Toughie 249 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 249

Toughie No 249 by Excalibur

A Game of Two Halves

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

I got the impression with this one that some care had been taken in the construction of the across clues, but that many of the down ones appeared forced with poor surface readings. Overall there was not a lot to get excited about. Let us know what you thought via a comment.
As usual the answers are hidden inside the curly brackets. Just select the white space inside the brackets if you want to reveal one.

Across Clues

7a  A rest for person swimming about inside (8 )
{BREATHER} – a person swimming is BATHER – put RE (about) inside.

9a  Pressed on, in dire difficulties (6)
{IRONED} – put ON inside an anagram (difficulties) of DIRE.

10a  A cat scrap (4)
{ATOM} – double definition, the first a male cat.

11a  Appropriating your ideas, as you thought (10)
{TELEPATHIC} – cryptic definition describing a facility to read someone else’s thoughts.

12a  Big limos are tokens of popularity in Hollywood (6)
{OSCARS} – these tokens are dished out annually and are noteworthy mainly for the cringeworthy acceptance speeches.

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14a  Contrariwise, would be a lot more clean (8 )
{SPOTLESS} – the definition is clean – and if you reverse the meaning of each element of the answer (contrariwise) you can achieve a LOT MORE.

15a  Great – b….. marvellous! (6)
{SUPERB} – great is SUPER – then add the B.

17a  Counts about fifty, then is inserting key (6)
{RELIES} – string together RE (about), L (fifty) and IS with E (musical key) inside.

20a  Now you’re in the new house, make room for me (4,4)
{MOVE OVER} – double definition, the first indicating that the removal process has been completed.

22a  Nurse, when there’s nothing I want, fussing about (4,2)
{WAIT ON} – an anagram (fussing) of I WANT with O (nothing) inside.

23a  Treated badly at prison, sank in (10)
{PENETRATED} – an abbreviation for penitentiary (North American prison) is followed by an anagram (badly) of TREATED.

24a  Didn’t win. It was fixed (4)
{TIED} – double definition, the first indicating didn’t win (but didn’t lose either).

25a  It ensures you can carry something off, or manage (6)
{HANDLE} – another double definition, the first being what you need on a suitcase, say, so that you can carry it.

26a  Said ‘Throw rest out. Absolute flop’ (8 )
{DISASTER} – firstly an anagram (throw) of SAID, then a second anagram (out) of REST.

Down Clues

1d  As for the trials, one objects to them (8 )
{PROTESTS} – for the trials is PRO TESTS. There’s a lot of padding in the clue.

2d  Become heated and point gun (4)
{WARM} – put ARM (gun) after a compass point.

3d  ‘Slides’ are ‘photographs’, you say (6)
{CHUTES} – water slides into a swimming pool, for example, sound like (you say) what a professional photographer does. I’m not sure why the two words need to be in quotes.

4d  Provides ground to negate (8 )
{DISPROVE} – an anagram (ground) of PROVIDES.

5d  Or inform one tin is designed to hold pasta (10)
{TORTELLINI} – put OR TELL (inform) I (one) inside an anagram (designed) of TIN. Putting ‘Or’ at the start of the clue really wrecks the surface reading.

6d  Deserves half-time, after which excitement mounts (6)
{MERITS} – take the second half of tiME and then reverse (mounts, in a down clue) a word meaning excitement.

8d  Enjoy dressing for dinner (6)
{RELISH} – a double definition provides another outing for the word that we had as recently as Monday in DT 26081.

13d  Understands, perhaps wrongly, the object is to get inside (10)
{APPREHENDS} – an anagram (wrongly) of PERHAPS contains END (object).

16d  Vicissitudes one turns to one’s advantage? (8 )
{REVERSES} – double definition – firstly changes of fortune for the worst, and secondly overturns. I don’t like this much, because the two definitions overlap so much.

18d  Bombarded, when we stayed to protect (8 )
{SHOWERED} – stayed (i.e. secured or supported) is SHORED – put WE inside (to protect).

19d  Past head gave a lecture, or talked (6)
{PRATED} – the first letter (head) of Past is followed by RATED (lectured, scolded).

21d  Making a comeback again in silly soap productions (6)
{OPERAS} – reverse (making a comeback) RE (again) inside an anagram (silly) of SOAP.

22d  No, no. Now tide’s out it’s most extensive (6)
{WIDEST} – an anagram (out) of (no)W TIDE’S without no. Once again the surface reading is pretty poor.

24d  What the matador fears — making him do so in his sleep? (4)
{TOSS} – double definition.

I liked 7a and 15a, but my clue of the day is 20a. How about you? – leave us a comment with your views, and please don’t forget to grade the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.

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8 comments on “Toughie 249

  1. This seemed to me like a slightly more tricky cryptic… similar to yesterday’s offering, and not overly Tough!

  2. Gazza,
    Not overly complicated, and a bit sloppy in parts, but when I did this I wasn’t sure who the setter was. Which has to mean (from my perspective) a huge improvement in the quality of the crossword.

  3. This was not an overly difficult crossword and there was a lot more variety in the cluing than the previous Excalibur. Today’s puzzle reminded me a lot of her former Sunday Telegraph puzzles. No one clue stood out as a favourite.

  4. Again better than recent offerings from this setter. Really don’t like the clue device at 26a, and it seems that Excalibur doesn’t like grids that allow you to have first letters of answers.

  5. I did not enjoy this either, in fact both this and the cryptic were very disappointing, I agree with Prolixic, none of the clues merited a special mention. ( I stress that this is only my personal opinion lest I again get taken to task) I know that Excalibur will set us a much more enjoyable crossword in the future as I’m a great fan normally.

  6. 14a) still not sure about!
    As an early (unchecked) answer I thought that DUSTLESS was a very good answer.

    Cheers all…

    1. castorfool
      If you equate spot with little (e.g. as in “a spot of lunch”) and you then reverse both parts of the answer, as indicated by contrariwise, then spot becomes lot and less becomes more.

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