Toughie 158 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 158

Toughie No 158 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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

Quite a tough puzzle today from Giovanni, but still very enjoyable.  Some nice clues to draw you into the puzzle, and then some mind-stretchers to make you think.  No really unusual words but good fair cluing providing a good challenge.  As usual, all the clues have excellent surface readings and if you aspire to be a setter, studying these will no doubt help you.

Thanks to Giovanni for a thoroughly enjoyable challenge.


1a There’s cool cash around for folk in education (14)
{SCHOOLTEACHERS} A nice anagram to get underway. “Folk in education” is the definition required.

9a Group into repetitive learning gets badge for achievement (7)
{ROSETTE} You need a word for a group inside a word for repetitive learning

10a Two articles attached to book cover (7)
{SHEATHE} An indefinite and a definite article should be attached to a famous book by H Rider Haggard.

11a Request left out for a bit of food (3)
{PEA} Take the abbreviation for “left” out of a word meaning a request.

12a Opera must have performers right for one head of state (5,6)
{FIDEL CASTRO} Take Beethoven’s only opera, and swap one (I) for right (R). Inside this, place a word for the performers of an opera, or other stage-show. You should then see a famous foreign head of state, who is just about still with us.

14a The politician rejecting leader’s principles (6)  (A misprint in the online solve and print versions – whatever the misprint was, it is now correct  BD)
{THEORY) I suppose given the current political atmosphere, you could place any name in the boxes here. However, here you need a phrase for the politician minus the first letter of the second word.  So if it was THE LIB, it would be THEIB, but it’s not that party. That reminds me of a joke which I’ll reprint below.

15a Make fresh adjustments to retire — no working! (8)
{REORIENT} An anagram (working) of “retire – no”.

17a Bit of radiation that’s bright getting a male hurt internally (5,3)
{GAMMA RAY} Here we need A and M(ale) together with a word for “hurt or damage” which belongs inside “getting … internally” GAY (bright)

19a Decoration, high award given at end of ceremony (6)
{POMPOM} A word for ceremony (as in “__ and Circumstance”) with an abbreviation for one of the high awards bestowed by the Queen tacked on. This will give you a word for a decoration, especially one by a cheerleader.

22a Hector, champion — is such a leader! (11)
{TORCHBEARER} If you look inside HecTOR CHampion you will find that it is the BEARER of a TORCH, which defines a leader. And one starts the Olympics off!

23a Girl taken over, former man having left (3)
{ANN) Quite a tricky clue this. A word for taken over – as one country did to another in WW2. Then lose (EX) former and ED (man). You should have a girl’s name left.

24a Awful lather when knight gets stuck in entrance (7)
{ENTHRAL} An anagram of “lather” with the chess abbreviation of knight inside. This will lead you to a word for bewitch or entrance.

26a Well-judged page introducing offensive section of scripture (7)
{PRUDENT} A word sum. P for page + a word for uncouth or offensive + the abbreviation for part of the Bible (the latter bit). This gives you an adjective that may be linked to Gordon Brown – well, it was once.

27a Fluctuate as a hairdryer may do (4,3,3,4)
{BLOW HIT AND COLD} Double definition. Fluctuate is the main definition, with the remainder of the clue providing a cryptic definition for the same phrase.


1d Work hard to acquire jam, in order to win the lady (6,8)
{SCRAPE TOGETHER} Take a SCRAPE (jam / difficult or embarrassing predicament)  and add to this a word which breaks down as “in order to” + “win” + a lady”

2d Army spy dropping off books for prisoner (7)
{HOSTAGE} A word for an army (think “of angels” or “golden daffodils”) plus a word for a spy without the last two letters (the same last two as in 26 across)

3d One may get bather thus exhausted (3,2,6)
{OUT OF BREATH} The working out of this clue is similar to 13 down. You need a phrase for “exhausted”. The remainder of the clue is the answer to the question: How anagrammatically do you get the word “bather”?

4d In attempt to circumvent death (6)
{TRENDY} “In” is the definition here, and it’s a word for attempt with a word for death inside.

5d Let off the hook, a slob finally cracked (8)
{ABSOLVED} A word sum A + B ( A slob finally) + “cracked” as in solving a clue = a word for “let off the hook”

6d Elated, we hear, to speed (3)
{HIE} Homophone time. If you are elated you may said to be this, and the answer is a word meaning to speed

7d Letter I redesigned and put new heading on (7)
{RETITLE} Redesigned leads to an anagram of LETTER I giving a word meaning to put a new heading on

8d Tainted comedian reformed, one coming out cleaned up (14)
{DECONTAMINATED} An anagram (reformed) of TAINTED COMEDIAN without a letter I (one coming out).

13d Like a sort of missile that’s clue to a riot? (3-2-6)
{AIR TO GROUND} Similar to 3d, this requires a little thinking outside the box. You are looking for a type of missile, which if it were to be used as a clue itself, would lead to the answer A RIOT? If you are still in the dark, as an example try LOPE as an answer to the clue POLE DANCING?

16d Something used for cleaning toilet in station (8)
{WATERLOO} Another word sum. Something used for cleaning + a word for toilet = a famous station in London.

18d Wedded male regularly cuddling a woman (7)
{MARITAL} Probably my least favourite clue today. Regularly indicates that you take the odd letters of MaLe and insert A and a woman’s name. The definition is “wedded”. To me it’s a bit too vague, but it’s probably fair for this sort of puzzle.

20d Location with nasty smell — dope found here isn’t real (7)
{PLACEBO} Another word sum. Location + nasty (personal) smell, abbreviated = fake medicine.

21d Brandy lets one have good conversation with the old man (6)
{GRAPPA} You could argue “let’s one” is superfluous here. Good (G) + Conversation (or a type of modern music) + “the old man”, i.e. father gives you a type of potent brandy.

25d Racket made by ruffians dies away (3)
{ROW} Think of a word for scamps or ruffians that ends in -dies. Take away the suffix and you have a word for “racket”.

Thanks to Giovanni for a challenging time today.

This Saturday, there is a crossword gathering at the White Horse pub, in Parsons Green, London from 12 noon and I’ll be there sipping coffee and orange juice (not together).  If you happen to be in the vicinity come and say hello.

And finally……

In the wake of Susan Boyle’s nickname of Subo, Paul Potts is now called Papo.

Also David Cameron is now called Daca, Gordon Brown is now called Gobro and Nick Clegg is now called Nicle.

Pete Doherty says count me out.

3 comments on “Toughie 158

  1. Very typical Giovanni, most enjoyable crossword, agree with Piannyd re best clue.

  2. Top half seemed very easy, bottom half a bit slower. Liked 16D once I’d stopped trying to put the toilet in the station to get the cleaning thing, or make something out of sanitation / station.

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