Toughie 1960 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1960

Toughie No 1960 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Welcome.  The sun is shining above the clouds and Warbler has provided a puzzle to ease us into the Toughie swing of things with nothing too spiky.  Well, I say nothing, but there was one which needed a little digging to understand.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  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    Base is where you’d expect it to be (3-4)
LOW-DOWN:  An adjective meaning base or despicable is, de-hyphenated, where the base of something would normally be

5a    Character showing concern about small library (7)
CALIBRE:  Concern or worry around (about) the abbreviation for (small) library

9a    This might lower temperature if, for example, used in open debate (3-12)
AIR-CONDITIONING:  Something that “if” is an example of (9) inside (used in) a public expression of a subject

10a   Note promotion about soft drink (4)
SODA:  A note of the sol-fa scale and a publicity promotion (abbreviated) reversed (about)

11a   Children in dispute (5)
ISSUE:  Two definitions: offspring, or a concern or problem

12a   Pray I have in part returned greeting (4)
HIYA:  This airy informal greeting is contained in part of the first bit of the clue reversed (returned)

15a   Fixers showing new adaptation of serial (7)
NAILERS:  N(ew) plus an anagram (adaptation) of SERIAL

16a   This is one item of clothing to cover over yuck (7)
TOUGHIE:  A man’s clothing accessory around (to cover): O(ver) and an expression of disgust.  It’s the name of the thing we’re discussing here in this very blog

17a   Lively movement of coloured horse prancing around zone (7)
SCHERZO:  This musical movement is an anagram (prancing) of C(oloured) and HORSE containing (around) Z(one)

19a   Disagreement after party leads to riotous din (7)
DISCORD:  After a dance party come the initial letters of (leads to) the last two words of the clue

21a   Answer objection to border (4)
ABUT:  A(nswer) and an objection.  Border is a verb

22a   Bobbin‘s small 6 rising (5)
SPOOL:  S(mall) followed by the reversal (rising) of the answer to 6d

23a   One of four in court (4)
QUAD:  A double definition.  One of a litter of four, or a courtyard

26a   Pressure on corrupt men with earlier debt that can be settled beforehand (15)
PREDETERMINABLE:  P(ressure) and an anagram (corrupt) of MEN with EARLIER DEBT

27a   Old interrupting suited characters turned out to be boring (7)
TEDIOUS:  The abbreviation for old inside (interrupting) an anagram (characters turned out) of SUITED

28a   Treatment of people in general holding chat (7)
THERAPY:  Those people containing (holding) an informal three-letter word meaning chat



1d    Alison and I contrived to have an affair (7)
LIAISON:  An anagram (contrived) of ALISON I

2d    Plane forever! (5,7,3)
WORLD WITHOUT END:  This is one I got from the checkers with “forever” as a guide, then had to ponder.  Just as I was asking Mr K about it, I saw what was going on (this is a known as a Gnoment, an instance of Gnome’s Law, after our very own Gnomethang).  It’s a reverse clue, where the answer gives a cryptic indication of “plane.”  Plane with an additional letter on the end is a heavenly body, given by the first word of the answer, while the subsequent two words tell us that the last letter is dropped.  (PLANEt = world without end).  Mr K was still useful though in remembering this as something Biblical; some Googling filled in the gaps: one of the translations of in saecula saeculorum, literally “unto the ages of ages” or forever

3d    Former pupil occasionally loses instrument (4)
OBOE:  An abbreviation for a former pupil goes before alternate letters (occasionally) of loses

4d    Girl’s in mounting shock seeing strippers (7)
NUDISTS:  A short form of a feminine name and the ‘S from the clue in the reversal (mounting) of shock or stupefy.  Do not click the image below if you are easily shocked

5d    Act out sequence in garment (7)
CATSUIT:  ACT anagrammed (out) and a sequence or set

6d    Ladies maybe initially perform this aerobatic manoeuvre (4)
LOOP:  A convenience (Ladies maybe) and the initial letter of perform

7d    BC expanded into Canadian territory (7,8)
BRITISH COLUMBIA:  The Canadian province abbreviated to BC expanded or given its complete name.  I didn’t write in the obvious answer for a while because it was far too obvious and I was sure it had to be misdirection

8d    Make deep impression in English party (7)
ENGRAVE:  An abbreviation of English plus a wild party

13d   Fruit juice for tennis star (5)
PERRY:  Some fermented fruit juice or Fred the former tennis player.  Image credit: Mrs Jalopy, Fifteensquared

14d   Search question is written in French (5)
QUEST:  An abbreviation of question and the French word for is.  The answer also happens to be there in full in plain sight in the clue

17d   Don’t move as guy starts to push us together (4,3)
STAY PUT:  A guy (rope) and the first letters of (starts to) the last three words of the clue

18d   Burden of work on newspapers (7)
OPPRESS:  Burden or afflict.  A work followed by newspapers in general

19d   Discharge soldiers — dull-looking one’s uncomplaining (7)
DOORMAT:  Discharge or carry out, our usual soldiers which aren’t officers, and a variant spelling of a word meaning unshiny

20d   Stranger visiting outskirts of Derby becomes unsteady (7)
DODDERY:  More peculiar inside (visiting) the outside letters of (outskirts of) Derby

24d   Note there’s a thousand heading march, not five hundred (4)
MEMO:  Take a short form of a protest march and swap the initial letter from one which is five hundred in Roman numerals to the one which is a thousand

25d   Outspoken relative betting one might up this (4)
ANTE:  Something someone betting might up.  Once in a blue moon a setter uses a sound-alike that is for me only a sound-a-bit-alike, and here, indicated by outspoken, is one.  This sounds in some accents like a female relative


Thanks to Warbler.  I couldn’t pick an out-and-out favourite here but did enjoy the moment I twigged the structure of 2d.  Which clues would you sing about?


35 comments on “Toughie 1960

  1. This was a 1* difficulty for me – with the exception of 13d which, shame be upon my general knowledge, it took me some time to think of, with the help of considerable alphabet-trawling at the end.

    I had no idea what was going on with 2d it turns out – in Dungeons & Dragons (I know, I know, what a wasted youth) a plane is more or less a “world”, so I didn’t feel much need to dig for further meaning. Still baffled though by 7d, which doesn’t seem to have any noticeable ambiguous meaning to the surface, making it effectively a straight definition.

    My favourite was probably 16a just because I like self-reflexive meta-crossword clues. Thanks Warbler and Kitty; also, nice to see people on Saturday, though I realised I wandered off in some confusion at the end without paying for my drink, which means by my calculations I owe you all one, redeemable the next time we meet.

  2. I had the same problem with 7d – just couldn’t see anything cryptic. Last in was 1a because I was struggling to justify born rather than looking for an alternative. Apart from that this was pretty straightforward despite the unhelpful grid, and all quite entertaining.

    Thanks to Kitty and Warbler

  3. Very gentle even with some slightly ‘odd’ clues especially, for different reasons, 2d and 7d. I had enough checkers to get 2d, and 7d was like one of those exam questions where it felt right but there were concerns that it was just too easy and the exam setter was being devious.

    I did have to resort to electronic assistance for 26a.

    Favourite – 19a.

    Thanks to Warbler and Kitty.

  4. This was pleasant enough but not really a 16a. At least I’m not the only one whinging about a homophone today. I presume that we’re meant to be misled into taking BC as British Council but it seems pretty weak. Top clue for me was 2d. Thanks to Warbler and Kitty.

  5. I thought this was a very nice not tough Toughie with 2d my favourite and 6d raising a smile. At the other end of the scale I didn’t like 17a as I don’t see why coloured can be used to clue a C, and my BRB agrees with me..

    Kitty talks about 25d including a sound-alike which is only a sound-a-bit-alike. For me it was a sound-not-at-all-alike!

    Many thanks to Warbler and to Kitty.

  6. A steady and orderly solve today, though I admit to not attempting to parse 2D. No favorites really, though 22A made me smile thinking back to the old hand operated machine I first learned to sew on. Thanks Kitty and Warbler.

  7. Definitely not a 16a – but I always enjoy Warbler’s puzzles. Favourite: 2d.

    ps. Did anyone watch “Only Connect” last night? I solved the crossword question straightaway. And the snow leopard also made an appearance.

    I wonder if Shamus had anything to do with it?

    1. Yes, I’m a keen fan of the programme, Stan.

      I thought it was interesting that neither team could spot the points of the compass “lurkers” at all, but it was meat and drink for us crossword solvers. Judging from Victoria Coren Mitchell’s love of that question, I suspect she’s a keen cruciverbalist too.

  8. Yes, I too felt a little short-changed on wordplay here and there, but then perhaps it has rather become the fashion to have it: I’d rather not see the death of the cryptic definition on the other hand!

    Many thanks to Warbler and Kitty.

  9. A mixed bag for me. The full explanation of 2d passed me by, and the one or two not very cryptic clues threw me for a while.
    Surely the dialectal homophone (25d) should be indicated in some way? Won’t be long before we have ‘sore finger’ for ‘salt and vinegar’ at this rate. Might work in a Chinese take-away, but even so…

    Many thanks to Warbler and to Kitty

  10. Yes, a 16a in name only as others have said, I can’t imagine that there has ever been an easier clue in a Toughie than 7d.

    A straightforward solve certainly, but very enjoyable nonetheless. My stand out favourite clue was 6d, I’m very surprised that our blogger didn’t nominate 5d as hers!

    Many thanks to Warbler and to Kitty, it was nice to see you on Saturday, I’m sorry we didn’t have much time to chat.

  11. I found this very enjoyable, but like others, on the gentler side. After my dismal showing last Friday, this was just what the doctor ordered. I was thinking what a nice change it was that the four letter clues were not overly challenging (although 24d (my last in) took me longer than it should have). I hesitated with 7d, and I had 2d long before I understood the wordplay. Many thanks to all.

  12. I haven’t done the toughie for a while (not sure why, to be honest) so I was grateful to the setter for a gentle reintroduction. I was, however, particularly grateful to Kitty for the explanation of 2d. The answer was obvious but the reason stumped me. Had I understood, it would have easily been my favourite. In its place, I liked the neat double definition in 23a.

  13. 25d taught me something more about my strange, mixed-up accent. When referring to that particular relative in the correct 4 letter way, the homophone wouldn’t work for me but, when using the familiar 5 or 6 letter version, it would. Perhaps the only occasions when I used the 4 letter version was in circumstances where I was expected to be on my best behaviour!

    Thanks to Warbler for an enjoyable but not too demanding puzzle and many thanks to our Girl Tuesday both for the blog and the detailed explanation of 2d. Have to confess that I hadn’t looked into it that deeply – lucky for us that our Kitties have such enquiring minds.

  14. We also confess to not fully sorting out the wordplay for 2d. Meant to come back to it later and then forgot. Gentle and fun sums it up for us.
    Thanks Warbler and Kitty.

  15. A gentle saunter today without much resistance rather than a 16a. Not too keen on the illustration hints for 4d – ugh! Chat synonym in 28a new one on me and needed help with parsing of 9a and 17a. As Kitty says, 25d probably only obvious to the Northerners amongst us. Thank you Warbler and Kitty.

    1. The bonus picture for 4d is awful and I wouldn’t have included it … only it made me laugh, and laughter is rarely a bad thing so I hid it behind a warning. (Those poor animals!) If you meant the trio in front, well, they don’t look the cutest but apparently those cats have lovely natures.

  16. We did wonder if this was a toughie. Thanks to Kitty for the explanation of the gnome business, but I’m [G] ashamed to say that it went over me head. Thanks to Warbler for the entertainment.

  17. I have had a good run at the back page so following Dutch’s recommendation I had a go at this too. Did quite well on my own but read the hints to finish a few. I agree with other comments that some clues were quite easy but still a good way to while away the time. 2d was filled on early doors and although I didn’t see the truncated first word I justified it in my mind with a geometric view of plane that goes on forever.
    6d I had in mind the answer but lacked the confidence to put it in until I got to 22a.
    The 25d homophone was ok by me.
    Thanks to Warbler and Kitty for the extra workout. I will endeavour to try the toughie more often when I can get hands on the dead tree version.

  18. Even I agree that this wasn’t a tough 16a and I enjoyed it a lot.
    However tough (or not) I’m always for a Toughie that boosts the morale and this one did exactly that.
    I admit to giving up on adding up the right number of letters from here, there and everywhere to understand why my 26a was right.
    13d – fruit juice? I seem to remember that the stuff my parents made from the pears in our orchard was forbidden until we were older!
    I’m usually the last one to argue about homophones but I have to say that for 25d to work one has to be a long way north of Oxford.
    I particularly liked 1a and 2 and 6d. My favourite was 17d.
    Thanks to Warbler and to Kitty.

    1. Yes, I didn’t want to weigh into the homophone debate. Given the multiplicity of accents, there’s a place for debating what is reasonable in a crossword clue but I haven’t enjoyed the tone of some recent comments on the subject.

      1. I think the homophone was fine. I am not far enough North to use that pronunciation but obvious from the clue. Betting in the clue gave me “Up the ante” which led me to the relative which with the other (more usual) pronunciation is a crossword favourite. I thought “Outspoken” was a clue to the homophone but I may be wrong.

        1. You’re right about the indicator being “outspoken” Wanda. I’ll add it into the hint for completeness – thanks.

  19. Messed up the SE corner I m afraid.
    Wrote Colombia in the second part of 7d and had Dothery in 20d. A bit of a mix between dithery and doddery but the parsing of Other for stranger kind of worked.
    No need to tell you that with both checkers wrong, I just couldn’t get 23a.
    Oh well. Better luck tomorrow hopefully.
    Favourite 2d also.
    Thanks to Warbler and to Kitty.

  20. I enjoyed this Toughie, so no complaints from me. Generally speaking, I still find many Toughie setters cluing difficult to unravel, so the occasional offering from Warbler and her ilk give the likes of me some much needed encouragement. Well clued with some nice laugh out loud moments. Thank you Warbler and thank you Kitty too.

  21. Maybe a ** for difficulty here because I ran out of steam in the SE corner. It’s late, I’m tired… Can rising really indicate a reversal in 22ac? I’m not convinced, though nobody else seems to have picked up on it so perhaps it’s just me. 26ac I think was the only clue to cause any really difficulties. Last in the tennis player who I dragged up from the depths of my memory and then remembered the drink.

    1. In 22a I think the ‘rising’ applies to 6d, i.e. after the S(mall) we need the letters of 6d from the bottom upwards (rising).

  22. Thanks to Warbler and to Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, I don’t mind that it was not really a 16a, my favourite clue. Needed the hints to parse 1&26a, and 2&6d. Last in was 13d. Was 1*/4* for me.

  23. I never do the Toughie. I may have looked at it a few times but seemed very mysterious to me. However this morning I decided to have a go as lately the backpagers have been over all to quick. What a surprise! I found it easier than many other cryptics I have attempted and solved in 1.5 time. Was stuck on the cricketer and just as I was about to give it and look at Kitty’s excellent hints (having googled Berry and found a tennis player which did not seem right) the answer came to me. Have heard of Fred Perry who had a brand of tennis wear I think, but it was the juice which through me. Used to get tipsy on it in my teens I think. Knew 17a likely to be musical. Was one I had not heard of but was do-able. Glad I got 26 and 27a as I was convinced before then that the last word of 2d was day as in World Something Day. Once I had the last word I got the answer not from the shortened planet but from remembering the doxology recited in Church ending “World Without End, Amen”. Shall try again today but fear it was a lucky fluke. Thanks Warbler for singing in tune with me and Kitty for assisting with parsing.

Comments are closed.