Toughie 1695 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1695

Toughie No 1695 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

I do love my Friday slot. A not-too-fiendish and very enjoyable puzzle from Elkamere today, so do give it a go. Plenty to like. What more need I say?

As always, the definitions are underlined. You can reveal the answer by clicking the BLOWING IN THE WIND button. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Miss doing admin work? (6,4)
OFFICE GIRL: A nice cryptic definition to start, with a pun on miss

6a    Double points for turning round (4)
SPIT: A reversal (for turning round) of a word for points or ends give a slang word for exact replica or double

10a    Fish? That could be right (5)
ANGLE: Fish is a verb. ‘Right’ can be one kind of the answer.

11a    Shut bars for measurement of insulation (3,6)
TOG RATING: a 2-letter word meaning shut, plus a word for bars or lattice

12a    I start to offer toast — the rest offer sandwiches (5,2)
HERES TO: The beginning of a toast is hidden (sandwiches) in the clue

13a    River suffered when abandoned by international organisation (7)
DERWENT: Take a 9-letter word meaning suffered and remove the 2-letter abbreviation for an international organisation from the start

14a    Virgin Atlantic trip? (6,6)
MAIDEN VOYAGE: Cryptic definition for the first journey of a boat

18a    Award briefly held by some (5,2,5)
ORDER OF MERIT: The abbreviation for the answer is hidden (briefly held) inside ‘some’

21a    Working with copper to break up party for wild kid (4,3)
LION CUB: A 2-letter word for working plus the chemical symbol for copper go inside (to break up) the abbreviation of a political party

23a    Home Office finally search comprehensive (2-5)
IN-DEPTH: A 2-letter word meaning home, an abbreviation for office or part of an organisation, and the last letter (finally) of search

24a    Border crossing contact is concern (9)
CARTOUCHE: A 4-letter word for concern or worry goes around (crossing) a word for contact to give this scroll-like decorative border in architecture

25a    One has to make hands perfect (5)
IDEAL: The Roman numeral for one plus ‘to make hands’ by distributing cards

26a    House some of these migrants (4)
SEMI: A topical surface, the answer is hidden in (some of) the clue

27a    Bishop of Rome converted, embracing close to witness (10)
MONSIGNORE: An anagram (converted) of ROME goes around (embracing) both a 2-letter word meaning close to and a verb meaning witness (at a wedding, perhaps)



1d    It can replace spinach or pine (6)
ORACHE: OR from the clue plus a verb meaning pine or long

2d    Build a total, perhaps (6)
FIGURE: Two meanings, the first is the build of a person, the second would be a number

3d    Sadly, the last race in my 4×4? (7,7)
CHELSEA TRACTOR: An anagram (sadly) of THE LAST RACE goes inside an exclamation meaning my

4d    Find Bob wrapping hot pants (3,4,2)
GET HOLD OF: A famous Bob goes around (wrapping) an anagram (pants) of HOT

5d    Harsh soldier’s shut outside (5)
RIGID: An American soldier is surrounded (outside) by ‘shut’ as an informal adjective meaning free of

7d    Charges into battle? (5,3)
PRICE WAR: Cryptic definition of a battle involving charges – between supermarkets, for example

8d    Sensible, so she’s moved (8)
TOGETHER: Split (2,3,3), the answer could mean to affect a lady emotionally

9d    Being dishonest about imaginary cat is OK (4,2,8)
FAIR TO MIDDLING: An 8-lettter word for being dishonest or swindling goes around a word meaning imaginary, like a guitar perhaps, and a male cat

15d    Want to get seen turning over feasts (9)
: A reversal of ‘seen’ from the clue goes around a verb meaning feasts or eats

16d    Country folk admitting old game’s a mess (8)
HORLICKS: A word meaning unsophisticated country fold goes around both the abbreviation for O(ld) and the 2-letter abbreviation for a game (the other one)

17d    Word image, not with letters represented (8)
IDEOGRAM: An all-in-one: an anagram (letters represented) of (w)ORD IMAGE without the abbreviation for W(ith)

19d    Make swimmers use very deep jumps up in this (6)
SPEEDO: A 2-letter word meaning very contains a reversal (jumps up in this) of ‘deep’ from the clue

20d    Mothball that woman left on empty valise (6)
SHELVE: Mothball is a verb here. ‘That woman’ plus the abbreviation for L(eft) plus the outer letters (empty, as in with content removed) of V(alis)E

22d    Resist love for young man (5)
BUCKO: A word meaning to resist (a trend, perhaps) plus the letter that looks like a score of nil in tennis (love)

I enjoyed all of this – particularly 12a for the surface, 3d (the 4×4), 4d (our friend Bob wrapping hot pants), the all-in-one word image (17d) and the make swimmers use (19d). How did you get on and which were your favourites?

19 comments on “Toughie 1695

  1. I thought I’d never get started – then 13a yielded and it was a slow but steady solve. Some lovely clues on the way, all downs: 3 [my] 16 [the fun here was the long “surely not” moment!] 17 [a clever anagram clue for a change] and 19. The NW corner was the last to yield and sadly the penny drop moments were rather dull thuds [1a, 10a, 2d]. But overall – magnifico!

    Many thanks to Elkamere and to Dutch for the blog.

  2. I agree with happy days; this was definitely the best Toughie of the week and yesterday’s was good. This strikes the right balance between enjoyable clues and difficulty, which is no mean feat. Thanks Elkamere and Dutch for an enjoyable review. I really must get an office job.

  3. I’ve reached the stage where I can see how Elkamere’s devious cluing would wrongfoot a solver new to his puzzles, but I’ve become wise enough to his tricks that he often feels only ** difficult to me.

    No quibbles on the enjoyment rating front of course. Huge fun throughout. I did hesitate over 5d but only because I’d always thought the phrase was “get shot of”! One lives and learns.

    Maybe see a few of you tomorrow. Thanks E & D.

  4. Said it before and will say it again.
    I am a fan of short and concise clues.
    This was a perfect example.
    Had to check the BRB for 1d and 22d. Both new words for me.
    Favourite 4d.
    Thanks to Elkamere and to Dutch for the review.

  5. Loved it. I started off well and then had to beaver away a bit, but managed to do it in the end. 1d was unfamiliar and 16d (my last in – just couldn’t think of the country folk) was a new definition but one that made sense. Both of those were clear from wordplay and checkers, so I am a happy bunny.

    I have ticks by 12a, 18a, 21a, 23a, 3d, 4d, 9d, 17d and 22d, the emboldened ones being those that brought the biggest smiles.

    Many thanks to Elkamere for the enjoyable tussle and to Dutch for the review which I shall now read and have no doubt it will be excellent as usual. I awwed at the 21a pic and chuckled at the 20d one.

  6. Well here’s another happy bunny. I had a really slow start and very gradually it all came together nicely. My rating is 5*/4*. Overall this was very tough but very enjoyable with nice concise cluing and great surfaces. My two favourites (sh – don’t tell Kath) were 3d and 9d.

    1d and 22d were new words for me.

    Many thanks to Elkamere and Dutch.

  7. Bollocks. It seems that its euphemism as in 16d never made it to this part of the world so we were defeated by this one. No wonder we could not sort out the wordplay. Plenty here to keep us challenged and amused so we’re happy.
    Thanks Elkamere and Dutch.

    1. I’m surprised at your language, Kiwis! Mr K, who also did this, had noticed that that would fit the checkers, but I hadn’t. I must be slipping …

  8. Thanks for a super blog, Dutch – thanks too for introducing me to the Ship Inn this evening; smashing little pub.
    For those who don’t know, Dutch isn’t just a great blogger. He sets mighty fine puzzles too and it was tremendous fun unravelling his latest effort over a pint or two. Deserves to be published. I go for surface readings above everything else and he combines these (with aplomb) with the sort of conciseness enjoyed by Jean-Luc and myself.
    Have a terrific weekend everyone.

  9. I never expect one of Dean’s puzzles to be easy and this proved to be no exception but – oh, the sense of satisfaction when the grid is filled. I did need Dutch to help out with the parsing of 18a and will always have a problem with making on = ‘close to’ but I did manage to work out the rest for myself.
    Lots of ticks on the paper – I’m going particularly for 11,12,14&21a plus 4&7d.

    Many thanks, Dean, and thank you for popping in. Hopefully Dutch will persuade you to come to the next blog birthday party – it would be nice to finally meet you.
    Thanks also to Dutch for the great blog and the delightful pic for 21a. Now then – how about sharing with us all the puzzle Dean mentioned?

  10. 16d….What the heck is that? 3D….Really? 11A….Whatever happened to R rating? You may gather that I found this very frustrating. Not a puzzle for a decades-away expat at all. Still, everyone else seems to have enjoyed it so I will chalk it up to me not being up on the latest vernacular. Next time, Elkamere, and thanks Dutch for the enlightenment.

  11. For some strange reason, when I logged on to the puzzles site and printed off today’s toughie (and checked the setter list) I actually printed off last Friday’s puzzle which (quite unusually) I had no previous opportunity to tackle. Its not happened before! I happily set off to solve an Elkamere puzzle ignorant of the fact it was a proXimal. I found the puzzle pretty hard and distinctly un-Elkamerey. After finally finishing I logged on to the blog to see how others found it only to find I had done the wrong puzzle! Anyway, I printed off today’s Elkamere and found time this evening to give it shot. A nice puzzle – my difficulties centred – as always – around my limited vocabulary but I managed to get there bar 16d which involved two unknown words to me and I came up with nothing better than our New Zealand friends – but did not have the balls to put it in

    Many thanks to Elkamere and Dutch (and of cause proXimal)

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