Toughie 1694 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1694

Toughie No 1694 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I was in the groove this morning because this was pretty much a read-and-write puzzle for me except for the NW corner where 2 down (new to me) and 15 across (a pesky 4-letter word) caused a slight hold-up. I feel cheated!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    I am taking step towards this kind of painting (7)
IMPASTO: ‘I am’ + a step (especially in ballet) + ‘towards’ = paint applied thickly

9a    When in sea, it’s rocky (8)
BASALTIC: ‘When’ inside the sea that separates Scandinavia from the mainland of NE Europe

10a    In afterthought bring back practice for group of stars (7)
PEGASUS: An afterthought at the end of a letter goes round ‘practice’ reversed to give a constellation named after a winged horse

11a    Liar goes around women’s quarters (8)
SERAGLIO: An anagram (around) of LIAR GOES

12a    Part next to new waterway (6)
SEVERN: ‘To part’ + N = the longest river in the UK

13a    Friend embraces British woman in opera in unusual manner (10)
ABNORMALLY: A friend (4) round B (British) and the title character of an opera by Bellini

15a    Model / to remain fresh (4)
LAST: 2 meanings: a shoemaker’s model of the foot/to remain fresh

16a    Embroider surplus copies by gallery (9)
OVERSTATE: Surplus copies (5) + the name of an art gallery (4)

21a    Owed tenor for music (4)
DUET: ‘Owed’ + T (tenor) = a musical composition for two performers

22a    Device for reversing current short journey on a rocky height (10)
COMMUTATOR: A regular journey between home and work with the last letter removed + A + a rocky height

24a    Delivers more than one golf club without head (6)
UTTERS: ‘Delivers’ or ‘pronounces’ = golf clubs used near the hole with the first letter removed

25a    Mark policeman getting series recast (8)
DIERESIS: A mark placed over the second of two adjacent vowels to show that it is to be pronounced separately = a Detective Inspector + an anagram (recast) of SERIES

27a    Appropriates girl’s former partners (7)
ANNEXES: A girl’s name + former partners

28a    So without ultimate energy for it (8)
THEREFOR: Remove E (energy) from the end of a 9-letter word meaning ‘so’

29a    Time certain to produce destruction (7)
ERASURE: A division of geological time + ‘certain’


2d    Violently menaces a rich patron (8)
MAECENAS: An anagram (violently) of MENACES A = a rich patron of art or literature (after a Roman knight who befriended Virgil and Horace)

3d    River dweller, a mother’s given up drink (8)
AMARETTO: A reversal of an aquatic fish-eating carnivore, A and mother = an Italian liqueur flavoured with almonds

4d    Trip to cite part of Bible in competition (10)
TOURNAMENT: A trip (4) + ‘to cite’ (4) + part of the Bible (2)

5d    Regularly arraigned for violence (4)
RAGE: Alternate letters of aRrAiGnEd

6d    Greeting little Sarah before one in the morning (6)
SALAAM: A diminutive form of Sarah + A (one) + ‘in the morning’

7d    See after last broadcast in an old-fashioned manner (7)
STALELY: An anagram (broadcast) of LAST + a see (bishopric) in Eastern England

8d    A close friend marks word with initials (7)
ACRONYM: A + an intimate companion + M (mark)

11d    Inflammation sister has in situ painfully (9)
SINUSITIS: Inflammation of a cavity connecting the skull to the nose = ‘sister’ round an anagram (painfully) of IN SITU

14d    Fast cuckoo, one doing a marathon? (10)
ROADRUNNER: The name of this American cuckoo capable of moving at great speed could also be taken to mean someone doing a marathon


How could I pass up an invitation like this?  BD

17d    Such a journalist could be sistered (8)
EDITRESS: A female journalist is an anagram (could be) of SISTERED

18d    Twice in this place, broadcast exclamation of approval (4,4)
HEAR HEAR: A homophone (broadcast) of ‘in this place’ appears twice

19d    Sourness of detectives in island unknown (7)
ACIDITY: A branch of the police to which detectives belong (3) inside a small island (3) + a letter denoting an unknown quantity

20d    Measuring device encountered in more than half of America (7)
AMMETER: ‘Encountered’ inside the first four letters of AMERica

23d    In Paris an archdeacon’s odd (6)
UNEVEN: The feminine form of the French word for ‘an’ + the abbreviation for an honorific prefix to the name of an archdeacon

26d    International criminal is object of worship (4)
ICON: I (International) + a criminal

I’m not around next Thursday when I’ll be setting off for a long weekend on the Yorkshire coast from where I’ll travel to York on the Saturday. I hope to be in Southwark this coming Saturday so I’ll see some of you then

23 comments on “Toughie 1694

  1. No problem with 2d as the word Mécénat is wildly used here when it comes to financing a project.
    Had problems with that 4 letter word in 15a and needed the hint.
    New word for me was 25a.
    The rest was pretty much a read and write also.
    Thanks to MynoT and to Bufo.
    Look forward to seeing you in York although my departure from France had to be somewhat delayed as I have to pay my last respects to a dear departed friend.

  2. 2D and 25A were new words but not too hard to sort out and verify. I didn’t like 7D at all, I’m afraid. Loved 9A, 8D and 14D (Saw one once in Arizona). Thanks MynoT and Bufo.

  3. Wasn’t sure what to make of this one. Seemed to swing wildly from the ‘too easy to be true’ e.g. 21a, 5 &26d through to words I’d never come across before – 22a, 25a, 2d plus the island in 19d and the ending (or should I say non-ending!) of 28a.
    7d fell into my personal category of ‘non-words’ and I’d forgotten about the women’s quarters which I’m sure we’ve had before.

    OK – so it wasn’t my favourite puzzle but there was still enjoyment to be had from it and knowledge to be gained. 27a gets my vote for favourite.

    Thanks to MynoT and to Bufo.

  4. Pretty much concur with Bufo’s comments. Hard to know why a setter chucks in an answer like 2d when everything else is straightforward. Is it a sudden desire to educate or will nothing else comfortably fit? Either way thanks to MynoT and Bufo.

      1. Thanks Dutch. It was only following your comment that I found out about the Chambers Word Wizard. I suspect there’s a number of these sort of things I don’t know about.

        1. I have the chambers dictionary and thesaurus apps on my iPad. I love them – cheaper than the hard copy. i suspect other platforms also allow access to electronic brb, perhaps others can comment.

  5. I quite enjoyed this and I could do it which is always a bonus for me with a Toughie even though I know that means that it’s not Tough enough for the rest of you.
    There were quite a few words that I’d either never met before or have forgotten.
    My favourite was 8d.
    With thanks to MynoT and to Bufo.

  6. If you happen to be a classicist, then all the vocabulary on show here is very straightforward, and I certainly concur with a */** difficulty rating for this enjoyable puzzle with that proviso.

    I too found 15a to be the hardest and most wearisome clue… there are just too many possibilities, and sometimes when you hit a clue like this there’s often no choice but to start running through them all.

    1. 15A went in quickly for me. My father had one back in the 50’s and used to re-sole all our shoes. Then we were sent outside to scuff the new leather on the concrete path so that we wouldn’t slip.

  7. After a morning in the dentist’s chair and a jawful of lidocaine this was more stubborn than it should have been. 2d was only vaguely familiar [but easily confirmed by the BRB] whereas the obvious anagram at 11a and the obvious reversal at 3d [lovely over ice] were not obvious at all. MynoT often, like Giovanni sometimes, brings to mind an elderly denizen of the Senior Common Room – but one can’t fault the wordplay.

    Thanks to MynoT and to Bufo.

  8. That pesky 4 letter 15a was our last one too and we did wonder about 28a. It seemed to us pretty much the same word with a slight spelling variation but suspect that the legal sense must have precise meaning that we are not familiar with. However it all went together quite smoothly and pleasantly.
    Thanks MynoT and Bufo.

  9. We found this a bit more difficult than the rest of you. However, we did finish, with NW corner last to yield and even then had parsing trouble with 1a.
    Thanks to MynoT for the weird words.
    Thanks to Bufo for the explanation.

  10. Another puzzle of two halves for me, this time the bottom being the smooth area. The less said about the top the better! 2d was a new one on me and 25a sounded familiar but the spelling seemed weird, and I couldn’t have told you what it might have been marking. My other problems I have no excuse for but fortunately I don’t need one. We don’t have to pass an entrance exam to come here and comment – which is just as well. :)

    Thanks to MynoT and Bufo.

  11. The likes of 2d and 25ac pushed this into *** time for me. Yes, it’s an anagram, no, it’s not a word you’ve stumbled across before. 15ac was my last in too. ?a?t can be a lot of things…

  12. 25a and 28a were new ones on me, but overall 2*/3* seems about right. I enjoyed 23d. Thanks to MynoT and Bufo.

  13. Thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for the review and hints. Well, it wasn’t read and write for me. So much I had never heard of. Needed 13 hints to finish. Was 5*/2*for me.

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