Toughie 897 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 897

Toughie No 897 by Shamus

Hints and Tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment ***

A good afternoon to one and all. I hope that the weather’s better where you are than it is here. It’s definitely a day for hibernating. I often struggle with Shamus puzzles and I did so again today with quite a bit of thought being needed to unravel some of the longer complex clues. There’s only one anagram to be seen and so it isn’t a puzzle for the anagram lovers.

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           Unyielding Olympic runner’s introduction and farewell enthralling British (9)
{IMMOVABLE} How Mr Farah might introduce himself + the Latin for ‘farewell’ round B (British)

6a           One encapsulated by memorable harmonies? (5)
{LEHAR} The name of a composer is hidden in ‘memorable harmonies’

9a           Carpet with cover of mattress by side (4,3)
{TICK OFF} ‘To carpet’ = the cover of a mattress + one side of a cricket pitch

10a        Proper character at the end recalled look about very old part of London (9)
{FITZROVIA} Proper + the character at the end of the alphabet + a reversal of a look round V (very) O (old) = a historically bohemian area in central London

11a        Individually suited chap with special insights for lecturer? (7)
{BESPOKE} Replace L (lecturer) in a chap (5) with special insights (3) to get ‘tailor-made’

12a        Celebrate with old boy before start of rally? (7)
{OBSERVE} The abbreviation for old boy + what starts a rally in tennis

13a        Sound by part of pool? Lose one’s temper completely (2,3,3,4,3)
{GO OFF THE DEEP END} ‘To sound (as an alarm might)’ + by + the part of a swimming pool where there might be diving boards (health and safety permitting)

18a        Pan showing meat with a lot of wine (7)
{LAMBAST} ‘To pan’ = a type of meat + a sparkling wine with the last letter removed

20a        Frees from duty old agency workers with time receding (7)
{EXEMPTS} Old + agency workers with the letter T (time) moved towards the rear

22a        Papers taken with stand-up artist’s material about new force (5-4)
{PRESS-GANG} Newspapers collectively + a joke round N (new) = to force into service in the army or navy

23a        In US, small coin with another is put into focus (7)
{CENTRED} A low-denomination US coin + another one formerly made of copper

24a        Cunning appearance with line for soprano (5)
{GUILE} Take a word meaning ‘appearance’ and replace S (soprano) by L (line)

25a        Extra heat provided by salesman keen mostly to get central heating installed (9)
{REPECHAGE} An extra heat in a sporting event = a salesman + a word meaning ’keen’ with the last letter removed round CH (central heating)


1d           Secure bathing at sea round tip of cove (2,3,3)
{IN THE BAG} An anagram (at sea) of BATHING round E (last letter of cove)

2d           A rift with leader absent suppressed by second man’s ego (8)
{MACHISMO} A + rift with the first letter removed goes inside a second (short period of time)

3d           See French bishop in glasses in magical ritual? (6)
{VOODOO} The abbreviation for the Latin word for ‘see’ + the name of a Bishop of Bayeux (a half-brother of William the Conqueror) inside two letters used to denote a pair of spectacles (glasses)

4d           Throw / plate for diversionary purposes? (6)
{BAFFLE} 2 meanings: to throw (bemuse)/a plate for diverting the flow of liquid, gas, sound waves, etc.

5d           Actor in club following direction (8)
{EASTWOOD} The surname of an American actor = a direction + a golf club

6d           Supreme leader protected by doctor in sport (8)
{LACROSSE} The surname of the lead singer of The Supremes goes inside ‘to doctor (someone’s drink)’

7d           President to remain undecided about heart of controversy (6)
{HOOVER} The surname of the 31st president of the US = ‘remain undecided’ round the middle letter of controversy

8d           Discount couple of notes about airline (6)
{REBATE} Two notes of the musical scale go round the abbreviated form of an airline

14d        Fellow European facing Sunday in a place of pilgrimage inspiring dread? (8)
{FEARSOME} F (Fellow) + E (European) + S (Sunday) inside a place of pilgrimage for catholics

15d        Trouble coming from a single tap? (3,5)
{HOT WATER} What comes from one of the two taps on your washbasin (assuming that you’ve paid your gas or electricity bill)

16d        Transport second person, figure reportedly getting traditional route going north (8)
{EUPHORIA} A homophone (reportedly) of the second person pronoun and a cardinal number (figure) + a reversal (going north) of the road traditionally used between London and Edinburgh

17d        Move out of position is accepted by professional colleague of M Bradbury? (8)
{DISLODGE} IS goes inside a friend and contemporary of M(alcolm) Bradbury with whom he is often compared

18d        Devoted figure backing hero after drink (6)
{LAPDOG} ‘To drink by licking up’ + a reversal of a hero

19d        Religious follower lacking money to acquire Eastern food (6)
{MUESLI} A  follower of a certain religion loses M (money) and goes round E (Eastern) to give a breakfast cereal

20d        Stand traditionally accompanied by soldiers? (6)
{EGGCUP} A cryptic definition. The soldiers are pieces of bread or toast consumed at breakfast

21d        Characteristic of race, needing spare for which I will go south across city (6)
{ETHNIC} Take a word meaning ‘spare (lean)’ and move the letter I to the end. Then put it inside the postcode for the City of London

Merry Christmas everybody. And since I won’t be on the blog next week I’d better wish you all a Happy New Year as well. Happy crosswording in 2013.

16 comments on “Toughie 897

  1. Perhaps I was in the mythical ‘zone’ but I didn’t have as much trouble with this one as I did the back pager, finishing in the same time for both so 1* Toughie difficulty and 3* entertainment, thank you and Happy Christmas to Shamus.

    Thank you, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to Bufo.

  2. Fairly gentle offering from todays setter, Favourites were 6d 14a and 25a thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the comments.

  3. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to Shamus and Bufo and thanks for all the entertainment. I enjoyed this one though I didn’t think it approached yesterday’s in terms of toughness.
    What do people think of ‘Supreme leader’? – should it not be ‘Supremes’ leader’ (although I know that would wreck the surface), but we wouldn’t be happy with ‘Animal leader’ for Eric Burdon – or would we?

      1. They were called ‘Eric Burdon and The Animals’ at one stage which matches ‘Diana Ross and The Supremes’.

        1. Saw them at the San Javier Jazz Festival a couple of years ago. They may be pushing 70 but they still got what it takes!

  4. Found this tricky but a bit of fun. 4*/4* for me.

    Thanks and a Merry Christmas to Shamus and Bufo. All best to you both.

  5. We found this quite tricky, about the same time as yesterday’s, so agree with the ratings. Got the game in 6d but did not manage to parse it fully. Those soldiers in 20d had us scratching our heads for a while. (Again! You’d think we would remember from last time they were used.) A pleasant afternoon’s diversion.
    Thanks Shamus and Bufo.

  6. I struggled with this one more so than yesterday’s. Having never heard of m Bradbury I couldn’t get 17d nor could I get 16d either and I have never heard of repechage. I shall put it down to being young and relatively new to this. Loving it and very appreciative of this blog. Thanks and happy Christmas.

  7. Thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the review and hints. I can’t believe it. I’ve just finished the NW corner, with any luck I might crack it before next year :-)

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