Toughie 1401 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1401

Toughie No 1401 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I’m not sure what has happened to Toro, but I have added some hastily-assembled hints.

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           Slapstick version of car dispute (7-3)
CUSTARD-PIE: an anagram (version) of CAR DISPUTE – once again there is an issue with the enumeration, which both Chambers and the ODE give as (7,3)

6a           Find fault in swimmer (4)
CARP: two definitions – the second being a fish

9a           Impatient expression from Jock about money (5)
OCHRE: a Scottish (from Jock) expression of impatience followed by a two-letter word meaning about

10a         Guess odds on clue being solved initially ain’t too extreme? (9)
SPECULATE: some betting odds followed by an anagram (being solved) of CLUE and the initial letters of three words in the clue

12a         To succeed at home that woman needs a certain something (7)
INHERIT: the two-letter word meaning at home followed by that woman and “a certain something”

13a         Jaunt to Spain? Rubbish! (5)
TRIPE: a jaunt or outing followed by the IVR code for Spain

15a         Atomic variable in reserve American rocket launcher (7)
BAZOOKA: A(tomic) and a mathematical variable inside a verb meaning to reserve which is followed by A(merican)

17a         Australian marine meets difficult situation in space (7)
ARMHOLE: A(ustralian) followed by a Royal Marine and a difficult situation

19a         Figure‘s shape spilled over somewhat (7)
ELLIPSE: hidden (somewhat) and reversed (over) inside the clue

21a         Expert on Mediterranean vessel is matter-of-fact (7)
PROSAIC: an expert followed by a vessel, like a ketch, used in the Eastern Mediterranean

22a         Black book found in auction (5)
SABLE: the heraldic term for black is derived by putting B(ook) inside an auctionh

24a         Ordinary seaman’s sounding off in public (7)
ORATING: O(rdinary) followed by a seaman

27a         Most of crisis team engineered truce (9)
ARMISTICE: an anagram (engineered) of most of CRISI[S] with TEAM

28a         Island refuge for hot swindler (5)
SHARK: a Channel Island around (refuge for) H(ot)

29a         13, and nothing less than excessively quiet (4)
TOSH: this synonym for the answer to 13 across is an adverb meaning excessively without (one of) the Os (nothing) followed by an exhortation to keep quiet

30a         Loose company found in natural environment (10)
INCOHERENT: CO(mpany) inside (found in … environment) an adjective meaning natural or inborn


1d           Mixed dog food (4)
CHOW: three definitions – an adjective meaning mixed, a breed of long-haired dog with a curly tail and a colloquial word for food

2d           Veal cutlet cooked in touch of lemon zest around Switzerland (9)
SCHNITZEL: an anagram (cooked) of IN with touch of L[emon] and ZEST around the IVR code for Switzerland

3d           A letter evoking Phoenician heritage? Yes in the beginning (5)
ALEPH: the initial letters (in the beginning) of five words in the clue give the first letter of the Phoenician alphabet – used in mathematics to indicate a degree of infinity –

4d           Difficulty going from day one — sugary liquid not good (7)
DYSURIA: fortunately I was not familiar with this medical term for difficulty going to the loo, but worked it out from the anagram (liquid) of D(ay) and I (one) with SU[g]ARY, the latter without the G(ood)

5d           Passivity when husband’s absent from 12 while working area (7)
INERTIA: an anagram (while working) of the answer to 12 Across without (absent) the H(usband) and followed by A(rea)

7d           Dramatisation featuring violin (5)
AMATI: hidden (featuring) inside the clue

8d           Ceremonial priority to introduce new church (10)
PRECEDENCE: a verb meaning to introduce or come before followed by N(ew) and the Church of England

11d         Put poem in a different format. It’s more speedy (2-5)
UP-TEMPO: an anagram (in a different format) of PUT POEM

14d         Exotic trade jobs over time will produce articles of value (6,1’3)
OBJETS D’ART: an anagram (Exotic) of TRADE JOBS followed by T(ime)

16d         Fish-eaters exceptionally large victim escapes in the end (7)
OSPREYS: a two-letter abbreviation for exceptionally large followed by a victim and the final letter (in the end) of [escape]S

18d         Notice energy’s below zero on variety drink (9)
ORANGEADE: a two-letter notice and E(nergy) preceded by o (zero) and a variety or assortment

20d         Ultimately fiance appears with proposal, bringing joy perhaps (7)
EMOTION: the final letter (ultimately) of [fianc]E followed by a proposal gives the type of feeling of which joy is an example (perhaps)

21d         Identify nasty smell in fake medicine (7)
PLACEBO: a verb meaning to identify or recognize followed by a nasty smell

23d         Politician taking public transport for birthday celebration (5)
BUMPS: the usual politician inside a public transport vehicle

25d         Publication for children (5)
ISSUE: two definitions

26d         Sketch king in pose (4)
SKIT: K(ing) inside a verb meaning to pose

The usual easy but enjoyable puzzle from Warbler – why aren’t her puzzles on the back page?

25 comments on “Toughie 1401

  1. I suppose old hands would call it straightforward, I’d call it delightful.I got the better half to spell schnitzel for me , but I mispelt objets d’art all on my own . Anyway it was soon sorted.
    There were too many great clues to mention them all, perhaps 23d sneaks in ahead of the others (or maybe 30a.).
    Thanks Warbler and BD.

  2. Apart from having Ayeph for 3D, I thought this was straightforward, too. No stand-outs for me today, though. Thanks to Warbler and BD.

  3. For whatever reason I found this easier than the back page.

    However let’s talk about a couple of mistakes I made that slowed me down.

    1d..initially pencilling in ‘chum’.
    24a..initially pencilling in ‘oration’

    Those caused me some problems, particularly with 9a.

    The rest I enjoyed. What a great way to start the Toughie week, and since there’s no guarantee I’ll be able to complete any others, I’m quite happy.

    So many thanks to Warbler and to BD for emergency blogging. It’s greatly appreciated and I do hope that Toro is OK.

  4. Definitely much easier than today’s back pager but also so much more enjoyable. Learned a few new words (3, 4 & 7d ) but got them from the wordplay and confirmed by BRB. Remembered how to spell 2d correctly, so that was a help and I would venture to say that my favourite was 24a for a good piece of misdirection ( instead of the usual AB, OS & tar).

    Thanks to Warbler for the puzzle and BD for stepping into the breach.

  5. Oh dear – looks like I’m out of the mainstream again. I’m certainly very glad it wasn’t a back-pager, BD!
    Things I didn’t know include – 9a, 3,4&7d plus the vessel in 21a. Not a very auspicious start.
    I also HATE slapstick humour, which put me in quite the wrong frame of mind.
    30a could have made the favourite slot if only I could have got ‘incontinent’ to fit.

    Sorry, Warbler, I’m just not on song with this one.
    Thanks to BD for stepping in with the review and I hope all is well with Toro?

    1. Ditto. I found this very disappointing as I usually like Warbler’s puzzles.

  6. We loved this puzzle even if it took a little longer to finish than the back pager.
    ***/**** again!

    Thanks to Warbler and Big Dave. We also hope Toro is well.
    We also see that Gazza is happy about Micawber tomorrow.
    Might be too tricky for us!

  7. Typical Warbler puzzle full of lovely well worked out clues but not too difficult. My favourite was 17 which i thought was brilliant. Give me this sort of puzzle anyday rather than the convoluted stuff that sometimes appears, mainly on Friday.

  8. Loved it and I could do it so confidence restored having found the back page cryptic decidedly tricky.
    This one took a lot less time than the other one.
    I didn’t know 3d; I did know 4d; I didn’t understand my answer for 8d – not surprising really as it was wrong; I didn’t know the 21a Mediterranean vessel.
    I liked 28 and 29a and 16 and 21d.
    With thanks to Warbler and to BD for the emergency hints.

  9. I always love your puzzle feedbacks, Kath, but you’ve really excelled tonight with the comments re: 8d.

  10. I also found the back-pager a touch harder than usual for a Tuesday and most of this toughie fairly easy. It just required a vocabulary more developed than mine in a few places – so I had a few answers of which I was very unsure (tackled on a train without electronic assistance). For example I knew two meanings of the triple definition in 1d – not enough to nail it down properly. Quite pleased to have guessed correctly and rejected “curd”. Thanks to BD and Warbler

  11. I am amongst those who found it easier than the back page.
    In fact I haven’t finished it yet so no chance of me crossing to the other side before dawn.
    17a was a new word for me. It has been assimilated for further reference.
    How fabulous languages can be. “Un trou de bras”. Why didn’t we think of it first?
    It was a pleasure to solve Warbler’s offering.
    Thanks to him and to BD for the review.

  12. 3*/3*, mainly because l didn’t know the complaint at 4d, the Mediterranean ketch in 21a, or that 9a is a term for money. No particular favourite clue, though. Thanks to Warbler and BD.

  13. Thanks to Warbler and to Big Dave for the review and hints. A most enjoyable puzzle, the most accessible Toughie for a long time. Needed the hints for 17a,3&7d, all of which, I had never heard of. Also hadn’t heard of 4d,but like BD, I got from the wordplay. Favourite was 2d, was 3*/3* for me.

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