Toughie 1365 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1365

Toughie No 1365 by Messinae


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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

A puzzle that, in common with many Tuesday Toughies, would sit happily on the back page.  Thanks to Pegasus for pointing out the Nina in columns 1 and 15 which nicely ties in with 5 Down.

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    One enthralled having got back care of painting (6)
FRESCO: to get the answer to this one it is necessary to know that the verb to enthral, as well as meaning to hold spellbound, can mean to hold in bondage or slavery – the reversal (having got back) of someone held in slavery is followed by the abbreviation of Care Of

5a    One thinks about industrial city familiarly after church (8)
CEREBRUM: one of the usual two-letter words meaning about and the familiar name of one of Britain’s industrial cities are preceded by the Church of England

9a    Use fiction in a way that’s easily picked up (10)
INFECTIOUS: an anagram (in a way) of USE FICTION

10a    Rejected change to improve writing’s flow (4)
TIDE: the reversal (rejected) of a verb meaning to change a piece of writing in order to improve it

11a    Because of lock it’s hard to break into (8)
FORTRESS: a three-letter word meaning because of followed by a lock of hair

12a    More than one stiff blow received in grammar school (6)
GONERS: these stiffs are dead people and they are derived by putting a heavy blow inside the abbreviation for Grammar School

13a    Spare money for nursing hospital (4)
THIN: a colloquial word for money around H(ospital)

15a    Poetic words used in parting on active service abroad (8)
OVERSEAS: some poetic words inside (used in parting) the abbreviation for On Active Service

18a    I had to follow international agent without fear (8)
INTREPID: The abbreviated form of I had (1’1) preceded by INT(ernational) and an agent

19a    Car that’s sound with nothing missing (4)
AUDI: a German car is derived from a word meaning sound without (missing) the O (nothing)

21a    What may get you to sleep picking up Amis’s latest book (6)
ESTHER: a colourless, transparent, volatile liquid used as an anaesthetic (what may get you to sleep) around (picking up) the final letter (latest) of [Ami]S gives an Old Testament book

23a    I once laboured with tax demand that’s excessive (8)
EXACTION: an anagram (laboured) of I ONCE with TAX

25a    Train  weaker batsmen (4)
TAIL: two definitions – a train or retinue and the weaker batsmen who usually come in towards the end of an innings

26a    Artist in Baltic country reserves opera (2,8)
LA TRAVIATA: the usual artist inside a Baltic country and followed by the volunteer reserve soldiers

ARVE Error: need id and provider

27a    One blustering clergyman gets tip off when that woman’s around (8)
HECTORER: a clergyman without (off) his initial letter (tip) inside the pronoun meaning that woman

28a    Exercise after swim around English Channel resort (6)
DIEPPE: some Physical Exercise preceded by a three-letter word for a swim around E(nglish)


2d    Section of choir on Donizetti’s musical piece (5)
RONDO: hidden (section of) inside the clue

ARVE Error: need id and provider

3d    Updates inhibiting support for raising bribe (9)
SWEETENER: a verb meaning updates or overhauls around (inhibiting) the support used for a golf ball all reversed (for raising)

4d    Shop at fault with unsatisfactory service (6)
OUTLET: an adverb meaning at fault followed by an unsatisfactory service in tennis

5d    In this case, yours truly‘s record set’s worst being scratched (9,6)
CROSSWORD SETTER: an anagram (being scratched) of RECORD SET’S WORST

6d    Quit terrible sin — greed (8)
RESIGNED: an anagram (terrible) of SIN GREED

7d    Injunction about to stick (5)
BATON: an injunction or embargo around TO

8d    Surreptitious foreign articles writing style (9)
UNDERHAND: the French indefinite article and the German definite article (foreign articles) followed by a writing style

14d    Gives swimmer greeting (9)
HANDSHAKE: a verb meaning gives or passes followed by a fish resembling the cod

16d    Violated law — is sentence halved showing bias? (9)
SLANTWISE: an anagram (violated) of LAW IS with the first half of SENT[ence]

17d    Jewel box king’s given upstart relative, in short (8)
SPARKLER: a verb meaning to box or fight followed by K(ing) and the reversal (upstart) of the abbreviation or shortened form of REL(ative)

20d    Sack a gunner involved in abuse (6)
MARAUD: this verb meaning to sack or plunder is derived by putting the A from the clue and the usual gunner inside some abuse or vilification

22d    The man will meet destiny as slave (5)
HELOT: the male pronoun followed by destiny or fate

24d    Veteran keeps religious books readily available (2,3)
ON TAP: the abbreviation for a veteran or retired person around (keeps) a set of religious books of the bible

Toro will be away for three weeks.

Toughie 1365 for the completed puzzle, showing the Nina

18 comments on “Toughie 1365

  1. I enjoyed this one, favourites were, 1a 12a and 28a, and if the Nina’s correct congratulations to Messinae and thanks to Toro for the review.

  2. No particular stand-out clues but a satisfying solve. At first I thought 5d was a bit clunky but in view of the event celebrated in the NINA it seems entirely appropriate.

    Many thanks and congratulations to Messinae and thanks to BD for the review.

  3. Just had to check the review as I wasn’t sure about two clues.
    12a as I thought the oner was the stiff blow and therefore didn’t understand my answer.
    And 20d, for which I had the wrong answer. I wrote CANARD for abuse. Can for sack, A from the clue and RD for the gunner. Is there a regiment called the RD? Not sure.
    Thanks to BD for putting me right again and to Messinae for the fun.

  4. Congatulations to Messinae – I presume we are celebrating half a century of Toughies, if so how many back page Mysterons have you provided??

  5. Lovely puzzle. Last ones in were 25a ( train weaker batsman – my lack of cricket weakness) and 20d ( sack a gunner involved In abuse) where the wordplay gave me a word I didn’t know. Nice surface.

    My favourite was the long 5d (yours truly), though I wondered why the “in this case” was necessary having not spotted the nina! Congratulations Messinae, and what a wonderful nina and central clue.

    I also liked 21a (what may get you to sleep) and 24d (veteran keeps religious books readily available)

    Thanks Messinae and big dave

  6. Bother, we had totally missed the Nina. Congratulations on a significant milestone Messinae. It all slotted together smoothly but not too speedily for us. Found it a very satisfactory puzzle to work through and enjoyed it.
    Thanks Messinae and BD.

  7. Enjoyable puzzle for the start of the week. It did have me in two minds though as it’s one of those that you feel is difficult but when finished, you wonder why. I also thought that 5d was a bit clunky until the NINA (missed it as usual) was pointed out – big penny drop moment!

    Thanks for the puzzle and congratulations to Messinae and thanks to BD for his review.

  8. Failed to get 12a. I am a bit disappointed with myself as it was not too difficult although I have never encountered the abbreviation for grammar school before and after reading the blog I remembered encountering the word for hit which I have seen before in a crossword but never in everyday life.

    Nice puzzle – not too easy, not too hard. As always I missed the nina and since I threw out my print off I cant easily take a look but I understand it is a milestone for the setter – so heartfelt congratulations and thanks for today’s puzzle. And many thanks to Big Dave for explaining 12a.

    Amazingly I had no difficulties with my usual nemesis Rufus this week. And Mr T tomorrow – if its a lot harder than last Thursday’s back-pager it could take some time

    1. No – not Mr T tomorrow. It’s always Jay on Wednesdays. I don’t think it’ll be Ray T this Thursday either – unless I’ve lost my marbles I think he was last week and he usually does alternate Thursdays. I often struggle with Rufus on Mondays too – don’t know why – just do.

  9. Maybe it was the marathon tussle with yesterday’s very challenging Rookie puzzle that left me with a scrambled brain today, but I could not get into this and needed a good number of hints. No fault of the setter’s. The blame is all mine. Thanks to BD for the much needed hints.

  10. I didn’t find it that straightforward but it was called a Toughie which is a hurdle I still have to get over.
    I failed on 10a which was just plain dim and couldn’t do 25a or 7d either but cricket . . .
    I missed the nina but congratulations to Messinae.
    I liked 1 and 5a. My favourite was 12a.
    With thanks to Messinae and to BD.

  11. Thanks to Messinae and to Big Dave for the review and hints. I found this very difficult, managed to do a bit, but needed 14 hints to finish. Brilliant Nina. Was 5*/2* for me.

  12. Had some spare time this morning, so I tackled this one. A satisfying solve, although I needed the hint for 27a, my last one in. Well done to setter and reviewer.

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