Toughie 1678

Toughie No 1678 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

A gentle and unexciting solve. My only question mark concerns the parsing of 1 across.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    AC/DC power in a CV (7)
BIODATA: ‘AC/DC (as a sexual orientation) + a hypothetical force once thought to be responsible for many natural phenomena + ‘in’ + A. I don’t know if that’s what MynoT intended but it’s the best I can come up with

8a    Temp gets caught going out around America, typically (2,5)
AS USUAL: ‘Temp(orary worker)’ with the letter C (caught) removed round US (America)

10a    ‘Eve’, the most recent / song … (9)
YESTERDAY: 2 meanings: the most recent eve/the title of a Beatles song

11a    … I croon to the audience, putting a coat on (5)
ICING: A homophone (to the audience) of ‘I croon’ = putting a coat (on the top of a cake)

12a    Chap returned with drugs for celebrities (5)
NAMES: A reversal of a chap + drugs (more than one Ecstasy tablet)

13a    Contract concerning space held by representative (9)
AGREEMENT: ‘Concerning’ (2) + a space in printing (2) inside a representative (5)

15a    Rent is almost clear for crying out loud (7)
TEARFUL: A rent (rip) + ‘clear’ with the last letter removed

17a    Sculptor‘s captal capital in Italy (7)
BERNINI: The capital of Switzerland + IN + I (Italy). I hadn’t spotted the typo until Cryptic Sue pointed it out in an email

18a    Welcoming writer in row by sea (4-5)
OPEN-ARMED: A writer (something to write with) inside ‘to row (a boat)’ + a sea between Europe and Africa

20a    Month alien joined musical group? (5)
OCTET: The tenth month of the year + an alien

21a    Stab unpleasant person going back east (5)
KNIFE: ‘To stab’ = a reversal of a slang term for an unpleasant person + E (east)

23a    Turn two-thirds of pancakes on stove — it’s a frightful sight (9)
HOBGOBLIN: A stove (3) + a turn (2) + a six-letter word for ‘pancakes’ with the last two letters removed

24a    European having drunk claret first: Alice’s well content (7)
TREACLE: An anagram (drunk) of CLARET + E (European) = a substance found in a well in Alice in Wonderland

25a    Ill but not out, just rough (2,5)
OF SORTS: Remove OUT from the phrase ‘OUT ** *****’ meaning ‘ill’


1d    Perfect criminal to add accomplice (10)
CONSUMMATE: A criminal (3) + ‘to add’ (3) + an accomplice (4)

2d    Small parts arrived with large (6)
CAMEOS: Small parts in a play or film = ‘arrived’ + an abbreviation denoting ‘very large’

3d    Difficult dance is tactic to win (8)
HARDBALL: ‘Difficult’ (4) + a dance (4) = no-nonsense, tough tactics used for political gain

4d    Woodman found fish in river? On the contrary (6)
SAWYER: A river on the England-Wales border inside a marine fish

5d    Dumb queen hugs popular revolutionary (8)
MUTINEER: ‘Dumb’ and our Queen round ‘popular’

6d    Check dropping temperature in car (4)
AUDIT: Remove (drop) T (temperature) from a word meaning ‘to check (the accounts of a company)’

7d    Part of a rifle is an example of 9 (7,6)
BAYONET SOCKET: 2 meanings: part of a rifle where a sharp implement fits/an example of the answer to 9 down into which a bulb fits

9d    Time to enter freestyle fighting list for these fixtures (5,8)
LIGHT FITTING: T (time) inside an anagram (freestyle) of FIGHTING LIST = fixtures that hold a bulb

14d    Such a novel could produce pence in miserable royalties (10)
EPISTOLARY: P (pence) in an anagram (miserable) of ROYALTIES = a word that describes a novel that consists of a series of letters

16d    Dance that could fire Sergeant for example (8)
FLAMENCO: A Spanish dance = ‘fire’ + an abbreviation for an officer such as a sergeant

17d    Splattered blood (unknown in black and white) is serious setback (4,4)
BODY BLOW: An anagram (spattered) of BLOOD and Y (unknown) inside B (black) and W (white)

19d    Composer in hock upheld the French Right (6)
MAHLER: A reversal (upheld) of a hock + the French word for ‘the’ + R (right)

20d    Alumnus is embraced by old tenor musician (6)
OBOIST: An abbreviation for a male alumnus + IS inside O (old) and T (tenor)

22d    One or a couple? (4)
ITEM: 2 meanings: an individual thing/two people in a relationship

I’ll be away next week so I’ll see you next month [any volunteers to take over next week? BD]


  1. Posted September 22, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found this a bit trickier than the last couple of Toughies. I didn’t know the power in 7a, and on reading the review found I’d neglected a couple of other little bits of parsing too.

    There was no typo in 17a in the online version by the time I got to it. Speaking of tpyos, there’s a little one in the answer to 9d.

    I don’t usually mind the verbing of nouns, but I make an exception in the case of 21a.

    I’ll go for 16d as favourite. That and 3d made me wonder if MynoT might be a Strictly fan.

    The above has reminded me that we haven’t seen Paso Doble in a while. Hope they’re ok.

    Thanks to MynoT and Bufo. BD – if nobody gives you a better offer, I’d be happy to do next Thurs.

  2. dutch
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wasn’t sure where the power was in 7a, so thanks for the enlightenment there Bufo.

    After finding the woodman (4d, last one in) it still took me a while to find a fish or a river.

    Lovely lightbulb moment finding the part of a rifle in 7d.

    Also liked 2d, 23a & 24a, after recovering from 14d.

    Many thanks setter and Bufo

  3. halcyon
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    With the exception of 7a more or less the usual fare from MynoT. I came to the same conclusion as you Bufo about od, having checked Chambers in desperation. At first I thought the typo in 17a might be a cunning way to indicate a capital city with a letter missing [and I’m used to seeing the Swiss capital end in an e] but it ain’t the same letter and anyway the German Swiss spell it without an e….

    Favourites were 24a [Alice’s well content is nice] and 25a which is neatly done. But where would setters be without obscure fish [4d]?

    Thanks for the blog and thanks to MynoT for the puzzle.

  4. Jeroboam
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    7a was also the stumbling block for me. I wasn’t able to parse power, so the ninety-ninety rule applied to my solving time. Enjoyable enough and without 7a nothing too problematic, although I’d rate it marginally tougher than the previous two this week.

  5. Gazza
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Elgar tomorrow.

    • Jane
      Posted September 22, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Well, I did manage the last one but I think that was a rare flash in the pan.

  6. Jane
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 5:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    To be honest, I gave up trying to parse 7a so thank you for that one, Bufo.
    The checkers I had in for 11a certainly left me with good old Bing in my head for a while and, like Kitty, I was set on John Sergeant for the fandango!
    I don’t like clear = full in 15a, how does that work?
    4d brought me two new words in the definition and the fish and 7d was also new. Fortunately I worked them out from the wordplay and then consulted Mr. G for confirmation.
    Amongst the goodies I picked out 24&25a plus 3d for the honours.
    Thanks to MynoT and to Bufo – enjoy your holiday.

    • Gazza
      Posted September 22, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Five clear/full days’ notice must be given. ?

      • Jane
        Posted September 22, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I knew you’d have the answer, Gazza – many thanks.

  7. Kath
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Apart from 7a which I gave up on I enjoyed this.
    I particularly liked the two long ones down the sides – 7 and 9d. I also liked 23a.
    Thanks to MynoT and to Bufo.
    I’m going to run very fast from tomorrow’s Toughie so see you all on what Kitty calls ‘the dark side’ next Tuesday.

  8. KiwiColin
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 7:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Looks like I was not alone in struggling to fully parse 7a, never having encountered ‘od’ before. The rest all went together without too much of a fight. Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks MynoT and Bufo.

  9. R. Burgess-Dawson
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 7:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Stuck in bottom left as I had bayonet holder as 7d.

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