Toughie 1763 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1763

Toughie 1763 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by KateR

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


A brilliant puzzle from Elkamere which didn’t seem overly difficult except for, well, a few difficulties experienced by each of us.  We both made generally smooth progress but Dutch was somehow slowed down in NE and should have seen 8d much earlier.  Meanwhile, Kitty found a few sticky spots at the end, and managed to have trouble parsing a couple of the clues. All good fun.

Half the battle is finding the definitions – these are underlined in the clues below.  The hint will hopefully allow you to get the answer, but you can always reveal it by clicking on the button.  Please leave a comment letting us know what you thought and how you got on.



1a    Free hit OK, boxing utterly new (3,5,3)
ALL RIGHT NOW: A belter to begin with.  After finally seeing the excellent definition, confusion sets in as you think ‘OK’ applies to the first two words of the answer – devious!  You need a 5-letter verb meaning to OK or sanction which contains (boxing) a word which in its adjectival form means completely or utterly, plus the abbreviation for new

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

10a    Get heading for natural harbour (5)
HAVEN: A verb that could mean ‘get’ plus the first letter (heading) of natural

11a    Duck recently born in box hedge (9)
STONEWALL: Hmm, recent could be new, but not recently, so ‘recently born’ must be new.  The letter that looks like a zero score in cricket, plus ‘recently born’, all inside (in) a box or booth

12a    Song about soldiers reaching grand city (9)
NUREMBERG: A song, or an item on a hit list, goes around an abbreviation for a type of soldiers plus the abbreviation for Grand

13a    Sound (bang) (5)
PLUMB: Two meanings, to test the depth and precisely

14a    Union nuts are collecting £1000 for bingo (6)
EUREKA: A Union we are trying to leave plus an anagram (nuts) of ARE to go around (collect) an abbreviation meaning £1000

16a    Begin putting salt in fat (5,3)
START OUT: Another word for salt or sailor goes inside another word for fat

18a    Shrink sees something in each behaviour (4,4)
FADE AWAY: ‘Something in’ plus the abbreviation for EA(ch) plus a word meaning behaviour or manner

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

20a    Order to leave  fires (4,2)
LETS GO: Two meanings: an order (or perhaps an informal suggestion) to leave, and terminates employment

23a    Former record company and its overlapping releases (5)
EMITS: A 3-letter acronym for a former record label plus ITS from the clue, where the two I’s overlap

24a    Hardiest criminal accepts fine prematurely (4,5)
HEAD FIRST: An anagram (criminal) of hardiest goes around (accepts) the abbreviation for F(ine)

26a    To cut through concrete, picks up drill (9)
REHEARSAL: Into a word meaning concrete or factual, insert (to cut through) a word meaning ‘picks up’

27a    Today’s ‘trendy’ bound to fail (2-3)
NOW-IN: A 3-letter for today or the present plus a 2-letter word for trendy

28a    Singing styles of a country lover? (11)
INTONATIONS: The answer split (4,6) would describe what a country lover is



2d    More charged for an organ (5)
LIVER: Take a word meaning charged (of a wire perhaps) and change the ending so it could mean even more charged.  This organ has to work hard to keep KateR blogging!

3d    Went mad, as one second in line (3,4)
RAN AMOK: A single letter word for one and a short word for a short time or second together go inside a row

4d    One may light a fag (6)
GASPER: Put together a type of light and a word meaning a or for each to get a slang term for a cheap cigarette (fag) which I don’t think I knew

5d    They are in my mind, but this is empty (8)
THOUGHTS: Start with but or however and add the outer letters (because it is empty) of this.  Lovely! I want to say more but can’t think of anything …

6d    With mic in hand, runs down the leaderboard? (4,3)
OVER PAR: The first part of the answer (4,2) could mean with mic in hand.  Add R(uns) and we have a description of a less than glorious sporting score


7d    What could be Earth’s second 5 (6,2,5)
CHANGE OF HEART: This is a reverse anagram: the last word of the answer is an anagram of EARTH and the rest is an anagram indicator.  The answer could describe the 5d that come after the first ones

8d    Great book – parts of usual novel (8)
FABULOUS: B(ook) is inside (parts) an anagram (novel) of OF USUAL

9d    Enthusiasm reduced, put off travel (13)
GLOBETROTTING: Link together ardour or warmth without its last letter (reduced), put (a wager, for example), and a word meaning spoiled or decaying

15d    Danger sign shown just after changing sides (3,5)
RED LIGHT: Obtain this warning indicator by taking synonyms of shown (the way) and just or fair, and then interchanging their first letters (after changing sides)

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

17d    Filling of stomach is modern man’s strength (8)
MACHISMO: Tucked inside (filling of) three words of the clue

19d    To not vote is a black mark (7)
ABSTAIN: A charade of A from the clue, B(lack), and an unwanted mark

21d    Mr F Ward, Independent (7)
EFFENDI: This title associated with the East is formed of F as a word (the F-word?), ward (usually followed by off) and an abbreviation for Independent

22d    Trouble experienced over one in bed (6)
DAHLIA: Combine three-letter verbs meaning trouble and experienced, and then reverse them (over).  The bed is not the kind I usually sleep in (and the one below is not in a bed at all)

25d    Horse circling wide tree (5)
ROWAN: A horse of mixed colours contains the cricketing abbreviation for wide.  I wanted to include here a clip of a certain comedian, but couldn’t choose one, so instead I’ll invite you to share your favourites in the comments


1a was very nice, and we also liked 18a.  The manly lurker in 17d elicited a chuckle, and 22d raised a smile.  We particularly enjoyed 5d and the associated 7d.  Which clues had you jumping for joy?




25 comments on “Toughie 1763

  1. Nice Toughie thank you Elkamere – lots to enjoy and I even didn’t mind the ear worm induced by solving 1a

  2. Not enough time to finish this in my lunch break, so the rest can wait until the pub later (a bit of deja vu as we did Loroso in the pub last Friday). I found the bottom half a lot easier than the top half, which is still pretty blank.

    Thanks to Dean and the dynamic duo…

  3. Good fun – thanks to Elkamere and the dynamic duo. I had to Google the ‘Free’ in 1a having never heard of them. I wasn’t at all sure on the parsing of 4d – the definition could be the whole clue, i.e. someone ****ing for a fag (or even someone with troubled breathing as a result of smoking) so I ended up thinking it was a semi-all-in-one.
    My ticks are awarded to 11a, 18a and 21d.

  4. Very enjoyable indeed.
    Just got a bit confused with 9d as I was going a totally different way thinking it finished with “outing” for the travel, an anagram of “put” before that, was looking for a four letter word for reduced so it could give me some kind of enthusiasm.
    Well anyway, had to read the hint for that one.
    Loved the shortness of the clues. No nonsense.
    Thanks to Elkamere and to Dutch and Kitty for the joint review.

  5. All the usual fun from Elkamere where the parsing often takes appreciably longer than the fitting in of the answers.
    1a still beat me when it came to the definition – I do vaguely remember the group and certainly know the song but putting the two together proved to be a bridge too far!

    Can’t begin to isolate a favourite but 2d raised a smile when I thought of the collaborators on today’s blog – would, of course, have been far too polite to mention it had you not already alluded to it yourselves!

    Thanks to Dean (how’s your musical protégée coming along?) and to KateR for the review. The 3d pic made me laugh and the 18a clip was, as they say – something else again!

    1. Thanks for a loverly blog Kitty and Dutch – terrific stuff as always.

      Xana is doing great with her guitar, Jane, making fantastic progress. She has her Jackson guitar (and amp) at home, with her Telecaster and Ibanez semi-acoustic here – I’ve got a bass practice amp which is actually amazingly good for electric guitar. The big difference recently is her voice. Only a couple of months ago she seemed to naturally find herself singing harmonies (usually lower than the lead voice), but she’s started singing lead vocal while playing and, honestly, her voice is incredibly sweet and pretty well spot on in terms of pitch.
      I don”t know if it’s still an active project, but she did join a few guys starting a band at college, but she would be playing bass for them. She has a Fender Squier jazz bass here and an acoustic at home, but she might do a Josh Portman (from Yellowcard) and perfect guitar before spending more time on bass.

      1. Many thanks, Anax, both for the super puzzle and the loverly comment.

        Well done Xana – you must be justifiably very proud of her indeed. :good:

  6. Absorbing, thoroughly enjoyable. Hard to pick a favourite.. The deceptive 1a maybe, or the peculiar brevity of 21d, or perhaps the ‘moment’ of realising 14a!
    Great fun, many thanks to Elkamere for a masterpiece and to KateR, Dutch & Kitty.

    PS Who proof-read the 16a hint? :whistle:

      1. Any idea when and where Tilsit’s challenge will appear? If I’ve been told, I’ve forgotten.

  7. Free in 1a was new to us so that one took some time to sort out. We got the correct answer mainly from the checkers and enumeration and then had to sort out why. It certainly kept us out of mischief for quite a long time but we did eventually get it all done. Lots of clever clues in there.
    Thanks Elkamere and KateR.

  8. I needed 6 hints, but that’s about par for the course when I tackle an Elk. Lots of wonderfully devious clues, of which my favourite was 7d. Thanks to Elkamere and the Dutch/Kitty combo.

  9. Didn’t start this until early evening Saturday. Needed a few hints to finish. It was stonkingly good.

    Was stunned by the magnificence of 1a, a song Mr Sheffieldsy remembers well.

    Thanks to the blogging duo and Elkamere.

  10. As ever – a very enjoyable puzzle from my top puzzlemeister . He is the champion of the hidden/open definition and long may it last. Any chance of us mere mortals being given the chance to review a Toughie? Or have we lost the opportunity to the Kitty corporation?

  11. Well I’m behind everyone. Super puzzle that I ve done today since early as busy Friday, out all day yesterday. 3 I needed a nudge but they turned out to be the easiest ones. Só duh!
    Last contribution to blog as I just have nt time all day for this between gardening. Am on other planet from clique! Bye

    1. A Google search for the group Free and the words of the solution to 1a should make things less puzzling, but sadly now I’ve told you that, the earworm’s come back

    2. Hi Robin,
      The song ‘All right now’ was a hit record for a group named Free. No, I didn’t know, either!

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