Toughie 1130

Toughie No 1130 by Excalibur

Tipsy?   Not Us!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Greetings from the Locarno Ballroom in Carlisle.  Ginger and I are doing the Not Totally Strictly Come Dancing Tour with the lookalikes Ben Goodman, Darcey Mussels, Craig Kenwood Mixer and Bruno Ravioli.   Non-stop dancing and very little champagne makes us very grumpy.  So we decided to sit down and tackle today’s Toughie by Excalibur.  Probably just what we needed, a typical gentle Tuesday workout rather than the Friday beasts we are used to.  Nothing terribly demanding but it passed a pleasant coffee break.

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.

Across Hints by Fred

1a           Fashionable heart-throb in legal difficulties (3,3,4)
{ALL THE RAGE}  An expression meaning fashionable is found by making an  anagram (throb) of HEART inside an anagram (difficulties) of LEGAL.

6a           — zip! (4)
{DASH}   As the man used to say in TV’s  Catchphrase : “Say What You See”, and that’s what you need to do.  A word meaning zip is also the symbol shown in the clue!

9a           Run across to get dog (5)
{ROVER}  A word sum here.  The abbreviation for run + a synonym for across means a name given to many dogs.

10a         He’s mad to show prowess at the billiard table? (9)
{SCREWBALL}  The name for someone who is bonkers is the name of something that you can do at the snooker, billiard or pool table.

screw ball


12a         Family background, occupation, how long you’ve been here (7)
{LINEAGE}  A word that refers to your ancestry or family history is found by taking a word for an occupation and adding  to it a word describing how old you are.

13a         Rows and sound of crying (5)
{TIERS}   A word that means rows or lines is the same as a homophone (sound of) for crying.

15a         Say again it takes time — time I’m lacking (7)
{ITERATE}   Something that means to say something again is found by taking IT, adding a series of years (time)  and finally the word TIME minus (lacking)  IM.

17a         First thing to do is crush with shoe’s heel (4,3)
{STEP ONE}   An expression that relates to the first instruction in a list is revealed by taking a phrase that means to crush something with your foot and on the end place E, the last letter (heel) of SHOE.

19a         Bowler may have one in hand taking bat out (7)
{HATBAND}  If you are looking for cricket, then not here.  You’re looking for something on another type of bowler which is found by making an anagram of BAT (OUT) inside HAND.


21a         A coach with wife going west is exhausting (7)
{WASTAGE}   A (from the clue) and the name for a type of coach in the Wild West follows W (wife) to give something that means exhausting.

22a         Pick up and drive new car (3,2)
{RUN IN}  A phrase that relates to driving a new car is the same as one which means pick up (arrest).

24a         Riddle that could appear out of reach, nowadays is within (7)
{CHARADE}  A word that refers to a type of riddle is an anagram (out) of REACH  with the abbreviation for nowadays inside.

27a         Evidently surprised by game fish (9)
{WHISTLING}   The name of a trick-taking card game goes before a type of fish to give a sound you might make when  surprised.

28a         Proper pronunciation of ‘sojourned’ (5)
{STAID}   Something that is proper, steady, or sedate,  is a homophone of a word that means took a break at, or holidayed.

29a         Cover note enclosed was false (4)
{LIED}   A cover or top has a letter representing a musical note inside to make  a word that means ‘was false.’

30a         Dressing as priest causes speculation (10)
{INVESTMENT}  Split  2, 8, a type of speculative placing of money to make a profit, could be a description of  a vicar or priest wearing their robes.



Down Hints by Ginger

1d           Evicting French who occupy land (4)
{ACRE}  Remove (evicting)  the French  word for who from a verb meaning to occupy or gain.

2d           Hardest to equalise with champion (5,4)
{LEVEL BEST}  To try one’s hardest might sound like you were equal with the champion or winner.

3d           Bird — the female tailless one (5)
{HERON}  The female possessive pronoun followed by ONE with its final letter removed (tailless).


4d           Go over and about country (7)
{RESTATE}   The two letters used to mean ‘about’ and a synonym for country.

5d           In which you find weeds and pull up three quarters (7)
{GARDENS}   A reversal (up in a down clue)  of a verb meaning pull and three compass points (quarters).

7d           As a stopgap, it’s decorative (5)
{AGATE}   Split 1, 4, this semi-precious stone might well be something used to stop up a gap in a garden wall.


8d           Somewhat tipsy and that’s just not done (4,6)
{HALF STEWED}  An expression meaning quite drunk could also be used to refer to a partly-cooked casserole.

11d         He saw sense — almost, sense of a kind (7)
{WITNESS}  A three-letter word meaning sense, intelligence, followed by an anagram (of a kind) of almost all of the letters of SENSe.

14d         It’s tough for drug addicts. Nevertheless, pull through (10)
{WITHDRAWAL}  Insert a word meaning pull (a different one to that used in 5d) into an adverb meaning nevertheless or besides.

16d         As before, street on the other side (7)
{AGAINST}  An adverb meaning once more plus the abbreviation for street.

18d         Generally, one conceals a grave wrong (2,7)
{ON AVERAGE}   An anagram (wrong) of A GRAVE inserted into ONE from the clue.

20d         Expression for ‘Police turning into criminal’ (7)
{DICTION}   A reversal (turning) of the abbreviation for the detection arm of the police force followed by an anagram (criminal) of INTO.

21d         Fight or use craft to get right inside (7)
{WRANGLE}  A verb meaning to accomplish by craft with the single letter abbreviation for  Right inserted.

23d         Green after Channel crossing? (5)
{NAIVE}  Fred and I think that the ‘after Channel crossing’ indicates that this word, meaning green in the sense of immature or  inexperienced, is a word given to the English language by the French.

25d         For a stripper, something divested or something revealed? (5)
{ASSET}  Something sold for financial gain after a company takeover, or something a person removing their clothing might reveal!

26d         Change before putting to bed (4)
{EDIT}   Putting to bed being a printing term meaning to send to press.


Fred had all our favourites in his half of the review, Ginger particularly liked 6a.


  1. Pegasus
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    The usual gentle Tuesday offering, favourites were 8d and 14d thanks to Excalibur and the duo.

  2. marcus brown
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    A sparkling treat from Excalibur. An absolute delight to solve. Thanks very much to the setter and Fred and Ginger, tap on

  3. Kath
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I have to confess that I found this one quite tricky but very enjoyable. I’m not experienced enough to even attempt a rating for difficulty or enjoyment for a Toughie.
    It all went horribly wrong in the bottom left corner and I’m far too embarrassed to admit exactly where or how.
    I liked 6 and 30a and 5 and 8d.
    With thanks to Excalibur and Fred and Ginger. Please could someone remind me of who this duo is – I get a bit muddled up with the various twosomes.

    • andy
      Posted February 4, 2014 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Tilsit and CrypticSue

      • Kath
        Posted February 4, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        Thanks andy – that’s what I thought but then I couldn’t remember who the other twosomes are and got into even more of a pickle.

        • crypticsue
          Posted February 4, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          Tilsit and I are F&G; BD and I are Antony & Cleo and BD and Tilsit are Batman and Robin

          • Kath
            Posted February 4, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

            Thanks Sue – I will almost certainly forget and be asking again at some stage. For some reason I thought that Gnomey came into it somewhere, but I don’t know where that came from – my imagination obviously.

            • crypticsue
              Posted February 4, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

              Gnomey and I share the weekend puzzle reviews on a rota system.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted February 4, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Fred is definitely not BD … for some reason he is very much adverse to Excalibur’s puzzles!

      • Kath
        Posted February 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps not, stan.

  4. 2Kiwis
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Glad to see that we were not alone in wondering about the wordplay in 23a. The other one that gave us trouble was justifying why 1d was correct. A bit of cogitation sorted that one out. We found it quite tricky for a Tuesday and agree with Marcus Brown’s description as “sparkling”.
    Thanks Excalibur and “The Team”.

  5. Salty Dog
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Got there in the end, but I can’t say I enjoyed it much. I don’t equate “wastage” with “exhausting”, or “whistling” with “surprised”, so found some of the clues rather unsatisfying. Still, no matter.

  6. andy
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    I did wonder with 21a that wife going west meant that the (W)ife preceded the A from the clue but I’m probably wrong, no matter,. Thanks to Excalibur and the light fantastic trippers

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      That’s why the hint says that the A and the STAGE follow the W for Wife.

      • andy
        Posted February 4, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        I guess a hint on the back page, but not here, might stress that going west meant the W for wife goes to the left, as I said , “no matter”. We’re all going west on Saturday into the Storms and gales of Bristol :)

  7. halcyon
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Salty Dog in wondering how wastage means exhausted and how whistling is a sign of surprise. Can anyone explain? I’m also unsure if I’ve really ever heard 8d used to mean either slightly inebriated or undercooked. I also think 2a is perhaps the corniest clue I’ve ever seen – it’s so obvious I couldn’t believe it was really the answer. 23d is pretty dire as well.
    Enjoyed 15a and 19a!

    Thanks to Excalibur and to F&G

  8. Brendan
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Found this a bit of a mixed bag, some good clues – 17a and 14d for example, and some awful ones – 21a ‘Wastage’ and ‘Exhausting’! Really? and 8d. Nobody ever says ‘Half Stewed’. Thanks to Excalibur and to Fred and Ginger for some amusing commentary.

  9. Only fools
    Posted February 5, 2014 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    Totally agree with Halcyon ,Brendan and Salty Dog all solvable but crikey !
    Sorry but I also missed the sparkle .
    Cheers F & G and Excalibur apart from the exceptions mentioned above .

  10. Tstrummer
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    My stack of untouched toughies threw this one up today. I agree with previous commenters about Wastage and Whistling, which I only managed with the checking letters. Good to see correct usage of Iterate, though, and I smiled at 10a. Many thanks for the two-step hints – I didn’t need them for the answers, but enjoyed the explanations