Toughie 1433

Toughie No 1433 by Excalibur

Hints and Tips by Shropshirelad

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty n/aEnjoyment n/a

First time I’ve tried this, so please bear with me. Excalibur is not everyone’s favourite setter (who is?) but today’s puzzle is quite pleasant with some good clue construction and surface readings. I will not review the 3 letter clues as they are obvious with 2 checking letters out of 3 (the grid is not my favourite). I hope that BD will publish this on my behalf, as I am sure some of the blog community would appreciate some hints – or not – as the case may be.


5a Excitement when Scamp, outside, takes on cat (6)
SPLASH: When (s)cam(p) + nautical name for a whip

8a Countdown to blast-off leaving area, not yet having got to one? (3-5)
PRE-LUNCH: Condition before imminent rocket departure minus (a)rea = before eating

9a Uncontrollable water pressure I tried failingly to contain (7)
RIPTIDE: Failingly (anagram indicator) of I TRIED, to contain (p)ressure

10a Very impressive, knocking back booze (5)
REGAL: Fosters perhaps, backwards

11a Getting rid of assets – or revealing them! (9)
STRIPPING: &lit ? Just like Erica Roe at Twickenham

13a See what’s on the other side of pastry? (8)
TURNOVER: Change channels

14a Address law that protects businesses (6)
ACCOST: Act (law) encompassing (protects) the usual term for businesses

20a Cross with one being very much 8? (6)
ELEVEN: Cross (X) + 1 = the tie to 8a (comes before 10 on a countdown|)

23a Flower I do spread out – it goes round a sunny path (8)
ASTEROID: Type of flower + spread out (anagram indicator of I DO)

26a Criticise one for separating players from spectators (9)
CASTIGATE: Players in a production + 1 + the proceeds from a sporting function

28a Killer if at all present in the heart (5)
FATAL: Lurker

29a Rome, for instance, do better than most of Italy (7)
CAPITAL: Do better Cap with the most of (nearly all) ItalyI

30a It was amended before, in a manner of speaking (2,2,4)
AS IT WERE: IT WAS (fodder) amended (anagram indicator) + archaic term of ‘before’

31a Make clear it’s no song for female vocalist (6)
STRESS: Female vocalist –minus song


1d Someone who’d left and come back for a drink (6)
SPIRIT: Double def

2d They scrounge food gathered by locals (7)
BEGGARS: Food (go to work on…) + gathered (containment indicator of) locals of the boozing fraternity

3d A good hand from a sell-out crowd (4,5)
FULL HOUSE: Double def – 3 Aces and 2 Kings?

4d A file’s mentioned in charge (6)
ACCUSE: A (from the clue) + a homophone of what we in Britain love to be part of

5d I’m to take it surface cicatrix could be made by weapon (8)
SCIMITAR: Cicatrix (scar) over (surface) im + it

6d Smoked, having drunk too much (3,2)
LIT UP: Double def (not my favourite)

7d Foreigners prosecute other foreigners granted asylum (8)
SUDANESE: 3 letter word to prosecute containing (granted asylum) other foreigners (from Denmark)

15d Callous lot! (5,4)

16d About winding up sale, are eager and ingratiating (8)
PLEASANT: Not quite sure about the parsing

18d For Lois, Peter ordered profiteroles: and us, some mousse (8)
ANAGRAMS: Says what it does on the tin

22d Bearing the burden is found to be unbearable (7)
LOATHED: Bearing (containing) THE, burden (LOAD)

24d Be, on point above, biased in a certain way (6)
SEXIST: To live (be) with a compass bearing (point) above.

25d `Mellifluous’ clued mistakenly and I missed it (6)
DULCET: Mistakenly (anagram of) CLUED + IT minus the I

27d It was yours long before you were born (5)
THINE: Archaic meaning of ‘belonging to you’

Many thanks to Shropshirelad for this excellent impromptu debut.  BD



  1. crypticsue
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    16d An anagram (winding up) of SALE inserted into a verb meaning to breathe eagerly.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    I did enjoy this today, and even revisiting it a second time to help the scheduled blogger (who had terrible phone/broadband etc problems) to prepare a review which wasn’t needed in the end as SL beat us to it.

    I particularly liked 19a and 18d although there were others I could add to the list if I had the time or energy.

  3. crypticsue
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Micawber tomorrow

    • Posted July 21, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      … and guess whose turn it is to write the blog!

      • gazza
        Posted July 21, 2015 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

        It’s about time I had a Micawber to blog.

  4. Jane
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Well – didn’t he do well! So pleased that you decided to abandon the camping out at Edgbaston.

    Already commented on this one in the ‘other place’ but just a few more to add here –
    20a – I took the connection to be that eleven (o’clock) is definitely ‘pre-lunch’ but I guess it works either way.
    1d – maybe the underlining needs moving along a bit? The first definition is ‘someone who’d left and come back’ – I think!
    5d – yes, I had to look up cicatrix – anyone else?
    18d – how long did that take me…… really, really embarrassing.

    Well done indeed SL. Hope you get to enjoy some fine cricket and good real ale as a reward!

  5. 2Kiwis
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Welcome to the blogging team Shropshirelad and congratulations on putting it together. We enjoyed the puzzle and found it reasonably challenging, with a couple in the NE, 9a and 7d the last couple to go in. 18d was of a type that we have encountered lots of times before but it still had us taking some time to twig. Clever clues, good fun.
    Thanks Excalibur and Shropshirelad.

  6. Shropshirelad
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Thank you all for your kind comments – it was submitted after one too many glasses of Pinot Grigio – so please excuse the somewhat ramshackle hints. Still, at least it’s a talking point

    • Kath
      Posted July 21, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink and to you!

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted July 21, 2015 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

        Much appreciated

  7. gazza
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Well done, SL – Congratulations on your first outing.

  8. happy days
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Loved it, as I always do an Excalibur Toughie. Elegant surface readings wit and short pithy clues Thanks setter and well done Shropshirelad

  9. Expat Chris
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Great job, Shropshirelad!!

    I thought the puzzle was quite straightforward, but like Jane I took too long to sort out 18D. Liked 24D and 23A in particular. Thanks to Excalibur for a pleasant outing, and of course to SL for the timely volunteering. Now that you’ve popped your head above the blogging parapet, there’s no going back.

  10. Kitty
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Wow – looks good Shropshirelad! Well done

  11. Kath
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    It looks as if I’m the only one to fail on a couple of answers – 20a (I could see what it had to be but couldn’t see why), 23a and 22 and 24d – no excuses for those, and, OK yes, it wasn’t just a couple of answers – it was four.
    Well done to Shropshirelad – what a star you are!
    Thanks to Excalibur and thanks to Shropshirelad again, although I think he’s already had enough adulation – can’t be doing with bigheads!

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted July 21, 2015 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

      Don’t you just love this blog

  12. jean-luc cheval
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Bravo Shropshirelad.
    I feel really privileged to witness the efforts of such a close knit community.
    And the quality of today’s toughie deserved to be acknowledged. (Sorry BD!).
    Liked the combo 8/20 and the homophone in 4d.
    18d has a great surface, in fact most of the clues have.
    Un regal. Vraiment.
    Thanks to Excalibur and to SL for his first review.

  13. Miffypops
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Hey Ho Away We Go. Thank you for having a go. 16d is my favorite hint. Honesty all the way. No Bollocks. No bullshit (Sorry if that offends. I almost never swear)

  14. Markb
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    Lovely puzzle and excellent review, which helped me get the missing ones.
    Thanks to all.

  15. spindrift
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Enjoyed the puzzle & top marks to Shropshirelad for stepping into the breach at the last minute.

    Sterling work that man!

  16. Heno
    Posted July 22, 2015 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Excalibur and to Shropshire Lad for the review and hints. Good debut SL, well stepped into the breach! I enjoyed this one, needed the hints for 16,18,22d&20a. Was 3*/3* for me. Favourite was 9a, especially as the plumber was calling.