Toughie 1996 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1996

Toughie No 1996 by Dada

Hints and tips by Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Welcome friends.  I hope you have had a lovely Easter weekend.  Dada today brings us an entertaining puzzle which made me think a little, but for the right reasons.

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    Thoroughbreds stood around in bar (10)
BLOODSTOCK:  An anagram (around) of STOOD inside bar

6a    Flier secreted in another newspaper (4)
ERNE:  This seabird is hidden (secreted) in the clue

10a   Asian shortly returning (5)
OMANI:  Someone from a country in Western Asia.  An informal phrase meaning very soon (2,1,2) reversed (returning)

11a   Thoroughly beat repulsive cavalier (9)
PULVERISE:  An anagram (cavalier) of REPULSIVE

12a   Match ends in whitewash, so cry sportingly? (5-2)
TALLY-HO:  Match or agree and the final letters of (ends in) whitewash and so

13a   Mistake with slowing investment for those at home? (7)
BRITISH:  A dated informal word for a blunder or mistake containing (with … investment) the musical abbreviation for slowing down

14a   Down finished, ready to go up? (5-7)
FULLY-FLEDGED:  Down being soft feathers, this is a cute cryptic definition of one ready to fly the nest

18a   Inflatable gear, its user super spaced out? (8,4)
PRESSURE SUIT:  An anagram (spaced out) of ITS USER SUPER

21a   Middle of hole in region close to border of a ringed zone (7)
AREOLAR:  The middle letters of hole inside a synonym of region, followed by the last letter of (close to) border.  The ringed zone in question can be a few biological features, but the one I am going with for illustrative purposes is the part of the iris of the eye bordering on the pupil

23a   Drop fruit with force (7)
PLUMMET:  A fleshy fruit together with the abbreviation of London’s police force

24a   Games ultimately lacking heart, 0-0 (9)
SCORELESS:  The final letter (ultimately) of games plus a word meaning without a centre

25a   Shakespearean protagonist  one’s played (5)
VIOLA:  This protagonist of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night shares her name with a musical instrument

26a   Skilful touch originally supplied from the right (4)
DEFT:  Touch’s first letter (originally) and supplied (with food or fuel) all reversed (from the right)

27a   Deserter after little time in action, defiled (10)
DESECRATED:  A three-letter deserter goes after an abbreviation for a short amount of time; these both go inside an action



1d    Header from back — game’s completely gone (6)
BLOTTO:  The first letter of (header from) back and a game of luck involving balls

2d    Second of four series of shots down the throat (6)
ORALLY:  The second letter of four and a series of to-and-fro strokes (in tennis, say)

3d    Practical type working tediously for queen (2-2-10)
DO-IT-YOURSELFER:  An anagram (working) of TEDIOUSLY FOR and two letters signifying our queen

4d    Much to pay towards standard packaging figure (3,6)
TOP DOLLAR:  Towards (2) and standard (for the course, perhaps) containing (packaging) a toy figure

5d    Luminary in club elected for promotion (5)
CELEB:  This star is hidden in the clue, reversed (for promotion)

7d    Trouble infiltrating gangs in bars (8)
RAILINGS:  To trouble (3) inside (infiltrating) gangs or groups

8d    Visor certainly owned, see, though not at first, on the periphery (8)
EYESHADE:  An affirmative and a word meaning owned have around them (on the periphery) the last two letters (not at first) of see

9d    Note death, note tremble! (14)
DEMISEMIQUAVER:  Put together death, a note of the sol-fa scale and a word meaning tremble (which is also the musical note of which the answer is a quarter part)

15d   Model fits shape for spread (4,5)
FISH PASTE:  Make an anagram of (model) FITS SHAPE

16d   Fundamental character of guru exalted, lifted (8)
UPRAISED:  The last letter (fundamental character) of guru and exalted or extolled

17d   Bloomer turning up after partners’ howler (8)
WEREWOLF:  The reversal (turning up, in a down clue) of a blooming plant follows some bridge partners

19d   100cm left to bring in (6)
IMPORT:  A distance equivalent to 100cm and the nautical left

20d   Abandon  thread (6)
STRAND:  This word can mean to abandon or desert, or it can be a fibre.  A third meaning is a seashore

22d   Pass through Rome’s outskirts the night before (5)
REEVE:  The outer letters (outskirts) of Rome and the time before a festival or special event


Thanks to Dada for getting the Toughie week off to a smashing start.  I was going to duck out of having favourites today, but at the last minute I think I am going to go for 2d (leaning a little towards 1d too).  Which would you drink to?


28 comments on “Toughie 1996

  1. A little trickier than the last couple of Tuesday toughies, but still fairly friendly. I would not have guessed Dada as the setter. 21a was last in.

    Thanks to Kitty and Dada

  2. I did have to check the spelling of 21a and the required definition of 22d – only know him as a character in The Canterbury Tales. I also took a while to come up with the right Asian, a real penny drop moment.

    Topping the leader board are 10&23a along with 1&9d.

    Thanks to Dada and to our Girl Tuesday – especially for the feathered friends.

    PS The hint for 12a needs a tweak when you have the chance, Kitty.

      1. Made me smile because I tried very hard to use both ends of ‘whitewash’ when I was solving!

  3. I really enjoyed this. Having taken a little while to get on wavelength it then all came together slowly but steadily.

    I can’t do better than echo Jane’s choice of 10a, 23a, 1d & 9d for the leader board.

    Many thanks to Dada for the fun and to Kitty – particularly for explaining 13a, the parsing of which left me baffled.

  4. Superb puzzle from the ever-reliable Dada – thanks to him and to Kitty.
    Vying for the place of honour on my mantelpiece were 10a, 14a, 23a and 17d.

  5. I never do the toughie, but just come here to read your blog, Kitty, and to have a giggle. The pic at 21a gave me my guffaw.

  6. Longish struggle for me to get on the right wavelength.
    13a and 21a were the last to go in and I had to look up both. I did then wonder what the icon for 21a would be!
    17d a clear favourite for me. Thanks to Dada and Kitty

  7. Must admit that I filled in my last one in 13a without understanding the parsing.
    Apart from that it was plain sailing.
    I do like Dada.
    Thanks to him and to Kitty for sorting out my final answer.

  8. I managed to complete all but three clues without external help, which classes as a win in my world. I have never heard of the mistake in 13a; according to Collins, it was last used in about 1860.

    The second half of 23a is a bit unfair for the majority of solvers, and I should have got 9d but I was reading the clue as clue-clue-clue-answer rather than the other way around.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Kitty.

  9. We have much more opportunity to get on Dada’s wavelength now that he is a regular back page setter and it was interesting to see how he managed to lift the difficulty with this one. We struggled to get the parsing for 13a but our very last one to solve for some reason was 1d. Good fun as ever.
    Thanks Dada and Kitty.

  10. Nothing new here. Struggled to parse 13a but bunged it in anyway and our favourites are10a and 8d.

    Thanks to Dada and Kitty (especially for swerving the multiple illustration temptations you must had had for 21a).

    1. On reflection, and looking at meanings in the BRB, we’re not sure how fundamental character comes to mean final letter in 16d. Seems a real stretch or are we missing something?

  11. Add me to the list of those who failed to parse 13a. Great entertainment. Thank you Dada and Kitty.

  12. Agreed with the rating, for an enjoyable start to the Toughie week. Most of my time was spent in the SW corner, where it took an age to get a foothold. 21ac, that I didn’t know ironically I got via the wordplay without too many problems. 24ac which in retrospect was pretty obvious, but that I struggled to parse, was my LOI.

  13. Can’t claim to have finished it. Unless it is a real floughie I don’t expect too, but I did enjoy it a bit more than the back pager today.14a best of the ones I could do. Thanks for the hints and the ever amusing illustrations Kitty. Thanks to Dada too for stretching me again. I do wish that our new ed puts names against back pagers as well as toughies it would help those of us just getting on the wavelength of setters.
    Btw I couldn’t find 21a in Online BRB?

      1. TANSTAAFL.
        I guess I ought to invest in the app or dead tree version . Areolae is in as a noun when you search onlinr but no mention of the adjective.

  14. Got everything except 13a ( terrible with musical notations, and can’t think what the “mistake” might be). Otherwise fun, though. Call it 3*/4*. 1d made me laugh when the penny dropped. VMTs to Dada and Kitty.

      1. Lovely word Bish. Probably encountered for the first (and only?) time in the Jennings books of my youth.
        “Don’t quibble. You’ve made a frightful bish and you’ re about as much use as a radio-active suet pudding.”
        Usually when Darbyshire made a mess of something

  15. Bit late to the party due to starting a new job yesterday, but I came here to find out who the setter was (wouldn’t have guessed, but I did really enjoy it!). 9d my last one in and runaway favourite, what a splendid word. Thanks Dada & Kitty.

Comments are closed.