Toughie 443 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 443

Toughie No 443 by Messinae

An easy start to the Toughie week

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I started this half an hour before the start of the CluedUp maintenance with thoughts of what would happen if I didn’t finish in time – I didn’t need to worry!

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    Rat shot to cover (8)
{TURNCOAT} – this rat or traitor is a charade of a shot or go and a cover

5a    Sea-monster concealed spectacular bloomer (6)
{ORCHID} – a charade of a fierce sea-monster and a word meaning concealed gives this spectacular bloomer

9a    Reverse for computer company beset by clouds (5)
{NIMBI} – reverse a large computer company and IN (beset by / surrounded by) to get these rain-clouds

10a    They serve up stock of wine in cases having triumphed (5,4)
{CABIN CREW} – these people serve passengers up in the air! – put a stock of wine between CA (abbreviation for cases) and a verb meaning triumphed – if you didn’t know the abbreviation for cases then you are not alone!

12a    Harmonise colours in lively decoration (10)
{COORDINATE} – a word meaning to harmonise colours is an anagram (lively) of DECORATION

13a    American banknote shows former president (4)
{BILL} – a term used for an American banknote is also the first name of former President Clinton

15a    Being unconscious a lot abusing morphine, say (11)
{HYPERSOMNIA} – a pathological tendency to sleep excessively is an anagram (abusing) of MORPHINE SAY

16a    Postie regularly delivering letter (3)
{PSI} – the odd letters (regularly) of PoStIe give a Greek letter

17a    Director behind ‘Pop Idol’ (3)
{GOD} – put D(irector) after pop (off) to get an idol

18a    Tweak coppers (5,6)
{SMALL CHANGE} – a double definition – a fine-tuning adjustment or coins in someone’s pocket

20a    Fool caught by fortune (4)
{CLOT} – this fool coms from C(aught) next to fortune or fate

21a    Pirates’ standard marine agreement (5,5)
{JOLLY ROGER} – the standard flown by pirates is a charade of a slang term for a Royal Marine and a word used in signalling and radio-communication for received (and understood)

24a    I simpered, wrinkling skin (9)
{EPIDERMIS} – an anagram (wrinkling) of I SIMPERED gives a synonym for skin

26a    Arab tax inspectors previously on a Stephen Fry programme (5)
{IRAQI} – a national of an Arabian country is built of from the IR (Inland Revenue / tax inspectors – previously as they are now HMRC) with A and a Stephen Fry programme

27a    Despatched railway guard (6)
{SENTRY} – a word meaning despatched is followed by RailwaY to get a guard

28a    Noble actress, not English (8)
{KNIGHTLY} – a word meaning noble is actress Keira’s surname without the E(nglish)

Especially for Gazza!


1d    Card combination containing two honours (6)
{TENACE} – the combination in one hand of the cards next above and next below a high card held by the other side, derived from a Spanish word for pincers, is a combination of two honour cards

2d    Box office after smash action film (5)
{RAMBO} – put BO (Box Office) after a verb meaning to smash to get an action film starring Sylvester Stallone

One for the girls this time!

3d    ‘Peter Pan’ perhaps is easy (6,4)
{CHILD’S PLAY} – perhaps here indicates that “Peter Pan” is a “definition by example” – the phrase also means easy

4d    Pot or its contents (3)
{TEA} – a slang word for Marijuana (pot) could also be what is in a pot

6d    Telephoned and spoke (4)
{RUNG} – a double definition – spoke here is a noun

7d    Museum — foremost of such surrounded by historical treasures (9)
{HERMITAGE} – a major art museum in St Petersburg is constructed by putting M (foremost of Museum) inside (surrounded by) historical treasures

8d    Something got from Internet reduced charge (8)
{DOWNLOAD} – something copied from the Internet is a charade of reduced and a charge or burden

10d    Where people manage to fool fish endlessly then tie boat up (7,4)
{CONTROL ROOM} – a place where people manage is a built up from a word meaning to fool to fool, a word meaning to fish with a spinning bait without its last letter (endlessly) and finally to tie a boat which is then reversed (up)

11d    Gets to talk to racing driver near pits (11)
{BUTTONHOLES} – a word meaning gets to talk to is a charade of a British racing driver and some pits or cavities

14d    International body showing teeth sorting out knotty problem (10)
{UNSNARLING} – a charade of an International body and showing teeth gives a word meaning sorting out a knotty problem

15d    One working with records spinning hits on air (9)
{HISTORIAN} – an archivist (one working with records) is an anagram (spinning) of HITS ON AIR

16d    Saint gets end of lance in vital organ (8)
{PANCREAS} – take the Saint after whom a London station is named and insert E (end of lancE) to get a vital organ

19d    Clever one in sea (6)
{BRAINY} – a word meaning clever is built by putting A (one) inside an informal word for the sea

22d    General accord (5)
{GRANT} a double definition – an General from the American Civil War or an accord

23d    Fruit and vegetable recipe (4)
{PEAR} – this fruit is a charade of a vegetable and R(ecipe)

25d    Space-travelling captain not starting to annoy (3)
{IRK} – take the Captain of the USS Enterprise and remove the first letter (not starting) of his surname to get a verb meaning to annoy

A typically easy puzzle, as usual, from Messinae.

11 comments on “Toughie 443

  1. I enjoyed this toughie better than today’s cryptic and solved them both in more or less the same time. Lots of nice clues but no particular stand out favourites. Thanks Messinae and BD.

  2. I was held up in the NE corner for a time and threw some letter hints at it on CluedUp (at the time), but then I do have a head which feels like it is stuffed with leaky marshmallow!.
    Thanks to BD and Messinae

  3. I quite enjoyed this and thought it worthy of 3* for difficulty but I’m not as smart as you lot. Thanks Messinae and BD. I liked 15a and 18a and the picture for 28a.

  4. Loverly cluing from Messinae today which, like others, I did not find too taxing. Favourite clue was 21a. Many thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

    Hope the Gnome recovers from his Marshmallow tendencies.

    1. Since I read this, I have been imagining a gnome with marshmallow tendencies – would he be round pink and fluffily floating or what? Actually it sounds like our Gnome has a horrible cold in the dose, so really we shouldn’t make fun, should we :)

      1. Either that or it is self inflicted from too much sauce last night! I shall be charitable and assume a stinking cold.

        1. Emails from him this morning indicated the taking of a well-known cold medicine hence the sympathy on my part.

          1. You are both very kind. I am currently residing in Snottsville, Nebraska. Had s couple of red wines while watching the Joe Satriani gig with my bro and young Dram. Will be taking 2 night tablets and an industrial sized hankie to bed.
            Night all!

  5. DEFINITELY did not find this easy!! So grateful thanks to B.D. for the hints and of course to Messinae for making me exercise the grey cells for quite a long time. Favourites, 10 and 21a.

  6. Like sue, all fairly straightforward except for 1 d. I’ve never heard of tenace.

    Still quite good for me on Tuesday when I usually struggle badly.

  7. Got through it unaided but took several attempts. Obviously not in the same league as our illustrious bloggers!

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