Toughie 1632 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1632

Toughie 1632 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***


Hi everyone.  I hope you are well and full of the joys of summer, whatever the meteorological conditions.  It is my pleasure to present to you another fun-filled puzzle from Samuel.  This is the second Tuesday in a row which would be perfect for those who are Toughie-shy.  I would like to see this setter on the back page, to bring his entertaining puzzles to a wider audience, but at least here I get to put my paw prints all over the review.

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

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



1a   Pupils (not quite the brightest) stamp? (6-5)
SECOND-CLASS: This could be the school stream below the top one, but it’s also a type of postage stamp.  Snail mail survives because there is not yet any way to email packages

9a    Forthright cardinal collects King Singers’ religious oeuvre (9)
TRENCHANT: A cardinal number contains (collects) R(ex).  After this is a kind of church music in which prose is sung

10a    Finish acting after flashback, perhaps (5)
OMEGA: Acting can apparently be denoted by its first letter.  This comes after both the reversal of flash or sec (flash back) and the two letters indicating for example (perhaps)

11a    State predetermined to have no borders (6)
OREGON: Removing the borders, i.e. edges or outer letters, from an adjective meaning predetermined leaves you with this American state

12a    Harassed holy man looked outside (8)
PESTERED: Wrap a word meaning looked at narrowly or closely around (outside) a canonised person

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

13a    Chain redeveloped hotel abandoned in part of complex (6)
NIACIN: The complex in question is a vitamin complex (the B one).  Rearrange the letters in CHAIN without H(otel) (abandoned), then add the IN from the clue

15a    She fell off quietly, without outside assistance (4-4)
SELF-HELP: An anagram (off) of SHE FELL followed by the letter which means quietly in music

18a    City struggling with mess affecting all areas (8)
SYSTEMIC: This time we have a compound anagram: CITY with MESS (struggling)

19a    Anticipate force 11 – last out (6)
FOREGO: F(orce), then the answer to 11a without its last letter (last out)

21a    Forgiveness for the French nurse locked up in Med resort (8)
LENIENCE: A French definite article and an Enrolled Nurse, the latter inside (locked up in) a French city on the Mediterranean coast

23a    Cover plot a rube exposed (6)
BEDAUB: A garden plot, the A from the clue and rube (which I didn’t know was N American slang for a country bumpkin) without its outside letters (exposed). The answer is a verb

26a    Dye runs in throw’s position? (5)
OCHRE: R(uns) inside the line behind which a player must stand to throw

27a    Struggle with head’s opinion (9)
VIEWPOINT: Join together a three letter verb meaning struggle or compete, the abbreviation for with and a head or ness

28a    Mistake during two experiments, the first not finished, involving earth (11)
TERRESTRIAL: Insert a mistake somewhere inside two words for experiment, the first without its last letter (not finished) (or, as it happens, the second without its first letter)



1d    Relax, ’tis up the other way (3-4)
SIT-DOWN: “Tis up” could describe literally, “tis” written upwards.  Now think of a different way of writing the same thing, going in the opposite direction.  (It’s very nice that this is a down clue, but it would work perfectly well as an across one)

2d    Sweet salesperson employed by church (5)
CREPE: A salesperson who often touts his or her wares on the doorsteps of crosswordland inside (employed by) one of the churches therein

3d    Nice with no filling, cold sandwiches start to exhibit decay (9)
NECROTISE: A concatenation of: nice without its middle letters (with no filling), C(old), some sandwiches (made with a type of Indian bread) and the first letter of (start to) exhibit

4d    Conservative contest turned stomach (4)
CRAW: C(onservative) and a conflict reversed (turned)

5d    Dancer’s this, learnt excited journalist (8)
ANTLERED: An anagram (excited) of LEARNT and then a journalist.  Dancer could have just as well been Prancer or Vixen

6d    Spy who might make meal from mescal (5)
SCOUT: To get meal from mescal you need to take … [split the answer (2,3)]

7d    Fail to meet comic (5-2)
STAND-UP: This is a comedian who can keep an audience entertained by taking the stage and talking.  Remove the hyphen, and it is to act inconsiderately by making a promise to meet and then failing at the last minute to show up

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

8d    Let-off for parking in drunken reverie (8)
REPRIEVE: P(arking) in an anagram (drunken) of REVERIE

14d    Jack’s article covering popular drink (8)
ABSINTHE: A sailor, complete with his ‘S, and a grammatical article around (covering) popular.  This drink maketh the heart grow fonder

16d    Troop flew out to find a home for Bill – or his partner (9)
FLOWERPOT: TROOP FLEW anagrammed (out).  So far, so simple, but a lovely definition

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

17d    Find out dance promoted revolution (8)
DISCOVER: A dance party (not a word I’ve heard used unironically this side of the millennium) followed by the reversal (promoted, in a down clue) of revolution (abbreviated)

18d    Betray group thug mentioned (4,3)
SELL OUT: Homophones of group and then thug

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

20d    M25? Little’s said about it (7)
ORBITAL: A small part, around which is said or spoken

22d    Get rid of European visitor (not posh) (5)
EGEST: E(uropean) followed by a visitor without the letter that can mean posh

24d    Excuse made by Liberal seen in first-class surroundings (5)
ALIBI: An abbreviation for liberal inside (in … surroundings) the two letters that denote first class.  I always have one of these, and one or two to spare (apologies to T.S. Eliot).  Do you have one?

25d    Celebrate fine summer in Paris (4)
FETE: F(ine) and the French word for summer, stripped of its accents because we don’t worry about those in crosswords


Thanks to Samuel.  I liked the home for Bill or his partner, the description of Dancer and the 6d spy.  My favourite is 1d.  Which bits made you sit up – or should that be tis down?


Great news!  The Kitties will be based in central London for the next couple of weeks.  If you’re in town and fancy meeting up for a drink or three, do drop me an email (the address in my Gravatar profile should work).


35 comments on “Toughie 1632

  1. I’ll assume 22d was compiled without political intent :-)

    I thought this was a bit of a slog: last ones in were 6d & 10a.

    Liked the 1d / 7d pair..

    Didn’t know Bill or his partner.

    Thanks kitty for a great review. Having been forced en-masse to read ‘Who moved my cheese’, I liked the pic at 15a (as well as all the others)

    Many thanks Samuel

  2. Enjoyed this one a lot, think you are being a little bit harsh with one star for difficulty, as there were a few nice misdirections, particularly the dancer. Liked 16d too. Mostly light relief after the rather trickier Vlad in the Guardian.

    Thanks to Kitty and Samuel

  3. Thanks to Samuel – I do enjoy his puzzles, though as Kitty says, they’re perhaps more suited to the back page than the Toughie slot. I thought that this was was really good (once I’d overwritten my original answer of ‘sit back’ for 1d). Top of the pops for me were 5d, 16d and 18d.
    Thanks to Kitty for the entertaining blog (and for the video of the much missed Caroline Aherne).

  4. For 1 d I got “sit back” which I thought fitted well. But it meant that I had no chance with 11a and 13a of course.

    If I’d twigged the 1d 7d pair (thanks Dutch) I might have realised my mistake!

  5. Me too, Dutch. Both 6d & 10a were cleverly thought out though, and hence satisfying to twig.

    Apart from those two, only 23a seemed an odd clue to me. Made me think.

    Thanks to all as ever.

  6. I’d give it more than 1* for difficulty – if it’s called a Toughie that turns it into at least a 2* for me – does ‘things’ to my head!
    I really enjoyed this – I think I’ve enjoyed every Samuel crossword that I’ve done.
    I guessed 10a because it couldn’t have been much else – opera, perhaps, but that didn’t seem to work.
    I loved Bill and Ben’s house, and the 5d dancer and lots of others too.
    With thanks to Samuel and to Kitty – great pictures.

  7. I found this one rather tougher than usual for a Samuel puzzle.
    Forgot the darts line – again.
    Haven’t ever heard ‘forego’ used in place of ‘anticipate’. To me it simply means ‘go without’.
    Didn’t know the Indian sandwich.
    Put in ‘eject’ for 22d and couldn’t make it parse. The answer certainly makes sense as the opposite of ‘ingest’ but I don’t think I’ve come across it before, unless it was in a crossword that I’ve forgotten.
    Ah well – happy to admit my failings and hopefully learn from them.

    Thanks to Samuel and to Girl Tuesday for sorting it all out. Nice to see the flowerpot men again (I’m sure I used to be able to understand what they were saying!) and enjoyed the Bill Bailey clip (he’s a darned good birder, by the way). Thank you also for the pic of the gulls – really made me smile.

    1. me too with anticipate. brb has 6th meaning of anticipate = precede (rare). Is it that?

      1. I think it’s anticipate in the sense of “be inevitable”, as in a foregone/inevitable/anticipated conclusion.

  8. Thanks to Samuel and to Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do, but really struggled. I had second issue for 1a, which stopped me getting 4&5d. Couldn’t get 6d. Then despite having nearly all the checkers, couldn’t get 10,11,13,18,19,23a and 4,5,6,22d. Was 5*/3* for me.

  9. I did not know 3D but worked out some of it and ended up with necrosise. I thought roti was just bread, by the way. Couldn’t parse 10A. 5A is my pick today, with 9A and 16D close behind. Thanks Samuel and Kitty.

    1. roti is just bread, but it’s also said bread filled with e.g. curried vegetables, seafood or chicken ( a kind of sandwich – according to brb)

  10. Lovely start to the toughie week with a peach of a puzzle from Samuel. OK, not the toughest of toughies but a lot of wit and some excellent clue constructs. So much to like – it’s difficult to chose just one – but I will go with 6d as my favourite and last one in.

    It couldn’t be anything else but I just couldn’t get the word play until the penny dropped with an almighty CLANG that the 2K’s would have heard. D’oh!

    Thanks again to Samuel for the fun and to Kitty for her excellent review.

  11. Another great review, Kitty, thank you. Where do you get all these cat pictures from?

    We’re in the 2* for difficulty camp. We had the correct answer for 10a but couldn’t parse it; we had eject for 22d – wrong, wrong, wrong. As a master pedant, I (Mrs Sheffieldsy being in no way a pedant) would like to understand why 1d is hyphenated – it makes no sense to me.

    Best clue award goes to 6d which made us laugh. We also liked the 11/19a pair – very neat – and 5d.

    Thanks to Samuel for the fun.

    1. Sit-down is hyphenated because it’s a noun (Why don’t you have a sit-down?). Relax can also be a noun according to the BRB.

    2. The internet was invented as a means to share cat pictures. True fact.

      I nearly commented about that hyphen in the review. The clue works fine with both definition and answer being nouns, but it would work equally well without the hyphen: they just become verbs, which sits a bit better with me. If it was to keep parity with its sister 7d, well – one could equally well remove the hyphen from that one (which would just switch the primary definition).

      There are four (if I can count) hyphenated answers in this puzzle, which stood out as being quite a lot.

    1. you’re just too good (except when you’re bad, but you’re good at that too)

      1. Lies and slander! Have you ever known me to be anything other than impeccably behaved in real life?

        (In blog life, I concede you may have a point. You don’t want to know the picture I was tempted to use for 15a before I found the one above.)

      1. Thanks, LetterboxRoy – I don’t feel quite so alone now! As a rule of thumb, I think the Toughie scale can be regarded as about 2* shifted from the back page one – i.e. a 1* Toughie is akin to a 3* back pager.

    2. I agree with it! Pleasant enough but nothing at all here to scare the horses, as various bloggers like to say in Timesier parts.

      1. Thanks! That’s a very well-worn phrase here too, not just in Timesy parts. Do you know what was the original activity that might frighten the horses? All is revealed here.

  12. Good fun as always from Samuel. 5d had us head-scratching and then laughing and it was nice to be reminded of the two little people in 16d. Fairly gentle (but a bit more than one star for us) and lots of fun.
    Thanks Samuel and Kitty.

  13. A few more than one star difficulty , as far as I am concerned.
    10 is more of an association of ideas than a double definition.In other words I didn’t get it.
    I really liked 27a and 28a and quite a few others.
    Thanks Kitty for the great blog and pics, and thanks also to Samuel.

  14. 2*/4*, but I use the same criteria for Toughies as I do for back-pagers. I hadn’t heard of 22d, but I suppose it’s an entirely logical opposite of “ingest”. I enjoyed 16d, 5d and 6d. 23a was good, too. Many thanks to Samuel, and to Kitty.

  15. Samuel’s crosswords might be on the easier side for toughies but I find them very elegant.
    Very short and concise clueing and good stories in the longer ones.
    Thoroughly enjoyed as well as the review of course.
    Thanks to Samuel and to Kitty.

  16. I had never really associated Samuel puzzles with “easy” or “hard” but always good fun. This was definitely the easiest Samuel offering I have tackled but a lovely puzzle with a few doh moments – would have loved it as a “non-friday” toughie or a back pager.

  17. Had no idea had FOREGO worked, so thanks for that, O Feline One.

    Am I the only one who was slightly disappointed that the towel didn’t slip down in the cat-on-the-head video?

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