Toughie 1931 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1931

Toughie No 1931 by proXimal

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

I worry when I start a proXimal puzzle that I won’t be able to complete it, but there was no reason for that really today – I managed with time to spare before the school run. A few of his synonyms are not at all obvious to me, which adds challenge and fun when the penny drops.

The definitions are underlined in the clues below. The hints are intended to help you unravel the wordplay, but you can always reveal the answer by clicking on the BIG RED BUTTON buttons. Please leave a comment telling us how you did and what you thought.


1a    Iron just unknotted rare ties showing claret vessels? (7,8)
FEMORAL ARTERIES: The chemical symbol for iron, a word meaning just or ethical, plus an anagram (unknotted) of RARE TIES

9a    Nothing in official paperwork is about to be ignored (9)
SIDELINED: A 3-letter word for nothing goes inside (in) some official paperwork followed by IS from the clue, all reversed (about)

10a    Longing monarch to be around long time (5)
EAGER: The usual abbreviation for our queen goes around a word for a long time

11a    Groom being formal with page (5)
PRIMP: An adjective meaning stiffly formal plus the abbreviation for page

12a    Try temperature, port should be knocked back warm (9)
HEARTFELT: A 4-letter verb meaning to try in a courtroom, then a reversal (to be knocked back) of the abbreviation for temperature and the side of a ship known as port

13a    Unsure pedestrians left, beset by stranger in street heading west (8)
TODDLERS: Russian dolls: The abbreviation for left goes inside (beset by) a 5-letter word for stranger as in weirder, all inside (in) a reversal (heading west) of the abbreviation for street

14a    Short leg, problem for climber (6)
POSSUM: A 4-letter word for leg or jamb without the last letter (short) plus a 3-letter arithmetic problem

16a    Cheers, I didn’t mean to do that (6)
WHOOPS: Two meanings, the first being loud eager cries rather than a thank you

18a    Dish, German actress (8)
BASINGER: A dish or bowl plus the 3-letter abbreviation for German

22a    Refuse one scam about being involved in prize (9)
REPUDIATE: A reversal (about) of the Roman numeral for one plus a verb meaning to scam or deceive goes inside (being involved in) a verb meaning to prize or value

23a    Former BGT judge out of hospital (5)
OLDEN: The name of a judge on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ without (out of) the initial abbreviation for hospital

24a    Drink teetotal assistant has hidden (5)
LASSI: Hidden in the clue with the clearest possible indicator (… has hidden)

25a    Banger turned on fire (9)
GELIGNITE: The reversal (turned) of a cricket field side also known as on, plus a verb meaning to set on fire

26a    Technical people notice blocks shifting nine degrees (6,9)
DESIGN ENGINEERS: A 4-letter notice goes inside (blocks) an anagram (shifting) of NINE DEGREES


1d    Fine American Trump’s upset is complainant (7)
FUSSPOT: The abbreviation for fine, the 2-letter abbreviation for American and a reversal (upset) of a verb meaning trump plus the ‘S

2d    Glam rockers failed with grime cover (7)
MUDDIED: A glam rock band plus a verb meaning failed or stopped working (e.g. of an engine or computer)


3d    Dessert proudly served (concealing plastic and sound of microwave) (4-4,7)
ROLY-POLY PUDDING: An anagram (served) of PROUDLY goes around (concealing) an informal word for a type of plastic, all followed by the sound a microwave makes when your dinner is ready

4d    Pine and brass instrument is kind of neat (8)
LONGHORN: A verb meaning to pine and a brass instrument

5d    Screw up? Make another choice (6)
REDRAW: Reversal (up) of a screw or prison officer

6d    Ail badly with this synthesised product? No allergic reaction could be identified (10,5)
ELECTRONIC ORGAN: An anagram (badly) of AIL with [THE ANSWER] gives NO ALLERGIC REACTION (… could be identified)

7d    Wearing grand gown, heading off to make entrance (7)
INGRESS: A preposition that can mean wearing, the abbreviation for grand, and another word for gown or robe without the first letter (heading off)

8d    Tally round end of post on scoundrel’s bed (7)
STRATUM: A 3-letter tally or total goes around (round) both the last letter (end) of post and a 3-letter scoundrel

15d    Flood is good for last duck in train station (8)
WATERLOG: Take a London train station and replace the last O with the abbreviation for good (good for last duck in..)

16d    Wife wept after a rook trilled like a songbird (7)
WARBLED: The abbreviation for wife, then a 4-letter verb meaning wept or oozed follows (after) A from the clue and the chess abbreviation for rook

17d    Workfellows, initially enemies, settled disputes (7)
OPPOSES: An informal word for workfellows (derived from ‘opposite numbers’) plus the first letters (initially) of Enemies and Settled

19d    Travel with duke, peer that’s exalted (7)
GODLIKE: A 2-letter word for travel, the abbreviation for duke, and an adjective meaning peer or equal

20d    Fugitives, leaderless armed men south of river (7)
RUNNERS: Underneath (south of) the abbreviation for river, we have a 7-letter word for armed men without the initial letter (leaderless)

21d    Destroy viewpoint of the mansplainer? (6)
MANGLE: Split (1,5), the answer would indeed suggest the viewpoint of a male explainer

I enjoyed 21d for quirkiness and use of mansplainer, 23a for the neat way the definition is worked in the clue and because I even knew the answer (once I’d figured out what BGT was), I liked 16a as it took me a while to see the first definition, and 18a which I was making harder than it needed to be. Which clues did you like?

19 comments on “Toughie 1931

  1. I’m getting the hang of proXimal puzzles now (I hope) but a proper Toughie time was taken to solve it. The clue that made me smile the most was 13a as I loved the ‘unsure pedestrians’

    According to a note in the paper under today’s Toughie, there will be a bonus Monday Toughie by proXimal on Christmas Day.

      1. I’m sure in previous years we’ve had both a Toughie and the Elgar Double on Christmas Day??

        Edit – Just searched and found that, as I sort of remembered, I blogged a MynoT toughie on Christmas Day last year.

      2. ProXimal told us at a recent gathering that the crossword was moved to Christmas Day because the DT accidentally published its solution the day before it was originally scheduled. So maybe we’ll still have that Elgar double to wrestle with.

  2. I enjoyed this a lot – thanks to proXimal and Dutch. I had to Google the meaning of mansplainer (which doesn’t appear to have got into Chambers yet). The clues which I liked best were 13a (for the amusing definition), 5d (for the clever misdirection) and 8d (for the surface picture).

  3. Wow, I did it – and all by my little own self! Thought for a while that a couple in the SE corner were going to defeat me and I did check on the 24a drink (think I’ll give that one a miss) and the BGT abbreviation but that was Mr Google’s only involvement.

    So many crowded onto the podium – the shortlist is long enough – 13,16&23a plus 3,4,5&15d.

    Many thanks, proXimal, and thanks to Dutch both for the blog and the 4* difficulty rating – I was convinced that, if I could finish it, you’d have put it in the 1* to 2* range!

  4. I enjoyed this immensely. Several clues made me smile and it would be difficult to pick a favourite if proXimal is doing a toughie on Christmas Day that is an added present.
    On a technical note. I can’t get bigdave to open on my iPad the browser checker goes on and on. Yet on my iPhone there is no problem?

    1. In case anyone found themselves in the position I found myself with iPad not loading I googled my problems. It turns out that cookies were barred on my iPad but not my iPhone. Once I had enabled them all is well.
      In my confusion I forgot to thank proXimal and Dutch.

  5. My only complaint is that after a good week I failed to guess the setter correctly. Found this not quite as hard as I usually find proXimal but still a good challenge with plenty of humour too.

    Many thanks to proXimal and to Dutch.

  6. I solved this one before Dutch’s hints were published and I’m glad I did because I probably wouldn’t have bothered to try if I’d have seen proXimal’s name on it. I don’t mean that disrespectfully, I hasten to add; just that my previous attempts at solving his puzzles have generally been poor.

    I found this to be an excellent and fairly accessible puzzle overall, albeit probably towards the easier end of his spectrum and I’m glad I bothered.

    Thanks to Dutch and proXimal.

  7. Unsurprisingly, I was clueless as to the actress and the BGT reference, and thankfully the 24a drink is a lurker so it had to be. Favourite 16a in a pleasantly difficult puzzle.

    Not as tough as proXimal can be, so thanks to him for that, and thanks to Dutch for the review.

  8. Off today with a cold ,so had time to attempt the toughie ( back page cryptic in the morning as usual )
    Certainly took quite a while to make progress then gradually reached the last corner,( SE) not heard of mansplainer so looked it up and came up with ‘damage’ for 21 d which I thought most apposite-eventually turned to Dutch’ s blog and all became apparent and finished with a flourish !
    Glad it was about a ****, I think I enjoyed the solve,

  9. No, no, no!, Waterloo is a railway station. Train station is an insidious Americanism we purists abhor!

  10. The two names from the entertainment industry that are in the SE corner were among the last ones that we worked out, particularly as one of us had not heard of either of them. We got off to a flying start with 1a going straight in and then made steady (but not rapid) progress through the rest of the puzzle. Plenty to keep us smiling in this one.
    Thanks proXimal and Dutch.

  11. A tough Toughie. It rewarded me however. I suspect, with it being Friday, that Toughies are tougher on this day.

  12. Yes, I’m also getting used to proXimal’s puzzles, and this one provided the right blend of challenge and enjoyment. My last one in was 8d, which I thought might be a male part of the anatomy (not previously found in DT crosswords) until I worked out the correct answer ! I liked 1a, 3d and 26a (the long clues). Thanks proXimal

  13. Did a bit more googling than Gazza as I didn’t know the group in 2d, the workers in 17d, the mansplainer in 21a and the judge in 23a but each time the parsing led me to check the right answer.
    16a was great fun.
    Favourite is the reverse anagram in 6d.
    Thanks to proximal and to Dutch for the review.

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