Toughie 1270 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1270


Toughie No 1270 by Excalibur

One for the bird’s … or do I mean birds?!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

A typical Excalibur puzzle to fill the Tuesday ‘Toughie’ slot.

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1a Where there’s a lot of junk advice on how to go metric (10)
SCRAPYARDS    Split 5,5 this place for storing junk could be advice on how to go metric.


6a           Regretted making left turn to enter (4)
RUED   Obvious what the solution had to be but the ‘why’ took me some time to ‘see’ –   The colour used to refer informally to communists (left) with a type of turn which results in a reversal of direction.

9a           A solicitor’s extra (5)
RIDER   A cryptic definition of an extra clause on a legal agreement.

10a         Entree these days to work (9)
ADMISSION    The abbreviation used to mean in the current era  followed by a specific task or duty (work).

12a         Be brilliant and help backward in class (7)
RADIATE  To emit light or shine –   a reversal (backward)  of some help put into  a verb meaning to assign a rank to (class).

13a         How surprising! Tailless sea birds! (5)
GEESE  An informal expression of surprise followed by SEA with its last letter missing (tailless).


15a         Acclaim and celebrate mine all round (7)
PLAUDIT     Another word for a mine is put (all round) a verb meaning to praise or celebrate.

17a         Back in the marathon, say? (7)
SPONSOR   To support someone running in a marathon for example by donating to their good cause.


19a         Can’t they stand looking after children? (7)
SITTERS    People who look after children while their parents are out sound like they might be people who can’t stand up.

21a         Will cry, but it’s insincere (7)
SHALLOW  A statement of determination (will) followed by a cry of pain.

22a         The said car parts (5)
ROLES  Parts played by an actor sound like (said) an informal way of referring to a particular marque of grand car.

24a         One doesn’t imagine cooks are at table (7)
REALIST    An anagram (cooks) of ARE followed by a table or record of something.

27a         Foreign correspondent‘s stablemate? (3,6)
PEN FRIEND   An enclosure for animals (stable) and another word for mate.

28a         Our neighbours; single and rightish (5)
IRISH  People from a neighbouring country –  I (single) the abbreviation for Right plus  ISH.

29a         Pull in at workplace (4)
EARN  The definition of pull in the sense of gain money from work.

30a         Siege that should earn dividends (10)
INVESTMENT  There is a definition of siege that means a persistent attempt to gain something so I suppose that might describe putting money into something to earn dividends.  However, a kind friend with a copy of the BRB to hand informs me that the solution can also mean a blockade (military) so now we know!


1d           One of first two letters in ‘sensitive‘ (4)
SORE   A way of saying choosing between the first two letters of sensitive produces a word meaning sensitive in the sense of causing pain.

2d           Bird that, among others, gets breadcrumbs (9)
REDBREAST   Insert an anagram (crumbs) of BREAD into a word meaning the others.

red breast

3d           Cut and spliced, say (5)
PARED   A verb meaning cut is a homophone of one meaning put together, for example as a married couple (spliced).

4d           Insistent man is superior to insect (7)
ADAMANT   A man’s name is followed by (superior to) a very small insect.

5d           Mother writes and is discouraging (7)
DAMPENS  The female parent of an animal (mother) followed by a verb meaning writes or composes.

7d           Join one and take sides (5)
UNITE  A combining form meaning consisting of only one followed by the outside letters (sides) of TakE.

8d           Not a gathering of Mensa members? (5,5)
DENSE CROWD  A thick gathering rather than a brainy one (not … Mensa members).

11d         Duck inside, a ring’s produced and she’s married (7)
SIGNORA   A Italian married lady is  obtained from an anagram (produced) of A RINGS with an O (a duck in cricket scoring) inserted.

14d         It denotes a lack of character (10)
APOSTROPHE   A cryptic definition of a small punctuation mark often misplaced in signs outside shops.


16d         Cupboard that’s never bare? (7)
DRESSER  A type of cupboard could describe  someone who puts clothes on (never bare).

18d         So real I confused it, inset, for a diamond (9)
SOLITAIRE   An anagram (confused) of SO REAL I IT.


20d         Child fed egg by member of hospital staff (7)
SURGEON  A verb meaning to encourage (egg) inserted into a male child.

21d         Snow’s outside. Go off and wrap up well (7)
SWADDLE   The outside letters of SnoW followed by a verb meaning to go off or become rotten.

23d         Craft taken for row on river (5)
LINER   A craft too big to row down a river  –  here row is a word for a series of things put ‘in a row’ which should be followed by the abbreviation for river.

25d         Fool one — and do it craftily (5)
IDIOT  The letter that looks like a one followed by an anagram (craftily) of DO IT.

26d         Try saying ‘dipsomaniac’ when drunk (4)
SHOT   A go or attempt at something (shot) sounds like the way a dipsomaniac might slur a noun meaning a habitual drunkard.

I had a discussion with Mr CS at the weekend  about how some puzzles are easier to review than others.    Today’s hints and tips have taken me somewhat longer  than Sunday’s review to draft, not helped by the fact that I only have the office Collins dictionary to refer to for definitions,  whilst  trying to convey an impression of someone typing something work related!!  Any errors to be corrected will have to wait until I get home as I must now get on with the day job.


18 comments on “Toughie 1270

  1. Not very tough but quite enjoyable, thanks to Excalibur and to CS for a terrific review.

  2. And the italian from the back page finds a mate.. funny how that happens. Also 5d I believe is the current word for the sunday times clueing contest (or close enough), so nice to see how excalibur does it.

    Last one in was 1d, took a while but nice when the penny dropped. 26d, the dipsomaniac, also took a while for the penny to drop but equally nice. Panicked after I filled in 1a as the singular and finding myself a letter short, and took me a bit to realise the plural also works.

    Favourites 13a, 24a, 27a, 14d, 16d, 25d but especially 1d and 26d.

    Many thanks Excalibur and Cryptic Sue

  3. Excalibur in sparkling form. Never a dull moment. What a delightful crossword. Favourite so hard to pick but I did love 26d

  4. For 14 Down CS wrote “A cryptic definition of a small punctuation mark often misplaced in signs outside shops.” It’s often missing from the numeration of crossword clues too!

    A delight of a Toughie. My thanks to Excalibur and C-Sue too (I just couldn’t see the “why” for 6A either!).

  5. Very clever grid once again from Excalibur . Defeated by 26d though. And 29a as well come to mention it. Favourite being 1a. I love these kind of clues. 2d also. I remember having a pen pal when I was 14 or so. He lived in Wallingford near Oxford and I never used to know what to write. The same seems to happen when it comes to this blog. So it’s good night from me and thanks to Excalibur and crypticsue for the answers.

  6. A bit more tricky than some from Excalibur with her usual range of clues from the excellent [24a, 21d] and amusing [27a, 14d] to the downright awful [9a, 8d].

    Thanks to Excalibur and Cryptic Sue.

  7. I enjoyed this.
    I needed the hints to explain 6a and 1d so thanks to CS for those.
    I liked 13, 19 and 28a and 2 and 20d. My favourite was 8d.
    With thanks to Excalibur and to CS.

  8. 1d and 9a were the last two little answers to yield. The rest all went together smoothly, taking us about twice as long as the back-pager which we think is a pretty fair balance. Much to enjoy but we would put 13a as favourite. Good fun.
    Thanks Excalibur and special thanks CS (who we know stepped up to the plate at short notice).

  9. A pleasant canter of a crossword, and l would score it at 2.5*/3* or so. I took a while to get on the right wavelength, and the 1d/9a combo held me up at the end, hence the extra 0.5. 1a was nice, but 13a was my favourite, because the word “sea” misdirected me towards birds of that persuasion (then the penny dropped with a dull clunk). Thanks to Excalibur, and to crypticsue for the review.

  10. For some reason I found it easier than the back page today, and very enjoyable. Many thanks to Excalibur and CS. (I had to use the hint for 11a having found it by accident looking on Google for a tailless seabird; serves me right for cheating.)

  11. Needed the hint to confirm 1d, and overall found this an enjoyable puzzle. Thanks CS for the hints.

  12. Sad to say, I missed out on 1D, 9A and 30A. I did like 1A, 3D,and 21D, but 13A is my favorite. thanks to Excalibur and to CS for the review.

  13. Thanks to Excalibur and to CrypticSue for the review and hints. I would agree with the difficulty, as I managed to get into it. A very enjoyable puzzle, managed it all apart from the first word of 8d&26d. Favourite was 28a, was 2*/4* for me.

  14. 24 days behind, as usual – Strange, I thought there´d be cries of TOO EASY – 1* – as I did it in xxxxx at 4 am after waking early. Dont bother with back page anymore as they are of this ilk , but often were harder than this

    1. Tut tut! We don’t mention solving times on this site.

      I wouldn’t know how easy/difficult it was as I haven’t bothered to solve an Excalibur puzzle for well over a year (and I didn’t enjoy those that I did solve). Life is too short.

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