Toughie 1327 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1327

Toughie No 1327 by Mynot

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A pleasant solve which just about earned the third star for difficulty. The last one in was 4 across where the unchecked letters (_E_E_A_E) were not very kind to the solver. Has MynoT given up thematic puzzles or have I missed something?

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    Erica, over 50, in good shape (6)
HEALTH: Erica (the moorland plant) round the Roman numeral denoting 50

4a    Mean to live for a drink (8)
BEVERAGE: Take a word meaning mean (in arithmetic) and change A to BE (to live)

9a    Ignore broadcast in this area (6)
REGION: An anagram (ignore) of REGION

10a    Unreasonable for each to introduce part of chapter (8)
PERVERSE: ‘For each’ + part of a chapter (e.g. of the bible)

11a    The French revolutionary seduced by flawed dictum related to fundamental code (8)
TALMUDIC: A reversal of one of the French forms of ‘the’ goes inside an anagram (flawed) of DICTUM to give ‘related to the fundamental code of Jewish civil and canon law’

13a    Where to go with one’s 15,150 in centre of Nice (6)
CLINIC: The Roman numeral for 150 + IN + the middle letters of NICe

15a    A visit to no.13 might be necessary after chewing Danish canapes (5,3,5)
ACHES AND PAINS: An anagram (chewing) of DANISH CANAPES

18a    Shiniest arrow deployed as being fit to fly (13)
AIRWORTHINESS: An anagram (deployed) of SHINIEST ARROW

22a    No opening for escape route to get past old man-eater (6)
OGRESS: O (old) + a way out or exit with the first letter removed = a female man-eating giant

24a    Absurdity is only about doctrine (8)
SOLECISM: ‘Only’ + the one-letter abbreviation denoting ‘about’ + a doctrine

26a    Soldier was first to embrace queen with horny growth (8)
ANTLERED: A soldier (insect) + ‘went first’ round our queen

27a    Adult arousal unsatisfied, as resting (2,4)
AT EASE: A (adult) + an arousal of sexual desire by someone who refuses to satisfy it

28a    A character always has to be high-flier (8)
ACHIEVER: A + a character in the Greek alphabet + ‘always’

29a    Peter Tchaikovsky’s cleared out as a condition of 18 (6)
SAFETY: A peter + the first and last letters of TchaikovskY


1d    Girl’s toe squashed with this? (6)
HERETO: A girl (pronoun) + an anagram (squashed) of TOE. I’m not too keen on the definition

2d    A knight looks down on posh girl bearing around hot pasta (5,4)
ANGEL HAIR: A + the chess abbreviation for knight + a facetious rendering of an upper-class pronunciation of girl + ‘a bearing’ round H (hot) = a pasta shaped in very thin strips (which I’ve never heard of)

3d    American expression of approval of contact about award (3,4)
TOO MUCH: ‘Contact’ goes round a 2-letter award that seems to crop up a lot in Toughies

5d    Pitcher contributing to new error (4)
EWER: Hidden in nEW ERror

6d    Hide jealousy, ignoring unknown staff getting backing (7)
ENVELOP: Hide (or cover by wrapping) = ‘jealousy’ with the letter Y (unknown) removed + a reversal of a staff

7d    A priest on stage (5)
APRON: A + an abbreviation for priest + ON

8d    Work out duty bearing on being brought up (8)
EXERCISE: ‘Work out (in a gym) = duty (tax) round a reversal of ‘on’

12d    Inuits building at the original position (2,4)
IN SITU: An anagram (building) of INUITS

14d    Architect Jones pocketing penny for product of woad (6)
INDIGO: The first name of the architect Jones goes round the abbreviation for an old penny to give the dye that gives woad its colour

16d    To start this month I punish students (9)
INSTIGATE: ‘This month’ + I + ‘to punish students by confining them to the premises’

17d    TV programme finding gold in country (8)
PANORAMA: A current affairs TV programme = ‘gold’ inside a country of Central America

19d    Blue, having died on site (7)
OBSCENE: Blue (indecent) – ‘died’ + ‘site’

20d    It’s a kind of complex to choose God (7)
ELECTRA: ‘To choose’ + the ancient Egyptian sun-god

21d    Brownish odd fruit not right (twice) (6)
UMBERY: Brownish (like an earthy mineral) = ‘odd’ (3) with the letter R removed + a fruit with a letter R removed

23d    Miserable person’s told gag (5)
RETCH: A homophone of a miserable person = ‘to gag (be sick)’

25d    French brute breathed oddly (4)
BÊTE: The odd letters of BrEaThEd

There were too many “read-and-write” answers to make it a real challenge

24 comments on “Toughie 1327

  1. I thought this was a bit tougher than MynoT’s usual, altho I agree with Bufo, several were write-ins. 4a was also my last in and now the penny has dropped, my favourite. Also quite liked 8d altho the surface leaves a bit to be desired. Not too impressed with the 13a/15a pair which seemed laboured. Better shut up as the grumpy old git is starting to emerge again.

    Thanks to MynoT and Bufo.

  2. Very nice. I liked the linked 13a and 15a, both had nice wordplay. 11a was a new word for me (fundamental code). I liked 16a (horny growth) and 29a (peter tchaikovsky – very clever i thought). 7d appealed for its simple elegance (a priest on stage).

    I had to look up woad. Wikipedia tells me this is a plant that produces a blue dye, which was eventually replaced by natural indigo (from a different plant) and now it’s all synthetic indigo. So “product of woad” (14d) strictly does not indicate the answer (or wikipedia is wrong).

    Last one in was 21d (brownish), since it took me a while to get 24a (absurdity).

    Many thanks MynoT for a wonderful puzzle and thanks Bufo for the review

    1. Chambers is clear enough – that indigo can be got from the indigo plant, from the woad plant or synthetically.

      1. it seems woad produces a chemical from which indigo can be synthesised by mankind outside of the plant. This is different to the indigo plant which produces indigo. From this minor exploration, it seems to me indigo is not a product of woad, but a product of a product of woad, so i think some licence is being used in the clue. As in the “el cid” clue last week, I have a concern that “it’s in chambers” as a compiler’s excuse is not always sufficient.

        i’m thinking cheese is a dairy product, but not a cow product

        1. Hi Dutch.
          Woad in France is Guède which is the plant which, when you boil its leaves give you that famous blue pastel called indigo. Very much known in SW France as it gave the colour for the famous cotton de Nimes or denim as you call it.

          1. I’m only going by what I’ve just read – if you look it up, indigo does not come from woad, which produces a different blue dye that is also a precursor to indigo in an external chemical synthesis. Instead, indigo comes from an indigo plant. I agree indigo is the denim dye. Dangers of chambers, much as i love the brb.

            1. It really doesn’t matter what you’ve just read. You are confusing scientific/technical accuracy with lexical accuracy. The authority for the latter, for crosswords, is Chambers, which tells us how words are used, even if sometimes they’re used inaccurately in the technical sense.
              btw I wouldn’t rely on Wikipedia for anything

            2. Anyway,
              The thing I liked about this clue was the reference to Inigo Jones. Being in Covent garden for so long, not only there was the little church on Bedford Street but a beautiful building on the corner of Garrick and Floral St ( just opposite my wine bar) designed by this great architect.

              1. When I was a girl, I thought his name was Indigo Jones, which makes the clue extra delightful for me.

  3. I thought this was pretty straightforward, too, though I did enjoy it. 4A was also my last one in though I needed the review to understand why it was correct. My favorites today are 24A and 26A

  4. I couldn’t, for the life of me, get 1d. Was looking for some strange medieval torture contraption.
    26a was a bit of a mouthful to pronounce. Didn’t realise we could use that word in that way.
    24a also: “ism” being a word on its own was new to me.
    As for 17d, good thing I knew the programme but I suppose the checking letters would be enough to guess.
    I had 4a quite early as I first understood the clue as be + drink until the good old penny dropped. At this rate I’ll be millionaire in a few thousand years.
    Thanks to MynoT and to Bufo.

    1. Hi again Jean-luc – just to let you know that I did have a go at the Arachne puzzle. All done, but the football ones were sheer guesses! Trust a Frenchman to single out 21a & 8d for mention – I was rather taken with 24a!

      1. You’re right. 31a the “Che” Guevara with the anagram of sale was great. But poor 23d. Infamous Baroness!, Liked 24a also.

        1. Thanks for the parsing of 31a. I was lamely going for CH as an abb. for an icon (!) + anagram of sale and, oops, where’s the other ‘e’ come from! Pitiful I know, but my gut feeling was that the answer was correct.

  5. An otherwise lovely puzzle spoiled by 1d which has me completely baffled as to what MynoT is on about.
    Two hints needed. 4a which I’d ‘bunged in’ but couldn’t parse at the time and 29a. I’d never seen Peter = safe before and again this was a ‘bung in’ without really understanding the reason. So, thanks for the explanations Bufo.
    My favourite today is 21 down ‘cos it’s a nice word and it made me laugh after I started thinking about Speedy Gonzalez. Childish or what?
    Thanks to Bufo for the assistance and MynoT for the challenge.

  6. The most straightforward Thursday ‘toughie’ in the history of straightforward Thursday toughies.

    Thank you to Bufo and MynoT

  7. Our last two to finish were 21d and 4a, both of which took a while to sort out the wordplay. We always seem to have trouble with clues like 4a where there is a substitution that is not a straight one for one. Thought it was good fun and not too tricky.
    Thanks MynoT and Bufo.

  8. I enjoyed this one – not really a toughie but well clued and fun to solve. Thanks to Bufo and MynoT

  9. A tough enough toughie, and I used six hints.I like 13a and 27a amoung others.I misread 13a as cl in the middle of nice and I kept wondering where the e had got to .Thanks for setting me straight , Buffo.Thanks Mynot .

  10. Ho hum – definitely not a ‘pass’ mark today. 6 that I had to go to Bufo for and 4 of those still needed a reveal of the answer. One new word (11a), two new ‘endings’ (26a & 21d) plus 3 that I simply didn’t ‘get’.

    That will teach me to get excited after a BEAMing success.

    Many thanks for your assistance, Bufo and to MynoT – I’ll try to up my game next time.

    1. If it makes you feel better, I came up dry on the Beam and have had to put it away until the weekend hoping a fresh look will bring revelation.

      1. Thanks, Chris – that actually helps a lot. I guess the more difficult the puzzle, the more ‘wavelength’ comes into play. Good luck with the Beam at the weekend – I’ll be interested to know whether you enjoy it at the end of the day.

    2. I’m not tracking you. It’s these notifications I get.
      I’m happy to see that I’m not the only one with the ending of 26a. I understand the concept with words like foot or hoof or arm even because they can be verbs but antler!
      As for 21d, from now on it’s going to be bluey, whity and redy.

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