Toughie 1912 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1912

Toughie No 1912 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating  –  Difficulty ** –  Enjoyment ***


Hi all.  Warbler today brings us another puzzle in her usual style: she’s so consistent I think I could reuse the introduction from a blog of any one of her recent puzzles and not go far wrong.  So if you’ve enjoyed tackling Warbler crosswords before but not yet done this one, why not take a look at it now?

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

As usual, you may click on pictures to enlarge them or uncover hidden extras.



1a    Fantastic being nipped by ferret! (6)
HOBBIT:  Find a small, hairy-toed resident of Middle Earth by placing a male ferret next to a word meaning nipped

5a    Greek characters crush destructive aquatic mammal (8)
MUSQUASH:  More than one of the same Greek letter followed by crush or stamp out.  It’s another name for the muskrat

9a    Flag of Laurel and ultimately Hardy essentially (8)
STANDARD:  The first name of a Mr Laurel, the final letter (ultimately) of “and” and the middle part (essentially) of Hardy

10a   Little dog has strange lip (6)
LABRUM:  Join together a shortened name for a breed of dog and strange or odd

11a   Agent rails frantically as an act of retaliation (8)
REPRISAL:  An agent or delegate then an anagram (frantically) of RAILS

12a   Advantage for female with you know what! (6)
PROFIT:  A charade of in favour of, an abbreviation for female, and another word for sex appeal (you know what!)

13a   It’s the custom for most of troops to reassemble in front of column (8)
PROTOCOL:  An anagram (to reassemble) of all but the last letter of (most of) TROOPs preceding (in front of) an abbreviation for column

15a   Bird in difficulty (4)
KNOT:  Two definitions: a small shore bird of the sandpiper family, and a tangle or difficulty.  It took me a while to remember that this was a bird

17a   This fruit grows in the end all over on a regular basis (4)
SLOE:  The last letter (in the end) of grows plus alternate letters (on a regular basis) of all over

19a   Electronic proposal includes constant smiley face perhaps (8)
EMOTICON:  The linking together of a letter used as a prefix to denote electronic and a proposal includes a mathematical constant

20a   President coming across as honest fellow (6)
TRUMAN:  A US president is made up of three letters which sound like (coming across as) a word meaning honest and a chap

21a   Stress shown by European associated with awkward mishaps (8)
EMPHASIS:  E(uropean) by an anagram (awkward) of MISHAPS

22a   Speed backwards then finally adopt serene ballet position (6)
ÉCARTÉ:  Speed (verb) written right-to-left (backwards) followed by the last letters (finally) of adopt and of serene.  A new term for me

23a   Working at article with patient one described in book (2,3,3)
ON THE JOB:  A short preposition which can mean at and a grammatical article next to the Biblical character known for his patience

24a   Whisky money gets us staple food (8)
RYEBREAD:  Take a type of whisky and add a slang term for money

25a   Final edition survived (6)
LASTED:  Final or ultimate plus the two-letter abbreviation for edition



2d    No hunter is disturbed when being chased (2,3,3)
ON THE RUN:  An anagram (disturbed) of NO HUNTER

3d    Row breaks out after being discovered as insolvent (8)
BANKRUPT:  A row or tier followed by the inside bit (after being dis-covered) of “breaks out”

4d    Change class after one leaves train station’s opening (9)
TRANSFORM:  The I is dropped (one leaves) from train and then we have the initial letter (opening) of station; after this is a school class

5d    HMI, when expanded literally, could become mediocre (6,2,3,4)
MIDDLE OF THE ROAD:  A reverse clue, one you’ll almost certainly have to get from the definition and pattern before working backwards to get HMI.  I can hint a little in the forwards direction by telling you that the MI part leads to the last word of the answer.  The first three clue the H

6d    Arrow causing dispute (7)
QUARREL:  Double definition: a square-headed arrow or a tiff

7d    Twice old flier is confused by a wing’s cross-section (8)
AEROFOIL:  O O — twice O(ld) — and FLIER, jumbled up (confused), placed next to (by) the A from the clue

8d    In period when school finishes (4,4)
HOME TIME:  In (the house) and a spell or stretch

14d   Conservative, not Liberal political bust skull bone (9)
OCCIPITAL:  An anagram (bust) of C(onservative) and POLITICAl (not Liberal)

15d   Cardigan maybe, where fool is said to be on river (8)
KNITWEAR:  A homophone of a silly billy next to (on) a river of NE England

16d   Kiss large copper recently! (8)
OSCULATE:  Assemble large (of clothing), the chemical symbol for copper and recently (4)

17d   Do they slink about wearing these? (8)
SNEAKERS:  These soft-soled shoes could also describe people who creep about (and so might well choose this kind of footwear)

18d   One eats everything micro oven cooked except for carrot top (8)
OMNIVORE:  An anagram (cooked) of MIcRO OVEN minus the first letter (top) of carrot

19d   Former thespian is one demanding rights (7)
EXACTOR:  Split (2-5) this would be somebody who used to tread the boards


Thanks to Warbler.  I’m a sucker for a backwards clue, so my favourite today the not-5d 5d.  At which did your eyes light up?



36 comments on “Toughie 1912

  1. Some weeks ago one of Warbler’s puzzles was incorrectly announced as her 100th – well, today she has reached that milestone, so congratulations are due.

  2. All very neat and enjoyable, though I needed the hint to see 10a – the solution was at best distantly familiar. 22a was new to me to but easy enough to work out. Took me a while to understand 5d but once I did I liked it.

    Thanks to Warbler and Kitty

  3. Pretty straightforward – thanks to Warbler and Kitty. 5d gave me most trouble as I was trying to decide how ER 0 could equate to HM 1. Once the penny dropped that became my favourite clue.

    [In the hint for 7d the leading A has gone walkabout]

  4. Yes, I enjoy Warbler puzzles and – yes, I’ve now done this one.

    I did have to check that I’d correctly worked out a few things – the ferret, the lip and the ballet stance, but they were all fairly clued.
    Think that, like Kitty and others, I’ll give the honours to 5d – a glorious penny-drop moment.

    Thanks and congrats to Warbler and thanks to our Girl Tuesday for another in the long line of excellent blogs.

  5. Very enjoyable and less of a challenge than today’s back pager. 15a a bit of an oldie but goodie – it must be the avian equivalent of the feline ounce.

    I did think that the enumeration of 24a should be (3,5) or (3-5).

    Once I had enough checkers, I solved 5d but I had no idea about the parsing; I am glad that, during my ‘Sunday tenure,’ Virgilius has not come up with a clue like that.

    Favourite – 16d.

    Thanks to Warbler and Kitty (especially for unscrambling 5d).

  6. I think there’s a place for this kind of puzzle, just a bit more cryptically involved than a Quickie, allowing people to graduate from one level to the next when they’re ready, but I can’t say I’m their biggest fan. But then there was a lovely chewy one in the Guardian for me today, so it’s great to see puzzles for every level of solver out there. Thanks Warbler!

    Like almost everyone else I imagine my favourite clue was 5d, but there were also quite a few nice surfaces I registered, especially in the acrosses: something like 12a for instance is nice and limpid. Less fond of clues which just turn into cryptic garble like “in the end all over on a regular basis”. But what can you do?

    1. Thumbs down also to 14d – unless “political” can be a noun (can it be?) it’s not much of a surface, is it?

  7. Did not take me much longer than today’s backpager to complete this. I know nothing about ballet but the answer could be derived from the word play in 22a. Given my professional background I should not struggled with 10a but that was my last one in.

  8. As I always seem to find with a Warbler puzzle, this was not at all tough but very enjoyable.

    Simply by following the wordplay, I got the answers to two clues which were new words for me – 10a & 22a. The answer to 5d was obvious but I couldn’t unscramble “HMI”. However, armed with Kitty’s explanation, that became my favourite.

    Many thanks to Warbler and to Kitty, and congratulations to Warbler on her century.

  9. I enjoyed this, it was very pleasant after tacking the harder puzzles by Jaffa, Filbert and WhynoT.

    Still, it took me ages to see HMI, and thank you Kitty for explaining 9a where i went a little loopy and decided Laurel had to be a ST plus AND plus ARD. I thank google for offering plenty of non-existent St Laurels, and yes I know it doesn’t work anyway.

    I didn’t know the ballet position and took me a while to get the right speed.

    many thanks Warbler for much fun.

    many thanks Kitty for the usual excellent blog, though the 5d image is a little upsetting

  10. I enjoyed this puzzle , not too hard and not too easy.
    It has a slightly scientific flair to it , which I like.
    Thanks to Kitty and Warbler.

  11. Didn’t know the word for 10a. In too much of a hurry too work out 23a. Otherwise, all good fun. Favourite was 5d, of course. Thanks guys.

  12. Got a bit stuck in the NE. Had to look up the answer for the aquatic mammal in 5a, and didn’t get 10a either.
    But managed the rest without any outside help.
    Thanks to Warbler and to Kitty.

  13. What a clever clue 5d is. We got the answer quickly from the enumeration, definition and a couple of checkers , the hard work was unpicking the wordplay. By one of those strange coincidences, one of the movies we watched on the long flight home from India was the first “Lord of the Rings” film which meant 1a was very much in mind. As we usually find with Warbler puzzles, quite gentle and always good fun.
    Thanks Warbler and Kitty.

  14. Completed most of this at a steady pace then got a bit held up with the words new to us but with the checking help of BRB got there in the end.
    Enjoyed and favourite 5d of course.
    Many thanks to Warbler and Kitty.
    G: J did this I’m struggling with Toughie No.147 – 15/5/2009 – and it ain’t easy.

  15. Enjoyed this to flex our Toughie muscles ready for another week – 2.5* / 3.5*.

    Got 5d but needed Kitty to parse it. Favourite otherwise was 14d.

    Thanks to Kitty and congrats to Warbler.

  16. It is hard for me to choose between the Toughie and the back page puzzle for a favourite. Both were very enjoyable and were soon solved, but once I’d parsed Warbler’s clue for 5 down that realty had to be my favourite clue of the day. A super clue in my opinion. Thanks to both of today’s setters and the ‘Kitty Cat’ family ;-)

  17. Much harder than 2* for me today, and very much the two extremes of easy/hard. I loved 5d but the parsing took some while until it suddenly fell into place. Very clever. Many thanks Warbler and Kitty.

  18. Thoroughly enjoyable, and most definitely on the easy side, so a * for Toughie difficulty here. Last in the unfamiliar 10ac.

  19. A very enjoyable puzzle – very welcome after last Tuesday’s !

    I managed to work through it reasonably well, despite – like others – having to check a couple of new words (10a, 22a).

    Favourite was 5d. I put in the answer but struggled to parse it, leading to a lovely “Doh!” moment when I finally did.

    Many thanks to Warbler and Kitty

  20. Finished this one a bit quicker than the back-pager, but l’m not complaining: **/***. I liked 1a and guessed (correctly) at 22a even though l’ve never come across the word before. Thanks to Warbler and Kitty.

  21. Thanks to Warbler and to Kitty for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, which I found much easier than the back pager. Having said that, I was still beaten by 5a, which I’d never heard of, and 10a, where my really tiny bit of Latin completely deserted me! Favourite was 5d. Was 2 ✳ / 3 ✳ for me.

  22. My last in was 22a, not helped by my BRB only giving ‘ecarte’ as a card game. However, I couldn’t think what else it could be and put it in. I then checked Google and there it was!

  23. Super blog Kitty and great pictures, especially that for HMI. Great to meet you again at the weekend bash :-)

  24. Started and finished this one today (Thursday) on Eurostar. Last one in was 1a: I didn’t know that a male ferret is called a hob. 5d very good, but only got it from Kitty’s explanation.

  25. ***/**** for me-found 16D very funny,
    Even after reading the hint cannot understand the last four letters to the answer for 3D-any further clarification for a Toughie beginner please ??

    1. You want the inner four letters of a six-letter word for breaks out in a rash, or in laughter, or like lava in a volcano.

      1. Thanks Gazza. Just about understand it now. Only got the answer by using the letters that I already had. Would never have got it otherwise.

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