Toughie 1486 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1486

Toughie No 1486 by Elkamere

Thanks for the name check!

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

I enjoyed this puzzle, which was a bit harder than many other Wednesday Toughies.

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    Say a bit more than this? (3-8)
TWO-PENNORTH: to have ones say is to have one’s own contribution to a debate – maybe it’s worth a bit more than this

9a    Goes off into stand around racing circuit (7)
ESTORIL: a verb meaning goes off or decays inside a verb meaning to stay or stand, all reversed (around)

10a    Soldiers will guard shop for nothing (6)
GRATIS: the usual US soldiers around (will guard) a verb meaning to shop or betray

12a    Funny business consultant? (7)
COMEDIC: a two-letter abbreviation for a business followed by a hospital consultant

13a    Credit for cutting down criminal activity (5-2)
STICK-UP: a colloquial word for credit inside a verb meaning to down a drink

14a    Bear not against finding rabbit (5)
CONEY: start with a verb meaning to bear or carry and drop (not) the letter that represents against

15a    Irrational character got stuff initially confused (3,6)
MAD HATTER: start with a phrase meaning got stuff and then, Spooner style, exchange the initial letters

17a    I moan about eating perfectly served fruit salad (9)
MACEDONIA: an anagram (about) of I MOAN around (eating) a verb meaning perfectly served a tennis ball – this fruit salad is, as yet, unknown to Chambers, and I only worked it out from the wordplay

20a    A level  playing field (5)
PITCH: a fairly straightforward double definition

22a    Peugeot tyre is regularly given pressure for self-inflation (3-4)
EGO-TRIP: the even letters of the first three words in the clue followed by P(ressure)

24a    Persuaded to keep time — personal setback (3-4)
LET-DOWN: a three-letter verb meaning persuaded around (to keep) T(ime) and followed by an adjective meaning personal or belonging to oneself

25a    In castle one will be buried in manure (6)
DURING: this word meaning in or throughout is derived from the chess notation for a castle or rook and I (one) inside (will be buried in) some manure

26a    The speaker interrupts rather short celebrity (7)
SOMEONE: the first person objective pronoun (the speaker) inside most of (short) an adverb meaning rather

27a    Keep kissing, even (4,3,4)
NECK AND NECK: this could mean to kiss then kiss again


2d    Material that’s droll, funny in a small way (7)
WORLDLY: an anagram (funny) of DROLL inside the abbreviated form (small) of W(a)Y

3d    Copper mine — coal’s replaced copper (9)
POLICEMAN: a copper coin followed by an anagram (replaced) of MINE COAL

4d    Students gathering for one hot tipple (5)
NEGUS: the usual students organisation around (gathering) the Latin abbreviation of “for one” or “for example”

5d    Row about carbon part of a wind instrument (7)
OCARINA: a verb meaning to row a boat around the chemical symbol for carbon followed by a two-letter word meaning part of and the A from the clue

6d    Wood‘s height through pass (7)
THICKET: H(eight) inside a pass or permit

7d    Mr Morton wants a jacket, full of a head cold (11)
BEACHCOMBER: the pen name used by J. B. Morton in the Daily Express is derived by putting a type of jacket around (full of) a word meaning “a head” and C(old) – it’s strange seeing your own surname in a clue!

8d    Part of flower has little weight, I agree! (6)
STAMEN: the abbreviation (little) for a weight in the avoirdupois system followed by a word meaning “I agree” or “so be it”

11d    Caught her up, put on manacles (11)
APPREHENDED: the reversal (up in a down clue) of HER inside (manacles) a verb meaning put on or added

16d    One name rejected by Disneyland, disastrously wrong (6,3)
DEADLY SIN: an anagram (disastrously) of DIS[N]EYLAND from which one of the N(ame)s has been dropped (rejected)

18d    Remedy to get round bereavement, mostly? (7)
CLOSURE: a remedy around most of a bereavement – the whole of this all-in-one clue provides the definition

19d    Tackle blunder admitted by detective (7)
DERRICK: this tackle or framework used for hoisting comes from a blunder inside a colloquial word for a detective

20d    River, pool, and old coat (7)
POTOMAC: nothing to do with an Italian river, this US river is a charade of a pool or kitty, O(ld) and a waterproof coat

21d    Blow rings — exquisite! (3-3)
TOO-TOO: a verb meaning to blow a horn followed by a pair if the letters that are shaped like a ring

23d    Opening up an atheist (5)
PAGAN: the reversal (up, for the second time in the down clues – see also 11d) of an opening followed by AN from the clue

Tomorrow the engineer should sort out Gazza’s internet connection so, with luck, he should be back on here soon.

39 comments on “Toughie 1486

  1. Very enjoyable – all great clues. I got 3/4 of the way through and was thinking how nice not needing a dictionary when the tides changed. Argh – I was in 9a for a conference this time last year, completely oblivious of any racing circuit nearby; I just went to the beach. I needed brb for 1a, I wasn’t familiar with the contraction. Mr Morton (7d) – well I want to say before my time, but BD will take it wrongly. The fruit salad (17a) was clear from the word play but it worried me that it wasn’t in Chambers, so google had to do the confirmation. I don’t think I knew the rabbit (14a – but Chambers pulled through this time). I definitely did not know the expression for exquisite (21d) and I am rather reticent to test it out in my local pub.

    My favourite clue is the tender all-in-one at 18d. I also really liked the simple and elegant 20a (a level playing field), this is what a double definition should look like. I enjoyed 25a for the definition. I also liked the fruit salad (17a) and many more of course.

    Many thanks Elkamere and thanks BD (Elkamere must have known you were blogging – but Italian river?)

  2. An upside down puzzle for me. The bottom half went in quite quickly and when BRB confirmed 1a the rest fell into place. I too have never come across the dessert at 17a and I think that 7d is a trifle unfair on our foreign friends, let alone us – however, they were both getable from the word play. Can’t pick 1 favourite so I won’t.

    Thanks to Elkamere for the puzzle and BD for the blog.

    I presume Gazza is still without a connection.

    Oops – just read the bottom of the blog, D’oh!

  3. I must have met all the Mr Morton on earth, from Dr Thomas Morton to the character from Jack Sheldon until I found the right one. Should have read the Express between the 1920’s to the 70’s….Not. Actually it looks like he wrote a lot of things about France. I’ll check it out later.
    The expression in 1a was new to me. I was trying to make the word end in worth for so long.
    I always thought that the salad in 17a was made of vegetables with mayo. Macedoine is very common here.
    Hope I haven’t offended SL and the late crew last night with my comment taken from the puzzle.
    Thanks to Elkamere and to BD for the review.

    1. Doubt you caused any offence, JL – although I’ve always looked upon it as ‘banter’ rather than 22a! Maybe you’re right – I’ll give it some thought. Gave up and went to bed halfway through my own ‘Ode to BD’ – it may appear at a later date!

    2. Just looked in my 12th Edition BRB, which states

      ‘Macedoine (n) a mixture of (usu diced) vegetables or fruit in syrup or jelly; a mixture or medley. [Fr, literally, Macedonia]

  4. I know that I’m going to be out on a limb and all on my own but I thought that was really tricky.
    Having seen the answer to 9a I’m not surprised that I didn’t get it – I never would have done so don’t mind really.
    I needed the hint to understand why, or even if, my 15a was right – didn’t think of swapping the first letters of each word – dim!
    17a is in my BRB – not on its own but under macedoine with an acute accent on the first ‘E’.
    I liked 22 and 27a and 18 and 21d.
    Thanks to Elkamere and to BD for standing in again in gazza’s enforced absence.

  5. On the mild side of Elkamere but great fun as always. I’m not sure that 1a works for me but there are plenty of crackers – 15a, 25a, 18d and 21d are my favourites.

    Many thanks to Elkamere and to BD for the blog.

    PS = BD can you advise? Overnight my Mac has replaced the long bars at the start of each blog solution [that one clicked on to reveal the answer] with very short bars that don’t appear to do anything. I’m certain all was well yesterday!

    1. Address your complaints to Apple, who specialise in producing browsers that are non-compliant with the current html conventions. Next time, buy anything except an Apple product!

      1. The same thing has occurred on Internet Explorer 11 running on Windows 7 so I doubt the boys and girls at Apple are responsible for this one!

        1. Same for me with IE11 on Windows 7, Prolixic. Every now and then it gives a hiccup and the full bars appear, which seems a little bizarre!

          1. I have experimented with a number of browsers and all have displayed the spoiler eventually, but I still have no idea why that should be.

  6. Fell at the final hurdles – didn’t know Mr. 7d, the 17a salad or that particular contraction of 1a. I did, however, watch an interesting cartoon of another Mr. Morton, used to help children to learn how to construct sentences!

    Loved the ‘Spoonerism’ at 15a (never thought I’d be saying that!) and my pick of the day is 27a.

    Many thanks to Elkamere/Dean/Anax et al – also to BD, whose help proved invaluable today.

  7. Very enjoyable – I think it was user-friendly Elkamere but I kept being interrupted by people wanting to make donations for cake (I had a Wear It Pink Cake Event today) so didn’t record the time taken to decide on a difficulty star rating.

    Thnks to Elkamere and BD too.

    1. Hope you raised a goodly amount, CS. From what I hear, your cakes are well worth paying out for!
      Please don’t worry about not putting a ‘difficulty star rating’ – it saves me from feeling too despondent.

      1. About £300 when I left at 3 but there were still a few bits left so no full total until tomorrow

  8. *****/****

    Gosh. Not gentle from where I was sat. But blooming good.

    Never heard of 17a but the wordplay was fair. Also had to check 14a, although I’m sure I’ve come across it before. 4d and 9a had to dragged from the memory banks.

    Loved the name check in 7d.

    Many thanks to Elkamere for a really enjoyable tussle and to BD for a great blog.

  9. We found the top half and particularly the NW really tricky and ended up not getting 9a at all. Had never heard of the place. Not surprisingly we also had not heard of 7d although we did get it as the only word that fitted the checkers and then had to extensively search Google to find out why. 1a, in that particular contraction was also a problem. So, the puzzle somewhat spoiled for us because of the obscure specialist knowledge required. That said, there were plenty of clever clues that we appreciated.
    Thanks Elkamere and BD.

  10. A nice enough crossword, maybe 3*, with some small hold up on ‘worldly’ and ‘two-pennorth’. 25% of the solving time spent on guessing ‘Beachcomber’, though. I’m not a big fan of clues that involve knowledge so specialised you have to check on the internet.

  11. A very nice puzzle and I would agree with those that found it on the soft end of the Elkamere spectrum (however certainly not easy). My main difficulty was a number of words I had not come across (all mentioned in other comments) or the unusual spelling in 1a. I associate the place in Portugal with golf not F1 but got there in the end. Not being a Daily Express fan (from their headlines it seems to target hypochondriacs) I struggled with Mr Morton but guessed right eventually through exhaustion of other possibilities

    Thanks to Elkamere and BD

  12. I have six…count ’em — six….answers so far. I am making the excuse that the reason for not being able to crack this one open is that I have a horrible cold, throat like sandpaper, scratchy, watery eyes and a thumping head. Nothing to do with me being thick, of course. I will have another go at bashing my head against the wall later tonight to see if I can loosen a brick or two, so I’m avoiding the hints for now.

    1. Box of tissues and supply of cold/flu tablets heading your way, Chris – poor you.
      Without giving anything away – watch out for 1a &7d!

    2. Thanks, guys. Got a couple more and then just gave up in favour of Inspectors Morse and Lewis and a Whisky toddy or several. Much more fun.

  13. Not sure if anyone here has picked up on this likely parsing of 1a – I think ‘bit’ refers to a thrupenny (threepenny) bit, the old coin that obviously would have been worth more than twopence.

  14. Hi all.
    I’ve arrived very late here as I’d forgotten the publication date. Again.
    Apologies for 17a. We did amend this to incorporate the word ‘Italian’ – the answer is how you’d pretty much always see it listed on the menu of an Italian restaurant – but the word appears not to have made it to print and/or online.

    Hope to see some of you in York tomorrow.

    1. Good of you to pop in, Dean – someone needs to buy you a calendar/diary for Christmas!
      I was wondering – what does your daughter make of your musical talents, or your crossword talents come to that?

  15. I’m cool dad, Jane. Even her school/college friends think I’m cool. Which is nice.
    Before starting college in September, Xana attended Knutsford Academy – pretty much a normal school but, as is apparently the case with academies, with a healthy dash of creativity including music. They don’t just have a music room – they have a recording studio.
    It’s possible that my music triggered it – equally it may have been the academy – but Xana took up bass a few years ago and is focusing now on guitar. I got her a rather lovely Ibanez semi-acoustic a year ago and she’s devoted to it, turning into a fine player as well. She and her friend Olivia, also a guitarist, are in the process of putting a band together, but I have to say Xana is incredibly mature about it. For now she and Oli are writing songs and rehearsing some covers, but they won’t put more than casual interest into a band until college is over.

    1. That’s fantastic Dean. There can be no doubt that you contributed towards it…you play bass. It’s also nice to hear that she’s taking such a mature attitude towards everything. I wish her well.

      Recording studio’s…blimey.

    2. That’s great, Dean – and how nice to have that sort of close connection with your daughter. Maybe there’ll be a Dad & daughter group formed at some point in the future?
      Now – all you have to do is to get her interested in crosswords – that should certainly figure in a ‘creativity’ curriculum!

      1. I don’t know about getting Xana into crosswords. A couple of years ago I tried some kind of mild introduction to definition puzzles, but the spark wasn’t there (she is, by the way, a very good sudokuist, so maybe her mind is more attuned to analytical than lateral thinking). When my form tutor at grammar school introduced me to cryptics – I can’t have been more than 14 – by showing me a clue and answer from a Telegraph puzzle and challenging me to unravel it, I sufficiently remember the eyes-lit-up effect it had on me to see it in others.
        With Xana I suspect English is quite a functional thing, and it doesn’t worry me at all. If her spelling and grammar weren’t up to scratch I might use crosswords as an enjoyable path to improvement, but whether it’s FB posts, song lyrics or whatever, she’s spot on with both.

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