Sunday Toughie 81 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 81 (Review)

 Sunday Toughie No 81  by proXimal

Review by Sloop John Bee

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This puzzle was published on the 13th of August 2023




1a Forest spirit is winged beast (5,10)
GREEN WOODPECKER; A leafy forest GREENWOOD, and ones spirit, resolve or humour PECKER, often used informally in the phrase “Keep your PECKER up”. split 5,10 and you have a winged beast

 Debauched toymaker with head back consuming wine (9)
ORGIASTIC; A brand of die-cast toys CORGI, moves its head to the end ORGI – C, around an Italian white wine ASTI.
It took ages to find a pic without the brand plastered all over it, if you had one I bet you lost the little ejectee!

Fully shelled crab with a condiment (5)
RAITA; Remove the shell from cRAb and wITh in the clue and add the A from the clue, for an Indian condiment of cucumber and mint in yoghurt RAITA

Plant seed endlessly? Billion times (7)
GERBERA; Most of a seed from which the plant springs GERM, an abbreviation of Billion B, and a geological time period ERA. The Gerbera or Transvaal Daisy
Gerbera jamesonii Mega Revolution™ Series (Gerbera Daisy)There were plenty of these at Beninbrough Hall Gardens yesterday but I can’t filter them out from the riot of other plants so a generic google image will have to do

 Got uneasy initially backing Mercury in Queen, perhaps (6)
CAUGHT; The initial letter of uneasy U and a reversal of the chemical symbol of Mercury Hg becomes GH. in the (female) pet that Queen suggests CA-T.  CA(U-GH)T or got a disease perhaps
A topical surface when they have just announced the sale of Freddie Mercury’s Art collection

Copper is one of those fellows accepted in European grants (8)
ELEMENTS; E for European, and grants permission LETS, around some fellows MEN, Copper is one (as is Mercury)

City where we see ladies or gents cycling (4)
OSLO; Informal facilities for the easement of ladies or gents LOOS, cycle two letters from front to back to become the capital city of Norway OSLO

Stray dog dropping tail (4)
ROVE; A common name for a pet dog ROVER, loses its tail to become to wander or stray

Uncertainty aboard the French vessel for vital period (8)
LIFESPAN; One of the ways the French say the LE, and the vessel you use for cooking PAN, around conditional uncertainties (IFS and buts) being the period you remain vital LIFESPAN

Poet penning piece in centre of Canberra (6)
BROOKE; A chess piece ROOK, penned by the central two letters of the Australian capital CanBErra

If I should die, think only this of me:

That there’s some corner of a foreign field

That is for ever England. There shall be

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;

Spooner’s swanky glove that’s found by stage (4,3)
MOSH PIT; A relatively easy spoonerism today. A place for energetic dancing close to the stage, How the Reverend Spooner may refer to a swanky (fingerless) glove  POSH MITT, and swap the initial sounds for the place closet to the stage where headbangers go crazy

Struggles to contain constant sins (5)
VICES; To struggle in rivalry VIES contains the constant C in this equation E=MC2 Energy = Mass X The speed of Light Squared

Counter back against family’s tirades (9)
DIATRIBES; To back or assist AID is reversed (counter) DIA against an aggregate of families forming a community TRIBES. Diatribes or tirades

Overseers great in number having negative effects (15)
SUPERINTENDENTS; A synonym of great, smashing SUPER, IN from the clue, a specific number TEN, and the negative effects of hitting something with your car perhaps DENTS



1d Musician composed zero reggae (6,4)
GEORGE EZRA; I am supposed to hint the first and last across and down but he is a straightforward anagram  of ZERO REGGAE, so I will settle for a link that doesn’t plaster the answer all over the place

Back in house, mature partygoer entertaining half-cut beer enthusiast (5,6)
EAGER BEAVER; The back letter of house E, to mature or get older AGE, and a partygoer who attends mass gatherings of people under the influence of bright flashing lights and Ecstasy RAVER, around the first half of BEer. Put all that Lego together and you should have an enthusiastic and industrious rodent EAGER BEAVER

Made smart call circumventing a trap that’s set up (8)
NEATENED; To call for or require NEED, around (circumventing), A from the clue and a reversal (that’s set up) of a trap NET becomes TEN

Rejects fast dismissed by talent scouts, unfortunately (8)
OUTCASTS; Dismiss the fast that Christians celebrate before Easter LENT, from TAlent SCOUTS and anagram the rest (unfortunately) for some rejects or OUTCASTS

Boil green cabbage at start in school lesson (6)
DECOCT; A school lesson that we probably used to call wood or metalworking DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY, is abbreviated to two letters DT, it goes around a “green” prefix ECO, and the initial letter of cabbage C. DECOCT a transitive verb meaning To prepare by boiling

Audio device connecting two parts of plant (6)
EARBUD; The useful part of wheat  the EAR, or similar plants and the rudimentary shoot of a plant BUD, combineto be the small audio devices that go in rather than over the ears

Reportedly evasive fish (3)
KOI; A homophone (reportedly) of evasive or shy, COY becomes KOI a type of goldfish or carp found in ponds and aquaria

Way bar area fills (4)
ROAD; A bar or pole ROD, contains A for area

Bed-wetter’s denial? (8,3)
HOSEPIPE BAN; The denial of using copious amounts of water on flower or vegetable beds during a period of drought, A quite brilliant all-in-one.
I am sure that with our prevailing weather the water companies should do more to prevent the copious leaks that years of underinvestment have caused

Contest is arranged to draw in right players (10)
CORNETISTS; An anagram (arranged)  of CONTEST IS and R for right for the Brass musicians who play Cornets

Fervour around mass campaign for computer program (8)
FIRMWARE; An abbreviation of mass M, and a prolonged military campaign WAR, surrounded by some fervour or FIRE, gives us the software or similar program that is a more or less permanent and unerasable part of a computer’s memory FIRMWARE

Revolutionary leader USA empowered — not totally deliberate (8)
MEASURED; (Revolutionary… not totally) indicate a reverse lurker hidden in three words of the clue

Hunting beast exposed gruesome wound (6)
MOUSER; Remove the outer letters of g(RUESOM)e (exposed)  and anagram what remains (wound) for the hunting beast that helps control rodents

Journalist back on port becomes numb (6)
DEADEN; A reversal (back) of our usual journalist ED becomes DE, and a port in Yemen ADEN

Birds keep moving down south (4)
AVES; A synonym of keep SAVE, moves S for south down the order until you get the plural noun for birds as a class of vertebrates

Catch duck missing from enclosure (3)
COP; An enclosure for hens perhaps COOP,  loses one of the letters that duck represents O a “fair COP” capture or catch


That’s all Folks…

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