Toughie 431 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 431

Toughie No 431 by Excalibur

Better than I expected!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Fewer Marmite© clues than usual, and there are no complaints about the grid this time.

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    One’s point of view, in the main (8)
{PORTHOLE} – a cryptic definition of an opening in the side of a ship

6a    Cap for racegoer (6)
{BETTER} – a word meaning to cap or surpass could also be a racegoer who gambles

9a    Carrying large crate out — wine (6)
{CLARET} – an anagram (out) of CRATE around (carrying) L(arge) gives a French wine

10a    They’re woods, stupid! Mixed set (8)
{THICKETS} – these woods come from a synonym for stupid followed by an anagram (mixed) of SET

11a    Year when all goes wrong, regardless of location (8)
{ANYWHERE} – an anagram (all goes wrong) of YEAR WHEN gives a word meaning regardless of location

12a    In Italy, you study Italian (6)
{TUSCAN} – The Italian for you is followed by a verb meaning to study gives someone from a region of Italy

13a    In which one parades one’s grievances? (7,5)
{PROTEST MARCH} – a cryptic definition of an action by a mass group of people to air their grievances

16a    As the snooker player said to Lady Luck? (4,2,1,5)
{GIVE ME A BREAK} – something a snooker player might say is actually an expression used to express exasperation, protest, or disbelief.

19a    Rest, unwinding before morning rush (6)
{STREAM} – an anagram (unwinding) of REST followed by the abbreviation for morning gives a rush or surge

21a    He looks good in uniform (8)
{CHAPLAIN} – a cryptic definition of a clergyman in uniform

23a    Rough sea for yours truly is terrifying (8)
{FEARSOME} – an anagram (rough) of SEA FOR followed by the objective first person pronoun (yours truly) gives a word meaning terrifying

24a    Sift through possible material for a children’s book (6)
{RIDDLE} – a double definition – to sift through and possible material for a children’s book (or any puzzle book)

25a    Whispers ‘Team’s ahead’ (6)
{ASIDES} – these theatrical whispers come from a synonym for team’s with A at the front (ahead – yuk!)

26a    Puts off giving passes to let us in (8)
{SUSPENDS} – a word meaning puts off comes from a synonym for passes, as in passes time, around (let … in) US


2d    Figure worktop had been removed ages after (6)
{OBLONG} – this rectangular figure is built up from work without its first letter (work with  top removed) and ages

3d    Chucked over, it is said (5)
{THREW} – a word meaning chucked is a homophone (it is said) of a synonym for over

4d    So then going to pieces when one is about to win (2,3,4)
{ON THE NOSE} – put an anagram (going to pieces) of SO THEN inside (is about) ONE to get a bet that a horse is going to win and not come second or third

5d    Great exit. I leave again by myself (7)
{EXTREME} – a synonym for great comes from EX(I)T without the I (I leave) with again and myself

6d    Created only to accommodate superstar cast do (5)
{BUILT} – a word meaning created is generated from a word meaning only around (to accommodate) a superstar or hero without the middle two letters (cast DO)

7d    Withdraws attempts to get refund (5,4)
{TAKES BACK} – a word meaning withdraws also means returns to the shop to try to get a refund

8d    Coming in to hypnotise (8)
{ENTRANCE} – a double definition

13d    Favoured, before fellow slipped up (9)
{PREFERRED} – a word meaning favoured is a charade of before, F(ellow) and slipped up or made a mistake

14d    Zodiacal sign he’s found in a reference book (9)
{THESAURUS} take a zodiacal sign and insert HE’S to get a reference book that is much used by cruciverbalists

15d    Lacking the energy to bend over? (8)
{LISTLESS} – a word meaning lacking energy could be bend over fewer times

17d    They support those who are in retreat (7)
{BACKERS} – a double definition

18d    Charged for bunk I shall occupy (6)
{BILLED} – a word meaning charged comes from a bunk (or other place to sleep) around I’LL

20d    Gets hitched and loves showing the wife round (5)
{MOORS} – hitches a boat is derived from O O (loves) inside the title given to a married woman

22d    Be stuck in a home (5)
{LODGE} – a double definition

Quod erat demonstrandum.

26 comments on “Toughie 431

  1. I enjoyed both puzzles today thanks to both setters. Don’t see any stars for rating Big Dave ? That’s rating the puzzle not you BD :-)

    1. They are a WordPress feature which is still turned on – I have no idea where they have gone (seems to be a problem with browsers other than IE – I wonder if WordPress has made a change and screwed it up!)

  2. I quite liked it, and nothing much to moan about, although I did not like 24a much.
    7d took a while to justify; I thought that the ‘Takes’ referred to ‘attempts’ (as in making a film).
    Thanks to Excalibur, and to BD

  3. This was a satisfiying puzzle to solve. Not overly difficult but with enough to keep you going through the grid. Many thanks to Excalibur for the crossword and to BD for the notes. Favourite clues were 1a and 20d.

  4. Not too bad today, I quite liked 20d but share your Yuk! on the ahead bit.
    Thanks to BD and to Excalibur.

      1. What did you think of “worktop had been removed” for (J)OB? These were the two main clues that kept my enjoyment rating down to two stars.

        1. Not overly keen; another clue I knew the answer, but had to justify. Along similar lines in the Guardian today: They would fight, though comrades refused? (5,6) Anagram (comrades ref)

  5. Having started to look with the usual trepidation, I completed the grid in fairly quick time apart from the NE corner (and that was because I had the wrong word in 6a). Was it more of a hard Cryptic than an easy Toughie? I dare to ask! Thanks to Excalibur and BD.

      1. Spoke too soon – they’re back now in time for me to award this a mere 2*, as I wasn’t hugely impressed. Perhaps a slight hangover from my ScrewedUp experience this morning.

  6. Thanks to BD’s advice, I now use Firefox – don’t know about improvement in speed, but it displays the pages on this web-site correctly – and also provides a spell-checker for the comments! Don’t know if many people use this feature. Hopefully, this message will be free of typos!

    Ironically, the spell-checker highlighted “Firefox” as an error!

  7. I don’t get the opportunity to leave a comment very often, but I do check in daily on my phone. I couldn’t do without this blog! I thought today’s offering was on the easier side, but I needed your explanation, Dave, for 6d. Whilst the answer was obvious from the checking letters, I couldn’t for the life of me work out the wordplay.

    I still don’t really understand 21a – what has “looks good” got to do with anything? No doubt I’m being incredibly dense. Didn’t like 24a at all. COD for me, 20d.

    Thanks for the review.

    1. I thought 21a was pathetic, and didn’t have a Clue Of the Day, I was just glad to finish the blog and move on.

      Let’s hope the rest of the week is better.

  8. Started this late last night but had to sleep so continued this morning. Made good progress except with the NW corner apart from 9a and 3d so looked at the blog. 1a was what I missed!
    Best for me were 16a & 14d.
    A few weak clues!

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