Toughie 1376 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1376

Toughie No 1376 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Toro

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

BD Rating - Difficulty ** - Enjoyment ****

A quality puzzle (needless to say) that I could happily have given five stars for enjoyment if it had come up on my usual (Tuesday) watch. But Friday Toughie thrill-seekers will have been let down by the lack of difficulty.

Definitions are underlined. 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 Left cutting remark in a personal manner (11)
COMPORTMENT Left in nautical language inside (cutting) a remark or observation.

10a Engine temperature in low revs initially (5)
MOTOR T(emperature) inside a verb meaning to low (like a cow), plus R(evs).

11a Hair growth over parting is bound to itch (9)
MOUSTACHE O(ver) inside (parting) a synonym for is bound to, then a verb meaning to itch or yearn.

12a Get going with power supply from boot (4-5)
KICK START A cryptic, or perhaps double, definition. To get (something) going by giving it a blow of the foot.

13a Something kinky? Well, no (5)
CROOK A curved object is also Aussie slang for ill.


14a Old name for Christmas (source missing) (6)
NOWELL If split (2,4), the solution looks like it refers to a lack of a water source.

16a Feud keeps death in check -- I'm grateful (8)
VENDETTA Death or demise inside a verb meaning to check or screen, then a short word for thank you.

18a Rather daft about one housed in project (4,1,3)
JUST A BIT Reversal (about) of a word for daft or barmy, then the Roman numeral one, all contained in a verb meaning to project or protrude.

20a Quarrel is gutting for mediators (6)
FRACAS Remove the inner letter (gutting) from FOR and add the acronym for a mediation service.

23a 'Heading for Colditz', Nazi musical (5)
CHESS C(olditz) plus a prominent Nazi who committed suicide in Spandau prison in 1987.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

24a Vessel negotiating river, a sailing boat (9)
CATAMARAN A vessel or container goes round (negotiating) an English river and A from the clue.

26a Passing staff repelled tormentor -- double or quits (9)
ENACTMENT ...the passage of a bill into law. Reverse (repelled) a staff or stick and add T(or)MENT(or), deleting both instances of OR (double or quits).

27a As it's wrong, there's nothing in crime (5)
SINCE A wrong or transgression, then C(rim)E minus the inner letters (nothing in).

28a Unlikely -- a diocese that has lodges in Florida city (11)
TALLAHASSEE Unlikely or cock-and-bull, then HAS from the clue goes in-between (lodges in) A from the clue and a word for diocese.


2d See out of copilot's false eye (5)
OPTIC Anagram (false) of COPILOT after dropping a word meaning see or behold (as an imperative).

3d In the shade a year, then solar winds (7)
PARASOL The abbreviation for 'a year' (meaning per year or yearly), then an anagram (winds) of SOLAR.


4d Butter's always good for chef (6)
RAMSAY An animal that butts, with apostrophe, then Scots for always.

5d Working method no longer restricts Canadian police (8)
MOUNTIES An abbreviation meaning working method plus a word meaning frees from bondage or no longer restricts.

6d Spotted, but spared assassination? (7)
NOTICED Split (3,4), the solution could be read as not killed (in American English slang).

7d Second pair of cards hidden in formal piece of attire (7,6)
SMOKING JACKET A second or jiffy, then two picture cards, all inside a word meaning formal or prescribed.

8d Crossing over street, upset about a word puzzle (8)
ACROSTIC Approximately or about, reversed (upset) and going round (crossing) O(ver) ST(reet).

9d Tourist in outer space? (4,9)
DECK PASSENGER Cryptic definition of someone travelling by sea without cabin accommodation.

15d Methodist with no other retreat (8)
WESLEYAN W(ith), then reverse (retreat) archaic no plus a word for other or different.

17d She wrote about torture after university in America (8)
MITCHELL Abbreviation meaning about or approximately, then torture or torment in a colloquial sense, all preceded by a top US university. (There are several female writers with this name, not to mention the brilliant singer-songwriter. Can anyone see which of them is meant here and why?)

19d After bottling Asti, new / old wine-growing region (7)
ALSATIA After or in the style of goes round (bottling) an anagram (new) of ASTI.


21d Sun god seems to freak out pharaoh (7)
RAMESES The Egyptian sun god plus an anagram (to freak out) of SEEMS.

22d A result of running repair (6)
STITCH A pain experienced by runners is also a verb meaning to darn or mend.

25d Blow a fuse installing new oven (5)
RANGE To blow a fuse or be furious around (installing) N(ew).

17d screams semi-&lit, but if so I can't identify the reference.

Over to you - please rate and comment on this puzzle below.

26 comments on “Toughie 1376

  1. Very gentle for a Friday but really enjoyable, favourites were 17d 26a and 28a thanks to Elkamere and to Toro for the comments.

  2. Despite being defeated by 13A and the first word of 9D, I thought this was terrific. I couldn’t parse 20A; I don’t know what the acronym stands for. Several instances of bung it in then work it out. 28A was ‘capital’. Loved 1A, 16A and 6D in particular. Thanks Elkamere and Toro.

        1. You had no chance with that one. I wanted to thank you for your travel tips a couple of weeks ago. We went to Luray Caverns at your suggestion and really enjoyed it! I’d love to have explored the Shenandoah area more and done the Skyline Drive, but we had to get north.

  3. Not too difficult … but beautifully and succinctly clued!

    Favourite: 26a ( the double or quits one.)

  4. It seems that lately, setters want us to travel. And there are 282 cities in Florida.
    Went on to Louisville, which was nice.
    And it was also nice to see Gordon the ever so polite chef.
    Mind you Rudolph is probably no better.
    It was a pleasure to solve and my favourite is 5d.
    Thanks to Elkamere and to Bufo for the great review.

  5. Although Elkamere is not everyone’s cup of tea, I do enjoy having a tussle with him. Today’s offering wasn’t too difficult but was immensely pleasing to solve. Like Toro I can’t see the particular writer (although I’m pretty certain it isn’t Joni) eluded to in 17d. I’ll try a bit of Googling.

    Far too many good clues to try and isolate any one in particular, but if pushed I would probably go for 26a.

    Thanks to Elkamere for the puzzle and Toro for the review. Have a splendid weekend everyone.

    1. Margaret Mitchell, I thought. She wrote Gone with the Wind about the American civil war.

      1. She has to be one candidate, but there is (or was) also a British writer of detective fiction called Gladys Mitchell. I was looking for someone who wrote about torture in some connection, to give the clue an all-in-one favour. Perhaps it’s just not meant that way.

        1. I was also thinking of Gladys Mitchell, but can’t find anything that points to torture. Mind you, some people consider listening to Joni Mitchell as torture. However, I don’t think that and though she’s pretty poorly I don’t think she’s dead. Maybe Elkamere will drop in and enlighten us.

          Btw – forgot to say that today’s toughie 8d answer is the same as 18d in the (nearly) back pager. I prefer the toughie clue.

  6. Disappointed of East Kent …. it is a rare day when the planets align and a quiet time at work links up with an Elkamere Friday Toughie so I was really pleased to see his name at the top of the puzzle, only to find that it was one of the easiest toughies ever 1* toughie difficulty which reflects in the award of 3* for entertainment. Thanks to E & T.

    1. I have been meaning to try a toughie some time and if this is one of the easiest ever, this shall be the one I attempt! I will steal the copy from workplace reception on the way home and tackle it on the commute.

      1. That wasn’t too bad – I had to look at the hint for 26 a but other than that all parsed with a moderate amount of head-scratching. 22d was my favourite.

  7. In hull waiting to board the ferry. Great puzzle, I was happy to have completed and parsed fully, then toro says it lacked difficulty. Well I did manage it more quickly than dons back pager, bit found it thoroughly enjoyable with plenty of aha moments. Loved the nazi and the simple blow a fuse. Happy I could remember the Methodist from the university with same name and the old spelling for Alsace. Many thanks elkamere, quality stuff, and thanks toro

  8. Did a lot of this with inspired guesses, electronic word searches and giggles at the answers I got. The wordplay definitely defeated me at times. I mean, just look at 28a! I especially liked 9d. I was so sure at first it was something galactic. In the end I finished it without the help of Toro which, because it is Friday, surprised me.

  9. We are surprised that everyone found this so easy. Although it is certainly not the toughest Toughie we have met, it took us well into toughie solving time. Like Expat Chris we needed a bit of BRB research to find the ACAS part of 20a, but we were looking in the right place. The last one for us to parse was 26a. A combination of a nicely disguised definition and clever wordplay we thought. Very satisfying and great fun.
    Thanks Elkamere and Toro.

  10. I use the same time rules for Toughies as l do with back-pagers. I made this 3*/3* (the same as DT 27772). I think 28a gets my vote as top clue, but I was tempted by 14a – even if only because it might be an omen of a good game for the Exeter Chiefs player of that name against Northampton Saints on Sunday! Thanks to Elkamere, and of course Toro.

    1. I’m with you SD, having lived in the West Country for a long time it’s great to see the Chiefs in with a super chance to be in the play offs. Either way, I already have my tickets for the final at Twickenham. Just can’t afford to have a pint as well. 6 quid a go? …… you’re having a laugh Twickenham

  11. I think this was easy by both Friday expectations and normal Elkamere standards but I dont see it as 1* or 2* difficulty. For my taste the DT produces too many toughies that are not toughies and when a softie appears in the toughie slot the usual blog grading is 2* for difficulty (1 or no star ratings are exceedingly rare unless my memory fails me). Usually these easier tasks arise on Tuesdays (in particular), Wednesdays (definitely not this week though!) or occasionally Thursdays; Fridays cater for those wanting a bit of a challenge. I would say today’s puzzle was a 3* toughie puzzle for difficulty and pretty enjoyable but also a disappointment as i personally would have preferred a more typical Elkamere puzzle on a Friday. I would probably have praised it if it was a Tuesday and Elkamere had used another name.Management of expectations is important

  12. Had to use a couple of hints to finish the SW corner, but found this one very enjoyable.
    Too many potential favourites to list (about 8 or 9!) and so glad I gave it a go.

    Many thanks to Elkamere and to Toro for pointing the way through the ‘foggy’ bits.

  13. First read through this I nearly chucked it in as it was quite late last night before I got a chance to look at it and mind was a complete blank . However with use of a few hints I started to get a bit more hopeful and things gradually fell into place. Definitely at least a ***\** for me …..not easy at all!, I liked 11a. Thanks for the hints……couldn’t have finished without them!

Comments are closed.