Toughie 168 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 168

Toughie No 168 by Warbler

Can this really be a Toughie?

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

When I saw that Warbler was today’s setter I looked forward to a difficult puzzle.  What I got was one that was, to me, easier than most of the regular daily cryptics.  Just as Gazza vacillated between 3 and 4 stars for today’s cryptic (I had that as a 2 star!) I rounded this one up to 2 stars.  Let me know what you think.


1a Book title people misread as “The Careless Shepherdess” (6,2,4)
{LITTLE BO PEEP} – a delightful anagram (misread) of B(ook) TITLE PEOPLE leads us to a nursery rhyme about a shepherdess who lost her sheep

8a Strait-laced, yet high and inebriated (7)
{UPTIGHT} – a synonym for strait-laced that is a charade of UP (high) and TIGHT (inebriated)

9a Dines in café where broken seat’s in the open (4,3)
{EATS OUT} – this synonym for dines in café (or restaurant) is an anagram (broken) of SEAT followed by OUT (in the open) – this appeared on CluedUp as “dines in caf”; isn’t it about time this site was updated to include accents and certain other punctuation?

11a Piggy’s loose in last of maize crop (7)
{PORCINE} – this word meaning pig-like is an anagram (loose) of IN E (last of maizE) and CROP

12a Expectation for Scrooge, say, is incomplete (7)
{PROMISE} – this expectation is simply PRO (for) and MISE(R) (miser without the last letter / Scrooge, say, is incomplete)

13a Small trench revealed when top of grating’s removed (5)
{RILLE} – a small trench that is (G)RILLE without the G – according to Chambers, this spelling only applies when the word is used as a narrow furrow on the moon or Mars

14a First class crude tanker’s carrying one engine valve (3-6)
{AIR-INTAKE} – take  AI (A1 / first class) and add an anagram (crude) of TANKER around (carrying) I (one) and you get a valve in an engine

16a Advantages in winding streets (9)
{INTERESTS} – advantages that are IN with an anagram (winding) of STREETS

19a Find room for some of it inside (3,2)
{FIT IN} – to find room for is hidden (some) inside oF IT INside

21a Austere knight’s delight following misfortune (7)
{KILLJOY} – a synonym for austere is derived from  K(night) and then JOY (delight) following ILL (misfortune)

23a He might fill hollow with bit of silver in it (7)
{DENTIST} – I liked this simple cryptic definition of someone who might fill a hollow in a tooth with a bit of silver, where the wordplay is DENT (hollow) with S (bit of Silver) inside IT

24a Choice to omit first reading (7)
{LECTION} – take (E)LECTION, a common synonym for choice, remove the first letter (omit first) and you get a rather less common synonym for reading

25a Without musical arrangement, leaders of Northern Concert Orchestra rose in revolt (2,5)
{NO SCORE} – a phrase meaning without musical arrangement that is an anagram (in revolt) of NCO (leaders of Northern Concert Orchestra) and ROSE

26a Unravelled, St Peter’s ministry, lacking special effort, is not enduring (12)
{IMPERSISTENT} – an anagram (unravelled) of ST PETER’S MINI(STRY) without S and TRY (lacking Special effort) gives a word meaning not enduring


1d More recently one’s left on the side (7)
{LATERAL} – string together LATER (more recently) A (one) and L(eft) and you get on the side

2d Slogan could be eg Latin (3,4)
{TAG LINE} – a slogan like mine – “Putting the words to lights – crossword clues explained in plain English” – is an anagram (could be) of EG LATIN

3d Martin’s followers reform most of unearthly laws ultimately (9)
{LUTHERANS} –Martin Luther’s followers are derived from an anagram (reform) of UNEARTHL(Y) (most of unearthly) and S (lawS ultimately)

4d This might be used to mask part of execrable epithet (5)
{BLEEP} – good surface reading for what turns out to be a word hidden in execraBLE EPithet

5d Ram climbing upland gets crushed (3,4)
{PUT DOWN} – this ram is a TUP which is reversed (climbing – a down-clue only construct) and then added to DOWN (odd that this should be a synonym for upland!) to give a phrase meaning to get crushed

6d Opening in Italy European actor interpreted sexy literature (7)
{EROTICA} – an anagram (interpreted) of I E (opening in Italy European) and ACTOR produces some sexy literature

7d He questions prison over traces of Ecstasy and LSD in bread (12)
{PUMPERNICKEL} – a charade of PUMPER (he questions) NICK (prison) and E L (traces of Ecstasy and LSD) gives this strangely named bread

10d New hospital threatened changes immediately (5,3,4)
{THERE AND THEN} – an anagram (changes) of N(ew) H(ospital) and THREATENED gives a phrase meaning immediately

15d Locals tear around district on Sunday (9)
{RESIDENTS} – these locals are found by putting RENT (tear) around SIDE (district) and then S(unday)

17d Note the Parisian company’s starting to manipulate transmission of information (7)
{TELECOM} – TE (note) LE (the, French / Parisian) CO(mpany) and M (starting to Manipulate) together give transmission of information

18d Be very pleased about Irish writer’s broadcast (7)
{REJOICE} – to be very pleased is built up from RE (about) and JOICE, which sounds like (broadcast) James Joyce (Irish writer)

19d If sense is modified tact ensues (7)
{FINESSE} – IF SENSE is modified to give a word meaning tact

20d Being upset I tot up runs and stop working (4,3)
{TRIP OUT} – an anagram (being upset) of I TOT UP R(uns) gives a phrase which means to stop a machine working by disconnecting it, especially automatically

22d N Americans are jerks! (5)
{YANKS} – a double definition

Not much more I can say about this one, except had it been a standard daily cryptic it would have rated 3 stars for enjoyment.  I only gave it 2 because I felt disappointed.

3 comments on “Toughie 168

  1. I was going to drop you and Gazza an email about this when I did it this morning. As far as I was concerned, this was easier than the normal cryptic. Perhaps the Telegraph crossword editor got them the wrong way round :-)

  2. Have to agree, we found it a ‘non-toughie’ but enjoyable all the same with a few nice clues and I didn’t know 26a? Haven’t tried the cryptic yet, so we’ll see!

  3. Agree with all comments, too easy for a toughie but I still enjoyed it somehow.

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