Toughie 1999 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1999

Toughie No 1999 by proXimal

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

I don’t get to review many Toughies these days, but Dutch’s temporary absence has given me a chance.  I usually find proXimal’s puzzles to be challenging but unmemorable and sadly, for me, this one is no exception.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Lacking height, birds about to join ‘V’ in rising (8,6)
PEASANT’S REVOLT: drop the H(eight) from a game bird. Add the S from ‘S, a two-letter word meaning about and the expansion of the abbreviation V

9a    Ridicule Geordie, perhaps, with no time for his community (7)
LAMPOON: this “Geordie” is a rival to better-known invention by Humphry Davy, which was designed by George Stephenson – add a word used to describe a Geordie community, but without the T(ime)

10a    Flash knight regarded as wealthy (7)
MONEYED: a two-letter flash or brief interval of time is followed by the chess notation for a knight and a verb meaning regarded or looked

11a    Trend from Shoreditch not totally revolutionary (4)
TIDE: hidden (not totally) and reversed (revolutionary) inside a word of the clue

12a    A drugs bust on base for soldiers (10)
FOOTGUARDS: an anagram (bust) of A DRUGS preceded by (on in an across clue) a base or extremity

14a    Prescribed drug, complain about gaining weight (6)
PROZAC: the reversal (about) of a verb meaning to complain around (gaining) a small imperial weight

15a    One played Juliet with pressure, after he was playing Romeo (4-4)
JEW’S HARP: this allegedly-musical instrument is derived from the letter represented by Juliet in the NATO Phonetic alphabet and P(ressure) preceded by an anagram (playing) of HE WAS and the letter represented by Romeo in the NATO Phonetic alphabet

17a    Counsellor recreating past times probing that man in regression (8)
EXHORTER: a five-letter adjective meaning recreating the past followed by the mathematical operator for “times” or “multiply” inside the male pronoun, all reversed (in regression)

18a    Heard man is jet-skier? (6)
GEYSER: the dodgy nature of the definition is indicated by the question mark – this jet of water which goes up into the sky (skier is variant spelling of skyer) sounds like (heard) a colloquial word for a man

21a    Neglected jockey outflanked (8-2)
UNTALKED-OF: an anagram (jockey) of OUTFLANKED

22a   Swallow sad, feathers not working (4)
DOWN: a quadruple definition

24a    Pawn book voucher (7)
PLEDGER: the chess notation for a pawn is followed by a book of financial accounts:

25a    Honey’s regularly used in food of islanders (7)
FAROESE: the even (regularly) letters of hOnEy’S inside a word for food

26a    Strangled by tall youth at sea, Blackbeard should have been more careful (6,5,3)
THAT’LL TEACH YOU: inside (strangled by) an anagram (at sea) of TALL YOUTH put the surname of the notorious pirate known as Blackbeard


1d    IT equipment timed out initially, parking under tree (7)
PALMTOP: The initial letters of Timed Out followed by P(arking) after (under in a down clue) a type of tree

2d    Flying to dam, three choppers fully equipped for battle (5,2,3,5)
ARMED TO THE TEETH: an anagram (flying) of TO DAM THREE followed by what are known colloquially as choppers (and it’s not helicopters!)

3d    Frenziedly knocked up curry, ignoring beginning of recipe (4)
AMOK: the reversal of a mild curry without (ignoring) the initial letter (beginning) of R[ecipe]

4d    Mickey Mouse beat Dumbo up (6)
TINPOT: here “Mickey Mouse” is an adjective meaning inferior – a verb meaning to beat and a dumbo or fool are all reversed (up in a down clue)

5d    Sent back bloodstained boxing glove, last in sale (8)
REMITTED: a three-letter word meaning bloodstained around (boxing) a type of glove and the final letter (last) of [sal]E

6d    Overthrown queen left guards (10)
VANQUISHED: QU(een) inside (guards) a verb meaning left or disappeared

7d    Much appreciate major bank in rest area (3,5,5,2)
LAY GREAT STORE BY: an adjective meaning major and a verb meaning to bank inside a roadside rest area

8d    Relative lifting a drink, that’s plausible (4,2)
ADDS UP: start with a three-letter relative, move (lifting) the A to the top (in a down clue) and add a verb meaning to drink

13d    Small shiner resulting from aggressive brawl according to Spooner (5,5)
FAIRY LIGHT: start with an adjective meaning aggressive and a brawl and swap (Spooner style) their initial letters

16d    Half serving of bran added to grain of loaf (8)
CEREBRAL: put the first half of BR[an] inside (added to) some grain often used for breakfast – loaf here is a colloquial word for head

17d    Ripped physique without extremely hefty arms (6)
EQUIPS: an anagram (ripped) of P[HY]SIQUE without the outer letters of H[eft]Y

19d    Poem working in a way, uplifted nation (7)
RONDEAU: a two-letter word meaning working inside the abbreviation for a way followed by the reversal (uplifted in a down clue) of a country in the Middle East

20d    Sweet and sour in starters of the Eastern eateries (6)
TOFFEE: an adjective meaning sour or rancid inside the initial letters (starters) of three words in the clue

23d    Plants with no uses for carnivore (4)
CROC: drop “uses” from some flowering plants

I need to go for a lie-down in a darkened room!

17 comments on “Toughie 1999

  1. My ability to be on the same wavelength as Mr X seems to be improving these days. Deciding fairly on that it was going to be a pangram probably helped on this occasion

    No special favourites but I did like the quadruple definition 22d

    Thanks to proXimal and to the rarely-spotted-on-a-weekday BD

    1. Now sorted.

      I lost the latest version of my blog macro in the recent hard drive crash and the old version that I dug out had that problem.

  2. I enjoyed the tussle (as I usually do) with proXimal – thanks to him and to BD. I didn’t, of course, notice the pangram until after I’d finished so that was no help during the solving process.
    The clues I liked best were 9a, 22a and 4d.

  3. A toughie for me but battled through. Thanks for the surname hint in 26A. That explained why the answer was right. Thanks to all

  4. I am usually defeated by a proXimal puzzle and so I was pleased to able to finish this. However, it took a long time to sort out the ‘base’ in 12a, and Mickey Mouse took a long time coming to me (although I had Dumbo early on). I also had difficulty initially making 23d work because I had ‘learn’ as the middle word in 26a (although once sorted out, I think 23d is my vote for favourite). I did enjoy this – being victorious certainly helped. Many thanks to proXimal and Big Dave.

  5. I agree, particularly with Tony @ 6, being able to complete AND parse an entire puzzle without assistance, raises the level of enjoyment dramatically and this was exactly the case for me today. Google was only required to confirm Blackbeard’s surname. Thanks to proXimal and sorry it left you cold BD.

  6. Hi Big Dave, good to hear from you.
    Agree with your comments but also agree with those whose enjoyment was enhanced by eventually getting it done.
    We failed to spot an anagram indicator and spent some time on the last one thinking of something that would fit and then saying doh.
    Thanks to proXimal and BD.

  7. Penciled in my answer in 9a as I didn’t understand the parsing and therefore fell on 4d. Anyway, is was looking for a word for Beat followed by a reversed Dumbo.
    The idiom in 7d was new to me.
    Liked the Spooner.
    Favourite 3d.
    Thanks to proximal and to BD for the review.
    Busy weekend ahead. It’s MPP time. Hooray!

  8. A real Friday Toughie, which took me longer than I had time for, but was satisfying to complete, my last entrant being 17a. Had difficulty in parsing 9a. Not many outstandingly memorable clues, but 6d and 21a were clever and neat. Thanks ProXimal, and also to Big Dave for keeping this outstanding website in operation.

  9. A couple of bits of new GK held us up, the lamp in 9a and Blackbeard’s name but in each case we had the answer from definition and checkers so knew where to look. Held up for a long time trying to use ODDS ON for 8d (thinking that the relative was SON and plausible as a close definition). This gave us real problems with 15a even though we knew what letter we needed to complete the pangram.
    A real Friday Toughie challenge for us.
    Thanks ProXimal and BD.

  10. That was quite a challenge for me and I was held up by the same two bits of GK as the Kiwis.
    Satisfaction in completion definitely outweighed enjoyment, but there is always much pleasure in conquering a puzzle from this setter.

    Thanks to proXimal and to BD for stepping in with the hints – interesting clip for 15a but I think the hint needs a tweak. Too many Juliets and no Romeo as it stands!

  11. I too found this a proper Friday challenge. I’m another who didn’t know Blackbeard’s surname so that has taught me.

    Was about to say that that was the only thing, but looking at the review has reminded me that I never did parse 9a.

    My favourites were 22a, 4d and 16d.

    Thanks proXimal and BD.

  12. No toughie is easy but I found this comparatively simple for a Friday. In fact, I had more trouble with the back-pager today.

  13. We enjoyed this a lot and we’ll award it 4*/4*.

    After we “finished” it, we read BD’s review and found that our 3d bungling (*) of aloo was wrong. * – that’s what a mistype of bung-in autocorrected to; think that’s quite neat. Spotted the potential pangram early and that helped us through.

    Thanks to BD and proXimal.

  14. I’m overcome with admiration of Big Dave and anyone who finished this puzzle. I was completely out of my depth. Only solved 2 and one of those was wrong!

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