Toughie 2070 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2070

Toughie No 2070 by Messinae

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I never seemed to get on a roll today and ended up taking more time that perhaps I should have done. But it was an enjoyable puzzle with some nice touches with several clues in which the whole clue helped provide the definition

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Lie in certain position round top of head? It does (8,3)
PORK-PIE HAT: Rhyming slang for a lie (untruth) + ‘in a certain position’ round H (first letter of HEAD) = a type of headgear. Trickier than it should been because of the faulty enumeration

6a    Scheme cutting out middleman regularly (4)
IDEA: Remove alternate letters from MIDDLEMAN

9a    Craftsman well employed in isle (5)
MASON: ‘Well’ inside an isle in the Irish Sea

10a    The mob‘s taking cut — be doubly alert about it (3,6)
HOI POLLOI: I bunged this in at an early stage and only realised when writing the blog that I hadn’t the faintest idea how it works. The best I can come up with is the follows. Take a 4-letter word meaning ‘to cut’ and put it inside 2 interjections used to attract attention (Be alert!). The first interjection has 3 letters and the second one is the same with the first letter removed. Any better ideas?

12a    Is cold, got sunk, being punished with such mediaeval devices? (7-6)
DUCKING STOOLS: An anagram (being punished) of IS COLD GOT SUNK

14a    English trade union parts open to bribery later (8)
EVENTUAL: E (English) + TU (trade union) inside ‘open to bribery’

15a    Creature almost set problem (6)
POSSUM: A small marsupial = ‘to set (a problem)’ with the first letter removed + a problem in arithmetic

17a    See 8 Down

19a    Enraged a cuckoo at 3 (8)
GADARENE: An anagram (cuckoo) of ENRAGED A = at the answer to 3 down (like some swine in the Bible). I dredged this word up eventually with the aid of the checking letters

21a    It could give singer toehold in career (3,10)
THE GONDOLIERS: The title of a comic opera is an anagram (in career) of SINGER TOEHOLD

24a    Time philosopher collected things before a match (9)
TROUSSEAU: T (time) + the surname of an 18th century philosopher. The match is a wedding

25a    Later stages of airport project (5)
THROW: The last 5 letters of the name of a British airport

26a    Year engaged in reflecting unhappy times (4)
DAYS: Y (year) in a reversal of ‘unhappy’

27a    Having feelings that are confused and vile, Batman wavers (10)
AMBIVALENT: An anagram (wavers) of VILE BATMAN


1d    Attempt to get married in ceremony (4)
POMP: M (married) inside an informal word for an attempt

2d    Remains on team keeping united (7)
RESIDUE: ‘On’ + a team round U (united)

3d    Frequent condition of Dad’s Army — Dads protecting country admitting limits of civilians in it (5,8)
PANIC STATIONS: ‘Dads’ round a country containing the first and last letters (limits) of CIVILIANS inside IT. The answer is a state Dad’s Army often found themselves in despite Lance Corporal Jones’s exhorting them not to get into such a state

4d    It’s morally right holding indefinite number of races (8)
ETHNICAL: ‘Morally right’ round N (an indefinite number)

5d    Striking fear in first section of prison? (5)
AWING: A letter denoting the first + a section of a prison

7d    More than one helping what are carried out in toy hospital? (7)
DOLLOPS: When split (5,2) it could refer to surgical procedures carried out on toys

8d,17a & 22d    Drama rude men might miss playing? (1,9,6,5)
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM: One of Shakespeare’s plays is an anagram (playing) of DRAMA RUDE MEN MIGHT MISS

11d    Taxation prole dodges providing that little luxury (8,5)
OPTIONAL EXTRA: An anagram (dodges) of TAXATION PROLE = a non-essential additional item which is available for purchase

13d    Checks rubbish journalist brought back to office (10)
REINSTATED: ‘Checks’ (5) + rubbish (3) + journalist (2)

16d    Unpleasant smell gathering all over one kind of cheese (8)
HALLOUMI: An unpleasant smell round ALL and O (over) + I (one) = a mild cheese made in Cyprus

18d    King, say, captured by violent pope (7)
GREGORY: R (king) and EG (say) inside ‘violent’ gives the name of 16 popes and 2 antipopes

20d    Studio location of horror film with final bits cut (7)
ELSTREE: The name of a British film studio is obtained by taking a 2-word (3,6) location of a nightmare in the title of a horror film and removing the last letter from each word. A good spot. I wonder if it’s been used before

22d    See 8 Down

23d    US armed police unit was sent out on time (4)
SWAT: An anagram (sent out) of WAS + T (time) gives an acronym for a US police unit used against highly armed criminals. I didn’t know this term. Maybe I don’t watch enough TV crime dramas

17 comments on “Toughie 2070

  1. The enumeration of 1a is correct in the paper version so I didn’t have any problems with this clue which I marked as my Across favourite.
    10a – I think we have examples of two different interjections but the office dictionary doesn’t agree with me
    My Down favourite was 3d

    Thanks to Messinae for the crossword – I’ll be interested to see whether others agree with Bufo’s difficulty rating, because I don’t – and to Bufo for the explanations

  2. Despite the correct enumeration i didn’t really like 1a.
    Some clever anagrams and, as I do watch American TV, 23d presented no problems.

  3. I can’t recall if I have ever attempted a Messinae Toughie before, but thanks to the awful weather I thought I would have a go today. It took me a little while to get on wavelength but then it all came together quite smoothly – overall fairly tough but not impenetrable – and it was a lot of fun.

    The only answer I failed to parse was 20d, which was very clever. Thanks, Bufo.

    My joint favourites were 5d & 18d.

    Many thanks to Messinae & Bufo.

  4. Somewhere around average Toughie difficulty for me, so I wouldn’t disagree with Bufo’s rating. The enumeration error escaped my notice, which was fortunate. Didn’t mark out any particular favourite, but found plenty to like.

    Thanks to Messinae and Bufo.

  5. Pleasant crossword with some good clues in spite of the mess made of the enumeration in the online version – thanks to Messinae and Bufo.

    I’d heard of the 19a swine but I didn’t know the word could be used as an adjective.

    8d/17a/22d is my least favourite type of clue – a long well-known phrase or title clued by a very long anagram (21 letters in this case). Surely most solvers write the answer in from the enumeration and a couple of checkers with no-one (other than the blogger, who is contractually obliged to do so) bothering to verify that the anagram works.

    Top clues for me were 7d and 20d, both of which I liked a lot.

  6. On the fluffy side of average for me. 1a my last in so I would probably have been even quicker with the correct enumeration. I quite liked the doll ops but agree with Gazza about the rather pointless long anagram.
    Tomorrow will hopefully be a stiffer challenge.

  7. Got off to a good start with two long anagrams of the ‘write in, parse later’ type at 12a & 8/17/22 but had to work a bit harder with the rest of it.
    Needed to look up 19a – not a word I can recall coming across before today.

    Top three here were 7,13&20d.

    Thanks to Messinae and to Bufo for the blog.

  8. A touch of the dreaded egg for me today. Some corkers, some corked – 7d & 20d are my pick of the former, and 10a the latter

    Many thanks to Messinae and to Bufo.

  9. I’m afraid I can’t agree with Bufo’s rating either. I finished it all except for the Eastern-Mediterranean cheese, which I didn’t know. In which case it can’t be more than a **.

    I couldn’t fully parse 1a, because my lie doesn’t have the second P. I did like 7d, as have others, but COTD is certainly 20d.

    Many thanks to Messinae and Bufo.

  10. Well, I didn’t finish it, but I liked it better than the back page today!

    I really enjoyed the three part anagram.

    Thanks all round.

  11. Very enjoyable and not over difficult. I (G) especially liked 7d and think it’s the most enjoyable/entertaining clue for a long while (other opinions are available). Many thanks to Messinae and Bufo

  12. Must admit that we had not noticed that the enumeration was wrong for 1a but it still took us quite some time to sort out. 19a was new to us and once we had all the available checkers shuffled the remaining letters until we came up with the right combination.
    Quite a challenge fur us and satisfying to get it all sorted.
    Thanks Messinae and Bufo.

  13. Always last! Can’t concentrate non-stop!
    Enjoyed this.
    Took too long over 1d, so longer to twig 1a.
    Not heard of 19a,though the anagram obvious.
    Favourite 3d, Jonesy!
    The bard’ s 3 cluer? Bit easy.

    1. Not quite :) No major issues ***/***. 19a was a try it and hope as had no internet connection whilst solving or access to dead tree aids. As Gazza said I’m not a fan of 8d/17a/22d style clues but for once the anagram fodder jumped out. I agree with his favourites. Thanks to Messinae and Bufo.

  14. Just getting in before midnight as usual a busy day in Cambridge in STEADY RAIN! Lovely. Water buts full and did not have to water. Nice difficult crossword, I loved the toy hospital and 12a and I knew about the swine. I did not like 1 a and needed to uncover the answer for 14a although it is all there I couldn’t see it. Thank you everyone.

  15. 19A My wife & I tried two different anagrams until she came up with the third, correct, one!

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