Toughie 962 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 962

Toughie No 962 by Giovanni

All in the Worst Possible Taste

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

There is a fine line between risqué and smutty. I thought two of today’s clues fell on the wrong side and spoiled this 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    Male will, as they say, give way (6)
{BUCKLE} – a male animal followed by what sounds like will, as in in I’ll

4a    Spooner’s low box for key (5,3)
{SPACE BAR} – how William Archibald Spooner might have said this key on the computer keyboard sounds like an adjective meaning low and a verb meaning to box

9a    Lovey-dovey eventually (6)
{INTIME} – if this adjective meaning Lovey-dovey is split as (2,4) it means eventually

10a    Standing by man who has won bakery competition? (8)
{FLANKING} – split as (4,4) this could be a man who has won bakery competition

11a    Journalist needing a further restraint … (9)
{HACKAMORE} – a slang word for a journalist followed by the A from the clue and a word meaning further gives this restraint or halter used for breaking in foals

13a    … that this person might find useful, taking back short account (5)
{ROPER} – 11 across could be used by this person who breaks in foals – reverse (taking back) most of (short) an account or narrative

14a    Communicating what a voter may be doing (7,6)
{PUTTING ACROSS} – split as (7,1,5) this could be what a voter may be doing on the ballot paper

17a    Plant a conifer, vital after devastation (7,6)
{AFRICAN VIOLET} – an anagram (after devastation) of A CONIFER VITAL

21a    Blow a pipe (5)
{HOOKA} – a blow that a boxer might land followed by the A from the clue

23a    Guns in vessel badly stowed away (9)
{ARTILLERY} – start with a blood vessel and insert a word meaning badly

24a    Water supply trouble? You can get that on yacht (8)
{MAINSAIL} – a water supply (5) followed by a verb meaning to trouble or afflict

25a    Scholar succeeded before in Paris (6)
{SAVANT} – S(ucceeded) followed by the French (in Paris) for before

26a    Bully to be affectionate when holding bird (8)
{DOMINATE} – a verb meaning to be affectionate around (holding) an Asian bird

27a    My clue may be worked out in a place of study (6)
{LYCEUM} – an anagram (may be worked out) of MY CLUE


1d    Bishop, genuine and hopeful (6)
{BRIGHT} – B(ishop) followed by an adjective meaning genuine

2d    Jump around to prune a shrub (3,1,5)
{CUT A CAPER} – this could mean to prune a thorny South European shrub with edible flower-buds

3d    Transport animal heading off carrying black stone and slate (7)
{LAMBAST} – drop the initial L (heading off) a South American transport or pack animal, put what is left around B(lack) and then add ST(one) to get a verb meaning to slate or reprimand

5d    Exorcist needed to deal with it? Let priest go out (11)
{POLTERGEIST} – an anagram (out) of LET PRIEST GO

6d    Making money, having lots of it, but not hard at heart (7)
{CENTRIC} – a small foreign coin followed by an adjective meaning having lots of money without (not) the H(ard)

7d    Conservative  craft at a high level (5)
{BLIMP} – two definitions – an incurably conservative elderly military colonel and a non-rigid dirigible lighter-than-air craft

8d    One good in morris dancing may be following steps precisely (8)
{RIGORISM} – I (one) and G(ood) inside an anagram (dancing) of MORRIS

12d    Nothing exotic in old books catalogue to engage a student of far-off lands (11)
{ORIENTALIST} – the French (exotic?) for nothing inside the older of the two sets of books that make up the bible followed by a catalogue all around (to engage) the A from the clue

15d    Commentators will commentate _______, being tart (2,3,4)
{ON THE GAME} – fill in the blank to get what commentators do gives a phrase meaning being a tart or prostitute

16d    Worked out food component in starter for dinner (8)
{FATHOMED} – I found two ways to resolve this – a) the initial letter (component) of Food followed by a phrase meaning in (2,4) and the initial letter (starter) of Dinner and b) a component of foof (3) ffm a word meaning in and the initial letter of Dinner – I have a slight preference for a)

18d    Against including rude word to become more vulgar (7)
{COARSEN} – a three-letter word meaning against around a four-letter (rude) word

19d    Song balefully arranged with two successive notes missing (7)
{LULLABY} – an anagram (arranged) of BAL(EF)ULLY without the E and F (with two successive notes missing)

20d    Lacking a part in decision-making to stop plan of action (6)
{SYSTEM} – drop (lacking) the A from a three-letter word meaning a part in decision-making and add a verb meaning to stop

22d    Drug this person’s got outside university after work (5)
{OPIUM} – how the setter (this person) might say he is (1’1) around U(niversity) all preceded by (after) a two-letter word for a musical work

Not my favourite start to a Toughie week.

19 comments on “Toughie 962

    1. “You Stupid Boy!” – Sorry, but someone has to say it sometime!

      Apologies to All!

  1. On the contrary, I enjoyed this very much indeed, thanks to Giovanni for a most entertaining puzzle and Big Dave for a a very amusing review.

  2. Trying to work out which is the risque second clue,18 down obviously , then possibly 15 down ?
    Lighten up BD

  3. A couple in the top right held me up for a while.I couldn’t get ‘rider’ out of my head for 13a, but moved on when it wouldn’t parse!
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to BD.

  4. I’m sorry, but 18d, no. It’s letting down to a newspaper that’s not a rag..Then the ridiculously convoluted 12 and 16 down.

  5. I struggled to solve this … but eventually found it very enjoyable!

    Now, I’m struggling to distinguish the fine line between risqué and smutty. Puzzle after puzzle … Hmmm?

  6. I quite liked this and thought 18d quite clever and a nice way to get round something that other setters may have been ‘in yer face’ with..

    Knowing the setter, i shouldn’t think he would do smutty intentionally.

  7. I have to admit 18d threw me a little I was trying to use oath or curse instead of an actual rude word also needed BD’s hints to solve 16d and 21a. I also prefer the first explanation for 16d. I did like 10a very much. Took me a while to solve but made me smile when I got it. Thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

  8. I enjoyed this one just right for a Tuesday, favourites were 3d 7d 15d and 16d thanks to Giovanni and to Big Dave for the review.

  9. Enjoyed Today’s Toughie. Thanks to the setter. A good laugh at 10a! :grin:

    A very disappointing review! Wot no pictures of semi-clad ladies!

  10. Smutty? I’ve heard much worse from a bunch of schoolkids on the streets of Nottingham. In fact they would have found the “smutty” references positively benign or even arcane.

    I for one thoroughly enjoyed this & will not be seen twitching behind the lace curtains at the thought of such profanities.

      1. Thankfully not, dear boy however I shall tarry a while on the chaise longue as I wait for the vapours to dissipate.

  11. I am surprised that BD found 21a and 15d smutty. When I think of the page 3 ladies that are pictured here at the slightest excuse….!

  12. We are in the camp of those who really enjoyed this puzzle. Great fun to find a bit of old-fashioned earthiness from a setter whom we are more inclined to associate with ecclesiastical clues. The NE corner was last in for us and pushed our time into 4*. Enjoyed the Spoonerism in 4a. Took a long time to twig the right kind of key. Lots of excellent clues, all elegantly composed as usual.
    Thanks Giovanni and BD.

  13. I was pulled away at 7 am from the half of the crossword I had managed by a very heavy work day and just got back to it at almost 7 pm. Nothing had changed. The ones I couldn’t ‘fathom’ (including 16D) in the early hours, I still couldn’t get a handle on. Some, like 4A, defeated me even with the hint. Ah well, not my day today. Setter 1, Expat 0. Perhaps I’ll do bettter in a re-match next week. Congrats to all who finished it, and thanks to the setter and BD.

    1. What a lovely and honest post. I have not finished yet but will keep coming back until I do. it is a very nice wrestle and just what I want in a cryptic. I really am getting fed up with the stream of read and write clues early in the week on the back pager (or not depending on the advertisements). I am looking forward to our holiday in June where not much else will get in the way of solving.

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