Toughie 1084 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1084

Toughie No 1084 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I think this is a puzzle of average difficulty but I made heavier weather of it than I should have done and so I have added half a star to the difficulty rating. It was a pleasant enough 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    A sign of emptiness largely in conspirator in film (10)
{CASABLANCA} A + a sign of emptiness (a space) with the last letter removed inside a conspirator in Julius Caesar gives the title of a classic film from 1942

6a    Was treating journalist high up in NY Times? (4)
{USED} An American head of a newspaper would be a ** **

9a    Peer having produced nothing, we hear (5)
{BARON} A peer is a homophone of ‘produced nothing’ or ‘infertile’

10a    Protest by drivers in Mediterranean island — expression of popular will? (9)
{DEMOCRACY} A protest + an organisation providing services for motorists inside the IVR of a Mediterranean island nation

12a    I discern trust that’s collapsed in care provider (8,5)
{DISTRICT NURSE} An anagram (collapsed) of I DISCERN TRUST

14a    Unlucky backing for store around flat that’s demolished (3-5)
{ILL-FATED} A reversal of a food store goes round an anagram (demolished) of FLAT

15a    Fluster / conductor (6)
{RATTLE} 2 meanings: to fluster/the surname of an English conductor

17a    Stick that is right for weapon (6)
{RAPIER} Stick (blame) + ‘that is’ + R (right) = a type of sword

19a    Wee payment put back for transport (5,3)
{WATER BUS} Wee (urine) + a reversal of a payment (e.g. a loan) = a passenger-carrying boat

21a    Operatic style devised in keeping with stock character (13)
{STEREOTYPICAL} An anagram (devised) of OPERATIC STYLE

24a    Study image in computing that’s formulaic (9)
{IDENTIKIT} A study and an image in Polynesia go inside the 2-letter abbreviation denoting ‘computing’ to give ‘formulaic’ and a composite portrait used by the police

25a    Piece for group denied web access? (5)
{NONET} A musical piece for a certain number of players. When split (2,3) it would suggest that you have no web access

26a    Make for audience flier (4)
{ERNE} A homophone of ‘to make money by working’ gives the sea-eagle

27a    How one might describe a decathlete’s skill no matter what? (2,3,5)
{IN ANY EVENT} One would expect that a decathlete would show skill ** *** ***** of the ten


1d    8 possibly supplying tip about book (4)
{CUBE} The number 8 is an example of this. A tip goes round B (book)

2d    Patron, perhaps lacking manners, left pastry (7)
{STRUDEL} An abbreviation for a patron such as George, Andrew, David or Patrick + ‘lacking manners’ + L (left)

3d    Rely on say number in police showing an indication of interest? (4,9)
{BANK STATEMENT} ‘To rely’ + ‘to say’ + an abbreviation for London’s police force round N (number) = something that will show how much interest has been added to your account

4d    Early end to trip in island (8)
{ALDERNEY} An anagram (to trip) of EARLY END

5d    Victor once, say, getting firm aid for speaker (5)
{COMIC} From 1961 to 1992 Victor was an example of this. An abbreviation denoting ‘firm’ + an abbreviated form of an aid for a speaker which intensifies sounds

7d    Unusual fear among group in phenomenon coming inland? (3,4)
{SEA FRET} An anagram (unusual) of FEAR inside a group

8d    Get ready to change rental agreement and arrangement at work? (3,7)
{DAY RELEASE} An anagram (to change) of READY + a rental agreement

11d    Period for peacefulness following disorder? (13)
{CONVALESCENCE} A cryptic definition for the period of gradual recovery of health and strength after an illness

13d    Fancy European ship in waterway almost straying from point (10)
{DIGRESSIVE} ‘To fancy’ + E (European) SS (ship) inside a waterway with the last letter removed

16d    Sinister adviser limiting reckless Russian leader? (8)
{RASPUTIN} An adviser to the Romanov’s = ‘reckless’ with the last letter removed + the surname of the current president of Russia

18d    Type of minor claim largely blocked by term in insurance (3-4)
{PRE-TEEN} Someone aged 12 or under = ‘a claim’ with the last letter removed round E (the last letter or term of insurance)

20d    Principally, brilliant astronauts Armstrong perhaps and the remainder? (7)
{BALANCE} The first letters of Brilliant and Astronauts + the first name of the cyclist Armstrong

22d    Sign / voucher (5)
{TOKEN} A sign/a voucher

23d    Medical device not new? Restorative direction needed (4)
{STET} Remove N (new) from a device used as a temporary splint inside a bodily vessel to keep it open. This gives a written direction to restore something in a proof that has been marked for deletion

Anyone who did yesterday’s puzzle should have breezed through this one.

16 comments on “Toughie 1084

  1. A few to think about, and a nice balance of clues. Many thanks to Shamus, and to Bufo for the review.

  2. Somewhat better surface reading than is usual for Shamus but I can’t say I enjoyed solving the puzzle. Not even a tiny chuckle in any of the clues

  3. SW corner was last in for us as we tried ‘ion’ and ‘ing’ endings for 13d before finding the correct one. Agree that a bit easier than yesterday’s but still a very satisfying challenge with some clever misdirection. Kept looking for what 1d had to do with 8d for instance.
    Thanks Shamus and Bufo.

  4. I enjoyed this and did finally finish it with a bit of help from husband ( quite unusual for him to be able to add much to a crossword so three cheers for him).
    I (we) ended up being unable to get the first word of 19a.
    There are still a couple that I don’t understand but after yesterday it still feels like light relief.
    I thought there were lots of clever anagrams and other good clues.
    I liked 25a. My favourite was 15a – in the days when husband was still trying to persuade me that I liked opera we went to something (can’t remember what now) that he was conducting – I didn’t see any of the stuff going on on the stage because he is absolutely mesmerising – I just couldn’t take my eyes off him.
    With thanks to Shamus and bufo.

    1. Well done Kath. Good to see that you are getting a taste of the team solving experience. Perhaps we will soon see comments from 2Kaths. :)

        1. He certainly wouldn’t let anyone have more than one favourite – I’ve convinced him about that – well, sort of!

  5. Very enjoyable – thought the misdirection (Armstrong) in 20d was brilliant. Thanks to Bufo and Shamus.

  6. Better late than never! I eventually finished this, having been trying to do it on and off for ages. Like Kath (& Mr Kath), I simply couldn’t get the first word of 19a. Nor could I think of the three letter word for ‘fancy’ in 13d! As well as these, Bufo, I needed your excellent hints for four of the clues (1a, 14a, and 3a). I didn’t find this easy, but I did enjoy it, notably 15a, 25a, and 5d.
    Many thanks both to Shamus and to Bufo.

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