Toughie 423 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 423

Toughie No 423 by Messinae

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Messinae tends to produce puzzles at the easy end of the Toughie spectrum, and this one is no exception. It is, however, very enjoyable to solve.

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1a    Artisan’s wetter in storm — needs to be this (5-9)
{WATER-RESISTANT} – an anagram (in storm) of ARTISAN’S WETTER gives what you need in a storm – a sort of semi-all-in-one clue

9a    Spar in court with a marine (7)
{YARDARM} – a spar on a ship is a charade of a court, or enclosed place, A and a Royal Marine

10a    Peter to fly high in plane perhaps (7)
{TREETOP} – an anagram (fly) of PETER TO gives somewhere high in a plane, or maybe an oak!

11a    State in area beyond Isle of Wight (4)
{IOWA} – this US state is derived by putting A(rea) after the Isle Of Wight

12a    Igloo perhaps accommodating fine government department (4,6)
{HOME OFFICE} – very clever! – an igloo could be (4,2,3), then insert F(ine) between the last two words to get a major government department

14a    Capital author (6)
{LONDON} – our very own capital is the name of the American author of adventure books like Call of the Wild and White Fang

15a    Clean fellow prepared prepared pork in the West Country (4,4)
{BATH CHAP} – a charade of to clean and a fellow gives a dish made from the meat of either a pig’s cheek or jaw and formed into a shape like a cone cut vertically in half  [I meant to ask if the unnecessary repetition of “prepared” was in the newspaper version.]

17a    Iron hook made off with jewel (3-1-4)
{KOH-I-NOOR} – an anagram (made off with) of IRON HOOK results in a famous jewel that was once the largest known diamond in the world

18a & 21a    Top lawyer an expert sandwich maker (6,2,3,5)
{MASTER OF THE ROLLS} – the judge, in England and Wales, who presides over the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) could also be taken to be an expert sandwich maker

22a    Black visiting Kentucky (4)
{INKY} – a word meaning black, when split (2,2), could be visiting followed by the abbreviation for Kentucky

24a    Taking punt perhaps make wary bet (2,5)
{BY WATER} – how you could be travelling in a punt, maybe, is an anagram (make) of WARY BET

25a    One selling drugs from box round motorway (7)
{CHEMIST} – someone who is legally selling drugs is derived by putting a box around a motorway

26a    Theologian, a German, apprehended in Cape Wrath to do with spying (5-3-6)
{CLOAK-AND-DAGGER} – put a Divinitatis Doctor (theologian) and A G(erman) inside a cape, as an item of clothing, and a synonym for wrath to get an expression that means to do with spying – I found it interesting that G as an abbreviation for German comes from its use in, for example, G-agents, highly effective poisonous gases developed by the Nazis for possible military use


1d    List of cargo will include, certainly, barrels (7)
{WAYBILL} – a list of passengers or goods being carried on a vehicle is generated by putting WILL around a word meaning certainly, or yes, and B(arrels) as a quantity

2d    Low teeth broken after set-piece — give up (5,2,3,5)
{THROW IN THE TOWEL} – put an anagram (broken) of LOW TEETH after a means of getting a football back into play to get a phrase meaning to give up which has its root in boxing

3d    Genuine Brazilian money (4)
{REAL} – a double definition – genuine or 100 centavos in Brazil

4d    Wild scene in Othello with former lover at forefront (6)
{EXMOOR} – a wild scene in Devon is derived by putting Shakespeare’s description of Othello after a former lover

5d    How it’s creating an obstruction (2,3,3)
{IN THE WAY} – a cryptic definition – if something is this it is creating an obstruction

6d    Glorious day for shots by player who’s on stand-by (7,3)
{TWELFTH MAN} – the glorious day on which the grouse-shooting season begins is followed by a player to get someone who is on stand-by for a cricket team

7d    Yet all-seater stadium is built thus (15)
{NOTWITHSTANDING} – split this word meaning yet as (3,4,8) and it could be how an all-seater stadium is built

8d    Maintenance needed at top of castle tower (6)
{UPKEEP} – a synonym for maintenance when split as (2,4) could be at the top of a castle tower

13d         Plant set in patio decoratively (10)
{POINSETTIA} – a small Mexican shrub with large showy scarlet bracts surrounding the small yellow flowers is an anagram (decoratively) of SET IN PATIO

16d         Rough end of California and Oregon a place to avoid (2,2,4)
{NO GO AREA} – an anagram (rough) of (Californi)A OREGON A gives a place to avoid – for which the correct enumeration is (2-2,4)

17d         Footballer of 1966 by the sound of it not regularly in shape (6)
{KNOBBY} – the nickname of Norbert Peter Stiles MBE sounds like (by the sound of it) a word meaning not regular in shape

19d         Start to rouse one from bed for revel (7)
{ROYSTER} – after the start to R(ouse) put a shellfish found in a bed to get a verb meaning to revel noisily

20d         Easy-going leader of Celts in Highland dress (6)
{PLACID} – a word meaning easy-going is generated by putting the leader of C(elts) inside a Highland dress

23d         Feature of buffet Athens-style (4)
{FETA} – something that may be found in a Greek buffet is hidden inside the clue

Although I enjoyed this puzzle, most of the anagram indicators (in storm, fly, made off with, make, decoratively) are a bit weak.

10 comments on “Toughie 423

  1. Agreed about the ease of solving of this puzzle, but what fun! Favourite clues 12a 26a (for the way all the ‘parts’ fit together) and 19d. Thanks for the enjoyment Messinae and BD for the hints.

  2. 12a and 15a were my favourites today. Agreed on the difficulty and enjoyment. I dragged the famous jewel from somewhere round the back of my head.
    Thanks to BD and to Messinae.

  3. Having budgeted at least 30 minutes to have a crack at this, I was shocked to have completed it in much less (is that OK Sue?). It was almost as though I had a dose of deja vu, or just chanced to be in temporary, yet perfect, tune with Messinae. It won’t happen again, but very satisfying while it lasted. 12a and 7d stood out among some really nice clues. Thanks to M, and of course BD.

  4. Must have been something I’ve eaten. Finished in record time (if more than 30 minutes, Digby) Much the same with the cryptic. Bet I’ll struggle tomorow.

  5. I also finished both the Cryptic and Toughie in record time (for me!!) today. Having plenty of time on my hands I sought out another Crossword fix and found a most satisfying puzzle in one of the DT’s competitors. Not wishing to overly promote other papers’ crosswords, I’ll just say that:- This theatrical setter is a follower of Rufus(8). Highly recommended!!

  6. A much better puzzle than today’s Cryptic – about the same difficulty level for me, but I just loved 12a and 7d (when the penny finally dropped) in the Toughie.

  7. After being disappointed with todays cryptic tried this today and thoroughly enjoyed it. Some excellent clues and I think I was on the right wavelength with the setter.
    Why is the name of the setter given for the Toughie but not the cryptic?
    Many favourites but the best were 12a, 18-21a and 26a.
    Thanks to Messinae and Big Dave for the hints.

    1. It has been the practice for the Times and the Telegraph to have their setters remain anonymous. We know most of the Telegraph setters because 1) they tend to use the same setter for a given day of the week and 2) they have introduced themselves to us on the blog.

  8. Only just got round to yesterdays crosswords due to a day out with my good lady followed by a night at the Opera ( Carmen ). Fairly enjoyable toughie if a trifle untough ( if there is such a word ). Thanks Dave for the review and Messinae for the fun.

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