Toughie 563 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 563

Toughie No 563 by Excalibur

What Do You Think of it So Far?

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment *

Same old same old.

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1a    Complimentary to no avail (3,7)
{FOR NOTHING} – a double definition

9a    No. I left after the return game (4)
{LION} – NO I L(eft) is reversed (after the return) to get this big-game cat

10a    Conveys what one does to point out a mistake (4,6)
{PUTS ACROSS} – a phrasal verb meaning conveys or explains could mean points out a mistake if split (4,1,5)

11a    Go fare free? (6)
{STARVE} – a weak cryptic definition of consumes no food

12a    Stopped cold, having entered (7)
{CLOGGED} – a word meaning stopped or blocked is a charade of C(old) and having entered in a journal

15a    Feasts for land-hungry Americans? (7)
{SPREADS} – a double definition

16a    They sing said number in comeback (5)
{DIVAS} – to get these female singers insert a Roman numeral (number) inside SAID and reverse he lot (in comeback)

17a    Psychologically disturbed, or so you say (4)
{SICK} – a word meaning psychologically disturbed sounds like (you say) the Latin for so or thus

18a    Foreign city resident back in bosom of family (4)
{LIMA} – a South American capital city is hidden (resident … in bosom of) and reversed (back) inside the final word of the clue

19a    Closes and stamps (5)
{SEALS} – a double definition – closes or makes airtight/watertight and stamps or impressions

21a    Various forms of reptiles, etc., mutant therein (7)
{ASPECTS} – to get a word meaning “various forms” start with some snakes (reptiles) and then insert (therein) an anagram (mutant) of ETC

22a    Punched hard, dragged off by second (7)
{SLUGGED} – a word meaning punched hard is derived from a word meaning dragged off preceded by S(econd)

24a    First, salt is back on quota (6)
{RATION} – take an abbreviation (2,1) indicating first place and add a slang word for a salt or sailor then reverse all (back) to get a quota

27a    Unfair at the moment — and later, perhaps (3,4,3)
{NOT JUST NOW} – a phrase meaning unfair followed by a word meaning at the moment gives a phrase meaning later, possibly

28a    A time of recession, too (4)
{NOON} – a time of the day that is palindromic

29a    Flower made of cloth? (6,4)
{DAMASK ROSE} – this first word of this flower is also a cloth or material, originally of silk, now usually of linen, woven with a pattern


2d    Burden we’ll pay for? (4)
{ONUS} – this burden, when split (2,2) indicates that we will pay – how many times have you seen this before?

3d    Trying to find answer to Domingo’s ‘Shall I dance for you?’ (6)
{NOSING} – a word meaning trying to find, when split (2,4), could be the answer if Plácido Domingo were to ask ‘Shall I dance for you?’

4d    Unfortunately lacked time before set about (7)
{TACKLED} – an anagram (unfortunately) of LACKED is preceded by (before) T(ime) to get a word meaning set about or undertook

5d    Age it takes to straighten things out (4)
{IRON} – a double definition – the Age that followed the Bronze Age and an implement used to straighten things out

6d    Doctors’ round is so taken up in rumours (7)
{GOSSIPS} – put these doctors in General Practice around IS SO reversed (taken up) to get rumours

7d    Being informed by word of mouth (3-7)
{LIP-READING} – a (cryptic?) definition of gathering what a person says by watching

8d    Sit too much, see? (10)
{UNDERSTAND} – a part-cryptic double definition – split the answer (5,5) and it could mean sit too much; the definition is see or comprehend

12d    Sharing the limelight’s worth a band following Queen (2-8)
{CO-STARRING} – a word meaning sharing the limelight is constructed from worth or price and a band preceded by the abbreviation of the Latin for Queen

13d    Calling for a military takeover (10)
{OCCUPATION} – a double definition – a calling or employment and a military takeover

14d    Many a saintly place and some resorts for sinners? (5)
{DIVES} – the Roman numeral for five hundred (many) is followed by the second part of a town in Cornwall or Cambridgeshire (take your pick), the first part being St., to get some disreputable resorts for sinners

15d    Puts off travelling the slow way (5)
{SAILS} – travels by sea the slow way

19d    Shocked when stood up, getting home mad (7)
{STUNNED} – a word meaning shocked is created by reversing (when stood up, in a down clue) an a home for an animal and a word meaning mad

20d    Mistakes made by backward s-students (4-3)
{SLIP-UPS} – these mistakes are created by reversing (backward) S and some students

23d    Pronounced superior to hand-held kitchen aid (6)
{GRATER} – a word that sounds like (pronounced) superior is a hand-held kitchen aid with a rough surface for rubbing cheese down to small particles

25d    A thing or two of interest to gossip columnists (4)
{ITEM} – a piece of news – possibly about two people having a romantic relationship

26d    Beats by very little in comeback (4)
{TOPS} – a word meaning beats or surpasses means a small amount when reversed

This dreadful grid is the same one that this setter used for Toughie 465. At the time Bufo wrote “At first glance I was put off by the diagram with its double unches (unchecked letters) and what looked like a lot of black squares. It’s definitely not one of the best grids I’ve ever seen.” – enough said!

16 comments on “Toughie 563

  1. This is just my personal opinion, but when a Toughie takes less time to solve than a Rufus back page puzzle, it definitely isn’t a Toughie.

  2. One of Excaliburs easier ones today, not really toughie standard but fairly enjoyable. Thanks Excalibur and BD for the notes.

  3. One or two entertaining clues, but compared to the other puzzles around today, an hilarious Paul in the Guardian, Scorpion (Osmosis) in the Indy and a decent Times puzzle, an average Toughie for me.

  4. Fairly straightforward puzzle today no standouts for me if i had one complaint it would be too many reversals. Thanks to Excalibur and to Big Dave for the review. Back in 10 days we’re off to Pommers and Pommettes neck of the woods.

  5. There is nothing wrong with this grid. All words have at least half of the letters interlocking. As a bonus, both the first and last letters of the six-lettered words interlock. This bonus doesn’t happen very often.

  6. Re grids…

    I’m in agreement with Cephas on this grid, BD. Whilst perhaps it doesn’t demand too much hard work for any setter to fill, it offers quite a few “ways in” for the solver (cf the really “dreadful” grid Elgar used on Friday).

    There are quite a few really dire grids in the Telegraph set, and most of us wouldn’t touch ’em.

    (And that’s why you haven’t seen them!)

    1. Double unches are very unpopular hereabouts!

      I actually like this grid, because the central portion resembles the tanks from the game “Combat” that came bundled with the Atari VCS.

  7. Oh dear, just when I thought I was becoming a Toughie master, it turns out to be an easy one. A bit like skiing, no matter how good one get, one doesn’t seem to go any faster. No big moguls in this one, but definitely enjoyable.

  8. The 6 letter answer to 11a ‘Go fare free? should have been ‘Forage’ … Forage is an anagram of ‘go fare’ as indicated by the word ‘free’ and if you forage for food you get it for free

  9. Maybe it’s just me , but I found this a very unsatisfactory puzzle – so many extra words in clues that seemed to have no bearing on the answers eg the”the ” in 9ac .
    The centre had , in my humble opinion , four very weak clues . All in all my least favourite for ages -which reminds me , 5d was also poor as was 3d ….in fact they were all a bit feeble .Sorry .

  10. BD – in answer to your question in the title I have to say “Not a Lot”! Nuff said!

    1. Eric Morecambe’s answer to the question was usually: “Rubbish!”. But, I’ve never compiled a crossword (and never will) – so no complaints from me. Thanks to the Setter!

      Grids? Why is there such a difference of opinion: Setters (cephas & John H) think it’s OK , Bloggers (BD & Bufo) think it’s “dreadful”?

      1. I was careful not to say ‘Rubbish’ as, like you, I have never compiled a puzzle. Thought I’d go the Paul Daniels route, but I was not impressed!
        As for the grid, I don’t think I really care a lot, what you see is what you get – live with it!

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