Toughie 1088 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1088

Toughie No 1088 by Excalibur

The Eden Project, Phase I

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Bufo is having a day off so I’ve been called from the subs’ bench to blog this Excalibur Toughie. I thought it was a real mixture with some good clues (the ones I liked best being 19a, 6d and 11d), some that I didn’t like (14a and 26d) and some surface readings that didn’t make much sense (e.g. 5a and 7d). It took me longer than average to solve so I’ve given it 4* for difficulty.

Do let us know how you got on and please add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

Across Clues

1a  Couldn’t stand trial, caught in the act (8)
{DETESTED} – a trial or experiment is inserted (caught) in an act.

5a  Attacks and wears round hole (6)
{FORAYS} – a verb meaning wears (or becomes worn) goes round the letter that looks (a bit) like a hole (presumably because it’s empty).

9a  Bird furious when ringed (8)
{FLAMINGO} – furious or enraged with a ring added.

10a  Lowered. Was too bright (6)
{GLARED} – double definition. My first thought was dipped (thinking of car headlights) but that thought didn’t survive long. Lowered means looked threatening.

12a  After strike, awful situation. No electricity at night (9)
{LAMPLIGHT} – a verb to strike is followed by an alarming situation.

13a  Is forced by the hour lost to make speed (5)
{HASTE} – a verb meaning ‘is forced’ followed by T(h)E with the abbreviation for hour lost.

14a  Two will make deuce but from deuce can you make two? (4)
{ACES} – two of these side by side will make deuce in Roman numerals, and if you’re serving at deuce in tennis two consecutive ones will give you the game. This was my final answer because, even though it was obvious what it had to be, I couldn’t see for some time what the second bit of the clue meant. Even after I understood it (I hope) I still think the clue is  woolly.

16a  A mob jostling, in reaction egg’s thrown over — yellow (7)
{GAMBOGE} – this is a gum resin used as a yellow pigment. An anagram (jostling) of A MOB has EGG reversed (in reaction) around it (thrown over).

19a  Belters out of school songs? (7)
{TREBLES} – a good semi-all-in-one clue. An anagram (out) of BELTERS gives us boy singers in a school choir, perhaps.

21a  Called, regretting I was out (4)
{RUNG} – take out the I from a present participle meaning regretting.

24a  Extend central London home (5)
{WIDEN} – start with the postal district for the central (West End) area of London and add the home of a wild animal.

25a  Bolt to piece of wood, forming panel (9)
{DASHBOARD} – a charade of a verb to bolt or run and a piece of wood.

27a  Break and timeless secrets will get leaked (6)
{RECESS} – an anagram (will get leaked) of SECRE(t)S without T(ime).

28a  Nursery food? (4,4)
{BONE MEAL} – this nursery is where plants rather than young children are being nourished.

29a  Pull yourself together, sweetheart! (6)
{STEADY} – double definition – a) an instruction to pull yourself together or get a grip and b) a regular girl- or boyfriend.

30a  ‘Country in debt’? Didn’t tell us anything new (8)
{RESTATED} – a country or nation is in (the) red.

Down Clues

1d  Pass with dishonour? (6)
{DEFILE} – double definition, the first a narrow pass or gorge.

2d  With ‘Cheers’, imbibing a rum cocktail, gets shock (6)
{TRAUMA} – a short word expressing thanks (‘cheers’) contains (imbibing) an anagram (cocktail) of A RUM.

3d  Snap  ‘Quiet!’ (5)
{STILL} – double definition, the first a snap or photograph.

4d  Strangely, seen to collect joke books (7)
{ENGAGES} – an anagram (strangely) of SEEN contains a joke.

6d  Before Eve came along, Adam was  disposed to err? (4,5)
{ONLY HUMAN} – double definition. The first is what Adam was before the doubling of the population.

7d  Wearing an undergarment, is standing no rejecting (8)
{ABRASION} – the definition has the same sense as the ‘wears’ of 5a. Start with an undergarment (1,3) then reverse (standing) IS and also reverse (rejecting) NO.

8d  Distressed tot badly needs hugging (8)
{SADDENED} – a verb to tot with an anagram (badly) of NEEDS hugging it.

11d  Provoking does animate him (4)
{STAG} – cryptic definition. ‘Does’ here rhymes with toes.

15d  ‘Occupied‘ — one is out in cold! (9)
{COLONISED} – an anagram (out) of ONE IS inside COLD.

17d  Sea-going tenders? (8)
{STEWARDS} – cryptic definition. These people tend to your needs on a passenger ship – John Prescott was one at one time.

18d  Laugh over a bounder getting come-uppance in trial (8)
{HEADACHE} – a laugh (2-2) goes round (over) A and the reversal (getting come-uppance) of a bounder or rogue.

20d  Players are inconsiderate (4)
{SIDE} – split the last word as (2, 11) and read the clue again.

21d  Bring back from military depot (7)
{RESTORE} – a charade of the abbreviation for some soldiers and a depot.

22d  Indiscernible at night, off we went (6)
{LATENT} – an adverb meaning at night or at an advanced time in the day is followed by (we)NT with the ‘we’ taken off.

23d  Confused, said further coin should go in (6)
{ADDLED} – a verb meaning went on to say with the abbreviation for a pound coin inserted.

26d  Make complaint and constable latterly will bust (5)
{BLEAT} – an anagram (will bust) of the last five letters of constable.


13 comments on “Toughie 1088

  1. 3*/3* for me. 14a confused me as well for a while, especially the second part of the clue.
    Thanks to Excalibur, and to Gazza.

    Not much to do at work this afternoon.. any recommendations for the Graun?

  2. An Excalibur crossword given ****/***? Blimey?

    BD will be most annoyed! Especially for the Enjoyment rating!

  3. We certainly found this one tougher than we were expecting. Really had to work hard, especially on the bottom half, before we eventually got completion. Some pretty devious word-play in places, we thought, well worthy of its Thursday slot.
    Thanks Excalibur and Gazza.

  4. I enjoyed this. I found the top half much easier than the bottom half.
    I ended up with the top half done but very few answers below the line with 19a and 21a in it. Gave up eventually and came running for help – thank you, gazza. Still not sure about 14a but maybe I don’t need to be . . .
    I have to say that 9a was my favourite just because of the reading of the clue. I also liked 6d.
    With thanks to Excalibur and gazza.

  5. Certainly tougher than usual. I needed several hints for SW corner. 14a seems fair enough the way you explain it Gazza and 6d is clever and witty.

    Can anyone explain how “will get leaked” can indicate an anagram?

    Thanks to Excalibur and Gazza.

      1. Thanks Gazza – “disclosed” doesn’t do it for me either. I can just about get my head around “broadcast” = “leaked” but that doesn’t mean that broadcast [scattered] = leaked because leaked doesn’t = scattered. Are you with me here?

        You don’t half get up early.

        1. I’m struggling a bit but I think leak can mean broadcast or spread, as in ‘the document was leaked to all the national newspapers’.

          Perhaps it’s that you go to bed late? :D

Comments are closed.