Toughie 867 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 867

Toughie No 867 by Warbler

At the Hop

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

When you see Warbler’s name as the setter you know two things – it’s going to be a very enjoyable puzzle and it’s not going to be too difficult.  Strictly speaking there’s a bit of a theme going on as well, which is revealed when three of the down clues have been solved.

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    Wear for spot showers? (11)
{WATERPROOFS} – this anagram (showers) of WEAR FOR SPOT is defined by the whole clue

9a    Time wasted in continuous playing is harmless (9)
{INNOCUOUS} – an anagram (playing) of CON(T)INUOUS without (wasted) the T(ime)

10a    Old woman’s doctor with old type of 26+4 19D (5)
{MAMBO} – the old woman or mother followed by a doctor and O(ld) gives our first thematic answer

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a    Street provides shelter for dispirited retreating forces (6)
{TROOPS} – ST(reet) around (provides shelter for) anh adjective meaning dispirited all reversed (retreating)

13a    First test hearing function (5,3)
{TRIAL RUN} – a court hearing followed by a verb meaning to function or work

14a    Banishes former leader of Pakistan to Eastern borders of Laos (6)
{EXPELS} – a former partner followed by the initial letter (leader) of Pakistan, E(astern) and the outer letters (borders) of LaoS

16a    Everton club’s last to get transfer banned (8)
{VERBOTEN} – an anagram (to get transfer) of EVERTON and the final letter (last) of cluB

19a    The writer is enthralled by old poet’s sparkling embellishment (8)
{DIAMANTE} – “the writer is” goes inside an old Italian poet

20a    Sailor on the way from foreign parts (6)
{ABROAD} – the usual two-letter sailor followed by a way

22a    Swimming volunteers will take part in race (8)
{NATATION} – a word, from the Latin, for swimming derived from volunteer soldiers inside a race or people

24a    Dad and wife, resident in Southern US city, like eggs (6)
{SPAWNY} – a two-letter word for dad and W(ife) inside (resident in) S(outhern) and a US city

27a    Manic Irishman ran out to deliver: ‘Go away!’ (5)
{IMSHI} – an anagram (manic) of I(R)ISHM(AN) without the letters (out) of RAN gives old military slang for “go away”

28a    I tell you plainly up North the Derby, for one, is lacking in interest (5,4)
{THAT’S FLAT} – the single letter abbreviation which is the way “the” is spoken “up North” followed by the item of clothing of which a Derby is an example (for one), the abbreviated form of “is” and an adjective meaning lacking in interest

30a    Unusual tribal zeal essentially betrays leader (11)
{TRAILBLAZER} – an anagram (unusual) of tribal zeal followed by the middle letter (essentially) of betRays


1d    This signal on phone would cause one to expose corruption (7)
{WHISTLE} – when this signal is followed by a slang word for the phone the result is someone who exposes corruption

2d    On a regular basis trains travel as a kind of 26+4 19D (5)
{TANGO} – the odd (regular) letters of TrAiNs followed by a verb meaning to travel

ARVE Error: need id and provider

3d    Big bird spotted in Morocco (3)
{ROC} – hidden inside the final word of the clue

4d    Opportunity to voice regret over money (4)
{ROOM} – a word that sounds like (to voice) to regret followed by M(oney)

5d    Paper’s celebrant (8)
{OBSERVER} – a double definition – the first being a Sunday newspaper

6d    Variety of 26+4 19D missile heads for battle areas (5)
{SAMBA} – a missile travelling from a base on the ground to a target in the air followed by the initial letters (heads) of the last two words in the clue

ARVE Error: need id and provider

7d    Vulgar note found in container turned up unexpectedly (5,2)
{BLOWN IN} – an adjective meaning vulgar and N(ote) inside a container for rubbish

8d    Liqueur in the morning? Or tea time perhaps! (8)
{AMARETTO} – the two-letter abbreviation for the pre-noon period followed by an anagram (perhaps) of OR TEA T(ime)

12d    Parking fine lands learner with a sort of 26+4 19D (5)
{POLKA} – P(arking) followed by a two-letter word for fine around (lands) L(earner} and finally the A from the clue

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15d    Work at getting applause around court (8)
{PRACTISE} – applause or admiration around the abbreviation for C(our)T

17d    Hit follows half of underground music (5)
{BEBOP} – a verb meaning to hit follows the second half of a name for an underground railway

18d    Metal oxide recreated is not art (8)
{STRONTIA} – an anagram (recreated) of IS NOT ART

19d    Desperate character caught in middle of bungled caper (7)
{DANCING} – a desperate cartoon character followed by C(aught), IN and the middle letter of bunGled gives an important element of today’s mini-theme

21d    Sun‘s Saturday revision’s not acceptable (7)
{DAYSTAR} – a poetic word for the Sun comes from an anagram (revision) of SAT(U)RDAY without the (not acceptable)

23d    Fool hangs on to small relation of 26+4 19D (5)
{TWIST} – a fool around (hangs on to) S(mall)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

25d    Disney has unknown type of 26+4 19D (5)
{WALTZ} – The first name of Mr Disney followed by a mathematical unknown

ARVE Error: need id and provider

26d    Bullet lodged in Hannibal Lecter (4)
{BALL} – hidden (lodged) inside the clue

29d    21 personified in US Olympics (3)
{SOL} – also hidden inside the clue

When can we expect to see 23 down on SCD?

20 comments on “Toughie 867

  1. Pleasant start to Toughie week, not too difficult but I did enjoy it. Thanks to Warbler and to Big Dave for the comments.

  2. Enjoyable crossword without being too tough, thanks to Warbler for reminding me of days gone by when my wife and I tripped the light fandango, and thanks to BD for the review.

  3. Straightforward, but most enjoyable, and I much preferred it to the back-pager today.
    2*/4* for me. Thanks to Warbler, and to BD.

  4. I always get confused about who is who when it comes to the DT’s Lady setters: Warbler vs Excalibur!

    As BD has awarded 4* for enjoyment today, the one he doesn’t like must be Excalibur.

    Not really a Toughie today – I finished it.

  5. I always enjoy Warbler’s crosswords and this one was no different. Only 7d defeated me, but knowing the answer now, I cant think why. 1ac is great. I’d give it a *** for difficulty and a **** for enjoyment.

  6. Well I enjoyed this, especially as “Strictly….” is my favourite programme.

    Except for 28a- I’m from “Up North”, and really didn’t get this one at all, even with all the checking letters in.

    Having said that, I used to go to a Snooker Hall in Accrington- the one where Hurricane Higgins learned to play.
    The first time I went, I was told I was being taken to “Thee Light” Snooker club.

    Turned out to be “The Elite” Snooker Club.

    True Story.

      1. Thanks BD, I get the make up of the answer- it’s the expression “That’s Flat” that means nothing to me.

          1. Good point, you’re absolutely right- I think I misread the clue initially, and then couldn’t get to the answer.

            I really enjoyed this puzzle- it’s just that I like anything that’s an expression/ saying to be something I’ve actually heard used at least once in real life.

            I still wish we had a Toughie on Mondays though.

  7. Another enjoyable start to the Toughie week: 3*/4* for me.
    I must confess to having used my electronic friend for 27ac: it’s always nice to learn a new word and this was definitely one I hadn’t come across in 12+ years of cryptic crosswords.
    Favourite clues? 1ac, 30 ac and 8d- all very clever, I thought.
    Thanks to BD and setter for a good mental workout.

  8. Thoroughly enjoyable solve today. Probably 3* difficulty for us and at least 4* for fun. It all became much easier when we twigged the linked clues. Last in were 1a and 1d but we can’t work out now why that was.
    Thanks Warbler and BD.

  9. Dave summed it up very well. I looked at the setter, then looked at the linked clues and knew I was going to enjoy myself having sorted out the theme. WALT (Z) came in first and the rest followed but I was looking out for a GAVOTTE (anyone asking?)
    Thanks to Warbler and BD as always.

    1. Top song and video at 10a as well. At least it was faithful in the stylee….
      And Vicky with Illy Bidol as well!

  10. Thanks to Warbler & to Big Dave for the review & hints. Don’t know if I’ll ever make the grade. Needed 12 hints, new words in 22&27a. At least I solved the three clues to get the theme. Great comeback by the Gooners :-)

  11. Only just solved this one but thought i had better mention 20a – brilliant!. Clue of the week?

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