Toughie 723 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 723

Toughie No 723 by Excalibur

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment *

No comment from me, but please feel free to leave your own 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    Loose definition would be ‘fancy-free’ (10)
{UNATTACHED} – two definitions – not fastened to anything and “footloose and fancy-free”

9a    Whence came the needle (that’s a sharp object with a point) (4)
{PINE} – needles come from this tree which is a charade of an object with a sharp point and a point of the compass

10a    A lot above your head (4,6)
{ROOF GARDEN} – where to grow flowers on top of a house

11a    Career medic can cover the whole round (6)
{GALLOP} – to run fast comes from your local medic around a word meaning the whole or everything and a round letter

12a    Abominable flu spreading after heat wave (7)
{HATEFUL} – this adjective meaning abominable is derived by putting an anagram (spreading)of FLU after and anagram (wave) of HEAT

15a    Learns to edit on a magazine (7)
{ARSENAL} – put an anagram (edit) of LEARNS after (on) A to get a magazine for storing weapons

16a    Tears caused by quarrels (5)
{RIFTS} – these tears or splits are also quarrels

17a    A diminutive fish (4)
{LING} – put the name of this fish after a word like duck and you get a smaller version (diminutive)

18a    Fur ball pet swallowed (4)
{COAT} – the fur of an animal is created by putting a letter shaped like a ball (yuk!) inside a domestic pet

19a    Gives the impression to go out with Miss would be ‘too much’ (5)
{SEEMS} – a verb meaning gives the impression is a charade of a verb meaning to go out with or date and Miss without the “is”

21a    Get ahead or follow on (7)
{SUCCEED} – a double definition – to get ahead in life and to inherit a title

22a    Points out other amendments in contract (7)
{SHORTEN} – put two opposing compass points outside an anagram (amendments) of OTHER to get a verb meaning to contract

24a    Hard-wearing coat for a nipper (6)
{ENAMEL} – this coat is found on a tooth

27a    ‘With one’s best behind one’ is going too far (4,3,3)
{OVER THE TOP} – two meanings of this phrase

28a    Romanced in song (4)
{LIED} – a double definition – romanced or told fibs and a German song

29a    They could get to read clippings a long time ago (3,4,3)
{THE YEAR DOT} – THEY is followed by an anagram (clippings) of TO READ gives a long time ago when time started


2d    Only thumbs down from the corner (4)
{NOOK} – split as (2,2) this could mean that thumbs are down but it is actually a corner or recess

3d    Sweet towards female taking charge (6)
{TOFFEE} – this sweet is a charade of the short word for towards, F(emale) and a charge

4d    He doesn’t accept money on the side (7)
{AMATEUR} – someone who doesn’t get paid for playing sport

5d    Awful die-hard, to start with, having a thick skin (4)
{HIDE} – an anagram (awful) of DIE is preceded by (to start with) H(ard) to get a thick skin

6d    Risks many may take makes one see red (7)
{DANGERS} – these risks are derived from the Roman numeral for 500 followed by a verb meaning makes one see red or annoys

7d    Expanding hole in tooth? (7,3)
{FILLING OUT} – a phrasal verb meaning expanding could result in a hole in a tooth if this happened

8d    A Pole in training to beat an Italian (10)
{NEAPOLITAN} – an anagram (training) of A POLE IN followed by a verb meaning to beat gives an Italian from Naples

12d    Gosh, are they celebrating the death of a baddie? (5,5)
{HELLS BELLS} – a phrase meaning “gosh!” could be what is rung when a baddie dies

13d    When it’s pouring, can you look forward to getting a lift? (5,5)
{TONIC WATER} – a drink that may lift your spirits (or be mixed with them!)

14d    Ruled out a denial, on reflection (5)
{LINED} – to get a verb meaning ruled or marked is created by dropping the A (out A) from DENI(A)L and reversing (on reflection) what is left

15d    While protecting male’s little bits (5)
{ATOMS} – put a word meaning while around a male cat to get these small particles

19d    No seats left for ‘Betrayal’ (4-3)
{SELL-OUT} – a double definition – no seats left for an event or a betrayal of trust

20d    Commute from close to the centre of Castlebar (7)
{SHUTTLE} – a verb meaning to commute is a charade of to close a door and the middle three letters of CasTLEbar

23d    Back he goes inside to try again (6)
{REHEAR} – put HE inside the back or stern to get a verb meaning to try again in court

25d    When it comes to hearing, the very top is canine (4)
{PEKE} – the top of a mountain sounds like (when it comes to hearing) an abbreviated type of dog

26d    Cut back to ball game (4)
{POLO} – reverse a verb meaning to cut branches from a tree and add a letter shaped like a ball (double yuk!) to get a game played on horseback


20 comments on “Toughie 723

  1. Quite liked 15a – nice bit of misdirection – but otherwise not a lot to say about this one.

    Did feel at one point that I needed the ‘slightly mad hat’ :smile:

    Thanks to Excalibur and BD.

  2. 1* difficulty for me as once the mists cleared it didn’t take long to solve. Like Pommers, I did find a mad hat helped. As 12d made me smile and think of BD, I will give it 1.5 star entertainment. Thanks to Excalibur. Big thanks to BD.

  3. Thanks to Excalibur for a very enjoyable but not very tough crossword today, I liked 12d. Thanks to BD for the hints.

    1. **/** I can’t see the connection linking ‘ clippings’ with an anagram either – arrived at answer simply from ‘a long time ago’-anyone any thoughts?
      Bet tomorrows touighie will be more testing.

          1. No great secret, Pommers. The setter’s name is put up on the on-line web site sometime in the late afternoon or early evening. Select “The Knowledge” then “Inside Puzzles”.

            1. Never noticed the name came up the day before, D’oh! I just normally have a look in the morning before I start the puzzle just to get an idea of what I might be letting myself in for.

              Elkamere (Anax light?) is usually a bit of fun :grin:

  4. Gentle fare on offer today, favourites 12d and 13d thanks to Excalibur and to Big Dave for the hints.

  5. Finaly managed to obtain a copy – couldn’t access the site to get the Toughie or Daily puzzle. Able to get to main page but no further.

    Routine fare from Excalibur, nothing much more to say about it. Didn’t like ‘clippings’ as anag indicator and the usual feling that I was solving one of her puzzles in the 1970’s or 80’s.

    There are much more enjoyable puzzles in the Guardian (from the ST Crossword setter) and the FT today.

    The FT setter has produced a nice enjoyable challenge without the need for mind-stretching and complex devices. The Graun is a masterclass in cluemanship, as was Sunday’s ST puzzle.

    1. Yesterday, the Rufus puzzle from 1986 was greeted with much praise for standing the test of time and for being consistent with his contemporary puzzles.

      But, today, the puzzle from Excalibur is criticised for being just like one of her puzzles from the 1970′s or 80′s. Discuss.

      Anyway, I enjoyed it – Thank You!

    1. Dan,
      Your comment had to be moderated because you’ve changed your alias. Both should work from now on. Good luck with the Toughies – keep us informed of your progress.

  6. I had a go at this one – too knackered to do anything productive in house or garden so thought “why not”? (that sounds really rude – it’s not meant to be!!) I managed to do most, but by no means all, of it. I have now read the hints and understand all the answers. Some of the ones that I failed to get I now realise that I should have, and probably would have done on another day. As a complete novice at toughies I enjoyed it – sometimes it’s really good to have one that doesn’t feel too intimidating. Thank you to Excalibur, for giving the confidence a bit of a boost, and to Big Dave for filling in the gaps!!

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