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Toughie 1889

Toughie No 1889 by Excalibur

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Excalibur is a fairly rare visitor to Toughieland on Wednesdays and today she’s given us a typical example of her quirky style with some clues working much better than others. I got through three of the quadrants fairly swiftly then stalled for a while in the SW. Thanks to her for the puzzle. 

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

5a Can shoot, though second-rate (6)
TINPOT – charade of another word for a can and a verb to shoot something for the table.

8a Deliver pie (8)
TURNOVER – split the answer 4,4 for a phrasal verb to deliver.

9a Attending in lieu to appease (7)
PLACATE – a preposition meaning attending goes inside a synonym for lieu.

10a On to B for ‘bucatini’? (5)
PASTA – if you’re on to B then you must be **** *.

11a Member of team in Bermudas and T-shirt? (9)
SHORTSTOP – this team member is a fielder in baseball. String together what a) Bermudas and b) T-shirt are examples of.

13a Writing round border in yellow (8)
PRIMROSE – a form of writing contains another word for border.

14a Delightful thank you card (6)
TAKING – this is a dated adjective meaning delightful or captivating in manner. Join together an informal word for ‘thank you’ and a court card.

17a Character said what tells character when to speak (3)
CUE – a homophone of one of the letters in our alphabet.

19a Network group of us bought, ought to junk (3)
WEB – a subjective pronoun for a group of us is followed by ‘bought’ after we’ve crossed out the ‘ought’.

20a So grasp to turn off (6)
SICKEN – this was my last answer (not helped by the double unch). String together the Latin word for so or thus and a Scottish verb to grasp or know.

23a Hitch old airline’s admitted to in warm weather (8)
HEATWAVE – a verb to hitch or lift up contains the abbreviated name of an old US airline.

26a Tennis watched on TV in bedroom? (6,3)
SECOND SET – tennis or ‘tennis watched’ seems a fairly imprecise way of describing this – something like ‘bit of tennis’ would surely be more accurate?

28a Said cargo compartment is no longer watertight (5)
HOLED – this sounds like the cargo department on a ship or aircraft.

29a Don’t allow when junior gets to bed on time (7)
BOYCOTT – assemble a young male person, a child’s bed and the abbreviation for time.

30a Gives non-fishing actor angling role — with these results? (8)
MISCASTS – the results could be problems when he throws out his fishing line.

31a Caught sand storms circling again? (6)
SNARED – an anagram (storms) of SAND goes round a prefix meaning ‘again’.

Down Clues

1d Having had small refill, cork (4,2)
STOP UP – the abbreviation for small followed by a phrasal verb to refill (one’s teacup, for example).

2d Covered up in stiff paper, it’s strong (7)
DRASTIC – put IT’S inside (covered in) some stiff paper then reverse (up) the lot.

3d No sign of — absent from event (3,1,5)
NOT A TRACE – adjust the answer to 3,2,4 to get ‘absent from event’.

4d Timeless secrets unfolded in break (6)
RECESS – an anagram (unfolded) of SECRE[t]S without the abbreviation for time.

5d Vandalised letter boxes round surrounding area and stand (8)
TOLERATE – an anagram (vandalised) of LETTER contains (boxes) the round letter and also contains A(rea).

6d Marks ‘Property of Hell?’ (5)
NICKS – with an appropriate apostrophe inserted this could identify the property of the boss down below.

7d Either retiring or friendly and sociable (8)
OUTGOING – double definition, the first describing someone retiring or leaving office.

12d Bite top off — or cut (3)
HEW – remove the first letter from a verb to bite.

15d Derogatory remark about waist that’s going too far (1,3,5)
A BIT THICK – this could be a derogatory remark about a person’s waist (or their intellect!).

16d Showing effects of years in prison? (8)
TIMEWORN – cryptic definition of an adjective meaning run-down (after spending a period in jail).

18d Not having been polished by daily? (8)
UNEDITED – daily here is not a charwoman but a newspaper. I don’t like this – the polishing is not done by the daily but by an employee of the daily.

21d Female that, boarding bus, may get items from garden centre (3)
SHE – put the answer inside ‘bus’ to get items you may buy at a garden centre.

22d This is fabricated — everything in it is somewhat implausible (7)
TALLISH – an anagram (is fabricated) of THIS contains a synonym for everything. Interesting that this should appear today after yesterday’s discussion on the back-page blog relating to -ISH words.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

24d Technically, more than half rioting could be racial (6)
ETHNIC – an anagram (rioting) of the first six (out of eleven) letters of TECHNI[cally].

25d Feel destiny has it in store for family heir? (6)
ELDEST – our one and only lurker.

27d Award zero mark (5)
OSCAR – the letter that resembles zero followed by a residual mark.

The clues which I liked best were 5a, 11a, 30a and 22d. Which one(s) made it to your shortlist?

21 comments on “Toughie 1889

  1. 20a Across was the only clue to beat me. I’m not that worried, it seems a bit off.

    My favourite? That has to be 10a

    My biggest fascination is to find that King Arthur’s sword is female. Do we know why our setter chose that nom de plume? Thanks to her and Gazza.

  2. An ideal successor to yesterday’s splendid offering from Dada . Another fun-filled and innovative puzzle that was a joy to solve Favourites were 10a (B for bucatini) and 15d (Derogatory remark) Thanks to Excalibur and Gazza

  3. This took me a while. I didn’t manage to parse 2d but should have (thank you Gazza). Last one in was also 20a.

    Lots of fun bits ( bucatini, property of hell, technically, great hidden, and more), but also a few moments when I thought, oh wish she hadn’t done that – so possibly not my favourite Excalibur, but looking forward to the next one.

    Many thanks Excalibur

  4. Ignore the fanfare back in July for Toughie 1848 – this one really is Excalibur’s 100th Toughie. It’s a pity that the editor didn’t check his facts first.

  5. Not only … an enjoyable puzzle from Excalibur … but also a most entertaining blog from Gazza!

    Thanks to both!

  6. Since I have only just started Toughies on a regular basis, this is almost certainly my first Excalibur and, based on this experience, I am pleased (and reassured) to hear that she has a quirky style. I needed assistance on 6 of the clues (three in each direction), but I enjoyed the majority that I solved.

    Favourite 10a, with 30a close behind.

    Thanks to Excalibur and Gazza.

  7. I agree with Gazza. 20,,26 and 18 are too vague. I would have finished this quickly if it hadn’t been for them and while that would have been a good thing if the solutions had been light bulbs, these just gave disappointment. Spoiled an otherwise fun puzzle.

    Thanks to Excalibur ( sorry, the rest was excellent!) and to Gazza.

  8. No paper today, so had to do this from the blog, trying to ignore the hints. It’s quite difficult, but I liked those that I did solve. 29a doesn’t make much sense to me and I thought the definition was a bit loose.

    I liked 22d and 3d in particular. Loved the PC/DM clip – preferable to my eldest brother’s copies of Derek and Clive.

    Not sure I would have finished this today, so I can’t really rate it.
    Many thanks and congrats to Excalibur and to Gazza for the review.

  9. I always enjoy Excalibur’s crosswords – her style makes me laugh – congratulations to her on her 100th Toughie.
    I found this one trickier than usual for one of hers – the top went quite well but I got snarled up in the bottom half which took ages.
    11a caused trouble – well, it would, wouldn’t it?
    19a sounded IT’ish so I bunged in the thingy that one of my Mum’s Aussie cousins called a Useful Small Bit – getting 5d sorted that out.
    I couldn’t make any sense at all out of 30a – I almost gave up but got it in the end – it was my last answer.
    I liked 5 and 10a and 3 and 7d. My favourite was 15d.
    Thanks to Excalibur and to Gazza.

      1. The trouble was that, although I didn’t like to admit it and couldn’t explain it, I had ‘tallest’ as my answer! Stupid or what? :oops:

  10. 26a certainly got a thumbs down from me and I wasn’t overly enamoured with 22d but everything else was as enjoyable as I have come to expect from Excalibur.
    In company with other commenters, I found the bottom half (SW in particular) much harder to crack than the top.

    Top three for me were 10&11a plus 6d.

    Thanks to Excalibur and to Gazza for an excellent blog.

  11. Our stumbling block was also 20a. As Gazza says, the double unch can take some of the blame for that. A few like 26a where we had some doubts but over all a pleasant amusing solve.
    Thanks Excalibur and Gazza.

  12. I fell on 20A also, but 16D as well. Great clue and I wish I’d solved it. I did have 22D correct and properly parsed, though. Not convinced that heave and hitch are synonymous. 10A was my favorite, with 30A and 6D in the running. Thanks Excalibur and Gazza.

  13. On the tricky side today I thought. The NW and SE corners were the first to fall in a pretty reasonable time, but the rest. Well, the rest didn’t. A little unimpressed with 26ac as others have noted. LOI 20a. Perhaps with a few more Excalibur’s under my belt I’ll get used to her style, but today I never did, and struggled badly.

  14. Like others, I got held up on the SW corner. I share Gazza’s reservations about 26a and, particularly, 18d. I thought 30a was clever and that is my favourite.

  15. I thought that 26A was a very weak clue & not up to standard.
    OK 3TV” for SET but how do you make bedroom, “SECOND?”

    1. I would imagine that it’s a rather oblique reference to the fact that your main TV is likely to be in the living room and that your bedroom may well house your ‘second set’.

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