Toughie 761 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 761

Toughie No 761 by Excalibur

Utter tripe? by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A fellow blogger (not BD) sent me an email describing this puzzle as “utter tripe”. I wouldn’t quite go that far. I agree that technically it’s not very good but I found it a pleasant enough solve. Maybe it’s because I’m partial to tripe that I’m being generous and awarding it 3* (rather than 2*) for enjoyment. I have now blogged 9 Excalibur puzzles and have given 7 of them 3* for enjoyment. Other bloggers have blogged a total of about 35 Excalibur puzzles and have never awarded more than 2* for enjoyment. What do other people think of them?

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.


5a    Startles, sadly, and upsets gentleman entering (6)
{ALARMS} ‘Startles’ = an interjection meaning ‘sadly!’ round a reversal of a man’s title

8a    View as potential customer (8)
{PROSPECT} 2 meanings: view/potential customer

9a    Arrive dishevelled around lunchtime in holiday venue (7)
{RIVIERA} An anagram (dishevelled) of ARRIVE goes round I (1 pm being lunchtime!) to give a warm coastal district (originally on the Mediterranean)

10a    Verbal put-down that’s spot-on (5)
{RIGHT} A homophone (verbal) of ‘put down (on paper)’ = ‘spot-on’

11a    How quickly a boozer answers it in the affirmative? (4,1,4)
{LIKE A SHOT} An expression meaning ‘quickly’ or ‘instantly’ could be a question asking a boozer whether they fancy a dram

13a    Verse representing day George packed up and left (8)
{DOGGEREL} Bad verse = D (day) + an anagram (packed up) of GEORGE + L (left)

14a    Scratch that’s sore (6)
{TENDER} 2 meanings. I could see that the answer means ‘sore’ but I couldn’t see how it means ‘scratch’. I assume it must come from the slang meaning of ‘scratch’ given in Chambers as ‘cash, ready money’ with tender also being cash (as in legal tender). Has anyone got an alternative reading?

17a    Little terror insinuated song was rejected (3)
{IMP} A little terror = ‘insinuated’ (7) with a German song removed

19a    King’s concerned with the unknown (3)
{REX} ‘King’ = ‘concerned with’ + X (unknown)

20a    Seduce with phoney penitence, getting prison release (6)
{ENTICE} ‘Seduce’ = an anagram (phoney) of ITENCE which is penitence with pen (prison) removed

23a    Go to pieces and rub out the answers entered? (8)
{DISSOLVE} ‘To go to pieces’ could also be a fanciful word for ‘rub out all the answers entered?’

26a    Satin wrap one’s crazy about (it’s how it feels) (9)
{SENSATION} An anagram (wrap?) of SATIN inside an anagram (crazy) of ONE’S gives a feeling

28a    Stopped short of a century, which made things better (5)
{EASED} Remove C (a hundred) from a word meaning ‘stopped’ to give ‘made things better’

29a    Imagined myself trapped inside: horror! (7)
{DREAMED} ‘Imagined’ = ME (myself) inside horror

30a    Find a number is itself divided by five again (8)
{DISCOVER} ‘To find’ = a Roman numeral + IS + another Roman numeral which is one fifth of the first Roman numeral + again

31a    Jumps light approaching back street (6)
{STARTS} ‘Jumps’ = a light in the night sky + a reversal of ST (street)


1d    With water left, was frugal (6)
{SPARED} Water (a mineral spring) + left (communist) = ‘was frugal’

2d    From way back, emblem’s included prancing nag (4-3)
{LONG AGO} ‘From way back’ = an organisation’s emblem round an anagram (prancing) of NAG

3d    Indifferent, as a father, to the affliction (9)
{APATHETIC} ‘Indifferent’ = A + father + THE + an affliction

4d    Solidified dripping (6)
{ICICLE} A cryptic definition for something formed when dripping water solidifies

5d    Before I may join group inside for a drink (8)
{ANISETTE} ‘Before’ goes round I and group to give a cordial or liqueur prepared from aromatic seeds

6d    Wrong girl, for a start (5)
{AMISS} ‘Wrong’ = girl preceded by A

7d    Besides offering a greater surplus (8)
{MOREOVER} ‘Besides’ = ‘greater’ + ‘surplus’

12d    I’m going to… to get sick! (3)
{ILL} A shortened form of ‘I will’ = ‘sick’

15d    Life when sixteen’s hectic and not half nice! (9)
{EXISTENCE} ‘Life’ = an anagram (hectic) of SIXTEEN + the last two letters of nice

16d    Screen moved into it surreptitiously (2,6)
{IN SCERET} An anagram (moved) of SCREEN inside IT = ‘surreptitiously’

18d    Cooked set meals for vegetarian (8)
{MEATLESS} An anagram (cooked) of SET MEALS = vegetarian (as an adjective)

21d    Puffball giving bother? (3)
{ADO} Puff (publicity) + O (ball) = bother

22d    Eel swimming round us I figure will be hard to catch (7)
{ELUSIVE} An anagram (swimming) of EEL round US + I + a Roman numeral = ‘hard to catch’

24d    Implant’s not extracted yet, rumour has it (6)
{INSTIL} ‘To implant’ is a homophone (rumour has it) of ‘not extracted yet’

25d    Stand about nude, ruffled at first (6)
{ENDURE} ‘To stand’ = ‘about’ preceded by an anagram (ruffled) of NUDE

27d    Step, when there’s a to-do, outside (5)
{STAIR} A step = A inside a to-do

Here’s hoping for something better next Thursday

14 comments on “Toughie 761

  1. Thanks Bufo. I would have awarded this 1* difficulty (haven’t done a Toughie in less time than today’s up to now) and probably 2 – 3 for entertainment as I ended up disappointed that I hadn’t had a challenge but not cross and grumpy either.. I even quite liked 23a.

  2. I also thought this was only 1* difficulty and 2* entertainment in fact I didn’t even rate this a Toughie, thanks to Excalibur for trying and to Bufo for the comments.

  3. Thought this was easier than today’s back page cryptic,so agree with the other solvers on difficulty,thanks for the blog Buffo which explained 23a and 30a.was sure i was right but could’nt quite put all the bits together!

  4. Just got to do this one and it was was OK I guess. I’d have gone for **/**
    My take on 14a was the same as yours Bufo. Perhaps it’s a Midlands term as I’m very familiar with scratch = cash after living 20 years near Stafford.
    Thanks to Excalibur and Bufo.

    Now for Araucaria – I may be some time . . . :grin:

  5. As a mere toughie beginner I quite enjoyed this. I finished it without needing any hints which always boosts the confidence – I think I’ve only ever managed without help once before. I thought there were some clever clues – 11a (that one made me laugh) and 23a and 3, 4, 7 and 24d. With thanks to Excalibur and Bufo.

  6. I needed something to make me smile today and some of the clues here succeeded. I particularly liked 23a, 8a and 10a. Thanks to Excalibur for bringing some joy to a grim day and to Bufo for the review.

  7. Got to the crosswords late today but finished them both (back page and toughie ) in very quick time ( for me ), however, I enjoyed this quite a lot, thanks to Excalibur and to Bufo, I agree with your ratings.

  8. Snob:A person who believes that their tastes in a particular area are superior to those of other people

  9. I found this reasonably straightforward and fun in parts. 23 raised a smile and 30 is quite clever. Needed Bufo’s hint for 21 and 4 was the last in because I couldn’t get the surface picture out of my mind – a big white basin full of lovely beef dripping with that brown goo at the bottom – probably a banned substance these days. A good clue then!

    Thanks to Excalibur and Bufo.

  10. Why “utter tripe”? Or is it a cryptic comment? Excalibur always seems to receive a bad press in these parts.

    I enjoyed it! Particularly liked 11a & 23a! Thanks to Excalibur!

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