Toughie 150 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 150

Toughie No 150 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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

Greetings from Hebden Bridge!  I have now moved to my new flat and am settling in well. It was nice to pick up a crossword after a couple of days’ break and this Toughie was certainly one that merited the name, and was extremely enjoyable.  Apologies for being late with today’s blog, a combination of unexpected visitors and workmen, conspired to make me run late.

Micawber is one of my favourite setters from elsewhere and this puzzle contained all the hallmarks of his puzzles.  There were some lovely surface readings and clues to make you laugh out loud, although I am a bit puzzled about 2 down and there is a slip in 6 down.

Clue answers are contained inside  the squiggly brackets, so highlight inside to see them. As usual, I am always pleased to read your thoughts, and many of the setters also visit here to see what you have to say and appreciate your feedback.


1a  Corner bar turned around – inside, ugly interior removed (3,2)
{BUY UP}  This wasn’t the easiest place to start today, although on thinking about it, it looked obvious.  Corner is the definition.  Think of cornering the market.  A word for a bar is needed reversed around the word ugly with the interior (GL) removed.

4a  Part of Hampshire might be softer? (3,6)
{NEW FOREST}  This is one of those clever clues that requires a little thought.  Part of Hampshire is your definition.  Now if you look at the remainder of a clue, the first thing to spot is the question mark. That usually means you are being ask to think outside the box.  Here think of the word “softer” as one of those dingbat puzzles, and you’ll get your answer.

9a  Give birth to devil-child, not being outwardly heavenly type (9)
{ARCHANGEL}To  give birth to a devil child would be to BEAR CHANGELING and remove BEING.    Very clever, no-one said Toughies were supposed to be easy.

10a  Nostril wrecked, I left off act of taking cocaine (5)
{SNORT}  Drug culture has been a godsend to crossword setters from providing new words to abbreviations.  Probably the only good thing to come out of the whole business.  Here you need to find a word which means “to take cocaine”.  You are asked to make an anagram of NOSTRIL minus I and L (for “I left”).

11a  I hear ‘The Lady in the Lake’ is a tearjerker (7)
{SHALLOT}  Another lovely clue.  There’s a famous poem by Tennyson about Arthurian legend which is called “The Lady of ______”.  Another spelling of the name produces something that could draw tears, if you know your onions!

12a  Remake a right corny production? (5-2)
{CARRY-ON}  One of the clues where the whole thing provides a definition, as well as a loose definition of “production”.  The subsidiary indication is  an anagram of A R + CORNY.

13a  Sharp statue toppled (6)
{ASTUTE}  Another nice tight clue, an anagram of statue is required.

15a  End of Rue Morgue’s nasty, not a pretty sight (8 )
{GRUESOME}  An anagram of E + MORGUES

18a  Symbol offering guarantee of safety found on victim of air raid? (4,4)
{KITE MARK}  A double definition with one of the parts a cryptic definition.  Think of a bird of prey and what it would leave if it attacked you.

20a  Set off to Saracen’s Head to drink and chat (6)
{GOSSIP}  A word sum –   A word for Set Off +  S  (Saracen’s head) +  a word for drink =  a word to chat.

23a  Trapped in Chad – rough terrain, shortage of water (7)
{DROUGHT}  A hidden answer, look carefully to see a word meaning shortage of water.

24a  What electrician did perhaps attracted anger start to finish (7)
{REWIRED}  “What electrician did” is your definition.  Think of a phrase meaning to “attract anger” and move the first letter to the last.

26a  Glide in rough direction of Cornwall (5)
{SWISH}  Clever clue. Glide is the definition, and going roughly means you are heading towards the compass position of Cornwall

27a  I hear you are being fussy about vegetable (9)
{AUBERGINE}  An anagram of U + ARE BEING will reveal what the Americans call the Eggplant.

28a  Left later than gay (openly so) wearing corset? (9)
{OUTSTAYED}  Put together OUT (openly gay) and STAYED (attired in stays, corset) to get “left later than”.

29a  Large – but no longer largest after this operation? (5)
{STOUT}  Clever cryptic clue.  What do you literally have to see for “largest” to become “large”?


1d  Runners maybe chat on Giant’s Causeway? (9)
{BEANSTALK}  Clever definition.  Think of a vegetable that follows “runner” and a word meaning chat.  Put them together and you get an escape route for a famous fictional giant.  I did search to see if there was a variety of bean called GC,which would have really enhanced the clue, but alas no!

2d  Not so nice-sounding houseplant (5)
{YUCCA}  Bit of a problem with this in that I couldn’t see the word YUCK used as an adjective in Chambers or in one of the Oxford Dictionaries.  The adjective is YUCKY, which would make the comparative YUCKIER.

3d  Serve again, perhaps, in single act? (7)
{PLAYLET}  Think of tennis and how to get an extra serve for one of the two definitions, while the other is the name for a one-act drama.

4d  Wipe out Newcastle’s ticket sales? (6)
{NEGATE}  Think of where Newcastle lies, geographically and add to it the name for  a soccer crowd.  Bearing in mind this week’s trauma at St James’ Park, quite a nice clue.

5d  Joker who gets in without qualifications (4,4)
{WILD CARD}  Think of the role most playing card jokers play, together with a last-minute unseeded entry in a competition such as Wimbledon.

6d  Switching second and fifth would create the opposite, see (7)
{OBSERVE)  You want a word for “OPPOSITE” and then switch some letters round, but not second and fifth as stated here, but third and sixth letters.

7d  Last of two animals coming first – like Black Beauty (9)
{EPONYMOUS}  This is the reverse of 24 ac  with the names of two animals, think small horse and cheese-grabber, but the last letter of the cheese-grabber is moved to before the small horse.

8d  Get closer to ear of giant (5)
{TITAN}  Homophone of “tighten”

14d  Stoat I shot to put in coat-tail – I make money from patterned skins (9)
{TATTOOIST}Anagram of STOAT I with TO + T inside.

16d  Suitable gym class to end – next sports outside (9)
{EXPEDIENT}  Think of your gym class at school and add DIE (to end), then put around these an anagram (sports) of NEXT to form a synonym for suitable.

17d  Bit of France – area by point it ends in the sea (8 )
{BRITTANY} A (area) TT (ends of POINT and IT) inside BRINY

19d  Stolen cups lead to suspect’s capture (7)
{MUGSHOT}  Think of another word for cups which goes before (lead) a word for stolen.

21d  Where sisters are advancing (7)
{ONWARDS}   Where you’ll find (nursing) sisters and a word that means advancing.

22d  Prostitute’s sex was boring (6)
{PROBED}  Short word for a lady of the night, together with a slang word for sex.  Clue to make you smile, if you like that sort of thing!

23d  Nightclub a find? Not particularly (5)
{DISCO}  A word for a find with the last four letters (which means particularly) missing for a name for a night-club.

25d  One horn, wild… (5)
(RHINO}  Another stunning clue, where the whole clue defines it, and provides the indications.  An anagram of I (for one) HORN.

Thanks to Micawber for a very enjoyable puzzle.


6 comments on “Toughie 150

  1. Hiya Tilsit.

    I have not looked at today’s Toughie yet, but I would like to send you all the best for the future in your new place.

    Good luck.

  2. I actually enjoyed this puzzle very much. If I had been reviewing it I would have given it 5 stars :-)
    Many clues to admire, and if Big Dave does a clue of the week this week, then it must come from this crossword. There is lots of clever wordplay – all in all an excellent crossword.

  3. Tilsit, I think you have 6d the wrong way round.

    The answer must be OBSERVE, otherwise it won’t fit with 10a.

  4. Thanks Rollo

    More haste, less speed. I knew what I wanted to enter, but got myself into a tangle.

    i have edited with thanks.

  5. my kind of crossword… one where the answers are all words i’ve heard of! Maybe that’s why i finished it, which is a rarity with the toughie. Challenging but fair to those of us with limited vocabulary!

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