Toughie 461 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 461

Toughie No 461 by Messinae

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment ***

I found this harder than average. There are a few answers that might be unfamiliar to some but it was a perfectly fair puzzle.

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    Make good response to defeat — poh!? (6,4)
{BOUNCE BACK} The wordplay is represented by “poh”. Reverse this and it’s equivalent to “hop back”. Take a synonym for hop + BACK and you get a phrase meaning “to recover quickly and easily”

6a    Spare list (4)
{LEAN} 2 meanings: spare (thin) / list (heel over)

9a    Returning from Jaipur he noticed a local statesman once (5)
{NEHRU} An Indian statesman (1889-1964) is hidden in reverse in JAIPUR HE NOTICED

10a    Listened in with attention like a judge (9)
{EARWIGGED} A word meaning “eavesdropped” is formed from attention + like a judge (i.e. wearing something on his head)

12a    Harmony between ethnic groups could be upset by sectarian role (4,9)
{RACE RELATIONS} An anagram (could be upset by) of SECTARIAN ROLE

14a    Make threadbare outer garments? (8)
{OVERWEAR} You might think this is what is worn over underwear. It actually means “wear out”

15a    Coming out with pithy sayings (6)
{GNOMIC} An anagram (out) of COMING gives an adjective relating to pithy and sententious sayings

17a    Southwark hostelry where beer is served — get one small round (6)
{TABARD} The inn in Southwark where Chaucer’s pilgrims first meet on their journey to Canterbury is given by a place where beer is served inside an informal term for a small amount

19a    Want to be in the glow of old part of London (8)
{LEWISHAM} A borough in south-east London is formed from a synonym of “to want” inside an old word for glow

21a    Travellers catch knaves about to strike up (13)
{GLOBETROTTERS} People who travel round the world are given by catch + knaves going round “to hit or throw a ball in a high, slow arc”

24a    Sort of Asian kept outside of India when English left (9)
{PAKISTANI} An all-in-one clue. The wordplay gives an anagram (sort of) of ASIAN K(E)PT round I. Here I is India (phonetic alphabet) and E is English

25a    Number beset by some bug (5)
{ANNOY} An abbreviation for number goes inside a word meaning “some” to give “to bug”

26a    19th-century painter — not the first for modern art collector (4)
{ETTY} The name of an English painter (1787-1849) who is virtually unknown outside the crossword world is formed by removing the first letter from the name of a US oil executive, billionaire and art collector (1872-1976)

27a    Greek character denied turning base (10)
{DEGENERATE} Reverse the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet and a word meaning “denied” to give an adjective meaning “base”


1d    Agent providing security (4)
{BOND} 2 meanings: a fictional spy / a security issued when borrowing money

2d    Throw from Mount Everest’s peak after wild onrush (7)
{UNHORSE} Get ready for people to moan about the misleading capital in “Mount”! The definition is “throw from mount”. It is an anagram (wild) of ONRUSH round E (Everest’s peak)

3d    Seethes about wife tucking into Fish Balls served up — they should be smoked (13)
{CHURCHWARDENS} These are long-stemmed clay pipes. The involved wordplay is “seethes” going round W (wife) inside a type of fish + a reversal of the first name of the politician Mr Balls

4d    Auntie studied food workers provided (3-5)
{BEE-BREAD} Auntie (the BBC) + studied gives the pollen and honey mixture fed by some insects to their young

5d    Scene of gold rush includes gold material for necklace (5)
{CORAL} Put OR (gold) inside an abbreviation for a US state where there was once a gold rush

7d    Engineering equipment in mill to fill with despair (7)
{ENGLOOM} an abbreviation for engineering is following by a machine found in a textile mill

8d    Where people go for holiday out of habit (6,4)
{NUDIST CAMP} A cryptic definition. Where people might holiday with no clothes on (out of habit)

11d    Treatment for the very sick wounded veteran is nice (9,4)
{INTENSIVE CARE} An anagram (wounded) of VETERAN IS NICE

13d    Simple meal — gotta piece cooking (7,3)
{COTTAGE PIE} An anagram (cooking) of GOTTA PIECE

16d    A poet’s inspiration to take very little time (8)
{BEATRICE} The answer is a Florentine woman who provided inspiration for Dante. Read this answer as (2,1,5) and it means “to take very little time”.

18d    Stag sees first of blue-chips go up rapidly (7)
{BROCKET} B (first of blue-chips) + “go up rapidly” gives a stag in its second year, with its first, dagger-shaped, horns

20d    Old Vietnamese leader’s ready in India to give praise to the Lord (7)
{HOSANNA} A Vietnamese revolutionary leader + ‘S + a former Indian coin gives an exclamation of praise to God

22d    Victorian novelist leaves his customer short (5)
{READE} The name of a Victorian novelist best known for The Cloister and the Hearth is formed by removing the last letter from someone who might be perusing one of his books

23d    Small amount of information in extra time (4)
{BYTE} Here’s today’s cricketing reference. Put T (time) inside an extra to give a computing term

I’ve scored it as average enjoyment because I didn’t find it particularly exciting.

13 comments on “Toughie 461

  1. I agree that this was not a particularly exciting puzzle, and I am not overly keen on seeing names of painters and poets (especially less well known ones) in cryptic puzzles, which would be better suited to general knowledge puzzles.
    Fav clue 2d.
    Thanks to Messinae and to Bufo.

  2. Apart from one and a half clues for which I needed the hints, I solved the rest of the puzzle in a reasonable time. I did like la, 24a and 20d but for obvious reasons my clue of the month is 15a. Thanks to Messinae for the brain workout and Bufo for the two handy hints which saved me from further cogitation.

  3. I found this very straightforward until I got to the last couple of down clues , 18d and 20d, which I just couldn’t see at all. Thanks for the tips Bufo and thanks for the workout Messinae. My favourites were 17a, 3d and 16d.

  4. In terms of TTC (Time to Completion) I thought that both today’s puzzles were on a par for difficulty. The Cryptic was more enjoyable for me, despite the “Honourable Mention” for one of our number in the Toughie. 2d was nice; 3d word-play too convoluted. Thanks to Setter and Solver alike!

  5. I enjoyed this puzzle which I found a very fair challenge. The hardest and most time consuming puzzle today was the Quick, which I still have not finished.

    1. Hi Rupert – I tend to agree. Got 13a wrong initially, which threw 13d and several others; but finally sorted it out and was able to “see through it” (if you get my meaning!?)

  6. Very enjoyable, but had to resort for 3 to understand wordplay. In 3d which fish is being referred to?, Can’t fathom out the wordplay annoyingly. Thanks Messinae and Bufo

  7. This didn’t take too long but I did need confirmation from the dictionary for 4d,18d and 19a. And, although I had the answer for 16d, I didn’t know why – so thanks to Bufo for his helpful explanation.

    All in all quite a nice puzzle.

  8. I did not enjoy this puzzle very much despite the fact that there were some nice clues ie 2 4 10 12 17 24 and 27. It was spoil by resorting to names on 3 occasions rather than using proper words. Surely there are enough words in the English Language that can be used rather than names. If its not topless women its poet’s obscure muses!

  9. My 89-year-old ma (who still has all her marbles!) starts the Toughie every day and when I visit in the afternoon I have a go at clearing up anything she’s left. We always manage to finish it between us, then if there’s anything we can’t justify, I cut out the puzzle, bring it home and get on this great website. The final clue we solved today was 16dn, but because we couldn’t justify 17ac I cut out the puzzle as usual and lo and behold, almost exactly where 16dn was on the page underneath, was the answer – Beatrice – in the heading about a story about said princess getting wed. Anybody else notice? Spooky or what!

  10. 16d did for me today in an otherwise enjoyable reasonably tough Toughie. For some reason I was looking for a poet and did not see the charade.
    20d was my favourite for the definition of ‘ready in India’
    Thanks Messinae and Bufo

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