Toughie No 102 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 102

Toughie No 102 by Messinae

If you can do the regular cryptic then try this one today

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

So you think the Toughie is too difficult for you; well, this one is a little harder than the regular cryptics, but a good one on which to cut your teeth.

I am trying  out a new technique for displaying “spoiler” information on 5 down and 12 down – if you highlight the blank space between the brackets this will reveal the answer.  Let me know what you think of this – it could satisfy the problem of looking for one answer and accidentally viewing another.


1a Lawyer to cover up material (6)
DA (District Attorney / lawyer) MASK (cover up) to give a material, now usually of linen, woven with a pattern

4a Lively one I paired off (8)
AN (one) I MATED (I paired off) to give a word meaning lively

9a Government to neuter armed criminal (6)
G(overnment) to UNMAN (neuter) giving an armed criminal

10a Using the internet encompasses ‘electronic’ right? – it’s not much of a joke (3-5)
ONLINE (using the internet) around (encompasses) E(lectronic’) then R(ight) gives a very short (it’s not much of a) joke

11a One making designs for the Arctic melting (9)
Quite a nice anagram (melting) of THE ARCTIC to give someone like Sir Christopher Wren (one making designs)

13a Back lacking flexibility (5)
A double definition – the back of a ship; harsh, lacking flexibility

14a Award for newsmen – withdraw it, not expected to be broadcast (8,5)
An American prize for journalists that sounds like (to be broadcast) pull it surprise (withdraw it, not expected)

17a Hot gospeller having tangle with evilest deviant (13)
A good anagram (deviant) of TANGLE with EVILEST, giving a preacher, typically American, who appears on television

21a Rise and dance round front of ballroom (5)
REBEL (rise) – REEL (dance) around B (first letter / front of ballroom)

23a Settled? No I’m tossing in bed endlessly (9)
An anagram (tossing) of NO I’M inside IN SAC(k) (in bed, endlessly) giving someone who is distinctly unsettled (settled ?)

24a Twist a lever to lift (8)
An anagram (twist) of A LEVER TO giving another name for a lift

25a Member of government party imprisoned (6)
A cryptic double definition; the party in government is the IN SIDE; someone who is imprisoned is INSIDE

26a What did for cat functions when child comes back round (8)
It was curiosity that killed the cat, so find a synonym for curiosity – SINES (mathematical functions) inside SON (child) reversed (comes back)

27a American pioneer working as standard (6)
The founder of an American state with ON (working) giving a long narrow flag or streamer (standard)


1d It’s bent to sell drugs (3-3)
A DOG-EAR is a fold at the corner of a page in a book, and selling drugs is DO GEAR

2d German city cut one friend of the town (9)
MUNIC(h) (German city) without the last letter (cut) with I PAL (one friend) giving a word meaning of the town

3d Talk at length about an uncritical friend (7)
SPIEL (talk at length) about AN giving man’s best friend and a fawning person (uncritical friend)

5d Deal she sent Noel despite everything (11)
An anagram (deal) of SHE SENT NOEL giving a word that means despite everything – {NONETHELESS}

6d Weakling makes the most of work (7)
MILKS (makes the most of) then OP (work) gives a weakling

7d Perfect maybe, given top scores by judge finally (5)
TENS (top scores) then (by) E (judgE finally) gives a grammatical term which could also be past, imperfect etc.

8d Maniac called, caught in the act (8)
RANG (called) inside (caught in) DEED (the act) gives an adjective meaning like a maniac

12d Implements taken to table resignation out of order (6,5)
An anagram (out of order) of RESIGNATION giving a name for knives, forks and spoons  – {EATING IRONS}

15d Unsupported belief in education (9)
Put IN and TUITION (education) together to get an unsupported belief

16d Operator takes time as producer of caviar (8)
SURGEON (operator / one who performs operations) around (takes) T(ime) giving a producer of caviar

18d Football team to harvest criminal (7)
(Aston) VILLA (football team) with IN (harvest)  gives a criminal

19d Slim men seldom topped and tailed giant (7)
The answer is hidden in “sliM MEN SEldom”

20d Cover loose rock facing north (6)
SCREE (loose rock) then (facing) N(orth) gives a cover

22d Wish luck to British minor (5)
BLESS (wish luck to) – B(ritish) LESS (minor)

Wasn’t too bad, was it?

As always, your comments are valued, so please tell us what you think of this puzzle.

1 comment on “Toughie No 102

  1. Thought this was a pretty straightforward puzzle. {Harvest (verb) = IN} seemed the only really obscure wordplay element, and I’d seen the trickier answers like EATING IRONS before. Wordplays like T in SURGEON and IN+TUITION are surely too well-worn to be Toughie material unless very well disguised.

    I don’t think 23A quite works properly – it’s really “No I’m tossing in in bed endlessly” – “in bed endlessly” being the INSAC, we need another “in” or other ‘containicator’ to show that OMNI goes inside it.

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