Toughie 547 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 547

Toughie No 547 by Excalibur

An analysis of the wordplay

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment *

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1a    That slogan about the Mountie always getting his man? (11)
{CATCHPHRASE} – a cryptic definition of a slogan

9a    Most of article is flimsy and unconvincing (4)
{THIN} – take most of an article or object to get a word meaning flimsy and unconvincing

10a    The Great Depression in America (5,6)
{GRAND CANYON} – a cryptic definition of a deep gorge in America

11a    Three points nil in wintry conditions (4)
{SNOW} – take three compass points and insert O (nil) to get wintry conditions

14a    Not a match. It’s paler (7)
{LIGHTER} – a part-cryptic definition – a device that produces a small flame, but not a match, and a word meaning paler

16a    I have a ball and Rufus is running about like mad (7)
{FURIOUS} – put I and O (ball) inside an anagram (is running about) of RUFUS to get an adjective meaning like mad

18a    Passed and hemmed in American car (5)
{SEDAN} – hidden (hemmed) inside the first two words is a type of car used in America

19a    A sou that’s not necessarily French (4)
{BEAN} – this sou or tiny amount of money could be suffixed by French, runner or baked

20a    ‘Fine Day’ associated with a different opera (4)
{AIDA} – an adjective meaning fine or first-rate is followed by D(ay) and A to get an opera

21a    Said collar is loose (5)
{ROUGH} – a word that sounds like an Elizabethan / Jacobean collar means loose, as in a loose estimate

23a    That terrible Guevara went in for primitive weapon (7)
{HATCHET} – start with an anagram (terrible) of THAT and insert (went in) Senor Guevara’s first name to get a primitive weapon

24a    Leak, you understand, to the paper (7)
{SEEPAGE} – this leak is a charade of a word meaning “you understand” and a piece of paper

25a    Agrees Ol’ Englan’ has! (4)
{NODS} – a word meaning agrees is indicated by what is missing from the rest of the clue (2,2)

30a    Whether it’s a good replica or whether it appeals (4,2,2,3)
{LIKE IT OR NOT} – a part-cryptic double definition

31a    Get in the post (4)
{EARN} – get money for doing a job

32a    Turn every day in prison to good account? (5,2,4)
{WASTE NO TIME} – a cryptic definition of a phrase meaning to occupy the day usefully


2d    River going through one’s land (4)
{ACRE} – put R(iver) inside a playing card with one spot to get a measure of land

3d    Am incapable of insincerity (4)
{CANT} – a double definition – am incapable of and insincerity or hypocrisy

4d    Relishes the troubles people get themselves into (7)
{PICKLES} – a double definition – relishes eaten with food and troubles people get themselves into

5d    Taking a chance, ski out from enclosure (4)
{RING} – start with a word meaning taking a chance, remove (out) SKI and the result is an enclosure

6d    With which one aims to eliminate second, incorrect, nought (7)
{SHOTGUN} – a weapon that is aimed in order to eliminate innocent birds is built up from S(econd) followed by an anagram (incorrect) of NOUGHT

7d    In that case, it’s what distinguishes men from me (4)
{THEN} – an adverb meaning in that case can be split (3,1) to describe what distinguishes meN from me

8d    How quickly you could tell neither box was empty? (2,3,6)
{IN TWO SHAKES} – a phrase meaning quickly could be a way of checking if a couple of boxes are empty

12d    Gracious! I’m to play the cattle rustler! (3,2,6)
{I’LL BE HANGED} – a phrase that means gracious! or an expression of surprise could describe the fate of being caught for cattle rustling

13d    Shocked to see a staghound largely (6)
{AGHAST} – a word meaning shocked is an anagram (out of control) of just over half of (largely) A STAGH(OUND)

15d    Move to bigger accommodation due to expansion in the plant (5)
{REPOT} – a cryptic definition of moving a plant into another container because it has grown too big

16d    Showing, for admirers surrounding, good teeth (5)
{FANGS} – put these admirers around (surrounding) G(ood) to get some teeth

17d    In magazine I read it adds zest to foods (6)
{ORIGAN} – put a magazine or periodical around I to get an aromatic herb of the marjoram genus

21d    As before, isn’t a bad wine (7)
{RETSINA} – put a prefix meaning “as before” in front of an anagram (bad) of ISN’T A to get a Greek wine flavoured with resin

22d    Be told profit’s up to raise spirits (7)
{HEARTEN} – start with a word that means “be told!” or “listen!” and add the profit clear of all charges or deduction reversed (up) to get a word meaning to raise spirits

26d    Blast! That means the vacancy has been filled! (4)
{DARN} – another way of saying “blast!” gives a word meaning to fill a hole in a sock

27d    Bowed, producing gift (4)
{BENT} – a double definition – bowed or twisted and a gift or talent

28d    Document penned many years ago (4)
{WRIT} – a double definition – a legal document and an old-fashioned word for penned, as in penned a letter

29d    Given latitude, coming back with a low right (4)
{ROOM} – a word meaning latitude or space is derived by reversing a low from a cow and R(ight)

Please only leave constructive comments. Abusive comments will be deleted.

25 comments on “Toughie 547

  1. Apart from having to look up 17d – which I got from the wordplay but had never heard of, I had no problems solving this puzzle. Tuesday level tough and I have a ‘dot’ by 25a which I quite liked. Thanks to Excalibur for the crossword and BD for the hints.

  2. Don’t like 17d. It’s too obscure. I prefer, and cook with, “oregano”.

    “Abusive comments will be deleted”. Does this tells us what Big Dave really thought about the puzzle?

  3. It was at the level of most Tuesday Toughies and felt very similar to solving one of Rufus’ Monday puzzles. If you haven’t seen some of the cryptic definitions before, you will enjoy them.

    I am not keen on 17d, not for the reasons given above, but that the word “read” is superfluous. I’m also not keen on adjectives as anagram indicators either.

    A pleasant solve – some interesting devices – 20a is quite clever, but since it’s “One Fine Day” and is never shortened, it doesn’t quite work for me. The “question clues” which are probably her trademark do work well. I’d never heard of the expression at 12d.

  4. Understood. Someone has a thin skin.
    Why does “England Expect”? Trafalgar Day is 21st October I believe. What am I missing?

  5. Usual tuesday level i thought some clever clues but a couple were a tad ambiguous, quite a pleasant solve though. Thanks to Excalibur and Big Dave for his comments.

  6. If anyone wants to try the other cryptics today, my order of difficulty (low to high) would be Times, Indy, FT (Loroso aka Anax – very entertaining) and the themed Guardian, with which I struggled long and hard!

  7. A couple of new words today for me, the sou in 19a and then 17d. I’m still not sure I totally understand 32a though, time = prison I guess but where does the waste no come from? Thanks to Excalibur and BD

    1. I’m sure this is not the right place to ask as I know from previous comments that times are considered vulgar! How does telegraph puzzles update….I have 3 pretty good times today (for me anyway) and 2 were done hours ago but still no sign….

      1. The way the leaderboard functions on Telegraph Puzzles is a complete mystery. The fact that such a facility is ridiculously easy to maintain on a computer system seems to have escaped the designers of the site.

      2. Your times (if your handle is the same there as it is here) are currently showing up at position 93 for the back-pager, and 16 for the Toughie.

        Of course, the order of the listings seems to have very little to do with the actual times. It’s all pretty meaningless anyway, since it’s clear that some people have already solved the puzzles before using the online app.

        1. I remain a committed newspaper solver but experimented the other day and could enter the solved puzzle into Telegraph Puzzles in 1 min 35 secs! Fast reader, fast solver, touch typist! Didn’t submit because that would have been silly, I was just interesed to see how long it would take me to put the solution in.

          1. I much prefer pen-and-paper solving, but I rarely buy newspapers for anything other than crosswords, so the cost of a subscription to Telegraph Puzzles seemed like good value.

        2. thanks for that-I was beginning to think it was just me!!

          I’ve still only got 5 finished solvers on the toughie when I look now!

  8. Disregardless of the merits concerning todays offering from Excalibur it’s attracted an abnormally large number of votes!

    1. I had noticed! Perhaps someone is casting multiple votes using the AV system. It was the same last time as well, and I replaced the post on the following morning so none of the votes were cast on the day the puzzle was published.

  9. 121 votes and it’s registering ‘poor’…………I thought it was a lovely puzzle

  10. I appreciate that I’m a day late, but I didn’t START it until this afternoon (or that’s my defence anyway, and I’m sticking to it).

    Anyway, I thought it was a nice puzzle, if a little easier than some of the other Toughies – bear in mind I don’t usually get a paper on Tuesdays.

    I liked 1a and especially 7d and 25a – I don’t know if those last two are standard cryptic types but I really liked them.

    Anyway, in answer to 30a – I do.

    Thanks to BD and Excalibur.


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