Toughie 757 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 757

Toughie No 757 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This was trickier than I thought it was going to be. I made reasonable progress until I stalled in the NE corner and the time I spent finishing it off pushed the puzzle into the 4* difficulty level.

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    Pleasure associated with good American smut perhaps (6)
{FUNGUS} Pleasure + G (good) + American = a type of organism of which smut is an example

5a    Influence assumed by a clergyman (8)
{PREACHER} Influence (5) goes inside ‘a’ (3) (as in so much a head) to give a clergyman

9a    Group shot — as individual characters you are forming a row (8)
{CLANGOUR} A group (4) + a shot (attempt) (2) + the letters that sound like ‘you’ and ‘are’ gives a row (loud noise)

10a    Label applied to bottle (6)
{FLAGON} ‘To label’ + ‘applied to’ = a large bottle for alcohol

11a    Mineral company managed to have ditch shortened (8)
{CORUNDUM} A hard mineral = CO (company) + ‘managed’ + ‘to ditch’ with the last letter removed

12a    Ballpoint ready? (6)
{PROMPT} This has to be read as ‘ball point’. A ball (dance) + an abbreviation for point = ‘ready’

13a    Artist wants a line of LSD? (8)
{MONETARY} A French impressionist painter + A (railway) line = ‘of LSD’ (pounds, shillings and pence)

15a    Very dark part of 16… (4)
{INKY} ‘Very dark’ = ‘part of’ + the abbreviation for the answer to 16 down

17a    …in very desirable part of IOW (4)
{RYDE} A town on the Isle of Wight is hidden in veRY DEsirable

19a    Ointment container’s shape (8)
{VASELINE} An ointment consisting of petroleum jelly = a container for cut flowers + shape

20a    Setter failed another examination (6)
{RETEST} An anagram (failed) of SETTER = a second examination

21a    Offer a ship as second home (8)
{ASSASSIN} The verb ‘to off’ is US slang for ‘to kill’. Therefore an offer could be a killer. The wordplay gives A + ship + AS + S (second) + ‘home’

22a    Announcement of legal contract (6)
{PUCKER} A homophone of an Anglo-Indian word for ‘legal’ = ‘to contract’

23a    One special load set apart (8)
{ISOLATED} I (one) + an anagram (special) of LOAD SET = ‘apart’

24a    Stone barriers, oddly dirty, used to be split by lines (3,5)
{DRY WALLS} Stone barriers (more usually known as *** stone *****), often found in upland areas, = the odd letters of DiRtY + ‘used to be’ round LL (lines)

25a    Old Vic? (6)
{MATURE} The surname of Victor (1913-1999), an American stage, film and television actor, is a word that means ‘old’


2d    Odd parts of tunnel removed, so one breaks free (8)
{UNLOOSEN} The even letters of tUnNeL + an anagram (breaks) of SO ONE = ‘to free’

3d    After a couple of drinks, fancy a game? (3,5)
{GIN RUMMY} Two alcoholic drinks (spirits) + ‘Fancy!’ = a card game

4d    Winter weather to deal with in a wild part of Wales (9)
{SNOWDONIA} Winter weather + ‘to deal with’ + an anagram (wild) of IN A = a mountainous part of Wales

5d    Summer speciality? A pathetic summer trip? (4,11)
{PURE MATHEMATICS} A field of study involving summing (adding up) is an anagram (trip) of A PATHETIC SUMMER

6d    Sensitivity and resistance finally easing in back passage (7)
{ALLERGY} A sensitivity to a substance that is normally harmless = R (resistance) G (last letter of easing) in a passage running behind buildings

7d    Attention seeker grabs something prized — active control (8)
{HEGEMONY} An interjection used to attract attention goes round a precious stone (something prized) + ‘active’ to give a form of imperial dominance

8d    After bible class, urgent scramble to stand up (4,4)
{RING TRUE} The lesson at school where you learn about the bible + an anagram (scramble) of URGENT = ‘to stand up’

14d    Downpour imminent but no closer? Put stuff outside (9)
{RAINSTORM} A downpour = imminent (2,5) with the last letter removed inside ‘to stuff’

15d    Independent carelessly printed in bold (8)
{INTREPID} I (Independent) + an anagram (carelessly) of PRINTED = ‘bold’

16d    New food in central Derby location (8)
{KENTUCKY} N (New) = food goes inside ‘central’ to give the location of a horse race (a Derby)

17d    Warbler crossword ultimately fills leisure time with cunning (8)
{REDSTART} A bird = D (last letter of crossword) inside leisure time + cunning

18d    I don’t think about what could kill bully (8)
{DOMINEER} A person who believes in action rather than contemplation goes round an explosive device to give ‘to bully’

19d    Plastic bags beginning to rustle under church organs (7)
{VISCERA} A bit of plastic with purchasing power goes round CE (church) and R (first letter of rustle) gives organs located within the chest and the abdomen

It was a nice challenge and I enjoyed sorting out some of the wordplay

22 comments on “Toughie 757

  1. Some lovely smooth surfaces and inventive wordplay. I liked the humour of the surface in 6d. The long anagram was a good way in to flood the grid with some letters. Couple of points though. Doesn’t the instruction in 5a tell us to that ‘influence’ goes into ‘a’? Also (er…so I have heard) LSD does not come in the form of a line, rather it is consumed orally as a tab.

      1. I think it works ok if you take assumed to mean seized (as in ‘the army assumed power’).

  2. An enjoyable challenge! Plenty of smiles along the way. Favourite clue, 13a.
    Thanks to Anax/Elkamere, and to Bufo for the review.

  3. Really enjoyable stuff with a couple of real d’oh moments. I spent a long time wondering how what 21a had to be could be an offer until the penny dropped with an enormous thump. Favourite clues: 21a, 25a and 16d. Thanks to Elkamere and Bufo.

  4. Superb thank you Elkamere. I would say 2* time for a Toughie for me (which isn’t the same as 2* for the back page) but definitely 5* fun. D’oh of the day has to be the ‘offer’ in 21a but I have lots of dots by other clues I liked including 22a, 25a and 16d. Thanks to Bufo too.

  5. I was waiting impatiently for the published solution to check my answers. Thought that for the first time ever I’d got a toughie before publication of the hints and solution. Alas, I duffed the 18 down clue. Thanks for all your hard work. Pride goes before a fall!

    1. No fall, mumsie. As a matter of course I buy a copy of the paper to keep on file and also check for errors – 18d was the only clue where I had to go into my original crossword file to check the answer.

      Many thanks for the review Bufo and to all for your comments. Will try to check in again later but got a bit of a nightmare day to sort out… S&B in Todmorden approaches fast!

  6. It’s not every day that I can get to grips with the Toughie, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I needed the hints to explain the ‘why’ for some of my answers – 21a for example, so thanks for your help. 3 and 4d and 19a also made me smile.

  7. Super stuff from todays setter, oodles of well crafted clues of which my favourites were 12a 19d 22a and 25a many thanks to Elkamere and to Bufo for the review.

  8. I’ve finally managed almost all of this one apart from a couple in the top right corner. I needed the hints to explain LOTS of others, and needed to read some of the hints several times before I finally understood, but I’ve really enjoyed the battle! My favourites include 1, 13, 21 (now that I understand it) and 22a and 3, 6 and 8d. With thanks to Elkamere and Bufo.
    Need to go and lie face down on the sofa now ….

  9. Thanks to Elkamere & to Bufo for the review & excellent hints. Managed about 50% again, mostly on the left hand side, found the right hand side very difficult. Can’t really comment about the crossword, as I could onlyscratch the surface. favourites were 13a, 15a, 16d.

  10. Thanks to Elkamere aka Anax (?). Completely defeated by the NE corner – but my Seiko friend helped me out!

    Very much liked “Plastic” in 19d. Also, it’s somehow very reassuring that you cannot solve your own clues – 18d – Comment #5.

  11. Heaps of fun, 21a D’oh moment of the day. Loved the surface of 6d and 19d. Thanks to Elkamere / Anax and Bufo

  12. Excellent fun – I managed to look at this and solve on the day for once!. Like gazza I was scratching my head on OFFER as a definitino for a while then coughed my tea up. Likewise PUCKER was a very good Penny Drop Moment and a very smooth surface. Thanks Elkamere and to Bufo – glad you stalled in the NE corener the same as me!

  13. Hi all
    As I hoped, managed to get a break to bob in again – once again, thanks for all your kind comments. Wish I could take credit for OFFER but, as I wrote the clue, it seemed vaguely familiar and, indeed, it turns out our friend Boaz got there quite some time before me. I have to thank him for planting the idea in my memory for future dredge-uppery.

        1. Yeah! – I dunno why I wrote that!. Cats playing with dangling balls of wool are known to be ‘spagging’ round these parts and that’s about it!

    1. Interestingly Chambers says that dredge up (they haven’t got uppery yet, that will be in the next edition) is ‘is to recall something (best) forgotten’. Not the case with this clue as this particular ‘offer’ had pennies dropping all over the country.

  14. Well, I liked this one! More accessable for me than some Elkamere puzzles and a lot of fun. Never come across offer as a killer so I must have missed the Boaz puzzle discussed above – or lost my memory (probably the latter).
    A breath of fresh air after yesterday’s effort!

    Thanks to Elkamere and Bufo.

Comments are closed.