Toughie 843 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 843

Toughie No 843 by Kcit

A touch of the classics!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

This came close to being a single star for difficulty, but I was held up by a couple of clues in the bottom half of the puzzle

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Stop chasing villainous character, encountering difficult situation in London location (4,4,6)
{HYDE PARK CORNER] – a four-letter word meaning to stop comes after (chasing) the Dr Jekyll’s villainous alter ego and is followed by (encountering) a difficult situation

9a    Wrong to entertain lithium and cobalt as ‘non-metal‘ (7)
{SILICON} – a wrong goes around (entertains) the chemical symbols for lithium and cobalt

10a    Warning about book provided by a province (7)
{ALBERTA} – a warning around B(ook) and followed by the A from the clue

11a    Food item needy person has swallowed in bar (3)
{EGG} – a needy person is derived when BAR is placed around the answer

12a    Does ail badly, swallowing tablet back that’s round in shape (11)
{ELLIPSOIDAL} – an anagram (badly) of DOES AIL around (swallowing) a tablet that has been reversed (back)

14a    Initiate several games of football at the beginning (3,3)
{SET OFF} – several games of tennis followed by the OF from the clue and the initial letter (beginning) of Football

15a    Inappropriate jokes, outing priest, upset me in cathedral city (8)
{UNSEEMLY} – drop the initial P(riest} from some jokes then follow it with ME reversed (upset) inside Crosswordland’s famous three-letter cathedral city

17a    Lose reason, going mad, entirely lovelorn in actuality (8)
{REALNESS} – an anagram (going mad) of L(O)SE REAS(O)N without the Os (entirely lovelorn)

19a    Say retreating is hard when meeting a female companion (6)
{GEISHA} – the Latin abbreviation for say/for example reversed (retreating) followed by IS, H(ard) and the A from the clue

22a    Writer‘s rubbish: director has to overlook first of repeated characters (11)
{LITTÉRATEUR} – a six-letter word for rubbish followed by a film-director, thought of as the creator of a particular genre, without (to overlook) the first of the repeated characters

23a    Educational establishment overthrown in Uruguay’s capital (3)
{UNI} – reverse (overthrown) IN and the initial letter (capital) of Uruguay

24a    Men of limited abilities backing quiet suggestion in French article? On the contrary (7)
{EUNUCHS} – reverse an invocation to be quiet and a suggestion around (not in) a French indefinite article

26a    Love remains hero of drama (7)
{ORESTES} – O (love) followed by a verb meaning remains or stays around (to ensnare) E(uropean) gives the hero of a number of Greek dramas

27a    Thing plane ‘trod’ when circling round? (7,7)
{HOLDING PATTERN} – an anagram (circling round) of THING PLANE TROD – &Lit, the whole clue provides a definition


1d    Army stores distributed? Cry goes up: ‘Catering service‘ (7,7)
{HOSTESS TROLLEY} – a four-letter word for an army followed by an anagram (distributed) of STORES and a cry reversed (goes up) gives this essential for those entertaining dinner guests in the 1970s (we’ve still got ours!)

2d    Pleasure got from borders of desolate land (7)
{DELIGHT} – the outer letters (borders) of DesolatE and a verb meaning to land

3d    Boundary marker to obstruct access to criminal (6,5)
{PICKET FENCE} – a verb meaning to obstruct access and a criminal who receives stolen goods – the definition was seen as recently as Toughie 841

4d    North American line entrenched by staff for Reagan? (6)
{RONALD} – N(orth) A(merican) L(ine) inside (entrenched by) a staff gives the first name of former US President Reagan

5d    Mountaineering equipment to restrict lads missing summit? (8)
{CRAMPONS} – a verb meaning to restrict followed by some male offspring without their initial letter (missing summit)

6d    Difficulty cutting gem (3)
{RUB} – drop the final Y (cutting) from a gem

7d    Its acquisition — could make me a Lord? (7)
{EARLDOM} – a cryptic definition of a rank which, when acquired, makes its recipient a Lord – an anagram (could make) of ME A LORD

8d    Ivy handles road badly — riding this? (6-8)
{HARLEY DAVIDSON} – an anagram (badly, for the second time in this puzzle) of IVY HANDLES ROAD

13d    Chap heading off back home is far too serious (11)
{OVEREARNEST} – drop the initial C (heading off) a chap and follow it with a word meaning back and a cosy home

16d    He kills two geese, I note (8)
{ASSASSIN} – a goose or silly person then another one and finally I and N(ote)

18d    Soldier with cut head threatened merchant (7)
{ANTONIO} – a soldier insect followed by most of (cut) a slang word for the head gives the Merchant of Venice

20d    Bus service put out of business with one falling from part of roof (7)
{SHUTTLE} – a verb meaning to close a business followed by a part of a roof without the I (with one falling)

21d    Engineers and company, well-informed regarding subversive action, get back (6)
{RECOUP} – a two-letter abbreviation for some Army engineers, CO(mpany) and a word meaning well-informed or alternatively a two-letter word meaning regarding or about and a subversive action – either way it leads to a verb meaning to get back

25d    One in drink? One skips the last few bars (3)
{COD} – this is not far off an approximation of the numbers of these allegedly still left in the North sea! – drop the final A (one skips) from the last few bars of passage of music

An enjoyable puzzle, but is it really a Toughie?

20 comments on “Toughie 843

  1. Agree with you about difficulty – 22a and 24a being the ones that held me up. Used to work near 1a so that went straight in. 15a was my favourite – solved just after the boss told yet another inappropriate joke here on the outskirts of a cathedral city :)

    Thanks to Kcit and BD too

  2. The top half went in fairly quickly, but a few in the bottom half took a fair amount of thought.
    2.5*/4* for me. Thanks to Kcit, and to BD.

  3. I agree with the previous comments, 2*/3* for me also. I did enjoy it however and my favourite was 1a despite being part anagram. Thanks to Kcit and BD.

  4. I’m definitely still a real novice at this Toughie game. I got completely stuck in the bottom left corner and ended up needing several hints. I still don’t understand the last five letters of 22a or the last four of 18d – just can’t think of the slang word for the head. Really sorry to be dim, again.
    My favourites were 1a and 6 and 8d.
    With thanks to Kcit and BD.

    1. 22a – the film director is an AUTEUR – drop the first U (repeated character)

      18d – the slang word for a head is an ONION – drop the final letter

      1. Thanks BD,
        The film director is a new word to me so I would never have got it on my own but should have got the onion.
        Hopefully in the not too distant future I will get beyond needing everything spelt out in words of one syllable!!

  5. Workmanlike offering from todays setter favourites were 1d 20d and 24a thanks to Kcit and to Big Dave for the comments. Dave is 21d three clues for the same answer.

  6. Really enjoyed this. So often a “toughie” tries to be too clever and is just obscure for the sake of it. No fun at all.

    My only hold up was 25d. Not being a fan of salt water, either out or in, I’d forgotten it could also mean “drink”.

    1. Agree with you JB, really enjoyed this one, prossibly because it was dooable, (for me) just twigged 25d, totally unable to see drink as anything other that a large glass of iced Chardonnay. Many thanks Kcit and BD

  7. Found this a puzzle of two halves. Top half went in easily but had to work hard on some of the bottom ones. Like Kath, could not work out last part of 22a as auteur a new word for us too. Enjoyed the puzzle. Read on the Telegraph site that Kcit is also in New Zealand which adds to our enjoyment of course. Liked 1d and 24a. Thanks Kcit and BD.

  8. Off topic (well close)
    I noted this in an earlier puzzle.
    What privacy- seeking celeb’s fear ? It could be one step to hell ( 9,4 )
    How apt.

  9. Kath you are not a novice any more m’dear, I missed 22a last 5 letters totally, I knew the word but couldn’t parse it, D’oh

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