Toughie 1451 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1451

Toughie No 1451 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty */**Enjoyment ***

I sailed through this and only the time spent getting the last couple lifted it above one star for difficulty. Perhaps I was fortunate in that I was familiar with all the less-familiar words

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    Silent gesture from vessel carrying doctor in America (4,4)
DUMB SHOW: A gesture without words = an Arab sailing vessel of the Indian ocean round an abbreviation denoting a doctor inside an abbreviated form of the United States

5a    Relish shown by rescuer when first person’s been pulled out (6)
SAVOUR: Remove the letter I (first person) from a rescuer

9a    Ape caught by motorway twice (5)
MIMIC: ‘To ape’ = a motorway + the same motorway + C (caught)

10a    With leader absent, took a risk and stole (9)
PECULATED: Remove the first letter from ‘took a risk in hope of gain, especially in buying and selling’

12a    Payment to landowner — result of earthquake? (6,4)
GROUND RENT: In an earthquake the earth might be torn apart with force

13a    One of a musical family in group (not tenor) (4)
BACH: The surname of several composers from the same family = a group with T (tenor) removed

15a    Oily and exaggerated husband held forth (11)
CAMPHORATED: ‘Exaggerated’ + H (husband) + ‘held forth’. The answer is familiar from “John Brown’s baby had a cold upon his chest And they rubbed it with *********** oil”

16a    A measure of pressure for character in Greece (3)
PSI: This Greek letter is an abbreviated form of an imperial unit of pressure

17a    I’m scared and submissive maiden going into hiding (3)
EEK: An interjection denoting fright = ‘submissive’ minus the letter M (maiden)

18a    Prisoner has unusual neurosis, I’m informed (11)
CONNOISSEUR: A prisoner + an anagram (unusual) of NEUROSIS

20a    Documents read out in high-class establishment (4)
RITZ: A homophone (read out) of legal documents = a high-class establisment such as the hotel of that name in Piccadilly

21a    Plate full of nuts and fish served in season of August (6-4)
LAMMAS-TIDE: A thin plate of metal as in armour (4) goes round nuts on which pigs feed (4) and a fish (2) to give the season of the first harvest festival of the year

24a    Impressive old city with each person ultimately wanting good living? (9)
EPICUREAN: ‘Impressive’ + a Sumerian city + ‘each’ + N (last letter of persoN) = ‘devoted to refined luxury’

26a    Chemical — a rich source (5)
AMINE: A nitrogen-containing chemical compound = A + place from which precious metals can be dug

27a    They followed a course for ambassador and cardinal (6)
TWENTY: Replace the HE (His Excellency = ambassador) in THEY by ‘followed a course’ to give a cardinal number

28a    What sunbathers want? Family is demonstrating beachwear (8)
TANKINIS: ‘What sunbathers want’ + ‘family’ + IS = garments that combine a tank top with a bikini bottom


1d    Restraint leading to time loss (6)
DAMAGE: An embankment to restrain water + a long period of time

2d    Poisonous snake? Ultimately nothing for a voodoo priestess (5)
MAMBO: Take a large, deadly African snake (black or green) and replace the A at the end by O (nothing)

3d    In two short times fellows may get temporary posting (10)
SECONDMENT: A short period of time + fellows + T (time)

4d    We hear call to stop misery (3)
WOE: A homophone (we hear) of an interjection commanding a horse to stop

6d    Marble hall you will get covered (4)
ALLY: A large marble is hidden in hALL You

7d    Foreigner, one adult excited when meeting Queen (9)
OUTLANDER: An anagram (excited) of ONE ADULT + R (Queen)

8d    Spooner’s hut, foul for bird (8)
REDSHANK: A Spoonerism of hut (4) foul (4) = a wading bird with legs of a particular colour

10d    Sit down with expression of surprise having consumed salt (11)
PERCHLORATE: ‘To sit down’ (5) + an interjection denoting surprise (3) + ‘consumed’ (3) = a salt of the acid HClO4

11d    Member of house opposing fighting finally managed to limit awful mess (11)
CONGRESSMAN: A member of the House of Representatives = ‘opposing’ + G (the last letter of fightinG) + ‘managed’ round an anagram (awful) of MESS

14d    It may help one give the right emphasis in speech (6,4)
STRESS MARK: A cryptic definition for a symbol used to indicate that a written syllable is stressed when spoken

15d    A moment after top commander shows evidence of wound (9)
CICATRICE: A Commander-in-Chief + A + a moment = a scar over a healed wound

16d    Naughty trouper in dance — nothing unseen! (8)
PRURIENT: An anagram (dance) of TRUPER IN, i.e. TROUPER IN minus O (nothing), gives ‘having an unhealthy interest in sexual matters’

19d    The first person wearing a sort of strap is a woman of faith (6)
JEWESS: A plural first person pronoun inside a short strap round the leg of a hawk = a Semitic woman

22d    Revolver produced by one getting cross, hero losing head (5)
IXION: A character in Greek mythology who was bound to a winged fiery wheel that was always spinning = I (one) + a cross + a hero with the first letter removed

23d    Go silent when energy is lost (4)
QUIT: ‘To go’ = ‘silent’ with the letter E (energy) removed

25d    Paper that has leading article placed towards the end (3)
AFT: A (article) + a newspaper printed on pink paper

I won’t be around next Thursday so we must be due a difficult puzzle then

27 comments on “Toughie 1451

  1. Who else could this be but Giovanni. An enjoyable pangram for rather elderly churchgoing lexicographers – but no less enjoyable for that. All the clues are rigorously fair and well-constructed. Favourites were 27a [followed a course for ambassador] and 3d [two short times].

    Thanks to the Don and to Bufo for an excellent blog. [You may be the only person other than me who remembers John Brown’s baby]

  2. I made a real mess of SE corner.
    Starting with 21a. I was sure the answer was Salmon-dill. But it just didn’t go with my Screen Test in 14d. Which in turn didn’t work with 15a.
    So gave up, followed pommers invitation to solve the Indy by Morph, which I enjoyed, and waited for Bufo to help me out.
    For once the Spooner wasn’t too bad.
    Thanks to the Don and to Bufo again.

  3. A fairly benign toughie offering from Giovanni, I thought. Remembered the season answer (21a) from sometime before but must admit that I had to check out the ‘nuts’ meaning. Twigged early on that a pangram might be in the offing, but even knowing that that may be the case I don’t think it made any difference. A lot of good clues – but I will opt for 10a as my favourite.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Bufo.

  4. ****/*
    Pleased as I am that Bufo was able to make such light work of this puzzle, he should realise that posting such a dismissive view of the rate of difficulty is off putting in the extreme for the newcomers. A little more encouragement would be welcome.

    1. As a seasoned solver I found some of these clues really difficult, and wasn’t sure if I’d got 27a, 19d and 22d correct until I’d checked Bufo’s helpful blog. I thought it was a hard but fair challenge for a Thursday, and I liked 1a and 7d. However I didn’t know the solutions for either 10a or 10d, and I’m not surprised that newcomers would find this puzzle really tough.

    2. I believe that a cryptic crossword and it’s setter is, to paraphrase Churchill, ‘a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’. Some people find a particular setter’s puzzle easy to complete whereas others find it totally incomprehensible. What I love about this site is the exchange of information between contributors and reviewers – it’s never too late for an old dog to learn new tricks.

      Personally, I never put a star rating for difficulty / enjoyment – I think it’s purely subjective. In fact, when I have reviewed a puzzle I have left the BD rating alone (I think ***/*** must be a default setting). But, I do believe that it’s the reviewer’s prerogative to make their own statement on the difficulty / enjoyment of the puzzle if they want.

      So, I’d recommend just trying to solve the puzzle to the best of your ability and when you get stuck, use the hints. If the hints don’t help then the answer’s always there to be viewed. That’s how I learned how to do cryptic crosswords – looking at the unsolved answers the next day and trying to figure out why

      I do hope you continue to have a go at the puzzles – it’s so much fun when you complete one.

      Sorry for rambling on – I’ve stopped now

  5. Lovely to be on holiday and having time to try out the Toughie. I did quite well yesterday and today but some clues are still beyond my tiny little brain. My challenge will be to complete a toughie this week without resorting to help….what are my chances????

  6. A slow solve for me. The southeast corner was my stumbling block. I had 21A but no way in the world could I have parsed it. I had also worked out 22D but have never heard of the person, and I fell short on both 19D and 26A. Far too much time working out the clue and then referring to the dictionary to check my answer and find the definitions of obscure words curtailed my enjoyment, I’m afraid. Nevertheless, I do appreciate Giovanni’s skill.

    Bufo, thanks for the review but if this was a walk in the park, then I am in no hurry for a Giovanni that you would rate as hard.

  7. I followed the advice from pommers & BD on the other page – I went for the Morph (aka Micawber) in the Independent! Good decision!

    1. Would I lead you astray? The Morph/Micawber was amusing and a tad risque. Made up for the lack of innuendo in today’s DT.

        1. I too had to solve it on my wee phone. It was quite a task to read some of the longer clues. I saw a box on the top right hand side with 3 bars. Clicking on it gave options of layout, help and print.

      1. I struggled on with the Don , really wish I hadn’t, turgid obscurities for the sake of them. I’m tempted to do a Brian , I feel his invective now. As for the Morph, goodness that was fun

  8. I did find this tricky so I’d give it 3*/3* and yes I do remember John Brown’s baby.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Bufo.

  9. This one took quite a bit of head-scratching from me, particularly in the SW corner. Noting that I was a letter short of the pangram was a big help with getting 20a. 27a took ages to sort out how it worked and gets my vote for clue of the day. Enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and Bufo.

    1. 27a certainly not my COD. The unchecked first at 19d gets my vote purely as someone who actually knew the term and silenced post work debate in the pub :) One of the obscurities I did know. Never will know why obscurities equals toughie. Did note the Times last week had nosheries as an answer, dear lord , so perhaps anything goes now

  10. I feel totally stupid, my GK is so lacking, couldn’t solve eight clues which were totally fair on reading the excellent Bufo review.And only four double unches. Giovanni that was some brain work out, thanks , I think ;)

  11. Difficult.

    Never heard of 10d. Outside of of B.Sc chemists has anyone else? Probably.
    8d was a complete guess.
    For 18a I spent far too long trying to make an anagram from ‘neurosis+lag’. Absolutely my fault.
    I’m sure I’ve heard of 15d before, but by then my brain had given up.

    Many thanks to Giovanni, I will improve. And to Bufo, thank you very much for the blog, and even more for not having a picture of 28a.

    1. Re 28A, are you perhaps confusing tankini with mankini? I must admit that before I solved 25D I thought it might be the latter and was cringing.

  12. Far too late making a start on this one and there were quite a few new words/definitions that would have needed Mr. Google’s help if I hadn’t decided to simply use Bufo’s excellent hints. I must also confess to revealing the answer for 22d!
    I did enjoy a lot of the ones that I managed to decipher by myself and favourite slot goes to 12a.

    Thanks to the Don (my apologies for not spending more time on the research!) and much gratitude to Bufo, whose help I definitely needed today.

  13. Thanks for the review, Bufo. What a lovely crossword, I needed help for 15ac (could have kicked myself, have sung it hundreds of times) but otherwise wrestled till I won. Thanks to Giovanni, I love your crosswords, they are so fair. Maybe it’s because I’m an elderly churchgoing lexicographer-type….

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