Toughie 1780 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1780

Toughie No 1780 by Excalibur

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****


Hi-de-Hi campers, and welcome to another Tuesday in Toughieland.  Today’s treat is not terribly tough, and tutting at Yoda-isms I didn’t find myself doing.

The definitions are underlined in the clues below, and you’ll find the answers inside the buttons.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative – click only if you wish to reveal all.



1a    What may prove time lapses in chart I compiled? (10)
ARITHMETIC:  Prove things with maths: TIME is jumbled up (lapses) inside an anagram (compiled) of CHART I

9a    Have got out of bed – flipping cat! (4)
PUMA:  A reversal (flipping) of two words which could mean have risen in the morning

10a   A hitch in the romance? (6,4)
LOVER’S KNOT:  A cryptic definition of a tangly token of deep affection

11a   Rush to catch one’s transport (6)
CHAISE:  A verb to hurry contains one, written the Roman way

12a   Anyway, bee escapes web to fly outside (7)
HOWEVER:  Start with WEb without the letter bee (bee escapes).  Outside this goes a verb to fly without going anywhere

15a   Mum lost temper about that rifle (7)
RUMMAGE:  We have an anagram (lost) of MUM, and about that a temper

16a   Leading by some games, but it’s a fraud (3-2)
SET-UP:  Without the hyphen this could mean leading by a group of games in tennis.  Hyphen in place, it’s a trap

17a   Further consideration given to employee (4)
RISE:  Cryptic definition. The consideration is monetary

18a   Leave at the double – desert (4)
GOBI:  Leave or depart followed by a prefix meaning twice or double

19a   Was clearly surprised being space captain on paper (5)
GAPED:  A space and then the head of a newspaper

21a   Salesman backed twelve people bearing false witness? (7)
PERJURY:  The reversal of a salesperson followed by a group of people appointed to judge their peers

22a   Commits oneself to month and fateful day? (7)
DECIDES:  Take an abbreviation of one of the months of the year and add a significant day (when in another month) of the Roman calendar

24a   Wet, shivering, one’s drenched through top to bottom (6)
SODDEN:  Start with an anagram (shivering) of ONES.  Inside (through) this put the outer letters (top to bottom) of drenched.  I’m not quite sure about this one – can anybody help?

27a   Cheep alarm clock? (4,6)
DAWN CHORUS:  Not the cheap alarm clock it sounds like: as long as you are awake enough to note the spelling, you can see that this must be a cryptic definition.  Some cheeping which might wake you up in the morning.  Create your own here

28a   Wise, I scarpered, given the bird (4)
ERNE:  The comedian Mr Wise (with the necessary capital neatly camouflaged at the beginning of the clue) without the I (I scarpered)

29a   Show to be out of job (10)
EXPOSITION:  Show or demonstration.  Out of (2) plus a post



2d    Jumper’s fine vault, perhaps (4)
ROOF:  A charade of an antipodean jumpy creature and F(ine)

3d    Engelbert to some extent making comeback as singer (6)
TREBLE:  Part of this individual singer’s name (not the one he was born with) gives a type of singer when reversed (making comeback).  Please release me from the earworm that has now burrowed in!

4d    Discussed shellfish – they give us beef (7)
MUSCLES:  Sounding like some shellfish, some beef or brawn

5d    Light brown Golf shows taste (4)
TANG:  A light brown colour followed by G(olf)

6d    What grocer needs to make poor sales equal rival’s? (7)
CATCHUP:  A variant spelling of a sauce which only has one spelling to my mind: split (5,2) it means draw level with.  I spent too long on this as I read grocer as greengrocer and was preoccupied with seeking exotic fruits and vegetables

7d    Advocate to start solving puzzle? (3,2,1,4)
PUT IN A WORD:  Literally, this might be the first thing you do when solving a crossword

8d    Reckless people had the nerve to surmount adversities (4-6)
DARE-DEVILS:  A charade of had the nerve and calamities or catastrophes

12d   Given hefty shove up against it (4-6)
HARD-PUSHED:  Another clue where the wordplay requires you to interpret the answer in a non-standard, more literal, way

13d   On vacation we’re walking in part of Yorkshire (4,6)
WEST RIDING:  Outer letters (on vacation) of we’re and then walking with long steps

14d   Once more put hand on (5)
RELAY:  If split (2-3) this might mean place again

15d   Nettled, two fellows left, as ordered (5)
RULED:  Take a seven letter word meaning annoyed and remove the two instances of F(ellow) from it

19d   Toff found in Spain and in two-thirds of Greece (7)
GRANDEE:  AND from the clue inside two thirds of the last word of the clue

20d   Half minded to suppress fresh cuts in docks (7)
DEDUCTS:  This time we want to take half of the second word of the clue; we then add to it an anagram (fresh) of CUTS

23d   Isn’t prepared to have doctor probing. Very personal (6)
INMOST:  An anagram (prepared) of ISNT containing (to have … probing) one of the abbreviations for a doctor

25d   Substitute feels upset (4)
SWAP:  Feels or handles reversed (upset).  I imagine the alternative “feels up substitute” might not be allowed in the DT …

26d   Cloud breaks – about to abandon fun for children (4)
LUDO:  cLOUD is anagrammed (breaks), having had an abbreviation for about removed.  I’m sure there are adults who enjoy this game too


Thanks to Excalibur.  I liked 7d, along with a high proportion of the four letter words, those beasts which can often be so troublesome.  I want to mention 2d and 25d for the smooth surfaces and smiles produced, but my favourite can hardly be other than 9a.  Which clue(s) would get you up in the morning?


22 comments on “Toughie 1780

  1. I was getting on well, marked two across clues with *s and then started on the Downs. It isn’t often I write ‘dear oh dear’ by the crossword but I did today for 6d. If there’d been a bit more room, I might have added a ‘dearie me’ too.

    Like Kitty I liked 7d but I also marked 19d and 28d too.

    Thanks to setter and blogger

  2. About ** and ** from me: I find myself in complete agreement with our doyenne cryptique that 6d is quite unacceptable. The likes of 27a and 10a had me rolling my eyes rather than feeling tickled as well.

    I did really like 9a. Of course as a dog person I have neither truck nor trouble with creatures of the feline persuasion! Present company excepted. Thanks setter and blogger.

    1. Oh, a side note! I noticed today that there is a Sloggers & Betters in the George Inn in mid-May, but if anyone thinks that’s too long to wait for a crosswordy drink, some of the Times bloggers and solvers are planning to meet for a drink there almost exactly a month earlier, after work on Wednesday April 12th. We would be delighted if others wished to join and make it a more ecumenical booze-up…

  3. Mostly straightforward, though 6d and 11a held me up a bit – 6d had to be right but I couldn’t parse it…

    Thanks to Kitty and Excalibur

  4. I have to say that I enjoyed the review much more than the puzzle. I thought that 27a and 6d were really poor clues and the only clue which made me smile was 9a. Thanks to Excalibur and Kitty (brilliant cartoon at 23d!).
    Arachne is weaving her usual magic in the Guardian.

  5. This was more my kind of Toughie. Nice surfaces to the clues and not overly cpomplicated. Am cross with myself for needing a hint for 9 across, which obvious as it was, totally eluded me. A very enjoyable solve. Thanks to Excalibur and to Kitty.

  6. The only good thing about 6D was that the BRB didn’t blame it on North America. On the plus side, I liked 1A, 27A, 29A, and 13D. Thanks to Excalibur and Kitty.

  7. Superb entertainment. Laughing all the way. Every clue a winner. I love Excalibur crosswords. 27a gets the greatest round of applause, Thanks very much Excalibur and Kitty

  8. Steady solve, enjoyed 27 most of all and looked for the paper hat on the floor after entering 6. TY K & E

  9. For some reason I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as I normally expect to with an Excalibur puzzle.
    Apologies to Verlaine and Gazza but 27a was my favourite with a mention for 29a&7d.
    8d was my LOI – got too hung up on mad = reckless!

    Thanks to Excalibur and to our Girl Tuesday for a great blog – love that Simon’s Cat clip and the 12d cartoon.

  10. Hmm, mostly good clues but a few niggles marred it slightly for me, so I won’t harp on. 19d fave, 27a least so, 6d – disqualified.
    Many thanks to Excalibur and to Kitty.

  11. Learned a new word in 23d. Knew of innermost but not this short version.
    Liked 8d a lot but favourite is 14d.
    Thanks to Excalibur and to Kitty for the review and the fun cartoons.

  12. 6d was our last one. Had not previously seen that spelling and we were loath to believe it until we checked in BRB. All the rest went together smoothly.
    Thanks Excalibur and Kitty.

  13. I enjoyed this one very much.
    I thought 6d might be pushing it a bit but it is one of the three versions in the BRB.
    17a defeated me which was silly – all I could think of was that the employee might be being given a rest. Oh dear!
    11a took too long and was better once I realised that I wasn’t meant to include the ‘S of one’s.
    I liked 12 and 27a and 7 and 12d. My favourite was 9a which I loved – also loved the Simon’s Cat cartoon – it’s just like that around here at the moment as we have the Elder Lamb’s cats staying.
    With thanks to Excalibur and to Kitty.

    1. How lovely – a PJ Toughie and a Gazza review – could there be a better combination? I’ll answer my own question – no.

  14. Had to use electronic help for 6d. Apart from that there were no particular problems. I’ll go for 19d as favourite.Thank you setter and Kitty.

  15. **/** for us. We didn’t find quite the fun-laden puzzle that Kitty did. We agree that 6d isn’t a great clue, but it is certainly acceptable, Verlaine. Favourites were 9a and 14d.

    Kitty, here comes my degree and pedantry again – arithmetic is a mechanical process, maths proves things and they are not synonymous.

    Thanks to Kitty and Excalibur.

    1. 6d’s redeeming feature was 5 out of 7 letters being checked, so the chances of worrying overlong about it were minimised!

  16. I knew this one would split opinion!

    Always interesting to hear your views. Thanks.

    I’m a tired bunny and will move bedwards soon. I doubt I’ll manage many crosswords in the next few days so this might be it from me for a while. See you next time.

  17. About ** for difficulty sounds right to me, especially when solving this time of night. 6d I didn’t understand at all on solving, and I can see why now. The rest I enjoyed, pretty well judged for a Tuesday Toughie.

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