Toughie 1992 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1992

Toughie No 1992 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating  –  Difficulty * –  Enjoyment ****


Hi all, I hope life is treating you well.  While I don’t like to give one star for difficulty I can’t honestly give this more as it all slipped in in a time I’d be pretty pleased with for a back page puzzle.  However I did much enjoy it and it is a Tuesday, so it’s all fine by me.  Not that it was without potential sticky spots (I only remembered the last bit of 19a from previous crosswords, and doubtless there were other devices to trip up those unused to traversing Toughie terrain).  So to those without the proper boots I’d say: come on over and give it a go — and ignore my rating!

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    Group  anaesthetic (6)
NUMBER:  Two definitions, the second being the whimsical crossword meaning of the answer

5a    Unreal contorted visual lie has no answer (8)
ILLUSIVE:  An anagram (contorted) of VISUaL LIE with no A[nswer]

9a    Rebound with wealthy alien seizing company (8)
RICOCHET:  Wealthy and an abbreviation for a word meaning alien (and of course the name of a famous film alien) containing (seizing) the abbreviation for company

10a   With hands on hips, regularly talk big and upset mob (6)
AKIMBO:  Regular letters of talk big and an anagram (upset) of MOB

11a   Death around third of March is a loss (8)
DECREASE:  Death or demise around the third letter of March

12a   Scandinavian governor dictates essentially (6)
NORDIC:  The answer is contained in the middle words of the clue (essentially)

13a   Greek god’s wickedly poisoned (8)
POSEIDON:  An anagram (wickedly) of POISONED

15a   In delicate health, senator returns with husband (4)
NESH:  An abbreviation of senator is written backward (returns) and followed by H[usband] to give a dialect word which I had heard (applied to us southerners!) as meaning soft or feeble, and which the dictionary confirms can also mean delicate in one’s health

17a   Speak out almost immediately (4)
STAT:  Most of (almost) a word meaning to declare is an abbreviation for the Latin (statim) meaning immediately.  I admit I did have to look up this meaning of the answer in the dictionary

19a   Poet William and French marshal joined Orczy’s hero (8)
BLAKENEY:  Joining the English poet William and the surname of a French marshal produces the character by Baroness Emma Orczy who had a colourful alter ego

20a   Reportedly checks rules (6)
REIGNS:  A homophone (reportedly) of checks in the sense of controls or curbs

21a   Baffle breaches in dugouts (8)
FOXHOLES:  A charade of baffle or confound and breaches or openings

22a   Possessing sex appeal is trendy! (4,2)
WITH IT:  Another neat charade of possessing and a two-letter word that can mean sex appeal

23a   Supporter of Cromwell perhaps provoked derision (8)
IRONSIDE:  An anagram (provoked) of DERISION.  A member of parliamentarian cavalry

24a   Scoffing father turned into sleazy bar (8)
DERISIVE:  Father (4, either a formal noun or a verb) reversed (turned) and inserted into a downmarket drinking establishment

25a   Procedure could become messy over time (6)
SYSTEM:  This makes an anagram of (could become) MESSY around (over) T[ime]



2d    Everyone posh is never drunk (8)
UNIVERSE:  Everyone or everything: a single letter which can mean posh and an anagram (drunk) of IS NEVER

3d    Wordy life drawing! (8)
BIOGRAPH:  A portrait of a person’s life in written form.  (More commonly seen with a Y added to the end)

4d    Tries in actual practice (9)
REHEARSAL:  Inside a word meaning actual or concrete is a word meaning tries in the legal sense

5d    At the critical moment imprisoned by sentence (2,3,4,2,4)
IN THE NICK OF TIME:  The first three words of the answer mean imprisoned, the next can mean by, and the last a (prison) sentence

6d    Why when spoken is variable (7)
UNKNOWN:  A type of mathematical variable sounds like (when spoken) “why”

7d    Independent male, unassuming but boastful (8)
IMMODEST:  Abbreviations for independent and male precede a word meaning unassuming to produce its opposite

8d    One banishes spirits from former soldiers sitting on tomb (8)
EXORCIST:  A prefix meaning former and our usual non-commissioned soldiers are followed by (sitting on, in a down clue) a four-letter word which Chambers tells me is a tomb consisting of a stone chest covered with stone slabs

14d   Unusually old bison united with ox in offensive (9)
OBNOXIOUS:  An anagram (unusually) of O[ld] BISON U[nited] with OX

15d   Contracted new road to be constructed around centre of Derby (8)
NARROWED:  NEW ROAD anagrammed (to be constructed) around the middle letter of (centre of) Derby

16d   Bolt possibly with second copier (8)
SPRINTER:  An abbreviation for second and a copier

17d   Outline of small horse climbing in South Island (8)
SYNOPSIS:  S[mall] and a horse (a small one, as it happens) both reversed (climbing) in between S[outh] and an abbreviation for island

18d   One present at function two hours before noon departs before middle of speech (8)
ATTENDEE:  Join together two before noon (2,3, including the implied preposition), D[eparts] and the middle two letters of speech

19d   One-armed outlaws? (7)
BANDITS:  These outlaws when preceded by “one-armed” are the name of a type of gambling machine


Thanks to Warbler for a puzzle which I found brimming with fun and applied with a light touch.  Now I’m a bit morally opposed to cryptic definitions unsupported by wordplay, but we can’t all live up to our own standards (I certainly can’t) and my favourite today has to be the life drawing in 3d.  Which examples of the setter’s art did you find most pleasing?


44 comments on “Toughie 1992

  1. Well, I thought I may have made a mistake and was solving the back pager as this was a very easy ride today for a toughie – compared with last friday’s ;). All over a bit quickly.

    Thanks to Kitty and the setter.

  2. Let me be the first to admit this wasn’t a tough Toughie , but since I am a one finger typist , I’ll probably be pipped at the post .
    Gosh it was fun , though . I took a while to remember the French General .
    Thanks to Warbler and Kitty .

  3. Very straightforward even by Tuesday standards, but I don’t begrudge that particularly on a day when the Guardian puzzle was very difficult. The second part of 8d was new to me but easy enough to check.

    Thanks to Kitty and Warbler

  4. This was definitely a light fluffy “Toughie” but it was a lot of fun. I was worried at first when I solved the old chestnut that is 1a, but it all got better and better after that.

    I learnt two new words from my BRB: the answer to 15a; and the tomb in 8d. I managed to drag some Latin from the recesses of my memory to help me answer 17a.

    5d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Warbler and to Kitty.

  5. It could be that I’m just being grumpy but I didn’t enjoy this a great deal. Some of the surfaces (e.g. 5a, 6d and 8d) aren’t very meaningful. I can’t see anything cryptic in 19a – it just seems to be two bits of GK joined together to make a third bit of GK.
    Thanks to Warbler and Kitty.

    1. Yep – you are being grumpy. Correct no doubt but nevertheless grumpy!
      Perhaps you’re just hoping that the Easter Bunny will feel sorry for you and bring extra chocolate eggs?

    2. Can’t help but agree with you about 19a, and not really a toughie. It’s nice to see some new (happy) faces over on this side though.

  6. A dose of good fun from Warbler – much appreciated.
    Managed to hold back from starting to investigate Scandinavian governors in 12a but did check on my answers to 17&19a along with the endings of both 3&8d.

    14a made me smile but top billing went to the one-armed outlaws – neatly done.

    Many thanks to Warbler and to our Girl Tuesday – a very happy Easter to you too!
    PS Loved Poseidon’s cat.

  7. Yes indeed this was more fun than the Cryptic today. RD’s two new words were also additions to my vocabulary as was 17a (my rusty Latin let me down). 1a is definitely becoming chestnutty in various guises. Thank you Warbler and Kitty.

  8. Pesky double unches. No complaints though a very pleasant solve, Thank you Warbler and Kitty.

  9. Well!! That was all a bit bizarre!! On recommendation from the back-page blog, I decided to have a dart at this and actually found it easier than the back-pager, which in itself was one of the easiest that I have seen.
    Still, I am not complaining as whatever the level that’s my first completed, unaided Toughie.
    Hard to choose a favourite, but I will go with 10a, nice word.
    Thanking Kitty in advance for the blog and the setter.

    1. Me too, I also popped over on recommendation from the back page blog and this is my first ever toughie too. And yes, I enjoyed solving it and feel proud of my achievement, even though it might have been an easier one. Am smiling here! 😊

  10. Yes, a nice one! I dont often manage to complete the Toughie (sometimes not even the back page} but today both went down a treat! Yeehaa! Thanks to setter and Kitty.

  11. I am in tandem with Hoofit as a back pager who rarely finishes a toughie unaided but this was a real pleasure and done in a sitting without consulting the hints. Thanks nevertheless to Kitty for explaining a few and prompting some research of french generals. Warbler too for a fun puzzle.
    Lots of great clues 5d first in 24a last. 10a and 15a faves but 15a by a (cold wet)nose if only because sisters dog was always accused of being a bit nesh as he was often reluctant to go out in bad weather.

  12. Thoroughly enjoyed this, completed at a very steady pace and it’s very encouraging now and again to have a not overly tough Toughie which hopefully gives a boost to those of us who struggle to finish usually. This is only the second one that I have completed without the hints or electronic help. Usually, time plays a factor too as other things take precedence, but this was a very pleasant accompaniment to a late afternoon cuppa.
    Thanks to Warbler and Kitty

  13. We agree, a very fluffy offering but fun with it.

    Two things on 15a. First, it’s a word that’s still in common usage here in South Yorkshire. Second, we thought this was a three-way clue as it’s also a reverse lurker, indicates by “returns”. Extremely clever and worth a star of appreciation/enjoyment on its own.

    Thanks to Warbler and to Kitty for the review.

    1. I can’t say that interpretation of 15a would work for me – the h is part of the definition and so not available to play an isolated part in the wordplay, and that would also leave the husband doing nothing. Which … no, I don’t think I’ll add anything else!

      1. Have to admit that I spotted the ‘rekrul’ first and it led to a bit of confusion – wish I’d thought of the husband doing nothing, maybe that’s exactly what Warbler had in mind!

  14. Me too, yes, rather a breeze for a Toughie. It’s still a very nice puzzle however.

    1. Definitely a one *, but a nice late-night offering (mostly during the England:Italy match). I didn’t know the word in 16a, but got all four letters from the other answers! Didn’t like 7d much.

  15. Many thanks to Warbler, although it was only a one pinter, but injudicious ‘bunging in’ might have lead an unawarey astray.
    17a built itself and wasn’t in Chambers; 19a – GK + GK= GK so not great 🙄; and NO CATS?
    Many thanks to Kitty 😺

  16. We learnt three new 4-letter words, 15a 17a and the second half of 8d. With each one we had thought “Surely that is not a word” and in each case a check in BRB showed that it was. All went together without major delays and a pleasant experience.
    Thanks Warbler and Kitty.

    1. For me it was 2 1/2 new ones – 15a and the 8d. I knew the 17a, but thought it was American for something, so was surprised it was a derivation I ought to have recognised from the Latin. Always nice to learn something while having fun! Many thanks to Kitty & Warbler.

    2. I always welcome a fluffy Toughie. Like 2Ks I learnt some new words as well. Didn’t 16d appear recently on the back page? Thank you Warbler and Kitty.

      1. He may well have done but I couldn’t possibly risk further comment for fear that a certain lady might appear to whisk me off to the naughty corner with no cake!

  17. Probably too late to get a response ~ but I don’t understand 6d. The answer doesn’t sound like “why”. Anyone still awake?

  18. Very easy, and enjoyable it must be said, a * for difficulty. Slightly spoiled in the online version because the apostrophe is missing from 13ac, which means we’re looking for Greek gods. I’m guessing they’re stripping all apostrophes for technical reasons, as they always seem to go AWOL.

    1. Quite often apostrophes present in the printable online version don’t show up in the interactive puzzle. I don’t really understand it but think it has something to do with the type of characters used – that the flash thingy can’t display some types of apostrophe.

  19. Probably the first toughie I’ve completed without aid except to confirm meaning of 15a. I’d say a little trickier than back page crossword but not by much.

Comments are closed.