Toughie 1712 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1712

Toughie 1712 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***


Welcome to Anagram Day.  Today’s puzzle had the feel for me of an easier-than-usual back-pager but was nonetheless enjoyable to solve.  Anyone coming here to seek refuge after having been drowned in anagrams will not find it, as this puzzle is somewhat awash with them too.  However, those who normally shy away from Toughies should find plenty to delight.

The definitions are underlined in the clues below, and you’ll find the answers inside the [I’m all out of answers, sorry] 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   Hope next peace is arranged with Conservative involved (10)
EXPECTANCE: NEXT PEACE is anagrammed (arranged), with C(onservative) in the mix too


6a    Regular pursuers of customs (4)
USES: Alternate (regular) letters of pursuers

9a    Small quantity one doctor left inside the endless drunk (10)
THIMBLEFUL: Shorthand notations for one, doctor and left inside THE from the clue and all but the last letter (endless) of an informal word meaning drunk

10a    Reportedly computer programmer’s final piece (4)
CODA: This end passage, especially of a piece of music, sounds like one who programs computers

12a    Joined in quietly and looked forward to knight becoming king (12)
PARTICIPATED: Take the musical abbreviation for quietly and a word for looked forward to and change N (knight, in chess notation) to R (king)

15a    Search minutely in outskirts of Kingston for fabled monster (6)
KRAKEN: A verb to comb or finely search inside the outer letters (outskirts) of Kingston

16a    Shuts off South-Eastern tips around Dover initially (8)
SECLUDES: The abbreviation for South-Eastern and the kind of tips I’m giving you right here around the first letter (initially) of Dover

18a    Academy staff vacated Tate before random search (8)
TEACHERS: Having discarded the inner letters of Tate (vacated Tate), append an anagram (random) of SEARCH

19a    On land area, going by horse to be abandoned (6)
ASHORE: The abbreviation for area next to HORSE, having been anagrammed (abandoned, as in free)

21a    It takes courage to try a touch of tact in intimate conversation (5-2-5)
HEART-TO-HEART: A charade of courage, TO from the clue, to try (in a court of law), and the first bit (touch) of tact

24a    Probability evens out in old odes (4)
ODDS: Throw the even letters out of the last two words of the clue

25a    Some like Winchester having slated arch redesigned (10)
CATHEDRALS: An anagram (redesigned) of SLATED ARCH.  By request, I have not given a musical clip here

26a    Margin‘s included in broker bonuses (4)
KERB: The answer is hidden in plain sight, included in the clue

27a    Plots special Conservative policies (10)
STORYLINES: Join together abbreviations for special and Conservative with policies or courses of action



1d    Upsets  food (4)
EATS: Two definitions, both informal.  The Kiwi, it is said, does this, roots, shoots and leaves

2d    Punctilious Trojan king has no answer (4)
PRIM: Remove A(nswer) from the king of Troy during the Trojan war

3d    Watch a big bee fluttering. Or could it be a butterfly? (7,5)
CABBAGE WHITE: An anagram (fluttering) of WATCH A BIG BEE is indeed a type of butterfly

4d    Experts treated pet during commercials (6)
ADEPTS: A rearrangement (treated) of PET inside a short term for commercials

5d    Grasps  they’ll help people selecting new gear (8)
CLUTCHES: Another two definitions.  Grips, or a mechanism for connecting and disconnecting a vehicle’s engine and transmission system.  A third definition could be broods, so I’ll use the opportunity to illustrate this with some cute chicks

7d    Dalmatian located track (7,3)
SPOTTED DOG: A short and snappy charade: located by vision and track or pursue

8d    Toiletries used by Emmerdale beauties?! (4,6)
SOAP DISHES: What Emmerdale is an example of followed by some attractive people.  The answer could indeed mean TV show hotties, but more usually these are items of bathroom equipment

11d    In a flap Les plated up last of summer pudding (5,7)
APPLE STRUDEL: An anagram (in a flap) of LES PLATED UP with R (the last of summer)

13d    Outline script – here (10)
SKETCHBOOK: A rough outline and script or libretto together might be somewhere to write or draw out such a thing

14d    Buddhist monk trapped in desert starts to eat raw amphibian (10)
SALAMANDER: Insert a Buddhist monk into a desert and add the first letters of (starts to) eat and raw

17d    Mary unwrapped sticky nougat for old crew member (8)
ARGONAUT: Follow the internal letters (unwrapped) of Mary with an anagram (sticky) of NOUGAT to find one of a band of sailing heroes of Greek mythology

20d    New town in Surrey is softer according to Northerners (6)
NESHER: N(ew) then a town in Surrey which is home of Sandown Park racecourse, and therefore perhaps more likely to be known by overseas solvers than some similarly-sized towns.  The answer is a dialect term for more soft, tender or cowardly.  I think I must have heard this term before as I shoved it in confidently, but I had to check it in the dictionary

22d    Fratricide’s punishment is pronounced (4)
CAIN: This early biblical figure who was murdered by his brother sounds like an outlawed school punishment

23d    They deliver venom even though head’s been removed (4)
ASPS: These venomous reptiles are some stinging insects without the initial letter (head)


Thanks to Warbler.  I appreciated the topical surface of 1a (with the related 27a), but enjoyed the creature features more, with my favourite probably 23d.  Which one(s) featured highly for you?


25 comments on “Toughie 1712

  1. I was confused by the plural in 22d (no apostrophe to be seen online) and by what is and isn’t a toiletry in 8d. Nice to meet Les and Mary.
    Enjoyed 23d but thought it should end “…even after removing head” – wait, I see now, that is another case of missing online apostrophe – argh!

    My ticks are 21a (try a touch of tact), the computer programmer (10a), 12a (joined in quietly) and 5d (help select new gear)

    Many thanks for the review Kitty and thank you Warbler – sorry to miss your apostrophes

    1. Much sympathy, Dutch. Crosswords are all about accuracy and even pedantry! Thank heaven I don’t have to suffer the online paper. If you have a choice, I can’t see the point of using it. Am I missing something??

      A gentle start to the week’s Toughies but enjoyed it.

      Thanks to Warbler and to Kitty for the blog.

      1. I have a choice Jarman Island. I have the online paper and I have a hard copy delivered. It’s the iPad every time for me. I can read my own writing on a tablet whereas I struggle using a pen or pencil. As an example of how my handwriting confuses me I hand filled a grid to set my first Rookie Puzzle. I then wrote clues by hand. I wrote a clue for the word HATFUL. A test solver said it made no sense. The word I should have clued was LAPFUL. Those of us with spider scrawls are greatly helped by modern technology. The repeated pronounced punishment at 22d did not help.

      2. I stopped subscribing to the paper version of the telegraph (I get the guardian now), but I still subscribe to the online telegraph puzzles website – so that is the only option available to me.

        1. Fair enough both. I still prefer that nice, comforting lump of paper in my hand. Probably something to do with old dogs and new tricks. Wierd really I suppose. I’m quite happy doing this on a tablet!

  2. Quite a tame introduction to the Toughies this week. I too think the definition of toiletries was a bit stretched.

    Thanks to Warbler and Kitty.

    1. I quite liked the toiletries – I didn’t get it but, when it was explained (thanks Kitty) I thought it was quite nice.

  3. Not too difficult a puzzle and one that should be accessible to most reasonably competent solvers. Lots of anagrams to assist. 20d was my last one in. A word I had never come across before but as Coventry regularly play them at Rugby I am familiar with the name. Thanks to Warbler for giving me something to do on a rare lazy day and thanks to Kitty for writing the blog which I am sure will entertain

  4. Isn’t 7d a kind of definition by example? Or are Dalmatians the only spotted dogs?
    Thought 23d was very clever.
    Thanks to Warbler and to Kitty for the review. Tried to make an anagram of your fodder in 1a but couldn’t see anything witty to say.

    1. Oops – don’t know how that piece got in there. I’ll change it now.

      I thought the same about the Dalmatian but the brb gives the answer as specifically that breed. Or a pudding.

  5. We were mildly surprised to find that the word we had come up with for 20d actually was in BRB. It was new to us and the town had been a bit of a guess too. 12a had us head scratching for a while. Warbler always seems to keep us smiling and this puzzle lived up to that expectation.
    Thanks Warbler and Kitty.

  6. Thank you, Kitty, I certainly shy away from Toughies, being a relative newcomer. However, today’s back pager and this were more accessible and so enjoyable. Couldn’t have done them though without Big Dave and all you wonderful people. Thank you to the setters.

  7. I made this 2*/3*, but I use the same criteria for Toughies as for back-pagers. I liked 17d, and 12a was clever. I’m not sure 8d are toiletries, as such, merely receptacles for them. Still – minor quibble. Thanks to Warbler and Kitty.

  8. Probably my fastest toughie solve ever, and left me time to do the back-pager and quickie before my work day began. 20D was a new word for me. Thanks Warbler and Kitty.

  9. Still on husband’s computer so please excuse typos caused by unfamiliar keyboard. I had an ancient great aunt who was almost blind caused by having measles as a child. She read books in Braille and used to write letters to us on the typewriter. Every so often she started off on the wrong row of letters so we needed to have a QWERTY keyboard in front of us to decode – I digress . . .
    I enjoyed this Warbler crossword – I failed totally on the Emmerdale one, 10a, 20d and the beastly little stripey insects at 23d – should have got them as I’m horribly allergic to their stings.
    No clues that stood out particularly for me today so thanks to Warbler for the crossword, to Kitty for the hints and, again, to BD for the work to get this up and running again, for the umpteenth time.
    Need to go to bed soon – late power cut last night had us scurrying around hunting for candles and torches. We found both – we lit the candles, unfortunately on a work surface in the kitchen – need I say more?

  10. Heavens, in a moment of madness, I decided to have a go at this, and finished it!! I actually found it easier than today’s back-pager.
    Thanks Kitty for the hints, a couple I could not parse.
    Thanks to the settee an of course BD who must need a holiday by now!!

  11. 1*/3*. I thought this was an untough but nevertheless enjoyable “Toughie”.

    I couldn’t parse the last three letters of 9a and am none the wiser having read Kitty’s review :sad:

    I bunged in 20d and even Google couldn’t verify the answer. I am temporarily separated from my BRB so perhaps a look up there when I get home will provide enlightenment.

    21a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Warbler and to Kitty.

    1. RD. 9a: Drunk = full – listed as a colloquial synonym in the BRB Thesaurus. I’ve never heard it before but it makes sense as full = loaded (or drunk).

  12. Finally – access to the blog after four days of separation – thank you Cloudflare for letting me pass the test!
    As always, I enjoyed this one from Warbler although I had slight reservations about the definition at 8d (BRB would seem to be OK with it).
    22d was something of a revelation – I always thought the word referred to the act of killing one’s brother rather than the perpetrator.
    21a came out on top for me.

    Thanks to Warbler and to our Girl Tuesday, who also gets grateful thanks for resisting a sound clip for 25a! Loved the 18a cartoon but think I heard a rather different version of your 1d joke – maybe yours was more acceptable for the blog…………

    1. 22d. Yes, very interesting – I wasn’t aware the word could also mean the perpetrator as well as the act.

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