Toughie 1328 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1328

Toughie No 1328 by Firefly

Men in skirts

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

An interesting theme runs through this puzzle – solve 8 Across and the rest should fall into place.

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    Acquire Dutch courage from blended snifter when loud earl gatecrashes … (9)
STIFFENER: an anagram (blended) of SNIFTER around (gatecrashes) the musical notation for loud and E(arl)

8a    … top-level gathering — maybe grouse season’s beginning? (8,5)
HIGHLAND GAMES: an adjective meaning top followed by a level area, the kind of wild animals of which grouse are an example and the initial letter (beginning) of S[eason]

11a    Very big margins in ovenware include incomplete premium (5)
OBESE: the outer letters (margins) of O[venwar]E around most of an adjective meaning premium or highest quality

12a    Socialist abandoned chicanery ultimately (5)
LEFTY: a verb meaning abandoned followed by the final letter (ultimately) of [chicaner]Y

13a    Orders clubs to wear suits (5)
SECTS: C(lubs) inside (to wear) suits or collections

16a    Medic to solver: ‘Time to go on the wagon‘ (3,3)
DRY OUT: a two-letter abbreviation for a medic followed by the person solving this puzzle, as viewed by the setter, and T(ime)

17a    Non-professional pool’s unfinished — it’s to be launched in 8 (6)
HAMMER: a non-professional actor followed by most of a pool or lake

18a    Show some aplomb, resigning in game (5)
OMBRE: hidden (some) inside the clue

19a    Traditionalist‘s recommendations dashed midstream — surprisingly rejected (6)
NEOCON: an anagram (dashed) of [R]ECO[MME]N[DATI]ON[S] without (rejected) the assorted letters (surprisingly) of MIDSTREAM

20a    Solvent made from active fluid plus grain (6)
AFLOAT: this adjective meaning solvent or creditworthy comes from a charade of A(ctive), FL(uid) and a type of grain

21a    Slip away with leader in panic (5)
ERROR: drop (away with) the initial letter (leader) from a panic

24a    Prince surrounded by birds — they sound shrill at 8 (5)
PIPES: P(rince) inside (surrounded by) some birds – these birds acquired the prefix Mag (Margaret): other similar examples are Tom Tit, Jenny Wren, Jack Daw and Robin Redbreast

26a    Turn over in delightful bed (5)
FUTON: the abbreviation for T(urn) O(ver) inside an adjective meaning delightful

27a    Noted Tunisian upset peace group (6,7)
UNITED NATIONS: an anagram (upset) of NOTED TUNISIAN

28a    Eleanor’s maturity, you might say, shows remarkable culture (6,3)
BRONZE AGE: this sounds like the maturity of an actress with the first name Eleanor


2d    Teeth reset oddly — that’s a ‘laugh’! (2-3)
TE-HEE: the odd letters of the first two words in the clue

3d    Far off and very quietly, Earth becomes iced (6)
FRAPPÉ: an anagram (off) of FAR followed by the musical notation for very quietly and E(arth)

4d    First alternative steel band exclude absent … (6)
ELDEST: an anagram (alternative) of STEEL [BAN]D without (absent) the verb meaning to exclude

5d    … male lead from ‘Islands’, tipped off in message (5)
EMAIL: an anagram (tipped off) of MALE with the initial letter (lead) of I[slands]

6d    Trade organisation from ’51 — extremely comprehensive one (6,7)
LIVERY COMPANY: the Roman numerals for 51 followed by an adverb meaning extremely, COM(prehensive) and a word meaning one, as in an unspecified item from a number of items

7d    Pet film star on set, being bumptious (4-9)
SELF-IMPORTANT: an anagram (set) of PET FILM STAR ON

9d    Distant photos viewed in 3 spells? (4,5)
COLD SNAPS: an adjective meaning distant or impersonal followed by some photos gives sudden short spells of 3a weather

10d    Overheard: Take cover, Jack — it’s getting wet (9)
HYDRATING: what sounds like (overheard) an instruction to take cover followed by a jack or sailor

13d    Singular accent that one will 26 Down at 8 (5)
STONE: S(ingular) followed by an accent or inflection

14d    Carriage with Queen that’s elevated at 8 (5)
CABER: a carriage or taxi followed by the Queen’s regnal cipher

15d    Barber‘s second try? (5)
SHEAR: S(econd) followed by a verb meaning to try in a court of law

22d    Flush wine cave (6)
REDDEN: a type of wine followed by a cave

23d    Revealed years in temporary suspension (6)
OUTAGE: a verb meaning revealed followed by a number of years

25d    Instrument artist tuned endlessly (5)
SITAR: an anagram (tuned) of ARTIS(T) without its final letter (endlessly)

26d    Doubling up, former partner leaves knees-up at 8 (5)
FLING: a verb meaning doubling up or bending without (leaves) EX (former partner)

One of Firefly’s more enjoyable puzzles.

17 comments on “Toughie 1328

  1. At last a Friday Toughie completed without electronic help. Thanks to BD for explaining 19a. Thanks to Firefly for the puzzle. Now the long wait to Tuesday for the next Toughie.

  2. Definitely had to start with 8a. And it’s 14d which gave the games away so to speak.
    Messed up 26a and d as I had “leisg” for 26d.
    The left side was a bit tricky at first having “long shots” originally for 9d until I realised my mistake. 19a was new to me and sounds quite funny in French. I did try to apply the same deduction for 4d: Steel band without the letters of absent but there was so little left, I had to go back to the drawing board. It was my last in actually.
    28a made me smile too.
    Thanks to Firefly and to BD for the hints.

  3. Completed before the review was posted, but I did use a little e-help for 19A and needed the explanation to understand how the answer was arrived at. I could see 4D readily enough, but not altogether how to get there. I did enjoy this, particularly 16A. 20A and 10D Thanks to Firefly and to BD.

  4. A strange mix of really simple clues [eg 2d, 25d, ] and quite tricky ones [especially 19a] , not helped by the double “unches”. But the theme worked well and I enjoyed it. Favourites were 16a and 21a [nice construction].

    Many thanks to Firefly and BD

  5. Thanks to Firefly and to Big Dave for the review and hints. I quite enjoyed this, but I found it very hard going. Needed 6 lookups and 7 hints to finish. Managed to solve 17, including 28a which was my favourite. Was 5*/3* for me. Needless to say I had to use the hint for 8a, but then I still couldn’t get 13&26d.

    1. I also struggled with 19a, even with the hint. Google was then used. Is this cheating?

      Pedant’s corner. Is 5d all one word? Should it not be 1-4?

      Apart from that, very enjoyable based on 8a. Thanks to BD and Firefly.

  6. I found this a slog, and even then didn’t get 19a (the wordplay’s a bit clever for me). I’d have to score it 4*/3*, and 16a gets my vote for favouritism. My thanks to Firefly, and to BD for the review and explanation of 19a.

  7. Enjoyed solving this puzzle.

    19a was a new word for me – I shall be 91 on Sunday!

    I forgot to do the Cryptic! Perhaps after dinner.

    Today we had lovely sunshine after days of rain but now it is back to precipitation.

    1. Happy Birthday for Sunday, hope the family can be with you, all the best from Andy, Cuthbert and Cynthia

  8. A fairly pleasant puzzle – but I have grown to like the idea of a stinking challenge (and likely defeat) on a Friday. It must be time for hob nail boots next Friday who has not be suffered since Christmas Day.

  9. Can’t pretend that I got there without some electronic assistance but at least I finished up with a completed grid without using the hints. Very grateful for BD’s parsing of 19a and fell into the same trap as Jean-luc at 4d.
    Won’t give it a ‘score on the door’ because it’s really still outside of my league, but particularly enjoyed 28a and 9&10d.

    Thanks to Firefly for the challenge, Mr. Google for the help and BD for making it all sound so easy!

  10. Quite enjoyed this, of course 1a was my favourite
    I was almost disappointed that 17a gave away 8a. I really liked 16a. Didn’t know the lady in 28a, but could look her up to confirm my answer. I thought the 9d (viewed in 3 spells)
    reference to 3 was not quite as smooth as it might have been. Thanks BD for the wordplay in 19a!

    Many thanks Firefly and BD

  11. I found this quite difficult but enjoyable. Solving 8ac was definitely the key. I was stuck on two- 19ac a word that is new to me and I couldn’t get the anagram idea and 23d really quite obvious.
    Thanks BD for hints on the 2 I didn’t get.

Comments are closed.