Toughie 1612 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1612

Toughie 1612 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Hello and welcome, my intrepid Toughie-solving friends.  After last Tuesday’s discussion I am provisionally calling us a compilation of cruciverbalists, but I don’t consider the debate closed.  Click here to see the suggestions so far, and do chip in below with any ideas of your own.

This crossword didn’t cause me too many problems, and I might have given it one star for difficulty but for some unfriendly checking letters in some of the shorter answers which held me up.  I was enjoying it an average amount (which is still plenty) while mid-flight, but when writing the review several things amused me and compelled me to give it a bit extra.  Not quite a full star: a little more stiffness would have generated a whole one.

The website wasn’t updated when I solved this, so I am feeling quite chuffed that I correctly guessed the setter.  There is lots of reversing happening today and, as was the case last time, there are more insertions than charades.  Together with the general feel of the puzzle and the quirkiness of some of the clues, these were the main things that exposed Samuel.

There are a few pairings: two taxes in 14a and 1d (perhaps inappropriately for a not too taxing crossword) and two rubbish clues (so to speak, and similarly inappropriately) in 28a and 22d.  Also, a couple of couples on dates in 23a and 24a. 

The definitions are underlined in the clues below.  The answers are hidden under the Bingo! boxes. The exclamation mark is not an imperative – click only if you wish to reveal the answer.

Do leave a comment telling us how you found it and what you thought.



1a    Ogle detective in residence (3,2)
EYE UP: A detective, a shortened version of a (7,3) sleuth, followed by in residence at university

4a    Silence personnel going overboard during time with the French (8)
THROTTLE: What personnel (illustrated) is now called for some unfathomable reason and then overboard or excessive, all inside T(ime) and a French indefinite article

10a    One sent away to do better at fishing? (7)
OUTCAST: One who has been rejected by society; an exile.  This could also be a verb meaning to better at throwing a fishing line or net into the water

11a    John‘s terribly reliant (7)
LATRINE: An anagram (terribly) of reliant

12a    Blow  nose (4)
CONK: A blow on the head or a large hooter

13a    For instance, Glaswegian nurses love career (5)
SCOOT: We start with one who hails perhaps from Glasgow, perhaps from elsewhere in that country.  This person contains (nurses) the letter that denotes a love score

14a    Tax frivolity when sex is no more (4)
LEVY: A word meaning frivolity or light-heartedness once a two letter word for sex has been removed from it (when sex is no more).  I don’t like the sound of the world the surface is depicting, but come to think of it, most fun things are taxed

17a    Titan’s condition, perhaps, dominated nation (9,5)
SATELLITE STATE: The answer could perhaps be describing the situation of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn.  As a standalone phrase it means a country which is formally independent but under the hegemony of a larger more powerful one

19a    ‘Trash that large skirt,’ one states candidly (8-6)
STRAIGHT-TALKER: We are instructed to make an anagram of (trash) THAT LARGE SKIRT to form one who is frank

22a    Absurd commercial backed newspaper (4)
DAFT: A reversed (backed) abbreviation for commercial and then the abbreviation for the newspaper that is crosswordland’s favourite pink organ

23a    Addict‘s okay with last couple changing date (5)
FIEND: Okay or adequate with the last two letters transposed (last couple changing) and then D(ate)

24a    Getting intimate with male? It might generate dates (4)
PALM: Put an intimate or friend next to M(ale) to produce something which might produce dates.  Or, say, coconuts

27a    Queen visiting cricket ground left behind blanket (7)
OVERALL: Our monarch’s regnal cipher inside (visiting) a famous cricket ground, tailed by L(eft) (left behind)

28a    Roused when seen as Rod? Rubbish! (7)
USELESS: The answer describes the word “rod” as compared with “roused” with reference to the letters that do not appear in the former: rod is roused, useless

29a    Strikebreaker’s flat turned over to find place to keep weapon (8)
SCABBARD: One who refuses to strike or covers for striking workers is followed by flat or dull backwards (turned over)

30a    Divine female making prohibitionist commercial (5)
DRYAD: This tree nymph, when split (3,2), could be a promotion for teetotalism



1d    Drive out men overcome by duty (8)
EXORCISE: Some military men which aren’t commissioned officers inside (overcome by) a tax.  Get thee behind me, Satan!

2d    Wiped out former colour? (7)
EXTINCT: A prefix meaning former and then a hint of colour

3d    Beg to investigate framing American (4)
PRAY: To poke your nose into something private outside (framing) A(merican)

5d    Keep mum fair-dealing about early working guests – not half (4,4,6)
HOLD ONE’S TONGUE: Fair or genuine around (about) the next two elements of wordplay: early or ancient, and working or in operation.  Finally, the first half (not half) of guests.  If anybody got this from the wordplay rather than some combination of definition/pattern/checkers please tell me!

6d    Bond‘s unwilling to go topless (4)
OATH: All but the start (topless) of a word meaning unwilling.  The bond is a solemn promise

7d    Progress on intercepting explosive missile system (7)
TRIDENT: Travel or journey inside (intercepting) an explosive chemical compound, the abbreviated form of trinitrotoluene

8d    Head of music’s overwhelmed by strange rock (5)
EMERY: The first bit (head) of music inserted into (overwhelmed by) strange, spelled a little strangely.  The rock is a very hard mineral used in nail files

9d    Present a leg? (8,6)
STOCKING FILLER: This is a small subsidiary gift, but also describes a leg if said leg is clad in hose
As a little extra present, here are a couple of cartoons that didn’t make the cut to illustrate other clues:


15d    Deny playing with this musician could be legendary (5)
ELGAR: An anagram (playing) of DENY together with the answer is LEGENDARY. The musician is also the name of someone legendary round these parts

16d    Rush second XI? (5)
STEAM: S(econd) and then a sporting squad.  Rush as in move fast

18d    Concert is enjoyed when empty, guaranteed (8)
PROMISED: A concert, is from the clue and then the outer letters (when empty) of enjoyed

20d    Worried, p-plump up fabric (7)
TAFFETA: Worried and then plump or chubby with the first letter repeated in the manner of the clue, all reversed (up)

21d    Part of church broadcast lines showing dishonesty (7)
KNAVERY: An old-fashioned word for trickery or deceit is a homophone (broadcast) of part of a church followed by an abbreviation for the type of lines which bear a mode of transport

22d    Doctor with very large tip on stethoscope is rubbish (5)
DROSS: One of the abbreviations for doctor, very large as seen on clothing labels and the first letter of (tip on) stethoscope

25d    Preserve second-class post (4)
JAMB: A sweet preserve and a letter denoting second class.  The post is a shaft, the sidepiece of a door etc

26d    Fine payable over row (4)
FEUD: F(ine) and then payable or owed reversed (over)


Thanks to Samuel for a pleasurable romp with some crisp clues.  My favourite today is 28a.  Which bits were to your taste?


29 comments on “Toughie 1612

  1. Guilty as charged re: 5d. I had two checkers in the first word and winged it with the rest!
    Didn’t get the full parsing of 1a – became obsessed with humming ‘Eye Level’, the theme from Van der Valk. Worked for me at the time!
    First time I’ve ever called into question the ’emery’ bit of emery boards – never occurred to me to give it a thought before today.
    Top three places go to 28a plus 9&15d.

    Thanks to Samuel and also to our Girl Tuesday – just how many cartoons did you look through this morning?!!

  2. Thanks to Samuel and to Kitty – I too correctly identified the setter (probably the first time ever) before getting his name confirmed. Add me to the list of those who guessed the answer to 5d from the definition and enumeration and worked out the wordplay in retrospect. Top clue for me was 15d.
    I thought that this was pretty gentle for a Toughie. I’m sure that Samuel can be much trickier than this – one day he’ll surprise us!

  3. An enjoyable romp through ‘not quite so toughie Toughieland’ I thought. Having said that, I think there were a few clues that were a tad trickier than Samuel’s normal difficulty level. Nothing leapt out at me as totally outstanding but it raised a few smiles along the way.

    Thanks to Samuel for the puzzle (his name appears as ‘Samuel’ in my paper) and to Kitty for her excellent blog. Are you helping BD to pay the royalties for your cartoons? :whistle:

    1. Darn copyright laws! However, I think Kitty can plead not-for-profit use for “educational” purposes. If that doesn’t work, we can all chip in and send her a cake when she’s sent to the Big House.

  4. Jane and SL, re the cartoons:-

    4a and 11a put me in mind of the strips I have used, so I thought I might make it Dilbert theme. I then expanded that a little to include a couple of examples of other favourite cartoons. Yes, I did (as usual) spend far too long browsing through options!

    P.S. Are they readable for you? I think I might edit the blog so that clicking brings you to a larger version.

    1. No problem for me, Kitty, although I do wear reading glasses when using the computer anyway!

  5. Came unstuck on 23A and 15D, and wondered about the odd spelling in 8D. Runaway favorite for me is 15D, with 11A a worthy second. thanks Samuel and Kitty. Top blog as usual.

    1. I was vaguely wondering how else one could spell 8d until I registered that it was a word in the clue that you were referring to!

  6. Very enjoyable , although I didn’t get 8d.
    Thanks Kitty for explaining 15d, very clever , now that I understand it.
    Lots of terrific clues, I liked 24a best.
    Thanks Kitty and Samuel.

  7. I don’t get the Telegraph very often but I did say last week that I’d have a go on a Tuesday, so here we are. Most of this went in very quickly – had more problems finding the crossword and folding the paper in a confined space on the bus (my normal paper is a much more sensible size) than doing the first two thirds or so, but 9d took much longer than it should have, and I agree that a few of the shorter ones were a bit tricky, with 15d last in and best. Wasn’t entirely convinced by 12a but couldn’t think of anything else.

    Thanks to Kitty and Samuel

    1. The secret is to remove the couple of pages that surround the Toughie from the rest of the paper, then fold into quarters and use the bulk of the remaining paper as a support. If I’m planning to try both puzzles on public transport, I do the ‘lift and separate’ bit before getting on board. Of course, it leads to a few problems if you actually want to read the paper………

    2. Hi, Beery Hiker. (Can I just call you Beery? Or Hiker? Hmm, maybe a contraction: Biker? Beeker? …)

      You are a man of your word – good to see you :). Yes, today’s “Toughie” was not really. I should have probably stuck with my first instinct of 1* difficulty, but I am rebounding from a spate of rating puzzles as too easy. Friday’s is likely to be one worth doing. (If you like, I expect I can sort you out with a pdf, just this once.)

      1. You wouldn’t be the first to call me Beery – that seemed a bit strange at first but I’m used to it now, and real names seem to be used less among the compilation. I’ll probably forget to buy the paper on Friday, so the PDF would be good! I do tend to be quite selective about what I do other than my daily Grauniad – second choice is more often the Indie, mostly because I can still get it online for free.

  8. Talk about a day off.
    Forgot I had to print 200 invoices for the parking spaces reserved for our town centre shopkeepers. We get a 30% rebate from the operator but have to do all the work. Well I have to. And put them in envelopes and distribute them before anyone phones me to tell me that their accountant needs the said invoice.
    Just finished my round.
    As I said on the other side, I found this Samuel very straightforward.
    In 5d, I saw the “on”, half of “guests” bit and spotted the ” honest” but didn’t go any further.
    For 15d, I can’t believe that I actually checked if a musician was called “Glear”.
    Biggest d’oh moment for me.
    Thanks to Samuel for the pleasurable work out and to Kitty for the review.
    I shall look at the cartoons on the mainframe as too many pop ups appear when I click on them.

  9. This was a Mr Ron puzzle when we solved it and we overlooked Samuel when we were trying to guess who it might be. Probably should have got it. 15d was our last one to work out. Lots of smiles.
    Thanks Samuel and Kitty.

  10. I found it hard to engage with this one – just a bit off wavelength I suppose – and it ran into 3* time. I confess to quite a few guesses, which fortunately all came up with the right answers. I liked 9d, though. TY Samuel and Kitty.

  11. Thanks Kitty, I don’t do the crossword but love reading your blog on a Tuesday.

    1. Thank you so much, HoofIt!

      My aim actually (aside from the essentials of providing full and accurate parsings and (hopefully!) helpful hints) is for the blog to be worth looking at for those who don’t need it but are nice enough to read it anyway. Your comment made me very happy as it shows I’m succeeding in that.

      1. I always read the Toughie blog as it’s a good way to learn; try to get the answer from the hint, then reveal the answer when I can’t!! Though in this case, I did get quite a few.
        I enjoyed your Dilbert cartoons, and have done for years. With redundancy looming, it’s ironic that they are so pertinent at the moment, particularly the one about the ‘Livestock’!!

        1. Yes, that’s a great way to learn.

          It’s a shame that the Dilbert is so pertinent. In my last but one job I used to read it religiously and found it uncannily accurate … except that I wished I had as much as a cubicle. I have been assured that a few do exist, but non-evil HR people are certainly thin on the ground.

  12. Is not the answer to 28 the fact that the difference between rod and roused is that you use less characters in the former?

  13. I guess I can imagine even easier puzzles than this, but I’d probably have thrown it in the 1* difficulty bracket myself… nothing that took more than a few seconds’ thought to unravel.

    9dn and to a lesser extent 12ac were my favourites for their Rufusesque “sancta simplicitas”.

Comments are closed.