Toughie 1986 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1986

Toughie No 1986 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

An enjoyable puzzle which was not too difficult but which was never a doddle

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Armed soldiers annoy police, interrupted by separate odd bits of fire (5,5)
RIFLE CORPS: Insert the letters F and R (the odd bits of fire) separately into words meaning ‘to annoy’ (4) and ‘policemen’ (4) to give a body of armed soldiers

6a    Display special methodology (4)
SHOW: S (special) + ‘methodology’

9a    Busy at the back pinching rings (5)
AFOOT: ‘At the back (of a boat)’ round OO (rings)

10a    Molten metal core not an early development? (9)
LATECOMER: An anagram (molten) of METAL CORE

12a    One working to rule in demonstration about working (7)
MONARCH: A demonstration (5) round ‘working’ (2)

13a    According to text, you are in hat that’s sensational (5)
LURID: ‘You are’ as it might appear in a text message inside a hat

15a    Traveller detailed building filth (in both instances) (7)
PILGRIM: A building (4) and ‘filth’ (5) both with the last letter removed (de-tailed)

17a    One pound kept back in pay increase? That’s ridiculous (7)
RISIBLE: I (one) and a reversal of the abbreviation for a pound (weight) inside a pay increase

19a    As for this, it can be disseminated in scare (7)
ARSENIC: Here As is an atomic symbol. An anagram (disseminated) of IN SCARE

21a    Crow: small creature with tail? (7)
SWAGGER: ‘To crow’ = S (small) + a word that might mean an animal that moves its tail about

22a    Hopes tomatoes will be used in bottling this sauce (5)

24a    Odd item in tirade about men at sea (7)
REMNANT: A tirade round an anagram (at sea) of MEN

27a    Negligence, disregarding a team’s initial purpose (9)
INTENTION: Take an 11-letter word meaning ‘negligence’ and remove A T (first letter of TEAM)

28a    Beat up on return to London college (5)
PULSE: A reversal of UP + the abbreviated form of the name of a constituent college of the University of London

29a    Mistake that could make man mad? (4)
TYPO: A cryptic definition for a printing error such as when ‘man’ is printed as ‘mad’

30a    Introduction of desk job saving first male from military action (10)
DEPLOYMENT: D (first letter of DESK) + ‘job’ (10) with its first letter M (male) omitted


1d    Way adult is apprehended by staff (4)
ROAD: A (adult) inside a staff

2d    Mood changes probing documents identifying ecological concern (4,5)
FOOD MILES: An anagram (changes) of MOODS inside documents

3d    Each item in cupboard makes you decide against visiting restaurant (3,2)
EAT IN: ‘Each’ (2) + an item that might be found in a food cupboard

4d    Fuel container, unusual, at bottom of ruined lido (3,4)
OIL DRUM: An anagram (ruined) of LIDO + ‘unusual’

5d    Longing to fill a jug (7)
PITCHER: A longing (4) inside ‘a’ (3)

7d    Poet in reading for schoolchildren? (5)
HOMER: An ancient Greek poet. I’m assuming that it must also be reading that schoolchildren do at their place of residence though I’m not aware of this usage. I have learnt from Google that it’s the name of an app designed to teach kids how to read.

8d    Cynical concern about a weld coming loose (5-5)
WORLD-WEARY: A concern round an anagram (coming loose) of A WELD

11d    Instrument of particular quality chopped up, gaining cheers (7)
CELESTA: A keyboard instrument = a reversal of ‘of particular quality’ after the last letter has been removed + ‘Cheers!’

14d    Religious figure about to address God with quiet work on graffiti? (5-5)
SPRAY-PAINT: A religious figure (5) round ‘to address god’ (4) and P (quiet)

16d    List, being ramshackle? (3-4)
RUN-DOWN: 2 meanings: a list or statement bringing together all the main items/ramshackle or dilapidated

18d    Crowd absorbed by a lot of dancing in lightweight piece (9)
BAGATELLE: A crowd (3) inside a type of dancing (6) with the last letter removed

20d    I’d raised temperature in centre? This produces explosion (7)
CORDITE: A reversal of I’D and T (temperature’ inside ‘middle’ = an explosive

21d    Mike, in breaking lock, shows key (7)
SEMINAL: M (Mike) and IN inside ‘lock’ = ‘key’ or ‘influential’

23d    Organisation — and in Bordeaux — involved in booze? (3-2)
SET-UP: The French word for ‘and’ inside ‘to booze’

25d    Address seemingly without a rent (5)
APPLY: Remove A RENT from a 10-letter word meaning ‘seemingly’

26d    Try taking up group therapy at the outset (4)
TEST: A reversal of a group + T (first letter of therapy)

I’m off to warm the TV up so I can see if any of today’s investments prove worthwhile .

28 comments on “Toughie 1986

  1. Pleasant puzzle – thanks to Kcit and Bufo.
    I thought the wordplay for 7d was HOME (in) + R(eading).

  2. All started off well for me on this puzzle but then it slowed down quite a bit. I am not sure why as looking back when finished it didn’t seem as tough as it did in the middle of solving it!

    It seemed a bit trickier than yesterday’s puzzle for me.

    Ah well, a good time was had despite my troubles here and there.

  3. Parsed 7d the same as Gazza, and in 18d the crowd is (4) I think.
    thanks to Kcit and Bufo

  4. This was a nice crossword to while away some time and coffee on a grim, grey, wet South Yorkshire morning.

    We had a little trouble with 11d, with us remembering only the alternative -e spelling. We parsed 7d the same way as Gazza.

    Our favourites were 11d itself, 21d and, best of the lot, 21a. 29a would have been our winner if ‘n’ and ‘d’ were next to each other on the keyboard but, sadly, they aren’t.

    We’re learning to like Kcit, but often find it’s a slow start, fast middle and slow end prising out the last two or three answers.

    Thanks to Kcit and Bufo.

  5. This one didn’t cause many worries although I was slow to get 28a&25d and was uncertain of the parsing of 7d – Gazza’s interpretation works well for me.

    Top two were the simple 6a and the tail-wagging Crow.

    Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo – hope your investments produce a reasonable return.

    PS The enumeration for the 18d crowd needs a slight adjustment.

  6. I found this very enjoyable. I was able to finish, but I did need Bufo’s review to understand some of the parsings (7d for instance). My last in were 25d and 30a. Many thanks to Kcit and Bufo.

  7. 7d. How does the 3 letter part = a?

    Best clue by a mile 21a. The only time the corners of my mouth twitched up.

    Thanks to Bufo and Kcit.

      1. Sorry about the typo. Yes, thanks for that. Don’t recall coming accords that one before. :-)

  8. Got 18d eventually but couldn’t understand the reasoning given as I understood” gate “as crowd and “ballet “for the lot of dancing, but where does it indicate the last letter removal? Would appreciate your explanation as it is bugging me, many thanks

    1. Welcome to the blog, Ian.
      ‘A lot of’ means all but the last letter of. So ‘a lot of dancing’ is balle[t].

  9. I haven’t much to add to the above. Had an easier ride than usual with this setter, which was nice. 7d after a bit of thought I understood as per Gazza.

    Thanks to Kcit and Bufo.

  10. Got off to a rapid start but slowed down in SE

    17a confused me, I was taking “kept … in” as the containment indicator which seemed to me to imply one + pound should be reversed, i.e. BLI rather than IBL. I guess you have to read “kept back” as the reversal.

    30a “from” made me wince

    I liked 5d, 8d, 21d, 27a, and 29a. Though in the latter, i’d have liked it if the swapped letters were closer on a keyboard.

    Many thanks bufo especially for 18d, where i got stuck on ‘a lot of dancing’ = ball, wondering where the E came from.

    And thanks very much Kcit for an enjoyable puzzle

  11. Finished within a reasonable UK time today. I solved 2D correctly though I need to google to see the definition. Mu favorites are 21A and 29A. Thanks Kcit. that was fun. And thanks to Bufo for the review.

  12. We thought that this one was a lot of fun. Certainly took some cogitation on many of the clues but they did eventually all fall into place. Last one to fall was 25d where it took us ages to spot how it worked.
    Thanks Kcit and Bufo.

  13. A nice crossword and nothing much more to add really.
    I didn’t understand my answer to 7 or 11d. Still don’t quite get 7d and I was just being dim with 11d.
    I had trouble with 14d – didn’t realise for a very long time that the religious figure was all of him rather than just the usual abbreviation i.e. the first and last letters of the answer which left me with a few spare letters wafting around.
    I particularly liked 28 and 29a (eventually).
    Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo.

  14. We liked this a lot, it slowed down in SW corner but we got there when we got to the pub . As per 7d we prefer Gazza’s interpretation but had considered Bufo’s (neither totally satisfactory). Thanks to all involved with the help and to Kcit too.

  15. Should really change my email as it takes ages to put it back in every time I try to post.
    Learned a few new expressions today in 2d and 8d mainly. Might have seen 20d before but didn’t remember.
    Liked the little story in 14d.
    Liked the concise 5d.
    Liked the lurker in 22a.
    Favourite 29a for the penny drop moment.
    Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo for the review.

  16. Having enforced bed rest after ‘flu so tried the Toughie for the first time ever today and guess what?!! I finished it all my own self. Can’t believe it.

    Like others I needed the blog for an explanation for 7d. My favourite was 30a. Many thanks to all.

  17. Lots of fun from Kcit, with the SE corner perhaps a little trickier than the rest. Ironically, the software on the Puzzles Site is insisting that 29ac is TYPE.

  18. 2*/4* for my money, although the musical instrument was a new one to me. 21a made me laugh (No1 springer gave me a demonstration at exactly the right time, which was nice). Thanks to Kcit and Bufo (and Sweep).

  19. Yep, I too enjoyed this offering from Kcit – great fun and most entertaining, as indeed was yesterday’s one from the Petitjean legacy, which I hadn’t got around to making comment on previously. A good Toughie week for me personally – I wonder what tomorrow might bring? Thanks to setters and blog writers.

    1. Yes! Forgot to mention that yesterday. (Was commenting when out, during one of the rare windows when Cloudflare allowed me to do so via phone.)

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