Toughie 419 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 419

Toughie No 419 by Cephas

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Another not-so-toughie from Cephas.

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    Would reportedly stick with impasse (3,3)
{LOG JAM} – first replace would with wood, a homophone (reportedly), and then we need a charade of some wood and a verb meaning to stick creating an impasse – an unusual use of a homophone

4a    False profession (8)
{PRETENCE} – a loosely cryptic definition

8a    Beat graduates one day in August (6)
{LAMMAS} – a charade of to beat followed by some graduates gives a feast day formerly celebrated on 1st August or a Scottish quarter day now fixed as the 28th

9a    Tune Ron composed about to be included in dreamy piano piece (8)
{NOCTURNE} – put an anagram (composed) of TUNE RON around C (about) to get a dreamy piano piece

ARVE Error: need id and provider

10a    State one put most of biscuit on seafood (8)
{CALAMARI} – start with an abbreviation of a US state then A (one) and most of a type of plain biscuit, usually thin with decorative indentations, to get some seafood

11a    Drug dealer held by copper and doorkeeper (6)
{PUSHER} – a drug dealer is a charade of a penny (copper) and a doorkeeper – apart from the surface reading, to what does “held by” contribute?

12a    No way sad performing in these times (8)
{NOWADAYS} – an anagram (performing) of NO WAY SAD gives these times

13a    Bird with broken leg to take food outside (6)
{EAGLET} – this young bird is created by putting an anagram (broken) of LEG inside a word meaning to take food

15a    Pattern of the law (6)
{MOSAIC} – a double definition – a design of small pieces of coloured marble, glass, etc. or relating to Jewish law

18a    Weapon belonging to you and me Edward covered (8)
{ARMOURED} – a charade of a weapon, belonging to you and me and Ed(ward) gives a word meaning covered in a protective layer

20a    It is to be distributed during speech after first ring has been removed (6)
{RATION} – something that is to be distributed comes from a speech from which the initial O (ring) has been removed

21a    Boxer dog is being held by independent lieutenant (8)
{PUGILIST} – a boxer is built up from a dog followed by IS inside (held by) I(ndependent) and a lieutenant

23a    Moving in, turn on one of a pair of pivots (8)
{TRUNNION} – an anagram (moving) of IN TURN ON gives a pivot forming one of a pair on which something such as a cannon is supported

24a    Speak endlessly about joint type of warfare (6)
{TRIBAL} – put most of a word meaning to speak around a joint, or piece of meat, to get a type of warfare between two communities

25a    Car delayed first during very hot day (8)
{ROADSTER} – a type of car is created by putting the first letter of Delayed inside a very hot day

26a    One of shooting-party back to receive some precious metal (6)
{NUGGET} – reverse (back) a member of a shooting party (or what he is carrying) and add a word meaning to receive and the result is some precious metal


1d    Camilla, not in the morning, replanted tree (5)
{LILAC} – an anagram (replanted) of C(AM)ILLA without AM (morning) gives a tree with light-purple or white flowers

2d    Preserve bachelor, with the Parisian female at end of day, put on a spicy dish (9)
{JAMBALAYA} – a charade of a preserve, a Bachelor of Arts, the French feminine definite article, the last letter (end) of daY and A gives a spicy Creole dish

ARVE Error: need id and provider

3d    Make-up mother used to cover a blemish (7)
{MASCARA} – make-up for the eyelashes is a built up from a mother around A blemish

4d    Writer uses it to make a point (6-9)
{PENCIL-SHARPENER} – a cryptic definition of something used to put a point on a writing implement

5d    Person who’s out before their time (7)
{ESCAPEE} – a cryptic definition of a prisoner who has departed without permission

6d    Wrongly warn Henry about large sea-creature (7)
{NARWHAL} – combine an anagram (wrongly) of WARN with H(enry) A(bout) and L(arge) to get a large sea-creature

7d    Denounced executive officer who was highly thought of (9)
{EXECRATED} – a word meaning denounced is a charade of an EXEC(utive officer) and a word meaning was highly thought of

12d    Not a rare amount becoming higher figure (9)
{NUMERATOR} – an anagram (becoming) of RARE (A)MOUNT without the A (not A) gives the figure above the denominator in a fraction

14d    Trying porridge with fish (9)
{GRUELLING} – a word meaning trying or demanding is a charade of porridge and a fish

16d    Orange pottery (7)
{SATSUMA} – a double definition – a thin-skinned seedless type of mandarin orange or a yellowish pottery with gilding and enamel

17d    One who could have plenty of time and might become 5 (7)
{CONVICT} – a cryptic definition of a prisoner

19d    Middle Eastern gun on this bomb (7)
{MEGATON} – a charade of Middle Eastern, a gun and ON gives a type of bomb

22d    John does not have one indication of vacancy (2,3)
{TO LET} – remove I (one) from a john or lavatory to get an indication of a vacancy

Not a bad puzzle, but a few of the clues seem to contain padding purely to improve the surface reading.

16 comments on “Toughie 419

  1. A nice gentle start to the Toughie week from Cephas. From memory, I think that this took about the same length of time to solve as the Saturday crossword. Favourite clue was 7d. Many thanks to Cephas and to BD for the review.

  2. Despite some reservations expressed in the cryptic section today, I found that the 2 puzzles were at about the same level of difficulty. So thanks to both setters and reviewers. Enjoyed the piece of Cajun music at 2d, Dave.

  3. A pleasant enough puzzle, but I would prefer to see something a little more demanding if it is to be classified as a Toughie.

  4. The only positive thing about this puzzle was the opportunity to listen to the immortal Hank Williams, thanks for that BD and for the review. As you pointed out at the weekend Cephas is one of the most improved setters but this was a slip back. Having re-read my comment I note that I am definitely becoming a crabbit auld nyaff ( miserable so and so ), but I just didn’t enjoy it at all.

  5. Having completed the Toughie without any assistance and feeling very pleased with myself, I am now totally deflated to find it is given such a low rating by the above bloggers.
    I enjoyed it so will give it at least 3 stars.
    Thanks to Cephas and Big Dave.

  6. Pete, like you, I enjoyed this. It is nice sometimes to have a puzzle that is solvable at a slightly lower level. Yhe REAL toughies get a bit hard-going for the likes of me so three cheers for Cephas and B.D. always enjoy your hints.

  7. NOW I know why I don’t very often try the toughies – AND you’re all saying that it’s an easy one! Managed almost exactly three quarters of it but could hardly do anything in the bottom left hand corner. Having read the hints I feel slightly better as there were several that I never would have got. I’ve never heard of 23a and so couldn’t do it even though I could see that it was an anagram. Tried to make 17d an anagram of 5d (fooled by the ‘might become 5’). Didn’t know that 16d was a kind of pottery – etc etc. Never mind – better luck next time I say! Particularly liked 21a and 14d. Thanks to Cephas and BD.

  8. I did slightly better here than on the cryptic, NW corner done plus several more. Loved the picture at 25a!

  9. Agree with the comments; one of the few toughies I’ve finished on my own. Disagree about 6d. I think HAL is just the diminuitive of Henry, leaving ‘large’ to (correctly) describe the sea creature.

      1. Thanks for the welcome. You have a point, it’s neither anagrammed or wrapped around so why “about”?. But if the L is from large then it’s not a “large” sea creature; the large is used up if you see what I mean. But I guess that’s what was meant.

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