry (as a cat)

19a    In another age and time (3)
{ERA} hidden in “another age”

20a    Rounded firm new cheese off (6)
{CONVEX} An abbreviation for a firm + N (new) + “cheese off”

23a    With Great North Road alongside part of Barnet one could get job in transport cafe (8)
{WAITRESS} W (with) + the Great North Road + part of Barnet (hair)

26a    Spot tiresome individuals eating their third junkets (9)
{JAMBOREES} A spot (of bother) + tiresome individuals round E (the third letter of their)

28a    Could badly do with word of warning about Romeo (5)
{CRAVE} An interjection meaning ‘beware!’ goes round R (Romeo)

29a    Holiday home in Cornwall? (7)
{VILLAIN} A holiday home, e.g. in Spain, + IN gives a word that describes the Duke of Cornwall in King Lear. Thanks to Google for that information!

30a    Guard posted in heart of underworld (8)
{SENTINEL} ‘Posted’ + IN + the middle two letters of a 4-letter word meaning the underworld

31a    The French access ambassador (6)
{LEGATE} ‘The’ in French + a means of access


1d    Soldier possibly stole nothing before causing outcry (6)
{FURORE} A soldier (Of a particular regiment) goes after the material that a stole may be made of and O (nothing)

2d    Dour champion’s scowl (7)
{GRIMACE} Dour + champion

3d    Homeliest characters can be graceful (9)
{LITHESOME} An anagram (characters) of HOMELIEST

4d    Rubbish gang led by Tony, alpha male (6)
{JETSAM} The gang led by Tony in Act 2 of West Side Story + A (alpha) + M (male)

5d    Oh, it’s time for action (4,4)
{ZERO HOUR} Split ‘Oh’ as O + h. The first word is given by ‘O’ and the second by ‘h’

6d    Prima donna’s love for a tenor — a thin sod! (5)
{DIVOT} Take a word for a prima donna and replace the letter A by the letter O (love). Then add T (tenor)

7d    Scouts given hot drink (8)
{CHAMPERS} H (hot) goes inside people (such as scouts) who sleep under canvas

12d    Trees regularly pruned back to produce shade (3)
{RED} Alternate letters of tReEs + D (last letter of pruned)

15d    Champ married bubbly Blanchett (9)
{MASTICATE} ‘To champ’ = M (married) + bubbly (sparkling wine) + the first name of the actress Ms Blanchett

16d    Fellow is going through hell to have affairs (8)
{WOMANISE} A fellow+ IS inside hell (misery)

18d    Queen duty-bound to keep fit (8)
{EXERCISE} ER (The Queen) inside duty (tax)

21d    What John Wayne expressed in ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’? (3)
{AWE} This one was lost on me until I Googled and found this. “There is a great story behind The Greatest Story Ever Told that involves director George Stevens and superstar John Wayne in the role of a Roman centurion. His one line in the picture was: “Truly, this man was the Son of God.” After a couple of attempts at the seemingly simple line, Stevens gently told him, “Duke, what we need in this line is something more. Look up at the man and give us some awe.” Wayne nodded affirmatively, Stevens signalled the cameras to roll, and Wayne said, “Awww, truly this man was the Son of God.” This anecdote probably never happened, but when John Wayne heard the story he even admitted to friends and associates that it made a great tale.”

22d    Stays  stiff (7)
{REMAINS} 2 meanings: stays/a stiff (body)

24d    Whispers a point of view with obvious outcome (6)
{ASIDES} A + a point of view + S (last letter of obvious) – that’s assuming that ‘outcome’ is being used to indicate the last letter

25d    Becoming on the face of it neither popular nor good (6)
{SEEMLY} Take a word meaning ‘on the face of it’ and remove IN (popular) G

27d    Wood with no end of resin (5)
{BALSA} Remove the last letter from a resin

I won’t count this as one of my favourite puzzles

13 comments on “Toughie 877

  1. A really enjoyable puzzle with some real fun clues, thanks petitjean. I had a rough idea on the John Wayne clue but that story is excellent!. Thanks to Bufo for the review as well and nice to see you in Derby.

  2. Thanks for the review Bufo. I need parsing for the John Wayne clue and the Cornwall clue, although I had suspected the latter was a defintion by example that I hadn’t heard of. Thought it a fairly middle-of-the-road difficulty Toughie. Nothing too tricksy. Thanks, petitjean, for the puzzle

  3. Finished!! I did need the hints to explain 1, 12 and 21d.
    I loved it – lots that really made me laugh on a day when I needed cheering up so thanks to Petitjean, and to Bufo for explaining the ones that I didn’t understand.

  4. Good fare on offer today favourites were 5d 11a and 25d thanks to Petitjean and to Bufo for his explanation on 21d.

  5. Great stuff, and only a very slightly mad hat required!
    Loved the John Wayne clue as I had heard the story before – made me laugh :grin:

    Thanks to Petitjean and Bufo.

  6. Really enjoyed this puzzle though i had put “alpha” as the first 5 letters of 11a. Makes no sense I know especially with “alpha” appearing in 4d!! Once I corrected that I got 12d correct. I put in “lee” for shade but really knew it couldn’t be right!
    Liked 23a – had to look up the rhyming slang as I am not fully fluent. Also found 26a tricky because I only know “junket” in the meaning of taking a trip at public expense. Also learned that it is a dessert that doesn’t seem very appealing!
    Got 5a right away as I am a big fan of all kinds of traditional music – BD you seem to have a wide knowledge of music!
    Thanks to Bufo, especially for the John Wayne anecdote, and to the setter.

  7. One minute less solving time than the infamous Tuesday backpager so very easy for a Toughie. Definitely wrong envelopes this week. :)

    Thanks to Petitjean and Bufo too.

  8. Re 11a: I think that the definition here is simply “classic”, with “model” as the (imperative) anagram indicator.

    I agree with the “wrong envelopes” remarks; Tuesday’s back-pager was much more like a Toughie.

  9. A really enjoyable puzzle. We found a Wikipedia page that lists all the place names in Cornwall that we scrolled through looking for one with the right checking letters for 29a. Eventually Mrs Kiwi’s literary knowledge came to the rescue. Took us a while to parse 12d too. Lots of fun.
    Thanks Petitjean and Bufo.

  10. Thanks to Pettijean & to Bufo for the review & hints. A good entertaining puzzle. Glad it was an easier Toughie. That made it doable, but I still needed 8 hints, & looked up 5 of those. Favourite was 13a. Had not heard of 5a.

  11. I love a puzzle I can solve, so would rate this one at the very least a ***! Managed this one – just – but didn’t understand the reasoning behind 29a, so came here for clarification. Thank you to Bufo for finally putting a stop to my combing of the GB A to Z for a place in Cornwall with the answer’s name – I was happy with ‘VILLA’ and ‘IN’, but didn’t know why (I never considered the duke) – and to Petitjean for setting a puzzle that I found very enjoyable.

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