Toughie 2068 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2068

Toughie No 2068 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hi everyone, I hope you are well.  We have a Toughie today from the man who can construct a themed Enigmatic Variations puzzle in just 13 hours.  I very much enjoyed it, though was puzzled by the wordplay for 17d generating an extra letter.  That clue has now — after, I imagine, some words between the setter and his editor — been replaced online.

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    In addition, the Marines will be in tumult (11)
FURTHERMORE:  THE from the clue and the abbreviations for the Marines are to go inside (will be in) tumult or uproar

9a    Unpleasant  attack (9)
OFFENSIVE:  Two definitions, the first an adjective and the second a noun

10a   Last stage in ‘honest’ villain kidnapping Frenchman (5)
IMAGO:  The last stage in an insect’s development is found in an “honest” Shakespearean villain around (kidnapping) the French equivalent of Mr

11a   Those elected facing first demand (6)
INSIST:  Those elected (3) next to (facing) a shortened way of writing first

12a   Edit to E.T. rang true (2,6)
ON TARGET:  Make an anagram of (edit) TO E.T .RANG

13a   Show catch in safety feature (6)
AIRBAG:  Show or broadcast and catch or capture (3)

15a   Half-hearted note providing Eastern holiday destination (8)
TENERIFE:  A note worth two fivers without one of its central pair of letters (half-hearted) followed by providing (2) and E(astern)

18a   Daily sex could be a problem in Reading (8)
DYSLEXIA:  This is a favourite anagram (… could be) of DAILY SEX

19a   Jerk carrying newspaper is sad (6)
TRAGIC:  A bodily jerk containing (carrying) an informal term for a newspaper

21a   Son quietly leaves tooth (8)
SPROCKET:  A charade of S(on), the musical abbreviation for quietly, and some peppery salad leaves.  A tooth on the rim of a wheel, not the oral kind

23a   A sure thing in such as Oxford pub, we hear (4-2)
SHOO-IN:  Homophones (… we hear) of something of which Oxford is a type and a hostelry

26a   Make a turnover that’s somewhat stupendous (5)
UPEND:  The answer is lurking (that’s somewhat …) in the last word of the clue

27a   Dull article, one penned by prisoner (9)
INANIMATE:  A grammatical answer and the Roman numeral one are inside (penned by) a prisoner

28a   Relent and spend badly? Brilliant (11)
RESPLENDENT:  An anagram (… badly) of RELENT and SPEND



1d    State ‘Red Army’s left’ (7)
FLORIDA:  Red, of complexion perhaps, and the leftmost letter (…’s left) of army

2d    Crowds in sea-going vessels? (5)
RAFTS:  Large numbers, or flat floating structures

3d    Worker announced Arab greeting (9)
HANDSHAKE:  A worker (4) plus a word that in its anglicised pronunciation sounds like (announced) an Arab chief

4d    Son involved with this attack could make inroads (4)
RAID:  SON anagrammed with (involved with) the answer could make the last word of the clue, i.e. the answer is an anagram of InRoADs

5d    Plant and flower, slender inside (8)
OLEANDER:  The flower is a river in Central Europe; inside it goes a word meaning slender

6d    Wager husband will leave queen for dramatic social climber (5)
ELIZA:  A three-letter wager and H(usband) are deleted from (will leave) our queen

7d    Paul possibly bitter about job (7)
APOSTLE:  Paul in the bible was one of these: wrap some beer around a job or position

8d    Golf before fishing? Awkward! (8)
GANGLING:  The letter represented by golf in the NATO alphabet precedes fishing

14d   Shy, waited again? (8)
RESERVED:  Split (2-6) this might be to wait (as a waiter in a restaurant etc. does) again

16d   Finally see criminal trashing one of three particular houses (5,4)
EARTH SIGN:  The last letter of (finally) see and then an anagram (criminal) of TRASHING

17d   Star runs out, being replaced by British priest and composer (8)
New online clue: Heartless star holding British priest and composer (8)
SIBELIUS:  The brightest star in the night sky loses R (runs out) to be replaced by B(ritish) and a biblical priest … which leads to a spare letter
New clue: The aforementioned star loses its middle two letters (heartless), instead containing (holding) B(ritish) and the biblical priest

18d   Talk about what may be cast second (7)
DISCUSS:  Something thrown or cast by an athlete and an abbreviation for second(s)

20d   Show trickster safe bet (7)
CONCERT:  A charade of a trickster (3) and a sure thing

22d   Detectives on about drink (5)
CIDER:  Some police detectives plus our usual short word meaning on or concerning

24d   Love cigarette — ultimately smoke eighteen? (2,3)
OF AGE:  The letter which looks like zero (love) followed by an informal word for a cigarette and the last letter (ultimately) of smoke

25d   Hellish idol‘s boring, without note (4)
BAAL:  This demon is formed of a word meaning boring, commonplace or trite without N(ote)


Thanks to our busy puzzles editor for another very enjoyable crossword.  My favourites today are 26a and 6d.  Which did you think somewhat stupendous?


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.


16 comments on “Toughie 2068

  1. Enjoyed this one – a little tricky in places but nothing too taxing, apart from trying to justify the original clue for 17. 25 was last in. Liked 18 though I am sure I have seen the anagram before.

    Thanks to Kitty and Samuel

  2. I thought this was somewhat tougher than recent Tuesday Toughies; I was on the point of giving up several times when another penny dropped and so I continued – definitely *** (maybe ****)/***.

    I was slightly confused by 17d but I gave up on the deletions and additions when I decided that I had the correct answer.

    Favourite 3d.

    Thanks to CL and Kitty.

  3. Thanks to Samuel and Kitty – not too tricky I thought, although I spent some time trying to justify the answer for the pre-revision 17d.
    I know that ‘in’ as an adjective means elected but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it used as a noun and it seems very awkward to me.
    Top clues for me were 23a and 6d.

  4. Oh balderdash – my dramatic social climber was Evita. No wonder I struggled to parse that one!
    I liked 18a – any of our readers from Reading care to comment? – and had never really considered how to spell 23a. I’d have got it wrong without 24d.
    24d made me smile.

    Favourite was the disgruntled Paul.

    Thanks to Mr Ed and to our Girl Tuesday and her performing felines.

  5. Steady solve in *** time as stuck on 13 – duh!
    And 25 I did nt know though I suspected the 5 letter adjective. I never trawl net nor dictionaries. ** for entertainment..

  6. I thought I was off to a good start but then got bogged down. I did get 6DX and I spelt 23a incorrectly so was held up on 24d. I hated 11a and cannot believe ‘ins’? However, nice hour spent before I tackle the ironing – who said a woman’s work was never done? Thanks for the hints.

  7. We started off crying for Argentina too in 6d until we could not get the parsing. Pondered for a while on 17d and nice to see it was not us being thick after all. 18a gets our vote for favourite.
    Thanks Samuel and Kitty.

    1. Yes, I thought the social climber was from Argentina. Couldn’t remember the hellish idol either. Otherwise I agree with Jules below: bottom half slipped in easily enough, top was more of a struggle. Thanks to setter and for the hints.

  8. Good evening all
    Well, this is definitely a game of two halves. The bottom half went in pdq + 7 & 8 dn and 15a. Then stuck. So went to the pub. Now back and got 11a but no further. I’ll leave it til tomorrow now and see if a few cerebral regenerations happen….. and help!
    Thanks for your input

  9. Very late – but worth a comment. Enjoyable Toughie – enjoyable because I could finish it (apart from Evita – bunged in although I couldn’t parse it – dope.). Only 2 to go on Today’s Toughie. Be a record for me if I can do two in a row!

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