Toughie 1907 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1907

Toughie No 1907 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Another excellent puzzle by Elkamere which was a joy to solve and blog. By the time you read this I’ll have left for the sloggers and betters meeting in York – I hope to see many of you there. Elkamere (as Anax) has also produced a special puzzle for the York meeting which is already available on – I did it earlier this week and thought it was brilliant, I highly recommend it. It’s a barred puzzle which confused me a bit at first, but sticking with it was very rewarding.

As always, the definitions are underlined below and the hints try to explain the wordplay. You can click on the SHOW ME THE ANSWER boxes for the answer. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Force of gravity on all sides of earth (6)
GROUND: The symbol for the force of gravity plus a word meaning on all sides of

5a    Free gallon during opening time (8)
PORRIDGE: A 3-letter verb meaning to free goes inside (during) an opening in skin

9a    Take a hikehitch if you do? (3,7)
GET KNOTTED: Whimsical double definition: an expression of anger which literally would mean tying a hitch

10a    Fortune and ruin in the same order (4)
DOOM: An abbreviation meaning the same plus an order

11a    Dignitary’s learning to stop old sports car (8)
DELOREAN: A 4-letter church dignitary is ‘stopped’ (as in plugged) by a word meaning traditional learning

12a    Damage nearly all of the ribs (6)
COSTAL: Damage in financial terms plus AL(l) from the clue without the last letter (nearly)

13a    Wine not still unfinished (4)
ASTI: A 5-letter word meaning not still, i.e. moving, without the last letter (unfinished)

15a    TV detective‘s right to life? (8)
IRONSIDE: Split (4,4), this would describe the right-hand part of (li)FE

18a    Old keyboard in immaculate condition (8)
VIRGINAL: An excellent double definition with a smooth surface

19a    It’s a shame, lines being wrong (4)
AWRY: Something you say meaning It’s a shame, plus an abbreviation for railway lines

21a    Artist made drawing in Italy (6)
GIOTTO: A (3,2) phrase meaning made or reached goes around (drawing in) the abbreviation for Italy

23a    No local houses for one (8)
NEGATIVE: A 6-letter local person goes around (houses) an abbreviation meaning for one, or for instance

25a    An African throne at Whipsnade perhaps, it’s said (4)
ZULU: A homophone of a (3,3) throne at Whipsnade

26a    Close to me? (4,2,4)
MORE OR LESS: The answer, meaning roughly, is also a cryptic instruction that will produce ‘me’

27a    Side accepted by side, every side accepted (3-5)
ALL-PARTY: A 4-letter word meaning side (as in a meat cut perhaps) goes inside (accepted by) another word meaning side (as in on our side)

28a    Old name for ‘fire‘ (6)
EXCITE: A 2-letter word for old plus a verb meaning to name



2d    Turn up with eastern magistrate (5)
REEVE: Reversal (up) of a verb meaning turn (towards) plus the abbreviation for Eastern

3d    Not aware of junk now in gardener’s keeping (9)
UNKNOWING: Hidden (….. ‘s keeping)

4d    Bones on top of cowboy (6)
DROVER: A professional nicknamed Bones plus a preposition meaning ‘on top of’

5d    A body still has this power (9,6)
POTENTIAL ENERGY: A cryptic definition, with a pun on still, of the power something has even though it is not moving (I’ll leave the physics to Kitty)

6d    Editor‘s McCarthyite epithet? (8)
REDACTOR: Ha, this could be an unintentionally topical reference to Chris Heaton-Harris. McCarthy was a US senator who in the 1950’s accused the Hollywood community (and many others) of being communists, resulting in an enormous witch hunt: split (3,5), the answer would be an epithet he might use. Also reminded me of ‘Hail Caesar’, a Coen brothers movie I watched just two nights ago

7d    It’s hard work, but try to leave river (5)
INDUS: remove TRY from the clue from the end of an 8-letter word meaning hard work

8d    Butcher’s wrapping duck, huge duck (9)
GOOSANDER: Another word for butcher’s (Cockney rhyming slang for look, butcher’s hook) goes around the letter that looks like a score of zero (duck) and a 2-letter abbreviation for huge

14d    Religious ceremony after short trip (9)
SPIRITUAL: A 6-letter ceremony follows (after) an informal quick ride in a car without the last letter (short)

16d    Clever person swots up about anecdote (5,4)
SMART ALEC: A reversal (up) of a word meaning swots hastily goes around (about) a word for anecdote or story

17d    Surrounded by old grass (8)
INFORMER: A preposition meaning surrounded by and a 6-letter word for old or previous

20d    I stick around & look the other way (6)
IGNORE: I from the clue plus a verb meaning to stick (with a spear or horn, think bull) going around a substitute letter for & (as in Rock & Roll)

22d    Best US president (5)
TRUMP: Another great double definition – I’m sure we all agree.

24d    Is one in box about to see? (5)
VISIT: IS from the clue plus the Roman numeral for one go inside (in) a reversal (about) of the box we watch sometimes

My favourite has to be the double definition in 18a. I also liked 26a, beautifully concise but with top-notch surface and wordplay, 11a just because it’s such an icon, 25a because it made me laugh, the clever hidden in 3d, and plenty more. Which clues did you like?

10 comments on “Toughie 1907

  1. Thank you to Elkamere for one of the most enjoyable puzzles for quite a while. I particularly liked 25a, 8d and 9a (in that order) but there are others I could have added to the podium

  2. Brilliant puzzle, best one I’ve done for ages, with almost every clue a gem. It’s almost impossible to list all my top clues so I’ll restrict myself to 5a, 15a, 25a (LOL), 26a and 8d.
    I thought that ‘made’ in 21a meant ‘reached’ as in ‘We made Tucson by nightfall’.
    Many thanks to Elkamere and to Dutch for the review. I hope that all those going to York this weekend have an enjoyable time.

  3. Well outside of my league – think I managed 9 or 10.
    Having read the review, I’m not surprised at my failure but thank you, Dutch, for all the explanations.
    Thanks to Elkamere for the puzzle and sorry I didn’t get very far!

  4. marvellous crossword. It took me a while but gave a great sense of satisfaction when the last clue (20d) went in.

  5. Excellent puzzle, loved every bit of it. I do enjoy uncluttered clues and these are fine examples of clever brevity.
    Need help to see the parsing of a couple, didn’t know 8d or 12a which were last in. Faves 7d, 19a, and 25a – but they were all good. **** / *****
    Many thanks to Elkamere for a great puzzle, and thanks to Dutch for a the odd nudge. Enjoy York.

  6. I agree with all those who have commented that this was a wonderful puzzle – I hugely enjoyed it. It did take me a long time, but like Rod, I felt a sense of accomplishment when the last clue finally went in (10a in my case). I only had to resort to Google to find the artist and the duck that I had not heard of. Like LetterboxRoy, I very much like the short and subtle clues. Many thanks to Elkamere, and to Dutch for another great blog.

  7. Many thanks for the usual top job blog, Dutch, and to all for your comments.
    Dutch, please pass on my best wishes to all in York this evening. Couldn’t make it myself, but hope to catch up with everyone tomorrow.

  8. Very late getting to this one and so glad we did make the effort. Not a quick solve by any means with great penny-drop moments all the way through.
    Thanks Elkamere and Dutch.

Comments are closed.