Toughie 2082 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2082

Toughie No 2082 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I was running late today so I was happy that this Micawber puzzle was one of his gentler ones. I was fortunate in that it contains nothing that I haven’t met before.


1a    Forfeited allotment, perhaps, having failed to keep up (4,3,4)
LOST THE PLOT: This phrase meaning ‘failed to keep up’ could also refer to having had one’s allotment taken away

7a    Bone from big bird found in middle of seafront (5)
FEMUR: A large flightless bird inside the middle two letters of SEAFRONT

8a    Lily perhaps producing thin paper (5-4)
ONION SKIN: A very thin variety of paper. When split (5’1,3) it could refer to a lily as being a relative of another plant. I bunged this one in and then had to stop and work out the how

10a    Caught in ecstasy, hides cream cakes (7)
ECLAIRS: C (caught) in E (ecstasy) and hides or dens

11a    Lecherous comic, one going for unknown (7)
SATYRIC: Take a word meaning ‘comic’ or ‘witty and humorous’ and replace the letter I (one) in the middle of the word by the letter Y (unknown)

12a    Naughty, debauched man pinching underwear with no strings attached (5)
ROGUE: A debauched man goes round a letter that can precede “–strings” in items of underwear

13a    Immoderate vice, with sexes mixing (9)
EXCESSIVE: An anagram (mixing) of VICE SEXES

16a    Obliged to provide tax before spring (4-5)
DUTY-BOUND: A tax + ‘to spring’

18a    Subject to election, king deposed (5)
TOPIC: TO + an election with the letter K (king) removed

19a    Half of humour put online is rotten stuff (7)
COMPOST: The first half of a 6-letter word meaning ‘humour’ + ‘to put online’ = something that has rotted and is used by gardeners

22a    Middle Eastern king’s backed by Italy and India (7)
ISRAELI: A reversal of a Shakespearean king and the possessive ‘S inside I (Italy) and I (India)

23a    Initiate action as stage is delayed (9)
LEGISLATE: When split (3,2,4) it equals ‘stage is delayed’

24a    Small dispute showing lack of flexibility (5)
STIFF: S (small) + a dispute

25a    Gets control of temper — it’s very important (11)
CORNERSTONE: ‘Gets control of (a market)’ + temper = something of prime importance


1d    Escape difficult situation — it can relieve gloom (9)
LAMPLIGHT: A 3-letter US slang word meaning escape (e.g. from police) + a difficult or dangerous situation = a source of illumination (associated with Lili Marlene). I only know the word for ‘escape’ through doing crosswords

2d    Astaire regularly appearing to eat fish (7)
SARDINE: Alternate letters of ASTAIRE + ‘to eat’

3d    Disorganised tours on Med, say — United having pre-match collection (9)
TROUSSEAU: An anagram (disorganised) of TOURS + a body of water such as the Med + U (United). The match is a wedding

4d    Old and new technology’s outlets (5)
EXITS: A prefix denoting ‘old’ + new technology + the possessive ‘S

5d    Medicine for the ear brought you and me together (7)
LINCTUS: A syrup-like medicine is a homophone (for the ear) of ‘brought you and me together’ (6,2)

6d    One in receiving line thanks king and queen (5)
TAKER: ‘Thanks!’ + K (king) + our Queen

7d    Release activist, one with potential to destabilise cell? (4,7)
FREE RADICAL: ‘To release’ + an activist = a chemical entity with an unpaired electron

9d    Luxury Caribbean island boss offering protection for head’s supporter (11)
NECKERCHIEF: An island in the Caribbean owned by Sir Richard Branson + a boss

14d    They’ll take turns to steer fish onto waterways (2-7)
CO-DRIVERS: Fish (3) + waterways (6)

15d    Loose summary penned by the setter in more than one case (9)
IMPRECISE: A summary inside two personal pronouns indication the setter, one in the nominative case and the other in the objective case

17d    Herbivore perhaps runs into tanker (7)
BROWSER: R (runs) inside a light tanker for providing water

18d    Starts using unorthodox tutor to cover diametrically opposite points (5,2)
TURNS TO: An anagram (unorthodox) of TUTOR round 2 opposite points of the compass

20d    Enchanting soldier in trenchcoat? (5)
MAGIC: An American soldier inside a waterproof coat

21d    Follow the Tour de Yorkshire? (5)
TRACE: An abbreviated for of ‘the’ as used by a Yorkshireman + competitive event such as the Tour de Yorkshire



13 comments on “Toughie 2082

  1. The usual Micawber fun – thank you to him. I marked the lily’s relation clue as my favourite

    Thanks also to Bufo

  2. Lovely stuff, as always from Micawber, with lots of laughs. I didn’t know the name of Beardie’s Caribbean island.
    I had medium-sized ticks for 8a, 12a, 3d and 15d and a very large tick for 21d.
    Thanks to Micawber and Bufo.

  3. I found this great fun. I was held up in the NE corner for a while, but a wonderful penny-drop moment in 5d opened the flood gates, and all was well. I hadn’t heard of the Caribbean Island either, but a Google search gave it up quickly enough. Many thanks to Micawber and Bufo.

  4. As amusing as ever with Macawber but very gentle, completed in comfortable back page time. Loved t’cycling.

  5. Fairly easy for a Micawber, but as always very entertaining.

    19a Liked the surface reading – does Micawber read this blog?

    But 21d were t’best one in my opinion – ‘appen as not.

    Thanks to Micawber. And thanks to Bufo for explaining 8a – (the Lily one) and 12a (…. no strings attached)

    1. Micawber has tweeted:

      “Micawber Toughie crossword in the Telegraph today. Sample clue:
      19 ac. Half of humour put online is rotten stuff (7)
      (No offence meant to present company!)”

  6. This is a setter whose wavelength I’m generally tuned into so I wasn’t too surprised to find this Tuesdayish in difficulty, but I see I’m in good company, which is always nice. All super stuff (again, not surprising).

    Took a while to twig 8a, which was probably my favourite moment of the solve. However, 19a wins today’s appropriate surface award.

    Many thanks Micawber and Bufo.

  7. Having put trail for 21d was totally stuck for 25a and needed the hints. Must be improving if I’m trying the toughie. Thanks to Micawber and Bufo.

  8. We start smiling when we see that the setter is Micawber and the smiles last right through the solve. A slight hold up when we tried to use TRAIL for 21d but soon changed that. We needed to Google check the 9d island too. 8a gets our vote for clue of the day.
    Thanks Micawber and Bufo.

  9. Great fun!
    Favourite (and also first in) was 7d: last in was 22a (which I needed Bufo’s help to parse!).

    Some difficulty completing the East side, but I knew that if I kept on it something would turn up…..

    Thanks to Bufo and Micawber.

  10. Very enjoyable but over too soon, although I didn’t manage to parse 8a. Thanks to M and B.

  11. A nice gentle Toughie. Didn’t strain my poor brain too much. Very enjoyable. Almost back page difficulty. Thanks all.

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