Toughie 2010 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2010

Toughie No 2010 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I finished this enjoyable puzzle in average time but then needed more time to sort out the wordplay than I have come to expect from a Kcit puzzle.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    A group of soldiers occupying hollow, brooking no opposition (10)
PEREMPTORY: ‘A’ (as in threeha’pence a foot) + a group of soldiers (the other ranks) in ‘hollow’. It took me a long time to suss out this wordplay

6a    Love rejected options for end to silence (4)
EROS: The answer is the Greek love-god. Reverse it and split it (1,2,1) and it gives you a choice between the first and last letters of SILENCE

9a    Before I have browsed around, I must accompany fool getting postage stamp (10)
DEFINITIVE: A reversal of ‘browsed’ + I + a fool + ‘I have’ = a standard (not commemorative) postage stamp

10a    Iceberg seen amongst local floes (4)
CALF: An iceberg that has broken off a glacier or larger iceberg is hidden in LOCAL FLOES

12a    Astronomical phenomenon having source in Taurus (or somewhere exotic) (6,6)
METEOR SHOWER: An anagram (exotic) of T (first letter of Taurus) OR SOMEWHERE

15a    I step back, accommodating cold in Arctic region (6)
ICECAP: I + a reversal of a step round C (cold)

16a    At this time doctor, in second bit of surgery, will make bloomer (8)
SNOWDROP: ‘At this time’ and an abbreviation for ‘doctor’ inside S (second) and a bit of surgery = a flower

18a    Curtailed part of journey, making something like a slip (5,3)
SHORT LEG: ‘Curtailed’ + part of a journey = a close-in fielding position in cricket on the opposite side of the wicket to a slip

19a    Security duty cut after article (6)
ANCHOR: A form of the indefinite article + a duty or tedious task with the last letter removed

21a    Strangely unreal energy about sections of film showing astronomical phenomenon (5,7)
LUNAR ECLIPSE: An anagram (strangely) of UNREAL E (energy) round pieces taken from a film for separate showing

24a    Good service ultimately lacking in stamina (4)
GRIT: G (good) + a religious service with the last letter removed

25a    Sanction a note mostly querying source of downfall (6,4)
BANANA SKIN: ‘Sanction’ + A + N (note) + ‘querying’ with the last letter removed = something which may cause a slip-up or a downfall

26a    Difficult situation crossing a couple of states? (4)
TEST: Hidden in STATE STATE (a couple of states)

27a    Agreed with recording 50 in wild golf scoring (10)
STROKEPLAY: ‘Agreed’ + a 45 rpm record + 50 in ‘wild’ = a scoring method in golf


1d    Dancer’s step going round rear of mud flats? (4)
PADS: A step in dance goes round the last letter of MUD. The flats are ones where people live

2d    Water vessel‘s rudder initially where the rudder usually is (4)
RAFT: The first letter of RUDDER + an adjective meaning ‘at the stern of a ship’

3d    Fail to emphasise meat marketing slogan? (5,7)
MINCE MATTERS: This phrase meaning ‘to fail to emphasise’ or ‘to soften an account unduly’ also appears to tell you that chopped-up meat is important

4d    Summer temperature more warm, though not at first (6)
TOTTER: A summer (one who sums) = T (temperature) + ‘more warm’ with the first letter removed

5d    Showing religious response, always masked by tear (8)
REVERENT: ‘Always’ inside a tear (hole)

7d    Wretch regularly found in abandoned doorway is allowed in the street (10)
ROADWORTHY: Alternate letters in WRETCH inside an anagram (abandoned) of DOORWAY

8d    Innovative idea about a remote island animal reserve (6,4)
SAFARI PARK: An innovative idea round A, ‘remote’ and I (island)

11d    Succeeded blocking trainers, perhaps, over challenge to make an appearance (4,4,4)
SHOW ONE’S FACE: ‘Succeeded’ inside footwear such as trainers + ‘to challenge’

13d    Trees closely packed around lake in the dawn (5,5)
FIRST LIGHT: Conifers (trees) + ‘closely packed’ round L (lake)

14d    Points in support of the rest of the ascetics? (3,2,5)
BED OF NAILS: A cryptic definition for the uncomfortable sounding board on which fakirs lie

17d    Songwriter’s inclination? (8)
PENCHANT: When split (3,5) it could mean ‘to write a song’

20d    Old newspaper provided when turning up for the singing barber (6)
FIGARO: A reversal of O (old), a newspaper and ‘provided’ = the barber of Seville

22d    Toast appears to pop up without repetition (4)
SKOL: A toast when drinking = a reversal of ‘appears’ with a double letter replaced by a single one

23d    Just over line, leading to end of rally (4)
ONLY: ‘Over’ + L (line) + the last letter of RALLY

Thanks to Gazza for doing last Thursday for me. Why does it always seem to be a Micawber puzzle when I’m not around?

10 comments on “Toughie 2010

  1. I found this to be an enjoyable challenge with some head-scratching needed – thanks to Kcit and Bufo. The clues which stood out for me were 18a, 3d and 7d.

    [The states in the hint for 26a need to be singular for the ‘hidden’ to work.]

  2. I found it very hard but enjoyable and I uncovered some answers.
    I liked 16a and 25a .
    Thanks to all concerned .

  3. I did enjoy this. However I was left disappointed to be defeated only by the second word in 3d – I hadn’t heard of the expression and I wasn’t able to reconstruct it from the word play. Many thanks to all.

  4. Thought it was likely to be the astronomical clues that would hold me up but in the event those were slotted in quite early. The ones to cause the most grief turned out to be a couple of the short ones – 6&26a which I couldn’t parse.

    I didn’t make the connection to a postage stamp in 9a although I had arrived at the wordplay and I’m unfamiliar with the 3d term – always seen it with ‘words’ as the second part.

    18a came with a penny drop moment – somehow dragged it up from RD’s cricket lessons – and 1a was definitely a case of answer first, parse later.

    Favourite was 14d.

    Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo for the blog.

  5. Started well, but then had to dust off the thinking cap.

    The second part of 3d was new to me, and I didn’t know how 9a’s definition worked. 18a was just for me a matter of matching crickety thing with crickety thing without full understanding.

    My last in was 27a which took some working out as I didn’t know the term.

    I enjoyed the penny-drops at 25a and 14d.

    Thanks to Kcit and Bufo.

  6. Like others it was parsing a couple of the pesky four letter answers, 6a and 26a, that were the last acts in solving. Quite a challenge and good fun all the way through.
    Thanks Kcit and Bufo.

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