Toughie 1804 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1804

Toughie No 1804 by Excalibur

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating  – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****


Hi everyone.  I hope you had a lovely long weekend.  I did, though I’m not sure my liver would agree.

We return to weekdays in Toughieland (where every weekend is a long one) with a very pleasant puzzle which would have raised more smiles if I hadn’t been battling so hard to keep my eyes open.  At least I had woken up enough by the end of the review to be able to appreciate it fully.

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



1a    Schoolchild’s punishment, devising a cryptic clue for ‘crows’? (7,5)
HUNDRED LINES:  The cryptic clue for crows would split it as C ROWS: replace those components to get your punishment

9a    Say ‘Put in writing,’ evoking grumbles (7)
MUTTERS:  Put say or speak inside a two letter abbreviation for a type of document

10a   Are bright, coming from good family (7)
GLITTER:  G(ood) plus a brood of beastly young

11a   Taking out large gun, raging (4)
RIFE:  Taking out L(arge) from a type of gun leaves a word meaning raging in the sense of rampant

12a   One in drawing’s no oil painting (5)
PLAIN:  A technical drawing containing the Roman numeral for one

13a   Cover up blame in statement (4)
WRAP:  This sounds like a slang term for blame

16a   Leaves out G in ‘edge‘ (7)
SELVAGE:  An anagram (out) of LEAVES with G inside is a border or a differently finished edging of cloth

17a   Feels hot and girl gets out of Levi’s (7)
HANDLES:  Follow the abbreviation for hot with the AND given and the final word of the clue after a short form of a feminine name has been removed.  I won’t tell you what I originally typed in here …

18a   Little blighter’s bearing gift and grants (7)
IMPARTS:  A diminutive mischief-maker oft seen in crossword grids and the ‘S from the clue containing (bearing) a gift or talent

21a   Mind about horse causing destruction (7)
CARNAGE:  Be concerned or mind around (about) a horse which, too, is seen often in these squares

23a   Roman‘s negative about the head of state (4)
NERO:  Take a negative and place it around the two letters for our current head of state to get an old Roman one who probably didn’t do what he was famed for doing

24a   In no way offensive (5)
NASTY:  Inside a different negative to that above goes a way or road, abbreviated

25a   Coat or only parts of one (4)
ARMS:  This could be part of a coat of the wearable kind; it’s also a shortened form of something of which “coat” is also a shortened form.  If that makes no sense, coat and arms are both used to mean coat of arms

28a   Try fencing the lot to produce vegetable (7)
SHALLOT:  A try or go containing (fencing) the whole

29a   Salt mark’s not come down on either side (7)
ABSTAIN:  Take one of our usual sailors (salt) and add a mark

30a   What follows ‘One’s Labour…’ is a different matter (7,5)
ANOTHER STORY:  Follow where the clue leads: if one’s Labour, then it might be that … (7’1,4).  Drop the apostrophe and respace to get something else entirely.  I was expecting the Labour in the clue to have been misleadingly capitalised, so was pleasantly surprised to find that this wasn’t in the end something to do with a child being produced



1d    Dreadful, dreadful fate. Stuck in Hull with no end in view (7)
HATEFUL:  Repeated words at the beginning or end of a clue often mean that one is the definition, and so it is here.  Stick an anagram (dreadful) of FATE inside Hull minus its last letter (with no end in view).  With apologies (and no disrespect intended) to Hullensians, I did love the surface of this clue

2d    Must have fought ignoring the Queensberry rules, you say (4)
NEED:  This sounds like to have made a fighting move which would be illegal in boxing (not having the slightest interest in the sport, I did have refer to the internet post-solve to find the Queensberry rules)

3d    Determine to make lovers’ knot with last of twine (7)
RESOLVE:  A knot, or anagram, of LOVERS with the last letter of twinE

4d    Would bait for it be water biscuit? (7)
DOGFISH:  Well, no it wouldn’t!  This water-dwelling creature has a name which suggests it may be like one of our canine friends (who would indeed be lured by a biscuit).  It isn’t:

5d    Girl showing resistance within limits on a regular basis (4)
IRIS:  The symbol for electrical resistance within regular letters of limits

6d    Then, mixing right and a left, delight (7)
ENTHRAL:  An anagram (mixing) of THEN followed by R(ight), the A from the clue, and finally L(eft)

7d    Is he taking off as an artist? (13)
IMPRESSIONIST:  A cryptic definition of an entertainer who assumes the character of another.  Sensitive souls should note that the following clip contains some language.  Don’t blame me, blame the BBC

8d    Capturing armed band is vital for winning (13)
PREPOSSESSING:  Winning in the sense of fetching or attractive.  Outside (capturing) an armed band is urgent or very important

14d   Run in murderer with dog (5)
CAIRN:  The crickety abbreviation for run(s) inside a Biblical murderer

15d   Drink, strong, not finished off (5)
SNORT:  An anagram (off) of STRONg (strong, not finished)

19d   Refer fluctuating heart pains — has to be eradicated (7)
PERTAIN:  Another similar construction: an anagram (fluctuating) of hEaRT PAINs after the letters of HAS have been removed/eradicated

20d   Let off lead, goes over to frighten (7)
STARTLE:  We have an anagram (off, again) of LET, and a leading performer placed before that (goes over, in a down clue)

21d   Rests before night on the tiles? (7)
CATNAPS:  A cryptic definition of some daytime sleeps a creature such as myself might take before going out to prowl over the rooftops

22d   By that time, a woman again is in occupation (7)
ALREADY:  A from the clue and a female person in which there is a prefix denoting again

26d   Portly figure’s corseted and dull (4)
FLAT:  Portly, in which a Roman numeral (figure) is encased (corseted)

27d   ‘Capital’ is ‘big’, see? (4)
OSLO:  An abbreviation for big or large seen on clothing labels, and an old word for see or behold


Thanks to Excalibur for the 10a-y entertainment today.  Favourites are going to be hard to pick.  1a would be a contender, but I also loved 30a, 1d and 20d.  Which ones sparkled for you?


23 comments on “Toughie 1804

  1. Quite enjoyed this one – mostly quite straightforward but a few of them (mostly in the SE) took me longer than they should have, with 22 last in. Liked 1a (and the picture)

    Thanks to Kitty and Excalibur

  2. Another sunny crossword from Excalibur, now officially my favourite Telegraph setter. I just loved it. Full of originality and wit. I can’t possibly pick one clue as best but 1d “Dreadful dreadful fate” did make me laugh out loud. Thanks Excalibur and thanks Kitty. I just love your illustrations, too

    1. Thanks, HD! I do enjoy searching for illustrations. Well, i enjoy finding them. The search can be enjoyable sometimes, but sometimes it can be a frustrating eater of time.

  3. Excalibur invariably makes me smile and today was no exception. I guessed the answer to 1a from the first two words of the clue but didn’t write it in until well into the solve – it took that long for the penny to drop over the parsing!
    Thought 15d had more to do with sniffing than drinking?
    As was true for Beery Hiker – 22d was the last to fall.

    Top marks went to 1,10&30a along with 2&7d.
    Many thanks to Excalibur and to our Girl Tuesday for another brilliant blog. Particularly enjoyed the pic at 1a and the 4d anatomy lesson!

    1. 15d – Hmm, my dictionary only mentions a ‘snorter‘ as a slang term for a quick drink, usually an alcoholic one. (CED)

      1. Have to confess that I’ve just found it listed right at the end of the definitions in BRB.

  4. Very enjoyable, steady crossword. Lots to like, but I do particularly appreciate the brevity of 24a & 27d.
    Many thanks to Excalibur and to Kitty for the entertainment.

  5. Definitely not a walk in the park for me. It took me quite some time to get on wavelength and I wasn’t helped by so wanting 7D to be paint stripper. But, with some perservating, I was left with just a few unsolved, all on the RHS, and they took longer than the rest of the puzzle. I finally parsed 15D and then twigged 22D, my last in. Plenty of ticks on the page though, and a smiley face or two as well. My chart toppers are 23A, 24A, 30A and 21D. Thanks Excalibur. And thanks to Kitty for the review.

  6. I thought that this was the best Excalibur for some considerable time and I particularly enjoyed the top and bottom rows (1a and 30a). I’ve never heard of the 16a answer and I had to check in the BRB whether it was selvage or selgave. Thanks to Excalibur for the puzzle and to Kitty for the usual entertaining review (especially the 1a illustration).

    1. You obviously haven’t done much sewing in your time, Gazza! I’ve always used the spelling ‘selvedge’ as it describes what it is so perfectly.

      1. I trust Gazza won’t be insulted if I say that he doesn’t strike me as someone who’s done a whole lot of sewing!

        That said, I may have done even less. Though I think I’d heard the word, and solved the clue without too much doubt, I did have to look it up before writing the hint.

  7. Pleasant solve for train journey to play bridge.

    Like the beautiful simplicity of 24ac. Excalibur at her best.

  8. We’ve been to see Richard III today and did most of the toughie on the train, finishing off over a beer. Still a bit unsure over the 10a definition but otherwise enjoyed. Thanks Excalibur and Kitty.
    Off to see some space tomorrow.
    G: she didn’t tell me he were dead 🙄

    1. 10a: Those beards are bright, for example.

      Am I being slow (again)? – because I’m not quite understanding your last bit there. :scratch:

      … but that reminds me: it was a while ago now, but I didn’t get round to saying at the time that the first part of a comment you made amused me no end. This one.

  9. Definitely having a thick day, so needed some help , mostly on the right side .
    I liked 1d and 22d and 17a , among others.
    Thanks to Excalibur and Kitty.

  10. Really good fun from Excalibur. We started off with a laugh out loud at 1a and from there the smiles never left our faces. We also thought that Labour in 30a might have obstetric connotations and tried to make ISSUE work as the second word until the penny dropped so we could finish off with a laugh out loud too.
    Thanks Excalibur and Kitty.

  11. i enjoyed this one – I always enjoy Excalibur – I found it a bit more difficult than her usual Toughies and it all went very wrong in the bottom right corner.
    Am I missing something or shouldn’t 10a be IS bright rather than ARE bright – I’m probably wrong – I usually am.
    16a wasn’t a problem having done a fair amount of sewing in my time.
    My favourite was 1a and I also liked 24a.
    Thanks to Excalibur and thanks and well done to Kitty – great piccies as usual.

    1. Actually ignore what I said about 10a – I can’t make sense of it either way – I must be really dim today.

  12. I found this pretty tricky, and thank you Kitty for explaining the clues i missed.

    I did enjoy it immensely – 1a and 30a were brilliant

    learn something new every day – not sure i’ve heard “no oil painting” before (or have I?)

    wanted 21d to be what it is for Kitty but wasn’t sure it was the right answer for ages.

    many thanks Excalibur and Kitty

  13. Tricky in places, but there again I had to keep stopping to help with birthday preparations so didn’t get a clear run at it. Last in the SE corner.

  14. Thanks to Excalibur and to Kitty for the review and hints. Too tough for me, needed 10 hints to finish, and 2 hints to parse. Had never heard of 16a & that meaning of 14d. Enjoyed what little I could do. Favourite was 4d, made me laugh. Was 4*/3* for me.

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