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Toughie 1902

Toughie No 1902 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hello, and Happy Diwali!  It’s also apparently International Gin and Tonic Day, so plenty of reasons to charge your glasses.  Other than that, it’s another perfectly ordinary Thursday, except that Bufo is busy again so I’m here to bring you Blog 101.  I know how to party.

It’s been some months since I last covered a Samuel puzzle, as he’s fled to later in the week … but he couldn’t escape me forever!  I enjoyed this, finding it not too difficult for the most part but having to think quite hard to fill in my last few answers.  It’s also a pangram, which I think makes up a hat trick for the day.

The definitions are underlined in the clues below, and you’ll find the answers inside the buttons.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative – click only if you wish to reveal all.



1a    Approve draughtsman’s items used by most of Florida city (6-5)
RUBBER-STAMP:  Items useful for correcting errors in drawing next to (by) all but the last letter of (most of) a city on the west coast of Florida

9a    Go on at length and pacify her rages (9)
PREACHIFY:  PACIFY HER anagrams (rages) to make an informal word for sermonise, especially tediously 

10a   Group agreed to skip about (5)
SQUAD:  Agreed or settled (SQUARED) without (to skip) a two-letter preposition meaning about or concerning

11a   Number to the left? (6)
ELEVEN:  Look to the left of the words of the clue.  Write the figure you see into the grid by that same number

12a   Fighter plane heading east to take in bad weather — it’s a pain (8)
MIGRAINE:  This is a horrid pain above the neck.  A Russian fighter plane before (heading) E(ast); these sandwich (to take in) some weather.  Weather that’s good for ducks and good (in the right amounts) for plants, but enjoyed rather less by many people and usually labelled bad by forecasters

13a   Figure in flap involving university (6)
STATUE:  A flap or tizzy containing (involving) U(niversity).  This figure is Tombili

15a   Police leader has arrests for Sussex town (8)
HASTINGS:  Has (from the clue) contains (arrests) the frontman of The Police.  The necessary capitalisation has been neatly camouflaged at the beginning of the clue, for these are not the law enforcement people but the bandI was a slow to parse this one because the synonym for arrests appears at the end of the answer.  Nice moment when it all clicked

18a   Official chap with less on top? Not at first (8)
ALDERMAN:  A more follicly-challenged guy (6,3) missing the initial letter (not at first)

19a   Scoff as a joke is delivered (6)
INGEST:  To stuff one’s face.  It sounds like the spirit in which a joke is made (2,4)

21a   Stack small fruit in vehicle (8)
RICKSHAW:  A charade of a haystack, S(mall) and the small red fruit of a certain thorny shrub or tree

23a   Bloke‘s spring broadcast (6)
GEEZER:  This chap sounds like a hot spring (at least he does in this country)

26a   Release building blocks? About time! (3,2)
LET GO:  Some plastic building blocks (shown below) that are not fun to step on but have an uncanny ability to get under unshod feet here go around (about) T(ime) 

27a   Appeal is penned by girl to make text stand out (9)
ITALICISE:  Personal appeal or attractiveness followed by the IS from the clue inside (penned by) a girl’s name.  I was expecting the text to be highlighted or in relief, not this

28a   Backing European people to settle in northern county (11)
ENDORSEMENT:  Start with an abbreviation for European and then insert some guys somewhere inside N(orthern) and an English county (a southern one, as it happens)



1d    Quell resistance by English journalists (7)
REPRESS:  The symbol for electrical resistance and an abbreviation for English followed by journalists, collectively

2d    Note always heading to bathroom to when getting up (5)
BREVE:  A reversal (when getting up, in a down clue) of always and the first letter of (heading to) bathroom

3d    Former queen blocks acclaim for government department (9)
EXCHEQUER:  After a prefix denoting former, a two-letter abbreviation for queen goes inside (blocks) acclaim or applaud

4d    Victory, perhaps, and second with it (4)
SHIP:  Victory is an example of one of these.  An abbreviation for second and an ironically rather passé word for trendy or fashionable (with it)

5d    Extraordinary run from paralytic drunk (8)
ATYPICAL:  Remove R(un) from an anagram (drunk) of PArALYTIC

6d    Boss regularly cracks a Toughie? (5)
POSER:  A pair of regular letters from boss (boss regularly) goes inside (cracks) a three letter word meaning “a” or for each (as in so much a / for each person)

7d    Location that could make e.g. egress? (7)
ADDRESS:  How could you make “eg” into “egress”? (3,4)

8d    Soup in summer month? That’s about right (8)
JULIENNE:  A summer month around (about) a legal right to retain another’s property until a debt is settled.  I didn’t know the answer as a soup; furthermore I was convinced for a long time that the month was the first three letters of the clue.  Grr!

14d   In temper, promoted detectives stand down (8)
ABDICATE:  Inside temper, in the sense of moderate, is a reversal (promoted, in a down clue) of some detectives

16d   Bite before swallowing skin of Indian fruit (9)
TANGERINE:  Bite or piquancy, then a poetic word for before containing (swallowing) the outer letters (skin) of Indian

17d   Leaves describing Republican that is on the payroll (8)
SALARIED:  Some edible leaves eaten cold around (describing) R(epublican) and the abbreviation for that is

18d   Liberal exposed rich supporting terribly racy material (7)
ACRYLIC:  L(iberal) and the inner part (exposed) of rich after (supporting, in a down clue) an anagram (terribly) of RACY

20d   Communist sent up to inspire soldiers in distress (7)
TORMENT:  The reversal (sent up, in a down clue) of a communist (4) is to contain (to inspire) some troops

22d   Cake finally rises once cooked (5)
SCONE:  The last letter (finally) of rises followed by an anagram (cooked) of ONCE.  Not the type you’d generally put icing and candles on, and probably not one to feature in a homophone clue either

24d   Country, once unknown, almost made known (5)
ZAIRE:  A mathematical unknown and most of a word meaning made public or spread

25d   Beautiful, fine tune (4)
FAIR:  A nice simple note to end on.  F(ine) and a tune or melody


Thanks to Samuel.  I have a long list of likes including 18a, 19a, 26a, 6d, 7d, 16d and 18d.  What was the icing on your cake?



42 comments on “Toughie 1902

  1. I also didn’t know 8d was a soup, thought it was just the shredded veggies – well it is as well.

    I liked the simple 22d, 28a and 11a when i finally twigged why the answer was what it was.

    I first thought 1d was some misspelt French thing..

    Many thanks Kitty & Samuel

  2. What fun! Needed help from toughie phobic husband to complete. Liked the wit in 15a, 19a, 23a and 26a. Not convinced that 8d is a soup, in spite of your picture, Kitty. Thanks guys.

  3. I thought 12a was rubbish until I realised what ‘heading’ means in that context. Oh well.

    1. Welcome to the blog Goblinski

      In the days, months and years before I started the blog, I would often think there was an error in a puzzle – e.g. I didn’t then know that a jolly was a Royal Marine.

  4. This was the third pangram of the day! And the Toughie was back in its usual place today!

    I didn’t find this at all tough but it was a lot of fun. I had lots of ticks on my page and 7d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Samuel and to Kitty, particularly for the parsing of 15a which eluded me as I had forgotten about the police with a capital P.

    P.S. Is anyone else suffering today with the site freezing a lot with an error message saying “not responding due to a long running script”?

    1. No RD, but I am having problems with the Flash content crashing my browser repeatedly.

  5. Doh! I fell into exactly the same trap at 8dn, thinking “JUL I.E.” was clearly “summer month, that is”. Can’t see the wood for the trees, sometimes…

    A very enjoyable crossword that mostly went in very steadily, but with a few staunch holdouts, as our fair feline blogger has already noted. I liked 11a best, always fun when clues get that meta. Thanks Sam & Kit.

  6. Toughie No. 3! Again completed and in somewhat quicker time than yesterday’s marathon. However, I didn’t understand the reference to Police leader in 15 across and I don’t think I would have had the wit to understand the reasoning behind 11 across had I stared at it all day. Thanks to Kitty, not least for the explanations to those two, and to Samuel.

    1. Haha, I assumed that it was a “sting” operation, i.e. the police “leading” someone on. I don’t think my brain had fully woken up this morning…

  7. Mostly fairly straightforward and enjoyable. 10a was last in. Needless to say I missed the pangram.

    Thanks to Samuel and Kitty

  8. I thought that this was fairly gentle but very enjoyable – thanks to Samuel and thanks (and Happy Birthday) to Kitty. My last answer was 7d so that’s my favourite but commendations also go 11a, 4d and 14d.

  9. Really enjoyable, lots to like but I’ll nominate 18a, 15a and top spot to 7d. I thought the ‘soup’ was a style of chopped vegetables as in crudités.

    Excellent stuff, thanks to Samuel and our Birthday Girl ***/****

  10. Realised, when I was searching for 22a and 24d that it was a pangram. It didn’t help!
    However, it was easier and more fun than yesterday.

  11. I’m sure you should have had more exciting things to do today, Kitty, but at least you managed to shower the blog with cakes, candles, party hats and feline friends.

    Confession being good for the soul I have to admit to missing the obvious parsing of 11a and needing to check with the BRB that 9a is a ‘real’ word.
    Like others, I wasn’t convinced about 8d being a soup and spent a fair while looking for something entirely different to answer 27a.
    14d seems to be something of a word of the month for our setters.
    I presume that the extra ‘to’ in 2d is just a DT typo?

    Podium places went to 19&26a plus 1&6d.

    Thanks to Samuel and to our Birthday girl for a top blog – loved the story about Tombili!
    PS Trying to remember – was it The Jets or The Sharks who walked down the street clicking their fingers?

    1. Thanks, Jane. Well spotted! I spent a long time hunting out typos in my bit, but didn’t pay the same attention to the clues and missed that entirely.

      Actually I am planning a party tomorrow. Just don’t tell the landlord …

  12. The last few took a while and I failed to parse 15A correctly. Wasn’t Hastings a top copper in Poirot? I also missed the pangram. But I did finish and ticked 11A (loved it), 18A, 7D (my top pick) and 20D. Thanks Samuel and our Birthday girl.

  13. Great fun for the second day running – 4/4

    Mr Sheffieldsy picked 11a and Mrs Sheffieldsy picked 7d as COTD. Is there anything in that? We too had the wrong month in mind to throw our parsing of 8d for a while. 15a was a bung-in; we simply couldn’t parse it fully.

    Why are there two occurrences of the word “to” in 2d, anybody? It looks wrong to us.

    Thanks to the Birthday Girl (no wonder Gin and Tonics featured in the preamble) and to Samual.

    1. It looks like a typo in 2d. I didn’t manage to spot that one.

      I’m not actually a fan of G&Ts because of the T part! But I’ll drink to the general concept. :yes:

  14. Also a good experience for us.
    Happy birthday Kitty and thanks for the tip-off, we will hit the G&T later.
    Our last two in we’re 11a and 7d and have to rate these as favourites because of the penny-drop moments.
    Cheers Samuel.
    G: Sam the man cheers mate 🍺

  15. Happy Birthday Kitty.

    And a good day to celebrate what has been so far, for me, the best Samuel crossword to date.
    Some lovely construction and great surface all round.
    Got a bit stuck on the NE as I too thought that Julienne were just the way to cut veggies. Thinking of the pangram I thought the answer was Judicial which is about right! Dicia as a soup just didn’t cut it.
    Took a while to finish with 15a and 19a.
    Ticked 22d.
    Thanks to Samuel and to Kitty.

  16. Agree 3* difficulty. I needed the hint for 8d, which l haven’t come across before, but very much enjoyed 27a, 7d and 17d. Thanks to Samuel. And thanks and birthday greetings to Kitty.

  17. More like a **** for difficulty here. The LHS went in easily enough, but the other half was a slow crawl from south to north. One of these days I’ll remember PER for A…

  18. Thanks to Samuel and to Kitty for the review and hints (Happy Birthday). I very much enjoyed this, but was beaten by the last few. Needed the hints for 10a and 4&8d, I didn’t know that the latter was a soup. How unusual to have 3 pangrams in a day, must have been down to the the editor rather than chance? Favourite was 15a. Was 2/3 for me.

  19. Only just clicked re 11a!!? I had it as a football reference where the left winger usually wears number 11?

  20. Nobody is likely to see this now, but just want to pop a note here to say that I really appreciated the birthday messages: thank you all.

    I actually thought Tuesday’s 100th solo blog a more meaningful milestone — but on second thoughts, staying alive has clearly been by far the greater achievement.

    1. 100 solo blogs is certainly some achievement, Kitty, and thank you for every one of them.
      As far as staying alive is concerned – don’t forget you have the luxury of nine of them to work your way through!

      1. Thanks, Jane. As long as I have one appreciative reader I will keep going.

        I’m not quite sure which of the nine I’m on now, but I think I might know why cats have those extra lives:


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