Toughie 948 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 948

Toughie No 948 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I started slowly but picked up speed and finished in a time that was slightly above my average. Hence the ***/**** rating. I thought it was an enjoyable puzzle which contained nothing too obscure

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    Favour picture in revamped store (7)
{ROSETTE} A favour (as worn to show one’s allegiance) = a picture (a film from 1982) inside an anagram (revamped) of STORE

5a    Small bicycle accessory I dropped, a tool (7)
{SPANNER} S (small) + something that attaches over the rear wheel of a bicycle with the letter I omitted

9a    Food type shortly seen by relative in ugly building? (9)
{CARBUNCLE} A food type (sugars and starches) + a male relative = a word used by Prince Charles to describe an architectural monstrosity

10a    Snug  as one might leave it? (5)
{TIGHT} 2 meanings: snug (as in a snug fit)/a word which might describe you if you had spent a long time in the snug (e.g. of the Rover’s Return)

11a    University figures facing a lot of misfortune in cup, say (7)
{UTENSIL} U (University) + figures + misfortune with the last letter removed

12a    Restaurant toured by golfer in retirement producing surprise (7)
{STARTLE} A reversal (in retirement) of an Italian restaurant inside the surname of a South African golfer

13a    Word of sympathy raised by side of pitch immediately (9)
{THEREUPON} A word expressing sympathy + raised + one side of a cricket pitch

16a    Cycling Russian politician in supply of data? (5)
{INPUT} Take the surname of the President of Russia and ‘cycle’ the letters in it by moving the first three letters to the end

17a    High-powered committeeone that could be charmed? (5)
{COBRA} 2 meanings: a British government committee that is convened to coordinate action in cases of national emergency/a creature that a snake charmer charms

18a    Sweet roll and varied dates good in diet (9)
{BUNDESTAG} A sweet roll + an anagram (varied) of DATES + G (good) = a diet (parliament)

21a    Odd items of drums and hammers perhaps sealed in sack on reflection (7)
{EXOTICA} An adjective that might mean ‘of drums and hammers’ (where the drums and hammers are parts of bodily organs) goes inside a reversal of ‘to sack’

22a    Artist leaving hot African city, one undistinguished after event? (4-3)
{ALSO-RAN} Remove H (hot) from the surname of a Dutch artist (c 1582-1666) and add the name of the second-largest city in Algeria

25a    Juliet’s predecessor in country (5)
{INDIA} What comes before Juliet in the NATO phonetic alphabet?

26a    Money abroad informally given by a faculty reportedly for opportunist (9)
{BUCCANEER} A homophone (reportedly) of an informal term for an American dollar and a faculty (of distinguishing sounds)

27a    Fancy part of course entered by golf followers? (7)
{CORTEGE} ‘Fancy!’ + part of a golf course round G (golf)

28a    Bishop engaged in contest with liberal naturalist (7)
{DURRELL} A 2-letter abbreviation denoting a bishop goes inside a fight between two people. This is followed by L (liberal) to give the surname of an English naturalist (1925-1995)


1d    Tell  what might happen after an electoral stalemate? (7)
{RECOUNT} 2 meanings: to tell (a story)/what might be needed to determine the result of a close election

2d    Jag showing endless dash across left bank of river, or right (5)
{SPREE} ‘Dash’ with the last letter removed goes round R (the left side of River, or the right side of riveR, or an abbreviation for right)

3d    Bundle made by bestselling author (5)
{TRUSS} 2 meanings: a bundle/the surname of an English writer best known for Eats, Shoots and Leaves

4d    Eastern college in traditional county providing meat dish (7)
{ESCALOP} E (Eastern) + C (college) inside a shortened form of the name of an English county

5d    Good chap notes ill-fitting headwear (7)
{STETSON} An abbreviation denoting ‘good chap’ + an anagram (ill-fitting) of NOTES

6d    A clue a bit puzzling requiring time for brainpower at first? That’s the truth (9)
{ACTUALITÉ} An anagram (puzzling) of A CLUE A BIT with B (first letter of brainpower) replaced by T (time)

7d    Pieces reportedly on drug in place of entertainment (9)
{NIGHTSPOT} A homophone (reportedly) of chess pieces + cannabis (drug)

8d    Caring institution about to be joined by doctor (7)
{RETREAT} ‘About’ + ‘to doctor’

14d    Put gloss on dim bore unexpectedly interrupting monarch (9)
{EMBROIDER} An anagram (unexpectedly) of DIM BORE inside our queen

15d    Get rid of English Conservative in broadcast (9)
{ERADICATE} E (English) + C (Conservative) inside ‘to broadcast’

17d    Firm priest, a cold figure of restricted cheer? (7)
{COELIAC} an abbreviation denoting a firm + an Old Testament priest + A + C (cold) = someone suffering from a disorder of the small intestine

18d    Cups form part of this award, acquiring pounds for plant (7)
{BRAMBLE} A garment that has two cups + an award (order of chivalry) round L (pounds)

19d    Refined African politicians in revolutionary study of a subtle sort? (7)
{NUANCED} A former political party in Zimbabwe goes inside a reversal (revolutionary) of a study

20d    Vague  leader in action (7)
{GENERAL} 2 meanings: vague/a military leader

23d    Commotion about a section in flight (5)
{STAIR} A commotion goes round A to give part of a flight (of steps)

24d    Actor and partner with ruff (5)
{REEVE} 2 meanings: the surname of an actor who played Superman/the female equivalent of the ruff (sandpiper)

Good stuff

14 comments on “Toughie 948

  1. Superb crossword from Shamus and a terrific review from Bufo, my thanks to both. I found this quite difficult but after finishing couldn’t really see why. I did need the clue for 6d (hate anagrams ) and I didn’t know the word. Once again, thanks to Bufo and Shamus.

  2. I found this very difficult today, and needed help with a couple to finish it. Thanks to Shamus for a stiffer than normal challenge (for me), and to Bufo for the review and explanations.
    The hint for 19d needs the ‘refined’ abbr.

  3. A game of two halves for me, top half no problems bottom half struggled. Favourites were 18a 27a and 28a thanks to Shamus and to Bufo fot the comments.

  4. Started like a train then hit a collection of buffers including 6d which is surely a French word .Terrific and no wilfully obscure words .Lots of faves but thought 18a tops.
    Thanks very much .

      1. Really? Maybe because I have gluten intolerant friends.. but did think that was quite a common word, oh well albatross I frequently am stumped by words that everyone seems to know. Live and Learn

      2. “A coeliac” is a person suffering from coeliac disease, which is a sensitivity to gluten in the diet. “Cheer” is a synonym for food, hence “figure of restricted cheer” is a person who has to be careful with their diet.

        It’s a term that’s becoming better-known these days, and I reckon it would be OK for a back-pager, let alone a Toughie.

  5. Got there after a lot of hard work. Had a problem finding the right actor for 24d though as we did not get the bird connection. We have come to enjoy Shamus’s clueing technique, it is such a contrast to RayT’s style of today’s other puzzle. “Vive la difference.” A fun challenge.
    Thanks Shamus and Bufo

  6. Best Shamus Toughie that I can remember. I really liked this one.

    It’s a great week of Toughies. Micawber, a great Giovanni, this, and Friday’s Elkamere is a real stonker.

    Many thanks to Shamus, and to Bufo – I agree with the ratings for this one.

    1. Having just written in the last answer, would have to agree with you on the Elkamere.

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