Toughie 980 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 980

Toughie No 980 by MynoT

Time for OysteRs?

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Bufo is away today.  This morning I took our German guests on a tour around the Morgan factory, which lasted longer than I expected.

We used to complain when MynoT was working his way through the alphabet, but at least that added some interest to his puzzles.  [Thanks to Crypticsue for pointing out that all of the answers contained an R … zzzzzzz.]

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           Provide means of protection to an international couturier (6)
{ARMANI} – a three-letter verb meaning to provide means of protection followed by the AN from the clue and I(nternational)

5a           Analogue standard everybody starts to employ less (8)
{PARALLEL} – a standard score, especially in golf, followed by a word meaning everybody and the initial letters of (starts) the final two words in the clue

9a           Adopted or rejected reason relating to power movement (13)
{ELECTROMOTIVE} – an adjective meaning adopted or chosen followed by OR reversed (rejected) and a reason

10a         Practise on vehicle (8)
{REHEARSE} – a two-letter word meaning on or concerning followed by a vehicle used for funerals

11a         Loyal soldier lacking energy absent without excuse (6)
{TRUANT} – start with an adjective meaning loyal and a soldier insect and then drop (lacking) the E(nergy) – I’m not keen on constructs where the deletion for the first part of the wordplay is indicated after the second part

12a         Bird‘s expression of approval about river in Spain (6)
{ORIOLE} – a Spanish expression of approval around a spanish word for a river

14a         Wrong old measure I used for pasta (8)
{TORTELLI} – a legal wrong followed by an old measure for cloth and the I from the clue

16a         Day-lilies perhaps arranged in mere heap (8)
{EPHEMERA} – an anagram (arranged) of MERE HEAP – the IN appears to be padding for the benefit of the surface reading

19a         In times past every so often at sea Steven, being drunk, got fired (2,4)
{OF YORE} – an anagram (at sea) of (EV)ERY (S)O OF(TEN) from which the various letters (being drunk) of STEVEN have been removed (got fired)

21a         Band jolly late, playing around (6)
{ARMLET} – a jolly or Royal Marine inside (around) an anagram (playing) of LATE

23a         Regal son left, taking possession of damaged carpet (8)
{SCEPTRAL} – if you were wondering how to parse spectral, then you can’t because it’s the wrong answer! – S(on) and L(eft) around (taking possession of) an anagram (damaged) of CARPET

25a         Dip into outstanding pot that wouldn’t be found down under (7-6)
{SURFACE-VESSEL} – a verb meaning to dip into or move from site to site on the internet followed by an adjective meaning outstanding and a pot or container used for cooking – these craft are not submarines!

26a         Poor clue standard to cause corruption (8)
{ULCERATE} – an anagram (poor) of clue followed by a standard or measure

27a         Ask before first putting a bit of red in barrel (4,2)
{TURN TO} – a two-letter word meaning before, as in the time is 10 minutes before 2, preceded by (first) the initial letter (bit) of Red inside a barrel


2d           Having eggs always produces small animal (3,4)
{ROE DEER} – an adjective meaning having or containing eggs followed by a poetical word for always

3d           High point to visit regularly in fair weather (5)
{ARÊTE} – this rocky edge on a mountain comes from the even letters (regularly) of the last two words in the clue

4d           Step in to bury archdeacon with earl (9)
{INTERVENE} – a charade of a verb meaning to bury, the shortened for of address for an archdeacon and E(arl)

5d           Task to guard judge for short time (7)
{PROJECT} – start with a verb meaning to guard and insert J(udge) in place of one of the T(ime)s – I think this would work better if it read “Task to guard judge for first time”

6d           Perch has bone in decay (5)
{ROOST} – a two-letter word for a bone inside a verb meaning to decay

7d           Without haste place flower arrangements on River Kolyma’s centre (9)
{LEISURELY} – some Hawaiian garlands followed by a river in North Yorkshire, that later becomes the Ouse, and the middle two letters of KoLYma

8d           No sign of mistake in outside exam — it’s unchangeable (7)
{ETERNAL} – drop the X (sign of mistake) from an outside exam

13d         Perhaps having consumed too much, maiden, say, spilt lager (4-5)
{OVERLARGE} – the size that one might be having consumed too much comes from what could be (say), in cricket, a maiden followed by an anagram (spilt) of LAGER

15d         President needs role — vote’s fixed (9)
{ROOSEVELT} – an anagram (fixed) of ROLE  VOTE’S

17d         Shade for soldiers initially on leave (7)
{PARASOL} – some airborne soldiers followed by the initial letters of On Leave

18d         Stark south wind beginning to escalate (7)
{AUSTERE} – the  south wind followed by the initial letter of (beginning to) Escalate

20d         Again parcel out existing area of land (7)
{REALLOT} – an adjective meaning existing followed by an area of land

22d         Tenor aria composed for papal office (5)
{TIARA) – T(enor) followed by an anagram (composed) of ARIA

24d         Stunner rates high (5)
{TASER} – an anagram (high) of RATES

Tilsit will be in this seat tomorrow – let’s hope he has better luck that I did today!

17 comments on “Toughie 980

  1. All in all, a good week so far. Do we have to fear the morrow? Many thanks to setter and hoped BD enjoyed the Morgan factory. I certainly did.

    1. I’ve lived 4 miles from the factory for the last 36 years and it’s the first time I have been. It was very enjoyable and the new 3-wheeler was fascinating.

      You have to remove the steering wheel before climbing in to it.

      1. What are they making their frames from currently? I seem to remember some odd materials of the past. Would love to play in the three wheeler, obviously an improvement of the Robin Reliant.

      2. I would have to remove the entire top to get into it or use a very large shoehorn.

  2. A little more than 3* on both counts for me. Many thanks to MynoT for keeping me entertained.

  3. So my unavailability to blog today has not managed to raise the Thursday Toughie difficulty level! Barely 2* difficulty for me. I did it while waiting for the train to London on Nottingham station.

  4. Nearly did it but needed hints for 9a and 5d. I’d added an ‘ed’ in there as I hadn’t considered the adjectival form which gave me a d in 5d (which I wasn’t my favourite). 3d, 22d and 23a were new words for me but easily worked out from wordplay. Favourites were 8d and11a.

    1. Somebody cleverer than me will be able to tell you why I had to rescue your comment from ‘moderation’.

  5. Barely 2* difficulty for me too – Ray T gave me more trouble on the back page. As for not working through the alphabet, every single solution today has an R in it (does that mean we can eat oysters? :) )

    Thanks to MynoT and BD. I see Tilsit will be out to play with Notabilis tomorrow. That should up the difficulty stars!

  6. Several that I needed hints for today (thanks BD!) but overall I quite enjoyed this, so thanks to the setter also. Shamefully, I did not get 12A, which is an emblem of the State in which I live.

  7. We found this a pleasant enough solve without major hold-ups. Last in was 25a as we kept looking for an answer relating to our part of the world. Totally missed the “R” theme. Should have been looking for something of that ilk from past experience of this setter.
    Thanks Mynot and BD.

  8. Cleverly done but a bit lacking in humour for my taste .
    Thanks very much to both .

  9. Thank you BD for 11a, entered correct answer but thought something didn”t feel right about it. Thanks to MynoT also.

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