Toughie 1435 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1435

Toughie No 1435 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This is my first time for blogging a Samuel puzzle. The answers went in fairly easily until I was left with the last few. There were some less familiar terms which caused me problems. Because I thought it was going to be a pangram (I had already entered an X and a Z) I thought that 11 across must be the word that fitted beginning with J. You can spend a long time trying to justify the unjustifiable. But overall I enjoyed the puzzle and look forward to doing battle with Samuel again

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    Bond unloaded rifle after head shot (6)
ADHERE: ‘To bond’ = an anagram (shot) of HEAD + the first and last letters of RiflE

5a    Body parts getting cut, in short supply (8)
THORAXES: ‘To cut’ inside an anagram (supply) of SHORT

9a    We faze 66.67 per cent of Greeks suffering austerity measure … (4,6)
WAGE FREEZE: An anagram (suffering) of WE FAZE GREE(ks)

10a    … criticise adopting Merkel’s last scheme (4)
PLAN: ‘To criticise’ round the last letter of MerkeL

11a    Brave man acquires a bar to serve up hot food (8)
HABANERO: A North American term for the Scotch bonnet pepper = a brave man round A and ‘to bar’. When I thought the puzzle was going to be a pangram I filled in JALAPENO because it would account for the J. I then spent ages trying to justify it before giving up and looking for another answer

12a    So this gets chewed? Result: calories (6)
ÉCLAIR: CALORIES is an anagram of SO and the answer which is, according to Chambers, a cake that is long in shape but short in duration

13a    Drink when sex appeal returns (4)
ASTI: ‘When’ + a reversal of sex appeal

15a    Final result exposed misgiving (8)
EVENTUAL: A result + the middle 3 letters of a 5-letter word meaning ‘misgiving’

18a    Continue for love from Princess Fiona? (8)
PROGRESS: Start with a word or prefix meaning ‘for’. Then remove O (love) from the type of being that Princess Fiona is transformed into each and every sunset. She’s the female lead in the Shrek films in case you didn’t know

19a    Call for some Duane Eddy (4)
NEED: Hidden in DuaNE Eddy. Whatever happened to his twangy guitar?

21a    Osborne’s third budget nearly upset parasite (6)
BEDBUG: An anagram (upset) of B BUDGE (the third letter of OsBorne and BUDGET with the last letter removed

23a    Very determined, then bell goes off (4-4)
HELL-BENT: An anagram (goes off) of THEN BELL

25a    Record new salesman’s predicted pay (4)
NOTE: N (new) + an abbreviation for on-target earnings, the earnings of a salesman who achieves targeted sales. I’ve never seen this abbreviation before

26a    No traction in hill railway? There’s no cause for alarm (3,2,5)
NOT TO WORRY: NO + traction inside a hill + an abbreviation denoting railway

27a    Friend to make the last move? (8)
PLAYMATE: When split (4,4) it could mean to make the last move in a chess game

28a    Match socialist in rows (6)
TIERED: A match + socialist


2d    Snort over a crisis (5)
DRAMA: A snort (quick drink) + A

3d    Promoting two-thirds of team, American can start to gloat (9)
ELEVATING: The first 4 letters of a 6-letter word for a soccer or cricket team + A (American) + a can + G (first letter of Gloat)

4d    Student left out breadmaker (6)
EARNER: Remove L (left) from a student to give someone who brings home the bread (money)

5d    Crude tweets bother chap scrapping Conservative government? (3,6,4,2)
THE POWERS THAT BE: An anagram (crude) of TWEETS BOTHER HAP, i.e CHAP less C (Conservative)

6d    Astonished writer they’ve essentially included in dictionary (4-4)
OPEN-EYED: Something you write with and the middle 2 letters of thEY‘ve inside a dictionary of the English language

7d    Shock a friend keeping quiet (5)
APPAL: A + friend round P (quiet)

8d    Destroy extremist expelling Liberal during Parisian summer (9)
ERADICATE: An extremist with the letter L (Liberal) removed inside the French word for ‘summer’

14d    Slow hiker startled literary bird (6-3)
SHRIEK-OWL: An anagram (startled) of SLOW HIKER. I’m not sure why it’s a literary bird

16d    Gloomy cardinal turned up half of beds, then got up (9)
TENEBROSE: A cardinal number + a reversal of BE (half of beds) + ‘got up’. Not a word that I’m familiar with

17d    Plant info gathered by Stalinist politician (8)
BERGENIA: ‘Info’ goes inside the surname of the longest-lived and most influential of Stalin’s secret police chiefs. I struggled with this one having never heard of the plant but then I managed to dredge up the name of the Stalinist politician who I’d encountered in a crossword a few weeks ago

20d    Finished 10 Down? (3,3)
ALL-OUT: Finished (exhausted). Also descriptive of a batting side in cricket when all 10 wickets have fallen. Obvious when you see it

22d    Busy person and gutless fatty like steak (5)
BEEFY: A busy person + the first and last letters of FattY

24d    Charge conductor in fiNER VEssel (5)
NERVE: Hidden in finer vessel

30 comments on “Toughie 1435

  1. ***/****

    I’m very glad that it wasn’t just me that wanted ‘jalapeno’ to be right. I put it in thinking the same as Bufo, yet it somehow didn’t work. And yet on first pass I did actually pencil ‘hero’ next to the clue to remind me?

    Didn’t spot the hidden in 24d but bunged it in anyway. 16 and 17d had to be checked, the former being new to me.

    Could 14d refer to Macbeth?

    Very much enjoyed this.

    Many thanks to Samuel and to Bufo for blogging.

    1. 14d is indeed from the Scottish play…”It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bellman”….for King Duncan

  2. Had the same thought for the pepper in 11a. But there was no room left for the Q either.
    Didn’t get 17d.
    Thanks to Bufo for explaining 25a and 20d. Pretty much a bung in for me.
    And you are so right about éclairs. The chocolate sort specially. Don’t last long enough.
    9a definitely my favourite.
    Thanks to Samuel and to Bufo again.

  3. A big sigh of relief to find my 2 guesses for 25ac and17dn were correct. I needed the explanation for 15ac -thanks Bufo-; this was a fine toughie,perfect standard of difficulty for a Thursday. I fear and hope in equal measure to see Samuel set us a Friday one soon.

  4. Fabulous puzzle , I enjoyed every minute of it. I have stars beside 11 clues, and I am not which I prefer , either 18a or 17d.
    Thanks Buffo , may your effect continue, and thanks Samuel for an amusing puzzle.

  5. Is 14d a literary bird because it isn’t actually a member of the Strigidae family but a name for the martin because of its cry??

    1. The Scottish Play. The Owl Shriek’d at the Death of Duncan is the best I can come up with

  6. A perfectly acceptable Toughie for a Thursday, although I had to Google the answers for 16 & 17d to confirm my parsing. Have never heard of the Stalinist politician and I’ve certainly never heard of (or used) the term for 16d. Apart from those 2 I thought it was very topical and had a good spread of types of clues. I also thought of (but didn’t enter) the pepper for 11a – my last one in. My favourite has to 20d – I wrote in the correct answer and then just stared at it before the penny finally dropped D’oh!!

    Have never done a Samuel puzzle before but I do like the cut of his jib, so thanks to him for the fun workout and to Bufo for the splendid review.

  7. I also have stars beside many clues, staring with the first five across clues – all of which have wonderful surfaces.

    Like bufo, I hadn’t heard of OTE ( 25a) or the word for for gloomy (16d), nor did I understand why literary need be included(14d), the clue looks pretty good without it. I was happy not to be alone.

    Thanks bufo for the parsing of 15a.

    Many thanks Samuel, an excellent puzzle

  8. I found this difficult to get into and even more difficult to complete. There were a number of clues I couldn’t parse: I am as likely to watch a Shrek movie as I am to climb Mount Everest, I have never heard of tow as a synonym for traction, and I did not know the meaning of OTE, and i couldn’t figure out what ‘literary in 14D had to do with anything. I also could not parse 15A and I’m afraid the hint is no help. I dislike the kind of clues where one has to abbreviate “another word for…” Also, a couple of new words were a hold up. That said, I had no problem with the pepper, though I avoid them like the plague.

    I seem to be a lone voice, but I really did not enjoy this very much. Still, my thanks to Samuel, and to Bufo for the review.

    PS: Am I the only doofus who, having the initial letter plus one more checker tried to justify toenails for 5A?

    1. I have to admit that toenails for 5a didn’t immediately spring to mind!
      I really didn’t want to watch Shrek either but several years ago our Lambs were home one weekend and it was on – they persuaded me because they said the donkey would have me in stitches – they were right. You might love it.

    2. Very late in posting but in case you see, Chris – I think 15a is EVENT + (Q)UAL(M). I’ve been working on this on & off since publication date, with much getting stuck then spurts of answers, finally turning to blog with 12a & 17d missing & tenative answers for 15a, 16d & 25a. Parsing for 15a eluded me (not very familiar with ‘exposed’ type clues) and initially hint didn’t help me either – had to google synonyms for misgiving… I ‘worked out’ 16d from wordplay, i.e. got to what seemed to be a possible word though still hadn’t heard of it. 25a didn’t know about OTE, 17d I would never have got in a month of Sundays – I’d deconstructed clue correctly to get (.E.)GEN(.A) but hadn’t heard of politician or plant. 12a I initially thought should be anagram but checkers said otherwise – not practised with reverse anagrams. A very good challenge – have learnt a few good things but glad I gave up and turned to blog when I did!

      1. Thanks! I don’t think I would have ever thought of ‘event’ as equaling ‘result,’ but I suppose it works in terms of “in the event”.

  9. Thanks to Samuel for several new words. We are often amazed, after building up an answer, to find that Big Red App delivers. We are particularly partial to 12a. We were left with 15a, for which we had the answer, but no idea where it came from. Thanks to bufo for the explanation.

  10. I really enjoyed this – can’t remember if I’ve tried a Samuel Toughie before or not – think I probably have.
    I didn’t get answers for 12 or 25a and needed the explanations for quite a few more.
    I did know the 17d flower (but not the politician) and knew the chilli as well so not a total failure.
    I liked too many of these clues to write them all down but I loved 21a so I think I’ll call that one my favourite.
    With thanks to Samuel for the good crossword and to Bufo for sorting out my disasters.

  11. We ended up with jalapeno for 11a. Tried in vain to parse it and at last gave up. Seems we should have kept on with a dictionary search. The word is new to us. A few obscurities to challenge us, eg OTE in 25a and the 17d flower. A well put together puzzle we thought.
    Thanks Samuel and Bufo.

    1. Habaneros are hot, hot, HOT. Exponentially hotter than jalapenos. Popular here with the Latino communities and aficionados of Tex-Mex cooking.

  12. Got down to the last four or five but, having resorted to a few bung-ins and Mr. Google along the way, I’d rather lost the will to see it through. Probably just a bit beyond my capabilities.
    Anyway, I did enjoy quite a few – 27a & 3d would get my vote.

    Thanks to Samuel – I’ll try harder next time! – and to Bufo for getting me to the end.

  13. Thanks, Bufo, for the blog, and thanks to all who have commented. It’s good to see that most posters enjoyed the puzzle.

    The “literary” qualifier in the clue for SHRIEK-OWL was included to assist solvers, as the answer isn’t found in all three of Chambers, Collins and ODE. It was intended to reference Macbeth, so apologies if this confused. And if anybody hasn’t seen Shrek, you’ve missed out!

    1. A lovely crossword and I agree with you about Shrek – I just love the donkey, especially the humming bit!

      1. I think I better make effort to see Shrek then. I know the child type things all saw it many years ago but never got around to it.

        Forgot to add above that 20d is my favourite clue today, with an awful lot of the top half putting in a fight. More please.

      2. I got so mixed up with my classics that I thought it was something about dragoons.

    2. Welcome Samuel, as I said – thoroughly enjoyed your puzzle and look forward to seeing more of them. The thing I love about different setters is I always learn some new words (and then promptly forget them). Loved your 20d – I’m at Edgbaston next Wednesday and I’m sure that will be the case in a full day’s play

      BTW andy – well done on your parse of the Scottish play / owl

    3. These days, you couldn’t pay me to sit through Shrek or any other animated movie aimed at a juvenile audience…well, you probably could pay me but he price would be high.

  14. A bit of an odd one. Some pretty straightforward clues, some obscurities and a few tricky ones. The “hot peppers” one would have been a super clue if that name for Scotch Bonnets were better known but I am not an expert on chillies.

  15. I really enjoyed that but failed to get 15a & 25a. However I am really pleased to have done so well as I don’t normally do the toughies .

  16. Thanks Samuel ,very enjoyable ,would not have parsed 15a before your next offering so thanks Bufo and look toward to more of the same .

  17. OTE is sometimes used by head hunters when recruiting salespeople. It’s well known in that dog eat dog world.

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