Toughie No 1473 by Excalibur
All creatures great and small
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BD Rating – Difficulty ***/**** – Enjoyment **
The Toughie week begins with a slightly more convoluted offering than some of Excalibur’s recent crosswords, including one clue which, had the puzzle been sent to me for test solving by one of the crèche, I’d certainly have queried when I sent my comments back to the setter. I finished right at the end of 3* solving time and some of the parsing took a while, hence my 3.5* difficulty rating.
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1a Come to find photo frame empty? (4,3,2,2)
SNAP OUT OF IT An expression meaning to recover quickly could, perhaps, describe what you see when a photo frame is empty.
9a One has gone through much, to be honest (4)
FAIR I (one) inserted into a great distance (much).
10a Within moments, verdict of not guilty? (2,4,2,3)
NO TIME AT ALL If you had a not guilty verdict, you wouldn’t have to have a informal term for a prison sentence.
11a Not that it’s wrong to conceal an aspiration (4)
THIS Insert (conceal) a letter usually described as an aspiration into an anagram (wrong) of ITS
14a Only half listen, catching ‘One’s a predatory female’ (7)
LIONESS ONES (from the clue) inserted into the first half of LISten.
16 Little beast requires meat: sitter doesn’t have it (7)
HAMSTER Some cooked meat followed by SITTER, once you’ve removed the IT.
18a Upside-down sacks used as seat (5)
STOOL – A reversal (upside-down) of a verb meaning sacks in the sense of pillages. I thought you could only use ‘upside-down’ to indicate a reversal in a Down clue but I suppose the normal ‘back’ wouldn’t give the same surface reading – that’s not a justification, just a thought.
19a Is dispirited, having lost nucleus of savings (4)
SAGS Remove the middle letters (lost nucleus) of SAvinGS
20a Attack only when you say the word (4)
BUTT A homophone (when you say the word) of a synonym for only.
21a Striving to put through levy, ingeniously (5)
VYING Hidden in leVY INGeniously.
23a Fights to be let out, imprisoned by lunatic (7)
BATTLES An anagram (out) of LET inserted into (imprisoned by) an informal way of saying lunatic.
24a One can’t catch something in the dispensary (7)
DROPPER Someone who can’t catch or a small tube for dispensing drops of liquid.
25a Is not penniless — is a catch (4)
HASP Split this metal fixing (catch) 3,1 and you could be describing someone who possesses a penny.
30a Mean to be among entrants playing in Open (11)
TRANSPARENT A three-letter word meaning mean in the sense of average is inserted into (to be among) an anagram (playing) of ENTRANTS.
31a Unbalanced, rock back (4)
NUTS A reversal (back) of a verb meaning to surprise or astound (rock).
32a Quickly as stutterer starts answering ‘Who wrote “Hamlet”?’ (2,3,6)
IN TWO SHAKES How a stutterer might start to answer the question in the clue.
2d Back-to-back rejections this time (4)
NOON Take two ‘rejections’ reverse the second one (so the second letters of each word go back to back) to get a particular time of day.
3d Sleep is interrupted by one returning: a nuisance (4)
PAIN Insert I (one) into a sleep and then reverse the result (returning).
4d No good to cut down on consumption (7)
USELESS Time for a chestnut – An instruction to cut down on consumption (3,4) without the space in the middle.
5d Round, round, round time after time he goes (4)
OTTO One of those clues that’s so much easier to solve than explain. The first two ‘rounds’ in the clue indicate the need to have two lots of the same ring-shaped letter; the third ‘round’ tells you to put those two letters round two abbreviations for Time (time after time). Presumably the ‘he goes ‘[round and round] indicates that the solution is a palindrome?
6d All I found out about central pin is, it’s crooked (7)
ILLEGAL An anagram (found out) of ALL I goes round (about) a lower limb (pin being an informal term for the body part in question).
7d The – in dead-wood (4)
DASH The abbreviation for dead and a type of wood gives us the name of the tiny piece of punctuation in the clue.
8d Money made from big comeback? (5,6)
GROSS RETURN A synonym for big in the sense of excessively large followed by a ‘comeback’.
12d Nearly catching in button at rear? (5,6)
CLOSE BEHIND Button in the sense of fasten or shut up followed by another word for rear.
13d ‘One point’ is constrained to become ‘nil’ (6)
NOUGHT A compass point followed by a verb meaning is constrained to.
15d Puts up with restrictive garments (5)
STAYS Double definition, the second one being old fashioned boned corsets.
16d Undo buckles after hard part of hunt (5)
HOUND Follow the abbreviation for hard with an anagram (buckles) of UNDO.
17d Gems — could be diamonds (6)
TRUMPS Although the solution and diamonds could relate to card games, they can also be, along with gems, what the office dictionary describes as people held to be perfect examples of fine reliable character.
21d Old soldiers taking part in running event (7)
VETERAN The abbreviation for the Royal Artillery inserted into (taking part) an anagram (running) of EVENT.
22d Pugs romping round animal: huge creature (7)
GRAMPUS A large dolphin or a whale (huge creature) is obtained by putting an anagram (romping) round a male sheep (animal). If you weren’t a lover of words and so knew what you had to put with the anagram fodder to get the creature, it might have taken a while to work out which ‘animal’ to insert, as there are so many you could choose from. Obviously he’s ‘Huge Creature of the Day’ as he’s in today’s Times Cryptic too.
26d Locate one in heart of West End (4)
SITE Make WEST END into a seven letter word, take the letters in the middle (heart) of that word and then insert an I (one).
27d Ken‘s delivered from a naysayer (4)
KNOW Ken isn’t a man’s name here, it is a Scottish or Northern English dialect word for the solution. A homophone (delivered) of a word used to express denial (naysayer).
28d A time to plough up field (4)
AREA A (from the clue) and an extended period of time are reversed (up).
29d Formerly addicted to coke, having kicked all right (4)
ONCE A preposition used to indicate regularly taking (eg a drug) followed by COKE once you have ‘kicked’ or removed the two letters that signify ‘all right’.
The overworked, but hopefully not underpaid, Toro should be back on Tuesday Toughie duty next week. I’m going to publish this review and then I’m back to the day job . I haven’t had an awful lot of time to spend on this review (because of said day job) so I apologise in advance for any ‘deliberate’ mistakes.