Toughie 2032 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2032

Toughie No 2032 by Busman

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hello and welcome to Hinterland’s 2032 Toughie service from Clues to Answers via Parsings.  Your setter today is Busman and your hinter is Kitty.

Tickets are free, but if you would like to leave a donation of a comment then that would be most welcome – without you all this would be nothing but an empty shell of metal and paint.  Enjoy the ride!

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the This is a 21a 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    Opening of cuisine — male / female cook required (4)
CHEF:  We open with the first letter (opening) of cuisine followed by a masculine pronoun and an abbreviation of female

9a    Gigolo getting louder, lazing about (6,6)
LOUNGE LIZARD:  An anagram (about) of LOUDER LAZING.  Is the answer the same as a gigolo?

10a   Earl going to pot in shade (4)
GREY:  Two definitions, the first being cryptic.  The pot is for tea

11a   Mark smashed soap award, reportedly (10)
APOSTROPHE:  An anagram (smashed) of SOAP and a group of letters which in this context sound like (reportedly) a prize

15a   Goddess scoffed about something seen in the sky (7)
ASTARTE:  Scoffed (food) around (about) something seen in the sky (one seen in daytime, and many more on a clear night)

16a   Admit publisher is infiltrated by opponents (3,2)
OWN UP:  The abbreviation of an academic publisher contains (is infiltrated by) a pair of bridge opponents

18a   One fish caught by this Parisienne that’s likely to be smoked (9)
CIGARETTE:  I (one) and a fish (3) inside (caught by) a French (Parisienne) word for this

19a   Sloppy sentimentality  that’s heard while sledging (4)
MUSH:  A double definition: mawkishness, and a command used to urge on sled dogs

20a   In France, he is with former wife Holly (4)
ILEX:  French for he with our usual word for a former partner

21a   Bearing flower, prompt for seasonal gift (6,3)
EASTER EGG:  A charade of a compass bearing, a star-shaped flower and a verb (used with on) to encourage or incite

23a   Festoon Saudi of rank evenly (5)
ADORN:  The even letters (evenly) taken from “Saudi of rank”

24a   French author turned up. Oh, as we hear! (7)
COCTEAU:  The French author who wrote Les Enfants Terribles sounds like (as we hear) a word meaning turned up and “oh”

26a   Cooks carrying carton containing small things on the menu? (10)
FRICASSEES:  A Russian doll clue.  Cooks in oil or fat in a pan having inside it (carrying) a carton or receptacle, itself containing S(mall)

29a   Jane and I must fly nest (4)
EYRE:  I has to be removed (must fly) from the nest of a bird of prey to produce this famous literary Jane

30a   For replanting, rakes strange creepers (6,6)
GARTER SNAKES:  An anagram (for replanting) of RAKES STRANGE

31a   Broadcasts across channels on earth (4)
SOWS:  A cryptic definition.  Broadcasts seeds into furrows in the soil



2d    Unsympathetic place for tears to which one resorts after breakdown (4,8)
HARD SHOULDER:  This part of a motorway could be a description of something to cry on which might be less than sympathetic

3d    Bird one’s seen on the web? (10)
FLYCATCHER:  The name of this bird suggests the resident of a spider’s web

4d    French noble with a sort of square coin (5)
DUCAT:  A French nobleman with the A from the clue and a type of square ruler

5d    Exchange fee one’s invested in in the past (4)
AGIO:  The Roman numeral one is inserted in (invested in) a word meaning in the past

6d    Seaside entertainer showing cause of jetty collapse? (7)
PIERROT:  Split (4,3) this could be something which might cause a seaside structure to collapse.  Having lived in Brighton for a few years, in my experience it’s usually fire

7d    Conservative politician enlists a group of supporters (4)
CAMP:  A pair of abbreviations, of conservative and of an elected politician, contains (enlists) the A from the clue

8d    Border of an East End garden? (4)
EDGE:  The wordplay here references the definition: something which might border a garden with its H dropped Cockney-style becomes a word meaning border or boundary

12d   More than one fine epistle rewritten to get round an upset (9)
PENALTIES:  An anagram (rewritten) of EPISTLE containing (to get round) the reversal (upset) of AN (from the clue).  This is the second clue where I’ve wondered if there should, strictly speaking, be a definition by example indicator

13d   False pearls and diamonds flogged at this? (4,5)
SALE PRICE:  An anagram (false) of PEARLS and a slang term for diamonds

14d   Bird put up with couple of scraps (5,7)
HOUSE SPARROW:  To put up or accommodate and a word which comprises two words for scraps of the fighty type

17d   Not finding the planet attractive (10)
WEIGHTLESS:  A cryptic definition: not feeling the gravitational attraction of the planet, being in free-fall.  The physicist in me wanted to quibble, but I like this clue too much to want to do that.  Anyway, I think the “feeling” part lets the setter off the hook

22d   Star workers are being taken in (7)
ANTARES:  Some worker insects, with the ARE from the clue being inserted (taken in).  This is the fifteenth-brightest star in the night sky, and the brightest star in the constellation of Scorpius

25d   Mapmakers overprinting alias for Japanese city (5)
OSAKA:  The makers of the map of choice for walkers in the UK preceding (overprinting?) the abbreviation for also known as (alias)

26d   Fruit seen in little diagrams (4)
FIGS:  These fruit are also some diagrams or illustrative drawings, abbreviated (little)

27d   Time lost in opening ornamental Japanese box (4)
INRO:  T(ime) removed (lost) from an opening, especially of a musical piece.  It’s a small ornamental box for seals and medicines, worn suspended from a girdle, once part of traditional Japanese dress.  This was new to me

28d   Second bird in winter nests (4)
ERNE:  There are two birds lurking in this clue.  We want the second one


Thanks to Busman for today’s magical mystery tour.  29a put a smile on my face from the beginning, and the various bird sightings kept it there.  Were it not for those, my favourite clue would probably have been 2d.  Which were your highlights?


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.

25 comments on “Toughie 2032

  1. Good solid puzzle, very entertaining. Pennies all over the place.

    Fell for the 28d trap, I though ‘second’ bird meant the second bird in the puzzle, not the second bird in the clue. Made 26a & 30a hard work. Double D’oh!

    Lots of smiles too – 2d, 3d, 17d & 31a all get top marks.

    Many thanks to Busman and to Kitty for the birdie pics.

  2. I love it when I can write down a collection of letters derived from solving the various elements of the clue – and then find that it is actually a proper word when I look it up! 15a, 24a, 6d and 20a I’ve never heard of before but managed to work out.

    10a was my last one in and had me chuckling once the penny dropped.

    Thanks Busman. I really enjoyed the puzzle.

  3. Found this one a little tricky in places – 5, 27 and one of the meanings of 19 were unfamiliar and there were a few more that were in the distant recesses. All quite enjoyable.

    Thanks to Busman and Kitty

  4. A pleasant puzzle – thanks to Busman and Kitty (whose scepticism on whether 9a is the same as a gigolo I share).
    Thanks to watching many editions of the Antiques Roadshow I did know 27d but I didn’t know 30a and couldn’t decide between the creepers being garret or garter.
    I liked 2d and 14d but the ‘second bird’ in 28d was good and that made it my favourite.

    1. 9a Definition ‘getting’ wordplay – wonder what Prolixic would have to say about that?

  5. Favourite? 10a for simplicity.
    A straightforward solve. Only one quibble Mr.K has stolen the best kitties today over on the Toughie!

  6. Red letter day for me – a name check, plenty of birds and lots of chuckles along the way.

    Needed to check on the goddess and the star and came across a couple of new words in 5&27d – obviously missed the necessary episode of Antiques Roadshow to get the latter!

    Tops for laughs were 10a plus 2&6d and a special mention for 11a which reminded me of the cute avatar our blogger used for quite a while.

    Many thanks to Busman for an enjoyable ride and extra thanks to our Girl Tuesday for all the feathered friends – first time I’ve seen a pic of an Amazonian 3d, what a handsome chap he is!

  7. Lots to enjoy here. I liked 1a, 9a, 10a, 11a, 18a, 31a, 2d, 25d, 26d and more. Great start to the week.

    I wondered about gigolo too – but could be a dancing partner, and the answer can be someone who indolently hangs around at social events, so maybe there is some crossover. I had to check the japanese box and the goddess.

    Many thanks Kitty and thanks Busman

  8. I love Tuesdays because I can usually do them .
    I liked 19a and 29a among many other great clues .
    I also liked Kitty’s intro .
    With thanks to Busman .

  9. I found this a very enjoyable start to the toughie week. It was a steady solve for me without major hold up, but there were several words that were new to me and so my electronic dictionary got a good workout in the process. Thanks to Busman and Kitty.

  10. After whizzing through the back-pager I decided to give this a go.
    Miles over my solving ability, unfortunately. I should have known better.
    Thanks kitty and setter.

  11. Failed on 19a. Was looking for a sound like “wush”.
    If only I knew that I needed to turn the first letter around to get a completed grid. Never heard of that word. Or maybe in an expression once: Are you all right mush? I could have dreamt though.
    The plethora of 4 letter words didn’t bother me in this very enjoyable crossword.
    Felt something fresh about it and not surprised to find out who the setter was.
    His appearances are as rare as Elgar.
    Thanks to Busman and to Kitty.

    1. 19a reminded me of a famous Araucaria clue:
      Amundsen’s forwarding address (4)

    2. Mush is as far as I know what Inuit sledge drivers say to the dogs to ” go ahead “.

  12. We are devoted watchers of re-cycled Antiques Roadshows and that helped with 27d. Our last one to sort out was 28d as the word second seemed totally superfluous until the penny dropped. All good fun.
    Thanks Busman and Kitty.

  13. Oh dear, just me who found a grid with 8 double unches and 12 four letter answers unfriendly. Fortunately with exception of 9a which I need to be convinced by, some cracking clues and plenty to enjoy. Thanks Busman and Kitty.

  14. Lovely stuff. Mr Sheffieldsy had no trouble with 9a, having played a computer game called “Leisure Suit Larry and the Lounge Lizards” in the 1980s. Anyone else willing to admit to it?

    Thanks to Kitty and Busman.

  15. A little trouble down in the SW corner on 26ac and 27d – due to unknown foreign word phobia I suspect – but the rest went in with little ado. Got 9ac which seems to have caused difficulty elsewhere from the checking letters and definition, which looked fine to me.

  16. Thanks to Busman and to Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, but there was so much I’d never heard of. Needed the hints for 15,24,26,30a and 4,12,13, 27d.
    Thought 9a was very good, but my favourite was 28d. Was 4*/3* for me.

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