Toughie 1621

Toughie No 1621 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

I got through most of this one reasonably quickly then was held up in the SW corner. Apart from the wordplay in 1a (which I don’t fully understand) there’s not much need for twisted knickers here, though some UK football fans may bridle at the repeated use of the word soccer.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a I doubt that bacon supplier’s hoping to export (4,5,3)
PIGS MIGHT FLY – what we get bacon from plus the ‘S then ‘could travel by air’. I’m not convinced by the wordplay here – how do the last two words of the answer mean ‘hoping to export’?

9a Overturned mug has spoiled things in bathroom (7)
LOOFAHS – reverse a mug or simpleton and add an anagram (spoiled) of HAS.

10a Soccer club employee has little hesitation moving ground (7)
TERRAIN – start with a football coach and move the small expression of hesitation a few places to the left.

11a About to think about passing current through metal (7)
CAESIUM – an abbreviation (2) meaning about is followed by the reversal (about) of a verb to think or ponder containing the symbol for electric current.

12a Item of furniture a fixture backstage? (7)
DRESSER – double definition, the second a person employed to help with the costumes backstage.

13a Quantity of wine, say, knocked back in this (5)
BINGE – a container of wine bottles followed by the reversal of ‘say’.

14a Has a meal, swallowing some cooking in US city (3,6)
DES MOINES – a verb meaning ‘has an evening meal’ contains an anagram (cooking) of SOME.

16a Pale sand piled up beyond far side of here? (9)
ESPLANADE double definition, the first being a protected area around a castle or city  an all-in-one definition of a seaside road. It’s an anagram (piled up) of PALE SAND following the last letter of ‘here’. Thanks to Brookc for putting me right.

19a Odd thing identified by copper meeting small group without leader (5)
CURIO – the chemical symbol for copper followed by a small musical group without its leading letter.

21a Wild diatribe applied to one in soccer team (7)
FRANTIC – a diatribe or verbal onslaught and the Roman numeral for one go inside the abbreviation for a football club.

23a Blokes invested in largely imitative souvenir (7)
MEMENTO – another word for blokes is contained in an adjective (2-3) describing a person imitating another (in an attempt to emulate the other’s success) without its final letter.

24a Persuade island to take exposed half of cable (7)
COAXIAL – string together a verb to persuade or cajole, an abbreviation for island and ‘half’ without its outer letters.

25a Covering investment of money in boxing (7)
ROOFING – an old slang word, from Yiddish, for money goes inside a metonym for boxing. I didn’t know the slang word.

26a Church re-envisaged life in debt with support for young (5,7)
CHILD BENEFIT – an abbreviation for church is followed by an anagram (re-envisaged) of LIFE IN DEBT.

Down Clues

1d Inconstant dull performance? Be critical of including that (7)
PROTEAN – a verb to criticise includes a mechanical and unexciting delivery.

2d Good form, embodying an example of hardness (7)
GRANITE – the abbreviation of good and a ceremonial form or observance containing ‘an’.

3d TV and newspapers intend to get upset about fool going to sea (4,5)
MASS MEDIA – a verb to intend or aspire is reversed and contains a fool and the abbreviation for a specific sea.

4d Banned from university degree, receiving cheers when that’s reversed (5)
GATED – the abbreviation of degree contains an informal word of thanks and it all gets reversed.

5d Ruin of journalist overcome by unending apathy (7)
TORPEDO – the definition here is a verb not a noun. The abbreviation of our usual senior journalist is contained inside a word for apathy or listlessness without its final letter.

6d Working together with Independent to probe absence of rigging that’s arisen (7)
LIAISON – an abbreviation for independent goes inside the reversal of an absence of ship’s rigging (2,4).

7d A demonstration that nothing can cure you? (7,6)
PLACEBO EFFECT – cryptic definition of the curative result of a substance of no therapeutic value as long as the recipient has belief in it. I always used to be amused by the slogan ‘Nothing works faster than Anadin’ thinking that in that case you’d be better off taking nothing.

8d Raving bonkers to go round a rugged part of Yorkshire (13)
KNARESBOROUGH – an anagram (raving) of BONKERS contains A. Finish with an adjective meaning rugged or irregular.

15d Main store failing to provide household item (5,4)
STEAM IRON – an anagram (failing) of MAIN STORE.

17d Old King, a King enthralled by power and sudden pronouncements (7)
PHARAOH – start with the abbreviation of power than insert A and an abbreviation for king into two exclamations of surprise.

18d Article with lines about this reduced agglomeration of workers? (3-4)
ANT-HILL – an indefinite article and two abbreviations for line contain the word ‘this’ without its last letter.

19d Be a success? Astonished comment won’t accept it (4,3)
COME OFF – a response expressing astonishment or disbelief (4,3,2) without the ‘it’.

20d Work for Brazilian mayor? Time to go wild (3,4)
RUN RIOT – what a Brazilian mayor may have to do (3,3) followed by the abbreviation for time.

22d Generator of buzz about to turn up, handling opening of library? (5)
CELEB – this is the informal term for a well-known personality who may be paid for a personal appearance such as opening a new building. String together a buzzing creature and the single-character abbreviation meaning about, then reverse that and insert the opening letter of library.

My choice of best clue today is 7d. Which one rang your bell?


  1. Posted June 15, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found this one a tricky little beast in places (I didn’t solve without help), but also enjoyed it. The repeated “soccer” did indeed earn a repeated “hmm” but the largely imitative and the raving bonkers in Yorkshire, together with 1a, made me chuckle. I just took the second bit of that one as a cryptic definition.

    Some really good stuff here, but 2d has to be my favourite today.

    Many thanks to Kcit and to Gazza.

  2. Brookc
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for a great review. I think 16a is an anagram too, so this is my clue of the day.

    • Posted June 15, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Yes – it’s a beautiful all-in-one. I didn’t notice that it’s also a double definition. Wow.

    • Gazza
      Posted June 15, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

      So it is – thanks. I was originally looking for an anagram then decided that it was a double definition so stopped looking.

  3. Shropshirelad
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As things have now returned to normal on the personal front, I’ve had time to catch up on my crosswords. 1a was first in (mentally) but I held back on writing it in as I wanted to get some checkers from the down clues. The definition’s fine but I’m also unsure of the second part of the word play. Never mind, there were more than enough good clues to balance out that one anomaly.

    I was held up slightly in the SE corner as I couldn’t get ‘minder/minding’ out of my head for second part of 26a until 22d revealed its answer. Lots to choose from but I’ll go with the superlative multi faceted 16a.

    Thanks to Kcit for the puzzle and to Gazza for his splendid review.

  4. dutch
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    all-in-one fest: I very much liked the poetic 16a, 13a made me laugh, though 22d seemed more contrived (and I found it harder to spot).

    I liked 10a (soccer club employee), 26a (church re-envisaged life..), 18d (article with lines..). And yep, I smiled at 1a. I just thought hoping to export = maybe send abroad = might fly, but now you point it out is does seem a little unnatural. Might fly could also mean ‘just might work’ – not sure that is any closer to hoping to export.

    there’s some money I haven’t seen in 25a and some other difficult substitutions

    2d was my first one in; last one in was the part of yorkshire, which I didn’t know, and even with all the checkers I revealed some letters before I could see what was going on.

    Many thanks Kcit and thanks Gazza for the great review.

  5. Hanni
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Not that easy in places. Struggled to parse 11a, never heard of the slang word in 25a,and 4d I had to check. Although I know 8d quite well I still took awhile to unravel the word play.

    Enjoyed the puzzle as a whole with my favourite being 7d made even better by Gazza’a hint about taking nothing. :grin:

    Many thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for a great blog.

    I have a backlog of puzzles to solve and no idea where to start.

  6. Una
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Some great clues and lots of hard work. I had to google the rugged Yorkshire place .

    13a made me smile , as did 7d.

    Thanks Gazza and Kcit.

  7. jean-luc cheval
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Should be in Marseille for the football as my ex business partner Brendan and his Albanian chefs flew down yesterday. But have to stay with daughter while she sits her exams.
    Never mind. Had a great evening with them in Toulon yesterday.
    The BRB came very handy for the second word of 7d, the cable in 24a and all the words in 1d.
    Guessed the ending of the Yorkshire town in 8d and the checkers helped to get the rest although I was trying so hard to keep the “a” as a first letter. Always get caught with this kind of construction.
    Both crossword were printed on two pages today. Very wordy clues but fun to solve.
    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review. I saw the play pictured in 12a. Can’t remember when or who was in the cast although Derek Jacobi does spring to mind. I shall rummage around.

  8. Verlaine
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I thought this one was rather enjoyable, I must say. Some lovely &lits and cryptic definitions, and definitely a few smiles raised, as well as an impressive eyeroll at 1 ac. Which is just as good as a smile really.

  9. Markb
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to setter and for the hints. re your initial question in 1ac. I simply took 1ac as meaning, that to export something from the UK it has to be flown or shipped to go abroad.
    Thanks again

    • Gazza
      Posted June 15, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

      But how does the ‘hoping’ fit in?

      • Sheffieldsy
        Posted June 15, 2016 at 9:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Might = hoping is how we took it.

        • Gazza
          Posted June 15, 2016 at 10:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

          I can’t come up with a sentence where you can interchange ‘might’ with ‘hoping’.

          • Hanni
            Posted June 15, 2016 at 10:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

            I am hoping to watch some cricket this weekend…I might watch some cricket this weekend.

            Nope doesn’t work.

  10. crypticsue
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Beam tomorrow

  11. Kath
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Oh dear! :sad: Don’t know about pig’s flying but pig’s ears would be nearer the mark for me.
    The right hand side went really well and I was thinking that I might just finish this one – wrong.
    The top left corner wasn’t too good and don’t even start me on the bottom left corner.
    I convinced myself that the second word of 7d had to be ending; I’ve never heard of a 24a; I can’t spell 17d.
    I got 25a but only because it couldn’t have been much else – I didn’t know the slang money and I also admit to not knowing what a metonym is – looked it up in BRB and their example is the boxing and the ring as it is here.
    I enjoyed the right hand side and liked 8d. I also like 7d now that it’s all been spelt out to me in words of one syllable.
    With thanks to Kcit and much appreciation to gazza for the much needed hints.

  12. KiwiColin
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The place in 8d needed Google help which is probably not surprising, and also another surprise when I looked, without much hope, in BRB for the money in 25a and found that it was indeed there. Quite tricky in places and I did appreciate the all-in-one clues.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza

  13. Jane
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 9:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I was with Kath and the pig’s ears today and needed a few hints from Gazza to help get the grid filled. Didn’t know the meaning of the answers to either 24a or1d and hadn’t heard of the 11a metal or the money in 25a.
    Probably only got 14a because I love Bill Bryson’s books!
    As I said – a pig’s ear………
    Best for me were 1a&7d.

    Thanks to Kcit – I’m sure you upped the difficulty with this one – and to lovely Gazza, without whom I’d still be wading through the mire.

    • Hanni
      Posted June 15, 2016 at 9:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

      “I come from Des Moines, somebody had to”….. :grin:

  14. Sheffieldsy
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 9:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Bucking the trend somewhat, we thought this was a tremendous puzzle. The three &lits were each superb in their own way but we thought 16a was just stupendous – clue of the year to date for us, it was faultless. We decided to rate it 3*/4.5*.

    We hadn’t previously come across the slang money in 25a so, an added bonus, we’ve learned something too.

    Gazza, thanks for the review but we couldn’t understand how you liked it so little. Kcit, thank you very much indeed.

    • Gazza
      Posted June 15, 2016 at 10:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I agree that 16a is very good. I hadn’t initially spotted the anagram so I originally thought that it was a double definition until Brookc’s comment #2.
      I didn’t actively dislike the puzzle, I just thought that it was less than average on the enjoyment scale. I still don’t really get 1a and I thought that a few of the surfaces (e.g. 21a, 24a and 18d) didn’t mean a great deal.

  15. Expat Chris
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 10:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve run out of day, so had to give up with 4 left unsolved (1D, 8D, 10A and 13A) and a bung in at 25A. I did find it tricky (took forever to see 7D!) and in the end the only clue I had a tick against was 17D. Anyhoo, thanks Kcit and Gazza.

    PS: I’ve been to 14A. Don’t bother.

    PPS.: Jane, I’ve almost finished A Walk in the Woods and I’m now hooked on Bill Bryson.

  16. Hanni
    Posted June 15, 2016 at 11:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Love Bill Bryson too. Got The Road to Little Dribbling for Christmas. Great fun.

  17. Tanzy
    Posted June 16, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink | Reply

    Re 23a – try as we might cannot get the ‘largely imitative’ part of the clue. The answer was fairly obvious but don’t understand that bit of the clue. Are we being particularly thick?

    • Gazza
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink | Reply

      Imitative is ‘me-too’. Largely means without the last letter.

  18. Tanzy
    Posted June 16, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Gazza – just a bit more dense than usual plus it was early in the morning!

  19. LetterboxRoy
    Posted June 16, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very good – if slightly uncomfortable with 1a & 4d. (Banned??)

    1d went in last, needed a nudge from Gazza.

    7d &19d definite faves for me, thought 16a is a straightforward back page clue.

    Many thanks to Kcit for the problems & Gazza for the nudge, well done to all.

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