Toughie 1202 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1202

Toughie No 1202 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Toro

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

I found this a fairly straightforward solve, although it took me a while to tease out the logic of some of the clues having got the answers. Big Dave seems to have had the same experience with Kcit puzzles and I would be interested to know whether solvers felt the same.

Definitions are underlined. Highlight between the braces {LIKE THIS} to reveal the answer to each clue. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought and add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


5a    Prudent guard not entirely guarding it (7)
{POLITIC} – A word meaning to guard, patrol or protect, minus its last letter (not entirely), goes round (guarding) IT from the clue.

7a    Provide stuff for closure of earthquake crack (5)
{EQUIP} – The last letter (closure) of earthquakE plus a wisecrack or gag gives a word meaning to kit out. 

9a    Clam? Yes and no (6)
{OYSTER} – A word that means clam in the figurative sense of a secretive or reticent person, yet is technically not a clam but a different type of mollusc. (At least, I think that’s what must be meant after rifling through Chambers. Alternative explanations welcome!)


10a    Accountant’s heartless former employer possibly not concerned? (8)
{CAREFREE} – The abbreviation for Chartered Accountant plus a word for someone (such as a former employer) who gives a letter of recommendation, minus the middle letter (heartless). (I don’t think the question mark is justified and was rather misled by it.)

11a    Alien interrupting public dance? That’s a bit much (4-3-3)
{OVER-THE-TOP} – The two-letter abbreviation of a word meaning not from this planet goes inside (interrupting) a word meaning public or unconcealed and a verb meaning to dance or jump about.

13a    Weakened, not following track (4)
{RAIL} – …the type that trains run on. A word meaning in weak condition minus the one-letter abbreviation for following.

14a    Public area sadly prone to crime — nothing’s kept in it (9,4)
{RECEPTION ROOM} – A space inside a building where people gather is an anagram (sadly) of PRONETOCRIME into which the letter denoted by nothing is inserted (kept in it)

16a    Trimmed block turned back, not up (4)
{ABED} – …or under the covers. A verb meaning to block or disallow (someone from joining or participating in something), minus its first letter (trimmed), and reversed (turned back).


17a    Exact requirement is a single OT book? (4,3,3)
{JUST THE JOB} – A phrase meaning the very thing that’s needed could be interpreted as meaning only one particular book of the Old Testament. (I’m not sure the definition is entirely fair since the solution is what fits a requirement, rather than the requirement itself.)

19a    Energy surrounding Italy’s leading group recalled in typical Italian? (8)
{GIOVANNI} – A word for energy or drive goes round (surrounds) the one-letter abbreviation for Italy, and is followed by a three-letter word for a leading group or spearhead, and a reversal (recalled) of IN from the clue, to give a common Italian male forename.

20a    Cookery expert starts to bring escargots to school (6)
{BEETON} – The surname of the author of a Victorian housekeeping manual and recipe collection is given by the initial letters of (starts to) Bring Escargots and the name of a famous public school.


22a    Dislike accepting Society’s furious activity (5)
{HASTE} – A word for intense dislike goes round (accepting) the one-letter abbreviation for Society.

23a    Tied up? No limits to torment when imprisoned by King Edward (7)
{KNOTTED} – NO from the clue plus the outer letters of (limits to) TormenT go inside (imprisoned by) the chess abbreviation for king and a short form of Edward.


1d    Storyline one’s omitted from first programme (4)
{PLOT} – Remove (omitted) the Roman numeral one from the word for a trial episode of a TV series.

2d    Enterprise, say, opens up erasing last of downmarket joint (8)
{STARSHIP} – …the type of spacecraft that James T. Kirk captained. A word for opens up or begins, minus the last (letter) of downmarkeT, is followed by a joint in the human body.



3d    Manage to get by rude guy at university (4,2)
{BEAR UP} – To cope after a misfortune is given by a word for a rude person followed by a short word meaning at university (used especially by Oxbridge students).

4d    Comparatively peaceful area in a club full of old fogeys? (6,4)
{BUFFER ZONE} – A term for a neutral area separating potentially warring sides could be interpreted as referring to a place where out-of-touch old men congregate.

5d    Ready to go out for this entertainment? (3,2)
{PAY TV} – Cryptic definition of a version of entertainment that requires an outlay of money (ready). A nice misleading surface because it actually involves staying in.

6d    Bird follows parasite in narrow segment of wood (8,5)
{COCKTAIL STICK} – A needle-like wooden object is a charade of a (male) bird, a synonym of follows or pursues, and a blood-sucking parasite.


8d    Additional cost of pair? In the end store’s unforthcoming about one (7)
{PREMIUM} – A word for an extra charge is given by the two-letter abbreviation for pair, the last letter (in the end) of storE and a word meaning unforthcoming or shtum that goes round (about) the Roman numeral one.

12d    Share in violent crimes and further criminal activity (10)
{RECIDIVISM} – A word for reoffending is given by an unusual spelling of a noun or verb meaning share inside an anagram (violent) of CRIMES.

14d    Refuse books I penned in hurry (7)
{RUBBISH} – The one-letter abbreviation for book, repeated and followed by I from the clue, is enclosed (penned) in a noun or verb meaning hurry.

15d    What’s associated with reporter? Renown and reserve (8)
{NOTEBOOK} – An item classically carried by an investigative journalist is a charade of a synonym for renown and a verb meaning to make a reservation.


17d    Party to jettison favourite, deposing leader (6)
{JUNKET} – A verb meaning to jettison or ditch followed by a word for favourite minus its first letter (deposing leader)

18d    Circle — sheep-pen at one time? (2,3)
{OF OLD} – A circular letter followed by a word for a sheep pen or enclosure.

21d    Food? Places at table (but no starter) (4)
{EATS} – The places at a table (or more generally where people sit), minus the first letter (no starter), gives a word for light food or snacks.


No stand-out clues for me, though I quite liked 14a, 23a and 1d. Rather a lot of individual letter selections and deletions in this puzzle, I thought.

Over to you!

12 comments on “Toughie 1202

  1. No real problems in this one today, although I spent a while on 12d.
    Thanks to Kcit, and to Toro.

  2. User-friendly offering for a Tuesday, I thought it was going to be a pangram while solving but a couple short, favourite 5d thanks to Kcit and to Toro for the comments.

  3. No problems today apart from the parsing of 9ac,which I agree with Toro is rather unsatisfactory. Fav has to be 4dn,thanks to Kcit and Toro for a nice start to the toughie week.

  4. Enjoyable enough romp through Tuesday toughie land with no real problems, thanks to Kcit and to Toro for a very nice review.

  5. I rarely tackle the Toughie but as a thunderstorm put paid to gardening, thought I’d have a go. Thanks to setter and Toro for the clues which I used to check out some of my answers. Agree with the dodger on 9ac and 4d.

  6. We also struggled with the parsing of 9a. Thought that there might be some allusion to the the transport payment card used in London but brief research didn’t throw any light on that idea for us. Nice to see a tribute paid to a fellow setter in 19a. Laughed at 4d. We enjoyed it all.
    Thanks Kcit and Toro.

  7. For some reason l couldn’t get either 13a or 4d, so needed a couple of Toro’s excellent hints to fill the grid. Just me being obtuse, though, and 2*/3* is about right. 12d was my favourite. Thanks to Kcit, and to Toro.

  8. I started off so well that I thought I was going to whizz though it easily and feel triumphant – I changed my mind about both.
    I ended up with about four gaps and needed the hints to explain a couple of others.
    Maybe this is not going to be my week for Toughies – pity – did quite well last week but now the confidence has been rocked again.
    When I saw the letters that I had in for 5d I was convinced that I must have got something wrong – never did get that one.
    With thanks to Kcit and to Toro – lots of these must have been difficult to give such good hints for.

  9. Early days for me and the toughie. Bottom half very straightforward and not much more difficult than the normal cryptics on back page. Had to use TORO for some confirmations such as 9a and couldn’t work out 5d.I’m going to have to try harder! Definitely have trouble with the logic from this compiler but I guess that as usual the more you do the easier it becomes

  10. Thanks to Kcit and to Toro for the review and hints. An enjoyable puzzle, but like Toro I found it quite difficult to parse some of the answers. I’m delighted to say that I managed to complete it. Last in was the NE corner, last clue was 13a. Was 3*/3* for me. Favourite was 2d, as I’m a Star Trek fan. Hopefully I’m now getting to grips with 2*&1* Toughies.

  11. Enjoyable, but quite tricky in patches. Thanks to Toro for explaining some of my answers to me. 6d made me smile when I finally saw it. 3*/3*

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