Toughie 1212 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1212

Toughie No 1212 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

For the second week running I filled in the right-hand side without much difficulty and then stalled on the left-hand side. Today this was more down to me than the setter because I missed one or two fairly obvious answers and should have made much quicker progress. It was another enjoyable and challenging puzzle. Thursday’s are definitely looking up

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    Preserve riverside where old vessels go (6,4)
{BOTTLE BANK} ‘To preserve’ + the side of a river = where old glass vessels are put for recycling

6a    Gamble on a prototype (4)
{BETA} ‘To gamble’ + A = a word denoting a version of a product being tested under working conditions

9a    Results of cutbacks perhaps cause urban blight? (10)
{SCARCITIES} Shortages (which may result from cutbacks). Split it (4,6) and it could mean ’cause urban blight’ or ‘disfigure urban settlements’

10a    Have stirred supine cat (4)
{PUMA} A reversal (supine) of ‘have stirred (got out of bed)’ (2,2) = a large wild cat

12a    Time to return saucer that contains curd (4)
{TOFU} T (time) + a reversal of a flying saucer = a food made from soy bean curd

13a    Leaps around in circle, having another episode (9)
{RELAPSING} An anagram (around) of LEAPS in a circle

15a    Yorkshire town, damp and leafy? (8)
{WETHERBY} A Yorkshire town with a racecourse = ‘damp’ (3) + a word that could possibly mean ‘leafy’ (5)

16a    Southern elite are loudly evident (6)
{SCREAM} S (Southern) + elite

18a    That’s horrible, getting negative about love (6)
{NOUGHT} ‘That’s horrible!’ (3) inside a word expressing negation (3) = love (zero)

20a    Pilot mad, being put out by privileged traveller (8)
{DIPLOMAT} An anagram (put out) of PILOT MAD

23a    Gives off liquid through points (9)
{PERSPIRES} ‘Through’ (3) + points (as on churches) (6)

24a    State of America, in south? Not so (4)
{UTAH} A (America) in UTH (SOUTH less SO). The whole clue enhances the definition

26a    Flower of Erin cut off (4)
{IRIS} ‘Of Erin’ with the last letter removed

27a    Mixing wines with grain for official ceremony (8-2)
{SWEARING-IN} An anagram (mixing) of WINES GRAIN

28a    Dale‘s second of FBI agents to suffer 95 per cent cut (4)
{GLEN} Take a word meaning FBI agents (1-3) and replace the second letter by another Roman numeral with one-twentieth of its value

29a    Believe character in suit with way of parting one from money? (6,4)
{CREDIT} ‘To believe’ + a word for a character (a comical or eccentric person) which is also something found in a suit (hearts, clubs, diamonds or spades)


1d    Policeman / on call (4)
{BUSY} 2 meanings: a slang word for a policeman or a detective/on call (engaged on the telephone)

2d    What could make this melt (4,3)
{THAW OUT} The first word is an anagram of WHAT and the second word is an anagram indicator. Thus **** *** = WHAT

3d    Such reptiles chewed up chairs (12)
{LECTURESHIPS} An anagram (chewed up) of SUCH REPTILES = chairs (in universities)

4d    Find oneself internally pulsating in poolside outfit? (8)
{BATHROBE} ‘To find oneself’ (2) round ‘pulsating’ (6) = a loose-fitting garment worn before and after swimming

5d    Point of what French masculine nouns do? (6)
{NEEDLE} French masculine nouns **** ** (i.e. they must be preceded by the masculine form of the definite article)

7d    Learned to top and tail raw veg following Escoffier’s lead (7)
{ERUDITE} A French word for raw vegetables served as a hors d’oeuvre with the first and last letters removed follows E (first letter of Escoffier)

8d    A Spanish club dropping a fellow to consolidate (10)
{AMALGAMATE} A + a Spanish football club based in a city on the Costa del Sol with the letter A removed + fellow

11d    International sect controlled by a dogmatic type, one supervising workers (12)
{APICULTURIST} I (International) and a sect Inside A dogmatic type = someone who keeps bees

14d    Wander along with online test for bird identification (4-6)
{SWAN-UPPING} ‘To wander along’ or ‘to arrive aimlessly’ (4,2) + a test to check the accessibility of nodes or users on a computer network = an annual expedition up the Thames for the marking of young water birds. I’d never heard of the computer test

17d    Wooden, sedate treatment (5,3)
{FIRST AID} Wooden (made of the wood of a particular conifer) + ‘sedate’ = immediate treatment of an injured or sick person before full medical attention

19d    British weather over eastern country (7)
{UKRAINE} British (2) + wet weather (4) + E (eastern)

21d    I may lag badly, suffering such pain (7)
{MYALGIA} An anagram (badly) of I MAY LAG = pain in a muscle (which may make you lag badly)

22d    An American example is Miller: ‘Little Brown Jug’ (6)
{BREWER} Miller is a company based in Milwaukee. An abbreviation for ‘brown’ + a jug

25d    Muslim festival enthralling northern woman (4)
{ENID} A Muslim festival round N (northern) = a woman’s name

I hope for something as good next week

16 comments on “Toughie 1212

  1. I always enjoy a Micawber Toughie and this one was no exception. I did find it on the trickier side for one of his crosswords but was pleased to learn from my email correspondent that I wasn’t alone. 4*/4* for me too. Thanks to setter and blogger.

  2. Gentle yet enjoyable as always, favourites were 4d 10a and 19d thanks to Micawber and to Bufo for the comments.

  3. I was right – today’s puzzles did get swapped around by the printers. Found this mostly much more straightforward than the backpager. 28a defeated me and I was none the wiser after reading the hint, so a mark lost there. It was one of several tricky four letter words. 15a made me smile and 7d a favourite too.

  4. I needed lots of your hints but it was still very enjoyable. Thanks Bufo and Micaber.

  5. 4*/4* for me too. I needed a couple of visits to complete it, with my last three taking the same amount of time as the rest of the puzzle.

    Many thanks to Micawber, and to Bufo.

  6. I made good progress until the last half dozen, then it was slow going. I was eventually left with 1D unsolved, and I would never have got it. So much newer British slang that I don’t know. But I did know the on-line test because I’ve had to call my ISP a few times for issues and they have pinged me to check connectivity!

    I did enjoy this, especially 2D, 5D and 11D (once I had sorted it out) and 24A. Many thanks to Micawber, and to Bufo for the review.

  7. I am amazed at the difficulty experienced by the contributors today, I found this very simple today, no more than 2* 4*, the anagrams alone made the rest of the crossword very simple indeed. I finished both crosswords very quickly and was still able to take my grandson for an 18th birthday celebration during which he got me inordinately pissed (to quote “the Holiday”) my favourite film starring among others, the late lamented Eli Wallach. My thanks to Micawber and Bufo for a superb review.

  8. This went in fairly easily except for 28a which defeated me completely – a clever clue!

    Other favourites were 1a, 18a, 2d and 22d despite my reservations about the definition in the last. Can Miller, a US manufacturer of a chemical near-beer gnatsproduct really be described as a brewer?

    Any idea what “suffering” is doing in 21d?

    Thanks to Micawber and Bufo.

  9. 1d gave us a great deal of strife. It took overnight cogitation and then a bit of dictionary trawling to discover the slang word for policeman. The rest had all gone together steadily but not rapidly, with lots of smiles along the way. 9a was one of our last (excluding 1d) and we thought it really clever. Lots of great clues to enjoy.
    Thanks Micawber and Bufo.

  10. I enjoyed this but had trouble and ended up with five gaps and a couple more that I needed explanations for.
    It sometimes sounds as if Bufo thinks that his hints weren’t needed – I’d like him to know that they certainly were today – thank you.
    I’m sure you’ll all be glad to know that 2d wasn’t the kind of “Thaw” that makes me cry so, having used up all the tissues earlier in the week, we still have some loo paper left!
    I particularly liked10 and 24a and 2 and 7d. My favourite was 5d.
    Thanks to Micawber and to Bufo for all the help that was necessary today.

  11. 1d last one in despite the checking letters ,favourite 11d (second last) ,as tough a Micawber that I can remember but usual enjoyment level and one just muddles through ,struggled with RayT too but again good fun .
    Thanks to all concerned and Bufo I hope your Thursdays continue in this vein .

  12. I will have to remember to look for roman numerals when seeing 95% or 1 or 10%, it has caught me out a few times!

    Suffering in 21d: interesting, i read straight past this and it didn’t bother me, but strictly it could be seen as a gratuitous addition to the surface hence potentially unkosher – I’m interested what others think?

    great puzzle and thanks for the write up

    1. In 21d I think that suffering is being used in the sense of allowing (as in ‘Suffer the little children …’) so it links wordplay to definition, i.e. wordplay is allowing definition.

  13. Couldn’t make head or tail of this yesterday, but made progress over mid-morning coffee today. Didn’t get 28a but managed the rest unaided, even if l needed the hints to see how l should have worked it out. Agree with 4*/4* rating. Favourite was 5d, which took me ages to spot. Thanks to Micawber and Bufo.

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