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Toughie 395

Toughie No 395 by Giovanni

Sounds of the Sixties

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

You never quite know which Giovanni is going to turn up when you tackle one of his Toughies.  Having said that, it didn’t take me long to realise that I was in for a struggle today.  The usual smattering of religious references and (almost – see 24a) impeccable cluing produced an excellent puzzle.

Please 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    Old nuisance about to come in to squeeze king (8)
{JEROBOAM} – take O(ld) and a nuisance you don’t want to be with and reverse both inside a word meaning to squeeze or crush to get a former king of Israel

5a    Say nothing in a prison cell? (4,2)
{SHUT UP} – a reasonably straightforward double definition

9a    One is looking for something silver encased in glass (8)
{RUMMAGER} – this person who is looking for something is built up from the chemical symbol for silver inside (encased in) a large drinking-glass – As Giovanni and I were at Bristol University at the same time I’m sure, like me, he remembers many happy hours in the inn named after the said drinking-glass!

10a    Bob perhaps appearing in party after show (6)
{HAIRDO} – a bob is an example of this, as is a beehive! – put a short word for a party after a controversial sixties musical

11a    Component of psychological test could get you to blink frantically (3,4)
{INK BLOT} – this component of a psychological test is an anagram (frantically) of TO BLINK

12a    Fade away in desolate place that’s less cheerful (7)
{MOODIER} – put a word meaning to fade away inside a desolate place to get a word meaning less cheerful or more sullen
Any old excuse!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

13a    Dusty part of the farm next to where water gushes up (11)
{SPRINGFIELD} – the best girl singer to come out of the sixties is a charade of part of a farm following a place where water gushes out

ARVE Error: need id and provider

16a    Bird animal knocked over flags (4,7)
{REED BUNTING} – this bird is built up from an animal reversed (knocked over) followed by small strips of coloured cloth or paper hung from strings as decorations for a boat, street, etc. (flags)

21a    Like something that’s hard to eat? (2,5)
{AL DENTE} – a cryptic definition of food that is firm to the bite – from the Italian for “to the tooth”

22a    Follower of Catholic theologian even if, in short, a dimmer of judgement (7)
{THOMIST} – this follower of a thirteenth-century Catholic theologian is constructed from a short version of a word meaning even if followed by something that dims judgement, among other things

23a    Wicked? Yours truly is? Pooh-pooh! (6)
{IMPISH} – a word meaning wicked or naughty comes from combining I’M (I am / yours truly is) and a, exclamation similar to pooh-pooh

24a    Extract of dried blood in ham tea is disgusting (8)
{HAEMATIN} – a brownish substance containing ferric iron obtained from dried blood is an anagram (disgusting) of IN HAM TEA – although the anagram is fairly obvious, I was not too keen on disgusting as an indicator

25a    Fuss about trade being reduced by 60% in firm (6)
{STRONG} – a fuss, usually coupled with dance, is placed around TR(ade) after dropping three of the five letters (being reduced by 60%) gives a word meaning firm

26a    Gun that’s very big is possible cause of blockage in passageway (8)
{STENOSIS} – a type of gun followed by very big and IS gives a constriction or narrowing (cause of blockage) of a tube or passage


1d    Cocker spaniel’s head sinking after quarrel with little girl (6)
{JARVIS} – the first name of the lead vocalist with Pulp is built up from S (Spaniel’s head) at the end (sinking) after to quarrel or clash and the shortened form of a girl’s name

ARVE Error: need id and provider

2d    Film as recreation? (6)
{REMAKE} – a new version of a film (usually inferior to the original – The Thomas Crown Affair and The Italian Job, to name but two) is a re-creation

3d    Group of hunters having a change of heart (7)
{BEATLES} – this iconic sixties group is created by altering the middle letter (change of heart) of dogs used for hunting

ARVE Error: need id and provider

4d    A fellow gets round stretch of open country offering reason for lack of greenery? (5,6)
{AGENT ORANGE} – A and a fellow are followed by O (round) and a stretch of open country to get defoliant containing dioxin (reason for lack of greenery)

6d    Turn away from explosive fuss getting very loud (4,3)
{HEAD OFF} – a phrasal verb meaning to turn away from is a charade of High Explosive, a fuss and the musical abbreviation for very loud

7d    Insects with unusual emitters (8)
{TERMITES} – these insects are an anagram (unusual) of EMITTERS

8d    Project for truth, originally violent? (8)
{PROTRUDE} – whenever I see “project” in a crossword clue, my first thought is “stick out” rather than “task”, and today I was right – a charade of a word meaning for, followed by T (Truth, originally) and a word one meaning of which is violent

12d    Sound fellows with excellent quality Society brought in (5,6)
{MENAI STRAIT} – as with the previous clue, look for the less common meaning of sound as a channel – this one separates Anglesey from the mainland –fellows, excellent, and a quality or characteristic are placed around S(ociety)

14d    Female given religious instruction stars in Christian organisations (8)
{FRIARIES} – a charade of F(emale), R(eligious) I(nstruction) and a group of stars lead to these Christian convents

15d    Mineral left with diamonds in iron box (8)
{FELDSPAR) – this abundant rock-forming mineral typically occurring as colourless or pale-coloured crystals and consisting of aluminosilicates of potassium, sodium, and calcium is built up by sandwiching L(eft) and D(iamonds) between the chemical symbol for iron and a word meaning to box, as in to engage in fisticuffs

17d    Boy is performing ‘The Lord bless you and keep you’ maybe (7)
{BENISON} – a charade of a boy’s name, IS and a word meaning performing give a blessing like ‘The Lord bless you and keep you’

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18d    Saint Arnold? (7)
{GOODMAN} – split this as (4,3) and you get how a saint is often defined in crossword clues – put the two words together and you get a British lawyer and political advisor who died in 1995

19d    Gap gives husband (6)
{HIATUS} – this gap comes from H(usband) and an anagram (that’s fancy) of A SUIT

20d    Rocky bits from an enduring band (6)
{STONES} – bits of rock that when Rolling give another band that started back in the sixties

ARVE Error: need id and provider

I desperately wanted 18d to be a reference to Sid Barrett’s 1967 classic Arnold Layne, but you can’t have everything.

Or can you!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

25 comments on “Toughie 395

  1. Your BD assessment is spot on. This was a toughie as a toughie should be: words you have never heard of but it has to be that from the anagram 24a; memories of the 60s 13a and 3d; solutions that made you groan or smile, or say do’h. Couldn’t have got to the end without a ‘conversation or two’ with my fellow blogger as it helped me focus 1d etc. Thanks to Giovanni for the great tussle and BD for the review. Favourite clue 13a because it reminded me of times long ago.

  2. Excellent. 5* enjoyment. I thought this was very elegantly and stylishly clued, answers covering a huge range of all kinds of knowledge. I would agree with BD about 24a, and not only the use of disgusting as the pointer but also that there isn’t really such a thing as a ham tea, so just looks a bit silly in a clue in what was otherwise a tour de force of quality cryptic clueing.
    I seem to recall that 18d used to be referred to by Private Eye as ‘Two Dinners’.

  3. Top quality and Tough today!. Nice to see the young scamp Cocker hanging around with all the 60s stalwarts!.
    Also, we all knew that Al Dente patented a method for cooking hard pasta but were you all aware that his Italian cousin, Al Fresco, invented the picnic?.
    Favourite (and last in) for me was 1a with 26a a close second.
    Many thanks to Giovanni for a real workout and to BD for the review (which I nearly had to consult!).

  4. I am afraid my lack of education let me down today. I had never heard of Pulp or the singer and likewise Mr Goodman. I was not keen on 24a, I’m fairly sure there is no such thing as ham tea. Thanks Giovanni for again stretching me and BD for your masterly review

    1. Mr Cocker was the one who showed his backside to Michael Jackson at the 1996 Brit awards after the latter had performed a particularly nauseating rendition of Earth Song.


  5. Those bloggers unfamiliar with ham teas must never have attended funerals in the West Riding.

  6. What a treat – this had be smiling, groaning and scratching my head in bafflement. I did not do myself any favours with 18 down having put in Gregory (after Arnold Gregory a former labour MP and saint’s name), which slowed down the SE corner considerably. Top Toughie from Giovanni – many thanks to him and to BD for the notes. Favourite clues were 1d, 4d and 1a.

  7. Pretty good, but falling short of excellent because of the lazy cluing in 1d (little girl=Vi) and 17d (boy=Ben).

    Do any of you do the Sunday Express Skeleton? That setter uses this ‘proper name’ technique all the time, and it gets very irritating. Yes, we know a name goes there, but why not give us a clue as to what the neme might be.

  8. Time for a lie-down after that! I assume, BD, that you and Signor G were “up” in the 60’s, and hence several references to the music, people and lifestyle prevailing at the time?

      1. Good times – I was still at school in North Yorkshire, where we were indeed served ham teas, and getting ready to embark on a career in the RN.

      2. By these years I had left the education system(at the tender age of 14yrs 11mts and 1day) and was reading Playboy.

  9. Ref the clip above, I’m going straight home to dig out my Pink Floyd… “Remember when you were young…..”

    1. I have been singing the song ever since I saw the hint. However, surely we are still young??

    2. Why did you have to mention that, Jezza? I’ve now had to go and fire up my ‘Wish You Were Here’ CD. Plus I still have two (yes, two) battle-scarred vinyl copies of same. Whereas BD is Sounds of the 60s, ye Chairman is 11 years younger (UCL 73-6) and fondly remembers queing all night outside the Finsbury Park Rainbow in late-73 (having just arrived in London) with some of his new chums for tickets for the Dark Side Of The Moon tour. By that time, Barratt S. was back at home with his mum having a lie-in most days…….

  10. Had to come here for a bit of help – stole 1a and 16a for a kick start (sorry) – also missed the P Floyd reference?

    Great puzzle, tho

    1. There wasn’t a Pink Floyd reference in the puzzle. One of BD’s asides led to some ramblings from people aged over 50……………

  11. Do you think it was Giovanni’s intention to get all us slightly older people reminiscing when he put in all those 60s references in the puzzle? It certainly worked!

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