Toughie 2028 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2028

Toughie No 2028 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Meows of warm greeting to you all from a muggy Surrey.  I hope you all had an enjoyable bank holiday weekend.  I found this slower-going than most Tuesday toughies, but made steady progress until a trio at the end gave me paws pause.

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.



8a    I’m ignorant — alas, I will suffer process of being edged out (15)
MARGINALISATION:  An anagram (… will suffer) of I’M IGNORANT ALAS I

9a    I disapprove of that teacher putting men off (3)
TUT:  A sound indicating mild disapproval is a type of teacher (5) missing (putting … off) the common crossword abbreviation for some non-commissioned soldiers (men)

10a   Torment of daughter meeting immoral chaps in risky venture (11)
BEDEVILMENT:  The abbreviation for daughter meets some wicked (4) chaps (3), all in a gamble (risky venture)

11a   Complainer not taking sides — stamp on that? (5)
HINGE:  Take a seven-letter moaner without the outer letters (not taking sides) to get a small piece of gummed paper used to attach a postage stamp to the page of an album.  I had to look up the answer in order to understand the definition

12a   Powerful woman in demonstration about endless suffering (9)
MATRIARCH:  A demonstration on foot around (about) an ordeal without its last letter (endless)

15a   Tiny birds? They make one cry (7)
WEEPIES:  Highly emotional films, plays or books.  A Scots word for little followed by some birds of the crow family (not pictured)

17a   Comfortable overseas territory to the west for important people (3,4)
BIG GUNS:  Start with a word meaning cosy or comfortable and the short form of an overseas territory on the Iberian peninsula, then write the lot backwards (to the west)

19a   Away from home, frequently regret being improperly adjusted (3,2,4)
OUT OF TRUE:  Concatenate away from home (3), frequently (3) and regret (3)

20a   Unpleasant smell at the front of your old cottage (5)
BOTHY:  A personal smell precedes an old word for your (your old) to make a (chiefly Scottish) word for a humble cottage or hut

21a   Wash cos and cole out — you may find snails (11)
SLOWCOACHES:  An anagram (out) of WASH COS and COLE

24a   Fish in dock (3)
BOB:  To fish (for apples perhaps) or to cut short

25a   Words of subordination (9,6)
DEPENDENT CLAUSE:  A cryptic definition of a part of a sentence which cannot stand in isolation as a sentence in itself



1d    A fellow admitting misdemeanour finally can’t somehow function (3,7)
ARC TANGENT:  The A from the clue and a man containing (admitting) the final letter of misdemeanour and an anagram (somehow) of CAN’T.  This produces a trigonometric function, the inverse of a more well-known one.  I thought this was one word, but while my old lecturers and university textbooks used one, the dictionaries say it’s two

2d    Quick-moving river into which doctor falls (6)
NIMBLE:  A river in Africa into which goes an abbreviation for doctor

3d    One moving things around managed party, not a generous type (10)
RANDOMISER:  One arranging things in an irregular order is made up of components assembled in clue order: managed or directed (3), party (2), and a skinflint

4d    Capital that is very minimal after end of bank (4)
KIEV:  The Latin-derived abbreviation for that is and another abbreviation, of very (this time indicated by minimal), go after the last letter (end) of bank

5d    Call to embrace friend doing well after illness? (8)
RALLYING:  Call on the phone around (to embrace) a friend or supporter

6d    Place at which musicians may stop being excellent (4)
FINE:  A musical direction to stop where the end of the piece is not at the end of the score is also a word meaning excellent

7d    Belt up in school period (6)
SNATCH:  The reversal (up, in a down clue) of a verb to beat inside an abbreviation for school

8d    Shock the wife, providing man‘s book (7)
MATTHEW:  A shock or tangle, THE from the clue and W(ife).  I think there are two definitions given here

13d   What could make one bloated — the awfully cheap meal? (5,5)
TABLE D’HÔTE:  This could be anagrammed to (could make one … awfully) BLOATED THE

14d   Labourer making tours, by implication? (10)
ROUSTABOUT:  A reverse clue, where the answer (if separated) gives a potential clue for “tours”: the first five letters of the answer are an anagram of TOURS, with the remainder giving the anagram indicator

16d   One new store that City’s invested in is unproductive (8)
INFECUND:  The Roman one and the abbreviation for new followed by a store or reserve, into which (that …’s invested in) is inserted the central London postcode area

18d   PC perhaps always in black (7)
SAYABLE:  This PC is not a police constable (nor is she per cent, personal computer, postcard or privy councillor).  A poetic word for always (2) inside a word (also now chiefly poetic, originating in heraldry) meaning black or dark

19d   Think about having no wingers — OK in football? (6)
ONSIDE:  A verb to think about or deliberate on without its outer letters (having no wingers)

20d   Addition to female attire creates stir (6)
BUSTLE:  Two definitions: a historical addition to women’s clothing, or hurried activity

22d   Having lost head, rings to offer apology (4)
OOPS:  Rings or circles without the first letter (having lost head).  I suppose it doesn’t matter, since the letter is discarded anyway, but I can see two rings.  If you remember, tell me: did you remove an H or a L?

23d   Half left to go up took off (4)
APED:  Half of a word meaning exited (RTED’s the second half) is to be reversed (to go up, in a down clue)


Thanks to Giovanni.  My favourites today are 10a and 15a.  Which might stir you to comment?


These hints and tips are for anyone who might find them of use (and who doesn’t need help now and then?).  The asides and illustrations are to add a personal perspective and some colour.  The comments section is – or should be – for everyone.  Please do ask if you need anything clarified, have any suggestions as to how the blogs could be improved, or have anything else you’d like to say.


30 comments on “Toughie 2028

  1. Enjoyed the third of this I managed to do so far, the rest will have to wait because I have run out of time.

    Thanks to Kitty and Giovanni

  2. I was a bit of a plodder on this one (and I had to check that 11a means a bit of gummed paper and that 1d is a real function) but eventually got there. I’m in the H camp for 22d.
    There are some nice clues here – I particularly liked 15a, 17a (once I’d rejected my initial thought of ‘big nobs’ as I couldn’t parse it) and 19d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Kitty.

  3. I had to reject “big wigs” which was even more un-parseable ;) Not quite yet finished, still stuck on one which just happens to be a four letter, and with the inevitable vowel only checkers (as do both 4 letters here I notice :( I may have to throw in the towel and look at the hint before long, time running out

    1. Admitted defeat, would never have got 6d, but now committed to memory. Lots to savour here though . Thanks to Kitty and Giovanni

  4. I enjoyed this. I found it a steady solve, only slowing down somewhat in the SE corner. Until Kitty’s review, I did not make the intended stamp connection in 11a, however, I seem to remember Giovanni using the term for the complainer in a blog post a short while back. 20a was new to me, but the word play was generous. Again I got 18d from the word play, but I am not quite sure I am on the right wavelength, even with Kitty’s help, with the reference to PC. Thanks to Giovanni and Kitty.

    1. Re 18d isn’t PC just the acronym for saying something without being offensive? I hope so unless i’m back to the drawing board :)

  5. It will come as no surprise to Kitty to learn that I just took a wild guess at 1d – happily it worked out well!

    14d was something of a saviour for me – wouldn’t have got 25a without it and was quite happy with ‘wigs’ as the second word of 17a (West Indies?) regardless of the fact that I couldn’t parse it.

    The wretched hinge also caused problems for quite a while. No excuse, I used them often enough in my childhood stamp album.

    Same picks of the day as Kitty. Oh yes, nearly forgot – I was in the ‘H’ camp.

    Thanks to DG and to our Girl Tuesday for the faunafest. Loved the snail with the inverted brolly!

    PS Meant to mention – one thing you can always rely on with DG – if he mentions a ‘book’ it’s always going to be a biblical one!

  6. Hi Kitty, here’s another vote For H. Needed your hint to solve 14 down and thus abandon attempts to justify the absurd SGIW and SBON and snugly enter GUNS 😂 Thanks for your lovely blog and of course to the Don!

    1. Hi gsol, and thanks. Your comment needed moderation because you’ve expanded your alias. Both versions should now work.

      Seems I’m the only loopy one so far then …

  7. The last few gave way quite quickly – this was quite an enjoyable crossword – I would have had more time if Picaroon in the Guardian hadn’t taken so long!

    PS It is going to take me a while to get used to ticking the privacy check-box every time…

  8. Worked out 1d from the wordplay. I don’t remember it from my O-Level maths and couldn’t find it in my BRB. Would the word-length indication in 13d have been fairer if it had been given as 5,1,4?

    1. 1d is in my Chambers app, but only as an example given under arc.

      It’s true that the enumeration of 13d makes things harder, but generally apostrophes are omitted. Probably because too often their inclusion would make things too easy, and it’s good to be consistent. Have to admit that (5,1’4) today would have been a great help to me.

  9. Chugged along OK in *** till SE corner where I needed some nudges due to iffy clues -. 13d yes Mac I agree. , 14d never heard of it, 24a terrible, and 20a ‘smell’ (?)
    The rest clever and enjoyable, even with the fairly obscure 1d and 15a. Thanks to G & K.

  10. 6d was my Achilles heel. I guessed the answer from the definition but did not know the musical term. Went to BRB but this seems to be one of the terms that has not made it there (or at least I could not find it). Did a Google check this morning before coming here which confirmed that I was correct after all.
    Thanks Giovanni and Kitty.

    1. Yes, I can’t find the 6d musical term in the brb either, but it’s in the other dictionaries so it seems to be their omission.

    2. My last one , which I gave up on and resorted to the blog. I feel i’m missing something though

  11. Bit of a slog for me and not much fun to be had. Sorry G. Thanks anyway.

    What the heck is going on in the 2d clip?

    Thanks for the amusement Kitty.

  12. Concur, slightly dry feel to this one. All the constructions work for me though, so must be the content!

    Thanks Kitty and Giovanni.

  13. Didn’t receive my DT until this morning so I’m a day late.
    Beaten by 8d.
    Does anyone else read Louise Penny? According to her mad poet,
    FINE. F’ed up; insecure, neurotic and egotistical.

  14. Way beyond my solving ability I’m afraid. I got to the last 6 clues before I lost the will to live & consigned the puzzle to the round file.

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