Toughie 1090 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1090

Toughie No 1090 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment **

One of those dreadful four-corner grids helped to make this a passable but not very enjoyable 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    Engineer studies vehicle stopping short at road junction (9)
{CONSTRUCT} – this verb meaning to engineer is built from a verb meaning studies, most of (stopping short) a commercial vehicle and a type of road junction

9a    Tinker needs a bit of metal as you might say? (6)
{MEDDLE} – this verb meaning to tinker sounds like (as you might say) a bit of metal awarded as a prize

10a    Move, then wait — not right in terms of financial planning? (9)
{BUDGETARY} – a verb meaning to move or shift followed by a verb meaning to wait without one of its two R(ight)s

11a    Having a frog or some other animal, we hear? (6)
{HOARSE} – this swelling in the throat sounds like (we hear) some other animal

12a    Denounce writing that includes plagiarism (9)
{PROSCRIBE} – some writing around (that includes) plagiarism or copying from the work of another

13a    Bird — over time cat will get it (6)
{TOMTIT} – T(ime) preceded by a male cat and followed by IT

17a    Reggae with a measure of loudness outside uni (3)
{DUB} – this type of reggae is derived by putting the abbreviation for a measure of loudness around (outside) U(ni)

19a    One material or another put around fancy lace (7)
{PERCALE} – the reversal of a type of material around an anagram (fancy) of LACE

20a    Marriage loses love with invasion of my fantasy creature! (7)
{UNICORN} – start with another word for marriage, drop (loses) the O (love) and insert (with invasion of) an interjection meaning my!

21a    Fool, a single person losing head (3)
{NIT} – a single person or object without its initial letter (losing head)

23a    Heathen god with inadequate set of values, not one to be admired (6)
{RASCAL} – the ancient Egyptian sun-god followed by most of (inadequate) a set of values

27a    Bad men drunk with ale not beyond redemption (9)
{AMENDABLE} – an anagram (drunk) of BAD MEN with ALE

28a    Possible course fixed around globe (6)
{SORBET} – this possible course in a meal is derived by putting a verb meaning fixed around a globe

29a    Knowledge of game conveyed in publication (9)
{ERUDITION} – the two-letter abbreviation for a team sport inside (conveyed) a publication

30a    Insect has got the lady’s plant? Only a bit of it (6)
{ANTHER} – a worker insect followed by the feminine possessive pronoun (the lady’s)

31a    In Salvador see mum dance (9)
{ALLEMANDE} – the surname of the former Marxist president of Chile (bet you worked that one out easily!) around another word for mum / mother


2d    Old revue that’s had some rejigging works (6)
{OEUVRE} – O(ld) followed by an anagram (that’s had some rejigging) of REVUE

3d    Most discerning characters of this age stifled (6)
{SAGEST} – hidden (characters of) inside the clue

4d    Come back about wrong requiring legal action? (6)
{RETORT} – a two-letter word meaning about followed by a wrong requiring legal action

5d    Wild animal in vehicle I fight, squashing tail (7)
{CARIBOU} – a vehicle followed by the I from the clue and most of (squashing tail) a fight

6d    Chemical compound in body that could make one inert soon (9)
{SEROTONIN} – this compound present in blood platelets and serum is an anagram (that could make) of INERT SOON

7d    A sermon about God’s ultimate loving (9)
{ADORATION} – the A from the clue and a sermon around the final letter (ultimate) of GoD

8d    Ruining brill experience in restaurant? (9)
{DEFEATING} – a three-letter word meaning brill or excellent followed by what is “experienced” in a reataurant

14d    Player in pantos — Mrs looking silly (9)
{SPORTSMAN} – an anagram (looking silly) of PANTOS MRS

15d    Put a stop to female rot with rebuke (9)
{FRUSTRATE} – F(emale) followed by a verbs meaning to rot and to rebuke

16d    Variable disciple, a beast inside (9)
{PARAMETER} – one of the Disciples around (… inside) the A from the clue and a best

17d    Private office in garden lacking roof (3)
{DEN} – drop (lacking) the initial letter (roof) from Adam and Eve’s garden

18d    Only a clumsy boat will capsize (3)
{BUT} – reverse (capsize in a down clue) a clumsy boat

22d    Always remembered for time-wasting? Very bad (7)
{IMMORAL} – start with an adjective meaning always remembered and drop (wasting) the T(ime)

24d    Nervous, a certain broadcasting boss before committee finally (2,4)
{ON EDGE} – a three-letter word meaning a followed by the abbreviation for the head of the BBC and the final letter of committeE

25d    Blast on the horn when releasing a religious work (6)
{TANTRA} – drop the A from a blast on the horn

26d    Like seaweed, cold — around zero (6)
{ALGOID} – an adjective meaning cold, especially applied to a cold fit in disease, around O (zero)

Although he never set crosswords for the Telegraph, our thoughts today are with the family of the Reverend John Galbraith Graham MBE, better known as Araucaria, following his death earlier this morning.

19 comments on “Toughie 1090

  1. I couldn’t get on Giovanni’s wavelength at all, had to leave the SE corner of this four part puzzle grid in order to work and when I looked again post lunch with old colleagues, decided I wasn’t going to get any further so came here for the hints. Thanks to BD for saving me having to scratch my head any more.

    1. I don’t believe it!

      crypticsue needed some hints!

      Especially during a time when BD is trying to recruit new Bloggers!

  2. A couple held me up in this one; the reference to Salvador in 31a, and the blasting of the horn in 25d.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Big Dave for the explanations.

  3. It took me longer to complete the SE corner than the rest of the grid, 1 would describe the puzzle as more workmanlike than entertaining. Thanks to Giovanni and to Big Dave for the comments.

    Sad to hear about the passing of John Graham RIP.

  4. I found this tricky – definitely too tricky for me. I did the top half but had lots of gaps in the bottom right corner and most of the bottom left corner defeated me.
    I never notice the grid but now that people have pointed it out I see what they mean.
    I liked 11 and 13a and 6d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and BD.

  5. Needed electronic help to sort out the last couple, 31a being one of them. I suppose we should not complain too much about the grid. It does effectively give us 4 puzzles for the price of 1 after all. I would much, much rather have just one puzzle though.
    Thanks Giovanni and BD.

  6. Only clues I had trouble with were 8d, and 31a. otherwise it was a stroll in the park, thanks to Giovanni and BD for the review.

    1. Stroll in the park? Really? Nothing like a little encouragement for those of us who struggle daily to improve.

      1. I struggle daily, too. Sometimes I think I’m improving but most of the time I don’t! Let’s just keep trying, shall we?

  7. I was a bit miffed that I could not finish it but now feel much better, having seen CS’s admission of fallibility.

      1. In the past I have always objected to Brian saying: “A Horrid Puzzle” – but I now think that I understand his sentiments!

        1. No – I really don’t think there is any such thing as a “horrid puzzle” – it’s just that some are more enjoyable than others.

  8. I finally gave up, with seven yet unsolved. Can’t say I enjoyed it but respect the setter’s skill. Thanks to BD for the review and much needed hints.

  9. I thought this so unlike Giovanni in many ways yet characteristic in a few (particularly 31a) .Thanks BD for the explanation which I needed for the answers I threw in simply on definition .
    So sad about John Graham who always brought a smile RIP

  10. I didn’t understand the references to the “grid” – would you explain please or direct me somewhere?

    1. Welcome to the blog JohnM

      The grid divides into four corners, joined in the middle. This type of grid is extremely unpopular with solvers, but some setters continue to use them.

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