Toughie 1126 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1126

Toughie No 1126 by MynoT

The Sound of Music

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Five years ago today I set up what was then called Big Dave’s Toughie Blog, with the first set of Toughie hints published the following day.  I was really chuffed to get 26 page views that day, rising to 101 the following day. The comparable figure for yesterday was 13,360.  Gazza’s first review was published on 12th February followed by Libellule’s on 13th February.  Of the early visitors, Paul is still with us, albeit under a different alias, and Big Boab first looked in on 3rd February.

MynoT on a Tuesday? Yes, it’s certainly one of his 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    Modified rhythm to massage a short digit (6)
{RUBATO} – a verb meaning to massage followed by the A from the clue and most of a digit found on the foot

4a    Forgive Pauline letter being dropped in turbulent river at start of ebb (8)
{REPRIEVE} – St Paul wrote several letters to a variety of recipients – put the two-letter abbreviation for such a letter inside (being dropped in) an anagram (turbulent) of RIVER and then add the initial letter (start) of Ebb

9a    Poor taste of outfit taken to school (6)
{KITSCH} – an outfit or rig followed by SCH(ool)

10a    Wise chap will skirt sheep run waste products (8)
{SEWERAGE} – a wise person around (will skirt) a female sheep and R(un)

11a    Programme backed sea-going vehicle friendly nation’s taken south (8)
{SYLLABUS} – reverse (backed) all of the abbreviated form of an underwater vessel, a friendly nation and S(outh)

13a    Cook head on stick (6)
{ADHERE} – an anagram (cook) of HEAD followed by a word meaning on

15a    In a fashion catwalk, behind what you see are elements so divided (5,3,5)
{BLACK AND WHITE} – an anagram (In a fashion) of CATWALK BEHIND

18a    Clumsy minaret flawed because it’s this (13)
{UNSYMMETRICAL} – an anagram (flawed) of CLUMSY MINARET

22a    Reprimand peer about rage? Not half (6)
{EARFUL} – a member of the peerage around the first half of a word meaning rage – either a noun without the RY or a verb without the ME!

24a    Black period in van that can be effaced (8)
{ERASABLE} – the heraldic term for black preceded by (in van) a period of time

26a    Highly praised former journalist receiving ring (8)
{EXTOLLED} – a two-letter word meaning former and a two-letter abbreviation for a journalist around (receiving) a verb meaning to ring a large bell

27a    Spike’s embraced by cardinal in carriage (6)
{HEARSE} – a spike of corn and the S from ‘S inside (embraced by) the form of address for a cardinal

28a    Soprano’s agreement about band instruments (8)
{SYRINGES} – S(oprano) and a word indicating agreement around a circular band

29a    Cross mostly allowed as ornament (6)
{ANKLET} – most of a cross used in ancient Egypt as a symbol of life followed by a verb meaning allowed


1d    Jaunty ardent spirits call for silence (6)
{RAKISH} – alcoholic spirits made in eastern Europe followed by an exhortation to keep quiet

2d    Tablet’s reprogrammed by junior officer set up in mobile centre (9)
{BATTLEBUS} – an anagram (reprogrammed) of TABLET followed by the reversal (set up in a down clue) of the shortened form of an old military term for an officer under the rank of captain

3d    Composition of shabby coat worn by Burmese perhaps (7)
{TOCCATA} – an anagram (shabby) of COAT around (worn by) the type of animal of which a Burmese is an example (perhaps)

5d    They’re weirdly content back in jug (4)
{EWER} – hidden (content) and reversed (back) inside the clue

6d    Once more present argument about position of altar in church (2-5)
{RE-ENDOW} – an argument around the position of the altar in a church (1,3)

7d    Escape from French after turning up Champs-Elysees, maybe (5)
{EVADE} – the French for “from” after the reversal (turning up in a down clue) of the three-letter abbreviation for the type of tree-lined thoroughfare of which the Champs-Elysees is an example (maybe)

8d    English cry about the First Lady being around five feet in height (3,5)
{EYE LEVEL} – E(nglish) and a cry or shout around the biblical First Lady

12d    Maintenance of university park with European record (6)
{UPKEEP} – U(niversity) followed by P(ar)K, E(uropean) and an Extended-Play record

14d    One making noises during long sermon, for example, and not during short sermon (6)
{SNORER} – a conjunction meaning “and not” inside SER(mon)

16d    Intolerant and evil, Beria tortured lecturer (9)
{ILLIBERAL} – an adjective meaning evil followed by an anagram (tortured) of BERIA and L(ecturer) – Beria, the head of the Soviet secret police, was involved in the torture of Stalin’s opponents

17d    Sex appeal, particularly for Americans, could be seen in fashions (8)
{CUTENESS} – an anagram (could be) of SEEN inside a word meaning fashions or designs

19d    Foolishly lachrymose Tennyson’s girl left at home (7)
{MAUDLIN} – the girl who was encouraged to come into the garden in the eponymous poem by Tennyson followed by L(eft) and a two-letter word meaning at home

20d    Tank from successor of USSR inflexible (doesn’t start) (7)
{CISTERN} – the three-letter abbreviation for the confederation that was the successor to the USSR followed by an adjective meaning inflexible without its initial letter

21d    The man in worst command (6)
{BEHEST} – the male pronoun inside a verb meaning to worst or defeat

23d    It’s rubbish or it goes round either way (5)
{ROTOR} – some rubbish followed by OR gives a palindromic word for something that goes round

25d    Heard selected player give way (4)
{CEDE} – sounds like any of a number of stronger competitors in a sports tournament who have been assigned a specified position in an ordered list with the aim of ensuring that they do not play each other in the early rounds (thanks to the ODE for the definition!)

While solving this puzzle I noticed that several of the constructs can be found in my new Usual Suspects page.

12 comments on “Toughie 1126

  1. Typical Tuesday fare nothing too difficult but I did like 14d thanks to Mynot and to Big Dave for the comments.

  2. I made heavy weather of parts of this one, although i’m not sure why in hindsight!
    Thanks to MynoT, and to BD for the dissection.

    Congratulations and thank you to BD for another year of hard work maintaining such a successful website!

  3. I didn’t much enjoy today’s Toughie from MynoT – a lot of the surface readings seemed more than a bit “iffy”.

    But I enjoyed the trip down memory lane – Gazza’s first review (no semi-clad ladies) & Libellule’s Début!

    Thanks to All!

    (And the first reply to Bigdave44 was someone called – Brian!)

  4. Solved this one as a solo effort while watching on TV the Black Caps beat India once again in one day cricket.
    When I saw who the setter was I kept looking for a gimmick but failed to spot one. A couple of words needed a check, 1a and 2d, but nothing that gave too much trouble.
    Thanks MynoT and BD.

    1. 17d is CUTS (cut as in the cut of a garment) around an anagram of SEEN. Chambers gives one of the definitions of cute as “sexually attractive (chiefly N American)”, hence CUTENESS is sex appeal.

  5. Ongoing electrical problems – it could go off at any moment – we have been warned/threatened that we will have no power between 19.00 and midnight. So far so good so just thought that I would pop in to say how brilliant this blog is, how much I love/appreciate it, how much it has transformed my crossword life, and how much I hope that BD is feeling as proud as he should be about what he has created.
    Happy birthday to the blog and long may it live and more thanks to everyone.

  6. About the right level of difficulty for me. A good accompaniment to the evening’s soccer scores scrolling across the tv screen. Happy Birthday!

  7. Congratulations to all at BD. Long may you continue (and provide me with much needed explanations).

  8. Cheers BD and all the team ,as I have said before ,quite remarkable !
    I am not certain I find any puzzle “gentle” and this was no exception I learn as I go with your assistance .
    Thanks to MynoT too

  9. This may well be one of MynoT’s ‘easier puzzles’, but I found it rather difficult. It’s taken quite a while and a great deal of pondering. I managed to complete all save 17d which baffled me. Very many thanks for the answer and explanation, Big Dave. I didn’t use any hints at the time, but they are invaluable. I needed explanations for parts of four of my answers. It’s always most helpful to know whether or not an answer has been reached with the correct parsing.
    My fave clue was 1a, and I also liked 3d and 19d. 18a is a word that doesn’t sit easily in my mind. Is there a real difference between ‘unsymmetrical’ and ‘asymmetrical’ ?
    Many thanks to MynoT for the enjoyment.
    Very special thanks to Big Dave and to all who give so selflessly of their time and expertise to make this splendid Blog the wonderful site that it is.

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