Toughie No 118 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 118

Toughie No 118 by Giovanni

Relatively easy despite some long answers

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

I made steady progress through this puzzle, and the one long word was soon revealed by the checking letters (together with Chamber’s online); this could have been a little difficult look up if you were doing this on the 7.55 to 3 down!


8a It’s good? Nonsense! (4)
{GROT} – put G(ood) and synonym for nonsense together to give a word meaning the opposite (nonsense) of good – this is a passable all-in-one (or &lit) clue and you can thank Gazza (see comments below) for this Reggie Perrin link

9a Woman of 27 heading west (3)
{EVA} – The answer to 27 across is reversed (heading west – one of a handful of across-clue only constructs) to give a woman’s name

10a A carefree land (6)
{ALIGHT} – “A” and a word that means carefree together give a word meaning to land

11a Fellow in charge without love, starchy type (6)
{MANIOC} – this time the fellow is a MAN (it could have been f for fellow, or don for a university fellow) and then we put the usual crossword abbreviation for “In Charge” around (without) O (zero / love, as in tennis) to get a starchy plant also known as cassava

12a Wendy’s family favourites (8)
{DARLINGS} – a reference to Wendy‘s family in Peter Pan gives us a synonym for favourites

13a ‘Invalids’ with a nature that’s perverse? (15)
{VALETUDINARIANS} – a much better all-in-one clue uses perverse to signal an anagram of INVALIDS with A NATURE to describe these perverse invalids

15a Communication shows agreement’s not right (7)
{CONTACT} – take the “R” (Right) out of the kind of agreement that is usually signed and you have a word meaning to communicate

17a What’s rustic is nice, except for the lake (7)
{PEASANT} – just a bit too obvious that this rustic person is formed by removing (except for)  an “L” (Lake) from a synonym of nice

20a Huge number in MI6, not half a dozen! (1,8,3,3)
{A THOUSAND AND ONE} – take the 6 (half a dozen) away from MI6 and you are left with MI which is 1001 in Roman numersls – as always, they are very easy when you spot the wordplay

23a Local bigwig almost genuine, not a rodent (8)
{SQUIRREL} – cleverly concealed by the surface reading – now read it again as / local bigwig, almost / genuine, not a / rodent / and carry out the requested actions on squire and real respectively to get this rodent

25a Drum that introduces a nursery rhyme (3-3)
{TOM-TOM} – this drum introduces the piper’s son who stole a pig

26a Covering with which chap binds a set of books (6)
{MANTLE} – earlier the fellow was a man, this time the chap is a MALE; put this around (binds) the abbreviation for the set of books in the second part of the bible and you have a poetic word for a covering

27a Greeting a famous victory (3)
{AVE} – a Latin greeting from “A” and Victory in Europe

28a New Age light source (4)
{NEON} – N(ew) and a word meaning a very long time (age) give the gas used in most strip lights


1d Only part of the circle gets the stories and secrets (6)
{ARCANA} – a part of a circle precedes ANA (stories / a collection of someone’s table talk or of gossip or literary anecdotes) to give secrets or mysteries

2d Rough walk over Aussie territory (8)
{STRIDENT} – a walk then the N(orthern) T(erritory) gives a word meaning loud and grating (rough)

3d Erect French huts that look out of place in London station (9,6)
{FENCHURCH STREET} – this London station is known to Monopoly enthusiasts and commuters from Essex, and the anagram of  ERECT FRENCH HUTS is signalled by the phrase “that look out of place”

4d Sugary woman left at home (7)
{MAUDLIN} – this woman is called MAUD and the rest of the charade is L(eft) and IN (home) and she is feeling very weakly sentimental (sugary)

5d One of two with new status after the match (8,7)
{MARRIAGE PARTNER} – a cryptic description of each of the participants in a wedding (match)

6d Goin’ on two wheels over one island (6)
{BIKINI} – replacing the first or last letter with an apostrophe, as here, usually indicates that you have to do the same thing to the synonym; going on two wheels is BIKIN’ and add I (one) to get a pacific island that was ruined by nuclear testing, but gave its name to skimpy swimwearyou didn’t think I’d miss out on a link opportunity like that, did you?

7d Violent person, a jerk hard inside (4)
{THUG} – TUG (jerk) around H(ard) to give a word for a violent person that is derived from the actions of a group of Indian criminals

14d No one will be listened to, sister! (3)
{NUN} – this religious sister sounds like (will be listened to) none (no one)

16d Dismissed? Yell – there’s no place for silence! (3)
{OUT} – it must be difficult to think up new clues for three letter words, so this one that prompts you to remove the sh (there’s no place for silence) from shout (yell) is quite good

18d Posted with enclosed money to serve as deposit (8)
{SEDIMENT} – SENT is a frequent synonym for posted, and this time the money that is enclosed is 10 American cents (DIME) and the result is a deposit

19d In a church losing a hundred of the old people (7)
{ANGLIAN} – deliberately misleading, there is no sign of the usual ch or ce for the church – once again the answer is found by ignoring the surface reading and taking it a bit at a time; in the ANGLI(C)AN church you lose the C (a hundred in Roman numerals) and you get a word meaning of the Angles (of the old people), early inhabitants of England

21d Drug one took in after operation (6)
{OPIATE} – I ATE (one took in) comes after OP(eration) giving a generic name for the group of drugs that include heroin

22d Right-winger with one atrocious trick (6)
{NEOCON} – an anagram (atrocious) of ONE is followed by a CON (trick) to give an abbreviation for the American term neoconservative, a right-winger with a policy of reacting to liberalism by adopting more traditional attitudes – this one is especially for you BigBoab!

24d Group heading off for court (4)
{QUAD} – take a group of players called up for, say, England and remove the first letter (heading off) to get a courtyard, typically at an educational establishment (a sort of posh playground)

An enjoyable puzzle – did you get 13 across from the anagram?

10 comments on “Toughie No 118

  1. It’s by me. Good to see this website up and running, and I hope the network of people responding will expand. Good luck!

  2. Giovanni

    It’s a pleasure to see you.

    Can you get the online site to give you a mention, then I wouldn’t have to wait until I go out to buy the paper to find out the name of the setter?

  3. 8a always makes me think of the late Leonard Rossiter’s wonderful comedy about a shop with this name which sold only totally useless objects, such as square bicycle wheels!

  4. Still stuck on 22d, I can’t imagine any word which could fit n?o?o?. Oh well I’ll have to wait until one of you geniuses come up with it.

  5. bigboab Think of an anagram (atrocious) of “one” followed by a word for trick or scam!

  6. I came to slight grief on 22d, because I could not confirm it on my Chambers CD ROM.

    I had to resort to the printed 2006 edition where I found the entry.

    I did like 4d. It took me some thought – the answer is not a definition I would immediately associate with the clue.

    Altogether a nice puzzle.

  7. @BigBoab – as one of my first “customers” (I nearly said oldest!) you are always welcome.

    @Rollo I have never had the CD-Rom version, but with the latest (11th) edition of the book you get 6 months free subscription to the online version and I’d hate to be without it now, especially since the definitions were updated a few weeks ago.

    A 6-month subscription is on offer for £6 at the moment.

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