Toughie 403 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 403

Toughie No 403 by Excalibur

You either love it or hate it!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment *

One look at the grid – double unches, isolated corners – and I feared the worst. It was not long before the tooth-sucking began and those suspicions were confirmed.

I offer the wordplay without critique!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    What you’d expect to find going through certain illiterate daily (2,9)
{IN CHARACTER} – defined as “what you’d expect to find”, you get there by putting a daily cleaner inside (going through) an anagram (illiterate) of CERTAIN

9a    Open, jostling round, top comes off (4)
{UNDO} – a word meaning to open comes from an anagram of (R)OUND without the initial R (top comes off)

10a    Motorist who’s pulled in to see what’s going on? (5,6)
{NOSEY PARKER} – a cryptic definition of a prying person

11a    Hadn’t settled for married love before (4)
{OWED} – a word meaning had an obligation to pay (hadn’t settled) comes from married with O (love) in front (before)

14a    Excerpt from film ‘Travelling Home’ (7)
{TRAILER} – an excerpt from a film used for advance publicity and a travelling home

16a    Does put light inside drawers (7)
{CRAYONS} – take a word meaning does, as in persuades to do something by lying to them, and put a light inside it to get sticks of coloured chalk or wax used for drawing

18a    In France, ten to one; quarter past in southern America (5)
{DIXIE} – combine the French for ten with I (one) and a compass quarter to get an informal name for the Southern states of the US

19a    One found in gun carriage (4)
{GAIT} – put I (one) inside a gun to get a word meaning carriage or bearing

20a    Lead from almost the beginning (4)
{STAR} – a lead actor is most of a word meaning the beginning

21a    An artist, my, and French! (5)
{MONET} – a French Impressionist painter (artist) is a charade of the French for “my” & “and”

23a    Someone rummaging through a trunk when its owner’s out? (7)
{SURGEON} – a cryptic definition of someone who performs operations

24a    Puts outside ‘Non-edited compositions’ (7)
{SONNETS} – a word meaning puts is placed around an anagram (edited) of NON to get short poems of fourteen lines of ten or eleven syllables

25a    In haste, writing ‘broom’ without its B (4)
{RUSH} – a word meaning in haste comes from removing the initial B from a synonym of a broom

30a    Went grey on top (7,4)
{CLOUDED OVER} – a cryptic definition of the weather on a dull day

31a    Need to awaken (4)
{CALL} – a double definition

32a    Poised for goal kick, though exhausted (5,2,4)
{READY TO DROP} – the cryptic part of this double definition is to be poised to kick a goal in Rugby (either code)


2d    Reassuring answer to ‘Are you harmed by building recession?’ (4)
{NOOK} – split this as (2,2) and it could be an answer to the question “are you harmed”, but it’s actually a corner or recess in a building

3d    He behaves badly as a man will, you say (4)
{HEEL} – this person who behaves badly sounds like (you say) the abbreviation of the man will

4d    Wished one hadn’t to fix in a rush (7)
{REPINED} – a word meaning wished one hadn’t is derived by putting a word meaning to fix inside a rush, as a grasslike marsh-growing plant

5d    Heavens, kid, I’d left off the stopper! (4)
{CORK} – combine an interjection meaning heavens with KID without I’D to get a bottle stopper

6d    Looks at cavity again — not a pretty sight (7)
{EYESORE} – a charade of looks at with O (a cavity) and a prefix meaning again gives something that is not a pretty sight

7d    It might be the making of a man (4)
{SNOW} – children can make this kind of man in very cold weather

8d    Like plaque sitting cheekily outside door? (4,2,5)
{BOLD AS BRASS} – a cryptic definition of a phrase meaning confident to the point of impudence

12d    Wanting to act as coach, had a bash (5-6)
{STAGE-STRUCK} – a hyphenated word meaning wanting to act is a charade of a horse-drawn coach and a bash

13d    Turning back one page in ‘Lethal Weapon’ (6)
{RAPIER} – reverse a synonym for back after inserting I (one) and P(age) to get a (lethal) weapon

15d    Go full speed ahead from northern city (5)
{RIPON} – if you split this cathedral city in Yorkshire as (3,2) it could possibly mean go full speed ahead

16d    ‘Spectacles,’ you dictate, ‘in quotes’ (5)
{CITES} – a momophone (you dictate) of spectacles means quotes

17d    Opening, is dismissed by invalid ball (6)
{OUTLET} – an opening is a charade of dismissed in a game like cricket with an invalid ball in tennis

21d    Measure in, drunkenly, some wine (7)
{MOSELLE} – put an old-fashioned measure of length used mainly for textiles inside an anagram (drunkenly) of SOME to get this light medium-dry white wine from Germany

22d    A lot of water, or river, engulfing (7)
{TORRENT} – to get a lot of water put OR inside the third longest (after the Severn and the Thames) river in the UK

26d    Only attraction of summer holiday in Italy? (4)
{SOLE} – a word meaning only is the Italian for sun

27d    Prompted changes in early education (4)
{CUED} – a word meaning prompted is an anagram (changes) of EDUC(ation)

28d    Try to do wrong, though no wrongdoer (4)
{GOOD} – a try or attempt is followed by an anagram (wrong) of DO to get an adjective applied to someone who is no wrongdoer

29d    Don’t allow to examine hole (4)
[The newspaper version has accidentally omitted the final word of the clue]
{VETO} – a word meaning don’t allow is a charade of to examine and O (hole)

[Heaves sigh of relief, looks forward to tomorrow]

13 comments on “Toughie 403

  1. For those of us who solve by paper – we didn’t have the word ‘hole’ at the end of 29d – just an advert for friendly bridge! (Always conjures up lovely visions of warfare at the bridge table). In my opinion, it wasn’t quite as unpleasant brown spready as usual. There were a fair smattering of those ‘ what on earth is she on about now?? clues’ but I actually marked 10a. 21a amd 8d as being liked by me and I loved 7d.

  2. This was hard going at times , but a sense of satisfaction at finishing. Best clue 18a , didn’t like 23a at all . Cheers to BD for the blog , now I’m 32a.

  3. I just knew it was an Excalibur after a couple of clues! It’s funny how you recognise her style…

  4. I missed the fact until crypticsue pointed it out.
    I quite enjoyed this with 12a being favourite.
    Thanks to BD for the review and Excalibur for the puzzle.

    1. Agree with you about 12 but it is down rather than across. Best clue in my opinion.
      I think Excalibur did a pretty good job today.

  5. Most enjoyable puzzle from Excalibur, favourites were 12d and 30a. Thanks to Excalibur for a great crossword and BD for a great review.

  6. Managed all but 2 without the hints, 9a and 23a (really didn’t like this one!).
    Quite enjoyed it and it’s not often I get that close to finishing a Toughie without help.
    Thanks to BD for the blog and Excalibur for the puzzle.

    1. I LOVE MARMITE but wasn’t so keen on the CW as Pommers was.
      Definitely didn’t like 23a and himself had to explain quite a few of the answers.
      Thanks though Excalibur for activating the brain cells and BD for making sense of it all

  7. The flashing blade gets my vote today, I enjoyed it all and struggled with a few but was pleased when I solved them.
    Fav was 3d and biggest moan was 20a
    Thanks to Excaliber and Big Dave

  8. Tired brain tonight. Needed a few pointers. A strange mixture of the obvious and the obscure.Liked 10a.

Comments are closed.