Toughie 1708 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1708

Toughie 1708 by Busman

Hints and tips by Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***


In a terrifying and bewildering world, the humble 15 by 15 grid is a civilised place to which we can escape and have fun.  A veritable rock.  A rock that is contained in a paper which may be removed with scissors.  If you’d care to join me in a secondary game, let’s play.  Rock paper or scissors?  No peeking now.  My answer is in the spoiler box, so decide which you are going for and SCISSORS!  Tell me who won below.

Or try the advanced version:


ARVE Error: need id and provider



Moving on to today’s Toughie, I found things quite different either side of the diagonal.  The NE part of the grid went in smoothly and would have earned a single difficulty star, but the SW took more thought and more work.  All very enjoyable.

The definitions are underlined in the clues below, and you’ll find the answers inside the ***WARNING*** If you can see this (and you didn’t “Click Here!”) then your answers won’t be hidden. Click this link to reload the page. See the FAQs for further details. 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.



3a    The sound of lifting on the ranch (6)
RUSTLE: This soft sound is also a verb meaning to steal cattle

6a    Fling in direction of ship (4)
TOSS: A preposition meaning in the direction of followed by the usual abbreviation for a type of ship

8a    Suspended? Previously one would be kept in (2,3)
ON ICE: The Roman numeral one inside (would be kept in) formerly

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a    Electrical discharge? I feel storms brewing (2,5,4)
ST ELMO’S FIRE: This electrical phenomenon is caused by strong magnetic fields discharging in the atmosphere.  It’s a neat anagram (brewing) of I FEEL STORMS

10a    Western city  stratagem (5)
DODGE: A double definition, the first being an American Western film set in the eponymous city in Kansas, the second a trick or ruse

11a    Spilt Pilsener he had topped up (11)
REPLENISHED: An anagram (spilt) of PILSENER and then a shorter way of saying he had

16a    Brawl – a loud one (6)
AFFRAY: The A from the clue, the usual abbreviation for loud and another word for brawl (one, referencing the beginning of the clue)

17a    Do they tell one to put herb in pickle? (8)
MESSAGES: These convey information.  A herb goes inside a pickle or tight spot

19a    Capitalist’s newspaper? (8)
BERLINER: A newspaper format between broadsheet and tabloid in size.  The first part of the clue cryptically indicates a resident of a capital city

20a    Rag organiser tried rampaging about middle of October (6)
EDITOR: An anagram (rampaging) of TRIED around the middle letter of OctOber.  For the right type of rag, see above

22a    Inexperienced fielder, one who helps the bowlers (5-6)
GREEN-KEEPER: A colourful adjective meaning inexperienced followed by a cricket fielder come together to make someone who takes care of a bowling green

25a    The perfect state, since the compiler’s first (5)
IMAGO: The last or perfect stage of an insect’s development.  The way the setter would say he is comes first in the answer, after which is past or since

27a    Doyle’s precursor has ordered outside goods and kind of sandwich (5,3,3)
BACON AND EGG: Doyle is actually the surname of the author Arthur in this clue, but is usually preceded by the third of his given names.  This name goes inside (has … outside) ordered or instructed, with two instances of the abbreviation for good

28a    Gives warning  laughs? (5)
HOOTS: Two definitions: firstly, to sound a horn and secondly laughs or screams, verb or noun (either works)

29a    Guy‘s support for postponement (4)
STAY: Three definitions here.  Busman, you spoil us.  In a so-called quickie you are only given one, which is why I find them harder.  A rope or cord used to steady something.  A prop or support.  Finally, a postponement of, for example, execution

30a See 1 Down



1d    and 30 Across: Classic model convertible corrodes when wapped wrapped in paper (4,6)
FORD ESCORT: This classic car model is an anagram (convertible) of CORRODES  inserted into my favourite pink newspaper.  When solving I missed completely the typo which has now been corrected in the online version.  After Crypticsue emailed me to inform me of the correction, I did look up wap in Chambers, and it is in there as an obsolete verb to wrap or bind

2d    Infidels ran around home of gospels (11)
LINDISFARNE: An anagram (around) of INFIDELS RAN gives another name for somewhere which could cryptically mean home of gospels (Holy Island).  I think I’d prefer a question mark as part of this definition leads us to a tidal island off the northeast coast of England which gives its name to an illustrated manuscript gospel book produced around the year 700 in a monastery there

3d    Room that’s booked on tract of public land (11)
RESERVATION: A pair of definitions, identified by the underlining

4d    One in seven likely to crash? (6)
SLEEPY: This cryptic definition also works as a double definition: one of seven fairy tale characters, someone who is on the verge of dropping off.  Describes me perfectly today

5d    Welsh university felled palm tree (8)
LAMPETER: This Welsh university is an anagram (felled) of palm tree

6d    Heads of titled old families for starters (5)
TOFFS: Take the first letters (heads) of five words of the clue

7d    Worker abandons rank material (5)
SERGE: Remove a worker insect from a police or military rank to make a strong twilled fabric

12d    Chosen for team – suitable footballer (6,5)
INSIDE RIGHT: If one is ** a squad they have been selected for it.  Take that two letter word together with one meaning team, and add a word for suitable or sound to find this footballing position, popularly used in the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries

13d    Hearing shot, suspect crime (4,7)
HIGH TREASON: An anagram (suspect) of HEARING SHOT

14d    Wish to get rid of father? (6)
DESIRE: Split (2-4) this could mean to remove a father (especially of an animal)

15d    Insect could be annoying (3,3)
MAY BUG: This insect, also known as a cockchafer, likes to crash into our bathroom window at a certain time of year, and makes considerably more noise in doing so than the moths.  A word for could is followed by a verb to be annoying, or the whole answer could be taken to mean could be annoying

18d    Cold flat regularly needs range (8)
CÉVENNES: String together of C(old), flat or level, and alternate letters (regularly) of needs to reach a mountain range in south-central France

21d    Short term, it indicates what coach, perhaps, is doing? (6)
SPEEDO: A short form of a longer word (short term) for an instrument which displayes the speed at which a vehicle is travelling at any given moment (i.e. in the short term)

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

23d    Joint put right on oven (5)
ROAST: This is the kind of joint one might have for dinner.  Put R(ight) on top of a kiln for drying hops or malt

24d    Bottom of tree has spare wood (5)
EBONY: The end (bottom) of tree and spare or lean

26d Apparently futile flower (4)
OUSE:    Futile as in pointless.  Zero point.  The answer split (1,3) could mean this, but undivided it is that crosswordland trope, flower meaning river.  A river which I have crossed recently and enjoyed a drink or two beside


Thanks to Busman.  I think my favourite today is 4d, but I smiled too at 6a, and I enjoyed the 9a anagram.  15d, 24d and 26d also appealed.  Which clue(s) bugged you and which rocked your world?



25 comments on “Toughie 1708

  1. Had to look a few things up but still a fairly quick puzzle.

    In 2d I think the answer is used as the name of a book of gospels (derived I guess from the place name) – not that I knew that – it was one of the things had to look up (I googled “answer gospels”). I only know the band.

    Many thanks Kitty for a wonderful blog – Oh, I had rock – sorry. Thanks for the simpson’s cartoon. Reminds me of when we went to Eurodisney, it was not a bathing cap that was compulsory in the hotel pool but – you guessed it.

    And many thanks Busman

    1. Oh Markb reminded me – thanks Kitty, I didn’t realise 19a was a newspaper format – I was just thinking of a German newspaper – maybe it has the format.

    2. Whilst appreciating that our blogger is far too young to probably know what I’m talking about, but I’d be interested to know how many people have had Fog on the Tyne as an earworm since they solved 2d?

      1. I couldn’t possibly comment. Neither could I catch a crooked coffin-maker who undertakes to be a friend (dink dink).

  2. A draw, so unless you change your answer the rematch is very easy!

    Forced to resort to using IE today because Chrome is still giving me a big red virus warning screen every time I try to access this site from my Windows 7 office machine.

    I found this one very straightforward apart from the unfamiliar insect, which lacked crossers where I needed them , but was eventually guessable from the word play, so I was half expecting to see one star. All quite pleasant though.

    Thanks to Kitty and Busman

  3. Thanks for a lovely puzzle and blog and in particular for answer to 19ac. An unknown before your blog.

    Thanks again. I had rock too, but then again I nearly always do…..lazy but often effective.

  4. I drew with you at SPS… we are evenly matched in this as in all things. Enjoyed thi puzzle, which seemed perfectly pitched for the start of a week. I knew 2d but not 19a, my last one in; and there were more sports terms than I was happy with, but that’s a fault in me not the puzzle. Thanks Busman and Kitty.

  5. The concentration of anagrams in the top half helped to open up the grid considerably. The rest just followed.
    Last one was 21d and a bit of a bung in before reading the explanation.
    Had to check 2d and 19a on the web and the BRB gave me the second word in 22a.
    Re 19a: Even with my lateral thinking, I can’t make sense of what looks to me like a jam doughnut.
    Thanks to Busman and to Kitty.

    1. Not sure if this answers your question, but I think the jam doughnut shares the same name as the newspaper format

  6. One old horse forces rearrangements. There seemed to be a lot of these but perhaps they were just in strategic positions. Either way this was a very straightforward Tuesday Toughie. Thanks Busman and Kitty for the reliably entertaining blog. Your challenge left me badly cut.

  7. I’m always pleased when a Tuesday Toughie is ‘doable’ – it’s so good for the morale and encourages me to keep going.
    I was also a bit smug about getting the ‘crickety’ clue and the ‘footbally’ one so a good day in general.
    I loved the clue for 4d and the pic is wonderful – well done, Kitty.
    I’m not quite sure if my favourite is 4d or 15d.
    With thanks to Busman and to Kitty.

  8. We had a couple that we needed to check with Google, 5d and 18d and why 19a was correct but it all went together in almost exactly the same time as the back-pager. We too had totally missed the typo in 1d until we read the blog. It took us a while to twig who the Doyle was in 27a so we’ll go with that one for favourite. Referring to the last line of your blog, we already have enough rocking in our world so won’t be looking for any clues that add to that.
    Thanks Busman and Kitty.

  9. Didn’t cause too many problems aside from trying to justify ‘Idaho’ for 25a and having to check my answer to 19a with Mr. Google. Shamefully, I also have to admit to not being familiar with the mountain range (sorry, JL).
    Very much liked 9a but 4d has to take the laurel wreath.

    News to me that 12ds are no longer known by that name – what are they called now?

    Thanks to Busman and to our Girl Tuesday for her delightful as ever review. Loved the 4d clip but because of the way in which I’m having to access the site at the moment, I can’t get the youtube clips to play.

    PS I had ‘rock’!

  10. Funny how much easier it is to solve when I know there is help available if needed.
    Very enjoyable , thanks Kitty and Busman.

  11. A few problems with 15d and 19ac at the end, but the rest went in easily enough. An enjoyable start to the Toughie week.

  12. Thanks for playing, those who did, and for breaking my scissors. According to QI, scissors is a good opening move because people assume that the commonest opener is rock and therefore choose paper. Seems that most people do in fact just start with rock (as I nearly did too, incidentally, before I decided on a last-minute bit of research).

    It’s been an educational day, but soon time to sleep. :yawn:. Goodnight!

  13. 25a – my paper said ‘Busman’ not ‘compiler’. Do I have to know the names of the compilers in order to do the Toughies?

    Otherwise a fair test.

    Thanks Kitty, I suppose.

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