Toughie 2020 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2020

Toughie No 2020 by Dada

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Greetings to you all from SE1 1NH, where I will raise a glass or three to your good health and happiness.

Cheers to Dada who has once again delivered a Toughie which is on the lighter side of things, both in terms of difficulty and mood.  Just the tonic.  (Gin not provided.)

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the The George buttons.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative — click only if you wish to reveal all.

(I can’t afford pictures today due to London beer prices – sorry!)



1a    Burning’s burning sensation (7)
HOTSHOT:  Two instances of a synonym for burning with the ‘S from the clue between them

5a    Part right, but on the periphery (7)
EXCERPT:  An abbreviation for right with a word meaning but around it (on the periphery)

9a    South American once preserved? (5)
INCAN:  The answer split (2,3) could mean preserved in a particular way

10a   Advertising professional in general so phoney (9)
SLOGANEER:  An anagram (phoney) of GENERAL SO

11a   Herb accompanying woman back, extremely lazy to vacillate (5-5)
DILLY-DALLY:  Put together a herb, a woman reversed (back) and the outer letters (extremely) of lazy

12a   Article on Thailand, mostly — and where it is? (4)
ASIA:  A grammatical article and then most of an old name for Thailand

14a   Verify gold teeth? I can’t when false (12)
AUTHENTICATE:  The chemical symbol for gold followed by an anagram (when false) of TEETH I CAN’T

18a   In manifestation of God, image recalled freedom (12)
EMANCIPATION:  Inside a manifestation of God is a short informal word for an image, reversed (recalled)

21a   Collector — of girlfriends? (4)
RAKE:  This toothed tool for collecting things is also the name of a womanising type

22a   Where pub landlords are in prison (6,4)
BEHIND BARS:  Literally this is where one might expect to find pub landlords

25a   Old setter good with child (9)
EXPECTING:  A charade of a prefix meaning old or former, a setting agent, and the abbreviation for good

26a   Lift some valuables I, arguably, must return (5)
RAISE:  The answer is hidden in some of the clue going backwards (must return)

27a   Possible ballast to drop, with balloon initially secured? (7)
SANDBAG:  A verb to drop or droop containing (with … secured) a word meaning with and the first letter (initially) of balloon

28a   Like paradise, any isle in a storm (7)
ELYSIAN:  ANY ISLE made into an anagram (in a storm)



1d    Bob, perhaps, one inspired by tough love (6)
HAIRDO:  The Roman numeral one inside (inspired by) tough or unyielding and the letter used to mean love

2d    Address nail left on top of escritoire (6)
TACKLE:  A short broad-headed nail and the abbreviation for left followed by (on, in a down clue) the first letter of (top of) the last word of the clue

3d    Treasure something sweet on some bananas, say? (10)
HONEYBUNCH:  This term of affection (which I couldn’t ever imagine being used unironically) is made of a sweet foodstuff and then a cluster which might be of bananas (or grapes, or flowers, or a lovely one of coconuts)

4d    Physicist entering coordinates latterly (5)
TESLA:  A physicist (and inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist) is hiding in (entering) the last two words of the clue

5d    Looking up, disease on the way in alien world far away (9)
EXOPLANET:  The reversal (looking up, in a down clue) of a disease (3) precedes a narrow road, both of which go inside an abbreviation for a word meaning alien which is also the name of a famous film alien.  A world orbiting a different sun

6d    Some talking  bird (4)
CHAT:  Double definition: yadda yadda yadda, or one of a group of birds

7d    Controller of current that rose at sea (8)
RHEOSTAT:  … electric current, that is.  An anagram (at sea) of THAT ROSE

8d    Bully, time and time again taken down (8)
THREATEN:  Abbreviations for time and for a period of time are followed by taken down (into the body).  If only

13d   Dry soldier disturbed drunk partner? (10)
DISORDERLY:  An anagram (disturbed) of DRY SOLDIER

15d   In  on (9)
HAPPENING:  Two definitions: fashionable and occurring.  Clues don’t get much briefer than four letters …

16d   Female with organ removed, afraid of nothing (8)
FEARLESS:  F(emale) and a word meaning lacking a certain organ.  Afraid of nothing: sounds wonderful … maybe I should try removing something

17d   Ball slower? Second hurries up (8)
BACKSPIN:  To second or support, then goes nimbly or quickly, reversed (up, in a down clue)

19d   Island taking a wallop in the midst of action (6)
TAHITI:  A from the clue and a strike inside (in) the central letters (the midst of) of action

20d   Flower bearing towards the back (6)
ASTERN:  A flower and a compass bearing

23d   Fire in valley extinguished at the bottom (5)
INGLE:  IN from the clue and a valley with its last letter deleted (extinguished at the bottom)

24d   Ultimate in diseases one’s caught, evidence of chickenpox, say? (4)
SCAB:  The final letter of (ultimate in) diseases then a vehicle one catches, perhaps to get home from the pub.  Which brings us neatly to the end.  Goodbye.



10 comments on “Toughie 2020

  1. Most of this went in very smoothly, then I got a bit stuck with the last three or four in the NE corner. Plenty to enjoy, particularly 13d. I wouldn’t have guessed Dada as the setter.

    Thanks to Dada and Kitty

  2. Very enjoyable and, with some electronic assistance, completed at a gallop – **/****.

    I nearly got bogged down in the NE, especially with 8d and, even when I got it, I had to wait for Kitty to explain the parsing.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 2d and 3d.

    Thanks to Dada and Kitty.

  3. Loads of fun – thanks to Dada and Kitty. 5a, 25a and 15d were all contenders but my favourite was 13d.

  4. I really enjoyed this. Like Senf I struggled in the NE corner and also required Kitty’s help to parse 8d, my last one in. I needed Kitty’s review too to find out where the TI came from in 19d – d’oh!
    I liked the idea of putting Miffypops in as my answer to 22a but I had one letter too few :wink:

    My podium is a bit over-populated with 5a, 25a, 3d, 13d & 15d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Kitty.

  5. I found this very enjoyable. Although 9a and 11a were my first two in, I found the bottom half generally more accessible than the top half. 5d was my last in and I got it from the wordplay – I hadn’t heard of this particular world far away. 22a was my laugh out loud moment! Many thanks to Dada and Kitty.

  6. We got a bit bogged down in the NE corner. Eventually we managed to sort out 5a and remembered having trouble with that word in the past. This gave checkers that helped with 5d and 8d. Over all, we found this one trickier than Dada’s often are for us but certainly plenty of fun.
    Thanks Dada and Kitty.

  7. A solo effort from Mr Sheffieldsy today. Reasonably plain sailing and quite enjoyable. Couldn’t parse 8d, my LOI and loved 1A.

    Thanks to Kitty and Dada.

  8. For the most part pretty straightforward with a little trouble at the close on 8d in the NE corner, and 17d and 21ac the other side of the grid. Good clean fun throughout. :-)

  9. Solved on the train with no access to electronic assistance so relieved that there weren’t any obscurities to contend with although it did take me a while to remember the ‘manifestation’.
    Took far too long to sort out the times in 8d and couldn’t decide whether I liked or loathed 15d.

    9&21a raised the biggest smiles.

    Thanks to Dada and to our Girl Tuesday for the blog – lovely to catch up with you in person again today.

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