Toughie 1719 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1719

Toughie 1719 by proXimal

Hints and tips by Dutch

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Since Osmosis appeared Wednesday, I was expecting my nemesis to appear today and was prepared for a long battle – but I managed to get a foothold rapidly, working steadily down the right hand side first and finished in what was 3* time for me. There was some of the usual distant synonym hunting but mainly in the answers, allowing you to get there via the wordplay.

As always, the definition is underlined in the clues below. If the hint is not enough, you can reveal the answer by clicking on the FULFIL button. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Insect that’s old metaphor for transformation (7,4)
LEOPARD MOTH: An anagram (for transformation) of OLD METAPHOR

7a    Estuary/Lake — what’s more common? (7)
HUMBLER: An estuary near Hull covers ( / ) the abbreviation for L(ake)

8a    ‘Advance!‘ heard from revolutionary youngster (5,2)
SHAPE UP: A homophone of a revolutionary who worked with Castro(3) and a youngster(3)

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

10a    Vessels from internal organs avoiding right side of heart (5)
VIALS: A 6-letter word for essential internal organs loses (avoiding) the last letter in (right side of) (hear)T

11a    Blighters binding one boy in tight ropes (9)
POISONERS: An anagram (tight, as in drunk) of ROPES contains the Roman numeral one plus a 3-letter boy. The answer would appear to be a literal meaning of the definition which is generally used informally

12a    King goblin lacking leader for fortress (7)
KREMLIN: The abbreviation for K(ing) in cards, etc., plus the kind of goblin who stops things working without the initial letter

14a    Deny what lad does to get woman (7)
GAINSAY: Spit (5,1,1) the answer describes what happens to ‘lad’ to give a 4-letter woman

15a    Porous containers let out liquid soap in moving passage-boat (7)
TEABAGS: Remove (let out) an anagram (liquid) of SOAP from an anagram (moving) of PASSAGE-BOAT

18a    Company deficit? Start to implicate powerful people (7)
COLOSSI: The abbreviation for company, a 4-letter deficit and the first letter of (start to) Implicate

20a    Cuban mixing with these villains might become undiscoverable (4-5)
EVIL-DOERS: An anagram (mixing) of CUBAN plus the answer (these villains) gives UNDISCOVERABLE

21a    Excellent  swimmer (5)
BRILL: Two meanings – the first is an informal word for excellent

22a    Check Asian food for dirt (7)
SCANDAL: To check or examine plus an Asian lentil dish

23a    Craft workers from Scottish and English towns on radio (7)
AIRCREW: Homophones (on the radio) of a coastal town north of Glasgow (3) plus a railway town in Cheshire (5)

24a    Heroic cowboy in leather astride old steed’s back (4-7)
LION-HEARTED:  An anagram (cowboy!) of IN LEATHER goes around (astride) the abbreviation for O(ld), followed by the last letter (back) of steed.


1d    Drink beverage in lounge (7)
LIMEADE: An alcoholic drink made from honey goes inside a 3-letter verb meaning to lounge horizontally

2d    Characteristic of weasel, golden round eyes (5)
OGLES: A reverse hidden (characteristic of …. round)

3d    Rat poison, not very complex drug (7)
ATROPIN: An anagram (complex) of RAT POI(so)N without a word meaning very

4d    Getting head down, almost completely fix fault on Golf (7)
DOSSING: The first 3 letters of a 4-letter word meaning a fix or a quantity of drug, a fault or wrongdoing, and the letter for which the international radio code is Golf.

5d    Well-spoken men a tailor served (9)
ORATORIAL: Some men in the army plus an anagram (served) of A TAILOR

6d    Unobtrusive fish around eel at sea (7)
HUELESS: A dogfish surrounds an anagram (at sea) of EEL. Not the first synonym of the answer that comes to mind!

7d    Blow up equipment the enemy originally stored in safe places (4,7)
HAVE KITTENS: Some 3-letter equipment plus the first letters (originally) of T(he) E(nemy) goes inside (stored in) a word meaning safe places

9d    Spooner’s ineffectual support in bed for plant (5,6)
PUSSY WILLOW: The support in bed is where you lay your head…

13d    Upset about drab housing accompanying seaside town (9)
LLANDUDNO: Reversal (upset) of a 2-letter word for about and a 4-letter word for drab goes around a conjunction meaning accompanying or with.

16d    Missing party girl is a huge pain (7)
ABIGAIL: A from the clue plus a 3-letter word for huge or large plus a word for pain or trouble. After some googling, I think the definition refers to a Mike Leigh play in which the eponymous party girl never actually appears

17d    Cats display this way to grip bird hard (7)
STEALTH: The abbreviation for a kind of way or road goes around a kind of duck, followed by the abbreviation for H(ard). Remembering Kath’s picture yesterday helped me to get this..

18d    Non-European containers north of area carrying a very foreign crop (7)
CASSAVA: A 5-letter word for containers without the E (non-European) goes above (north of) the abbreviation for A(rea), and all that goes around (carrying) A from the clue and the abbreviation for  V(ery)

19d    Jug with wine makes you excited (7)
STIRRED: A word for jug or prison plus a broad category of wine

21d    With or without internal resistance, it’s broken (5)
BURST: The answer still means broken if you remove an internal R(esistance)

My favourite clue has to be 14a – which were your favourites?


10 comments on “Toughie 1719

  1. Enjoyable stuff – thanks proXimal and Dutch. I liked 14a and 7d but my favourite was 16d (the answer to which leapt out at me after we had Alison Steadman on Wednesday).

    1. Yes a delightful coincidence, though rather than it leaping out at me I was pleased to discover it in google land. Not knowing the play, it was the “Missing” that held me up.

  2. Whew! Beaten by 2d (the shame!) and 15a. All my online stuff must have that as two words. This guy usually beats me by more than that though so quite chuffed. Thoroughly enjoyed it so thanks to proXimal and to Dutch for helping me with a couple I got but couldn’t parse properly.

  3. Was beaten by 1d and 7a. And 17d! I almost forgot. Couldn’t get Slander out of my little head in 22a.
    I was so happy to have solved clues like 13d and 16d along with the whole of the right side including the Salix Discolor in 9d and the double homophone in 23a that I deserve a pat on the back and a good drink.
    Agree that 6d is a bit of a stretch.
    Thanks to proXimal and to Dutch.

  4. We often find ProXimal puzzles a bit of a slog but we really enjoyed this one. Challenging and intriguing but it all came together steadily with lots of smiles along the way. We particularly enjoyed the technique used in 15a and 20a where the anagram fodder had to be sorted out from longer words.
    Dutch we liked your pic for 12a but seem to remember that St Basil’s is at the end of Red Square, outside the walls of the answer.
    Thanks ProXimal and Dutch.

    1. Thank you, you are right. The pic just comes from a google image search. Having never visited Moscow, I’m totally embarrassed to say i was unaware of just which buildings were or weren’t the Kremlin until your comment, but now I’ve checked it all out – so thank you for the enlightenment.

      1. About 20 years ago we were lucky enough to spend a mid-winter month in Moscow. An amazing experience for us that we remember fondly.

  5. So nearly got there ‘all by my own self’ but fell down on the drug, the blighters and – stupidly – the reverse lurker in 2d.

    6d had two new elements for me – the fish and the answer itself which I can’t recall ever hearing used.
    24a brought another new anagram indicator – thanks for the parsing of that one, Dutch.

    On the education front, I now know quite a lot about weasels and heroic cowboys!

    Favourite has to be 14a with a mention for 7d.

    Thanks to proXimal and to Dutch for the explanations.

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