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Toughie 881

Toughie No 881 by MynoT

Zzzzz! Is this the end?

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

The first thing to do was to discover whether MynoT was still on his alphabet mission and, if so, which letter was the featured one. The first two clues I solved both had an M and an H; the third one had an H but not an M. So was it to be H? The answer was soon found to be ‘No’. It turned out that MynoT was killing five birds with one stone and that all the answers contained one (or more) of V, W, X, Y or Z. Does this mean that this tedious series is now at an end? Let’s hope so.

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    Carrier‘s very French sound (4)
{TRAY} A carrier, e.g. for food, sounds like the French word for ‘very’

3a    Women’s crew with fewer pounds? None at all (10)
{WEIGHTLESS} W (women) + the crew of a rowing boat + ‘fewer’

9a    Rod‘s American guitar starts to lose excitement (4)
{AXLE} The American spelling of a slang word for a guitar + the first letters of Lose Excitement

10a    Rovers’ kits right back used as women’s clothing (10)
{OVERSKIRTS} Take ROVER’S KITS and move the R from the beginning to nearer the back

11a    One who delivers various changes (7)
{SAVIOUR} An anagram (changes) of VARIOUS

13a    Find success in a letter to First Lady (7)
{ACHIEVE} A + a Greek letter + the first woman according to Genesis

14a    King’s declaration unexpectedly made Ava heir (1,4,1,5)
{I HAVE A DREAM} The King is Martin Luther King. An anagram (unexpectedly) of MADE AVA HEIR

18a    As graduate your field of study is underwater equipment (11)
{BATHYSPHERE} A graduate + an old word for ‘your’ + a field of study

21a    Irregular content of racy clichés (7)
{ACYCLIC} Hidden in rACY CLIChes

22a    Decay rate can be changed by this, note (3,4)
{DAY CARE} An anagram (changed) of DECAY RATE with the TE (note) omitted. The whole clue provides the definition

23a    Having no children, bestow identity on couple from Lyon with much magnificence (10)
{SPLENDIDLY} An abbreviation for the Latin term sine prole (without issue) + ‘to bestow’ + ID (identity) + the first two letters of LYon

24a    Cutter increases noise (4)
{ADZE} A cutting tool sounds like a synonym for ‘increases’

25a    Eery events disturbed today’s vigil (10)
{YESTEREVEN} An anagram (disturbed) of EERY EVENTS

26a    Return plaything to European island (4)
{EYOT} A reversal of a plaything and E (European)


1d    With transport and currency, I must move to get grip (8)
{TRANSFIX} It was obvious what the answer was because it was the only word that fitted that reflected the theme of the puzzle. But I struggled with the wordplay because I couldn’t equate SFX or FX with ‘currency’. But BD informs me that FX = Foreign Exchange (though it isn’t in Chambers). Take a form of transport (in the plural) + FX and move the letter I so that it comes between the F and the X

2d    Everyone on university vessel washed up (8)
{ALLUVIAL} Everyone + U (university) + a small bottle for medicine

4d    Rule for new mischievous young swimmer (5)
{ELVER} Take a word meaning ‘mischievous’ and replace N (new) by R (rule)

5d    Continental city generating in a suitable manner (9)
{GERMANELY} ‘From a particular part of continental Europe’ + a city in Cambridgeshire

6d    Eccentric poets make hay, squandering second disposable income (4-4,3)
{TAKE-HOME PAY} An anagram (eccentric) of POETS MAKE HAY with the letter S (second) removed

7d    In high places bring back whiskey that is special (6)
{EYRIES} A reversal of a type of whisky + IE (that is) + S (special)

8d    Where to investigate former wife? (6)
{SUSSEX} A slang word for ‘to investigate’ + a former wife gives an English county

12d    Left brave struggling in dodgy canoe to capsize (11)
{OVERBALANCE} An anagram (struggling) of L (left) BRAVE inside an anagram (dodgy) of CANOE

15d    Eye could be faulty, losing a bit of focus for a little time (9)
{DETECTIVE} The eye is a private eye. Take a word meaning ‘faulty’ and replace F (first letter of focus) by T (a little time)

16d    Genealogical science for the lady’s almost entirely uninteresting (8)
{HERALDRY} ‘The lady’s’ + ‘entirely’ with the last letter removed + ‘uninteresting’

17d    Strong red pigment in volcanic orifice (8)
{VEHEMENT} A variant spelling of the pigment in blood goes inside a volcanic orifice

19d    Spoils the outskirts of Hackney, like Slough? (6)
{MARSHY} ‘Spoils’ + the first and last letters of HackneY

20d    Wild beasts tied down by many a lassie (6)
{NYALAS} Hidden in maNY A LASsie

22d    What Adam did before Eve died receiving a bit of love (5)
{DELVE} Put D (died) before EVE and put L (first letter of love) inside. It is a reference to a quotation reputedly from John Ball’s sermon addressing the rebels of the Peasant’s Revolt: “When Adam *****d and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman?”

A straightforward puzzle that was not terribly exciting

25 comments on “Toughie 881

  1. Slightly better than some of his recent toughies I thought but I’m glad the alphabet theme seems to be finished. I was held up for a wee while by 9a as it is an expression I’ve never come across before, other than that fairly standard fare. Thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for the review.

  2. I did not find this as easy as others have, but i did enjoy it.
    1d was my last one in, 15d was my favourite. Thanks to MynoT, and to Bufo.

  3. It seems we’ve finally reached the end of the Alphabetic road, Hooray! Favourites today were 22d and 23a thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for the comments.

  4. Thank you bufo for solving the mystery of 1d for me! I was surprised to see so much of the answer in the clue so was trying to work something else out. Trouble is, as you say, only one possible word.
    Enjoyed the rest if the puzzle though I had “scope” for field of study in 18a for a while! Not only the wrong word but too short.
    Thanks again to bufo and to the setter.

  5. Thanks for the explanations. I missed the theme (as usual) otherwise I might have got 1d and 8d a bit more quickly. Agree with *** rating.

  6. Thanks to Bufo for explaining 22d – a new one on me!

    No real favourites but overall a bit of fun. Wonder what he’ll start on next?

    Thanks also to MynoT.

  7. Speaking as a real Toughie novice I enjoyed this. I haven’t done all of the ‘alphabetty thingies’ but I’ve liked the ones that I have done.
    It took me ages to spot the relevant letters so they were of no help at all today, although in some of the other puzzles it’s been useful.
    I needed the hints to explain 1d and, even with the hint, I still don’t really understand 22d although it couldn’t have been anything else.
    I thought 23a was clever (and wouldn’t have got it if we hadn’t had the two letter latin abbreviation very recently having not known it before.)
    I also liked 18 and 21a and 4 and 15d.
    With thanks to MynoT and Bufo.

  8. I thought this was on the easy end of a ***, but, even though I worked it out from letters in place, I still don’t get neither the clue nor the meaning of 22a .. please explain further why TE should be removed and whay the answer is implied by the whole clue?

    1. I wondered at the time whether if you split NOTE as two words, No TE, there is an instruction to remove the TE, or perhaps that is too convoluted?

      1. I interpreted it as: you can take DAY CARE TE ( this, note) and change it into DECAY RATE. It’s a sort of reverse anagram

          1. I agree with Jezza (above) and think you need to split NOTE into NO TE. Thats the instruction to remove the TE. Then you haqve an anagram (changed) to give something that may slow the decay of an elderly or infirm person – like pommette’s mum. The def is “decay rate can be slowed by this”.

            1. The clue is telling you that DECAY RATE is made up of an anagram of the answer followed by a note (TE)

                1. I hesitate to comment on the Toughie bit of this wonderful blog but also found 22a a bit incomprehensible. What I’m NOT sure about is whether 22a actually does anything to change the rate of decay of an elderly person. What it DOES do, just occasionally, is help someone in my position. Well, it would but . . .

  9. 22a was the one that held us up. It appears that the answer refers to looking after the elderly but we are only familiar with the phrase in relation to young children. Had the right answer but hard to justify until we had split note to make “No” te.
    Thanks Mynots and Bufo.

  10. Driven to the toughie by the unbelievable weather actually managed to finish with only a little help from Chambers .Still at a bit of a loss re 22a.but Jezza’s suggestion seems far from being too convoluted .

    Thanks or Hai Hai (Cree)

  11. Thanks to MynoT and Bufo – an enjoyable puzzle that I solved whilst not considering any special alphabet characters.

  12. Thanks to MynoT & to Bufo for the review & hints. I struggled as usual & needed 9 hint, of which I had to look up 3. I thought the puzzle had some interesting clues.

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