Toughie 1280 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1280

Toughie No 1280 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment **

After a three-week break I was looking forward to resuming work at the Toughie gridface but it was not to be. This was yet another puzzle that totally failed to live up to its Toughie billing and I was able to complete it without breaking sweat. Even the blogging phase was easier than usual with only 26 answers to explain. I haven’t spotted a MynoT theme. Is there one? [Perhaps you didn’t have TIME to look for one! BD]

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.


5a    Ceremony before Queen not right in World Heritage Site (7)
POMPEII: ‘Ceremony’+ 4 letters that denote Queen Elizabeth the Second with the letter R (right) removed. This gives the name of an ancient Roman city

7a    Send away former wife to French island (5)
EXILE: A former wife + the French word for ‘island’

9a    Start of preparation to train horse to dive (6)
PLUNGE: The first letter of Preparation + to train a horse using a long rope

10a    Capsize open vessel (8)
OVERTURN: Open to view + a vase (especially one for the ashes of the dead)

11a    Cars have a sort of merit in start/stop devices (10)
AUTOTIMERS: Cars (especially in the US) round an anagram (sort of) of MERIT = devices that can be adjusted in advance to turn cookers on or off at a desired time

13a    Cross as marsupial died (4)
ROOD: A cross in a church = a marsupial + D (died)

14a    Delayed after big bang? (3,6,4)
NOT BEFORE TIME: The Big Bang is thought to be the origin of the universe

16a    Stagger forward — going back would be mad (4)
STUN: Read forward this word means ‘to stagger’ and read backwards it means ‘mad’

17a    The enemy seen in middle distance (10)
CENTIMETRE: Something which is said to be the enemy goes inside the middle to give a short unit of length

19a    They have independent importance and got off with alibi (8)
OBLIGATI: Musical accompaniments of independent importance are an anagram (off) of GOT ALIBI

20a    Four up and four more to play in large bedroom, that is (6)
DORMIE: A golfing term denoting that one is as many holes ahead as there are still to play = a large bedroom + the abbreviation for ‘that is’

22a    The measure for crime (5)
THEFT: THE + the abbreviation for a unit of length

23a    French and going round following the Spanish girl, 18 (7)
ELEVATE: A reversal of the French word for ‘and’ follows the Spanish word for ‘the’ and a girl’s name to give a synonym of the answer to 18 down


1d    Honour a new monarchy (4)
OMAN: The abbreviation for a strictly limited British honour + A + N (new) = an absolute monarchy in the Middle East where the Sultan exercises ultimate authority

2d    Again fix limits concerning US agent being put up in Spain (8)
REDEFINE: ‘Concerning’ + a reversal of a US agent + IN + the IVR for Spain

3d    Engineers tax break (6)
RECESS: The Royal Engineers + an old word for a tax = a break (adjournment)

4d    Season with popular ground termite (10)
WINTERTIME: W (with) + ‘popular’ + an anagram (ground) of TERMITE

5d    Asian dish made by the Italian in French town (5)
PILAU: A highly-spiced Asian rice dish = the Italian word for ‘the’ inside the name of a French town on the edge of the Pyrenees

6d    Nowise mention broadcast when recreation is due (2,4,3,4)
IN ONE’S OWN TIME: An anagram (broadcast) of NOWISE MENTION

8d    Soft bottom part of peer with honour (7)
EARLOBE: The soft bottom part of the organ of hearing = a peer + an honour

12d    Frequently of XX (10)
OFTENTIMES: OF + a number represented by X + a mathematical operation denoted by X

14d    Running in to bat it’s all or nothing (3,1,3)
NOT A BIT: An anagram (running) of IN TO BAT

15d    Convert reviled grasping old sinner (4-4)
EVIL-DOER: An anagram (convert) of REVILED round O (old)

17d    Pure tea’s initially taken with Ecstasy (6)
CHASTE: Tea + ‘S + the first letter of Taken + E (Ecstasy)

18d    Cultivate endless strawberries in France (5)
RAISE: Remove the first and last letters from the French word for strawberries

21d    Get reward from scripture teaching before meals (4)
REAP: Scripture (as a school lesson) + the abbreviated form of ante prandium (‘before a meal’ on prescriptions)

Very disappointing

16 comments on “Toughie 1280

  1. Not a toughie to my way of thinking but nevertheless I quite enjoyed it, thanks to MynoT and to Bufo.

  2. May I suggest the theme is ‘TIME’?
    Still kicking myself for not spotting 20a, having played golf for the best part of 40 years, so thanks for the hint.
    Not really all that challenging, I agree with Bufo’s assessment of this puzzle. I hope the back pager puts up more of a fight.
    I rather liked 8d.
    Thanks to Bufo for the review and MynoT for the puzzle.

  3. Quite a pleasant puzzle but hardly a Toughie. I found it easier than the back page.

    I noticed the appearance of TIME in the answers (six times I think) but couldn’t see any point to it. P’raps I’m missing something.

    Anyway, ta muchly to MynoT and Bufo.

  4. I’m worried that if people get their toughie-level satisfaction, mortals like me will be left in the cold. Agreed this wasn’t super tough, but I was able to enjoy the puzzle, though at first i was wondering why everything ended in TIME. I really struggled with the golf clue (20a) until I realised I couldn’t read my own writing and was trying to start it with a P. Still never heard of it, nor the musical term in19a. I had no idea what to make of the AP abbreviation, and settled for American Plan which is the hotel arrangement that includes all meals. I was frustrated that when I eventually got 10a (capsize open vessel), I had seen it before.

    Favourites were 8d (soft bottom) and 14d (running in to bat)

    Many thanks Bufo and welcome back, thanks MyroT for keeping this one doable.

  5. Not too difficult overall but a couple of new words for me in 19A, 20A and the last four letters of 3D. I thought “elevate” for 23A from the checking letters but I totally missed the cross reference to 18D so couldn’t justify it and didn’t put it in! Also, I didn’t know the AP abbreviation in 21D. I’m in the “I don’t get the time references’ corner. I did like 6D and 12D in particular. Thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for the review.

  6. Parsing 21d gave us quite a struggle and required over-night cogitation and a check with BRB to get the AP part of the answer. Another one for the memory banks. A pleasant enough solve for us.
    Thanks MynoT and Bufo.

  7. Those of us who have been waiting for a real Toughie to come along will be happy tomorrow. Others may not be…. it’s Elgar

      1. I do hope so…. I’ll find out in 11 hours time when I turn to the middle of the paper and start solving!

  8. We seem to be only a few who have a go at the toughie. I have to read all the clues twice before starting but once I get going I find it an interesting challenge and I need to take long breaks in between. At the moment I am running two or three days behind and wonder if it is really necessary to post comments as I don’t know if someone will read them. On my windows phone I have to go through a complicated manipulation to follow the blog or be inundated with email like our 2kiwis the other day. Anyway I wanted to thank MynoT for all the French references and to Bufo for the review. Had to reveal 20a and 21d.

    1. It is always worth commenting on a toughie (or indeed any other puzzle come to that). The blogger always gets an email when a comment is made on a post, and us nosy people like to see what other people think too.

  9. Keep on commenting! I’ve subscribed to the Toughie so I always get e-mail notifications of new comments, no matter the date of the original blog post. Since there are not dozens and dozens of comments, like there are for the cryptic, my e-mail box doesn’t fill up!

  10. 28/10/14 For domestic reasons I’m always a day or two (or maybe more) behind the times with the Toughie crossword, so I don’t write my comments. However it was pleasing to read comments 8 & 9 for no. 1280 saying that late entries are sometimes still read. Right, yes this was much easier than most and I finished it without any help – (rare). I thought there were some nice clues though. 3d & 21d introduced me to new words/abbreviations. Also I couldn’t find OBLIGATI, 19a in the BRB. All in all easy but still enjoyable for lower end solvers. Thanks to MynoT and to Bufo. Sh-Shoney.

      1. 30/10/14 So it is! I never thought of checking “double B” spelling. Thanks BD. Sh-Shoney.

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