Toughie 1707 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1707

Toughie No 1707 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Dutch

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


What a nice way to end the toughie week. A lovely puzzle from Elkamere with some relatively easy clues to get you started as well as some fun and tricky clueing to keep you hooked.

The definitions are underlined in the clues below. The hint may help you solve the clue, and you can always reveal the answer by clicking the 10a, without hesitation button. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and what you thought.


1a    Frenchwoman forced to dress before PM (6)
MADAME: A verb meaning forced goes around (to dress) the part of a day that is before PM

4a    Plant needs a container like this (8)
ACANTHUS: A from the clue plus a 3-letter container and a word meaning like this or so

9a    Craving Romeo, closer to Charlie Sheen (6)
LUSTRE: A word for craving or desire, the letter that Romeo encodes in international radio communication, plus the last letter in (closer to) Charlie

10a    Rare news about one coming back? (8)
ANSWERER: Anagram (about) of RARE NEWS

11a    Engineer gets to do a refinement (4,5)
GOOD TASTE: Anagram (engineer) of GETS TO DO A

13a    Spirits and dope used by team (5)
GENII: A 3-letter word for dope or information plus two letters that look like the number of players in a team

14d    See finished (6,7)
FOLLOW THROUGH: A word meaning see or understand plus a word meaning finished or over gives a phrase that means see finished, making this an all-in-one.

17a    What we’d buy to go to see ABBA? (6,7)
RETURN TICKET: What you need to purchase to get from A to B and then from B back to A.

21a    Big noise from a bump in the snow (5)
MOGUL: Two meanings – the second one is for the skiers, though I tend to avoid these bumps nowadays.

23a    Too much from labourer (3,2,4)
OUT OF HAND: An expression that means not in control can also mean derived from labourer

24a    Reptile quietly burrows into ground (8)
TERRAPIN: The musical abbreviation for quietly goes inside (burrows into) another word for ground or land

25a    Romantic German supports protecting the Queen (6)
BRAHMS: Supports worn usually by women surrounding (protecting) a 2-letter abbreviation for the Queen (not ER)

26a    Superior, like old Top Gear programme, ultimately (8)
PRESTIGE: An old Top Gear might have been televised before its anonymous test-driver joined the gang, hence it would be “(3-4)”, plus the last letter in programmE (ultimately)

27a    Joint blocked by dead tissue (6)
TENDON: A joint in woodworking contains (blocked by) the abbreviation for D(ead)



1d    Evil man’s first order? (6)
MALIGN: First letter in Man plus a verb meaning to order or neaten

2d    Record, then forget to include loud rattle (9)
DISCOMFIT: A 4-letter gramophone record plus a verb meaning forget or leave out around (to include) the musical abbreviation for loud

3d    Almost ruin everything after wedding (7)
MARITAL: Think of a (3,2,3) expression that would mean ruin everything, and omit the last letter

5d    New London location has bridge over one canal (11)
CONNECTICUT: New London is in the USA. A 7-letter verb meaning to bridge or join goes over the Roman numeral for one plus a 3-letter word that can mean a canal or groove

6d    Risk following extremely nice traveller (3,4)
NEW AGER: A verb meaning risk or gamble comes after the outer letters of N(ic)E

7d    What about river flowing for bird? (5)
HERON: The reversal of (about) a 2-letter interjection meaning what, the abbreviation for R(iver), and a 2-letter word that could mean flowing (like a tap)

8d    Frank‘s mouth mostly visible? (8)
STRAIGHT: Start with a 4-letter slang word for mouth, ‘mostly’ (= all but the last letter). If this is visible, it would be IN *****, so place it ‘in’ that 5-letter word

12d    Defect in aspirin? (11)
SHORTCOMING: Split (5,6), the answer could be a clue to remove the last letter from a word to give ‘aspirin’

15d    Sun’s out — villain’s stolen the safe (9)
UNSCATHED: An anagram (out) of SUN, then a 3-letter word for villain or scoundrel surrounds (has stolen) THE from the clue

16d    Tidy up main Blackpool station? (4-4)
TRAM-STOP: Reverse (up) a 5-letter word for tidy or dapper then add a word for main or highest


18d    Diatribe about priest having faith? (7)
RELIANT: A 4-letter diatribe goes around a biblical priest

19d    Implement used in kitchen for cereal (7)
ENFORCE: Implement is a verb here – hidden in (used in) the last 3 words of the clue

20d    Likely lad, initially single (4-2)
ODDS-ON: another word for lad, preceded by (initially) another word for single (as a sock might be)

22d    Pass wolf (5)
GORGE: Two meanings, the second is to eat greedily

I have a particular appreciation for 9a that Elkamere will understand, and I liked the well-hidden 19d. I also enjoyed 26a, 17a, 20a, and many more. Which were your favourites?

15 comments on “Toughie 1707

  1. Of all the puzzles I’ve solved today, there are two that I really enjoyed – one won’t be seen in public for a while and the other was this splendid Toughie. I’d pick 25a for special mention with 26a, 5d and 12d following close behind. 3*/5* from me too

    Thanks to Elkamere and Dutch

  2. Most of this went in surprisingly easily for a Friday, however I did struggle with a couple in the SW segment.
    Many thanks to Elkamere for a most enjoyable puzzle, and to Dutch for the review.

  3. I agree with CS, this is a very enjoyable Friday Toughie. One of those occasions when the setter seems to pitch everything about right. Thanks Elkamere and Dutch.

  4. Even though I am an avid fan of this site and the toughie, it’s not often I am moved to comment. However today’s toughie was a really enjoyable one with many smiling moments. It might be that I did it sitting in the sun outside. Not many more days this year I will be able to say that. Mores the pity.
    Thanks to Elkamere and Dutch.

  5. Many thanks as ever Dutch – lovely blog. And, yes, I thought of you as soon as 9a formed itself. An unexpected but irresistible opportunity.

  6. Well, now you’ve kindly explained it, Dutch, I can see what an excellent puzzle I failed to solve! Not sure if I’m having a thick day but only managed about half of it. Elkamere was about three steps ahead of me a lot of the time.My brain must be black and blue from kicking itself when I gave up and consulted the blog!

    Thanks to Elkamere and Dutch. Just wish I’d done it more justice!

  7. Thanks to Elkamere for the enjoyable puzzle and to Dutch for the review. The only problem I had was with 17a where I had to overwrite my first attempt (‘rotary tickets’).
    My favourite was 8d. My other favourite was 12d.

  8. Really good fun and much appreciated. Needed to check why 16d was specifically Blackpool so it makes sense now. We did a clue word count and found that it is totally in line with the RayT/Beam rule of no more than eight words per clue. Not a quick solve for us but it all flowed consistently without major log jams.
    Thanks Elkamere and Dutch.

  9. I thought I was in for the rare treat of completing an Elk, but the romantic German defeated me. 3.5*/4* for my money. So many wonderful clues, but my favourite was 12d, which occurred to me with a resounding “D’oh!” after much creasing of the SD brow. Thanks to Elkamere, and Dutch.

  10. Finally managed to get onto the site via a proxy server – and I guess most folk have gone to bed by now!
    Anyway – yes, I finished it without too much trouble apart from the parsing of 8d and thanks to Dutch for that one.

    Podium spots going to 4,11,14,23&26a plus 2d.

    Many thanks to Dean and to Dutch – trying to work out the significance of 9a!

  11. I don’t want to sound sycophantic so I’ll just say that I rather liked this.

    Unfortunately, the crossword section of my brain seems recently to have come a little unscrewed. I started off well enough, but completely stalled and had to use electronic help to get going again.

    The 21a bump in the snow was new for me. The only winter sports I’ve ever participated in are snowman building and mulled wine drinking.

    I can’t really pick a favourite from so much choice, but my biggest grin was probably early on in the solve when I managed to put all thoughts of spoons aside and find the lurker in 19d.

    Many thanks to Elkamere and Dutch. I liked your Easter egg.

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