Toughie 1340 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1340

Toughie No 1340 by proXimal

Going backwards

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Not as tricky as we have come to expect on a Friday, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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    Coffee houses inferior to European shop that’s cleaner (11)
LAUNDERETTE: A type of coffee, served at an exorbitant price in places like Starbucks, around a preposition meaning inferior to and E(uropean) gives a shop where customers pay to wash clothes

9a    Clothing initially tight, actress wanting large (7)
TWINSET: the initial letter of T[ight] followed by the surname of an actress after deleting (wanting) the L(arge)

10a    Former suggestion to take alcohol confines good bridge players (6)
BYGONE: the three-letter abbreviation which is a suggestion to take alcohol, perhaps to a party, around (confines) G(ood) and followed by a couple of the usual bridge players

12a    Food from Australia one brought back after unpleasant job finished early (7)
CHORIZO: a two-letter slang word for Australia and I (one) are reversed (brought back) after an unpleasant job without its final letter (finished early)

13a    Desire to eat whipped cream? (7)
WHITISH: put a desire around (to eat) a verb meaning whipped or beat to get a description of cream as a colour

14a    Rat messing with this animal home might make dog alert (5)
LODGE: the answer and RAT are a compound anagram (might make) of DOG ALERT

15a    Old campaigner supplies cash, saving a southern revolutionary Frenchman (9)
KITCHENER: some supplies followed by C[AS]H without (saving) A and S(outhern) and the reversal (revolutionary) of a common French forename

17a    Party in essence fuelling drinker’s spree? (9)
BARTENDER: the inner (essence) letters of p[ART]y inside (fuelling) a drinker’s spree gives someone who fuels / serves the drinks for said spree

20a    Refill vessel that’s turned over (3-2)
TOP-UP: the reversal (that’s turned) of a cooking vessel followed by an adjective meaning over

22a    Starchy crop fool put in wine (7)
CASSAVA: a three-letter fool inside a Spanish sparkling wine

24a    Wealthy people no longer on power trips (3,4)
NEW POOR: an anagram (trips) of ON POWER

25a    Around university, see you making recordings (6)
AUDIOS: U(niversity) with a Spanish farewell (see you) around the outside

26a    River banks in Cork and Linz eroded by ducks over a century (7)
ORINOCO: drop (eroded) the outer letters (banks) from two words in the clue then add O and O (ducks) around the Roman numeral for a hundred (century)

You can’t get too much of Enya!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

27a    Exceptional player originally made bloomer on piano (11)
GRANDMASTER: the initial letter (originally) of M[ade] and a flower (bloomer) preceded by a type of piano


2d    A factor for marketing product with diamonds shows future promise (7)
AUSPICE: the A from the clue followed by the three-letter abbreviation for a factor for marketing a product and a colloquial word for diamonds

3d    Part of goal went well, made some business contacts (9)
NETWORKED: the part of a goal that many strikers want to burst followed by a word meaning went well

4d    Half-heartedly waver to lift part of the body (5)
ELBOW: start with a verb meaning to waver in which the middle two letters (heart) are the same, drop one of them (half-heartedly) and then reverse (to lift in a down clue) what remains

5d    Tongue‘s no good in chutney that’s dispensed with starter (7)
ENGLISH: The abbreviation for N(o) G(ood) inside some chutney with its initial letter (starter) dropped (dispensed with)

6d    Uneasiness after former girlfriend’s moved out of annexe (7)
TENSION: drop (moved out) EX (former girlfriend) from the start of an annexe

7d    Swimmer the French caught in three seconds (11)
STICKLEBACK: the French definite article inside three different interpretations of second – an abbreviation, a short period of time and a verb meaning to second or support

8d    Nothing in dirty sinks stored in vessel (6)
SILOED: start with an adjective meaning dirty and drop (sinks) the O (nothing) a couple of places

11d    Neither compiler nor solver could be murderer (5,6)
THIRD PERSON: Cain (murderer of Abel) is this, coming, as he does, after Adam and Eve

16d    Oppressive temperature year upon year around Ohio (9)
TYRANNOUS: T(emperature) followed by Y(ea)R the the Latin for year, the latter around O(hio) – before you ask, Chambers gives both O and OH as abbreviations for Ohio (as if it needs to be abbreviated!)

18d    One who delivers letters in secure jar before king (7)
RESCUER: an anagram (jar) of the letters in SECURE followed by the Latin abbreviation for R(ex) (king)

19d    Joy about having switched over current account previously (7)
ELATION: a two-letter word meaning about preceded by (previously) the reversal (switched over in a down clue) of the symbol for electric current and an account or story

20d    Bird I trapped in net chewed cable (7)
TOWLINE: a nocturnal bird and I inside an anagram (chewed) of NET

21d    Satellite‘s lead going round house, well set up (6)
PHOBOS: the chemical symbol for lead around HO(use) followed by the reversal (set up in a down clue) of a two-letter word meaning well

23d    Article on group from south Indian state (5)
ASSAM: the indefinite article followed by the reversal (from the south in a down clue) of a verb meaning to group or congregate

My favourite tea is grown here

I counted no less than seven clues that included reversals of one kind or another.

22 comments on “Toughie 1340

  1. I found this one very tough and not very enjoyable, favourites were 7d and 11d, thanks to proximal and to Big Dave for the review.

  2. Me too with the very tough and by the time I visited it for the 3rd time more than a little grump-inducing. 7d was my favourite. Thanks to proximal and BD.

  3. This has not been my day. Struggled with the (nearly) back pager and made very heavy weather of this puzzle from proXimal. 7d was also my favourite clue – well constructed imho. Thanks to proXimal for the puzzle and BD for explaining some of the parsing.

  4. Enjoyed this so thanks to proximal & BD as per. Only one quibble – I’m not a great fan of clues structured like 14a – too clever by half & was almost my final solve.

    The post has just arrived & as it’s Friday that means my copy of The Week magazine with one of the best puzzles available is waiting to be solved – probably on Sunday following the first 3 games in the Six Nations & the contents of my beer fridge!

  5. Yes, it was a slog and I needed some hints. Gave up with about 6 unsolved. Even having solved clues, without hints but with inspired guesses, i needed the wordplay explained. It really wasn’t much fun at all. Well done Big Dave!

  6. Sorry, BD, but I feel compelled to point out that it was Cain who slew his younger brother Abel (and God put the mark of Cain on him for it).

  7. Too tough for me, I needed a lot of the hints to get there. In the hint for 11d, surely Abel was the victim, not the murderer. Thanks to setter and to Big Dave for the very necessary hints.

  8. What a nightmare that was.
    Had to resort to the hints quite a lot and had to reveal a few answers.
    For 22a is had Hassock first but it’s a good thing there are only two 5 letters Indian States.
    Didn’t get the fish but it’s a rather good clue.
    Had the second half of 11d too but couldn’t find the top.
    Well, the list is endless.
    Thanks to ProXimal and to BD for the very helpful review.

    1. You probably didn’t go out with a stick and a hook on the end of a pece of string to catch sticklebacks when you were a kid (in the River Mole at Leatherhead in my case).

      1. No but that sounds like fun.
        I used a stick to prod hidden octopus and catch them with my hands. The tentacles wrap around your arm and it takes you forever to free yourself.

      2. We used to catch then in nets in Tang Hall beck in Heworth & keep them in jam jars but not for very long I’m afraid…

      3. When No1 son was quite small, he used to get the names of a particular toy and the fish muddled up, so much so that the fish are still referred to as ‘sticklebricks’ in our house.

  9. Having lost all self esteem with back pager, I was poorly prepared for this and lost terribly. Way behind in my crossword schedule today. I resorted to looking at the hints, in hindsight I’m not sure how many I would have solved with persistence, but maybe just a down day. All lovely clues. I thought 17a was very nice, a very clever clue for a word that does come up occasionally .

    Many thanks proximal for the elegant torture and big dave for ending the misery. Another day tomorrow. Now to look at the times before I have too many beers.

  10. To borrow Bobby Jones’ famous quote, “Mr Proximal is playing a game with which I am not familiar.”
    I’ll get my coat…

  11. I thought it was excellent. Favourite clues, amongst lots, were 10a [loved “suggestion to take alcohol”] 17a, 7d [3 seconds] 8d [ dirty sinks] and 18d.

    Thanks to proXimal and to BD, in particular for explaining 15a.

  12. A slow solve to be sure, with several “put it away until later” intervals, but I’m feeling so pleased with myself because 8D was the only one left incomplete. I did need the review to properly parse 10A and also 14A ( I know nothing about the game of Bridge). 7D and 11D were my favorites, with 17A close behind. Many thanks to proximal and to BD.

  13. We found this one really tough and it even took overnight cogitation to sort out the last three which were 8d, 14a and 25a. However we did get them before getting out of bed this morning and turning on the computer. Having the definition in the middle of the clue in 14a had us rejecting the correct answer from our reasoning for quite some time. A lot of really clever clues and certainly satisfying to get a completion, but we did find it a bit of a slog.
    Thanks ProXimal and BD.

  14. After doing so well at the toughies this week this one brought me back to earth. I am with those that found this significantly harder than BD – I failed on two – both of which troubled others above. Oddly the “3 seconds” one was my first one – just lucky to jot down all the crosswordland words for “second” I could remember in the right order plus “le la and les” on the side. It jumped out at me. Luckily I fished for them as a kid too. A very nice clue though

    I think I will shortly take a quick look at the back pager blog. I found the Giovanni offering harder than his average back pager – and not too much easier than his toughie yesterday – so according to my formula Deep Threat will have graded it 2*!

  15. Yes, this was really slow-going, but there were quite a few ingenious and amusing clues, of which I particularly liked 9a, 10a, 25a, 5d, 6d and 20d. Tough enough, even for a Friday. Thanks ProXimal !

  16. Having fought this one on and off since yesterday morning, had to admit defeat with very few answers in place (about 8!). Came to the blog for enlightenment and the day got a whole lot better – lots of other folk found it v. hard work + I got to listen to Enya again!

    Very fairly clued, although I doubt I would ever have got the parsing for 14a and thought the ‘murderer’ aspect of 11d was a bit of a stretch. As usual, the abbreviations passed me by – USP and ‘I’ for electric current. Why we chose to opt for a French word for the latter is beyond me! Also, I haven’t heard of 8d used as a verb.

    Many thanks to proXimal for the mental torture – I’ve learnt a couple of new indicators – and to BD for showing me what I should have done – all to the soothing strains of Enya.

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