Toughie 909 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 909

Toughie No 909 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This pleasant, but not too difficult, puzzle from Elkamere ends a week of pretty easy Toughies. My only problem was a blind spot in resolving the wordplay for 4 across.

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.


4a    Posh — initially confused by intuitive style (8)
{CUTGLASS} – swap the initial letters (initially confused) of synonyms for intuitive ad style – thanks to gazza for the wordplay, I was nowhere near

8a    Neglect it after cross is in place (6)
{LAXITY} – neglect as a noun is derived from IT preceded by the letter shaped like a cross inside a verb meaning to place

9a    New Avengers weapon (5,3)
{NERVE GAS} – an anagram (new) of AVENGERS

10a    Puzzle — what fills K-W? Good luck! (8)
{MAZELTOV} – a puzzle like the one at Hampton Court followed by the range of letters between, but not including, K-W

11a    Used to be — albeit oddly — pungent Japanese stuff (6)
{WASABI} – a verb meaning used to be followed by the odd letters of AlBeIt

12a    Interpreter has to continue to entertain academic (8)
{DRAGOMAN} – a phrasal verb meaning to continue around the abbreviation for an academic degree

13a    Find out about exceptional light source (8)
{INFRARED} – an anagram (out) of FIND around an adjective meaning exceptional

16a    Failure appeared to embody small part of football team (8)
{SHUTDOWN} – a verb meaning appeared around (to embody) the abbreviated (small) form of the part of the name of a football club that can follow Manchester, Newcastle or West Ham

19a    Hard to get prisoner outside a prison (4-4)
{CAST-IRON} – a three-letter word for a prisoner around the A from the clue and a slang word for prison

21a    Ornate steel rims very elegant (6)
{SVELTE} – an anagram (ornate) of STEEL around (rims) V(ery)

23a    Attack lover, describing love jerk rejected (4,4)
{FALL UPON} – a lover of, say, a football team around (describing) the reversal rejected () of O (love) and noun or verb meaning jerk

24a    Plant pot with metal flaps (8)
{PALMETTO} – an anagram (flaps) of POT with METAL

25a    Rabbit seizing dog’s weakness (6)
{DOTAGE} – a female rabbit around the kind of dog worn as identification by a soldier

26a    Low, extremely rural and open countryside (8)
{MOORLAND} – when you see low in a clue it can, as here, mean the sound made by a cow; add the outer letters (extremely) of RuraL then finally AND from the clue


1d    Gruesome camera shot features burglar’s head (7)
{MACABRE} – an anagram (shot) of CAMERA around (features) the initial letter (head) of Burglar

2d    Separating from masked man? (9)
{DIVERGENT} – split as (5,4) this could be a man who wears a mask in order to explore under the sea

3d    Having emptied supply, originate order (6)
{SYSTEM} – SupplY without its inner letters (emptied) followed by a verb meaning to originate

4d    Bog standard fare? (11,4)
{CONVENIENCE FOOD} – grub from a toilet!

5d    Shed‘s worth? (5,3)
{THROW OFF} – a verb meaning to shed could describe an anagram of WORTH

6d    Northern city is pioneer in broadcasting (5)
{LEEDS} – sounds like (in broadcasting) a verb meaning pioneers

7d    Drag empty barrel — pity about that (7)
{SHAMBLE} – a verb meaning to drag or walk with an awkward, unsteady gait is derived from BarreL without its inner letters (empty) with a word meaning pity around it (about that)

14d    It turned to desert in some distant past (9)
{ANTIQUITY} – reverse (turned) IT, follow it with a verb meaning to desert and insert the lot inside a three-letter word meaning some

15d    Ball carried by trained bats, rats etc (8)
{RODENTIA} – the letter shaped like a ball (how I detest that construct ,balls are three-dimensional) inside (carried by) an anagram (bats) of TRAINED

17d    Try getting house across road with a grand (4,1,2)
{HAVE A GO} – HO(use) around (across) a tree-lined road, the A from the clue and a G(rand)

18d    Bishop takes over violent town (7)
{BOROUGH} – the chess notation for a Bishop followed by O(ver) and an adjective meaning violent

20d    Strokes cap one has thus placed on head (6)
{SOLIDI} – two or more of these // (strokes) are derived from a cap on a tin and I (one) preceded by (has … placed on head in a down clue) a two-letter word meaning thus

22d    Forest dweller catches bird in both hands (5)
{LEMUR} – a flightless Australian bird between both hands or sides

It’s now four weeks since we had an Elgar puzzle on a Friday. Let’s hope his return is imminent.

24 comments on “Toughie 909

  1. Perhaps it’s just me still not being quite back to normal but I really could not do this! Did the NE and SW corners and a couple of other clues and then just ground to a halt! Obviously on completely the wrong wavelength :sad: Oh well, there’s always next week!

    1. You’re a better man than I, Gunga Din. I got vertigo just watching the report on the BBC!

  2. In my very humble opinion this has been the easiest week of toughies I have ever come across and this one was no exception, the saving grace however has been the enjoyment, I have been kept amused all week by a succession of eminently do-able crosswords, great fun! Thanks to Elkamere and to our illustrious leader for capping off this great week.

  3. No real problems with this one, although I also could not parse 4a.
    Thanks to Elkamere, and to BD.

  4. Really enjoyed this one, favourites were 2d 16a 20d and 25a thanks to Elkamere and to Big Dave for the comments. Dave 5d needs slight adjustment to the answer.

  5. I was defeated by a few but got further with this than any of the few Friday Toughies that I’ve dared to look at.
    I’ve never heard of 12a. Couldn’t do 13a mainly because I had ‘out’ for the second word of 5d. I got the answer for 4a but, even after reading the hint several times, I still don’t understand. Sorry to be dim!!
    I enjoyed this.
    Favourite clues were 9 and 10a (which I only got thanks to a very good Jewish friend) and 4d.
    With thanks to Elkamere and BD.

  6. We found this one very difficult and it took us a long time to eventually knock it off. SE corner was the real bug bear. We also had (like Kath) ‘out’ as the second word for 5d which also fits the clue perfectly but made 13a impossible for a while.
    Thanks Elkamere and BD.

  7. Kath – I don’t understand 4a either – perhaps some kind soul can help us….? Sorry about the duplication above – it won’t let me delete it and I spelt “soul” wrong. How embarrassing (can never spell that either!)

    1. Who cares about the duplication? Pity about the only/fish in the first version but embarrassing looks pretty good to me! :smile:
      Finally understand 4a (look at the reply from Only fools) but would never have worked that out for myself.

  8. Parked in the SE corner almost long enough to get clamped! But just avoided and actually really enjoyed most of the clues .
    Thanks yet again.

  9. Enjoyed this crossword a great deal, on a day when joy was seriously lacking.

    Didn’t like “by” in 4a at all, though, and Leeds is “northern” only in England. Really liked 8a, though.

  10. This went in after a time tonight with the SE corener falling last. 4a was wasted on me as the checkers gave me the answer. 5d was a terror as I had OUT as the last word which queered the pitch fo rthe remainder. Lots of fun and grumbles. Thanks Elkamere and BD for the review. ****/**** for me please!

    1. The meaning has probably changed over the years, but Chambers gives “the weakness and childishness of old age”. It derives from the Old Dutch doten to be silly.

  11. Excuse my ignorance but surely cut glass is two words… Both my dictionary and Internet searches show as two words. I just feel a bit miffed cos I couldn’t get it. Needed lots of help from your blog for the others too. So glad you are there.

    1. As a noun (i.e. a type of glass) it is two words but as an adjective Chambers has it as a single word meaning (of an accent) upper-class or refined.

Comments are closed.