Toughie 1087 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1087

Toughie No 1087 by Firefly

A Vintage Puzzle!

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

As you might have guessed by its appearance on a Wednesday, this is one of Firefly’s easier puzzles.

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    ‘Vintage calibre’ — very iffy description of this puzzle! (11)
{CRUCIVERBAL} – a wine vintage followed by an anagram (iffy) of CALIBRE V(ery)

9a    Shy ethical dealing? (4,5)
{FAIR TRADE} – could be a coconut shy!

10a    Components of polymer Italians found in desert (5)
{MERIT} – hidden (components of) inside the clue – desert as in that which is deserved

11a    Protect three points on river (6)
{ENSURE} – three different compass points followed by a river

12a    Recline informally on sea-front — it offers some peace (8)
{SILENCER} – an anagram (informally) of RECLINE preceded by the initial letter (front) of Sea

13a    Package meals returned — cold and hard inside (6)
{SACHET} – some meals reversed (returned) with C(old) and H(ard) inside

15a    Irritable brief — brief one’s seen on a bike? (8)
{CROSSBAR} – an adjective meaning irritable followed by most of (brief) a word meaning brief or lawyer

18a    Stand-in mustn’t broadcast before one (8)
{STUNTMAN} – an anagram (broadcast) of MUSTN’T followed by the two-letter indefinite article (one)

19a    Pet Clark’s first note’s in key with two sopranos (6)
{CARESS} – the initial letter (first) of Clark followed by the second note of the scale in sol-fa notation between a musical key and SS (two sopranos)

21a    In France, who’s to hang Judas? (8)
{QUISLING} – the French for who followed by a verb meaning to hang

23a    United Butcher’s reported to be somewhere in Africa (6)
{UGANDA} – U(nited) followed by what sounds like (reported) a butcher’s (butcher’s hook / look)

26a    Consummation of marriage essential — gingerly approached for starters? (5)
{OMEGA} – this consummation or conclusion (of the Greek alphabet) comes from the initial letters (starters) of five words in the clue

27a    Vintage Formica cut for use in cathedral maybe (9)
{CRUCIFORM} – the wine vintage crops up again, and not for the last time, this time being followed by an anagram (for use) of most of (cut) FORMIC(A)

28a    Shift involving speed of light engenders dispute (11)
{ALTERCATION} – a shift or change around the mathematical symbol for the speed of light


1d    Those making a noise in chests? (7)
{COFFERS} – sounds like people making a noise – presumably the question mark indicates the homophone

2d    Items in mess-tin unfortunately overturned (5)
{UNITS} – hidden (in) and reversed (overturned) inside the clue

3d    Meet with brief going into Indiana court (9)
{INTERSECT} – an adjective meaning brief inside the abbreviated forms of IN(diana) and C(our)T

4d    Young bird, for instance, soaring to east (4)
{EYAS} – this unfledged hawk comes from the reversal of a three-letter word meaning for instance and E(ast)

5d    Vicar absorbed by brainy layout (not new) for prayer book (8)
{BREVIARY} – a three-letter abbreviation for a vicar inside (absorbed by) an anagram (layout) of BRAI(N)Y without (not) the N(ew)

6d    Polymath Stephen avoiding insipidity? Blow me down! (5)
{LUMME} – start with a word meaning insipidity and remove (avoiding) F .. RY (polymath Stephen Fry)

7d    Speaker‘s downright subversive at heart (7)
{UTTERER} – an adjective meaning downright followed by the middle letters (at heart) of subvERsive

8d    Vintage alembic a master dropped disastrously into hearth (8)
{CRUCIBLE} – it’s that wine vintage again – this time followed by an anagram (disastrously) of (A)LE(M)BIC without (dropped) A and M(aster)

14d    Vintage fireplace is transformed when rid of awfully pale wallflower, for example (8)
{CRUCIFER} – the final appearance of the wine vintage is followed by an anagram (transformed) of FIR(EPLA)CE without (when rid of) the assorted letters (awfully) of PALE to give any plant of the family which includes the wallflower (for example)

16d    Linger in Ceylon mostly — a paradise (7-2)
{SHANGRI-LA} – a verb meaning to linger inside most of the modern name for Ceylon

17d    Panelling for Rooney’s bed, we hear? (8)
{WAINSCOT} – sounds like the sort of bed {5’1,3) that would be appropriate for footballer Rooney

18d    Questionable sine qua non when chopping every northern conifer (7)
{SEQUOIA} – an anagram (questionable) of SI(N)E QUA (N)O(N) after dropping (chopping) all (every) of the N(orthern)s

20d    Drifter catches wave in southern isle (7)
{SWAGMAN} – this Australian drifter is derived by putting a verb meaning to wave inside S(outhern) and an Isle in the Irish Sea

22d    In the morning everyone’s getting up in wool (5)
{LLAMA} – the two-letter abbreviation for morning followed by a word meaning everyone, all reversed (getting up in a down clue)

24d    Filmdom ain’t regularly coming up for Ms Campbell (5)
{NAOMI} – the even letters (regularly) of the first two words in the clue reversed (coming up in a down clue) give the first name of a famous model

25d    Accent an impediment? (4)
{BURR} – two definitions

Gazza will be reviewing tomorrow’s Toughie as Bufo is away and I have been promised a power outage in the morning.

12 comments on “Toughie 1087

  1. I made steady progress through this, but my last few pushed me into 4* time. 6d caused me a problem to parse, and I’m sure I’ve seen 17d before somewhere.
    Many thanks to Firefly for the enjoyable workout, and to Big Dave for the explanations.

    1. Indeed you have Jezza – in Toughie 557 by Giovanni

      1a Panelling in baby Rooney’s bed, from what we hear? (8)

  2. Gentle yet pleasant offering today, favourites were 6d and 23a thanks to Firefly and to Big Dave for the comments.

  3. Well it may not be much of a Toughie but I’m still quite pleased that I did it, apart from 4d which beat me.
    I didn’t find it too difficult once I’d realised that the same three letters was the ‘vintage’ each time – for a while I thought there was a trap waiting to be fallen into.
    I didn’t understand why 6d was what it was – the only Stephen I could think of was Hawking which didn’t help much.
    My favourite was 23a which I thought was brilliant and it made me laugh.
    With thanks to Firefly and BD.

  4. Very entertaining puzzle .As others I was stumped parsing 6d and 23a tickled me the most .
    Many thanks to firefly and BD .

  5. Parsing 6d was our last act with this one and puts it into favourite spot. Had worked out who the Stephen probably was but had problems using him in the word-play. A good fun puzzle.
    Thanks Firefly and BD.

  6. Pleasant solve which seemed to get easier towards the south. Particularly taken with the homophone in 23a. Not convinced by 6d – should there not be some indication [“partly” or something] that the surname’s letters are non-continuous?
    Thanks to Firefly and BD.

  7. I was a bit surprised by 7d and 18d. Peter Biddlecombe always used to say that he didn’t object to double unches as long as at least 50 percent of the letters were checked, but in this case only 3/7 are checked. Also, I’m sure that Anax has told us in the past that it is a no-no to have a double unch at the start or end of the answer. On top of all that 7d is a horrible word!!

  8. I didn’t know 20d or 4d, but apart from that it didn’t seem too much harder than the back-pager.

    I started off with BEATERS for 1d which looked great until I later worked out what “vintage” in 1a meant.

    1. 20d took me ages but then I remembered the words of ‘Waltzing Matilda’.
      Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
      Under the shade of a coolibah tree
      Etc etc.

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