Toughie 820

Toughie No 820 by Excalibur

Hints and Tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Finding out that the Toughie you have to blog is by Excalibur doesn’t generally provoke whoops of joy, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I think that in terms of difficulty it’s just about the right level for a midweek Toughie, it has no obscure words and it has a number of entertaining clues.
Let us know what you thought and please record your enjoyment factor by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Bars for teetotallers? (5,5)
{WATER MUSIC} – cryptic definition of a work by Handel, the name of which includes a non-alcoholic drink.

9a  Try withal to get score (4)
{GOAL} – a try or attempt goes with AL.

10a  What hens might do if the coop collapsed and was wrecked? (3,2,5)
{LAY IN RUINS} – double definition. A description of something that was wrecked could be what hens might carry on doing if their coop collapsed.

11a  Signs copies (6)
{TRACES} – double definition – as a noun signs or vestiges and as a verb copies something laboriously by drawing over its lines on a piece of transparent paper.

12a  Bird having scrap with another (7)
{BITTERN} – a large marshbird comes from a scrap or small amount followed by a seabird.

15a  Squeeze for more cash to make improvements (7)
{RETOUCH} – another double definition. Cryptically this could mean to solicit money (not for the first time) from someone. It also means to make minor cosmetic improvements (to a photograph, for example).

16a  Broadcast’s very good a day after, in shortened version (5)
{SOWED} – a verb meaning broadcast or disseminated comes from a conjunction meaning very good followed by an abbreviated day of the week.

17a  Act and counter-act? (4)
{DEED} – this is an act no matter which way you look at it.

18a  Substitute Army man (tenant evicted) (4)
{LIEU} – a word meaning substitute (often preceded by ‘in’) is what’s left when you take tenant away from an army officer.

19a  Through this, is banished somewhere in Australia (5)
{PERTH} – a preposition, from latin, meaning through or by means of is followed by what’s left of THIS after the ‘is’ has been banished to find somewhere down under (where they’re currently whingeing about their poor showing in the Olympic Games – doesn’t your heart bleed for them?).

21a  Man shot inside shed (7)
{GRANARY} – a man’s forename (Mr Lineker, the crisp salesman, perhaps) has a verb meaning shot or went quickly inside.

22a  Seeing blurrily, keeping nothing neat (7)
{SOIGNÉE} – an anagram (blurrily) of SEEING has O (nothing) inserted (keeping).

24a  Acquiesces about entering dates (6)
{AGREES} – a verb meaning acquiesces or concurs comes from entering a preposition meaning concerning or about into a verb meaning dates or ascertains how old something is.

27a  Forger of this document would hope to get away with it (4,6)
{EXIT PERMIT} – cryptic definition of a document which you need in order to leave some countries.

28a  Females sleep noisily (4)
{DOES} – these female animals sound like (noisily) a short sleep.

29a  I learn to get organised, to found first resistance (10)
{TOLERATION} – this is an anagram (get organised) of I LEARN TO which is preceded (found first) by TO. It means resistance to the harmful effects of a drug.

Down Clues

2d  Could be a horse race starter (4)
{ADAM} – as (1,3) this could be a horse but it’s actually, if you believe Genesis, someone who started a race.

3d  Bring out last of line that’s legitimate (6)
{ELICIT} – a verb meaning to bring out or induce comes from the last letter of (lin)E followed by an adjective meaning legitimate or lawful.

4d  ‘Two drinks coming up’ — second causes grumbles (7)
{MURMURS} – two alcoholic drinks (actually the same one twice) are reversed (coming up) and this is followed by S(econd) to make grumbles.

5d  I put in ‘Sun’ — correct answer is ‘Earth’ (4)
{SOIL} – insert I inside the latin word for the sun.

6d  Players went ahead and moved two men (7)
{CASTLED} – a charade of the players on stage and a verb meaning went ahead. The two men moved were a king and a rook.

7d  Close decision (10)
{CONCLUSION} – double definition.

8d  Spot of corporal punishment? (10)
{GLASSHOUSE} – cryptic definition of the spot where a corporal (or any other misbehaving soldier) may be banged up as a punishment.

12d  Bullet-proof vests for escorts? (10)
{BODYGUARDS} – double definition, the first a mildly cryptic description (4,6) of the function of bullet-proof vests.

13d  Father is excited by former partner’s women (3,4,3)
{THE FAIR SEX} – partner in the surface is presumably a business partner rather than a lover. The definition here is women and this is a somewhat patronising way of describing them. It’s an anagram (excited) of FATHER IS followed by a short word for a former mate.

14d  I agree, on reflection, that’s curious (5)
{NOSEY} – an affirmation (I agree) is followed by ON then it’s all reversed (reflection) to make an adjective meaning curious or inquisitive.

15d  Cracks showing, doesn’t sell (5)
{RENTS} – double definition – cracks or tears and what someone with a property that he/she doesn’t want to live in or sell may do instead.

19d  A freebie for attending (7)
{PRESENT} – and yet another double definition.

20d  He led a rebellion, with unfortunate upshot, against king (7)
{HOTSPUR} – the nickname of Sir Henry Percy is an anagram (unfortunate) of UPSHOT followed by one of the abbreviations for king. This is a nice semi-all-in-one because he did lead a rebellion against the king and the upshot was unfortunate (for him, if not the king) in that he was killed in battle.

23d  Acquire a Roller, garaged in top accommodation (6)
{GARRET} – a verb to acquire has A and the abbreviation for a Rolls-Royce inserted (garaged) to make accommodation at the top of a building. A trademark Excalibur Yoda-like construction.

25d  What’s prescribed for pain in the neck? (4)
{PILL} – double definition, the second an informal word for a tedious or tiresome person (pain in the neck).

26d  Where to swim in top with nothing underneath (4)
{LIDO} – an open-air swimming pool (probably not a good place for skinny dipping) is a top or cover with O (nothing) following (underneath, in a down clue).

The clues which I liked best were 15a, 6d, 8d and 20d. How about you?


  1. BigBoab
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Excalibur for a most enjoyable crossword, not overly difficult nor yet too easy. I liked 8d in particular. Thanks also to Gazza for the usual masterly review.

  2. phercott
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed this Toughie . Excalibur is one of my favourites and this puzzle is just as excellent as always. No switching a D for a P, odds and evens , regulars and irregulars
    or unknown words. I particularly liked 27a

  3. Pegasus
    Posted August 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Very gentle fare on offer today, favourites 1a 8d and 20d thanks to Excalibur and to Gazza for the comments.