Toughie 1316 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1316

Toughie No 1316 by Sparks

Season’s Greetings from the Blog that Never Sleeps

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

We have often complained that setters wear their pink fluffy slippers when setting for the Toughie series. How nice it is to have a real challenge from a setter who came to The Telegraph with a reputation for difficult but enjoyable 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.


7a    Rescue one who wanders around city (7)
RECOVER: someone who wanders around the postcode for the City of London

8a    Religious artefact in Last Supper only half sculpted (2,5)
ST PAUL’S: the name of this cathedral on Ludgate Hill, London is an anagram (sculpted) of LAST with the first half of SUP[per]

10a    Normal raiments patched up by mother (10)
MAINSTREAM: an anagram (patched up) of RAIMENTS preceded by a two-letter word meaning mother

11a    More or less dislodge lid from trunk (2,2)
OR SO: drop (dislodge) the initial letter (lid) from the trunk or body without from the head and limbs

12a    It can be scheduled by destiny (4,4)
TIME SLOT: a five-letter word meaning multiplied by followed by destiny or fate

14a    Develop fondness about heartless vedette (6)
EVOLVE: the reversal (about) of a word meaning fondness followed by V[edett]E without its inner letters (heartless)

15a    Destructive spiteful woman with icy calm ordered around son (11)
CATACLYSMIC: a spiteful woman followed by an anagram (ordered) of ICY CALM around S(on)

19a    First-rate accountant about to turn round plant (6)
ACACIA: two letters that represent first-rate followed by a Chartered Accountant and the two-letter Latin abbreviation for about, all reversed (turn round)

20a    Volunteers to stop people swimming (8)
NATATION: the volunteer soldiers inside some people

22a    Ceremony, mass, held by father (4)
POMP: M(ass) inside a three-letter word meaning father

23a    Attention to detail in middle of next organised audit, etc (10)
EXACTITUDE: the middle letters of [n]EX[t] followed by an anagram (organised) of AUDIT ETC

25a    UCU once hosting small display around country (7)
AUSTRIA: the three-letter abbreviation for the organisation that is now called the University and College Union around S(mall) followed by the reversal (around) of a three-letter verb meaning to display

26a    Idle suspicion is late for circulation (7)
DISUSED: SUS(picion) inside (for circulation) a word meaning is late or has passed away


1d    Before one caught European breaking mug made of pottery (7)
CERAMIC: I (one) and C(aught) preceded by E(uropean) inside verb meaning to mug or swot

2d    Amundsen’s fate — Hobson’s choice of where to turn from the south pole? (4)
NORN: any of the three Fates in Norse mythology, when split (1,2,1) gives Hobson’s choice of where to turn when at the South pole

3d    Almost sick after fast pulse (6)
LENTIL: most of a word meaning sick preceded by a period of religious fasting

4d    Bad press corporation is trapped in more than one tough inquiry? (8)
STUMPERS: an anagram (bad) of PRESS around the corporation or stomach

5d    Charge about to subdue old film, one analysing the class system? (10)
TAXONOMIST: a charge or imposition followed by a two-letter word meaning about above (to subdue) O(ld) and a film of moisture

6d    Hard to grasp scoop Times initially chucked out (7)
ELUSIVE: start with a newspaper scoop and then drop (out) the mathematical symbol for times or multiplied by and the initial letter of C[hucked]

9d    Straight railway with damaged erratic banking (11)
RECTILINEAR: a four-letter word for a railway inside (with … banking) an anagram (damaged) of ERRATIC

13d    Call up head touring Channel Islands for free (10)
EMANCIPATE: the reversal (up) of a verb meaning to call or cite and a headland around (touring) the abbreviation for the Channel Islands

16d    Universities backed intended financial qualification (8)
ACADEMIA: the reversal (backed) of a verb meaning intended or meant and a financial qualification

17d    Bucolic English record interrupting signal (7)
ECLOGUE: E(nglish) followed by a record or diary inside (interrupting) a signal

18d    One in eight I’d put back inside? That’s more disturbing (7)
ROWDIER: one of eight in a boat around (put … inside) the reversal (back) of I’D

21d    Dainty bird (a young woman, crudely) (6)
TITBIT: this dainty or snack is a charade of a bird and a derogatory word for a young woman

24d    Pulled broadcast of what lecturer did (4)
TAUT: sounds like (broadcast) what a lecturer did

There’s an extra-special jumbo NTSPP tomorrow – don’t miss it.

7 comments on “Toughie 1316

  1. 2d took ages of cogitation before the penny finally dropped with the help of various other brains working on it too. A really good fun puzzle, much enjoyed.
    Thanks Sparks and BD.

  2. I must say that I feel rather proud for having finished this one with only one clue left. I just couldn’t find 4d despite all the checking letters. Didn’t make sense to me all.
    The left side went in rather nicely although when it came to eclogue, I was baffled that a word like that could exist.
    The country was a bung in being the only possibility.
    The SW corner was a bit of a struggle, especially with the homonym. Was more looking for told or toad until it clicked and that helped me get 26a which I found was one of the hardest one to parse.
    Thanks to Sparks for a great moment and to BD for the review.

  3. I agree with BD’s introduction, his epilogue and Gilbert’s comment.

    Thank you Sparks for a tioughie worthy of the name.

  4. I was disappointed not to finish, but as in today’s ‘back-pager’ there were a number of terms and references I have never heard of. 2d for instance, UCU, natation, and I had never before seen SUS used as a contraction for suspicion – and is St. Paul’s is a little larger than what I would associate with an artefact. Little wee things, but for me they detracted from an otherwise very enjoyable puzzle.

  5. Yep, pretty tough. Mrs H needed for the second time in a week. She immediately saw 15a, which gave us 4d. Then all that remained was 26a which we failed on. But it’s a perfectly fair clue – sus is clearly defined in Chambers – [or ask around in Tottenham or Brixton.]

    Thanks to BD [particularly for spelling out 12a – I had overlooked the importance of that little word “by”] and to Sparks for his usual challenge.

  6. Superb offering a proper Toughie, favourites were 6d 12a and 26a thanks to Sparks and to Big Dave for the comments.

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