Toughie 1988 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1988

Toughie No 1988 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating  –  Difficulty ** –  Enjoyment ***


Hello, you beautiful people.  I hope life is treating you well.  It’s Tuesday, it’s Toughieland, and once again our puzzles editor has taken to the setting seat to provide our entertainment.

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    Stun fat animal injecting drugs regularly (11)
FLABBERGAST:  Some fat and a word for an animal containing (injecting) regular letters of drugs

9a    Nasty about making democratic choice to get student in (9)
REVOLTING:  Two letters for about or concerning, then exercising a democratic right which encloses (to getin) the letter denoting a learner

10a   Tailor‘s bill upset father with suit in the end (5)
ADAPT:  A publicity bill and a short word for father reversed (upset) with the last letter (in the end) of suit

11a   Couch potato going round happy on vacation is awkward (6)
BOLSHY:  The reversal (going round) of a slovenly person followed by the outer letters (on vacation) of happy

12a   Upbeat article penned by troubled genius (8)
SANGUINE:  A grammatical article inside an anagram (troubled) of GENIUS

13a   This look I’ve fashioned could be evangelic (6)
GLANCE:  The answer with IVE can together make an anagram of (could be) evANGELiC

15a   Back complaint by power plant (8)
PLUMBAGO:  Rheumatic back pain next to P(ower)

18a   Puzzle solved by opening letters (8)
ACROSTIC:  A cryptic representation of something taking initial characters

19a   Prepare to play one at Roland-Garros in set after review (4,2)
TUNE UP:  Roland-Garros is the French Open, but you need only the French part to solve the clue.  Take a word for one there and insert it into a word meaning set or placed, reversed (after review)

21a   Scrap broken hot tub ultimately found in shopping centre (8)
MOTHBALL:  An anagram (broken) of HOT and the last letter (ultimately) of tub found inside a shopping area

23a   Heavy food, say, Dorothy’s sent back (6)
STODGE:  Two letters meaning say or for example and a shortened form of Dorothy together with the ‘S all reversed (sent back)

26a   Report that could get Eloise into Jeff Lynne’s band? (5)
NOISE:  ELOise with ** *** (no ISE) becomes a rock band formed in 1970 by Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood with Bev Bevan

27a   Evil highwayman nearly died during short day (9)
TURPITUDE:  Most of (nearly) a highwayman and D(ied) inside (during) an abbreviation (short) of a day such as today

28a   Program to start making bed? (11)
SPREADSHEET:  A type of computing software becomes, when split (6,5), to lay some bedding out flat



1d    Shoot with passion — one finds matches exciting (7)
FIREBUG:  Shoot (a gun etc.) plus a passion or enthusiasm (as in, I have got the crossword ***) gives an informal term for an arsonist

2d    Block a six, caught by New Zealand’s number four (5)
ANVIL:  A from the clue and then the Roman way of writing six in between (caught by) N(ew) and the fourth letter of Zealand

3d    Charge yokels for American comedian (4,5)
BILL HICKS:  A written account of money owed and some country bumpkins

4d    Rotten, heartless attack (4)
RAID:  A synonym of rotten without the middle two letters (NC) (heartless)

5d    Good university to be sited in type of farmland — that’s contentious (8)
ARGUABLE:  G(ood) and U(niversity) inside (to be sited in) an adjective describing a type of farmland

6d    Relish adopting wife’s accent (5)
TWANG:  Relish or piquancy taking in (adopting) W(ife)

7d    Active and about to collect £200 on board? (2,3,2)
ON THE GO:  If the board in question is a Monopoly board then this is the place to collect £200

8d    Teasing graduate gained ground (8)
BADINAGE:  A graduate and an anagram (ground) of GAINED

14d   Landing-place publicises holiday (8)
AIRSTRIP:  Split into two words, the answer could mean publicises (4) holiday (5)

16d   Unit moans about range (9)
MOUNTAINS:  The letters of UNIT MOANS jumbled up (about)

17d   One might vandalise instrument — flipping rubbish! (8)
VIOLATOR:  A stringed instrument followed by the reversal (flipping) of rubbish or nonsense

18d   Mass held by a hermit for social worker (7)
ALMONER:  M(ass) contained in (held by) the A from the clue and one who eschews company

20d   Pressure European court supporting official and responsible youngster (7)
PREFECT:  After P(ressure), we have abbreviations for European and court after (supporting, in a down clue) a short form of an official, perhaps a football one

22d   Be thankful for journalist leaving actor Brian? (5)
BLESS:  An actor, writer and presenter called Brian minus our usual journalist.  Gordon’s alive!

24d   American captured by unknown person is put out (5)
DOUSE:  American (2) inside a name given to someone whose identity is unknown or withheld

25d   Sea-creature, not large, damaged coral (4)
ORCA:  We end with an anagram (damaged) of CORAl without L(arge)


Thanks to Samuel.  I liked the anagram indicator in 12a, but couldn’t otherwise select a favourite, finding it just a fun solve all round.  How was it for you?


37 comments on “Toughie 1988

  1. I found this rather easy, perhaps even a * difficulty, but as you say a fun solve ll round. I particularly liked the column that had both Bill and Brian in it, heroes the pair of them. Thanks Samuel & Kitty.

  2. A moderatle easy solve for me today, although I did have to sit and think about 11a for a while. Then there was my usual struggle with GK – I thought Roaland-Garros might be a manufacturer of electronic synthesizers for a while – that is how bad it can be! Then I had never heard of 3d or Jeff Lynnes although I had heard of 22d as my memory coughed up watching Z-Cars in the early 60’s when I was just a youngster still living in the UK. Sometimes trivia must stick.

    Thanks to Kitty for the blog and the setter of course.

  3. Well, I managed to complete this entertaining puzzle but I still can’t understand 26a.

      1. A good choice of music, Kitty.

        It could have been:

      2. I’m a Toughie behind at present. Your pictures get more and more hilarious, Kitty!

  4. “Old Ron” seems to be very busy! Yesterday’s back-pager and today’s Toughie! And all the chores of being the Crossword Editor!

    Liked the Roland-Garros one! A nice variation!

    1. In Chris Lancaster’s own words
      And please, no ‘Sir Ron’. Just plain old ‘Ron’ is more fitting!

      You need to examine the punctuation marks a little more closely

  5. Gentle and enjoyable – thanks Samuel and Kitty. I wasn’t convinced by the definition of 21a – I think that the answer means to wrap up and keep rather than to scrap. I didn’t know the American comedian but got the name from the wordplay and checking letters.

  6. Not a great stretch from a difficult back pager. A just right early week Toughie. Thanks to Samuel and thanks to Kitty.

  7. Very enjoyable, although some head scratching required and finishing off the NW had to wait until after a decent night’s sleep had been had; so, I would rate this as ***/***.

    I am inclined to agree with Gazza on 21a’s definition; in my experience, there is a decided difference between scrap and the answer.

    Thanks to Samuel and Kitty.

    I definitely did not know the American comedian; without checkers, I was thinking Cosby, then I got the synonym for yokels which was then confirmed as the individual by Google.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 1a and 19a.

  8. I enjoyed this very much. 1a and 1d came to me relatively early on, and I was off and running. I was not familiar with the American comedian in 3d, nor the actor in 22d, but the checkers, word play, and Google led me there without too much difficulty. I had the pleasure and satisfaction of being able to finish (more than I can claim for yesterday’s ‘backpager’). I think 17d gets my vote for favorite. Many thanks to all, and especially to Samuel and Kitty.

  9. Many thanks Samuel, very enjoyable, lots of varied and interesting clues. I liked Roland-Garros and Jeff Lynne and the New Zealand clue.

    Hadn’t come across the american comedian, makes interesting reading.

    Many thanks Kitty

  10. Well we seem to be being treated to a CL-fest at the moment, and I for one am not complaining.

    18d and 27a both new words for me, but clued well enough for me to look them up.

    Favourite was 8d – we’ve seen that clued so many times as ***-**-***, so a nice surprise, plus ‘gained ground’. Perfect.

    Many thanks to Samuel and to Kitty for the blog.

  11. Sorry, but the shortened form of Tuesday is TUES so it marrs an otherwise brilliant 27a. Like others, have never heard of 3d. Was he any good?

  12. I needed the blog for the parsing of 26A, even though I knew the band. I’ve never heard of the American comedian either . I liked 19A, 8D and 24D in particular. Thanks Kitty and Samuel.

  13. Don’t know whether I should feel ashamed to admit that I had never heard of the 26a person or his band but Mr Google was able to help me there. Favourite has to be 2d of course.
    Thanks Samuel and Kitty.

  14. A fastish solve but enjoyable with it – 1.5*/3*.

    We hadn’t heard of 3d but Mr Google confirmed our answer. Liked 13a 26a.

    Thanks to Samuel and Kitty.

  15. Didn’t quite make the last leap to fully parse 26a despite having got the band connection – now duly banging head against wall. I’m pleased that I wasn’t alone in not knowing the American comedian but the wordplay made it easy to guess and then look up his name.

    Like others, I was doubtful about the definition in 21a but in all other respects the puzzle was most enjoyable.
    Top three slots went to 28a plus 5&7d.

    Thanks to Ron in his Samuel guise and to our Girl Tuesday in her usual catsuit. Slightly disappointed that you didn’t come up with a pic of a cat making the bed!

    1. Not making the bed on its own, but I can do you one “helping” with the process. I’ve replaced the picture especially for you.

      1. That’s more like it – and a well remembered scenario! Thank you.

        A thousand apologies, I missed your clever 18a. You must sometimes wonder why you bother making so much effort………

        1. Why I bother? It’s a pleasure . The added extras are the fun bits. The bulk of the work goes on the hints proper, because I think it’s important that they should be as accurate and helpful as possible.

          I don’t normally mind if people miss things, but have to admit I was hoping that somebody would spot this one. Never mind!

          (Memories of the intro to a certain 7 themed blog a couple of years ago … There, my main concern was that people could think I’d write that badly without constraints!)

      1. Thanks Colin. I was quite pleased with it, mainly because I’m normally really rubbish at that sort of thing.

    1. The pic that you used for 14d also brought back memories. In a previous incarnation I used to frequently fly from Auckland to Gisborne and it was always in one’s mind that there might possibly be a train due at the same time as one’s flight.

  16. A wrong envelope day here – this took about half the time of the main cryptic. Enjoyable throughout, LOI 4d. I did see 3d live back in the day, and very good he was too, so perhaps I had an unfair advantage. :-)

  17. I was watching an old rerun of “The Onedin Line” (I was at BRNC Dartmouth at the time, and we often saw Cap’n Baines in the Dartmouth Arms) so this took me into 3* time. Enjoyable, though, and my particular favourites were 27a and 18d. Thanks to Samuel and Kitty.

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