Toughie 883 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 883

Toughie No 883 by Excalibur

Yoda strikes back!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment *

I’m sure that there are solvers who will like this puzzle, I am not one 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.


1a    Our national drink (4,6)
{HOME WATERS} – a cryptic definition of the seas around our country – not in Chambers or the ODE, but I did find it in the online version of Collins

6a    Anglers play it on a line; others play a line on it (4)
{BASS} – a double definition – a fish and a musical instrument

9a    Turning right round one gives voice (5)
{TENOR} – reverse (turning) R(igh)T around ONE

10a    Males, I agree, when drunk can be animals (9)
{MENAGERIE} – some males followed by an anagram (when drunk) OF I AGREE

12a    Jockeys are given these  handicaps (7)
{SADDLES} – a double definition – what jockeys sit on and a verb meaning handicaps

13a    Saw backing group (5)
{NONET} – reverse (backing) a type of saw

15a    Put out a shade about being rudely awakened (7)
{ROUSTED} – a verb meaning to put out with a shade or colour, Yoda style, around the outside

17a    Intend to support and love, when taken to quarters (7)
{PROPOSE} – a support followed by O (love) and two compass points (quarters)

19a    What Eddystone did in gale, damaged by sea (7)
{GLEAMED} – a dreadful description of what a lighthouse did comes from an anagram (damaged) of GALE followed by a short name for a European sea

21a    Poppycock! Vehicle should be taken back — get another! (7)
{TRACTOR} – a word meaning poppycock and a farm vehicle all reversed (should be taken back) give a different farm vehicle

22a    Half a month required by lecturer’s book (5)
{NOVEL} – the first half of the name of a month followed by L(ecturer)

24a    Give impression of being single. Having wife, conceal it (7)
{IMITATE} – I (single) and a wife or partner around (conceal) IT

27a    Ill-considered article about corporal punishment (9)
{THRASHING} – Yoda’s way of putting an article or object around an adjective meaning ill-considered

28a    Best time of one’s life is brief (5)
{PRIME} – A double definition – the second one being a verb meaning to brief or inform

29a    Record that’s number one’s by Cher — ‘Missing Her’ (4)
{DISC} – The Roman numeral for 500 followed by I (one), the S from ‘S and C(her) without (missing) her

30a    Strain to reform man that’s harsh (10)
{ASTRINGENT} – an anagram (to reform) of STRAIN followed by a man


1d    Bowlers perhaps taken off to acclaim (4)
{HATS} –items of clothing are defined by example of cryptically

2d    Not having clue, misspelled ‘diminutive‘ (9)
{MINUSCULE} – a word meaning not having, or more accurately having been deprived of, followed by an anagram (misspelled) of CLUE

3d    Being withered, remove the inside and live (5)
{WIRED} – WI(the)RED without (remove) THE from the clue

4d    Little Mary got cut, having tripped (7)
{TUMBLED} – thanks to a largely forgotten play by JM Barrie, Little Mary is a euphemism for the stomach – just add a verb meaning got cut

5d    Contacts and broaches subject of dismissing head (5,2)
{RINGS UP} – drop the initial B (dismissing head) from a phrasal verb meaning broaches the subject of

7d    Adept in a new form of protection for the home front (5)
{APRON} – an adept or expert between the A from the clue and N(ew) gives a form of protection for the front of someone doing the cooking

8d    The star is twinkling outside little love (10)
{SWEETHEART} – an anagram (twinkling) of THE STAR around an adjective meaning little

11d    Try refitting an old vessel (7)
{GONDOLA} – a try or attempt followed by an anagram (refitting) of AN OLD

14d    Spoke about Italy — drink flowed (10)
{ORIGINATED} – a verb meaning spoke around the IVR code for Italy and an alcoholic drink

16d    Buildings, these sites grey with age (7)
{TEMPLES} – these religious buildings are cryptically defined

18d    Theirs got tangled in one, climbing (2,3,4)
{ON THE RISE} – an anagram (got tangled) of THEIRS inside ONE

20d    Upset, I notice misinformation in part of the media (7)
{DAILIES} – reverse the I from the clue and a two-letter word for a notice the add some misinformation

21d    Start by giving time to manipulating fraud (7)
{TRIGGER} – T(ime) followed by a person who fraudulently manipulates something

23d    To have and to hold, to love and to conjugate? (5)
{VERBS} – four definitions by example of these parts of speech

25d    Almost exhausted, found beside a tree (5)
{ASPEN} – most of a word meaning exhausted preceded by (found beside) the A from the clue

26d    Not eaten, went off (4)
{LEFT} – a double definition

Thanks to the person, who shall remain nameless, who sent me this link, knowing how much I would enjoy it.  Could it possibly have been inspired by this blog?

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18 comments on “Toughie 883

  1. I agree that it was more difficult than enjoyable. I took a long time to get started. I am surprised that ‘home waters’ isn’t in more dictionaries as I remember the term from naval novels/books.

  2. Agree with BD and Liverpool Mike, definitely 4* difficulty but not very enjoyable, thanks to Excalibur and to BD.

  3. I agree with the earlier comments. 4* difficulty for me; I struggled with 1a, and failed to parse the first three letters of 4d.
    I considered HURDLES for 12a, but fortunately did not put it in. I am sorry to say I could not find much that I liked, but plenty that I did not like, especially 29a. Thanks to Excalibur, and to BD.

  4. Typical Tuesday fare on offer today favourites 7d and 14d thanks to Excalibur and to Big Dave for the Little Mary explanation.

  5. At least Mrs S can use the reverse side of my print out for one of her interminable Christmas lists.

  6. Really enjoyed this one. Reminiscent of Rufus in style but kicked up some notches in difficulty

    1. I’m surprised that you thought this to be similar to a Rufus puzzle. Was there anything in particular about it that gave you that feeling?

  7. I enjoyed this one, all the more so for having completed it unaided. Thanks for the explanations, which I used to check 15a. I should have remembered it as a word used by my late father-in-law.

  8. Very surprised by the BD 4* difficulty rating!

    Toughies I cannot normally do, but today, no problems. Thanks to Excalibur!

    Not at all surprised by the BD enjoyment rating of 1* – I don’t think he likes her puzzles!

  9. 4d was easy. My mother-in-law’s name was Mary and how she loathed the expression when my father-in-law used it!

  10. We had 4d in correctly but even with cogitating on it all night had failed to parse the first three letters. Thanks for the explanation. In our book this one would score a ****/*** as we found it both challenging and satisfying.
    Thanks Excalibur and BD.

  11. Thanks to Excalibur & to Big Dave. Read the blog earlier, so managed to get 1a, wouldn’t have done otherwise. Managed to solve 12 clues, amazing as It’s 4* difficulty! Brain siezed up, now looking at the hints.

  12. After first pass thought it was going to be relatively simple ……..I was wrong but got there in the end after much contemplation .


  13. I have just done myself an injustice, I managed 13 answers first time round. Just finished looking at the hints. Not sure if I enjoyed it, but it was certainly difficult :-)

  14. I loved it !!!!. Not weighed down with anagrams, no long convoluted clues, no obscure answers, and plenty of “Doh!” moments.

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