Toughie 208 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 208

Toughie No 208 by Excalibur

Any Hidden Gems?

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment **

This is my first attempt to blog a Toughie, so this should be an interesting exercise.

When I did the crossword, I was not overly impressed, however as I started to write this up, I found that I actually enjoyed some of the clues more than I had when I did it. However I also found a number of cryptic and double definitions that just didn’t work for me at all, in that usually when you get a good cryptic or double definition you like to have a “eureka” moment, whereas here it was more like, oh so that’s it is it…. ho hum.

As usual feel free to let us know what you thought of the crossword either by voting for it, or by leaving a comment.


7. Think you said ‘Is in a harem,’ quite wrongly (7)
{MISHEAR} – Place IS inside an anagram (quite wrongly) of HAREM for a word that can be used in place of “I thought you said something different”.

8. Clamour to get shots showing wild animals (7)
{DINGOES} – DIN (clamour) and GOES (shots) for Australian wild dogs. I find using “shots” for goes somewhat awkward, but it does work, just.

10. You won’t find the flower of the army in it! (10)
{GLASSHOUSE} – Not the best cryptic definition in the world, however the answer refers to a slang term for a military detention barracks.

11. Fur ball the animal swallowed (4)
{COAT} – CAT (animal) with an O (ball) inside (swallowed).

12. Ticket one’s forged and gives to somebody else (6,2)
{PASSES ON} – PASS (ticket) and an anagram (forged) of ONES describes what happens when you give something to somebody else.

14. Go in squiffy again and don’t notice (6)
{IGNORE} – An anagram (squiffy) of GO IN with RE (again) for a word that means to disregard.

15. True card concealed (4,2,5)
{HAND ON HEART} – I don’t think this double definition works very well either. true, and if a card (HEART) is concealed it might be under your hand.

19. Try again to get her back and are foolish (6)
{REHEAR} – HER reversed (back) and an anagram (foolish) of ARE to retry a lawsuit for example.

20. Acted out a silly lie in, requiring tact and diplomacy (8 )
{DELICATE} – Hmm the accuracy of the clue seems to have disappeared in favour of surface reading. You need to place an anagram of LIE inside an anagram of ACTED and you should end up with a word that means gentle and polite.

22. Said ‘It’s a time when everyone’s travelling, pet’ (4)
{PEKE} – A sounds like clue, think of a dog that sounds like PEAK (as in peak time travel).

23. Wasn’t fooled by the ‘Cut the woman in half’ trick? (3,7)
{SAW THROUGH} – My favourite clue of the day. The definition is “wasn’t fooled”. Now how would you cut a woman in half?

25. Dashes the future prospects of school leavers (7)
{CAREERS} – A double definition, to rush and a profession or occupation.

26. Someone stealing something from the nursery (7)
{CREEPER} – I liked this one too, a nice surface reading. Someone or something that creeps or a creeping plant for example.


1. He is going to and I am, too (7)
{WILLIAM} – Possibly an attempt at an all-in-one, that doesn’t work. A verb used to express intention or determination and I AM gives a boys name.

2. So thought ‘Ought to drop by, ourselves’ (4)
{THUS} – Take THOUGHT, drop OUGHT and add US (ourselves) for another word for So.

3. Parties with buffets (6)
{BASHES} – A double definition, to have parties and to hit something.

4. Feel an affinity for the intelligent? So do I (8 )
{LIKEWISE} – Definition is “So do I”, so now take another word for “Feel an affinity” and add WISE (intelligent).

5. Just mad about me (10)
{EGOCENTRIC} – Basically you want a word that means self-centred.

6. Goes off for an overhaul (7)
{REPAIRS} – Double definition, to fix and to go.

9. Finding, on looking quickly through the column (7,4)
{RUNNING DOWN} – Another double definition that doesn’t quite work for me. If you were quickly scanning a column in the newspaper for example, you might be doing this (or not).

13. Why one’s burning to take part? (5,5)
{STAGE FEVER} – I struggled on this one, until I realised what the answer was. This is not a term I have heard before, supposedly it’s a slang term that means “a craze for the boards” or stage-struck.

16. The rambling rose I planted in, parched? That’s ridiculous (8)
{DERISORY} – Take DRY (parched) and place inside (planted in) an anagram (rambling) ROSE I for another word that means ridiculous.

17. Real mess-up by the dope, as usual (7)
{GENERAL} – An anagram (mess-up) of REAL placed below GEN (dope).

18. About to urge deserters to return, weaken visibly (7)
{STAGGER} – Deserters in this case are RATS and they are placed around EGG (urge) and then reversed (to return).

21. A hole designed to trap rain in monsoon territory (6)
{LAHORE} – The second largest city in Pakistan is created from an anagram (designed) of A HOLE with an R (rain) (I can’t find the abbreviation of R for rain in Chambers) inside (trap).

24. Concluded it’s your turn to speak (4)
{OVER} – Another double definition that refers to radio procedure where the answer to the clue is a word used to indicate “I have finished talking and I am listening for your reply”.

9 comments on “Toughie 208

  1. Congratulations on your first Toughie blog Libellule, I like you did not like the wording of1d, and JUST got the answer through trial and error for boys names.Have to nominate 22a as my favourite today, succinct but clever.

  2. Took me a long time to adjust and ‘get into the mind’ of this compiler.
    Once I had, I enjoyed it! Some nice clues but a touch ‘loose’ for me.

    Cheers, and nice blog Dragonfly….

    1. CastorFool,
      That’s exactly what I meant by hidden gems. Basically this is a “sloppy” crossword, with a few good points. 21d is particulary loose.

  3. Nope, Didn’t enjoy this one at all. Too many tenuous clues. No eureka moments, but definitely a few groans.

  4. Very much one for the fans, and I am not one of them. Too many of the clues, to use an archery analogy may hit the target, but not the gold or bull.

    22 across as far as I am concerned downright shoddiness.

    The clue reads: Said ‘It’s a time when everyone’s travelling, pet’ (4)

    The setter is asking you to find a homophone of a pet. Firstly is “pet” an adequate description of PEKE? The jury is probably out on that one. It’s a bit like saying a Raleigh is a vehicle, when it is a make of bicycle.

    Next, if you look at the clue, it includes the word “pet” inside the quotation marks, implying that it is part of the homophone. It is misleading, but not in the sense advocated by our crosswording forefathers The setter Afrit wrote “I need not mean what I say, but I must say what I mean.”
    Some of the clues today did not come close to that tenet.

    24 down would have been a cracking clue if it had finished with the words “on the radio”, as it stands it is an indequate definition.

    You pay your money, you take your choice. This sort of puzzle would put me off my subscription.

  5. Liked this more than some of this setter’s puzzles, but slipped up with a non-existent financial frenzy at 13D – SHARE FEVER. Not very convinced by 15 either. Didn’t mind 24D – not being able to think of any other short words meaning “it’s your turn to speak”, adding context by adding “on the radio” seems like a giveaway to me. But with Dave on 22 where the unhelpfulness of -E-E adds to the difficulty.

    21D’s R=rain is not in Collins or COED either – this is where the editor should be demanding a proper clue – the hole could trap a king or rook for example, just from the choices in COED.

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