Toughie 1379 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1379

Toughie No 1379 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This took me longer than Phi’s puzzles used to take me and was very enjoyable. I did the puzzle just before setting out for a dental appointment and so my mind may not have been fully on it. But I don’t think that was the reason for my slowish time.

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    Air also moves in commotion (4,3,5)
SONG AND DANCE: A musical air + also + moves (steps made to music)

8a    Soldiers had an effect in area of influence (5)
ORBIT: A 2-letter abbreviation for soldiers not holding commissions + ‘had an effect’

9a    Most complicated speed restrictions will take a little time (9)
KNOTTIEST: A unit of speed used at sea and in meteorology + restrictions + T (a little time)

11a    Who could be so reviled? (4-5)
EVIL-DOERS: An anagram of SO REVILED. The whole clue provides the definition

12a    Trimmed bush beside front of garden gets indifferent response (5)
SHRUG: A bush with the last letter removed + G (first letter of garden)

13a    Republicans brought in mixed offering, having gutted largely controlled market (9)
OLIGOPOLY: An 3-letter abbreviation referring to the Republican party inside a miscellany + LY (first and last letters of LargelY)

16a    More mature Government will avoid complaint, right? (5)
RIPER: A complaint with G (Government) removed + R (right)

18a    Opposite pole to vision? Darkness (5)
NIGHT: Take a word meaning vision and replace S (South) by N (North)

19a    Heartless judge misread terrible tales of woe (9)
JEREMIADS: The first and last letters of JudgE + an anagram (terrible) of MISREAD

20a    No major show will fail to feature a lion, say (5)
INDIE: Remove CAT (a lion, say) from ‘to show’

22a    Medicinal stuff: a supply, running short, is lashed by wind (6,3)
CASTOR OIL: A and a supply with the last letter removed inside ‘to wind’

25a    There’ll be a reduction in the damage at this rate (4-5)
HALF-PRICE: A cryptic definition. The damage is the cost of something

26a    Landlubber’s ending in drink — and may do this (5)
DROWN: R (last letter of landlubber) inside ‘to drink’

27a    Fierce fights lost with betrayal, unfortunately (7,5)
BATTLES ROYAL: An anagram (unfortunately) of LOST BETRAYAL


1d    Very minor railway is sinking (9)
SUBSIDING: A 3-letter prefix meaning subsidiary or secondary + a short railway track for shunting

2d    Significant agreement about terms of Government scheme (5)
NOTED: An agreement signified by moving the head goes round TE (last letters of GovernmenT and schemE)

3d    Joint in which anger’s not right (5)
ANKLE: Remove R (right) from ‘to anger’

4d    Pessimist is more so, with day going wrong (9)
DOOMSAYER: An anagram (going wrong) of MORE SO DAY

5d    Medicinal fluid: sick man rues swallowing it up (9)
ANTISERUM: An anagram (sick) of MAN RUES round a reversal of IT

6d    That man in church, getting Rector’s encouragement (5)
CHEER: A pronoun meaning ‘that man’ inside a 2-letter abbreviation denoting ‘church’ + R (Rector)

7d    Jocularity’s hard after disappointment getting split contract (4,4,4)
COME DOWN WITH: Jocularity (3) and H (hard) follow ‘disappointment’ (4,4) to give ‘to contract’

10d    Organised fighting to follow with others left in ring, ultimately (3,9)
TAG WRESTLING: ‘To follow’ + W (with) + others + L (left) + IN + G (last letter of ring)

14d    Live / in a difficult situation? (2,3,4)
ON THE SPOT: 2 meanings: live (at the very place)/in a difficult situation

15d    Not emotionally involved in the end (9)
OBJECTIVE: 2 meanings: not emotionally involved/an end

17d    Input into machine issuing notes? (5,4)
PIANO ROLL: A cryptic definition for something with perforations that’s used to produce a tune

21d    Coastal feature, obstruction mostly limiting entrance to tide (5)
DELTA: An obstruction with the last letter removed goes round T (first letter of tide)

23d    Pole incorporating point? (5)
SPEAR: A pole goes round E (point). The whole clue provides the definition

24d    Pious but not good, imprisoning daughter in a strange way (5)
ODDLY: ‘Pious’ with the letter G (good) removed goes round D (daughter)


25 comments on “Toughie 1379

  1. So, I gave the toughie a go today and, wonders of wonders, managed to complete it without too much difficulty – must have been easier than usual!

    Lots of good clues – I can never figure out a favourite as they all have their virtues.

    Given my limited yardstick for toughies this one seemed like a 2*/4* for me.

  2. I’d give this one 3.5*/4* too. Thanks Kcit and Bufo too (for those confused by the prologue, Kcit uses the name Phi for his crosswords in other places).

  3. Thank goodness for this blog.

    I had a full grid but without understanding all my answers. 1a was a guess as I didn’t get the ‘steps/moves’ part. Completely missed the whole anagram in 4d. Was misled in 24d into thinking the clue was ‘pious’, so pencilled in ‘Godly’, which caused all sorts of problems for 22a. 19a was possibly a new word for me, more likely I’ve just forgotten it.

    So many thanks to Kcit for an enjoyable workout and my eternal thanks to BD for unraveling the clues. I hope you’re well.

    1. Bufo did the unravelling – as to ‘wellness’ I expect it depends on what the dentist did!

      1. oh blimey. Thanks Sue.

        I’m so sorry Bufo and I do hope the dentist wasn’t too bad.

        1. Oh for pity’s sake, I managed to misspell ‘unravelling’. Roll on Pimms O’clock tomorrow.

  4. No major problems with this today,some lovely clues to some unusual words. The only query I had was with 2dn -I presume “terms’ is an abbreviation for termini ? Thanks to Bufo and Kcit.

  5. Had to check the review for the parsing of 20a which was the bung in of the day.
    Nice to see 19a. Didn’t realise it was used in English too.
    That’s a rather unfortunate fate for 26a. I was first thinking of drift or something along that line.
    Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo for the review.

    1. Did not realize either that it was used in English! Completed three quarters of it but struggled with the bottom part… Did not know the expression for 27a. So Bufo hints helped me to complete it. Many thanks to Kcit and to Bufo.

  6. Interesting variance between comments from the usual posters (generally positive), and the ratings (2 stars at time of writing). Do posters not rate – it would be an odd discrepancy if they do – and if not, why the difference in opinion between those posting and anonymous raters? This may have been discussed before but it has often struck me so I thought I would ask.

  7. For me this was definitely 4* in difficulty! Needed quite a few hints to complete this puzzle. The difficulty did not, however, tarnish the enjoyment 4*. I think that the ratings are very subjective as abilities vary.

  8. A satisfying and fair workout; some very clever clues, including 4d, 5d and 19a.

  9. Got on like a house on fire with this one and only had 3 or 4 clues to solve before I had to leave for work this afternoon at 2pm. Had to use the dictionary to check I had 19a correct and wasn’t too sure about 13a either. The one I had most trouble with was 7d……got the first two words OK but was thinking of the contract as a noun instead of a verb, so that held me up a bit. Didn’t need to use the hints either (except for 7d)…but did use my electronic assistant…Very enjoyable (always is when one can actually do it!) ***/**** from me. Thanks to Kcit and Bufo.

  10. Remember back on 1st March when Elgar said “Next Elgar is #100 and it will be nice and easy.” … well tomorrow is our chance to find out whether he was telling the truth

    1. just got back from work. it’s 1am here.
      if it’s Elgar, I better start right now!

    2. No eeks were uttered in the solving of the Elgar – and that’s all I’m going to say here ;)

  11. Four and a half missing before I looked at the hints, and even with the hints I didn’t get 13 a, 20 a or 17 d. In my long toughie-solving career (starting last Friday) this has been both the trickiest and the best I think. My favourites were 1 and 11 a.

  12. A mixture of some easier ‘entry point clues’ and some real stinkers to unravel made this a very enjoyable puzzle to work on. It took a while to twig the first part of the parrot-ending 13a, but the very last one to yield was 20a which needed all the checkers and a good deal of head-scratching. All good fun.
    Thanks Kcit and Bufo.

  13. A nice puzzle that had a full spectrum of clues from relatively straightforward to distinctly tricky ones. Major improvement on yesterday.

    I was a bit disappointed with RayT over on the back page – after skipping a turn he comes back with a real softie

    I think there was a hint in the comments above of Elgar tomorrow. No special time constraints tomorrow lunchtime so I’m looking forward to it

    Thanks to both setters and both bloggers of the day

  14. First chance I’ve had to tackle a Toughie in a while. Did OK for the most part but just couldn’t get 7d which left me with a problem at 13&20a. 19a was a word I’d heard of but didn’t know the definition of and I needed Bufo’s explanation to parse 22a.
    Thought 15d was particularly good.

    Thanks to Kcit – I enjoyed the challenge – and thanks to Bufo for ‘lightening my darkness’!

  15. Started this last night but picked it up again over coffee today. 3*/3*, l think, and l liked 10d. Thanks to Kcit and Bufo.

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