Toughie 1843 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1843

Toughie No 1843 by Elkamere

        Hints and tips by Dutch

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

How delightful to have an Elkamere puzzle on the day his Macclesfield S&B crossword meeting kicks off. I found today’s puzzle somewhat trickier than his last few, but I still managed to complete it in what for me is 3* difficulty time. As usual, we have fun and beautifully concise clueing which makes the puzzle a delight – I’d say it is impossible not to enjoy this. I hope to see many of you in my home town of Macclesfield tonight – for those of you who can’t make it, I hope you enjoy the NTSPP tomorrow.

Finding the definitions is half the battle. As usual, the definitions are underlined in the clues below, and the hints aim to help you with the word play. You can reveal the answers by clicking on the SNOW GOOSE TONIGHT! button. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


4a    A pub opens to operate as a pub (8)
TAPHOUSE: A from the clue plus a 2-letter abbreviation for pub is inserted into (opens) TO from the clue, plus a word meaning operate

8a    Girl in Perth, perhaps the girl backing boxer (6)
SHEILA: A feminine pronoun and a reversal (backing) of a famous boxer

9a    Rise, fall – donate clothes (8)
GRADIENT: A verb meaning to fall which a verb meaning donate covers (clothes)

10a    House’s roof covering sporty car (3,5)
HOT HATCH: The abbreviation for House plus a kind of roof covering

11a    Odds on returning drone (6)
MURMUR: Two odds reversed (on returning)

12a    I pick up pace, not quite boarding ship (8)
LISTENER: A word for pace or stride without the last letter (not quite) goes inside a kind of ship

13a    Go with one film I’ll hopefully view (8)
OPTIMIST: A verb meaning ‘go with’ or choose, the Roman numeral for one, and a word meaning film

16a    Good! The writer keeps boy very happy (8)
GLADSOME: The abbreviation for Good and a pronoun by which the writer of this puzzle would refer to himself go around (keeps) another word for boy and another word for very

19a    Make-up is not put on pervert (3,5)
WAR PAINT: A slang expression for ‘is not’ is added onto a verb meaning to pervert or distort

21a    Perfect time in court (4,2)
SPOT ON: The abbreviation for Time goes inside a verb meaning to court, as in canoodle

23a    Slash the cost of string? (8)
LACERATE: Split (4,4,), the answer is a whimsical way of describing the cost of string

24a    A diamond in the rough? (8)
BALLPARK: Two meanings,  the playing field for an American game and approximate. The first meaning is (4,4) in Chambers but a single word in Collins

25a    Fall over heading for ducking stool (6)
TRIPOD: A verb meaning to fall or stumble, the abbreviation for over and the first letter of (heading for) ducking

26a    Trace Queen Elizabeth’s first turncoat (8)
BETRAYER: A trace or beam plus an abbreviation for our current Queen is preceded (‘s first) by a nickname for Elizabeth


1d    Trendy dresses are on this, primarily all over the shop (7)
CHAOTIC: A word for trendy or elegant covers (dresses) the first letters (primarily) of Are On This

2d    Face that’s badly bitten by snake (9)
WITHSTAND: An anagram (badly) of THAT’S is contained within (bitten by) a verb meaning to snake or meander

3d    Rash never turns pale on top (6)
WANTON: Reversal (turns) of a word meaning never! (often used to negate a facetious statement) has a word meaning pale above it (on top, in a down clue)

4d    One guy won’t support this one (9,6)
TIGHTROPE WALKER: Cryptic definition for a brave or crazy (now there’s a thin line) performer with a play on guy which also means supporting rope. See Elkamere’s comment@3

5d    Friend of criminal may cut through photograph (8)
PLAYMATE: An anagram (criminal) of MAY put inside (cut through) a word meaning photograph or illustration

6d    Tree that is surrounded by huge river (5)
OSIER: The Latin abbreviation for that is goes in between (is surrounded by) a2-letter abbreviation for huge and the abbreviation for river

7d    Swallows keeping close – they take off (4-3)
SEND-UPS: A verb meaning swallows or drinks contains another word for close or finish

14d    Still offering dodgy radio feeds, being awkward (9)
MALADROIT: An anagram (dodgy) of RADIO goes inside (feeds) a still offering, as in a drink from a still

15d    Line joined with a line (8)
BOUNDARY: A word meaning joined or fastened plus A from the clue and a 2-letter abbreviation for a railway (line)

17d    Astronomer from Beverly Hills? (7)
LAPLACE: Beverly Hills is a PLACE in LA, so…

18d    Warmth of unopened office (7)
UNCTION: Office or role without the first letter (unopened)

20d    Deliver from office across city (6)
RECITE: Office or ceremonial formality perhaps covers (across) a postcode for the city in London

22d    Surely they’ll welcome returning ex-president (5)
TYLER: Reverse hidden (welcome returning)

My favourite today was 13a for the definition, though I also really liked the reverse hidden in 22d. There were plenty of good clues to choose from – which ones did you like?

16 comments on “Toughie 1843

  1. And the real Elkamere returns – aided and abetted by the ‘four crosswords’ grid

    I took 5* time to sort all this out – including invoking Gnome’s Law – but did enjoy myself greatly while muttering and groaning at the splendid d’oh moments.

    Thanks to Elkamere for the lovely properly Tough Toughie

  2. I thought that Elkamere had upped the difficulty quite a bit from his last few Toughies – I had to work hard at this one but the struggle was immensely enjoyable. Thanks to him and to Dutch. I had to verify both the astronomer and the old President. I awarded my ticks to 8a, 11a and 26a.
    I still don’t really understand 4d – surely the answer is supported by a single guy?

    1. I probably should have chosen an illustration of a circus tightrope where the apparatus is stabilised by a set of support ropes

    2. I too have difficulty in justifying the answer – I only put it in ‘cos it fitted

    3. The supporting rope is stabilised with guys; the big rope is referred to as the ‘main’, which is usually tensioned with block and tackles in conjunction with a fulcrum such as a pole.

  3. Great blog as per, Dutch – lots of thanks.

    I’ve noticed on Twitter that a handful are going to be at the Snowgoose from around 4pm. Sorry I can’t be there that early – will be closer to 6pm for me – but, to compensate, you will then be able to meet my beautiful daughter Xana. She’ll be there for the evening and, recently 18, she can now drink!

    Back to the puzzle. The ‘guy’ reference was pointing to a guy rope (which is typically rather thin) not being substantial enough to support. Not that I’d know, to be fair.

    1. Glad to hear you’re not into tightroping! I can also only get to the snow goose by six or so, so I trust earlier arrivals will find a way to entertain themselves. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone.

  4. Very tough, but also very enjoyable; I needed a lie down after this one (not that the lunchtime alcohol had anything to do with that…)

    Many thanks to Elkamere and to Dutch.

  5. Beaten by 9a as I wrote “shot ups” in 7d and never imagined that I could be wrong.
    24a also remained empty but was going to bung in “hallmark” just to fill the gaps.
    Thanks to Dutch for explaining everything and to Elkamere for a proper toughie.

  6. We didn’t finish this before the pub beckoned, but, once we were rehydrated, completed it apart from the two obscure people. Can’t be bothered to google these answers, just let Dutch tell us if we were right.
    Planning on popping along tomorrow and looking forward to meeting whoever.

  7. A great way to end the week. It would have been 3*/4* here, but we didn’t get 24a right (we had hallmark as a bung-in), so it has to be 4*/4*.

    Considered joining y’all in Macclesfield but no. 1 (and only) daughter is visiting tomorrow. Do you do Macclesfield every year? It’s reasonably handy.

    Favourite clue has to be 1d.

    Thanks Dutch and Elkamere.

  8. 26a was the clue that gave us most strife. We were pretty sure we had the right answer from definition and checkers. We identified all the elements of the wordplay but were doubtful about TRACE=RAY and then the ER and BET seemed a bit ‘samey’. Looks like we did have it right after all. Certainly a significant challenge for us and very satisfying to get it all sorted.
    Thanks Elkamere and Dutch.

  9. Too hard for me I’m afraid. I got the SW corner and a smattering of others scattered over the rest of the puzzle, although nothing in the NW corner. Of the ones I was missing, I certainly should have had some, some I would never have thought of, and others I had never heard of. On balance I think that I should have been able to get farther than I did. Many thanks to all, and my admiration for those were able to sort all this out.

  10. Toughest Toughie for a long time. Needed lots of help, so thanks for the hints.

  11. Off topic, I know, but in the absence a separate thread for it I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to all who attended the S&B in Macclesfield this weekend. The Q&A idea always felt risky – simply because it was new – but it was superb. A great range of questions, intriguing responses and, I hope, a real insight for all into this weird world we inhabit. I really hope the idea will be taken up for future events. It was more than just interesting – it brought everyone together in a way I haven’t seen before.
    All of you were stars and turned it into what was – for me – the most fulfilling S&B I’ve ever been part of. Thanks a million, friends.

  12. Firstly, thanks to Dean for organising this weekend’s event – and what was a great success it was too. It was hard to drag myself away – which you will know by the simple fact that I was the last to leave!

    Anyway, this seemed like the right puzzle to tackle on the train back. I had actually made a bit of a start on it on the way up but not got very far at all (just a few in the NE I think, plus the president, which I trusted from the wordplay). The tightrope walker and Monsieur Laplace were mentioned more than once this weekend, so I had a boost to get me going again. I really needed that – I don’t think I’d have got the former, and I think of Laplace as a mathematician cum physics person: his is not a name I’d be likely to think of when coming up with astronomers.

    With the extra leg up from these, I managed the rest (the 6d tree was another where I had to rely on the wordplay), but still found it pretty stiff. Satisfying though, so worth it. Weirdly, I had completed the entire western half before anything at all went in elsewhere. My biggest laughs were in the SW (21a comes to mind), and I ended up in the SE (nicely mirroring my geographical destination).

    Sorry – I’ve rambled, probably because I am too tired to write a shorter comment. (As to whether I am emotional as well as tired, I shall not be drawn … ) I’ll shut up now and get ready for some much needed shut-eye.

    Many thanks again to Dean and Dutch.

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