Toughie 2060 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2060

Toughie No 2060 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hi all.  I’m very hot and bothered today.  I do hope you are considerably less grumpy than I am! 

I’m never quite sure where the average Toughie difficulty lies – there’s such a range, and I don’t like to time solves, especially of the harder puzzles.  (I do sometimes, for information’s sake, though insist on sticking to my usual habit of parsing properly as I go.)  This detained me a little longer than I think it should have (and more than most Tuesdays), not helped by the aforementioned mood, but I don’t think it’s quite in 4* territory.  The wordplay is straightforward enough, after all. 

As for enjoyment, well, I can’t blame the compiler for the weather!  There were a few bits I really liked too, so I can’t say it wasn’t worth the entry fee.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the Answers are cancelled due to the hot conditions. We apologise for any inconvenience caused 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    Blessings given by female priest meeting large communities? (10)
FELICITIES:  We begin with the first of a few charades today: F(emale), a biblical priest, and some large urban areas

6a    Tower has small room — with one of two possible letters on it? (4)
LOOM:  An informal word for a facility also known as the small room of a house, followed by one of the two letters which might be marked on the door of a public one

9a    Hesitation about Stephen? Performer held to be stroppy (10)
REFRACTORY:  About or concerning followed by the surname of a famous Stephen which has contained within (…held) a performer of a type which he is, among other things.  I didn’t know this word, and would have guessed it to be to do with the bending of light before I’d have thought about it being related to fractious

10a   Little fellow given endless support (4)
STAN:  Four letters of a five-letter word for a supporting structure (endless support)

12a   Mark‘s condition (4)
NICK:  Two definitions: a mark or notch and an informal word for condition

13a   Staying power in short supply — hurry to swallow that chemical (9)
HISTAMINE:  Most of (… in short supply) some staying power, with an archaic or poetic word for hurry or haste (3) around it (… to swallow that).  I got set on thinking that that outer word would be haste

15a   Old dope, by the way, is something that can make you ill (8)
PATHOGEN:  O(ld) and a slang term for information or dope next to (by) a way for pedestrians.  I really liked the “by the way” here

16a   Little birds, no good, knocked over stone slabs (6)
STELAE:  Baby birds of the type pictured, missing G (no good), reversed (knocked over)

18a   Once more pick up what is found in train (6)
REHEAR:  A two-letter interjection meaning “what?” is found in train, train here meaning the tail or part which follows behind

20a   Man in trouble with doggie, almost losing it (5,3)
GOING MAD:  An anagram of MAN with DOGGIe minus its tail (almost).  I think I’ve almost lost it after this crossword

23a   Sketch English river flowing west during the course of a day (9)
DELINEATE:  E(nglish) and a(n African) river are put together and reversed (flowing west); these go inside a specific day

24a   Water flowing from black vessel (4)
BURN:  A small stream, formed of the abbreviation for black and a vase or vessel for water.  The definition could be just the first word (with “flowing from”, rather than just “from” linking definition and wordplay) but I like this interpretation.  For some reason I found it hard to shift “ark” from my head as the vessel even though that made no sense.  Grr!  (Or perhaps, woof!)

26a   Bird yours truly spotted in Devon and Cornwall? (4)
SMEW:  “Yours truly” inside the Devon and Cornwall region of England

27a   Some Parisian wanting love recently, feeling loneliness (10)
DESOLATELY:  The French (… Parisian) for some, then (wanting) the letter that looks like zero, then recently (6)

28a   Sort of tree one’s found by river (4)
ACER:  One (in cards perhaps) next to (found by) the abbreviation for river

29a   Plan he once conjured up, being a brain (10)
ENCEPHALON:  An anagram (… conjured up) of PLAN HE ONCE



1d    Front made of wood, not stone (4)
FORE:  A large wood without (not) the abbreviation for stone

2d    The foreign newspaper is beginning to turn against reactionary ideas (7)
LEFTIST:  Put together a foreign word for “the,” the pink newspaper, IS from the clue and the first letter of (beginning to) turn

3d    Drug expert joining firm, one named Michael? (5,7)
CRACK COCAINE:  Another charade, this one of an expert (5), an abbreviation for a firm and the surname of an actor whose might say, “hello, my name is Michael …”

4d    More irritable, wanting to score in row (8)
TETCHIER:  To score (4) in a row or level

5d    Exit, say, on ship (6)
EGRESS:  Concatenate say or for example, on or concerning, and our usual abbreviation for a type of ship

7d    Ace thus would be in court, facing the judge? (2,5)
ON TRIAL:  If you put A(ce) before the second word of the answer, as directed by the first, i.e. A on TRIAL = ATRIAL, we get a word meaning in court (with court as in courtyard)

8d    This composer (It.) could produce divertimento maybe? (10)
MONTEVERDI:  A compound anagram of the composer of the answer and IT.  So our answer is an anagram of DIVERtiMENTO.  Since the composer is indeed Italian and could conceivably have written a divertimento it’s a semi-all-in one clue

11d   A bad yacht, one abandoned in US resort (7,5)
DAYTONA BEACH:  An anagram (…abandoned) of A BAD YACHT ONE

14d   As ‘hip’ radio broadcast revealing sexual disorder (10)
APHRODISIA:  An anagram (… broadcast) of AS HIP RADIO

17d   Nothing’s properly cooked, darling! (5,3)
LOVED ONE:  Nothing in tennis and completely cooked.  Ok, I might be grumpy but I [first word of answer] this [second word of answer]!

19d   Old Greek ambassador has got hold of Nellie (7)
HELLENE:  The abbreviation for His Excellency (ambassador) contains a name which is one of a few which Nellie could be a short form of

21d   Poet to be filled with wonder looking over lake (7)
MARVELL:  Metaphysical poet Andrew is formed of a verb to wonder plus the abbreviation for lake

22d   Wear  rag (4,2)
HAVE ON:  Two definitions: to be encased in (clothing), or to rag or tease

25d   French name for its city‘s herald (4)
LYON:  The French name for a French city is also the chief herald of Scotland


Thanks to Giovanni.  My favourites today are 6a and 17d.  I also thought 5d a very neat and economical little charade.  Which bits did you find cool?


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.


15 comments on “Toughie 2060

  1. Ran out of time so needed the hints for the last handful, mostly in the SE corner but 16a defeated me too (didn’t know the definition or the birds). I was quite pleased to guess the unfamiliar 29 from the anagram and a couple of related words. Not at all surprised that this was a Giovanni. Pretty tough for a Tuesday, particularly coming after Tramp in the Guardian.

    Thanks to Kitty and Giovanni.

  2. I made heavy weather of this and thought it pretty stiff for Tuesday. My last answer was 6a (I’m not totally convinced by this one – do public facilities just have single letters on the doors?). I took the train in 18a to be a verb but I can see that Kitty’s rear works just as well.
    Top clues for me were 3d and 17d. Thanks to Giovanni and Kitty.

    1. Ah yes, I’m pretty sure when I solved it last night I was thinking of train as a verb too. But today the noun was the only one that occurred to me.

      I had the same thought that you very rarely see just single letters on toilet doors, but if you did they would be those. I chickened out of using this as the illustration …

  3. Got most of this but needed help wth 18a and didn’t get 6a. I had “norm” “n – or – m” which I was pleased with except I couldn’t get “tower” out of it. Must admit I don’t “get” the right answer either! “Tower” as in “Tower over”?
    Yes, it’s too hot. Going on holiday soon so will look for a place with air con and move in!

  4. Tuesday Toughie, DG in the chair with his usual assortment of shortened first names and slight obscurities. Not really much to be contributed from this corner beyond the fact that I needed Kitty’s help with the parsing of 7d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to our Girl Tuesday for battling on through the heat. You probably don’t want to know that it’s been lovely and cool here for a week or so now and we’ve had plenty of overnight rain to refresh the gardens!

  5. Steady solve interrupted by chores.
    A few words not heard of but had to be what they were, birds e.g.
    Clever clueing but not greatly entertainment
    Thanks to G & K however

  6. I eventually got there, but in truth, I was defeated by some of the word play (7d for instance). The NE corner took me a long time – like Gazza, I wonder if pubic facilities have letters on the doors these days?). There were at least half a dozen things I was not familiar with that I had to chase down and slowed progress to little more than a crawl at times and, for me, detracted from the cleverness of the word play. Many thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  7. We missed understanding how the wordplay for 7d worked so thanks for that Kitty. The rest all went together after a bit of effort and a couple of words that needed checking in BRB.
    Thanks Giovanni and Kitty.

  8. A *** for difficulty sounds about right to me. Lots went in pretty easily, but then there were a few unfamiliar answers, and at the close the shorter four letter answers dotted round the edge of the grid took an absolute age. A typical Giovanni Toughie all in all. :-)

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