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Toughie 1824

Toughie No 1824 by Excalibur

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hi all.  I’m a bit distracted of thought and bleary of eye today so I’m really not too sure what I made of this.  I didn’t have too many problems for the most part but sorting out my last few answers took some time and cogitation.

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    Mean and prepared to fight (5-6)
CLOSE-FISTED:  Mean or miserly.  The answer might also indicate having one’s hands held in readiness for a physical fight

9a    Act that gets encore — or the bird (4)
DODO:  Take a verb meaning act and repeat it

10a   Flight path (6,5)
ESCAPE ROUTE:  Cryptic definition.  Nothing to do with aviation but the course used in taking flight or making a getaway

11a   Gather, when writing about (4)
MASS:  A conjunction meaning when with a two letter abbreviation for a piece of writing around (about) it

14a   Nobody’s into nude swimming these days (7)
UNOWNED:  Into an anagram (swimming) of NUDE place a word meaning at this time (these days)

16a   Happen to know signal? (7)
BETOKEN:  Join together a word meaning happen or take place, the TO from the clue and a (chiefly Scottish) synonym of know.  The answer is a verb

18a   Annoyed Ireland’s lost an away (5)
RILED:  An anagram (lost) of IRELanD once the an of the clue has been taken away

19a   It’s often seen in a hole — in a little hole (4)
TOAD:  Into a word meaning a little bit, insert a letter shaped like a hole or ring to give part of the dish pictured.  Clicking on the image will take you to a video of some other types of the answer being born in an unusual way (which may well put you off your food)

20a   Bald patch in animal’s fur? (4)
COAT:  Take my favourite animal and put inside it the letter signifying nothing (bald or bare patch).  Or perhaps bald patch is indicating the shape of this inserted letter, which was my first thought last night but which I’d forgotten by the time I came to write hints and have only just remembered

21a   Remedies and puts end to colic. Sure solution (5)
CURES:  The final letter of (end to) colic precedes an anagram (solution) of SURE

23a   Don’t allow doctor to employ a locum (7)
STOPGAP:  Prevent, and then a family doctor containing (to employ) the penultimate word of the clue

24a   Make mistake of getting into row with uniformed man (7)
TERRIER:  Inserting make a mistake inside a row or line (usual crossword words both) gives a nickname for a member of what is now the Army Reserve

25a   Business regularly sets financial value (4)
COST:  Our usual business and then alternate letters (regularly) of sets

30a   Understand, if you pit yourself against management (4,2,5)
TAKE ON BOARD:  Taken literally this could mean pit oneself (4,2) against the management (5)

31a   Ozes and rowses? (4)
NODS:  Well I don’t really have a definition to underline here.  The complete versions of the first and the last words of the clue would define the answer, but they are each lacking a letter of the alphabet.  So, work out which letter this is (it happens to go at the front of those words) and find a synonym.  This word, as (2,1’1) describes the words (or non-words) as given in the clue.  I’ll butter some toast because I smell Marmite …

32a   Running mates? (4,7)
FAST FRIENDS:  Some close pals, which could, interpreted literally, be moving at speed



2d    Concluding Sunset Blvd is one (4)
LAST:  This word meaning final, when split (2,2), gives something of which the thoroughfare mentioned above is an example (nicely abbreviated in the clue to match the form of the solution)

3d    Go away, small creature from number 20! (4)
SCAT:  20 is of course a clue number not a house number, so take the animal therein and prefix it with an abbreviation for small.  Now shoo!

4d    Drunken ‘Here’s to succeed father’ that’s even more cheeky (7)
FRESHER:  An abbreviation for father succeeded by an anagram (drunken) of HERE S

5d    See covers lifted (4)
SPOT:  The reversal (lifted) of some covers or lids

6d    Moment mother left, sweet and sugary, was tempting (7)
ENTICED:  After the removal of a North American familiar term for mother (mother left), the remaining letters of the first word of the clue are followed by an adjective describing a sweet and sugary cake, for example

7d    Nothing in it — a smidgen (4)
IOTA:  The letter symbolising love or zero inside the third and fourth words of the clue

8d    Having retired, become restless (4,3,4)
TOSS AND TURN:  A pleasing cryptic definition.  Move restlessly after having retired for the night

12d   Not so fast — it’s not a winner (4,1,6)
JUST A SECOND:  A request to wait a moment could also describe something that is a mere also-ran

13d   Planter at bottom of cargo? It might get chipped (6)
POTATO:  A charade of planter, AT, and the final letter (bottom) of cargo.  It might be made into the naughty-but-nice kind of chips

15d   Fixed pudding when ordered — no good going out (3,2)
DID UP:  An anagram (when ordered) of PUDDIng, without the ng (no good going out)

16d   Live to gain place in the pop charts? (5)
BEGET:  A whimsical definition here, with pop being a word for father.  The answer is formed of words meaning to live and to gain

17d   Clay ‘chef d’oeuvre’ centrally placed in kiln, a bust (6)
KAOLIN:  The central letter of chef d’oeuvre placed inside KILN A, anagrammed (bust)

21d   Musical farewell to prison (7)
CANTATA:  Take a slang word for prison and give to it an informal farewell (2-2)

22d   Half shot, held up class (7)
SEMINAR:  A prefix denoting half and the reversal of (held up) shot or rushed

26d   Spaniard’s cheers after one’s spilled over water (4)
SODA:  A Spanish word for goodbye (cheers) minus I (one’s spilled), written backwards (over)

27d   Former partner going inside time after time to use phone? (4)
TEXT:  Our usual former lover inside the abbreviation for time repeated

28d   Said ‘No, no, it’s an instinctive skill‘ (4)
NOSE:  This sounds like (said) the plural of no

29d   Slipping away from a bride, be badly in need of drink (4)
ARID:  The BE from the clue is taken from (slipping away from) the fourth and fifth words of the clue 


Thanks to Excalibur.  I liked many of the touches here, but obviously my favourite has to be the animal at number 20.  Which were your pet clues?



37 comments on “Toughie 1824

  1. Who but the inimitable Excalibur could dream up a lovely funny clue like 31a (ozes and rowses)? Now, that’s entertainment and originality!The crossword was a joy from start to finish Thanks very much ExcalIbur and a purr to Kitty, too

  2. I enjoyed this one, Yoda-type clues and all. My last answer was 31a once I’d stopped thinking about Australia. My top clue was 16d for the penny drop moment (pop charts – brilliant!). Thanks to Excalibur and Kitty.

  3. I too found this very hard – certainly by Tuesday Toughie standards! – taking up a longer stretch of my commute than usual, but very satisfying with it. The SW corner was the last fall, mainly because I personally think of “cheers” as meaning “thank you” rather than “bye”, which set me on the wrong track entirely. 31a may not be “fair” by normal standards but is utterly likeable – who gives a stuff about Ximeneanism in such cases? I found the 16d a bit of a stretch. But overall can’t complain about all the inventiveness and general tricksiness on display. It’s the type we fell in love with crosswords for, really, isn’t it…

    Thanks Kitty and Excalibur!

  4. I’m still in the dark as to how 31a works and I doubt if further explanations will penetrate .
    Apart from that it was a fun struggle , especially 1a, 30a , 12d (several versions tried before hitting on the right one) , and 32a.
    Thanks Kitty and Excalibur.

    1. 31a was a nightmare to try to hint, so I’m not surprised to hear I made a hash of it. It’s easier to explain: dozes and drowses mean nods (off), but in the clue they have no Ds.

  5. Apart from a misbiff at 1 all went in in smoothly, another vote for 16d, only 8 let this one down, definitely a back pager. 28 vid a tad zany. Thanks to Excalibur and Kitty

  6. Didn’t have enough time to finish this over lunch, so I will come back to it later

    Thanks to Kitty and Excalibur

  7. Apart from some of the pesky four letter ones at the bottom, I thought this was a very friendly Toughie. I’ll vote for 16d too

  8. Thanks kitty for the twerking nose and the parsing to 31a, which eluded me.

    I started off badly with TIGHT-FISTED for 1a, which I think is a better answer, but alas it didn’t fit with the down clues. Then I had IBIS for the bird (act I + encore?) which also needed fixing.

    There was a lot I liked, the way nobody’s is used in 14a, pop charts, the planter that might get chipped, and more.

    I was 18a Irelands did not have an apostrophe in the online version, seemingly adding the S to the fodder. In 17d I had thought chef d’oeuvre meant the first letter (head of) oeuvre, but Kitty’s explanation is smoother.

    Many thanks Excalibur and Kitty

          1. Me too! Having reverted to answer for 1d was able to rectify and complete. 31a definite favourite. I struggled with this, but my back pager husband (too scared of toughies) got it in moments.

            Thanks Guys

    1. Oh yes! I had parsed “chef d’oeuvre” similarly, but it’s a better clue now that I actually understand it.

      1. I did have trouble with a few first words (of 1a, 32a, and I think I dithered over the beginning of 12d too, though my first thought there was right) but in all cases they didn’t go in firmly until after I’d sorted them out. Certainly I’m more used to tight-fisted than today’s alternative.

        (Right, really probably going to bed now …)

  9. Everyone loves 16d so much that I’m ashamed to admit that I still don’t get how “place in the pop (as in father) charts” means the same as “beget” at all…

    1. The pop charts are not to my knowledge published, but going by gift mugs etc. many have reached the position of #1 Dad.

      1. I thought that pop charts referred to ancestral trees, specifically in the Old Testament which is full of lists of fathers/sons down the ages such as: A begat B, B begat C, C begat D, etc.

  10. I’m sorry, but I did not have a great deal of fun with this. I had the wrong first word in 1a, 12d, and 32a, and I had never heard of 17d. Thanks nonetheless to Excalbur and Kitty.

  11. Made a complete and utter hash of this. Filled in half the grid, and made every mistake imaginable – 1a ‘tight’, 12d ‘wait’, 16a/d both wrong and somehow managed to spell 10a wrong. I shan’t even attempt the rest.

    On the painkiller labels, it says ‘Do not drive or operate machinery’ – perhaps it ought to add ‘…or attempt cryptic crosswords’. :wacko: :sad:

  12. Very creative clues. I am in awe of anyone who did this quickly – it took me ages to get much of the parsing – but I only needed hints for 28d and 16d. All worth it for that wonderful moment when I finally did 31a. Thanks Excalibur and Kitty.

  13. Possibly the trickiest Tuesday toughie I have seen despite quite a lot of easy starters. Still had 5 more to get after 31a which is clever but perhaps too libertarian. 16d was last in.

    Thanks to Kitty and Excalibur

  14. Well we enjoyed this in a weird way. Started off getting some four letter words (is there an accepted FLW acronym?). Then things went well,with plenty of fun. Refused to put the wrong first word in 12d as it didn’t make sense but did put the wrong first word in 1a as it did make sense. Eventually got ourselves sorted, ending up with a completed grid but with reservations on 3d 20a and 32a. Thanks Excalibur and Kitty.

  15. That was a cracker, n’est-ce pas? 3.5*/4.5*.

    Some debugging was needed towards the three quarter mark because we had the wrong first word to BOTH 1a and 12d. We interpreted 16d the way Gazza mentions.

    No surprises for our favourites – 16d and 31a with the latter shading it for us.

    Thanks to Kitty and Excalibur.

  16. Sorry, Kitty – excuse written up on the ‘other side’.
    Just made a start, finding it a bit tricky thus far. Will report back, even if it’s a day late!

  17. Many thanks to those of you who have contributed comments and thanks today (or who will do later) – always much appreciated. I’m in need of a some serious sleep and so will retire soon, hopefully not to 8d (at least not for very long). Nighty night all.

  18. Not quite finished yet (three to go) but I thought I’d pop in while folks are still awake over there. I’m just loving this! Such fun. So far 16D, 21D and 2D are my picks. Back later…

  19. :phew: I found this much trickier than is usual for Excalibur but enjoyed it as much as I always enjoy her crosswords – it did take me a very long time.
    Having the wrong first bit for 1a didn’t help so I was glad to see that I wasn’t the only one to do that.
    Couldn’t get the first word of 12d for far too long.
    I also had trouble with several other answers so well done to Kitty for sorting it all out.
    My favourite just because of the surface reading was 14a – loved that one.
    Thanks to Excalibur for the challenge to the little grey cells and to Kitty for dealing with it all.

  20. Thought the clues were very inventive.
    Very refreshing toughie even if I was beaten by 16d.
    Favourite 23a.
    Thanks to Excalibur and to Kitty for the review.

  21. A good night’s sleep definitely helped but it still took quite a while to finish off this one.
    Fell for the wrong first word in 1a and almost did the same with 12&32a until reason prevailed.
    Other problem areas were 14a, the 16 combo, 31a and also 31a & 26d!
    Top of my pop charts was 2d.

    Thanks to Excalibur for the challenge and respect to our Girl Tuesday for unravelling it all. Loved the fire exit sign!

  22. I still had 26D and 31A left this morning. While I was opening the site to check, 26D came to me. 31A was then a bung-in. So technically I completed the puzzle before looking at the blog. I would never have parsed 31A without the hint. My favorites are still the same as they were last night. Thanks Excalibur and Kitty.

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