Toughie 164 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 164

Toughie No 164 by Campbell

A welcome return from this occasional setter

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

Some setters appear more often than others on the Toughies and Campbell, known elsewhere as Ascot, is certainly one I would like to see more often.  On my usual scale this rated only three stars for difficulty, but I have increased it to four to compensate for some lucky guesses on 1, 15 and 27 across and 9, 14 and 16 down!


1a Published gen in Greek article promotes ‘Don Carlos’, perhaps (5,5)
{GRAND OPERA} – combine RAN (published, as in ran a story) and DOPE {gen / information) and put them both in GR(eek) and A(article) to get a Grand Opera – maybe with a sly nod towards fellow setter Don Manley!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

6a Turkey leg unfinished (4)
{STAG} – a male turkey that comes from STAG(E) (leg, unfinished) – good surface reading for such a simple clue

10a Boy, American, with hair swept back at the front (5)
{RUFUS} – this boy comes from taking US (American) and preceding it (at the front) with FUR (hair) reversed (swept back) – and this time a nod towards our regular Monday setter

11a A group of stars sign after church number (9)
{CENTAURUS} – a constellation (group of stars) that is derived by putting TAURUS (sign of the Zodiac) after CE (church) and N(umber)

12a Recommend an Edinburgh barman? (8)
{ADVOCATE} – a double definition – the Edinburgh barman is a Scottish barrister

13a Pull muscle (5)
{POWER} – I didn’t like this double definition as much as the previous one

15a Make a mistake collecting travel document in port (4,3)
{NOVI SAD} – I must admit that I didn’t know that to NOD was to make a careless mistake through inattention, but I did get VISA as a travel document and then looked up the Serbian port

17a Dairy product in list boy brought round (7)
{STILTON} – put TILT (list) inside (brought round) SON (boy) and you get one of my favourite cheeses – together with mascarpone in today’s other puzzle we have a gourmet at 8 down and a dessert at 16 down

19a Children’s book laid out on rug (7)
{MATILDA} – this children’s book by Roald Dahl is found by putting an anagram (out) of LAID after MAT (rug)

21a Article associated with more complex proposition (7)
{THEOREM} – add the definite article to an anagram (complex) of MORE to get a proposition familiar to schoolboy mathematicians

22a Henry, strangled by a blighter turning over holiday home (5)
{DACHA} – put H (the symbol for the Henry, the SI unit of inductance) inside A CAD (a blighter) reversed (turning over) to get a Russian holiday home

24a Hothead showing sign of emotion at opponent’s ground (8)
{TEARAWAY} – a charade of TEAR (sign of emotion) and AWAY (at opponent’s ground) leads to a hothead – so you can stop looking for words beginning with H (Hot head)

27a A scout, 10, nervous in court (2-4-3)
{EN-TOUT-CAS} – this anagram (nervous) of A SCOUT TEN  leads to the French for “in any case” which is the brand name of a hard tennis court that can be used in all weathers – I had C?S at the end and dredged the rest up from some stray corner of the mind


28a Beginning to prune every single tree (5)
{PEACH} – P(rune) and EACH grow into a tree – and a bit of a gimme

29a Row in river, avoiding the middle (4)
{TIER} – I keep a list of rivers close by, intending to add it to The Mine one day, and TI(B)ER is on there

30a Measuring device for farm vehicle (10)
{PROTRACTOR} – switching from algebra (21 across) we now have a Geometry lesson – just put PRO (for) in front of the ubiquitous farm vehicle and then you can measure your angles


1d Dress actress shortened (4)
{GARB} – (Greta) GARB(O)

Apparently what she actually said was I want to be left alone
Apparently what she actually said was "I want to be left alone"

2d Statement FIFA put out — US lawyer’s opposing it (9)
{AFFIDAVIT} – a statement that comes from an anagram (out) of FIFA together with DA (District Attorney / (US lawyer) V (versus / opposing) and IT – not too difficult once you suss out the anagram

3d Such music is constant during party? (5)
{DISCO} – this music comes from putting IS and C (constant – be it abbreviation or the speed of light, take your pick) inside (during) DO (party)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

4d Film eccentric Swiss balloonist (7)
{PICCARD} – a charade of PIC(ture) and CARD (eccentric) give you any one of a family of Swiss balloonists

5d Head of Roedean puts out a football team! (7)
{RANGERS} – R (head of Roedean) and ANGERS (puts out) together give a football team (Queen’s Park or Glasgow)

7d Cast husband in short trousers (5)
{THREW} – a synonym for cast that comes from inserting H(usband) in TREW(S) (nearly all of / short trousers)

8d The connoisseur among a consumer group? (10)
{GASTRONOME} – this is a cryptic definition of a food connoisseur

9d Precious stone, when held up, has sparkle, reportedly (8)
{SAPPHIRE} – this precious stone starts with AS (when) reversed (held up – one of those down-clue only constructs) and the rest of it sounds (reportedly) like fire (sparkle)

14d Take note of trailer housing man I fancy (10)
{ANIMADVERT} – a word meaning to take note of comes from putting ADVERT (trailer) around (housing) an anagram (fancy) of MAN I  – I bet I wasn’t the only one that didn’t know this one, but the wordplay and the checking letters helped

16d Dessert course cut short by bishop (8)
{SYLLABUB} – this fabulous dessert of cream curdled, flavoured and frothed up comes from SYLLABU(S) (course cut short) and B(ishop)

18d Lawrence, jolly good to accommodate a worker, an overbearing woman (9)
{TERMAGANT} – we haven’t had one of these derogatory terms for women for a while – this overbearing woman is a complicated charade of TE (Lawrence of Arabia) RM (Royal Marine / jolly) G(ood) around (to accommodate) A and finally ANT (worker)

20d A high-class comic actor produces a weekly magazine (7)
{AUTOCAR} – A U (a high-class) and an anagram (comic) of ACTOR give a magazine that Hotlips reads every week!


21d Send male out in carriage (7)
{TRANSIT} – take TRANS(M)IT (send) and remove (out) M(ale) to get a word meaning carriage

23d Copper to marry an attractive girl (5)
{CUTIE} – CU (chemical symbol for copper) and TIE (marry, as in tie the knot) give an attractive girl

25d Leading Greek character found in sacred river close to Olympia (5)
{ALPHA} – the first (leading) letter in the Greek alphabet is a charade of ALPH (sacred river) and A (close to / last letter of OlympiA)

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

26d Fish tea, daily (4)
{CHAR} – this is not only a fish and a daily cleaner, but apparently it is also the cockney spelling of cha (tea), making it a triple definition –
in Scotland a fish supper is fish and chips, but a fish tea is fish and chips with bread and butter and a cup of tea

Sorry for the delay, but now we have a working shower in the main bathroom, and visitors no longer have to traipse off to our en-suite!

Since I started keeping note of the setters with T 92, we have had two previous puzzles from Campbell, T 115 and T 141.  I hope we don’t have to wait as long for the next one.  My clue of the day, for it’s sheer simplicity, is 6 across.

3 comments on “Toughie 164

  1. Hi BD,
    Can you give us a hint on 20d, please? Last one to do and Hotlips is sulking because he was certain 13a was CLOUT and it put the whole crossword out!!

  2. The abolute best crossword for many weeks, I loved it. Unbelievably I finished it without having to check your hints even if it did take me till 4.30pm. My clue of the day is 27a.

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