Toughie 1248 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1248

Toughie No 1248 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I found this to be very gentle fare. I suffered no hold-ups and very little thought was needed to unravel the wordplay

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    ‘Mass plus one’ shown by American mathematician (6)
MÖBIUS: A mass (of people) + I (one) + ‘American’ = a German mathematician famous for a strip

4a    Plans revolutionary carpet in South Africa (8)
SCHEMATA: A Marxist revolutionary and a carpet inside the abbreviation for South Africa

9a    Chief sound of rattle (6)
SHEIKH: An Arab chief is a homophone of ‘to rattle’

10a    Have Paul busted for disturbance (8)
UPHEAVAL: An anagram (busted) of HAVE PAUL

11a    Unsuccessful business stupidly masks role (9)
LOSSMAKER: An anagram (stupidly) of MASKS ROLE

13a    Life of royal mistress unknown (5)
NELLY: Life (as in ‘not on your *****’) = the first name of the mistress of Charles II + an unknown

14a    Steam-roller‘s to secure a private road … (3,4,3,3)
GET ONE’S OWN WAY: This term meaning ‘To steam-roller’ can also be interpreted as ‘to secure a private road’

17a    … irrevocably, and avoid ruffling an old lady endlessly (3,4,3,3)
FOR GOOD AND ALL: ‘Avoid’ + an anagram (ruffling) of AN OLD LAD (LAD = LADY with the last letter removed)

21a    Diamonds scrape flat stone (5)
DRAKE: D(iamonds) + ‘to scrape’ = a flat stone thrown so as to skip along the surface of water

23a    One examines failing trade in area in recession (9)
MODERATOR: An anagram (failing) of TRADE inside a reversal of ‘area’

24a    While fighting — or not (8)
INACTION: When split (2,6) it means ‘fighting’. As an 8-letter word it can mean the opposite of fighting

25a    Remained / supported (6)
STAYED: 2 meanings: remained/supported with props

26a    Admission with no charge? That’s not right (5,3)
ENTRY FEE: Remove the letter R (right) from ‘admission with no charge (5,4)’ to get an admission charge

27a    Band releases broadcast (6)
FRIEZE: A decorated band along the wall of a room = a homophone (broadcast) of ‘releases’


1d    1000 different clues in force (6)
MUSCLE: The Roman numeral for 1000 + an anagram (different) of CLUES

2d    Sweetener to get improper rebates about rugs essentially (4,5)
BEET SUGAR: An anagram (improper) of REBATES round the middle two letters of rUGs

3d    Dishevelled drunk emptied container (7)
UNKEMPT: Hidden (contained) in drUNK EMPTied

5d    Floating naiad corpse richly arrayed (11)
CAPARISONED: An anagram (floating) of NAIAD CORPSE = richly arrayed (as a horse might be)

6d    Despite all that’s gone before, it’s all square as things are (4,3)
EVEN NOW: ‘All square’ + ‘as things are’

7d    Block / part of ear (5)
ANVIL: 2 meanings: an iron block used by a blacksmith/a bone in the ear

8d    Twice in the past you would support the whole ‘married’ nonsense (3,2,3)
ALL MY EYE: An old word for ‘you’ appears twice beneath the whole and M (married)

12d    Royal commode’s broken — it’s the end of the world! (7,4)
KINGDOM COME: A royal + an anagram (broken) of COMMODE

15d    Your old master embraced by Oscar in shrub (4,5)
WILD THYME: An old word for ‘your’ and M (master) inside the surname of the Irish writer Oscar

16d    Take first shot at golf ball? No — change ends to hit cricket ball (3-5)
OFF-DRIVE: Reverse the order of the words in ‘to take first shot at golf ball (5,3)’

18d    Up in the air, cross, having taken time for female in public (7)
OVERTLY: Take a word meaning ‘to go across something in an aeroplane’ and change F (female) to T (time)

19d    It inspires aged sailor to return with gold (7)
AERATOR: An apparatus that inspires (or puts air into) = An abbreviated form of the Latin word aetatis (aged) + a reversal of a sailor + gold

20d    Take offence with headgear (6)
BRIDLE: 2 meanings: to take offence/headgear for a horse

22d    Hold hard bit of sugar found in a barrel (5)
AVAST: An interjection meaning ‘hold hard!’ = S (first letter of sugar) inside A and barrel

I can’t see this puzzle generating many comments.

21 comments on “Toughie 1248

  1. Sorry MynoT but this was an extremely easy (more straightforward than a lot of backpagers) puzzle full of chestnuts and not a lot of fun.

    Thanks to Bufo for the review.

  2. Neither particularly enjoyable or difficult, not my favourite toughie I’m afraid, thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for the review.

  3. I decided to have a go at this one today despite my efforts to try to keep to only one crossword a day because I found the back pager so flat. This was not too difficult but importantly much more enjoyable so that was a good decision! My rating is 2.5*/3*.

    21a was a new meaning for me, and 5d a new word, both of which I found in the BRB. I needed the review to understand why I had the right answer for 19d as the wordplay for the first two letters eluded me.

    13a was my favourite, and now the sun has come out so I have no excuse not to cut the grass which is covered with the back pager’s 7downs!

    Many thanks to MynoT and to Bufo.

  4. Gentle fare on offer today, favourites were 8d 20d and 26a thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for the comments.

  5. Well I found this just about at my pay grade. Second toughie finished this week without help. Took a lot more of my brain cells than the backpager and I enjoyed it. Clearly other more accomplished solvers found it easy but I did not. Had to check why AE meant aged, another one for the memory bank. Thanks to MynoT and Bufo.

    1. I’m with you on this one, Werm. We solved this one without hints – clearly it was easier than many Toughies are, because we managed to finish it and within a reasonable time, rather than spend half the day solving just a couple of clues as so often is the case. I found it pretty much on a par with today’s back page puzzle. I enjoyed them both today. Thanks to Mynot and to Bufo.

  6. Fell a bit short today. I used a little e-help for 5D (new word for me) and 4A (no excuses for not getting this straight off since I use the singular in my work). Missed out completely on 19D and had grudge for 20D for no good reason. Ah, well. Tomorrow is another day. I did like 13A..I’m always happy when I recall British expressions I haven’t used in decades. I think I’m going to have to drop it into conversation now just to see people’s expressions. Thanks to MynoT and Bufo.

    P.S. I am not liking the cryptic much so far.

  7. I think I can probably just say that I agree with everything RD said, right down to needing to cut the grass – the only difference being that ours is covered with mole hills rather than the back pager’s 7d’s.
    I also liked 14a.
    Thanks to Myno T and Bufo.

    1. Mmm. Give me back pager’s 7 downs any day rather than moles, which are very sweet creatures except when they are in your lawn!

          1. Very long story – another time!! But, as you said, ouch – well, almost!! You have to believe me that they are definitely not “sweet creatures”!

  8. Finished this ages ago. My favourite is 5d – such a lovely word from an unlovely mental picture.
    I cannot however be smug, I am still struggling with the back page which just is not on my wavelength.

  9. I enjoyed this with the same experience as rabbit Dave: 21a new meaning, 5d new word, and I did not know the abbreviation ae, though this did not prevent a quick solve.

    I liked 3d – a great hidden word. In 26a I read “Admission” as the definition, well it could be, and that left me wondering if “that’s not right” referred to the clue. Lovely clue. I also liked 4a, wasted some time trying to fit an anagram of carpet (revolutionary) into SA.

    rated ***

    Many thanks MynoT and Bufo

  10. Still a bit stuck with SW corner. Don’t know much about golf or cricket. I’m sure the rules of the latter are made up as you go along. As for the stone used for ricochet, I have never heard of it. 22d a mystery as well so I am left with a few blank spaces. Thanks to myno T and bufo for the hints.

    1. I can’t find it in Chambers, but from the ODE:

      ducks and drakes
      ▶ noun [mass noun]
      * a game of throwing flat stones so that they skim along the surface of water.

      Surely we all did this in our childhood (and maybe in later years as well!).

      1. For once my trusty old “New Edition” BRB has come up trumps on this one, saying:

        drake 1: n. the male of the duck; a flat stone thrown so as to skip along the surface of the water in playing ducks and drakes

        1. It’s in my BRB 9th edition, too. I knew the game from my childhood, but I suspect it’s another one of those peculiarly English expressions.

  11. 21a was a new use of this word for us too and we were quite surprised when we found the meaning. It looked to fit the wordplay so we had a quick check in BRB. Certainly found it more straight forward than the back-pager. On balance we still spent pretty much the same time on crosswords that we like to spend each day so no complaints from us. Enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks MynoT and Bufo.

  12. Well I found it hard. I’ve never heard of the expression ‘for good and all’, although not much else fitted (except for once and all, which threw me a bit). Needed the hint for 19d. Spent far too long on this after a bright start. 2*/4*

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