Toughie 1038 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1038

Toughie No 1038 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I found a lot of the wordplay in this puzzle to be over-convoluted.

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.


8a    Lofty aura found in church a lot (4)
{HALO} – hidden (found) inside the clue

9a    For audience, make facility for tea? (3)
{URN} – sounds like (for audience) a verb meaning to make money

10a    Get a sign of decay with end coming to the fore (6)
{ATTAIN} – the A from the clue followed by a sign of decay which has the final letter moved to the beginning

11a    East German once staying in Florida, a wrinkly? (6)
{FOSSIL} – the name given to someone from East Germany before unification inside the abbreviation for FL(orida)

12a    Boater perhaps halting around island to return hostile communication (4,4)
{HATE MAIL} – the type of headwear of which a boater is an example followed by an adjective meaning halting or disabled around I(sland) and then reversed (return)

13a    With day gone, need conceived for revised corporate discussion? (15)
{VIDEOCONFERENCE} – an anagram (revised) of NEE(D) CONCEIVED FOR without (gone) one of the D(ay)s

15a    Fly trapped in tin for a bit (7)
{SMIDGEN} – a small fly inside the chemical symbol for tin

17a    Abuse? It’s quickly detected in bistro perhaps when consuming drink (calorie-free) (7)
{VIOLATE} – the French (detected in bistro perhaps) for quickly around a soft drink without (free) its initial letter C(alorie)

20a    One sitting in normal section of joint not good with an air that’s suspect (15)
{PARLIAMENTARIAN} – someone sitting in a legislative assemble is derived from a three-letter word meaning normal, as in a “normal” score in golf, followed by a section of a joint in the body without (not) the G(ood) and an anagram (suspect) of AN AIR

23a    Group of parties that is beginning to rally for march (8)
{FRONTIER} – a grouping of political parties followed by the Latin abbreviation for that is and the initial letter (beginning) of Rally gives a march or boundary – as in The Welsh Marches

25a    Come out from English lake having swallowed bit of gunge (6)
{EMERGE} – English followed by a lake around (having swallowed) the initial letter (bit) of Gunge

26a    Bird that stings almost visible in sun (6)
{TOUCAN} – most of an exclamation meaning “that stings!” inside the effect of being in the sun – not too sure how this works

27a    Weapon that’s leaking, we hear (3)
{UZI} – sounds like an adjective meaning leaking or weeping

28a    In hospital, get cold in medical examination (4)
{SCAN} – a shortened version of a type of hospital around C(old)


1d    Seventh note put out by one seeking restoration for actor (6)
{JACOBI} – drop TE (seventh note) from the end of someone seeking the restoration of the descendants of James II to the British throne

2d    Large sum of money put in court reportedly for a crock? (8)
{POTSHERD} – a large sum of money followed by what sounds like (reportedly) a verb meaning put in a court of law

3d    Smear largely dividing local family trying to maintain an image? (6,9)
{PUBLIC RELATIONS} – most of (largely) a smear between (dividing) a local hostelry and a word meaning family

4d    Beginning to inspect zip, no ordinary fashionable phenomenon (2,5)
{IN THING} – the initial letter (beginning) of Inspect followed by a word meaning zip or zero without (no) the O(rdinary)

5d    Former minister inherits a messy set of unrealistic plans (7,2,3,3)
{CASTLES IN THE AIR} – a former Labour minister followed by an anagram (messy) of INHERITS A

6d    Check filthy place on road close to cafe (6)
{STYMIE} – a filthy place for pigs followed by a major motorway and the final letter (close) of cafE

7d    It’s said to be vital with small fruit (4)
{KIWI} – sounds like an adjective meaning vital followed by a Scottish word for small

14d    Ignore shot on square? (3)
{CUT} – The main definition is clear enough, and the rest looks like a cricket shot that, when preceded by square, is hit square on the offside, or possibly a shot on the square, the rectangular area in the centre of a cricket ground

16d    Old woman harbouring love for departed flier (3)
{MOA} – a two-letter word for old woman or mother around O (love) gives an extinct bird

18d    Girl embracing fashion without a modicum of elegance or generosity (8)
{LARGESSE} – a young girl around (embracing) a fashion without the A and followed by the initial letter (modicum) of Elegance

19d    Evidence, say, of bitter work unit blocking renovation of Tube (4,3)
{BEER GUT} – the evidence of prolonged consumption of bitter is derived by putting a unit of work inside (blocking) an anagram (renovation) of TUBE

21d    Culinary eccentric turning out starters of inedible roast — madness! (6)
{LUNACY} – an anagram (eccentric) of CUL(I)NA(R)Y without (turning out) the initial letters (starters) of Inedible and Roast

22d    Blanket from a fine country lacking finish (6)
{AFGHAN} – this heavy woollen blanket is derived from the A from the clue followed by F(ine) and an African country without (lacking) its final letter (finish)

24d    Grub a factor in foundation (4)
{ROOT} – a triple definition – grub here is a verb meaning to dig up

I’m off to lunch at the Inn at Welland – be back later this afternoon.

10 comments on “Toughie 1038

  1. I enjoyed this one, favourites were 1d 15a 17a and 23a thanks to Shamus and to Big Dave for the comments.

  2. Thanks to Shamus and to Big Dave for the review and hints. Whenever the Toughie gets above 2* for difficulty, I really struggle. I’m trying to learn, but found this too difficult. Solved 13, used 11 hints and had to look up 4. I still don’t understand where the “lic” comes from in 3d and don’t understand 17a at all. Any help would be most welcome. Found all the homophones really hard.

    1. In 3d, ‘lic’ is ‘lick’ with the final K removed. Chambers gives ‘smear’ as one of the definitions of ‘lick – a lick of paint, for example.

      17a is VITE (French for quickly) wrapped around (C)OLA (a soft drink with the C for Calories removed).

  3. A minor quibble with 16d. Weren’t moas supposed to be flightless? If so, ‘flier’ is not really an apposite definition – though it does point the solver towards a bird.

    Thanks to Shamus for the puzzle and BD for the review. Hope you enjoyed your lunch, BD.

  4. I quite enjoyed myself – I have know wordier Shamus clues than this lot. 2*/3.5* for me. I bet the 7d’s enjoyed this crossword but I did wonder how they and other ‘foreign correspondents’ not to mention the younger generation might get on with the Labour Minister in 5d.

    Someone else did say to me earlier today that with all those letters round the edge, it was disappointing not to have one of Shamus’s Ninas.

    Thanks to setter and blogger too.

  5. You’re dead right Sue, we did enjoy this one, and would you believe it, our last one in was 7d. Perhaps it is because the fruit are never called just ‘kiwis’ here but always ‘kiwifruit’ (cf passionfruit). Our other bird also called for a second look as the moa was definitely not a flier. We had a different parsing for 14d where we had T for the square (T-square) preceded by CU as an abbreviation for ‘close up’, a type of camera shot. However the abbreviation is not in BRB so guess the cricket option must be what was intended.
    As ever we appreciated and enjoyed the puzzle.
    Thanks Shamus and BD.

  6. No complaints from me, enjoyed it a great deal. 3* on both accounts, 15A and 1d join faves. Thanks to Shamus and BD

  7. Lovely crossword! Not too easy not too difficult. A perfect tuesday toughie in other words. Thanks to Shamus and Big Dave.

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