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Toughie 1050

Toughie No 1050 by Kcit

Navigating through choppy waters

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

There is rather a lot of topping and tailing of words. To solve messy clues like many of these you need to find the definition, guess the answer and then try and analyse the wordplay.

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    Expression of regret mother’s kept by, after setback (2,3)
{MY BAD} – this American slang expression used to acknowledge that one has made a mistake is derived by putting a mother around (kept) BY and then reversing the lot (after setback) – there should be some indication of the use of an American phrase

4a    Mountain area has Scots rambling round river (9)
{TROSSACHS] – this mountain area in Scotland is derived by putting an anagram (rambling) of HAS SCOTS around R(iver)

9a    Stupid with money (and I stupidly invested) (5-4)
{BRAIN-DEAD} – a slang word for money around (invested) an anagram (stupidly) of AND I

10a    A Liberal member causing concern (5)
{ALARM} – the A from the clue followed by L(iberal) and a member or body part

11a    Song finale recalled opera heroine (7)
{ARIADNE} – a song from an opera followed by the reversal (recalled) of a finale

12a    I curtailed gamble after putting in small amount, mostly thinking stupidly (7)
{IDIOTIC} – I followed by most of (curtailed) a verb meaning to gamble or take risks around most of a small amount

13a    Marine creature continued unearthing gravel, primarily (6)
{DUGONG} – a phrasal verb meaning continued unearthing (3,2) followed by the initial letter (primarily) of Gravel

15a    Leader of regiment foolishly altered warning of danger (3,5)
{RED ALERT} – the initial letter (leader) of Regiment followed by an anagram (foolishly) of ALTERED

18a    Noise ending rounds of such a fight? (4-4)
{DING-DONG} – a charade of two noises that could indicate the end of a round in a boxing match

20a    Sport: function mostly I observed in soccer team (6)
{FROLIC} – most of a function or position and I inside the abbreviation of Football Club

23a    Face row after cutting item of formal dress? (7)
{NECKTIE} – a word meaning face or impudence followed by most of (cutting) a row

24a    For a girl, it’s rather hard to gain acceptance by reservists (7)
{TABITHA} – a phrase meaning rather (1,3) and H(ard) inside the UK reservists

26a    Reptile more aggrieved when head’s cut (5)
{ADDER} – drop the initial M (when head’s cut) from an adjective meaning more aggrieved

27a    Leading nobleman’s census (9)
{HEADCOUNT} – an adjective meaning leading followed by a foreign nobleman

28a    Difficulties kept in concealed positions in banks (9)
{HILLSIDES} – some difficulties or troubles inside (kept in) some concealed positions from which to observe wild animals

29a    Fruit drink containing pip I extracted (5)
{APPLE} – an alcoholic drink around P(I)P without (extracted) the I


1d    Providing large group doctor assembled around hospital (3-6)
{MOB-HANDED} – a two-letter abbreviation for a doctor and a verb meaning assembled or united around H(ospital)

2d    Husband, tucking into punch, picked up one Indian snack (5)
{BHAJI} – H(usband) inside (tucking into) the reversal (picked up) of a punch and followed by I (one)

3d    Racket in the sands in Antipodean city (7)
{DUNEDIN} – split as (4,3) this could be a racket or noise in the sands

4d    Police matter ending in imprisonment (3,3)
{THE MET} – how the London police are known is derived from a matter or subject followed by the final letter (ending) of imprisonmenT

5d    Veteran barrels taken from well-marked wood (3-5)
{OLD-TIMER} – start with an adjective meaning well-marked or pronounced and some wood and drop (taken from) the B(arrel)s from each

6d    Works for Disney, keeping up no end of verve and persistence (7)
{STAMINA} – start with a verb meaning brings to life, as in a Disney cartoon, reverse it (keeping up) and then drop the final letter (end) of vervE

7d    Produce a good map of stately home (9)
{CHARTWELL} – split as (5,4) this could mean to produce a good map

8d    Poison ivy, say, giving French writer a turn (5)
{SUMAC} – reverse (giving … a turn) the name of a French author

14d    CO leading battles being very murderous (9)
{GENOCIDAL} – an anagram (battles) of CO LEADING

16d    Course information: plan switching halves to start in earnest (3-3-3)
{TIC-TAC-TOE} – I’m not sure that this is correct – the answer is another word for noughts and crosses, and the kind of manual semaphore used by racecourse bookmakers to exchange information is just the first 6 letters. Having said that, start with a plan, switch the first 3 letters with the last 3 and then add TO and the initial letter (start) of Earnest

17d    Tangled space used by this writer’s cast (8)
{ENMESHED} – a small space used in printing followed by the first person objective pronoun and a verb meaning to cast off a skin or shell

19d    Doctor’s vehicle I lost chasing party idiots (7)
{DOTARDS] – start with Doctor Who’s vehicle, drop (lost) the I and precede it with a party

21d    Girl‘s mostly dissenting account turned up (7)
{REBECCA} – the second girl’s name in this puzzle, which is two too many – most of a word meaning dissenting or mutinous followed by ACC(ount) reversed (turned up)

22d    Arguments raised about Romney’s initial binders? (6)
{STRAPS} – some arguments or petty disputes reversed (raised) around the initial letter of Romney

23d    Welsh town finished last in skirmish (5)
{NEATH} – a word meaning finished or adroit followed by the final letter (last) of skirmisH

25d    Tense mood? That’s a blow (5)
{THUMP} – T(ense) followed by a mood or sulk

Not my favourite puzzle.

18 comments on “Toughie 1050

  1. I thought this was tricky for a Tuesday.
    Thanks to Kcit, and to BD.

    Re 1a, I thought the mother was DAM.

  2. I also found this tricky for a Tuesday, and I agree 16d seems wrong, favourites were 4d 9a and 18a thanks to Kcit and to Big Dave for the review.

  3. I agree with BD on many points,against 1ac I had marked it ‘yuk’,ghastly americanisms should be indicated
    23ac-I don’t like ‘face’ for ‘neck’
    5dn-I needed the explanation
    16dn is just plain wrong, can’t think what Kcit was on when this one was written
    21dn-dissenting for rebel?
    23dn don’t like neat for finished
    All in all a rather unsatisfactory Tuesday toughie

  4. First, apologies to whoever it was that I told Kcit was at the gentle end of Toughies! This was certainly a step up from his usual level.

    16d – there seems to be a lack of a definition. I agree with you BD about where the Tic Tac comes from (and what it means) and also the TO and the E. But what’s it supposed to mean?

    Apart from that it was an acceptable Toughie, **/** for me. Thanks Kcit and BD.

      1. You’re probably right, but I don’t see where the TOE comes in. Course info is the TIC TAC man and it’s reversed tactic so why the third word? Clue works as a (3,3) enumeration (without the TOE).

        Oh well, hopefully tomorrow’s Jay will be less controversial.

    1. I think you told all of us last week that he was one of the gentler Toughie setters! That was what encouraged me to have a go – if in doubt blame pommers! Who cares – it was raining anyway.

      1. Mea culpa! Kcit was my entry to Toughies and he’s never been ttis difficult in my memory. Reckon he saw my post and decided to stuff me up a bit!

        He does Fridays in the Indy under the name PHI and they are a bit tricky – perhaps he sent the wrong puzzle to the wrong paper, or something like that!

  5. Hated the whole thing, thanks BD for the explanations (necessary ) and for the nicest necktie since St. Trinians.

  6. Had to use BD’s hints for this one. Pretty tough for a Tuesday but I guess it is called the Toughie.

    Thanks to setter and BD.

  7. I didn’t finish this by quite a long way.
    I did a bit more than half and gave up – looked at a few hints which got me going again and then managed to finish it, sort of.
    I needed the hints to be able to get lots of the answers and I also needed the hints to understand lots of answers that I wasn’t sure about.
    With thanks to Kcit and BD

  8. Very nice to spot 3d which was a ‘write-in’ for us. A couple we thought the definition dodgy at least. 16d just has to be a mistake, and ‘idiots’ as a synonym for 19a is stretching it a bit far, from our reading of BRB. However we did like that clue as it took us a while to understand Who the doctor was. Kept us working hard but got there in pretty reasonable time.
    Thanks Kcit and BD.

  9. The SW corner, in particular, was a real struggle.

    Agree that 16d appears to be just plain wrong. Chambers seems to support the view that the def, as given, is just the first 6 letters.

    Would be nice to see some explanation from Setter or Editor.

  10. Fairly tough going today. Didn’t like 23d. ‘Neat’ for Finished’, or 20a. ‘Sport’ for ‘Frolic’ and with 24a the def. doesn’t come at the beginning or end, which I thought convention says it should. Agree with everyone else that 16d is just plain wrong. All in all quite fun though. Thanks to Big Dave for excellent parsing.

  11. Some dodgy wordplay without precise definition led to a frustrating solve for me .
    But we all got there and only the setter or the editor can explain the hiccup in 16d .
    Thanks BD and Kcit

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