Fred and Ginger – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

Double Toughie 100012

Christmas Day Double Toughie No 100,012

‘Bubbles’ by Elgar

Hints and Tips by Fred and Ginger


This puzzle was published on Christmas Day 2020

Difficulty ***** Enjoyment *****

Here we go with the 12th annual Elgar Festive Double. Continue reading “Double Toughie 100012”

Toughie 1895

Toughie No 1895

Hints and Tips by Fred and Ginger

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


It has been a while since Fred and Ginger last danced their way onto the Toughie blogging floor, but with the start of the Strictly season under way, it seemed a good time for us to collaborate and work out what Elgar had in store for us with his 121st Toughie.… Continue reading

Toughie 1281

Toughie No 1281 by Elgar

Chaos is come again

Hints and tips by Fred and Ginger

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

Greetings from the Locarno Ballroom, Rhyl. Your terpsichorean twosome are running a Teach Granny to Dance session.  Fred’s really proud of Ginger’s endeavours in the recent Times Crossword Championship, though he suspects she’s struck Notabilis off her Christmas Card list!

Anyway, in between dancing sessions we tackled today’s Elgar and it is a lot tougher than most Toughies seem to be at the moment, though Elgar isn’t in full Toughie mood. Very enjoyable and no detectable theme, although a couple of pairs of answers are connected.

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Toughie 1185

Toughie No 1185 by Sparks

Hints and tips by Fred and Ginger

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

Greetings from the Calder Valley! Sparks has stormed in today with a puzzle that is an enjoyable solve and not too taxing.
Continue reading “Toughie 1185”

Toughie 1130

Toughie No 1130 by Excalibur

Tipsy?   Not Us!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Greetings from the Locarno Ballroom in Carlisle.  Ginger and I are doing the Not Totally Strictly Come Dancing Tour with the lookalikes Ben Goodman, Darcey Mussels, Craig Kenwood Mixer and Bruno Ravioli.   Non-stop dancing and very little champagne makes us very grumpy.  So we decided to sit down and tackle today’s Toughie by Excalibur.  Probably just what we needed, a typical gentle Tuesday workout rather than the Friday beasts we are used to.  Nothing terribly demanding but it passed a pleasant coffee break.

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Toughie 1085

Toughie No 1085 by Notabilis

Another Masterclass

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

Greetings from the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool. We’re teaching three blokes called Len, Craig and Bruno and a woman called Darcey how to dance before some TV show at the weekend. Craig whinges a lot, Bruno flirts a lot and Len has a leery look in his eye. Darcey is charming but pirouettes a lot. This might be a challenge.

Speaking of challenges, we wind up the Toughie week with another elegant challenge from Notabilis, one of Crosswordland’s top setters. The puzzle is full of elegant and tough but totally fair clues, the perfect Toughie and certainly my favourite of the week.

Continue reading “Toughie 1085”

Toughie 1077

Toughie No 1077 By Elgar

Cracking Crossword Gromit!

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

Greetings from the Locarno Ballroom in Cleethorpes where Ginger and I are tripping the light fantastic with a busload of pensioners and several gigolos named Rex. In between paso doble classes we sat and tackled today’s challenge from the hobnailed booted one.

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Toughie 1041

Toughie No 1041 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Fred and Ginger

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

Greetings from the Liberace home for Aged Has-Beens. Our Friday tormentor is Notabilis who once again demonstrates the sheer elegance and quality of his clue writing in this splendid challenge. Probably not one of his more difficult ones, but enough in there to stretch your mental muscles. Had a few problems in parsing a couple of clues and I’m not entirely convinced I’ve missed something obvious in 9d.

Our stand-out favourite clue was 26, which made me smile. Fred was so tempted to have MILIBAND as the answer to 20 across but realised otherwise and found a better solution!

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Toughie 989

Toughie No 989 by Elgar

When the blue-eyed boy met the naughty girl!

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


It’s been quite a  fluffy week in Toughieland and even Elgar was definitely tending more to the pink-slippered end of the Toughie spectrum (his hob-nailed boots must be at the menders being re-sharpened!).

Fred has been a bit fragile this week, so was grateful for the less than usual mauling from our genial clue-writer.   Ginger was grateful  to have a proper Toughie to stretch her cryptic grey matter.  We wait to learn what others thought in due course.

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Toughie 985

Toughie No 985 by Osmosis

Putting faces to the names

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

Greetings from the Terpsichoreans (that’s not a recently discovered group of Greek islands!) As you may know, there was a gathering of the great and the good of the crossword world in Wapping yesterday and your dancing duo were there.

Continue reading “Toughie 985”