Toughie 2096 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2096

Toughie No 2096 by Excalibur

Hints and tips by Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Hi all. We have another enjoyable puzzle from the late Excalibur.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints. You’ll find the answers inside the Click here! buttons.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative — click only if you wish to reveal all.

Apologies for the brevity of the hints, but I am quite busy today and after last week didn’t feel like asking for help.



1a    Capricious Dame Fortune protects no-hoper (4,4)
LAME DUCK:  An anagram (capricious) of DAME, which fortune surrounds (protects)

5a    Mounds of snow after day breaks (6)
DRIFTS:  After D(ay), we have breaks or splits

9a    One fated, sadly, never to be able to sing in choir (4-4)
TONE-DEAF:  An anagram (… sadly) of ONE FATED

10a   Entangled duplicate keys (6)
TWINED:  Duplicate (4) plus two musical keys

12a   Following one triumph, getting gold (9)
SUCCESSOR:  Triumph and then the heraldic gold

13a   What psychiatrist did, revealing pronounced self-importance (5)
PRIED:  A homophone (pronounced) of vanity or conceit

14a   They beat kings and rule in court (4)
ACES:  Two definitions, sharing the “they” and so not separately underlinable.  Cards which usually have a higher value than kings, and some winning tennis shots

16a   Protests for months? (7)
MARCHES:  These demos could be the plural of a month of the year

19a   Winds up in Paris drunk, alas having ditched AA (7)
SPIRALS:  Winds or twists.  An anagram (… drunk) of PARIS followed by alas without (having ditched) AA

21a   Returned preface to S-to-Z list (4)
ROTA:  The letters before S-to-Z, written in the same way (but dropping the hyphens), reversed (returned)

24a   Having come to a farewell party (5)
AWAKE:  A from the clue and a watch for one departed

25a   No singles. None at all (5,1,3)
NEVER A ONE:  This is a literal interpretation of the answer phrase, and a definition

27a   Refer to biting animal going around as ‘non-domestic‘ (6)
EXOTIC:  Refer to or quote containing (biting) a two-letter bovine, reversed (going around)

28a   Petition, confident that will get satisfaction (8)
PLEASURE:  A petition or appeal and an adjective meaning confident or assured

29a   Appeared to have view of sea (6)
SEEMED:  To have in sight and the three-letter contracted name of a sea

30a   I feel the faux furs should be worn (8)
METHINKS:  An anagram (… faux) of THE with some furs around (should be worn)



1d    Getting on a bit, cat should accept it when climbing (6)
LATISH:  Getting on in the day.  A whip contains (should accept) the reversal (… when climbing) of IT (from the clue)

2d    Tailing humans, one constitutes danger (6)
MENACE:  After some male humans goes a unit

3d    Trick is, dog drops ball, animal catches it (5)
DODGE:  Dog loses the round letter from the middle (drops ball), and is contained within a female deer (animal catches it)

4d    Categorises as third-grade females (7)
CLASSES:  A couple of grades below A followed by some girls

6d    Very young tot (3,6)
RAW SPIRIT:  A cryptic definition of alcoholic distillate

7d    An in-flight means of providing illumination (8)

8d    Agreed his cooking requires accompanying vegetable? (4,4)
SIDE DISH:  Agrees (with one party in a dispute) plus an anagram (… cooking) of HIS

11d   Off to converse! (4)
FROM:  The opposite (converse) of to

15d   Cabinet axe housing English, as rest in conflict (9)
CEASEFIRE:  A cabinet plus a verb to axe (from a post).  This lot is containing (housing) E(nglish)

17d   They test animal facing years working (8)
ASSAYERS:  A donkey followed by an anagram (… working) of YEARS

18d   Affix a warning: ‘Old-fashioned garment‘? (8)
PINAFORE:  Assemble a verb to affix (3), A (from the clue), and a golfer’s warning

20d   Confessed it’s stored in a French bank? (4)
SANG:  The bank in question is a blood bank

21d   Go round with sawn-off gun (7)
REVOLVE:  Remove the last letter from a type of gun

22d   Abbey seen in half-buried cutting instantly uplifting (6)
WOBURN:  Half of buried inside (cutting) the reversal (… uplifting) of instantly or at this moment

23d   They calculate three months in France should occupy married woman (6)
METERS:  The French word for summer is to be inserted inside (should occupy) the title of a married woman

26d   Get to about a hundred — hot (5)
REACH:  A charade of about or concerning, A (from the clue), the Roman hundred, and the abbreviation for hot


Rest in peace, Excalibur.  I hope you weren’t too much affected by comments on this blog.



12 comments on “Toughie 2096

  1. An enjoyable puzzle – quite straightforward in retrospect but a few that held me up for a while.

    Thanks to Kitty and Excalibur

  2. Fairly gentle with a few of Excalibur’s trademark quirks. 11d was my last answer and it took me a long time to twig the right meaning of converse. The clues I liked best were 24a, 30a and 7d.
    Thanks to the keepers of Excalibur’s legacy and to Kitty for the blog.

  3. Thanks Kitty, and Excalibur, whose legacy I am so glad to be able to enjoy.

    I was rather taken with today’s 3d.

  4. So nice that we still have some of Excalibur’s puzzles to enjoy.

    A couple of the pesky 4-letter ones held me up towards the end – 11&20d – and I did spend a while trying to fit a rather different cat into 1d. All done and dusted before I went out this afternoon but I’d have put an extra star on the difficulty rating.

    Many thanks to the keeper of the crossword gems and thanks to our busy Girl Tuesday – missed your usual pictorial accompaniments but hope today was as enjoyable as it was busy.

  5. Sorry, we didn’t enjoy this much, and for no clear reason. We did like 7d, though.

    Thanks to Kitty and Excalibur.

  6. I did enjoy this. It was a slow a steady solve for me with 23d being my last in. I hope that there will be many more Excalibur puzzles to enjoy. My thanks to all.

  7. 20d was our definite favourite.
    We missed the pictures, but cheers for blogging. Gryphon busy guarding other treasures?

  8. For some reason that we can’t understand now the NE corner was the last one for us to solve but it did not hold out for too long. Both 11d and 20d took some thinking about before the penny dropped too.
    A pleasure to solve and a good prompt to remind us of the huge contribution that Excalibur has made to the crossword world.
    Thanks to those who make these puzzles available and to Kitty.

  9. Weird and bittersweet solving posthumous puzzles, I feel that with petitjean too.

    a most enjoyable puzzle without being overly difficult. Easy to recognise her style, though not too many Yoda-like clues this time.

    Many thanks kitty, and RIP excalibur

  10. Last in as usual but I too have had a very busy day! Getting hot under the collar in a waiting room I stuck Lady Luck I 1a which jiggered me for that corner until I got 2d and corrected it. Thanks to Kitty for the breakdown which I enjoy reading although I did not need to access the answers. I too liked 24a. Tuesday is clean sheets day – cannot wait to get into bed.

  11. Like Gazza it was 11d that was my last one until I thought the converse in that way. However for 20d I mistakenly had ‘sent’ without thinking it was not an American bank, I was thinking of ‘cent’ and thinking that confessed meant a homophone. This fitted in with both across clues so I never noticed my error. Great fun to solve.

Comments are closed.