Toughie 1042 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1042

Toughie No 1042 by Petitjean

Double meanings?

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This was a tad more difficult than most of the recent Tuesday Toughies, but that’s not a bad thing. The resolution of the wordplay for 1 across added a difficulty 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.


1a    Plaster head hollow when it’s put on (8-4)
{DRESSING-GOWN} – a plaster or bandage followed by a two-letter verb meaning to head or travel and WheN without its inner letters (hollow) gives something that can be put on

9a    In surrender, sappers giving way to senior officer’s rank (9)
{CONDITION} – start with a surrender and replace (giving way) the RE (Royal Engineers / sappers) with the abbreviation for a senior officer

10a    Busy with hip exercise (2,3)
{IN USE} – a two-letter word meaning hip or popular followed by a verb meaning to exercise

11a    Fine diamonds are not broadly speaking variable (6)
{DAINTY} – D(iamonds) followed by a colloquial way of saying (broadly speaking) “are not” and a mathematical variable

12a    Minister near retiring — or making head honcho (8)
{GOVERNOR} – the current education secretary followed by the reversal (retiring) of the abbreviation for N(ea)R and OR

13a    Play departs, having qualified to hold Broadway opening (6)
{DABBLE} – D(eparts) followed by an adjective meaning qualified around (to hold) the initial letter (opening) of Broadway

15a    Both sides of Milan having time to socialise (8)
{INTERACT} – a charade of the two football teams in Milan and T(ime)

18a    Food kept in dry salt (8)
{SEAFARER} – some food inside (kept in) a verb meaning to dry or scorch gives a salt or sailor

19a    Face increase in sort of web access (4-2)
{DIAL-UP} – a face followed by an increase or rise

21a    More vino ordered for one who indulges to the full (8)
{OMNIVORE} – an anagram (ordered) of MORE VINO

23a    Sprite and chocolate bar with no wrapper left out (6)
{OBERON} – to get the king of the fairies start with a triangular chocolate bar, drop the outer letters (with no wrapper) and the L (Left out)

26a    One rambling tramp at side of road (5)
{HIKER} – a tramp or trek followed by the initial letter (side) of Road – I didn’t like this as both the definition and the wordplay were based on the same meaning; someone who rambles is a ramble + R(oad)

27a    Right of possession for Onassis, perhaps, doing East-West trade (9)
{OWNERSHIP} – start with a description of Aristotle Onassis, split it into two words and then swap them (doing East-West trade)

28a    Luxury is cash to cover Silk Cut plus tip on horses (4,3,5)
{MILK AND HONEY} – put some cash around (to cover) (S)ILK without its initial letter (cut), a word meaning plus and the initial letter (tip) of Horses


1d    Resolute detectives break up action one way or the other (7)
{DECIDED} – a department for detectives inside a palindromic (one way or the other) word for an action

2d    Online news for everyone? I get a sense of weariness (5)
{ENNUI} – the single-letter that signifies online followed by N(ew), N(ew), the letter that indicates that a film is suitable for everyone and the I from the clue

3d    Spark is all it takes to make comeback and no end of luck (9)
{SCINTILLA} – ALL IT and a verb meaning takes or steals are all reversed (to make comeback) and then the final letter (end of) lucK is dropped

4d    Clout round head for this? (4)
{NAIL} – this clout has a round flat head and is chiefly used for securing roofing felt, and is an example (indicated by the question mark) of the answer

5d    Muzzle good foreign article confronting issue (8)
{GUNPOINT} – G(ood) followed by the French indefinite article and an issue or topic

6d    Claret possibly poured out for beef (5)
{WHINE} – sounds like (poured out) what claret is an example of (possibly)

7d    Spoil dog or beat it (4,4)
{TURN TAIL} – a verb meaning to spoil or curdle followed by a verb meaning to dog or follow

8d    Investigator‘s rifle (6)
{FERRET} – two very similar definitions – as a noun a diligent searcher and as a verb to rifle or search

14d    Hippies attend Peel retrospective (8)
{BEATNIKS} – a phrasal verb meaning to attend (2,2) followed by the reversal (retrospective) of some peel or outer covering

16d    Queen caught in outpouring of antipathy following European row over British capital (9)
{EDINBURGH} – the Latin abbreviation for queen inside (caught in) a three-letter outpouring of antipathy preceded by (following) E(uropean), a row or noise and B(ritish)

17d    Turn out okay or be an issue from time to time (8)
{YEARBOOK} – an anagram (turn out) of OKAY OR BE gives an annual publication

18d    Head of security too flipping close to cardinal for comfort (6)
{SOOTHE} – the initial letter (head) of Security followed by the reversal (flipping) of TOO and the abbreviated title for a cardinal

20d    Roast duck before work at show (7)
{PANOPLY} – a verb meaning to roast or criticise followed by O (duck) and a verb meaning to work at or carry on, as in to carry on a trade

22d    Solid reviews to some extent backed composer (5)
{VERDI} – hidden (to some extent) and reversed (backed) inside the clue

24d    Diminutive Cabinet Minister runs half-marathon (2,3)
{RT-HON} – the abbreviated form of address for a cabinet minister is derived from R(uns) followed by the second half of maraTHON

25d    Rain down off and on before long (4)
{ANON} – the even letters (off and on) of the first two words in the clue

I thought that both of the double-definition clues were a bit weak, but other than those I enjoyed it.

12 comments on “Toughie 1042

  1. 4*/4* for me. I found bits of this quite tricky, but i enjoyed working my way through it. I left 16d until i had some checking letters, as the surface read gave me eye strain! :)
    Many thanks to Petitjean, and to Big Dave.

    1. Only eyestrain! My ears started to bleed the more I looked at it! Thanks to Petitjean & to BD for his hints.

  2. Totally agree with Jezza re 16d but a very enjoyable and tricky toughie, thanks to Petitjean and BD for the explanations a few of which, I really needed.

  3. Good start to the Toughie week last one to yield 4d, favourites were 1a 14d and 15a thanks to Petitjean and to Big Dave for the comments.

  4. Thanks BD for the explanations. Needed your help to parse the second word of 1a and the first part of 12a. Had the answer for 12a but was at a loss re that first part!
    Kept looking at 8d thinking there had to be more to it but I guess there wasn’t.
    Really enjoyed the puzzle though and I thought that 24d was very clever.
    Thanks again Dave and thanks of course to Petitjean.

  5. Got and liked 6d very quickly but since when has “poured out” meant “sounds like”? Felt at times the word play was strained to say the least.

  6. I agree with BD that 26a and 8d are a bit feeble but otherwise loved it. Favourites – 15a took me a while to twig I wasn’t looking for a word with “mn” in it [altho’ since it’s PJ I should have guessed] what the clue was about]; 23a is rather inventive and, unlike other bloggers, I loved the inexorable logic and excellent surface of 16d.

    Absence of vicars and cricket makes a nice change!

    Many thanks to PJ and BD.

  7. We never did parse the second part of 1a. Think we had the 12a minister in a previous puzzle and had luckily remembered him. Like Halcyon we looked for “MN” as the sides of Milan for a little while. It certainly gave us much more of a work-out than we are used to on a Tuesday. An enjoyable challenge.
    Thanks Petitjean and BD.

  8. I thought the sides of Milan was excellent. Found this harder than usual. Wondered if it was because I was solving onscreen rather than on paper but it looks like others found the same. Thanks to Petitjean and BD.

  9. Same as 2K’s with 1a and same as Vigo ,favourite clue by a long way 15a
    Perhaps embarrassingly last in 9a .A satisfying and enoyable solve .
    Thanks to Petitejean and BD

  10. Very much a learner – I get right answers without really knowing how I did it! Many thanks for great explanations.

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