Toughie 1752 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1752

Toughie 1752 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****


As Big Dave’s Crossword Blog enters its ninth year, we start the Toughie week with what I think is a well-pitched puzzle for this slot.  I’m somewhat bleary-eyed and not very bushy-tailed, having struggled to catch up on sleep, and as such I was immensely grateful for a much fluffier puzzle than I was expecting.  A generous helping of anagrams and friendly wordplay, together with very few unfamiliar elements, meant that I breezed through this (by my standards) with only a few holding out on me a little longer at the end.  I don’t often recommend Giovanni puzzles to the Toughie-shy, but today I do.  Come and join the party!

Speaking of The Party, I wish once again to say thanks to all who made last weekend so special.  We have such a lovely community here.  Commiserations too to those who couldn’t make it but wanted to.  I’m sorry that I haven’t managed a little commemorative eight theme today, to follow last year’s seven.  I might blame having had one over the eight on one or two occasions recently!

The definitions are underlined in the clues below, and you’ll find the answers inside 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    Twenty-two players in a line close together? (4,2,4)
SIDE BY SIDE: This means abreast, and could also describe two adjacent teams

6a    Meditator greeting American soldier (4)
YOGI: An informal greeting and the abbreviation for a soldier in the US army

9a    A bull never under control – making the farmer this? (10)
VULNERABLE: This is an anagram (under control) of A BULL NEVER

10a    Suit has short fold (4)
PLEA: The suit is a legal one, and the fold in cloth is short because it lacks its last letter

12a    Sound of the enemy moving along? (4)
TICK: The enemy here is time, something which people often kill and which kills all people in the end, and an instrument measuring it might make this sound.  This is for LetterboxRoy:

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

13a    What can one do with a mattress?  Don’t decide until tomorrow (5,2,2)
SLEEP ON IT: Two definitions, which should be enough.  I want to do this …

15a    Supplement dependency about to be got rid of (8)
ADDITION: Start with a dependency (of a drug perhaps) from which must be removed (to be got rid of) an abbreviation for about to get our supplement

16a    Dramatically represent what could be cat (3,3)
ACT OUT: A three letter word (so there aren’t many permutations!) plus an anagram indicator give cryptic instructions which can lead to CAT

18a    What is given to office worker? High-protein food (6)
TEMPEH: A two letter interjection meaning “what” comes after (is given to) a worker without a permanent contract to make a soy product I was previously unfamiliar with

20a    Aircraft designers, highly thought of, went abroad (8)
MIGRATED: A charade of an aircraft company and held in high esteem

23a    Taximeter could show several more minutes (5,4)
EXTRA TIME: It’s an anagram (could show) of TAXIMETER

24a    From what we hear, Cockney sells birds (4)
AUKS: The Cockney is about to drop the usual aitch, so we start with an h-word word meaning sells throw away that letter and then find a homophone (from what we hear) to give us some birds

26a    Poor gypsies may hold such a party (4)
ORGY: The first two words may – nay do – hold a wild party, which I have to confess I wasn’t expecting to come across in a Giovanni puzzle

27a    Having broadcast trial on air may be unjustifiable (10)
IRRATIONAL: An anagram (having broadcast) of TRIAL ON AIR

28a    Working to bring game opponents together for long periods (4)
EONS: Two bridge opponents are brought together (bridged, if you will) by our usual word for working

29a    Fixed period at home – act to restrict it (10)
DETERMINED: Fixed or resolute.  A period (part of a school year, perhaps) and our usual at home are contained within an act (act to restrict it)



1d    Hoard woman’s piled up (4)
SAVE: A woman’s name together with the ‘s from the clue reversed (piled up) gives us a verb to hoard

2d    Daughter getting married showed no sign of urgency (7)
DALLIED: The abbreviation for daughter next to (getting) united or joined

3d    Acts illegally, given opportunities to obtain exceptional wealth (6,3,3)
BREAKS THE LAW: A second reverse anagram: the second two words of the answer anagrammed as indicated by the first word of same, lead us to WEALTH

4d    Picture game for children’s sought-after (8)
SNAPSHOT: Take a simple card game favoured by children, the ‘S from the clue and a word for in demand or fashionable and put them together to make a quick picture

5d    Sweet musical item entertaining leaders of local community (6)
DULCET: A musical item for two containing (entertaining) the first letters (leaders) of the last two words of the clue

7d    Gibbons perhaps needing right territory in middle of zoos (7)
ORLANDO: R(ight) and some territory sandwiched betwixt the middle two letters of zoos give us a Mr Gibbons I wasn’t familiar with, an English composer, virginalist and organist of the late Tudor and early Jacobean periods.  I think I’ll illustrate the gibbons of the surface

8d    Unfortunate aunt pitied for showing awkwardness (10)
INAPTITUDE: An anagram (unfortunate) of AUNT PITIED

11d    A nice umpire’s unusual sort of philosophy (12)
EPICUREANISM: Another simple anagram, indicated by unusual, of A NICE UMPIRE’S.  I suspect BD could supply an appropriate picture from Saturday night (though I’m not sure I want him to!)

14d    Fight with soldiers, engaging party game of yesteryear (10)
BATTLEDORE: Take a fight and some engineering soldiers and insert a party or event to find an old game played with a shuttlecock and rackets

17d    Release learner, one meeting with reprimand (8)
LIBERATE: Single letters standing for learner and one are followed by (meeting with) a verb to reprimand

19d    Bodily substance that could give men a gut (7)
MUTAGEN: Something which causes changes in genetic material is an anagram of MEN A GUT.  I’m not keen on the definition here as it’s a little vague.  Still, given the ease of the anagram that’s hardly a biggie

21d    Signed up to get challenged (5,2)
TAKEN ON: A double definition: employed or enlisted, or accepted a challenge

22d    Former US President to get through (6)
PIERCE: The 14th President of the US (generally ranked by historians other scholars as among the worst of US Presidents … ) is also a verb to penetrate

25d    Open space almost makes one cheerful (4)
GLAD: An open space in a wood minus its last letter (almost) leads to pleased or happy


Thanks to Giovanni.  I liked many clues, but feel drawn to choose 16a as my favourite.  Which made you cheerful?


26 comments on “Toughie 1752

  1. Definitely put in the wrong envelope – if it had been on the back page, I’d have called it ‘friendly for a Giovanni’.

    Thanks to him and Kitty too.

  2. This was one of the easiest Toughies for a while. We’ll give it 2*/3*.

    There seemed to be a lot of clues in the anagram stable – 5 full anagrams, one partial (3d) and one reverse (16a). Two new words for us, and interlocking, were 18a and 19d.

    We laughed at 6a, but it was far too easy, smiled as the penny dropped for 24a but give top billing today to 12a.

    Thanks to Kitty and to Giovanni

  3. Hi all from a hot Brazil.
    Even I got this done in quick time!
    Office quiet!
    Though I did nt know temper. But in portuguese tempero is seasoning so..
    And couldn’t see 12a.
    Might manage a *** now
    Thanks Kitty

  4. Agree that it was not full strength Giovanni, but I failed on 12a so thanks for explaining that! 18a was unfamiliar to me too but easy enough to deduce and look up.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Kitty

  5. Had to look-up a few things but didn’t mind in the least – this was so much fun!
    Page is covered in 12a’s and I’m really hard pushed to name an outright favourite. Think it comes down to either 1a or 13a but it could be one of many others.

    Many thanks, Giovanni – loved every minute of this one – and thanks to our Girl Tuesday who has excelled herself on the picture front today!

  6. I agree this wasn’t very tricky – it can’t have been as I finished it, well, almost.
    I failed on the last two words of 3d which is really dim as this kind of clue is very much a Giovanni trademark, the same as 16a.
    A decent number of anagrams also helped to make it ‘doable’ for me as I do depend on them to get started so often.
    I’ve never heard of the high protein food, the American president or Mr Gibbons the composer and if I’ve met the 14d game before I’ve forgotten it but it was possible to work all of those out from the clues.
    I liked 9 and 24a and 5d. My favourite was 16a.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Kitty – lovely ‘catty’ pics.

  7. How nice to have a gentlish Giovanni toughie –

    I liked the 2 reverse anagrams (16a & 3d) – I thought I counted more at first but there were a couple of ‘could be’ straight anagram indicators.

    I loved the gibbons clue

    Giovanni seems to favour incongruently broad definitions for very specific biochemical entities, but as always with solid wordplay: 19d has a rather broad definition, though in this case I wonder whether it’s broad enough, since I think the answer does not have to be ‘bodily’ in origin (though I guess it needs to end up there…)

    The pic for the meditator made me laugh (ah, just realised I had read mediator when solving, which did have me wondering)

    Many thanks Kitty and Giovanni

  8. This was definitely Giovanni-lite and I don’t think I’d have guessed the setter if I hadn’t known in advance (though I ought to have done from the word ‘yesteryear’ in 14d which is one of his trademarks). I enjoyed the puzzle – thanks to Giovanni and thanks to Kitty for the review and the excellent illustrations.
    I’ll list 28a, 3d and 7d as the clues heading neck-and-neck towards the finish line in the Enjoyment Stakes.

  9. Blimey, I quite enjoyed a Giovanni – must have been the background music. Thank You Kitty…
    Did get held up at 14d & 18a so resorted to cheating; never heard of either.
    Thought 3d was cleverly devised but fave today, same as Kath, 16a for the simple twist.
    Probably for the first time, a genuine thanks to Giovanni and not for the first time, an even genuine-r thanks to Kitty.

  10. I totally failed on 12A…well, oink fitted and it is a sound! Also did not get 4D. Oh, well. And it took ages for me to identify the US President. 14D and 18A were new to me. So I did not find this one as easy as everyone else has. At the end, I noticed I had not checked anything off, but on reflection I am partial to 8D and 24A. Thanks Giovanni and Kitty.

  11. Thank you to Kath and Kitty for suggesting a trial of the Toughie, I was completely lost on 12a, 7d, and 18a but thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you to Giovanni and Kitty.

  12. It all fitted together smoothly for us and kept us smiling. We needed to check with BRB that we had 18a and 19d correct.
    Thanks Giovanni and Kitty.

  13. Unclear to us that 3d is a reverse anagram and a little surprised how many are claiming it as one. Isn’t it simply breaks for opportunities followed by an anagram (exceptional) of wealth? We agree it’s a prime candidate for a reverse anagram clue, but it isn’t today.

    1. That’s how I read it, one of my picks. A case of me not bothering to parse the hint!

  14. I enjoyed this fairly gentle Toughie, which seemed more like a back page puzzle. Talking of which, I spent more time trying to get my head round 23 across than I did for all the Toughie. Thanks to Giovanni for possibly the first puzzle of his that I’ve been able to solve unaided. It gives me confidence to attempt other Toughies

  15. Very enjoyable but I find 19d a bit puzzling. Mutagens do not need the word “bodily” in this definition (and indeed those I can immediately think of, all originate outside the body). However Giovanni is normally very precise. Hence puzzlement.

  16. 2*/3*, l suppose. I’d never heard of 7d by that name, nor the foodstuff at 18a, nor the game at 14d, although the crossers got me there all three cases. I had actually considered “tick” for 12a, but discounted it as too fanciful. I read the 6a clue too lazily and spent a lot of time looking for a “mediator”. All in all, not my best day. Still, thanks to the Don, and Kitty.

  17. Enjoyable, and perhaps a little easier than Giovanni Toughies can sometimes be. The definition for 19d didn’t look right to me either, but never mind, the anagram meant it could be little else.

  18. Even a gentle Giovanni is worth doing – I would have blazed through this if I hadn’t somehow ended 15ac with IVE, which added much needless challenge to the solving of 4dn.

    No huge standouts, but I’ll mention 18ac for being pleasingly vegan-friendly and 12ac for being the kind of clue that doesn’t make a lick of sense outside of this crazy mixed up crossword cult that we’re in. Thanks Kitty and the big D!

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