Toughie 863 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 863

Toughie No 863 by Kcit

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going

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

I approached this Kcit puzzle expecting it to be a doddle, but was soon brought down to earth. Not as difficult as the puzzles usually reserved for Fridays, but a worthy contender.

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.


9a    Antique instrument: one old woman recalled it (5)
{AMATI] – A (one) and a two-letter word for old woman or mother followed by IT reversed (recalled)

10a    Hard to interrupt Allen in a funny film (5,4)
{ANNIE HALL} – H(ard) inside (to interrupt) an anagram (funny) of ALLEN IN A – the film was written and directed by and starred Woody Allen

11a    There’s energy in the less important songs as well (7)
{BESIDES} – E(nergy) inside the less important songs on the reverse of pop singles

12a    Good man is shifting money — a key skill (7)
{PIANISM} – a two-letter word for good followed by MAN IS with the M(oney) shifted to the end

13a    Cracked line running through image (5)
{SPLIT} – L(ine) inside an image which is an exact replica

14a    Vigour shown by no salesman backing current meat product (9)
{PEPPERONI} – a three-letter word for vigour followed by NO and a short word for a salesman, all reversed (backing), and finally the symbol for electric current

16a    Military man’s exploit brought in cost in work for doctors (7,8)
{GENERAL PRACTICE} – a senior military man followed by a three-letter word for an exploit inside a cost

19a    Turned back to be in Paris after end of October (unexpected date) (9)
{RETREATED} – the French (in Paris) for to be preceded by (after) the final letter (end) of OctobeR and followed by an anagram (unexpected) of DATE

21a    City administrative district being trimmed (5)
{PARIS} – a local administrative district without its final letter (being trimmed) – you don’t have to look far for this city!

23a    Transport to London put off after fall? On the contrary (2-5)
{UP-TRAIN} – not an anagram (off) of PUT after a fall or shower, but the other way around (on the contrary)

25a    Animal‘s mistake about island and river (7)
{GIRAFFE} – a mistake around I(sland) and R(iver)

27a    European ensnaring one tragic heroine, showing gentility (9)
{POLITESSE} – a European around (ensnaring) both I (one) and Thomas Hardy’s tragic heroine

28a    Kipling character observed in lake repeatedly? (5)
{AKELA} – hidden inside lAKE LAke


1d    Meat, but no cake around American barbecue (4)
{LAMB} – remove C AKE from the outside of an American seafood barbecue

2d    Girl first up, claiming female title (6)
{DAMSEL} – a word meaning first reversed (up) around (claiming) a title accorded to a female, whether married or not

3d    Confusion surrounding mistake about appointment to view city flat? (4-1-5)
{PIED-A-TERRE} – a printer’s word for confusedly mixed type around a mistake itself around an appointment – you might call this a Matryoshka doll clue!

4d    Turn down drink after a bit of dancing (4,2)
{PASS UP} – a small mouthful of drink after a step in ballet

5d    Stop one making contribution to press leaf (8)
{ENDPAPER} – a verb meaning to stop followed by something used by a printing press

6d    Program under test 50% improved? That’s little advanced (4)
{BETA} – the first half of aan adjective meaning improved followed by the abbreviation for (little) A(dvanced)

7d    Japanese food? I try a koi, cooked (8)
{YAKITORI} – this Japanese dish of boneless chicken pieces, grilled on skewers and basted with a thick, sweet sauce is an anagram (cooked) of I TRY A KOI

8d    Current point linked with dreadful films — insubstantiality (10)
{FLIMSINESS} – the symbol for electric current (making a speedy return visit!) and a point or headland after (linked with) an anagram (dreadful) of FILMS

13d    University charity event kept up in depressions? Sweet things! (5-5)
{SUGAR LUMPS} – U(niversity) and the reversal (kept up) of a (University) charity event inside some depressions or downturns

15d    Police ultimately unhappy about lively activity round traffic control feature (6,4)
{ESCAPE ROAD} – the final letter (ultimately) of PolicE and an adjective meaning unhappy around lively activity and a round letter

17d    A short ‘No‘? (3,2,3)
{NOT AT ALL} – split as (3,1,4) this could mean a short, but it actually means no

18d    Erotic feeling about number one string player (8)
{LUTENIST} – an erotic feeling around a cardinal number and I (one)

20d    Change of direction? BBC chief suppresses curious expression (6)
{DOGLEG} – a change of direction that will be familiar to most golfers comes from the two-letter abbreviation for the head of the BBC around (suppresses) a curious expression or lecherous look – the enumeration is often given as (3-3), but not by Chambers

22d    Immediate response: ‘Arbiter should be above law’ (6)
{REFLEX} – a three-letter abbreviation for a football arbiter followed by the Latin for law

24d    Soldier, if spurning force, is opposing force (4)
{ANTI} – a soldier insect followed by I(F) without (spurning) F(orce)

26d    Test printing unit, importing Times article (4)
{EXAM} – a printing unit around the mathematical symbol for times or multiply and the indefinite article

Well done Kcit!

15 comments on “Toughie 863

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I completed it without too much trouble, although I could not understand how the last five letters of 12a worked (fairly obvious in hindsight!). Last one in for me was 2d.
    Many thanks to Kcit, and to BD for the explanations.
    3*/4* for me.

  2. I’m with Jezza on this one, enjoyable but not too much trouble..
    I too struggled to parse 12a. Inittially thought the last 5 letters were an anagram (shifting) of MAN IS but couldn’t work out what the “money” had to do with anything! The D’OH of the month when the penny dropped!

    3*/4* from me as well.

    Many thanks to Kcit and BD.

  3. Great toughie from Kcit which I thoroughly enjoyed, no real problems just great fun. Many thanks to Kcit and to BD for the review. 4*/5*

  4. Good start to Toughie week favourites for me were 12a 17d and 20d thanks to Kcit and to Big Dave for the comments.

  5. Very enjoyable but only 2.5* difficulty for me, my main hold up being with 12a. Thanks to Kcit and BD too.

  6. Ha……had “Flimsiness” spelt with a “Y”……that sorta slowed things up……got there though….*** from The Joe……..

  7. nicely weighted Toughie, good steady solve. Spent a while trying to make a reasonably sounding Japanese food from the anagram, thinking it should have been Toriyaki or similar. Thanks to setter and blogger

  8. Sorry to be picky, but the last letter of 14a is the (usual) symbol for electric current, not its SI unit (which is A for ampere).

  9. I found this difficult. Never heard of the film, and would have thought that 15D would have been an ‘out-of-control’ feature; e.g. Porlock Hill.

    Also, antique instrument led me along the lines of crumhorn, serpent, sackbut etc., rather than an equivalent of Stradivari.

    Needed a little help for the NE corner.

  10. I struggled with this one. Many thanks to the setter for a very tricky puzzle, and to BD for explaining those I found to difficult today.

  11. A good workout for us today. Got all bar 2d where we had “vassal’, alas. Last in was 20d despite knowing it well from the golf course.
    Thanks Kcit and BD.

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