Toughie 921 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 921

Toughie No 921 by Elkamere

Exit the King!

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

An excellent Toughie from Elkamere, although a little on the easy side for the Friday slot

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    Paid to sell brick swimming pool (6,9)
{POCKET BILLIARDS} – an anagram (swimming) of PAID TO SELL BRICK gives a North American type of the game pool

9a    Sweat, as runner struggling to secure victory (9)
{SKIVVYING} – a long narrow runner which enables the wearer to slide across snow followed by a verb meaning struggling or contending around V(ictory}

10a    Running short? (5)
{ADMIN} – a shortened form of a word meaning running or management

11a    Perhaps Norman church abandons collections (5)
{BATES} – we had Norman Wisdom only yesterday, but this time it is the fictional character from Psycho – drop the CH(urch) from some collections or accumulations

12a    Dare to bathe mole, little boy (9)
{DANDIPRAT} – The first name of Eagle comic’s astronaut followed by a verb meaning to bathe and a mole or traitor gives an obscure word for a little boy

13a    Actor hugs leading lady (8)
{GERMAINE} – the name of a ferret-loving American actor around (hugs) an adjective meaning leading or chief gives a lady’s name

14a    What close attention may do? (6)
{ENDEAR} – a charade of a verb meaning to close and a word meaning attention or notice – semi-&Lit, the whole clue is the definition

16a    Row of dates surrounded by fence (6)
{PADDLE} – a verb meaning to row a boat is derived by putting two D(ate)s inside (surrounded by) a fence made up of sticks

18a    Tennis player‘s blind date with runner (8)
{RUSEDSKI} – a British Canadian former tennis player comes from a charade of a blind or trick, D(ate) and the same runner used in 9 across – a pity that the wordplay elements date and runner should have been used in earlier clues

22a    Lack of warmth of seals on rocks (9)
{ALOOFNESS} – an anagram (rocks) of OF SEALS ON

23a    See that workers gather fruit (5)
{MELON} – an interjection meaning see inside some workers

24a    Stiff  neck and neck  well-oiled (5)
{TIGHT} – a triple definition

25a    Riot for union (9)
{PROFUSION} – a riot or abundance comes from a three-letter word meaning for followed by a union or merger

26a    Queen? She is protecting unfamiliar dog from fireworks (9,6)
{CATHERINE WHEELS} – an animal whose females are known as queens followed by the female possessive pronoun which can be used as a noun and the IS from the clue around a word meaning unfamiliar and a verb meaning to dog or follow – thanks to Gazza for unravelling that one


1d    Recalled gossip after office received letters (7)
{POSTBAG} – reverse a verb meaning to gossip after an office or position

2d    Animal, one proclaims, keeps dry (7)
{CRITTER} – a person employed to make public proclamations around (keeps) the two-letter abbreviation for dry or free of alcohol

3d & 4d    The King checked out fast, huh? Tell disbelieving fan (5,3,4,3,8)
{ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING] – a well-known phrase meaning that the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was no longer inside – an anagram (fan) of FAST HUH TELL DISBELIEVING

4d    See 3 down

5d    Achilles, or his heel? (6)
{LEGEND} – a new twist on an old chestnut – split as (3,3) this could describe the heel

6d    One against opening a latrine nervously opening it (7,8)
{ITALIAN VERMOUTH} – I (one) followed by a single-letter abbreviation for against inside (opening) an anagram (nervously) of A LATRINE and finally an opening – the definition means it, as in gin & it

7d    Shame about the walrus (7)
{REMORSE} – a two-letter word meaning about followed by a name for a walrus

8d    Politician, new in constituency, given endless work (7)
{SENATOR} – N(ew) inside another word for a parliamentary constituency followed by wORk without its outer letters (endless)

15d    United chasing ball, thus badly beaten (8)
{OUTSHONE} – a three-letter word meaning united precede by that letter that is shaped like a ball (I still think this is a dreadful construct, this two-dimensional letter is not a three-dimensional ball) and an anagram (badly) of THUS

16d    Most unlikely to block shot that’s soft (7)
{PLASTIC} – a word meaning most unlikely inside (to block) a shot or photo

17d    Small bones should desiccate in this? (7)
{DROUGHT} – an abbreviation (small) of a bones or medic followed by a word meaning should

19d    Sailor’s fury, being cross (7)
{SALTIRE} – an old word for a sailor followed by fury or rage

20d    Committing crime? Initially sent down for life (7)
{INNINGS} – start with a verb meaning committing a crime or moral offence and send the initial letter down to the end

21d    Old city shop with integral pub (6)
{DELPHI} – a shop which sells high quality prepared foods around (with integral) the abbreviation for a pub

Elgar next Friday? Wait and see!

12 comments on “Toughie 921

  1. I was quite glad it was on the easier side for an Elkamere as I usually struggle to finish one of his puzzles without on and off cogitation and perservation and I was short of time as my friend was taking me out for an ‘airing’.

    Thanks to Elkamere for a nice Toughie and BD for the explanations.

    Might be Elgar next week you say…. please could someone mention his next Toughie to him tomorrow afternoon and see how much of a wicked glint in the eye it produces? Forewarned is forearmed :D

  2. I enjoyed this one very much today. 3.5*/5* for me. Last one in was 12a (the wordplay led me to the answer which I confirmed in Chambers).
    Many thanks to Elkamere, and to BD for the review.

  3. I didn’t find this particularly easy at all but I did enjoy it thoroughly, many thanks to BD and Elkamere.

  4. Although I often use this site for hints, this the first time I have posted on here. I found this puzzle today quite hard, but enjoyed it. The second clue I found was 26a, but couldn’t work out why! I got the new bit, but thought heel was as in cad, or dog! Thanks for making it clear.

  5. Absolutely loved it from start to finish, favourites were 5d 11a 18a and 20d thanks to Elkamere for the entertainment and Big Dave for the review.

  6. Certainly did not find this easy and would not like to go public on the time spent on12a and 6d nor the logic in arriving at the correct answer for 26a !
    Very enjoyable though .
    Thanks very much particularly for the clarification .

  7. Another great Elkamere/Anax.
    Game of two halves for me. The whole lower half before any upper half.
    So many moments to amuse but the old chestnut of 5(d) wins.
    Thanks to BD for the explanation of 26(a).

  8. Found this one really tough and even had to resort to electronic assistance (onelook) for the last three in after struggling for much of the afternoon, so concede that we were beaten, just. Reckon that the tennis player was rather obscure. Certainly we had never heard of him. Failed to fully parse 26a but had the answer OK.
    Thanks Elkamere and BD.

  9. I’ll admit I found this utterly impossible, my only success being the anagram that is 22a. Even with hints I found the answers obscure. I just was not on the same wavelength. Thank Heavens I finished yesterday’s Toughie or I’d be completly downcast!

  10. I thought that this crossword was excellent.

    Probably more 4* than 3* for difficulty, I’d have said, but 5* for entertainment for sure.

    I enjoyed every minute of solving it; although there were rather more minutes than there ought to have been, that was due to dullness on my part rather than to any deficiency of the puzzle.

    Great stuff!

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