Toughie 252 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 252

Toughie No 252 by Giovanni

Oodles of Fun

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

If you enjoy doing the Friday normal cryptic, then I recommend you try this one. Its a bit more difficult than what you would normally find on a Friday, but it is an accessible Toughie. There is enough to get you started, and then you can enjoy working through the rest of this well crafted crossword.

As usual if you wish to leave comments, please do so. If you are looking for the answers and can’t work out what the answer is from the hint or explanation, then highlight the letters inside the curly brackets.


1. Drugs cupboards — be given label to put on such (4-8)
{BETA-BLOCKERS} – BE followed by (given) TAB (label) put on top of LOCKERS (cupboards).

9. An impudent female protected by one of the opposite sex, a rock (9)
{MALACHITE} – MALE (one of the opposite sex) around (protected by) A CHIT (impudent female) produces a light to dark green carbonate mineral used as a source of copper and for ornamental stoneware.

10. Jolly good one ahead of Charlie (5)
{BRAVO} – A code word for the letter B (one ahead of the code word for the letter C – Charlie) is also a word used to express approval.

11. A fish said to get tough (6)
{ANNEAL} – A word for gradually heating and cooling glass or metals especially to temper or toughen them sounds like (said to) AN EEL (a fish).

12. City’s first working day later changed (8)
{MONTREAL} – The first working day is MON which is then followed by an anagram (changed) of LATER.

13. Composer’s short cape (6)
{TIPPET} – A double definition, one of the foremost British composers of the 20th century when minus a T (short) is a shoulder cape, usually made of fur (according to Chambers). Thanks to Giovanni for the correction.

15. The man’s country’s ‘star’ (not really) (8)
{HESPERUS} – HES (the mans) PERUS (country’s) is the personification of the “evening star”, which is really the planet Venus, hence the “star” (not really).

18. Nothing good in what’s handed out? Make solemn supplication (8)
{ROGATION} – Another word for making a solemn supplication comes from O (nothing) G (good) inside (in) RATION (what’s handed out).

19. Language of top commander about to make a choice (6)
{COPTIC} – CIC (Commander in Chief – top commander) about OPT (to make a choice) is an Afro-Asiatic language, written in the Greek alphabet but descended from ancient Egyptian. It is now extinct as a spoken language but continues to survive in the Coptic Church.

21. Honeysuckle transplanted by Caroline (8)
{LONICERA} – An anagram (transplanted) of CAROLINE is the genus name for Honeysuckle.

23. Attempt abandoned by a Northants town? American place goes the other way (6)
{NEVADA} – Remove (abandon) TRY from A DAVEN(try) (Northants town), now reverse it (goes the other way) and you should have an American state.

26. Dope available from bar in New York (5)
{NINNY} – Another word for a simpleton can be found by taking NY (New York) and placing INN (bar) inside.

27. This could be good, bad or indifferent (9)
{ADJECTIVE} – Good, bad and indifferent are all words that can be added to a noun to qualify it, or to limit its denotation by reference to quality, number or position.

28. Lepidopterist’s mechanical device? (9,3)
{BUTTERFLY NUT} – A cryptic definition of a screw or nut turned by winged finger-grips.


1. Fail when beginning to talk nonsense (7)
{BOMBAST} – BOMB (fail) AS (when) plus the first letter (beginning) of T(alk) is another word used to describe pompously inflated language.

2. Stock report a Londoner’s got hold of (5)
{TALON} – Hidden in (got hold of) (repor)T A LON(doner’s) is a word used to describe the cards remaining on the table after the deal (the stock).

3. City bankrupt? Accusation (not good) must be admitted (9)
{BUCHAREST} – BUST (bankrupt) admitting CHARGE minus the G (not good) is also the capital of Romania.

4. Name of American singer, one who gave many a lift (4)
{OTIS} – The first name of Mr Redding is also a famous elevator manufacturing company.

5. See less than enthusiastic sweetheart faint? (4,4)
{KEEL OVER} – KEEN (enthusiastic), remove the N (see less than), plus LOVER (sweetheart). Another term to faint.

6. Old coat to be shortened, taken up? That would be capital! (5)
{RABAT} – A medieval peasant’s overcoat, a knight’s sleeveless or short-sleeved coat or a herald’s coat or tunic bearing a coat of arms has the last letter removed (to be shortened) and is then reversed (taken up). If you did this right you should now have the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco.

7. Pirate making endless mistakes, a rebel primarily (5,3)
{WATER RAT} – The definition is pirate. Mistakes are ERRATA, mow remove the final A (endless) and stick WAT (a rebel – Wat Tyler) on top .

8. Dogs discharging pee — lots! (6)
{OODLES} – Best laugh out loud clue I have seen for ages. The dogs are POODLES.

14. Non-believer, fashionable one who composed music? (8)
{PAGANINI} – PAGAN (non-believer), IN (fashionable) plus I (one).for a famous Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer.

16. Language shown conclusively (roughly speaking) to be superior to Latin (9)
{PROVENCAL} – PROVEN (shown conclusively) CA (circa – roughly speaking) above L (Latin) is also the Occitan language.

17. Get a bit upset in job producing hot food (3,5)
{POT ROAST} – POST (job) around a reversed (upset) A and ORT (bit – a fragment, especially one left from a meal, according to Chambers) is also a dish of braised meat and vegetables.

18. Weaken in respect of time for giving things up? (6)
{RELENT} – RE (in respect of) and LENT (time for giving things up).

20. It’s logical bringing in a partner (2-5)
{CO-AGENT} – COGENT (logical, convincing) with an A inside (bringing in).

22. Rodent is timid and the reverse of revolting (5)
{COYPU} – COY (timid) and UP (revolting) reversed for a large South American aquatic rodent now found wild in Europe. Just in case you were interested the french word for this animal is Ragondin.

24. One’s charged — soon one will get locked up (5)
{ANION} – ANON (soon) with I (one) inside (locked up) is an electronegative ion.

25. Not totally closed — you can get a glass of beer (4)
{AJAR} – Not totally closed is A and JAR (glass of beer).

21 comments on “Toughie 252

  1. I smiled when I opened up the paper this morning and saw it was Giovanni who set today’s Toughie. I knew I was in for a treat with a well crafted and crafty puzzle and was not disappointed. Loved 1a, 8d and 28a. Pitched just right for the first Toughie of the week – I had managed to complete all but two by the time I reached the office which surprised me greatly! Many thanks to Giovanni and thanks to you Libellule for the hints.

  2. Lovely Crossword – same as Prolixic I opened the paper and thought “Wayheeey!”.
    Foolishly wrote ‘Net’ in for 28a and didn’t get the composer (or the cape!). I also had a little help in the NW corner from an electronic friend which I occasionally allow myself on the toughy.

    Favourites had to be 9a, 1a and in particular 8d.
    Thanks Libellule and Giovanni!

  3. Tough, and a nice crossword, but I did NOT like 11a – anneal is “to toughen” NOT “tough”. Unless I’m missing something (very possible) this is just clumsy, and an example of what annoys me the most – unnecessary errors.

    Now tell me I’m wrong, and why, and I’ll hang my head in shame.


    1. I’m with gazza on this one.
      ‘To get tough’ is a transative (I think!) which will make it ‘toughen’. Thats the way that I read it in any case.

        1. Head duly hung – I had realised after my post that “get tough” was the definition – but far too late to retract my complaint!!

  4. Most enjoyable. I loved 1a – one of those clues where I took a shot at the answer and then took the clue apart to see if it was correct. Very satisfying. 11a, a new word to me so I’ve learned something today. I like the Toughie when I can get off the ground with a couple of clues fairly quickly and then am exercised by the rest.

    1. Good Point Birdie
      I got 2 down the bottom, fought to fill the rest but ended up completing (bar one!) from the ground up.
      In a Toughie if I can get through the Across and Down initially and write in 5-6 and have ideas on ~some more~ then I know it is going to be a good one. Todays was slightly less than that but got the result.

      Question then to all:
      How do you tackle your Crosswords and do you have any expectations for any given day/setter/puzzle?

        1. Actually you forgot the “/” on the closing tag, so you had two “bold on” tags, and WordPress kindly closed off the first one for you. Then someone came along and edited it for you with the result that only you and I know what your second comment means!!!

          1. Thanks, I finally set up the WordPress account.
            the avatar is me in my Goth/Metal youth circa 1900.
            I was probably just getting into the DT crossword then.

      1. Back to your original question.

        Most Toughies I do online on CluedUp, but if I know (or realise while solving) that Elgar or Notabilis are involved then I print the puzzle out and sit down in comfort to ensure I get maximum enjoyment from the experience (and to be able to scribble all over the piece of paper).

      2. gnomethang,
        Unlike Dave I always print the crosswords off. I do this first thing in the morning. The Cryptics for me to work through during the day, and the Quicks to do at lunchtime with the wife. Generally I skim the crossword putting the “bars” in where the answer is more than one word, and also entering the obvious clues. I then work outwards from where I started putting in answers when I know they are correct, based on at least some understanding of the wordplay and/or the definition. For the really difficult Toughies e.g. an Elgar or a Notabilis, I sometimes check the answer if I am not sure by entering it into CluedUp. Having online access to Chambers also helps. Now you know all my secrets.

  5. I finally got to this over breakfast this morning. I was quite pleased with myself as I got all but three without help from the hints. I particularly liked 12a and loved 8d – good one that.

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