Toughie 1745 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1745

Toughie No 1745 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

It’s great to get another Elkamere puzzle on a Wednesday and, as usual, this one entertains splendidly with a fair few d’oh moments for the well-disguised definitions.

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

Across Clues

1a Foul landing place for blow fly is here (5,3,4)
BELOW THE BELT – where the fly (on trousers) is located.

8a Show ‘choose’ as ‘choose again‘ (7)
READOPT – this is a verb to choose once more (someone as a parliamentary candidate, for example). It’s a charade of a verb to show or register and a verb to choose.

9a Will not split (Scottish spelling) (7)
CANTRIP – a Scottish word for a witch’s spell (not one that I knew), when split 3’1,3 could mean ‘will not split’.

11a Check this bad language (7)
LETTISH – a word for check or obstruction is followed by an anagram (bad) of THIS.

12a Cuckoo tangles flipping legs (7)
STAMINA – reverse a charade of a black tropical cuckoo (3) (another word I didn’t know) and a verb meaning tangles or gets snarled up.

13a Sweet stall (5)
FUDGE – double definition, the second a verb to stall or prevaricate.

14a Ancient court and shrine in ruins (9)
SANHEDRIN – this old Jewish court is an anagram (in ruins) of AND SHRINE.

16a Mean salesman’s grudge (9)
REPRESENT – concatenate a travelling salesman and a verb to grudge.

19a Good group in cricket ground (5)
GABBA – the abbreviation for good and a Scandinavian group make up the name of the test match ground in Brisbane.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

21a One flying boat on right, unfinished (7)
TITLARK – a Biblical boat follows a word meaning right or ownership without its final letter.

23a Rumours of sightings all started right here (7)
ROSWELL – this is the place in New Mexico where a US Air Force balloon crashed in 1947 prompting a host of conspiracy theories that it was a UFO containing alien beings and that it had all been covered up by the government. The starting letters of the first three words are followed by an adjective meaning right or fit.

24a Part of desert area covered in exotic plants (4,3)
SALT PAN – the abbreviation for area contained inside an anagram (exotic) of PLANTS.

25a View over wing (7)
OPINION – the abbreviation for an over at cricket followed by a wing.

26a Male model is going out with English girl (12)
MADEMOISELLE – an anagram (going out) of MALE MODEL IS then E(nglish).

Down Clues

1d Flipping bed clothes don’t wear out (7)
BLASTED – the word bed surrounds a verb meaning endure or don’t wear out.

2d Untruth about dealing with one’s honour (7)
LIONISE – an untruth goes round a preposition meaning ‘dealing with’, the Roman numeral for one and the ‘S.

3d Quickly — what is the anagram? (4,5)
WITH HASTE – an anagram (anagram) of WHAT IS THE.

4d So upset about love cheat (5)
HOCUS – reverse a word meaning so (e.g. in a phrase like ‘so that …..’) containing the usual letter meaning love.

5d Dress in black and appear older (7)
BANDAGE – string together the abbreviation for black, AND and a verb to appear older.

6d With more fat I will have buttery coating (7)
LARDIER – I with a sort of buttery around it. Buttery is a noun here rather than an adjective.

7d Mushrooms and battered tripe for sale (12)
PROLIFERATES – an anagram (battered) of TRIPE FOR SALE.

10d Simple Plan covering single, one by Rod Stewart (5,7)
PLAIN SAILING – insert the letter that resembles one or single into PLAN and add the title of a Rod Stewart single. Apparently Stewart liked the song’s theme of homesickness because he was living abroad to avoid paying UK tax – doesn’t that make your heart bleed for him?

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15d Disgraceful American supports recent Olympic ban? (9)
NOTORIOUS – a 2-letter abbreviation for American is preceded by a phrase (2,2,3) calling for a boycott of the most recent Olympics.

17d This can be spread all over bone (7)
PATELLA – a spread (ignoring the circumflex and acute accent) followed by the reversal of ALL.

18d Old enough to be a model (7)
EXAMPLE – join together a prefix meaning old or former and an adjective meaning enough.

19d Country houses like rough monthly charge? (3,4)
GAS BILL – the abbreviation for a geographical area that forms part of our country (but is not, strictly speaking, a country) contains a conjunction meaning ‘like’. Finish with an adjective meaning rough or under the weather.

20d Gathering family to find direct route (7)
BEELINE – a social gathering (of seamstresses for example) followed by a word for family or ancestry.

22d Grasp the same wooden fencing? (5)
KENDO – charade of a word meaning grasp or understanding and an abbreviation meaning ‘the same as what went before’. The answer is a Japanese form of fencing using wooden, rather than metal, weapons.

1a, 21a, 1d and 7d vied for the honours but the winner is 15d. How did your picks match up?

31 comments on “Toughie 1745

  1. Fluffy for an Elkamere (and a Wednesday Toughie come to that) but extremely enjoyable. Thanks to him and Gazza too

  2. I was delayed by thinking that 8a must be “wontrip” but I got there in the end. I needed Gazza’s help with parsing a couple.Thank you to him and setter.

    1. Hi neveracrossword. I was struck by a thought the other day – are you the same neveracrossword who posts regularly on Answerbank? (If not, someone else has nicked your alias!).

      1. Answerbank? How come that there is always an immediate response?

        I have always wondered.

        I have asked them but it seems to be a trade secret.

        1. You should have a look at ‘Crossword Solver’ – they nearly break their neck in trying to see who can answer a crossword question the fastest.

    2. Me too – even tried looking it up! It’s not a word. Also miscounted the number of e’s in 26a and made the first five letters a palindrome. D’oh!

  3. I was obviously on the wrong wavelength today with Mr Mayer – as I found this quite difficult during the solve. That being said – after I had completed it I did wonder why it had taken me so long to do it. Never mind, it did not detract from the enjoyment I get from an Elkamere / Anax etc puzzle.

    Thanks to Elkamere for the workout and Gazza for his review.

    1. Forgot to say that when solving 22d – it did take me back to those glorious Saturday afternoons sitting with my Mum and hearing Kent Walton’s sonorous voice welcoming us ‘grappling fans’ to an hour of fun with all the old favourites. My Mum’s favourite was Les Kellett followed by a certain Mr Mick McManus – them were the good old days :)

      1. We were easily entertained in those days, weren’t we? My favourite was Billy Two Rivers with his tomahawk chop.

  4. Flippin ‘eck – I didn’t find this one “fluffy” … but enjoyed it immensely especially 1a and the super smooth surface reading of 26a.

    Thanks to Elkamere & Gazza.

  5. 14a defeated me – even though it’s an anagram it could be anything, even with the checkers. 2d also eluded me, couldn’t quite make sense of the parsing. I found it quite difficult, generally, and still don’t understand some of it but I’m too worn out to think any more!

    Liked 1a & 4d, favourite is 1a. Thanks to Gazza for making sense of it and Elkamere for the tussle.

      1. Ahaaa! I had the L, I & E in already, so figured that was the untruth – no wonder I was flummoxed. Should have realised I’d got it all wrong from the hint. Stupid boy!
        Thanks for the helping hand today, Gazza.

  6. Didn’t do well at all.
    Missing answers aplenty on the right side of the crossword (9,10,12,19 and 20 to be precise.
    Gave up and waited for the review.
    Thanks to Gazza for the explanations and to Elkamere for the puzzle.

  7. We did a clue word count as we do for Beam/RayT puzzles and found that Dean has stayed within the same guidelines in having no more than eight words. Several multi-word answers though. Not a quick solve but steady progress throughout with just a few that needed checking in reference material. We really appreciate this setter’s ability to disguise definitions. Excellent fun and much enjoyed.
    Thanks Elkamere and Gazza.

  8. I found this quite tough, but enjoyable as always from Elkamere. 12a was my last in, which I failed to parse at the time.
    Thanks to Elkamere, and to Gazza.

    Looking forward to PJ tomorrow – thanks to crypticsue for the heads up.

  9. I really enjoyed this, and completed it surprisingly quickly by my usual standards. (I’m dosed up on Sudafed and wonder whether I’ve inadvertently stumbled on the solver’s elixir.)
    1a is an absolute beauty, but there were plenty of others too. I think SANHEDRIN is fairly obscure, something that I’d forgotten I knew, so a straightforward anagram seems a fair way to clue it.
    Re 10d, some of you may already know that Elkamere and daughter are massive fans of the band Simple Plan, hence their occasional appearances in his puzzles. Good to see The Eagles get a mention at 2d as well. Arf!

    Thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for the blog.

  10. Certainly tough enough for me! Had to guess and then look-up 9,11&19a and then needed Gazza’s help with the parsing of 12a (ashamed to say that I didn’t know that name for the bird) and also 19d – which was just plain dim!
    Liked all the ones Gazza mentioned and would add 25a & 18d to the list.

    Many thanks to Dean and gratitude to Gazza for the help.

  11. This was harder for me than for those who found it fluffy. I was pleased to get a full grid without assistance, but have to admit that the precise order of letters in 14a was a very lucky guess. I did also need after the solve to verify a couple of other answers (including 9a where, like neveracrossword, I first considered “wontrip”) and a few in-wordplay synonyms to be sure I had it all down.

    I can’t possibly choose a favourite – any of those mentioned above would do, and quite a few more. Since nobody has mentioned 3d yet I will/have. One of many smiles.

    Many thanks to Elkamere for the fun and to Gazza for the explanations.

  12. Oh dear – oh well – :sad: etc etc.
    I always find Elkamere difficult and I certainly wouldn’t call this even a tiny little bit fluffy – I got further than I ever have before with one of his crosswords so I’m not going to bash myself around the head.
    I was completely ‘had’ with the ‘blow fly’ and the ‘wooden fencing’ but did eventually get them – so many others defeated me that I gave up.
    All that sounds as if I didn’t enjoy it – I did but it was way too difficult for me.
    I liked 1 and 26a and 3 and 10d.
    With thanks to Elkamere for the crossword and huge thanks to Gazza for the very much needed hints (and a few answers too).

  13. We found this rather heavy weather and could not get the interlocking pair of 12a (we didn’t spot that legs was the definition and we would never have got it from the lego part of the clue anyway) and 4d (never come across that use of the word before).

    Overall, 4.5*/3*. We find this terse clueing a bit of a turn-off and not necessarily something to be admired. Surely a good clue is a good clue irrespective of the word count? Are we alone in thinking this artificial constraint is unhelpful?

    20a was our favourite.

    Thanks to Gazza and Elkamere.

    1. First off, thank you Gazza for a smashing review and to all for your comments.
      Your comment about clue length is interesting, Sheffieldsy. I’ll try to explain why I go for brevity. My first proper outlet was with the Birmingham Post when that series was headed by our own Rufus. He liked my first sample puzzle enough to encourage me to improve on it, and although my clues weren’t excessively wordy he did mention that he used 8 words as a rough maximum. It was a case of not being too scared if word counts ran to double figures, but it was always worth checking to see if some economy was available. It’s simply been a habit ever since and I have this internal trigger that finds me becoming scared when clues start to look too long.
      For me, brevity also has a practical purpose based on fairness. Because I’m always on the lookout for unusual/tricky definitions, I’m aware that extra layers of difficulty can be added at any point, sometimes unwittingly, and verbosity can add to that. The shorter a clue, the fewer components a solver has to tussle with, hence fewer chances of becoming lost. Outrageous as it sounds, it is actually my way of trying to be helpful.

      1. Thank you, Anax, for your explanation. It’s much appreciated and rather longer than your clues.😀 We’ll keep on trying to get on your wavelength, rest assured.

    2. I like short clues, they tend to be more imaginative.

      Water tower (3)
      ? (8)
      Gegs (9,4)
      Flowers make adults into children (6-2-4)

      …and so on.

      Thank you Elk/Anax

  14. Enjoyable, and not as difficult as I expected, time about the same as yesterday’s. That said, a few went in on a bit of a wing and a prayer. Got away with it though. 1ac raised a smile. :-)

  15. 15d was definitely my favourite but I found the whole crossword pleasurable to solve. Good surface readings and no long clunky clues. Thanks Elkamere and Gazza

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