Toughie 2016 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2016

Toughie No 2016 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating  –  Difficulty * –  Enjoyment ***


Welcome to this Warbler Toughie which I found very pleasant, but with the feel of a midweek back pager difficulty-wise.  If anagrams were shoes, a spider crawling across this page would find enough here to keep it from getting blog on its feet.

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    Crow over tucking into spread cool dad cooked (4-1-6-3)
COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO:  Make an anagram of (spread) COOL DAD COOKED; inside (tucking into) this is O(ver)

9a    Criticise poor speaker (8)
BADMOUTH:  A charade of poor and the part of the body from which speech emerges

10a   Alcohol measure for your eyes only? (5)
OPTIC:  A device for measuring and dispensing a quantity of alcohol which is also an adjective meaning related to sight or the eye

12a   Kangaroo‘s ready (4)
EURO:  This wallaroo or large kangaroo is also a monetary unit (ready).  This was my last in as I had to coax the kangaroo out from memory.  I should have remembered him from my first encounter – also in a Warbler Toughie

13a   Note marquee is ramshackle with volume restricted (10)
SEMIQUAVER:  An anagram (ramshackle) of MARQUEE IS with V(olume) inside (restricted)

15a   Soldiers step around new munitions (8)
ORDNANCE:  Our usual non-commissioned soldiers followed by a step done to music around N(ew)

16a   Posh North American journalist’s left idle (6)
UNUSED:  The single letter which can denote posh, then abbreviations for north, for American and for a type of journalist

18a   Observation — I will be trapped by error, getting knocked back (6)
ESPIAL:  I from the clue inside (will be trapped by) the reversal (knocked back) of an error or slip

20a   Vigorous London soccer team having axed Bobby or Jack? (8)
ATHLETIC:  A London football team minus the surname of famous players Bobby and Jack

23a   With injection of oxygen, grey and sober could be something fruity! (10)
GOOSEBERRY:  With the insertion (injection) of O(xygen), GREY and SOBER could make an anagram of (could be) this fruit

24a   Insect bite returns (4)
GNAT:  Bite or pungency goes backwards (returns) to produce a little (biting, incidentally) insect

26a   Male wearing a short haircut becomes explosive (1-4)
A-BOMB:  M(ale) inside (wearing) A from the clue and a short haircut

27a   Lie about king creates disagreement (8)
FRICTION:  A lie or made up story around (about) an abbreviation for king

28a   International tangle? Listen, I straightened out this clever set (14)
INTELLIGENTSIA:  I(nternational) and TANGLE LISTEN I with the letters reordered (straightened out)



2d    Vegetable’s said to be burned (7)
CHARRED:  This sounds like (said to be) a vegetable, specifically the edible leafstalk of a white beet

3d    Member meets unknown host (4)
ARMY:  A bodily member meets a mathematical unknown

4d    Old money around centre of Hull creates wealth (8)
OPULENCE:  O(ld) and some money around the central letters of Hull

5d    Flower planted in pail hadn’t pushed up (6)
DAHLIA:  This flower is lurking in (planted in) the clue reversed (pushed up, in a down clue)

6d    English queen’s introduced to not yell when broadcast but speak thus? (10)
ELOQUENTLY:  We start with an abbreviation of English, then an abbreviation for queen is inserted into (‘s introduced to) an anagram (when broadcast) of NOT YELL

7d    After month ten birds will appear in groups of eight (7)
OCTAVES:  After the tenth month of the year we have the name of the biological class of birds

8d    Cowards upset as cadets cry (7-4)
SCAREDY-CATS:  An anagram (upset) of AS CADETS CRY.  (The story behind the sofa is here)

11d   Board attack after French art forms annoy you (3,4,4)
GET ONES GOAT:  Board a vehicle perhaps (3,2), then – after the French for are (French art, as in thou art) – to attack (2,2)

14d   A meal began to go wrong. That can be handled (10)
MANAGEABLE:  An anagram (to go wrong) of A MEAL BEGAN

17d   Grant is cast about right in leading role (8)
STARRING:  The letters of GRANT IS mixed up (cast) around (about) R(ight)

19d   For now spoken name could be he, she or it (7)
PRONOUN:  Put together for or in favour of, three letters that (in this context at least) sound like “now” (now spoken), and N(ame)

21d   Internally shortens or straightens muscles (7)
TENSORS:  These muscles are lurking (internally) in the clue

22d   Angler’s delight at the end of the day is surprisingly fluent (6)
NETFUL:  An anagram (surprisingly) of FLUENT

25d   Coming over, one that’s seen in bar in college (4)
ETON:  Something that’s seen in a bar of music (perhaps a 13a) reversed (coming over)


Thanks to Warbler.  I don’t have any particular favourites, but did like 10a and 5d.  What would you sing about?


21 comments on “Toughie 2016

  1. I agree with the one-star difficulty rating – this was all very straightforward except that it took me a while to remember the kangaroo. A pleasant solve.

  2. As I said on the back pager blog, today could be considered as a double wrong envelope day.

    This was very enjoyable and a welcome relief after the head scratching required on said back pager.

    I agree with the ratings and I like the comment on the anagram count.

    The kangaroo connection in 12a was new to me.

    Favourite – 2d.

    Thanks to Warbler and Kitty.

  3. Exactly what Beery Hiker has said.

    Many thanks, Warbler, for this light but entertaining puzzle. It proved to be a very pleasant diversion which I was able to complete while waiting to be seen by the dentist. Many thanks too to Kitty for the review.

    1. A visit to the dentist.

      Is it a coincidence that your comment was timed at 2:32?

  4. I do not often even look at the Toughie, so today’s was a pleasant surprise for me.

    Failed on only 2, 12a and 18a. Did not know the kangaroo and 18a was a new word for me too.
    11d was a bung in….I always forget the French for art…

    Thanks to the setter and to Kitty .

  5. I thought that this one would have been fine on the back page but as a Toughie it doesn’t really cut the mustard. Thanks to Warbler and Kitty.

  6. Today has been a very brief visit to crosswordland. Enjoyable but not very challenging.

    Many thanks to Warbler and to Kitty for the smut at 1a, which amused. :smile:

    1. Today is a day for recycling: the magazine at 1a is one of three pictures I’ve used before.

      If that amused, the background of the 12a pic (another waste-not-want-not inclusion) might be worth a closer look.

      1. I can only imagine it’s an inflatable..?

        I also note that the magnificent bird at 1a is a Dorking Red, and if you’ve just thought of a very funny joke about Dorking Red Cocks, I’ve probably heard it.

  7. I enjoyed this very much, but I do agree that there was a significant difference in difficulty between today’s toughie and, for example, the previous one last Friday! However, it was very nice to have a little confidence booster after having been taken to the cleaners so thoroughly last time out!

  8. Pleasant puzzle and blog. Thanks to both and thank you for 12ac.which I had forgotten.

  9. Done in ******* till reached the obscure 12a.
    No further comment. Backpager.

  10. Well done for remembering the 12a, Kitty – I had to look him up again. I also managed to make a bit of a dog’s breakfast out of parsing 11d despite having registered the French art.
    Otherwise, just a pleasant stroll through not-so-Toughie land with 1a & 8d making me smile along the way.

    Thanks to Warbler and to our Girl Tuesday – loved the pics of the 8d’s.

  11. 11d was our last answer in and definitely our favourite clue. We took a little time to remember that we had met 12a previously in a puzzle but it had not come to mind immediately.
    Thanks Warbler and Kitty.

  12. After a dreadful start missing the anagram indicator in 1a, spread v cooked, all went nicely into place, and fortunately remembered the kangaroo. Thanks Warbler and Kitty.

  13. First Toughie solved in a couple of weeks due to circumstances beyond my control, and one most definitely on the easy side, being more like a back pager. But still, a nice confidence boost, and fun throughout.

  14. Loved it , from top to bottom .
    The many anagrams helped .
    Thanks to both Warbler and Kitty .
    I tried to post earlier , but I couldn’t .
    Either 2d or 7d is my favourite .

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