Toughie 1109 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1109

Toughie No 1109 by Kcit

Films for all the family

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

If you think that too much Christmas cheer has left you suffering from  a sense of  déjà-vu, worry not.   People who get their Telegraph puzzles electronically will have seen this one on Tuesday 17 December before it was replaced by a Notabilis Toughie which had been printed  the paper ten days early by mistake.   It also explains why this crossword isn’t quite as tough as expected for  a Friday Toughie.

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           Hard to move, dismissing first argument (4)
{TIFF}   Remove the first letter (dismissing first) from an adjective meaning hard to move.

3a           Give excellent review to book, then catch opening of this film (10)
{BRAVEHEART} Follow the abbreviation for book  with an informal verb meaning to praise extravagantly (excellent review), a verb meaning to catch or perceive by ear, and the opening letter of this.


9a           Legal groups covering both ends of the country? (4)
{INNS}  The societies responsible for calling people to the bar  –  A preposition meaning among and the two  compass points we use to refer to the top and bottom of the country.  

10a          You’ll have seen this sort of clue before (10)
{UNORIGINAL}  A cryptic definition of many clues I may have solved  over the last 40 plus years!!

11 Girl’s poise snaring hearts, though not first of Americans (7)
{BLANCHE}  Remove the first A of two As (not first of Americans) from a synonym for poise or stability  and insert H (the abbreviation for the suit of hearts in a pack of cards) into the remaining letters.

13a         Greek character’s no problem speaking English? Just the reverse (7)
{EPSILON} Reverse  NO (from the clue),  a speech defect  and E (English).



14a         Critical atmosphere almost splendid after chapter’s accepted (11)
{CLIMACTERIC}   A critical period in human life –   A word meaning atmosphere in the sense of temperature, then C (chapter accepted) and the first three letters (almost) of a synonym for splendid and costly.

18a         Heart that’s subsequently broken in fantasy land? (6,5)
{MIDDLE EARTH}  A word meaning heart, centre, followed by an anagram (broken) of HEART

Middle Earth

21a         Court dismissing unknown opportunist (7)
{CHANCER}    Remove one of the mathematical ‘unknowns’ from the highest court of justice next to the House of Lords.

22a         Not showing usual colour after swallowing whiskey, but not weepy (3-4)
{DRY-EYED}   Insert some American whiskey into part of a verb meaning to have changed colour by use of a stain.

23a         More struggling after a firm dismisses good scientist (10)
{ASTRONOMER}  A (from the clue) and an adjective meaning firm or resolute from which the final g has been removed (dismisses good)are followed by (after) an anagram (struggling) of MORE.

24a         River enclosed by revolutionary modern architect (4)
{WREN}   Insert the abbreviation for river into a reversal (revolutionary) of a synonym for modern.


25a         Clash of rivals left boy swimming round river (5,5)
{LOCAL DERBY}  The abbreviation for Left and an anagram (swimming) of BOY around a West Yorkshire river well known to  young Tilsit.

26a         Shops closing early: time for drink (4)
{MALT}   More whisky –   A shortened shopping complex followed by T (time).


1d           Delay in Spooner’s security fix? (8)
{TAILBACK}  As usual with a Spoonerism clue, change over the first letters of a sum given as a security so that an accused person can be released, and a verb meaning to fix or fasten in an impermanent manner.

2d           Film buff cheers one in it (8)
{FANTASIA}  An enthusiast (buff),  an informal way of saying thank you (as is ‘cheers’) and I (one) inserted into two letters indicating personal magnetism (in the same way as ‘it’ can).


4d           It supplies a little colour in set (5)
{RINSE}   A nice &Lit  and hidden word –  hairdressers may use this to introduce a little impermanent colour when giving someone a shampoo and set.   I did underline the fact that the solution is hidden in colouR IN SEt when solving but somehow it didn’t make it to the (now corrected) review

5d           Some particular bet reviewed, raised? That’s showing backbone (9)
{VERTEBRAL}  Hidden and reversed (raised) in some of particuLAR BET REViewed.

6d           Musical arrangement for eighty choirs that’s not right (4,7)
{HIGH SOCIETY}  An anagram (arrangement) of EIGHTY CHOIRS once you have removed the R (not right).

High Society

7d           Writer finally brought in article on historic English composer (6)
{ARNOLD}   Insert the last letter of writer into an indefinite article and add a word meaning historic.

8d           Gift? Expression of gratitude supplied (6)
{TALENT}   An informal expression of gratitude plus a verb meaning supplied on loan.

12d         Spoils children in relaxed training centre (5,6)
{CHARM SCHOOL}   Insert into an adjective meaning unemotional and relaxed, firstly a verb meaning spoils or injures, and then the abbreviation for children.

15d         Duke, in defeat, elevated and elevated symbol of reconciliation? (5,4)
{TUDOR ROSE}   The abbreviation for Duke is  inserted into a reversal (elevated) of an utter defeat and then followed by the past participle of a verb meaning elevated.

Tudor Rose

16d         Year’s wrangling to block reduction of large disputed field (4,4)
{GREY AREA}  An anagram (wrangling) of YEAR inserted into, or blocking almost all (reduction) of an adjective meaning large.

17d         Mystery individual following Western carrier (8)
{WHODUNIT}   The abbreviation for Western, a carrier for bricks and an individual thing.


19d         Illegible lettering: that is, crude line (6)
{SCRAWL}  The abbreviation for scilicet (that is, to wit),  an adjective meaning crude, in its natural state, and the abbreviation for line.

20d         British cooking, cold, very cold (6)
{BALTIC}  An informal word meaning extremely cold –   A British spicy dish and the abbreviation for cold usually found on taps.

22d         Fool our team into lifting mattress (5)
{DWEEB}  Reverse something you sleep on (mattress) and insert the plural pronoun of  I  (our team).

Thanks to Kcit for this and the many other Toughies you gave us in 2013.   Looking forward to solving some more in 2014.

12 comments on “Toughie 1109

  1. 10a – Sums it up nicely!

    I couldn’t do it the first time … even worse the second time round! Oh Dear!

    Thanks to CS for the review!

    1. One of the few benefits of having a bad memory is that one can get as much enjoyment from solving a crossword the second time as the first.
      Thanks to Kcit and CS.

  2. Many thanks to Kcit for a very enjoyable toughie to see the year out, many thanks also to Crypticsue and all the other bloggers who have guided us through the crossword jungles over the last twelve months.

  3. Thanks to CS and Kcit and thanks to the Telegraph for letting me have this puzzle on 17th Dec since when I’ve been struggling with the NW corner and the ‘middle’ thank you very much for putting me out of my misery Sue. Hope everyone has had a good festering break

  4. Gentle fare for a Friday but enjoyable nonetheless, Re 4d I read it as a hidden word. Thanks to Kcit and to Crypticsue for the comments.

    1. As I say in my edited review, I did underline this very carefully when I solved it last week but what with Christmas and all, my ability to see red lines on pieces of paper appears to have got lost along the way.

      1. I didn’t do Greek (or Latin come to that) at school – I put Epsilon into a google image search!!

  5. We had solved this one when it first came out and even made a comment when ‘whodunit’ cropped up again in a back-pager, without remembering that many people had not seen this puzzle. Somewhere in a pre-Christmas tidy up, our solution has disappeared but from memory we had found it quite a challenge but fun.
    Thanks Kcit and CS.

  6. Thanks to CS for helping me to get 14a, a new word for me. Otherwise, I found it quite hard, possibly because the festive period has taken it out of me and my brain is unable to engage even second gear. Nonetheless, thanks also to Kcit for trying to jump start it

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