Toughie No 119 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 119

Toughie No 119 by Micawber

Today’s hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Tilsit was due to review today’s Toughie, but he was rushed into hospital on Monday.  He had still hoped to be able to do this review as he didn’t want to disappoint his new fans.  I am sure you will all be joining me in wishing him a speedy recovery.


1a Go put one pound in hat (6)
{TRILBY} – a go in crosswords is often, as here, a TRY; just put I LB (one pound) inside and you have a type of hat

4a Former Dutch bank’s part taken over by Luxembourg – that’s odd (8)
{ABNORMAL} – the Former Dutch bank is ABN-AMRO, take the second part of this and reverse it (taken over), add L(uxembourg) and you have a word meaning departing from what is usual (that’s odd)

10a Leaving road, watchman is abandoning underwear for dip (9)
{GUACAMOLE} – as we had in yesterday’s Toughie, ignore the surface reading and break the clue down as / Leaving road, watchman / is abandoning underwear / for dip / and this time carry out the requested actions on rd (road), guard (watchman) and camisole (underwear) and magically you have a dip made of mashed avocado with tomatoes, onions and seasoning

11a Absurdity of priest rejecting the church (5)
{FARCE} – take FA(the)R (priest, rejecting the) and add CE (Church of England / church) to get an absurdity that was the speciality of Brian Rix

12a Recasting of mild mannered lead in the movies (7)
{FILMDOM} – recasting, here, signals that OF MILD is an anagram, then add M(annered, lead) to get the world of the movies

13a Lead scrawled around final objects to be excised (7)
{DELENDA} – addenda are objects to be added, this word for things to be deleted (excised) is derived from and anagram (scrawled) of LEAD around END (final)

14a Broadcaster’s dirty laundry might go here after clean-up (5)
{AIRER} – a double definition which leads to somewhere to hang the washing

15a Detainees not starting time in jail, rejecting porridge? (3-5)
{NON-STICK} – (c)ONS (convicts / detainees, not starting) then T(ime) inside NICK (jail) gives a surface of which Teflon is one type

18a Building society shortly bringing back bar on property seizure (8)
{LANDGRAB} – not a building society but the shortened form of Legal and General, a large insurance group, followed by BAR reversed (bringing back) to give property seizure [rather refreshingly, today’s setter owned up to his mistake – see the comments below!]

20a Non-drinker was consuming more than one unit (5)
{WATTS} – WAS around (consuming) a TeeTotaller (non-drinker) gives more than one unit of power

23a Woman gathering mountain plant (7)
{VERBENA} – this time the woman is VERA and she is around (gathering) a word that means  mountain in Scotland to give a plant

25a Like mere soil? (7)
{TARNISH} – while this could mean like a small mountain lake (mere) it does actually means to discolour (soil)

26a Not at all disrespectful term for woman in this day and age (5)
{NOHOW} – here we have HO (prostitute), yet another of those derogatory terms for a woman, inside NOW (this day and age) to give a word that means not at all

27a Dreadful artist in broadcast who tells you what to eat (9)
{DIETITIAN} – this person who tells you what to eat (or what not to eat) sounds like (in broadcast) dire Titian (dreadful artist) – for me, these homophones work better if both parts are spelled differently to the way they are in the answer

28a One setting forth from river northeast not leaving Ohio (8)
{EXPONENT} – EX (from) PO (river) NE (northeast) then NY (NoT with O(hio) leaving) give one setting forth

29a Programme had negative contents retracted (6)

{AGENDA} – a lot easier than it at first looks, the programme is hidden (contents) reversed (retracted) in hAD NEGAtive


1d In the end you grow fat, gruesome – it’s a test of pulling power (3-2-3)
{TUG-OF-WAR} – an anagram (gruesome) of U (in the end yoU) and  GROW FAT for a contest of pulling power between two teams

2d How time might pass during labour, short of oxygen and confused (2,1,4)
{IN A BLUR} – IN (during) with an anagram (confused) of LAB(o)UR (labour, short of Oxygen)

3d Tight as an old pair after bar’s opened (9)
{BLADDERED} – the state of an old pair of tights follows (after) B(ar’s opened) to give a synonym for very drunk (tight)

5d Basic command of literacy and of conversation each given upper B (5-3-6)
{BREAD-AND-BUTTER} – READ (command of literacy) AND UTTER (command of conversation) each given upper B to get a synonym of ordinary, routine or basic – and my favourite clue of the day

6d Guts required to kill mafia boss (5)
{OFFAL} – to OFF is American slang for to kill, which is appropriate as the mafia boss referred to is AL Capone, put them together and you get a term for the guts of an animal – entrails, heart, liver, kidney, tongue, etc

7d Stupid, middle-of-the-road skating – there’s no end to it (7)
{MORONIC} – this synonym for stupid is a charade of MOR (middle-of-the-road) and ON IC(e) (skating, there’s no end to it)

8d Changing course, fish rises to get room to manoeuvre (6)
{LEEWAY} – to change course is to YAW and the fish is an EEL and all reversed (rises – down-clues only once more) it gives room to manoeuvre

9d Bog-standard reshuffle for Mr Cameron? God, no (6-2-6)
{COMMON-OR-GARDEN} -reshuffle is a clever trigger for this anagram of MR CAMERON GOD NO giving a synonym for ordinary or bog-standard

16d Prevention of growth in you-know-what (9)
{THWARTING} – the growth is a WART and put it inside THING (you-know-what) to get a word meaning prevention

17d Weakness those days being incontinent, spaced out (8)
{ASTHENIA} – follow the wordplay and put THEN (those days) inside ASIA (in_continent, spaced out) then look up the resulting word to find that it means a loss of muscular strength (weakness)

Fully refreshed after watching the Eggheads win yet again, and having devoured some more of that French bread I told you about the other day – this time with home-made mackerel paté (and no, it wasn’t made by me!) – the remaining down clues:

19d Pneumatic mover shows off curvy bit (7)
{AIRSHIP} – AIRS (shows off) HIP (curvy bit) for a pneumatic moverand certainly my least favourite clue

21d Teaching union getting into difficulty about independent head (7)
{TUITION} – TU (Trade Union) with (getting) an anagram (difficulty) of INTO around I(ndependent head) gives a synonym for teaching – did you waste time looking for the NUT connection like I did?

22d To make up for Australia’s victory over England – twice… (6)
{AVENGE} – a charade of A(ustralia) V(ictory) over ENG(land) and E(ngland) (twice) giving a word meaning to make up for

24d … England would triumph with this fellow (5)
{EDWIN} – a ED (England’d / England would) then WIN (triumph) giving a man’s name – one of my pet hates: men’s and women’s names as answers, with nothing, other than the resolution of the wordplay, to indicate which man or woman

The odd one or two weaker clues failed to spoil this excellent Toughie.

If all you need are the answers, then just click here:

3 comments on “Toughie No 119

  1. Yes, best wishes to Tilsit, and thanks for the review BD. Apologies to Legal and General for the misrepresentation, my confusion probably arises from a disastrous endowment they once sold me with a mortgage!

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