Toughie 743 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 743

Toughie No 743 by Excalibur

More of the same

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

If you’ve solved an Excalibur puzzle before then you will know what to expect, so there is little I can add.

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.


7a    Has reeled in fish and is tying up (7)
{LASHING} – put an anagram (reeled) of HAS in a fish to get a verb meaning tying up

8a    Well-known yet listless? (7)
{NOTABLE} – split this adjective meaning well-known as (3,4) to get listless

10a    Create interest about employment as trainee in retail initially (5,1,4)
{CAUSE A STIR} – a phrase meaning to create interest is built up from the two-letter abbreviation of the Latin for about, a word meaning employment, AS, and the initial letters of three words in the clue

11a    Not any sound you recognise (4)
{KNOW} – what sounds like a two-letter word meaning not any is actually a verb meaning to recognise

12a    Fruit the teeniest bit mouldy and rain damaged (8)
{MANDARIN} – this fruit is built up from the initial letter (teeniest bit) of Mouldy, AND plus an anagram (damaged) of RAIN

14a    Various odds and ends half drenched (6)
{SODDEN} – an anagram (various) of ODDS and the first half of ENds gives a word meaning drenched

15a    Said animal breeding is hard on the nerves (4-7)
{HAIR-RAISING} – what sounds like (said) an animal is followed by a verb meaning breeding to get a hyphenated word meaning hard on the nerves

19a    Woman born with heart defect (6)
{BERTHA} – this woman’s name comes from B(orn) and an anagram (defect) of HEART

20a    Creature chased by a lion — running might be sensible (8)
{RATIONAL} – a creature is followed by an anagram (running) of A LION to get an adjective meaning sensible

22a    Member (member in political party) (4)
{LIMB} – this member or body part is created by putting M(ember) inside an old political party

23a    Servant given money ordered man: ‘Try to break in’ (10)
{PANTRYMAID} – this below-stairs servant is derived by putting a verb meaning given money to settle a bill around (to break in’) an anagram () of (ordered) of MAN TRY

25a    Circus performer about to steal an animal (7)
{ACROBAT} – a circus performer is created by placing around (about) a verb meaning to steal an animal, including the indefinite article

26a    Often sheds tears from soft-heartedness maybe? (7)
{ANAGRAM} – what you have to do to get “OFTEN SHEDS TEARS” from SOFT-HEARTEDNESS


1d    Garage empty? It has a pungent smell (7)
{CARAWAY} – split as (3,4) this means the garage is empty, but it’s actually a spice with a pungent smell

2d    So shout out ‘Nothing’s missing’ (4)
{THUS} – this adverb meaning so is an anagram (out) of SH(O)UT without the O (nothing’s missing)

3d    Not just cloudy? (6)
{UNFAIR} – a double definition – not just or Inequitable and cloudy

4d    Best friend advanced south in country ramblers? (3,5)
{DOG ROSES} – man’s best friend is followed by a verb meaning advanced or progressed and S(outh) to get these wild flowers which commonly grow in hedgerows

5d    Persuaded by lecture on diet, for a change (6,4)
{TALKED INTO} – this phrasal verb meaning persuaded is derived from a lecture followed by an anagram (for a change) of ON DIET

6d    Granted we do mess up everything at first (7)
{ALLOWED} – a verb meaning granted or permitted is derived from an anagram (mess up) of WE DO preceded by (at first) a word meaning everything

9d    Take care of someone else’s tot (5,1,5)
{STAND A DRINK} – a cryptic definition of a phrase meaning to buy a tot of whisky for someone

13d    Badly disappointed, lashed out (5,1,4)
{DEALT A BLOW} – this phrase meaning badly disappointed can also mean lashed out

16d    Make a comeback with ‘Gather In Fruit’ (8)
{REAPPEAR} – this verb meaning to make a comeback is a charade of a verb meaning to gather in followed by a fruit (an old chestnut, yes and no)

17d    Having set up trap, long to lure (7)
{BEWITCH} – reverse (set up in a down clue) a spider’s trap and follow it with a verb meaning to long or yearn to get a verb meaning to lure

18d    Money with a big M! (7)
{CAPITAL} – this money can also mean upper-case like M

21d    Travelling north, plan out aircraft seat (6)
{THRONE} – an anagram (travelling) of NORTH is followed by an aircraft from which PLAN has been removed (out) to get a seat

24d    They may be shot by police — fools! (4)
{MUGS} – the kind of shots or photos that the police take of criminals actually means fools

Rather a lot of anagrams made this puzzle quite easy.

13 comments on “Toughie 743

  1. The SE corner was a beast – well I found it so and this made the crossword into a Toughie for me. The rest of the crossword was reasonably straightforward.. I see what you mean about the total anagram count, but for some reason they weren’t as obvious as they might have been, or else that was just me. Thanks to BD and Excalibur

  2. Pretty straightforward. Wasted too much time on parsing 21d trying to make it more complicated than it was!
    Thanks to Excalibur, and to BD.

  3. I actually quite enjoyed this one apart from 25a – bit of Yoda-speak again? Agree with CS about the SE corner – took me agaes to parse 21d although the answer was pretty obvious from the checkers, d’oh!

    Thanks to Excalibur and BD.

  4. With regard to another crosssword has anyone come across the use of an ampersand as a 1 letter character in place of the word “and” as in G&T? I do hope so…

  5. Pretty much plain sailing until reaching choppy waters in S/E favourites 1d and 23a thanks to Excalibur and to Big Dave for the comments.

  6. Many thanks to Excalibur, I at least, enjoyed this puzzle notwithstanding the anagrams. Reasonably tough in parts but very “do-able” Thanks to BD for the hints.

  7. Thanks to Excalibur for a very enjoyable and entertaining puzzle! I particularly liked 26a!

    I hope we have “More of the same” next time!

  8. I am looking forward to tomorrows Toughie – it is one of those all too rare occasions when we have a Toughie by Dada (better known as Paul n the Guardian) bound to be good fun!

    1. I’ve just printed this off and the words “No chance, mancub!” spring to mind. I’ll stick with the back page and wait for the review then try and backsolve it.

      1. It’s not that bad! – the grid looks like 4 separate crosswords, and the top left went in very quickly. Have another look at it.

        1. That’s my beef! The fact that it is virtually 4 separate puzzles makes it even more difficult – an issue which I think has been discussed previously. I’ll give it a lash but I’m not hopeful having scanned through some of the clues.

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