Toughie 264 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 264

Toughie No 264 by Giovanni

All about Eve (and Adam too)!

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

I will be returning to the Tuesday Toughie blog for a while as Libellule is currently unable to devote enough time to do this and the Thursday daily cryptic – he is, I believe, the only one of us blogging crosswords on the day of publication that also holds down a full-time job!

I just loved this puzzle from Giovanni, and have “borrowed” from Anax the idea of highlighting my favourite clues in blue. One of the advantages of reviewing a puzzle is precisely that – you re-view and get a chance to enjoy it all over again. OK, there were one or two minor niggles, but as I explained last week the object of doing a puzzle is to enjoy solving it, and this one achieved precisely that.

Leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a Striker effective only once in game given abuse (10)
{MATCHSTICK} – this striker, which is effective only once , is a charade of a general word for a game between two sides and a word meaning abuse [and yes, I did notice the use of “in” as a link word!]

6a Former Yugoslav leader not half an obnoxious person (4)
{SLOB} – half of the first name of former Yugoslav leader Milošević gives, somewhat appropriately, an obnoxious person

9a They design tour, cruise at sea (10)
{COUTURIERS} – they design clothes, conveniently omitted by Giovanni! – but you should spot the anagram (at sea) of TOUR CRUISE

10a Language of one place to the west (4)
{TUPI} – an example of how a difficult answer has been given an easy wordplay – this language is derived from I (one) and PUT (place) all reversed (to the west, one of those across-only constructs) – I guessed first at Tesi, but it wasn’t in the dictionary, so then I tried Tupi and discovered that it is the language of a S American of a group of peoples inhabiting the Atlantic coast and the Amazon basin

12a That’s exciting turn that shouldn’t finish! (4)
{WHEE} – WHEE(L) – not much more I can say

13a See everyone work in side as the result of heavy defeat (9)
{WALLOPING} – put ALL (everyone) and OP(us) inside WING (side, of a house) and the result is a word meaning a heavy defeat

15a Support for someone sitting down to drink, having got fed up, we hear (3-5)
{LAP-BOARD} – this support is used by tailors and seamstresses and is a a charade of a word meaning to drink followed by a word that sounds like BORED (fed up, we hear) –

16a Dope takes road in the wrong direction in city (6)
{GENEVA} – put together GEN (dope / information) and AVE (road) reversed to get this Swiss city

18a Shelter in which short drink’s feasible (6)
{COCOON} – this shelter for insect larvae is a charade of COCO(A) (short drink) and ON (feasible)

20a As an erstwhile statesman, I dance when going round the country (4,4)
{IRON DUKE} – here an erstwhile statesman is created by putting I and RONDE (dance) around UK (country) – I toyed with IKE before spotting the correct wordplay

23a Annoying idiot’s rushing around (9)
{HARASSING} – a word meaning annoying is generated from ASS (idiot)with HARING (rushing) around it – I liked this one for its surface reading

24a One of the earliest fellows to be a famous author (4)
{SETH} – one of the sons of Adam (one of the earliest fellows) is also the surname of a famous Indian author

26a Swear nothing’s been hidden in a car (4)
{AVOW} – a word meaning to swear is built up from O (nothing) inside A VW (a car)

27a & 28 Fancy hotel (e’en the inn!) is where one might get a drink (10,4)
{NINETEENTH HOLE} – the words in brackets should lead you very quickly to realise that this is an anagram (fancy) of HOTEL E’EN THE INN – and if you know nothing about golf, this is the clubhouse

29a Actress laid down with divine male, rolling over (5,5)
{BETTE DAVIS} – having just the first letter of the second word at this stage, I pencilled in this actress and then worked out that the wordplay was BETTED (laid down a bet) and SIVA (divine male) reversed (rolling over)


1d Rag? It may come before the final exam (4)
{MOCK} – a word meaning to rag, in the sense of to make fun of, is also the name given to an internal exam that precedes a final, frequently external, exam

2d Male beast stifling cry when there’s pain in paw (5,2)
{TOUCH UP} – the male beast is a another name for a ram that is a frequent answer in quick crosswords – just insert that word you cry out when in pain and you have a phrasal verb meaning to paw, as in to make unwanted amorous advances to a lady

3d Like Santa’s deliveries, ho-ho! (5-2-5)
{HOUSE-TO-HOUSE} – you only get a clue like this just once in a while – as far as the wordplay goes, HO is an abbreviation for HOUSE

4d Journey with urgent message? The enemy could lay this trap (8)
{TRIPWIRE} – a charade of a synonym for a journey and an outdated type of urgent message (in the days before emails and texting) results in this trap

5d Snappily kinky, with little time to get involved (6)
{CURTLY} – a word meaning snappily is generated by taking a synonym for kinky (in the older sense of the word, in case you thought otherwise) and inserting T(ime)

7d ‘Acid’ in clue wrongly associated with ‘drug’? (7)
{LEUCINE} – this essential amino acid is an anagram (wrongly) of IN CLUE followed by (associated with) E(cstasy), the drug of choice for most setters, or so it seems!

8d Brat grew troublesome, concealing identity in West Country town (10)
{BRIDGWATER} – an anagram (troublesome) of BRAT GREW is placed around (concealing) ID(entity) to get a West Country town – no comment!

11d Suffer maybe after dreadful Ofsted inspection and go crazy (4,4,4)
{LOSE ONE’S HEAD} – a wonderful cryptic definition that plays on the possible consequence of a bad report from Ofsted – go crazy is the definition

14d Angry PM no longer seen in one part of London (10)
{BLACKHEATH} – a charade of BLACK (angry) and a former Prime Minister gives this part of London, and completes today’s  Geography lesson

17d A bit from the likes of Steptoe and Son wrapped in paper (8)
{FRAGMENT} – a bit that is constructed from RAG MEN (the likes of Steptoe and Son) inside the Financial Times (paper)

19d Certain precautions needed in admirable arrangement to cut down journeys (3,4)
{CAR POOL} – put Air Raid Precautions inside COOL (admirable) and you get an arrangement to cut down journeys

21d Actor given break, heading off on All Saints’ Day (7)
{USTINOV} – this popular actor is derived from (B)UST (break, heading off) and I NOV (1st November / All Saints’ Day)

22d Fixed penalty for smuggling in drink (6)
{FINITE} – a word meaning fixed comes from FINE (penalty) around (smuggling in) IT (Italian Vermouth / drink) – this drink’s third appearance in recent puzzles!

25d Accordingly, one day of the week’s not right day (4)
{THUS} – a word meaning accordingly is constructed from THU(R)S(DAY) (one day of the week) without the R and DAY (not Right DAY)

It would be churlish to complain about the places in this excellent puzzle – but I did like the inclusion of names associated with actors rather than as plain girls and boys (see countless reviews passim).

28 comments on “Toughie 264

  1. I missed a couple today (inc 15a).
    Favourites were 13a, 29a and 2d but the runaway winner for me was 3d!.
    Another fine crossword from the Don

  2. By an odd coincidence the answer to 2d also appears as an answer in today’s excellent puzzle by Paul in the Guardian, where the clue is “Molest a little higher? (5,2)”.

    1. Hah! Thanks for the Heads Up – I’ve just printed it for the train home!. I would have got Paul’s answer more quickly, methinks.

      1. gnomethang
        There are some corkers in that puzzle – you’ll be rolling on the floor of the carriage!

  3. Absolute corker from Giovanni today – when I saw who the setter was, I was expecting a challenge, but I had not appreciated just how much a challenge he had set us today. I agree with gnomethang that the top clue was 3d but there were lots of clues here to stretch the imagination and exercise the grey cells. Other favourites were 6d, 11d, 14d (used to live there), 27 / 28 a and 29a. Overall, this was hugely enjoyable.

    I had to look up 7d, although the anagram elements were clear, the actual word was a new one. 20a stumped me as I was trying to get US into the answer for a statesman – nicely misleading!

    Many thanks to Giovanni for coming out with all guns blazing today. Thanks for the notes BD and hope that Libellule still manages to keep his hand in.

    1. //I had to look up 7d, although the anagram elements were clear, //
      Ooops! – Not to me they weren’t – I had A (Acid) as the second letter – To paraphrase the quote from ‘telly last night -Are all the setters on drugs? ;)

    2. Prolixic,
      I will be continuing to do the Thursday normal cryptic. Just difficult to find the time to blog two crosswords a week at the moment. Apologies.
      On another note, an excellent crossword from Giovanni. I would have enjoyed blogging it.

  4. Good tough challenge after some other easy puzzles today. Got in a bit of a mess with Tito as an obvious Yugoslav leader, and then SERB = “former Yougoslavian” looked tempting from the B of puzzlingly-spelled Bridgwater until SERB???? or ????SERB = “an obnoxious person” ran into the sand. 9A was one of those annoying “must be an anagram but that doesn’t help” clues for quite a while. Tupi was vaguely remembered as a real word, probably from Azed and the like.

  5. It’s a relief to know that someone likes this puzzle, given that it so far rates an all-time low of one smile on CluedUp — but no one has ever told me been able to tell me how that smile/star system works. The feedback I get from here and from friends who solve my puzzles is much more valuable — so many thanks!

    1. Thank You !. Nice to put a face to a setter!
      BTW, 2d reminded me of my brother’s favourite creation:
      Touch up Popeye’s Girlfriend with a bar of soap! – (9).

  6. Still not quite finished but was also stuck with 6a and TITO etc as Milosovic was a Serbian leader as opposed to Yugoslavian.
    Agree entirely that 3d took the honours

    1. I too was in the TITO club, but couldn’t work out why.

      I checked on Milošević and he was President of the so-called Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000 – this was effectively just Serbia and Montenegro.

      1. I think that I was fortunate that having read through all of the clues before starting in earnest, it looked like there were more down clues that would yield quick(er) answers. 8d was one of them so I had the B to hand that meant that Milošević’s first name fitted the bill perfectly.

  7. Phew!! Struggled mightily with this today, and needed lots of help – both to understand some of the answers I got and to get some I didn’t!!

    Enjoyed 3d very much – fortunately one of the few that I saw unaided. Haven’t been doing the toughie very long and maybe have been getting a false impression from some relatively easy ones I have done – a challenge for me today, for sure. Excellent – and thanks for the notes – I’d have been lost without them.


  8. Toiled for hours unaided and only got halfway. Tough toughie for me. Got Bridgwater and strained to apply half Tito in vain.
    Having now seen the answers, I admire many of the clues and the folk able to solve them.
    Spotted the anag at 9a but failed to get it. Guessed Bette Davis solely from letter D but was unable to solve the clue.
    Very educational. Will remember wing for side and ARP for precautions!
    20A, 21D very good. I never got close though.

    1. Wing is probably worth remembering because side is a useful word for setters with many meanings, but ARP was pretty unusual and strictly speaking matched “certain precautions” so it’s less likely to come up again (dangerous prediction!). Sometimes you’ll get clues from something you’ve seen before, like side=WING, but sometimes the best you can do is to think of as many different interpretations of a clue as possible (and just move on if none of them lead anywhere) rather than try to force someone like Tito into the answer when they don’t want to fit. Keep trying the toughies – you’ll learn lots of things which you’ll then be able to use for the harder clues in the daily puzzle.

  9. Am I going completely mad or is 8d BRIDGEWATER not 11 letters? This is really messing with what’s left of my poor brain!!

    1. nanaglugglug
      I live not that far from this place and it’s called BRIDGWATER (with no E in the middle).

      1. Thank you, Gazza, I can rest easy now, but since I had to cheat to get the answer, the blog has the wrong spelling! Sorry to be so pedantic!

        1. ngg – I poo-pooed the answer as well until I had to Google it to find out about the lack of ‘Acid’!.
          I have been in good company recently – making the same mistakes!

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