Toughie 845 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 845

Toughie No 845 by Excalibur

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

After a slow start I made steady progress until I was left with one to do. That was 6 down and I had difficulty with it because I had convinced myself that since the answer was plural it must end in S. I enjoyed the puzzle and thought it was as good an Excalibur puzzle as I have ever blogged.

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    The flu spreading round, Asian origin, is horrible (7)
{HATEFUL} An anagram (spreading) of THE FLU round A (first letter of Asian)

8a    Help, having been poorly, to get well (7)
{BENEFIT} An anagram (poorly) of BEEN + ‘well’

10a    Start a new job — get champagne ready to pop? (4,6)
{TAKE OFFICE} When split (4,3,3) it can mean ‘get champagne ready to pop)

11a    And so on meeting, hard to make a lasting impression (4)
{ETCH} An abbreviation meaning ‘and so on’ + H (hard)

12a    An old crack in the wood (8)
{CHESTNUT} 2 meanings: an old crack (joke)/a type of wood

14a    Charges Monsieur double for admission of spouses (6)
{FEMMES} Put MM (Monsieur + Monsieur) inside ‘charges’

15a    Removing ‘Illustrated’ (11)
{WITHDRAWING} When split (4,7) it could indicate ‘illustrated’

19a    They’re red and bruise badly (6)
{RUBIES} An anagram (badly) of BRUISE

20a    Worst thing is to welcome returning twin giving acclaim (8)
{PLAUDITS} The worst thing (as in ‘it’s the ****’) goes round a reversal of ‘twin’

22a    Wrap ring to be sent back (it came from jeweller’s) (4)
{OPAL} A reversal of ‘wrap’ O (ring) gives a precious stone

23a    All, for instance, should admit needing to gain weight (10)
{EVERYTHING} The abbreviation for ‘for instance’ goes round ‘needing to gain weight’ (4,4)

25a    Cut. Sampled. Swallowed. Yummy! (7)
{TRIMMED} ‘Sampled’ goes round a 2-letter interjection denoting ‘yummy’

26a    Lumbered off seconds before (7)
{SADDLED} Off (rotten) is preceded by S (seconds)


1d    Criticise desire for flamboyance (7)
{PANACHE} ‘Criticise’ + ‘desire’

2d    You and I’ll be in the present and are in the past (4)
{WERE} When split (2’2) it means ‘you and I are’

3d    Bird, noisy, standing up in cage (6)
{PUFFIN} A seabird is formed by putting an abbreviation denoting noisy (very loud) between UP reversed and IN

4d    By virtue of high temperature, hardly any greenery (8)
{FEVERFEW} An abnormally high body temperature + ‘hardly any’ gives a perennial plant of the daisy family

5d    Resolved to discourage, send back material (10)
{DETERMINED} ‘To discourage’ + a reversal of a type of material most associated with jeans

6d    They helped those of us riding high to get where we are (7)
{AIRCREW} A cryptic definition for people who work on board an aeroplane

9d    In its present form (4,7)
{GIFT WRAPPED} Another cryptic definition. The present is one you might receive on your birthday

13d    What you should take to see a ghost? (6,4)
{SPIRIT LAMP} This is a source of illumination in which the first word means ‘ghost’

16d    Toting a gun, he had lost no time (8)
{HASTENED} A + a small lightweight submachine-gun inside an abbreviated form of ‘he had’

17d    Second drink, then another drink (7)
{SUPPORT} ‘To second’ = ‘to drink’ + a fortified wine

18d    Surprised to find animal’s home, barking, upset (7)
{STUNNED} A reversal of an animal’s home and ‘barking mad’

21d    A US city street that’s just the same (6)
{ANYWAY} A + an abbreviation for a US city + a street

24d    Animal’s outside park, reportedly (4)
{HIDE} The skin of an animal sounds like a London park

A much better puzzle than I feared I was going to get.

16 comments on “Toughie 845

  1. Not as difficult as the back pager and that was very untaxing. I enjoyed it however but not toughie material. Thanks to Excalibur and Bufo.

  2. Only 0.5* Toughie-level difficulty for me and 2.5* entertainment. Would have been ideal for a Tuesday back page puzzle.

    Thanks to Excalibur for the short lived entertainment and to Bufo for the entertaining review.

  3. I agree with Bufo on this one not very difficult but most enjoyable 6d also last in for me. Favourites were 4d 17d 23a and 25a thanks to Excalibur and to Bufo for the comments.

  4. No real problems today, although I still do not quite understand the exact order of the wordplay to 3d.
    Thanks to Excalibur, and to Bufo.

    1. For 3d I think you need to read the wordplay as: Noisy (which) reversed (standing) UP and IN contain (cage). The dubious bit, for me, is how ‘standing’ means reversed.

      1. On reflection I think that the PU is a reversal (up) of a word meaning standing, rather than just a reversal of ‘up’.

      2. Thanks gazza

        I am glad I was not the only one ‘reflecting’ about that one since yesterday! Not the best clue I’ve seen.

      1. From Collins on-line:-

        Verb (tr) to wrap or fold (around or over) ⇒ “he lapped a bandage around his wrist”

  5. Agree not really a Toughie but a bit of fun all the same.

    Not keen on 3d and favourite was 6d.

    Thanks to Excalibur and Bufo

  6. Lovely crossword. Short snappy clues, good surface readings and some chuckles. Perfect mixture.Thanks, bravo and encore, Excalibur

  7. Did this one a day later than usual. Took shorter time than the back pager. However, managed to convince ourselves (wrongly we concede) that hitches worked for 6d. Kicking ourselves now! Thanks Excalibur and Bufo.

  8. Pretty decent crossword, and probably my favourite of all of the Excalibur puzzles that I’ve tried.

    Not all that tough, but well worth doing.

  9. Had to stop on this puzzle yesterday as have developed a dreadful chest cold so finished it this morning.

    Not real toughie material!

    Faves : 10a, 26a, 13d & 18d.

  10. Oh – feeling slightly deflated now – finished this one and now all the comments say “not really Toughie material”! :sad: I enjoyed it anyway.
    I really liked 10, 15 and 25a and 4 (it’s like a weed in our garden), 9 and 13d.
    With thanks to Excalibur and Bufo.

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