Toughie 1064 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1064

Toughie No 1064 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Sorry about the late posting.  I emailed the report to Big Dave at 11.55 and it must still be somewhere in cyberspace because he never received it [Bufo has resent this from a different email account – sorry for the delay.  BD].  This was a very enjoyable puzzle which required a lot more thought than the average Thursday 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 Bear that’s seen to follow sweet scent (10)
{AFTERSHAVE} ‘To bear’ follows a sweet (dessert) to give smelly stuff used by many men (but not by us beardies)

6a Like Italy, a big bit of land (4)
{ASIA} ‘Like’ + the IVR for Italy + A = a continent

10a Language from distant part of NZ (5)
{FARSI} The official spoken language of Iran = ‘distant’ + the abbreviation for one of the two main parts of New Zealand

11a Fish and strangely chopped ginger topping? (3,6)
{RED MULLET} A food fish which could also be a hairstyle sported by a ginger-haired person. Chambers defines this hairstyle as follows: a hairstyle that is short at the front, long at the back, and ridiculous all round

12a Pleased with bracelets featuring hearts (7)
{CHUFFED} ‘With bracelets’ goes round H (hearts)

13a After eradicating parasites 18 is profuse (7)
{ABOUNDS} Take the answer to 18 across and remove the parasites from the first word. Then add a synonym of the second word

14a Dithering Irish lose in-out referendum initially? Rearrange! (12)
{IRRESOLUTION} Dithering (as a noun) = IR (Irish) + an anagram (rearrange) of LOSE IN-OUT R (first letter of referendum)

18a Rebuild special arenas in desert city (5,7)
{ALICE SPRINGS} An anagram (rebuild) of SPECIAL + arenas = a town in the centre of Australia

21a French article left nuanced extract, in brief, to show underlying theme (7)
{SUBTEXT} Remove LE (French article) from a word meaning ‘nuanced’. Then add an abbreviated form of ‘extract’

23a Fit to take gym class after bruising a shin (2,5)
{IN SHAPE} An abbreviation denoting ‘gym class’ goes after an anagram (bruising) of A SHIN

24a In Sicily it’s highly dangerous recklessly to name leader of traffickers controlling global organisation (5,4)
{MOUNT ETNA} A geographical feature of Sicily that can be highly dangerous = an anagram (recklessly) of TO NAME T (first letter of traffickers) round a global organisation

25a Idle pitman having time but no money (5)
{INERT} Remove M (money) from a pitman and add T (time)

26a Not the first of arty types going from East to West End (4)
{SOHO} A reversal (going from East) of a shortened form of bohemians (arty types) with the first letter removed

27a Go deep into suffering, keeping one’s feet on the ground while making ends meet? (6-4)
{PIGEON-TOED} An anagram (suffering) of GO DEEP INTO


1d What feckless lack mostly? Stern outside influence (6)
{AFFECT} The feckless lack feck. Take most of the word ‘feck’ and put it inside stern (towards the back of a vessel)

2d Force to speak out loud (6)
{TORQUE} A homophone (out loud) of ‘to speak’

3d Backup control is sticking — bring in pro (14)
{REINFORCEMENTS} ‘Control’ (4) and ‘is sticking’ (7) go round ‘pro’ (3)

4d Member of staff held inappropriately, cuddled by Hawaii representative (5,4)
{HIRED HELP} An anagram (inappropriate) of HELD inside abbreviations of Hawaii and representative

5d Video-on-demand takes a kilobyte up — might it be streamed by server? (5)
{VODKA} The abbreviation for video-on-demand + a reversal of A K (kilobyte) = something that might be poured out by someone serving you in a bar

7d Society to provide funding during downturn after turnover excellent
{SPLENDID} S (Society) + ‘to provide funding’ inside a reversal of ‘downturn’

8d Doubly lacking in energy, might hot drinks be for skilled workers (8)
{ARTISANS) Remove the letter E (energy) twice from ‘might hot drinks be’ (3,7) where the hot drinks are infusions of eg herbs or flowers (herbal teas)

9d Internal mechanism that should feature on Top Gear? (4-10)
{AUTO-SUGGESTION} In psychology this is a mental process that originates in a belief in the subject’s own mind. It could also conceivably be a recommendation as to which car to buy

15d Start to hold forth after consuming one drink (9)
{ORIGINATE} ‘To hold forth’ goes round (consumes) I (one) and an alcoholic drink

16d Mandarins perhaps took test in arithmetic, receiving high grade (8)
{SATSUMAS} Thin-skinned seedless mandarin oranges = ‘took test in arithmetic’ (3,4) round A (high grade)

17d Touch up inflamed rash and bruising, half concealed (8)
{AIRBRUSH} An anagram (inflamed) of RASH BRUI (half of bruising)

19d What’s popped up in the garden? Look and smell (6)
{GAZEBO} A garden structure = ‘to look’ + the smell of humans

20d Hit the sack around the Spanish time (6)
{BELTED} The sack (where you sleep) goes round the Spanish for ‘the’ and T (time)

22d All express condemnation on sex being raised (5)
{TUTTI} A musical term for ‘all’ = ‘to express condemnation’ + a reversal of sex

Good stuff. Let’s hope for the same next week

22 comments on “Toughie 1064

  1. By then it will be too late for me. I know I’m not going to make it so please go on without me and if you see my mother please tell her I did my best but it just wasn’t good enough…

  2. Bufo’s late arrival from somewhere in cyberspace makes me appreciate this blog more and more.

    I have one clue remaining for which I would be most grateful for an answer!

    Patience is a virtue!

  3. If the last few evenings are anything to go by, in an hour or so’s time, I will be asleep in the chair while pretending to be watching television. So I will just say that this was a delight to solve, with dots by more clues than not. I don’t care about the Wrath of Kath, and so my top favourites were the splendid 11a and superb 27a. Not only fun and entertaining but for the first time this week, the time taken to solve a puzzle in the middle of paper was actually within the limits expected for a Toughie.

    Thanks to Micawber once again for a delightful toughie and to Bufo for the blog which I look forward to reading post-snooze.

  4. Only one left can anyone give me a hint? 4d. I have h r d e p but feel fairly confident of all but the d. It’s nearly the girls bathtime and would love to fill in those last few boxes before the busy run up to bedtime starts! Thanks.

  5. Best toughie of the week by a country mile, many thanks to Micawber and to Bufo for an excellent review. I found this really tricky but on completion couldn’t really see why, great fun!

  6. This one certainly stretched my limited ability. I finished it, and then spent additional time justifying a couple of the answers that I glossed over at the time.
    Thanks to Micawber for a splendid puzzle, and to Bufo for the review.

  7. Many thanks to Jezza for the explanation, I agree with all that this was a corker of a Thursday Toughie, many thanks to Micawber and the belated Bufo.

  8. Our first one in of course was 10a, and our last one, which was quite a long time later, was 27a. Great fun throughout. Lots and lots of D’ohs and chuckles.
    Many thanks Micawber and Bufo.

  9. Thanks Bufo unaffected by the delay as it took me ages .,!
    Thanks to Micawber too for the challenge and in particular 27a .

  10. Brilliant. My last 2 to parse were anagrams which I simply missed / were too well hidden for me. Thank you Bufo for a great review and Micawber for the fun

  11. Great puzzle from one of the best in the Telegraph stable, favourites were 11a 12a 19d and 27a thanks to Micawber for the enjoyment and to Bufo for the comments.

  12. Can’t really add anything to these comments. All-round good stuff so thanks to both Micawber and Bufo.

  13. Sadly, I had no time to even attempt the toughie today. Work annoyingly got in the way, but work pays the bills. I will keep it for the weekend, at which time I am sure I will be back bemoaning my lack of interpretive skills to anyone still around to listen. Meanwhile, kudos to all who solved this apparantly challenging puzzle.

  14. Hi Bufo, I’m still not clear about 8d. What exactly are the 2 words that E has twice been removed from? Thanks.

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