Toughie 2078 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2078

Toughie No 2078 by Musaeus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A new Toughie setter today. Mr Google tells me that Musaeus is a genus of spiders so is there a clue there to the identity of the setter? It was a gentle first puzzle but most enjoyable with some nice clues.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Drink America does fizzy, keeping cold (3-5,4)
ICE-CREAM SODA: An anagram (fizzy) of AMERICA DOES round C (cold). The whole clue can be considered as the definition

9a    A new list in connection with what might get diner going (9)
ANTIPASTO: A + N (new) + ‘to list’ + ‘in connection with’ = an hors d’oeuvre

10a    Talk of merit (5)
ORATE: ‘To talk’ = a shortened form of ‘of’ + ‘to merit’

11a    Bin what’s left of dopey donkey’s pics (6)
IMAGES: ‘Dopey’ (3) with the first letter removed (bins) + ‘donkey’s years’

12a    Rhubarb gin gets applause, coming first (8)
CLAPTRAP: Rhubarb or nonsense = ‘applause’ + a gin or snare

13a    Several ibuprofen, perhaps (6)
NUMBER: Ibuprofen deadens pain and the answer is a term often used in crosswords for an anaesthetic

15a    Run on yarn from the east I have for auntie, possibly (8)
RELATIVE: R (run) + the reversal of a yarn or story + ‘I have’

18a    Turn to in helping cycle (8)
ROTATION: A reversal of TO in a helping or portion

19a    European flipping satisfies in this respect (6)
ESTEEM: E (European) + a reversal of ‘satisfies’

21a    Horror witnessed by a townie in Helen’s home? (8)
ATROCITY: A + a townsman in the ancient city associated with Helen

23a    Herbs resulting in constant rash (6)
CHIVES: C (constant) + a popular term for nettle rash

26a    This article, it turned up on Queen Anne’s head? (5)
TIARA: A reversal of the indefinite article and IT + a single letter denoting ‘queen’ + the first letter of ANNE. The whole clue can be considered as the definition

27a    Who later rued straying? (9)
ADULTERER: An anagram (straying) of LATER RUED. The whole clue can be considered as the definition

28a    Egghead uncle a little upset (12)
INTELLECTUAL: An anagram (upset) of UNCLE A LITTLE


1d    A Latin, I could be ____ (7)
ITALIAN: An anagram (could be) of A LATIN I

2d    Additional stretch of spandex trackies (5)

3d    Stand for salesperson dispatched again (9)
REPRESENT: ‘To stand for’ = a salesperson + ‘dispatched again’

4d    Special sourdough sandwiches too (4)

5d    Accept / joint (8)
SHOULDER: 2 meanings: To accept or take responsibility for/a joint of the body

6d    Flag day lacking upturns (5)
DROOP: ‘To flag’ = D (day) + a reversal of ‘lacking’

7d    Fine opening for Holloway’s Emirates, say (8)
HAIRLINE: Fine (like a crack) = the first letter of HOLLOWAY + a company such as Emirates

8d    Work provisionally on the French tabernacle (6)
TEMPLE: ‘To work on a non-permanent basis’ + the French definite article

14d    Indispensable couple with Omani bread (8)
MATERIAL: ‘To couple’ + the standard monetary unit (bread) of Oman

16d    I teach set artfully about principle of taste (9)
AESTHETIC: An anagram (artfully) of I TEACH SET

17d    Financial millstone? For northerners the joke is in again (8)
MORTGAGE: ‘The’ as a northerner might say it and a joke in ‘again’

18d    Pans close to your driers? (6)
ROASTS: ‘Pans (or criticises harshly)’ = the last letter of YOUR + kilns for drying hops

20d    Wind causing poor visibility over east end of Wirral (7)
MISTRAL: ‘Poor visibility’ + the second half of WIRRAL

22d    Martial artist clasping one that’s central to nunchucks? (5)
CHAIN: The name of a Hong Kong martial artist from the world of cinema goes round I (one) = the central feature of a nunchuck (which I had to look up)

24d    In effect ally removed objets d’art (5)
VIRTU: Remove ALLY from a word meaning ‘in effect’

25d    Strong / edict from the Vatican (4)
BULL: 2 meanings: strong (like a male animal)/an edict of the Pope

Very nice. It’s a pity it was over so quickly.

11 comments on “Toughie 2078

  1. The gentlest of the week for me, but very enjoyable indeed. Welcome, Musaeus – hope to see you again soon.

    The townie in 21a was new to me but, I see it’s in the book as archaic. I almost couldn’t pick a favourite, but I think it has to be 11a.

    Thanks Musaeus and Bufo.

    Edit (a bit late for anyone to see now, but never mind!):
    The setter has tweeted.

  2. I’m given to understand that the name has something to do with Greek Late Antiquity and not very much to do with spiders

    Welcome to Musaeus and thank you to Bufo

  3. Very gentle for a Toughie, which is good news for me. I go along with 11a as my favourite, I like a bit of slang. Now back to yesterday’s Petitjean – not quite finished it yet..

  4. Backpager solved rapidly till my “duh moment ” with 18d, obscure 22 (??), + ‘ cit ‘ in 21, held me up a tad in SW corner.. Sorry Bufo */* .
    Hope for better next time

  5. It may say Toughie on the tin but the contents fail to deliver.
    Anyone looking for a stiffer challenge should head for the Independent today.

  6. I enjoyed this very much. All went smoothly until I got to the SW corner which held me up for a good while. I was not familiar with the townie or the nunchuck references, but my last in was the 22d / 26a combination. Many thanks, and welcome, to Musaeus, and to Bufo.

  7. Sorting out how 11a worked was the biggest delay with this one and several others took a bit of thinking about, but on the whole, a fairly gentle Toughie for me. Plenty to smile at.
    Thanks Musaeus and Bufo.

  8. For the most part gentle, though I did struggle somewhat with the SW corner until 14d and 18d fell, or, alternatively I ran out of steam this late into the evening… An enjoyable debut.

  9. Many thanks Musaeus and Bufo. More than a gentle Toughie, less than a hard Toughie, Snowwhite would have been very pleased.
    26a I parsed as a specific queen who happened to be Anne, as opposed to the current queen and then the head of Anne in order to fully parse the answer without Anne doing double duty
    Favourite was 27a, probably an old chestnut, but new to me. Simply brilliant.

  10. Thanks to Musaeus and to Bufo for the review and hints. A nice puzzle, but hardly a Toughie. Managed most of it but needed the hints for 19a and 7,17,24d. Favourite was 12a.

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