Toughie 938 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 938

Toughie No 938 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

I found that explaining the wordplay for a couple of clues took as much time as the rest of the puzzle, and on that basis have gone for 3-star difficulty rather than 2-star.

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.


4a    Separate record set by Irish broadcaster encircling earth (8)
{DISCRETE} – a record followed by the by Irish broadcasting company around E(arth)

8a    Superficial refinement never worked around Earl (6)
{VENEER} – an anagram (worked) of NEVER around E(arl)

9a    Nitrogen distorted call signal (8)
{RINGTONE} – an anagram (distorted) of NITROGEN

10a    Plant gives backing for English car coat (8)
{CAMOMILE} – reverse (backing) E(English), a posh car and a raincoat


11a    Tool principally to root out weeds — essential before the end of April (6)
{TROWEL} – the initial letters () of five words in the clue followed by the final letter (end) of ApriL

12a    American sailor in Arctic, having left Rhode Island, separately developed eye condition (8)
{CATARACT} – A(merican) and a sailor inside an anagram (developed) of A(R)CT(I)C without (having left) the abbreviation of Rhode Island (separately indicates that the letters are not contiguous)

13a    Old boy, solitary member, unoccupied and past it (8)
{OBSOLETE} – the abbreviation for Old Boy followed by an adjective meaning solitary and a member or body extremity without the middle letter O (unoccupied)

16a    Cost of Prince Eric getting frisky dog (5,3)
{PRICE TAG} – P(rince) followed by an anagram (getting frisky) of ERIC and a verb meaning to dog or follow closely

ARVE Error: need id and provider

19a    Tea centre, though not new, is refurbished with additional items (8)
{ETCETERA} – an anagram (refurbished) of TEA CE(N)TRE without the N(ew)

21a    Pursued frantically, runs away exhausted (4,2)
{USED UP) – an anagram (frantically) of PU(R)SUED without (away) the R(uns)

23a    Originally Elvis Presley single record heard last thing on air (8)
{EPILOGUE} – the initial letters (originally) of Elvis Presley followed by I (single) and what sounds like (heard) a record or diary

24a    75 per cent of float used before port transfer (8)
{HANDOVER} – 75 per cent of a verb meaning to float or hover followed by a port in Kent

25a    With pronounced vivacity vigour returns to face (6)
{PHIZOG} – what sounds like (pronounced) vivacity followed by the reversal () of a two-letter word meaning vigour gives a slang word for the face

26a    Intellectual seen in college before getting support by Left (8)
{CEREBRAL} – this adjective meaning intellectual comes from a charade of C(ollege), a poetical word for before, a lady’s support garment and L(eft)


1d    Procure a means for escape (7)
{GETAWAY} – a verb meaning to procure followed by the A from the clue and means or method

2d    In heightened performance, oxygen may be absorbed by spread of bacteria (9)
{AEROBATIC} – O(xygen) inside (absorbed by) an anagram (spread) of BACTERIA

3d    King stops a riot that’s destroyed vehicle for tour to Winter Palace perhaps (6)
{TROIKA} – K(ing) inside (stops) an anagram (destroyed) of A RIOT gives a Russian vehicle drawn by three horses abreast


4d    Scott for example’s leader and chief administrator (8-7)
{DIRECTOR-GENERAL} – Ridley Scott is an example of this, and he is followed by (‘s / has) a military leader

5d    Appeal is restricted by stable you need to clean up (8)
{SANITISE} – a two-letter word for sex appeal and IS inside an adjective meaning stable or rational

6d    Treasure trove houses with past reminders (5)
{RETRO} – hidden (houses) inside the clue is an adjective meaning reminiscent of the past

7d    Line of smack taken north of centre of Trenton (7)
{TANGENT} – a smack or flavour followed by (north of in a down clue) the inner three letters (centre) of TrENTon


14d    Recurring musical theme spoiled movie title almost (9)
{LEITMOTIV} – an anagram (spoiled) of MOVIE and almost all of TITL(E)

15d    Range surrounding Italian river’s right for traveller’s break (8)
{STOPOVER} – a kitchen range around a Chinese Italian river and followed by R(ight)

17d    Find time during Easter, getting excited to set forth again (7)
{RESTATE} – T(ime) inside (during) an anagram (getting excited) of EASTER

18d    Cold grub’s acceptable. It may be served with salad (7)
{CROUTON} – C(old) followed by a verb meaning to grub (out) and a two-letter word meaning acceptable

20d    Workman‘s takeaway (6)
{CHIPPY} – two definitions – a carpenter (workman) and a takeaway shop

ARVE Error: need id and provider

22d    Con 4 in short over European scheme (5)
{DODGE} – a charade of a two-letter verb meaning to con, the abbreviation of the answer to 4 down and E(uropean) gives a scheme or ruse

Warbler never ceases to entertain, and is ideally suited to the Tuesday Toughie slot.

16 comments on “Toughie 938

  1. I enjoyed this “toughie” very much, I found it quite difficult to understand the parsing of a couple of the clues though the answers were fairly obvious but all in all I really quite enjoyed it. Many thanks to Warbler and to BD for the review.

  2. Got through this enjoyable puzzle without problems until 25a and mused for an eternity. New word for me. Many thanks to setter and BD.

  3. To finish a toughie without needing hints is always a red letter day for me. I even managed to work out the wordplay for almost all (granted, some after getting the answer). I didn’t know the Irish broadcater for 4A, though, so many thanks BD. Thanks to the setter, too, for an enjoyable puzzle –better, in my opinion, than today’s cryptic. 25A (last one in), closely followed by 26A were my favorites today.

  4. I needed to use a crossword solver to get 25a (a new word for me).
    Many thanks to Warbler, and to BD.

  5. No problems with this, I had heard of 25a many times and it was my favourite, thanks to Warbler and to Big Dave for the comments.

  6. Thank goodness .I “completed” this early this morning apart from 25a which I thought about for more time than I would care to admit before googling . Glad to see I was not alone and agree with the rating.
    Thanks very much .

  7. Not the greatest toughie.
    I found the back page more taxing.
    Thanks to both.
    Chris (another one)

  8. Made quite a lot of headway needing hints for the north east corner, mostly.I can’t believe it.I feel as if I have ventured into some parallel reality.Three firsts in 24 hours. Thanks ,Warbler and Big Dave.

  9. I know this is off topic but I found this crossword clue on the internet and just can’t solve it. I wondered if anyone could shed some light on it for me?

    Soldier; French; in a shortened story, preparing for a big push? (9)

    1. Hi Chaz – welcome to the blog.

      It’s ANTENATAL – ANT (soldier) + EN (in, in French) + A TAL(e)

  10. Very disappointing start to the Toughie week. I thought the puzzle dull and found the surface readings to be poor

  11. Many thanks Warbler as ever, 25a just been told by niece and nephew is my fault for not getting, evidently I am old and i agree, Thanks to BD too

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