Toughie 899 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 899

Toughie No 899 by Notabilis

Theme for Today

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

We have an excellent themed puzzle from Notabilis based on what we in the UK call today (I’m not sure which other parts of the world use the same name). The difficulty level which you experience with this may depend on how familiar you are with the names of pugilists. When I was growing up I was quite interested in following the noble art (listening under the bedclothes to commentaries from the USA at 3 a.m., for example) but I lost interest when four or five different organisations all started having their own world champions, so I’m pleased that many of our names today are from several years ago.
Let us know how you got on and please take the time to mark your assessment of the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

8a  Man of the day knocked down, getting yen for 0.01 kronor, will possibly survive (5,10)
{FLOYD MAYWEATHER} – start with a verb meaning knocked to the ground and replace the ORE (a hundredth part of the Swedish krona (plural kronor)) with Y(en). Then add a phrase meaning will possibly survive or ride out (3,7).

9a  How does this strike happen? Not idly (3)
{RAP} – remove the ‘idly’ from the adverb describing the speed with which such a strike may happen. I’m not sure that this one really works.

10a  Man of the day screened for what could destabilise Panama’s economy? (5,6)
{ROCKY BALBOA} – cryptically what could destabilise Panama’s economy would be an unstable district of Panama city at the Pacific entrance to the canal currency [Thanks to Notabilis for pointing this out].

11a  With a final twist, 20ac’s partner’s done things? (5)
{MORES} – the partner (boss, really) of 20a in the TV series has the final two letters of his name transposed.

12a  Hatton loses weight around A&E, the bulk which stops blood flow (9)
{HAEMOSTAT} – put what’s left of Hatton after removing the heavy weight around A and E and a word meaning the bulk or majority. The answer is a medical instrument used to prevent blood flow.

15a  Perhaps emotionally Frank Bruno’s content at changing nearly everything (7)
{NATURAL} – an anagram (changing) of (B)RUN(o) and AT followed by a word meaning everything without its last letter.

17a  Bugner’s last slip: the thing is to back fight promoter (7)
{STIRRER} – string together the last letter of (Bugne)R, a verb meaning to slip or make a mistake and a contracted form of ‘the thing is’ then reverse (to back) the whole thing.

19a  I’m damned if I’ll do this — it’s normal, anyhow (6,3)
{MORTAL SIN} – an anagram (anyhow) of IT’S NORMAL.

20a  Western Isle‘s half (next to the other half) (5)
{LEWIS} – geographically this is half of an island in the Outer (western) Hebrides, the other part being called Harris. If you precede it with the adjacent answer of 20d you get another man of the day. As Deep Threat has pointed out, if you follow W(est) with the first half of IS(le) then precede all that with the second half of (is)LE you end up with the solution, so that makes the clue an all-in-one.

21a  Procedure for heavyweight I count out after facial feature gets abnormally big (11)
{LIPOSUCTION} – an anagram (out) of I COUNT follows a facial feature and the abbreviation for abnormally large in clothing sizes.

24a  Person notable among caliphs (3)
{ALI} – this person was the fourth caliph and is notable in that his followers broke away from the main branch of Islam to form the Shi’ite sect. His name is hidden in the clue and is also that of another man of the day, probably the most famous of them all.

25a  Man of the day to pull America back, covering arrangement with Spinks, say (5,3,7)
{SUGAR RAY LEONARD} – a verb meaning to pull or haul and the two-letter abbreviation for America are reversed, then inside that (covering) we need an arrangement or matrix and the forename of Mr Spinks (another man of the day).

Down Clues

1d  Man of the day, a high point for team member? (2-8)
{CO-OPERATOR} – the surname of a British man of the day is followed by A and a high point or rocky peak.

2d  Decks Don King unexpectedly, when going outside (6)
{ADORNS} – an anagram (unexpectedly) of DON and an abbreviation for king has a synonym for when put around it.

3d  Fighter’s level terms including what? Places for nimble footwork? (5,5)
{DANCE HALLS} – the level of proficiency attained by a martial artist is followed by a verb meaning terms or names with a spoken request for clarification (what?) inside it.

4d  Clout for example carries weight (4)
{SWAY} – a word meaning ‘for example’ has W(eight) inserted.

5d  Perhaps elbows Rocky Marciano? (8)
{MACARONI} – an anagram (rocky) of Marciano. Elbows (new to me) is a type of pasta cut longer than usual with a pronounced bend.

6d  Some angle for this striking ascent of Chris Eubank, though losing last three (4)
{CHUB} – start with Chris Eubank and drop a) the synonym for ascent and b) the last three letters.

7d  Boldly oppose violent person, clutching edge of ring (6)
{BREAST} – one of the definitions of this verb in the BRB is to oppose manfully. A violent person or brute contains (clutching) the edge of R(ing).

8d  Manager promoting celebrity turned up (7)
{FOREMAN} – this manager or supervisor is also another man of the day (probably more famous these days for his cooking appliances). A preposition meaning promoting or in favour of is followed by the reversal (turned up, in a down clue) of a synonym for celebrity.

13d  We must have these industrial city pilots wiping out Resistance (10)
{ESSENTIALS} – an industrial city in Germany is followed by pilots or test runs without (wiping out) the R(esistance).

14d  Maybe commentator’s powerful position a press heavily scrapped (6,4)
{THROWN AWAY} – a homophone (maybe commentator’s) of a powerful position or seat of power is followed by A and the alternative spelling of a verb meaning to press heavily.

16d  Cheer second in possession of prize, ignoring first (8)
{REASSURE} – a verb meaning to prize or hold dear loses its first letter (ignoring first) and has S(econd) inserted (in possession).

18d  Thick skin’s key for interrupting in scrap (7)
{RESCIND} – the thick skin (of a cheese, say) has (‘s) a keyboard key used to interrupt or cancel your current process inserted (in).

19d  Agent stumped by attack (6)
{MOLEST} – a long-term secret agent is followed by the cricketing abbreviation for stumped.

20d  Successful songwriter almost unknown in musical Annie (6)
{LENNOX} – the more talented one of a British songwriting duo loses his last letter (almost) and this is followed by an algebraic unknown.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

22d  Men of the day knocking a lot of stuffing out of what they hit for practice (4)
{PUGS} – stuffed objects that men of the day use for practice have their middle five letters (a lot of stuffing) removed (knocked out) to leave a shortened form of another word for these men.

23d  Human body was still under cold earth (4)
{CLAY} – a verb meaning was still or remained follows (under, in a down clue) C(old). Also the previous name of the 24a man of the day.

Lots of good clues today. I’ll pick 19a, 21a and 20d as my favourites. How about you?



11 comments on “Toughie 899

  1. A brilliantly themed crossword – I have one of those minds that retains “stuff” and so am always popular with quiz teams – but it takes a themed crossword to bring out knowledge I never knew I had – this time the names of pugilists over the years. I was in the middle of a walk across the marsh when light dawned as to why I had the wrong person in 10a which then enabled me on my return home to fill in the last two clues. Thanks to Notabilis for the perfect puzzle for today and to gazza for the usual excellent explanations. 20d was my top favourite too.

    1. I think I know who you had for 10a across originally….the one from Manchester maybe? I was torn between 2 before begrudgingly looking up the second name on Google…

  2. I should have done better on this one! I know quite a lot about boxing!

    Who is cleverer? Notabilis for setting the puzzle … or Gazza for explaining all the intricacies?

    Many Thanks to both!

    1. In answer to your question: Lots of people could have explained the clues but only a few could have set a themed puzzle of this excellence – so thanks are due to Notabilis for the Boxing Day treat.

  3. I remember, as a schoolboy, getting up at 4:00am to listen on the radio to Don Cockell fighting against Rocky Marciano for the world heavyweight championship. It was the first time I had heard of a technical knockout.

    1. That is strange one of the few vivid early childhood memories I retain is listening to that fight with my father who was a huge Marciano and boxing fan in general .

      1. P.S . Did rather well with the puzzle as well but needed Gazza for the knockout !
        Thanks again

  4. Thanks to Gazza for the explanations.

    For 20a, I thought it might be an and lit. We have W(estern) and IS (half of ‘isle’) next to LE (other half of ‘isle’). Or is that too devious?

  5. One minor point: in 10ac the reference is to the balboa as the currency of Panama (hence destabilising the economy), not anything geographical.

    1. Thanks for that, Notabilis, and many thanks for the excellent puzzle and all your other top-rate puzzles throughout the year.

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