Toughie 445 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 445

Toughie No 445 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I did the top half very quickly and then struggled a bit with the bottom half. But overall it was certainly no more than average difficulty.

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5a    After brief caress came face to face with destiny (6)
{KISMET} A word for destiny is derived from a caress with the last letter omitted + “came face to face with”

8a    Measure time — he certainly would in Kansas pen (8)
{YARDBIRD} An imperial measure of length + time (as done in prison) gives an American word for a convict (pen = penitentiary)

9a    He danced a series of steps with energy (7)
{ASTAIRE} A famous dancer of the silver screen is formed from A + a series of steps + E (energy)

10a    Type of neckwear sported in Nova Scotia (5)
{ASCOT} A type of necktie named after a racecourse is hidden in NOVA SCOTIA

11a    Gravity’s breaking up meteor heading to Icelandic cape according to mathematical theory (9)
{GEOMETRIC} G + an anagram (breaking up) of METEOR + I (heading to Icelandic) + C (cape)

13a    Cries hysterically about little chap in muffler (8)
{SILENCER} An anagram (hysterically) of CRIES goes round little Leonard

14a    Concentrate on Italian dictator (6)
{REDUCE} A word for concentrate (increase the strength by removing water) is formed from RE (on) + Mussolini’s title

17a    Asian fish (3)
{TAI} A less common spelling of the word for Siamese is the same as the Japanese sea bream

19a    As reported catches absolutely nothing (3)
{NIX} A homophone of a word for catches (arrests) means “nothing”

20a    Top of Nordic piste is redesigned in accordance with others (2,4)
{IN STEP} An anagram (is redesigned) of N (top of Nordic) PISTE

23a    Unfasten baggage to get sponge (8)
{FREELOAD} The definition is “to sponge” and it is made up of “unfasten” + “baggage”

26a    Fine rain starts to trickle over evergreen plant (9)
{MISTLETOE} A less common spelling of “fine rain” + the first letters of Trickle Over Evergreen gives a plant

28a    International master has to play without a hint (5)
{IMPLY} I (International) + M (master) + PLAY without the letter A

29a    Essentially heroes have excessive enthusiasm for country (7)
{ROMANIA} Essentially heroes = RO (the middle two letters). Add excessive enthusiasm to get a European country

30a    He’s a kind who could become aggressive (8)
{SKINHEAD} An all-in-one clue. An anagram (who could become aggressive) of HE’S A KIND gives a member of a gang with closely cropped hair

31a    Genre of book in small type (6)
{WEEPIE} A Scottish word for small + type confusedly mixed gives a genre of book that’s sure to make you cry


1d    Believe, say, experience needed for this type of surgery (6)
{BYPASS} A homophone (say) of a word meaning “to believe” + “to experience” gives a surgical operation used on heart patients

2d    Excellent article in French makes money (7)
{CRACKLE} A word for excellent + LE (the French) gives a word for money (especially paper money). I wasn’t familiar with this word

3d    Stubborn old beast in a frenzy swallows can (9)
{OBSTINATE} O (old) + an anagram (in a frenzy) of BEAST contains a can

4d    Support game (6)
{BRIDGE} ” meanings: a card game/a support (e.g. on a violin or on a snooker table)

5d    It’s said money leads to marked improvement regarding industry for these people (8)
{KASHMIRI} A homophone (it’s said) of money + the first letters (leads) of Marked Improvement Regarding Industry gives an inhabitant of north-west India

6d    Mark end of circuit with this kind of connection (5)
{SCART} A mark on the skin resulting from a wound + T (end of circuit) gives something used to connect parts of an audio or video system

7d    US lawman’s line acted regularly as part of handset (8)
{EARPIECE} A US lawman called Wyatt + alternate letters (regularly) of LINE ACTED gives part of a telephone

12d    Work unit helps to make detergent (3)
{ERG} A unit of work is hidden in DETERGENT

15d    Extra exercise with fancy new diet is appropriate (9)
{EXPEDIENT} An abbreviated form of extra + the usual two letters that indicate exercise + an anagram (fancy) of N (new) DIET

16d    Oedipus’ daughter destroyed giant one (8)
{ANTIGONE} An anagram (destroyed) of GIANT ONE gives the name of Oedipus’ daughter

18d    Thirst before a meal’s small (8)
{APPETITE} An abbreviation for “before a meal” (used on prescriptions) + a word for small (derived from the French)

21d    Sighting of Pluto’s centre is blurred (3)
{UFO} An anagram (is blurred) of OF U (Pluto’s centre) gives a sighting (e.g. a flying saucer)

22d    School law can be difficult (7)
{COMPLEX} A secondary school providing education for pupils of all levels of ability + the Latin word for law

24d    Second shot at disheartened keeper going astray (6)
{RETAKE} A second shot (as a photograph or length of film) is an anagram (going astray) of AT KEER (disheartened keeper)

25d    Nymphs ultimately spend days cavorting round king (6)
{DRYADS} Wood nymphs are derived from D (ultimately spend) + an anagram (cavorting) of DAYS round R (king)

27d    Long walk finds male consuming gin. On the contrary! (5)
{TRAMP} It’s a gin (snare) that consumes M (male) to give a long walk

An OK puzzle with nothing terribly exciting

21 comments on “Toughie 445

  1. Quite a user-friendly toughie, I thought, as toughies go, especially compared to yesterday’s Notabilis, but a very enjoyable solve. I too had never heard of the meaning of 2d in this context. It’s one of the things I like about Toughies, more often than not you learn a new word, mostly some you will never need to use but I may try and drop this one into conversation. Thanks to Warbler and Bufo.

  2. I thought 25d and 30a were fine clues. I struggled a couple of the 3 letter words (particularly the fish) and still can’t fathom the second part of 31a.
    Thanks Bufo and also Warbler

        1. Sorry, I must be having a “Thickie”. How do we get PIE, or EPI, from type? I’ve checked your link, Dave, and the penny still hasn’t dropped. Otherwise some fine clues, to which I would add 26a.

            1. Thanks Jezza – that’s what I was missing, and it now becomes an A+ clue. I’m clearly using the wrong reference material!

                  1. Where is “pie” defined as a synonym of “type”?

                    Or is it more complicated than a straightforward substitution of “pie” for “type”?

  3. Nothing too complicated; the last one in was 2d (also a new definition for me).
    A pleasant enough puzzle. Thanks to Warbler and to BD.
    Hoping for a Friday belter tomorrow.. maybe an Elgar is due!

    Typo 5d hint ….marked improvement regarding industry

      1. I think it’s me who needs the glasses…
        Thanks to Warbler, and to Bufo for the notes. (I must be going mad, I could have sworn the review was by BD when I looked earlier!) :)

  4. Very enjoyable crossword from Warbler, never heard of 2d but guessed it anyway, struggled with 1d (even though I had this 10yrs ago),liked 30a & 31a. Thanks Warbler and Bufo.

  5. 2d new to me also. Kicking myself for not understanding (but will now on) the “essentially ” of heroes in 29a, – was only clue left undone and probably the easiest it seems to me now. Thanks Warbler and Bufo

  6. A bit of a classic example of why I’m not a great fan of Toughie-style crosswords – some silly words with silly clues. Typified by 17a, 31a, 2d, 5d and 13a with one of BD’s favourite proper names. Too much first letter or parts of words stuff and not offset by enough decent cryptic clues, like eg 5a, 9a & 22d for my taste.

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