Toughie 1410 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1410

Toughie No 1410 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This is an enjoyable puzzle which I’d have completed a bit faster if I hadn’t originally put in the wrong answer for 18a, which caused problems on the left-hand side. I’m extremely dubious about my thoughts on the definition of 8a so any better suggestions there would be welcome.

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.

Across Clues

1a Solid amount that woman’s pocketed as mentor (6,6)
FATHER FIGURE – an adjective meaning solid or thick (3) and an amount or number (6) with a feminine pronoun (that woman) inserted.

8a Only right to seize wife‘s property (5)
OWNER – an adjective meaning only or solitary and R(ight) contain W(ife). The only way I can explain how the answer matches the definition is if we take “‘s property” (has property?) as the definition, but I don’t like it and if it’s correct I would have expected a question mark at least. So I’m expecting someone out there to come up with a much better explanation!

9a Straightforward discipline under a don (9)
UNADORNED – an anagram (discipline) of UNDER A DON.

11a Agents in film location with backing of French in parts (9)
SEGMENTED – insert FBI agents (1-3) in a place on which filming takes place, then reverse ‘of’ in French.

12a Drive out European in old place (5)
EXPEL – the abbreviation for European goes inside a prefix meaning old and the abbreviation for place.

13a Prepare to attack invention during stay (3,2,4)
LIE IN WAIT – string together an invention or fabrication, a preposition meaning during and a verb to stay or hang around.

16a Mum needs energy to visit SA capital, missing nothing (5)
QUIET – insert E(nergy) in the capital of Ecuador but drop the letter that resembles nothing.

18a Not straight like some gardens? (5)
ASKEW – this was the cause of my problems on the LH side. Having got the K in place I confidently wrote in ‘raked’. When I couldn’t sort out either 7d or 14d I revisited this clue – it’s a preposition meaning like followed by the name of some botanical gardens in London.

19a Character after publicity finding elevated post? (3,6)
AIR LETTER – a character or symbol follows a word for publicity or exposure.

20a Inspire nationalism partly in woman (5)
IRENA – hidden (partly) in the clue.

22a A current do typical of noted statesman? (9)
PERICLEAN – string together a synonym for ‘a’ (as in ’50p a kilo’), the symbol for electric current and a verb to ‘do’ (like Mrs Mopp the charlady).

25a One dubbed in speech a rookie around Latin spot (9)
NIGHTCLUB – start with what sounds like (in speech) a man who’s had a sword tapped on his shoulder then add a rookie or young trainee containing L(atin).

26a Smears ex-PM in Liverpool with son (5)
BLURS – what the surname of an old Prime Minister sounds like in a Scouse accent is followed by S(on).

27a Military advisers refasten flag at sea (7,5)
GENERAL STAFF – an anagram (at sea) of REFASTEN FLAG.

Down Clues

1d Plant posh European’s put under marshy land (9)
FENUGREEK – the letter that means posh and a southern European follow a marshy area of land.

2d Short chapter selected shorn of trappings (5)
TERSE – hidden (shorn of trappings) in the clue.

3d Be joyful with former partner in the last month (5)
EXULT – the short word for a former partner is followed by the abbreviation of an adjective meaning in the last (preceding) month.

4d Criminal German lady, one revered in German article (9)
FRAUDSTER – start with a German married lady then insert the abbreviation for someone revered inside one of the German definite articles.

5d Bizarre bit once on Cumbrian river, we’re told (9)
GROTESQUE – this is a double homophone (we’re told) – what sounds like an old coin (bit once) worth four old pence is followed by a homophone of a river in Cumbria.

6d Construct hurriedly  an approach (3-2)
RUN-UP – an approach prior to delivering the ball could also be (as 3,2) a phrasal verb meaning to make something quickly (using a sewing machine, say).

7d Old magistrate assigned place without sun for meeting (12)
CONSULTATION – charade of a magistrate in ancient Rome and an assigned place with the S(un) removed from the latter.

10d Sort ladies in ground being slow (12)
DILATORINESS – an anagram (ground) of SORT LADIES IN.

14d A Celt’s maybe emerging from this English city (9)
NEWCASTLE – this is a reverse anagram – split the answer (3,6) and obey it to get A CELT’S.

15d A place pal restored without accompaniment (1,8)
A CAPPELLA – an anagram (re-stored) of A PLACE PAL.

17d International fan carrying explosive that’s uncovered? (2,3,4)
IN THE BUFF – string together the 3-letter abbreviation for international and a fan or enthusiast and insert the 2-character abbreviation for an explosive.

21d Standard dog slipping lead (5)
EAGLE – a breed of dog without its first letter (slipping lead) is a military standard depicting this creature (especially one carried by a Roman legion). A new twist on an old chestnut.

23d Puzzle about transport for detective (5)
REBUS – there are two definitions here with some wordplay in the middle. A preposition meaning about or concerning is followed by a form of public transport.

24d Firm support for beer of Asian origin (5)
COBRA – charade of the abbreviation for a firm and crypticsue’s favourite support.

The clues I liked best were 22a and 14d but I have to give special mention to 26a which made me laugh. Which one(s) entertained you?

26 comments on “Toughie 1410

  1. Again a very straightforward puzzle in the main, for a Toughie. There were a number of clues where I could see what the answer must be, but did not fully understand the wordplay. Thanks to Gazza for clearing those up!


  2. For 8a I reasoned that only was one and that carried the wife? Right? But as Gazza says where is the definition? Not really. Otherwise enjoyable. Thanks to Gazza and Shamus.

  3. I really enjoyed this puzzle, especially 1a. Thanks gazza for the parsing of 22a and 26a. I always forget about that use of “a” to mean what it means here. And, Liverpool accent? Got me there.
    I can shed no light on 8a! I came to the same conclusion as you. Maybe someone else can see more there.
    Re 24d I just did Bufo’s puzzle yesterday so that gave me a laugh.
    Thanks again and thanks to Shamus for a really nice puzzle.

  4. This was a slow solve for me, but I finished except for 22A and I had no clue (well, not one I could understand) even with the checking letters in place. I had the right answer for 26A, but couldn’t work out why. I can be no help on 8A, I’m afraid. Again, I had the right answer but couldn’t make sense of the property part. Thanks you, Shamus, and thanks to Gazza for the review and unraveling.

  5. I loved 24d (firm support for beer) and 19a (elevated post). Hadn’t come across 22a and 10d before. Took me a while to understand the scouse accent (26a) and find the right SA capital (16a). Not too difficult, thank you Shamus for the enjoyable moments.

    And thank you Gazza as always

  6. Much enjoyment with this today, although I needed Gazza’s explanation for 22a – I had a ‘bung it in’ moment which turned out to be correct! Many thanks to Shamus and Gazza.

  7. The second lovely crossword for today.
    To begin with I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it – had quite a few answers in the bottom half but almost nothing at the top.
    Then did 1a and got going again.
    I couldn’t do 22a at all and although I bunged in the right answer for 26a I had no idea why, or if, it was right.
    I don’t have the first idea about 8a – that was another bung-in.
    Too many good clues to pick any particular but, if pushed, I’d head towards 16a and 14d.
    With thanks to Shamus and to Gazza.

  8. Thanks to Gazza for explaining the detective bit in 23d. I wasn’t aware of it.
    Same problem with 8a although the answer was quite obvious.
    1a is definitely our mentor and host. I loved it.
    Wasn’t too keen on 19a though. Airmail maybe but air letter?
    Remembered the groats from Noel Edmonds stupid House Party or I think I do.
    Took me a while to get the adoubement in 25a.
    All in all a very enjoyable crossword.
    Thanks to Shamus and to Gazza.

    1. I think air letter may be one of those thin foldable gummed sheets with pre-printed stamp that we also used to call aerograms – going back a bit, but it’s how I wrote my parents when I was at college..

  9. Marvellous crossword but I certainly needed help parsing some of them. 22a was my last one in. Had to get the BRB for 10d. Guessed at 21d and really struggled with 26a. I agree with Gazza that it is funny though.

    Many thanks to Shamus for and excellent crossword and to Gazza for your usual excellent blog.

  10. Well! That was a bit of a struggle! Only mAnaged to finish by copious use of hints. Thought at first that it was going to be a non-starter…then had a look at a couple of hints and that got me going, so thanks to Gazza for that. It’s been a while since I’ve attempted a Toughie as they have all looked a bit daunting…a bit disappointing as At one point I was completing them regularly…but that’s the way it goes I suppose. I thought 26a was amusing and liked 1d. I’d have to say this was at least 3* for difficulty probably nearer 4 as I had to use the hints, but very enjoyable, so 3* for that. Thanks to Shamus and Gazza for hints.

  11. Thanks to Shamus and to Gazza for the review and hints. Totally beyond me. Needed 15 hints to finish.

  12. 8 across – according to Chambers can mean only – hence one r to seize w !

    1. Welcome to the the blog, Chrissie.
      Yes, that’s the way I interpreted it. The problem is not the wordplay but how ‘owner’ (the answer) equates to the definition.
      I hope that Shamus will look in and explain.

      1. I hope that Shamus calls in too – partly so that he can explain 8a but mainly because he’s one of the few setters who does so and it’s much appreciated – it makes them feel like real people.

        1. It’s wonderful when the setters drop in, if only to thank you bloggers who open up the world of crosswording to others.

  13. 22a was my last in and favourite when I twigged all the wordplay. Very sneaky. All completed without major delay anywhere but must admit to having just bunged in 8a with the thought “We have done our precise parsing for today, this one is Gazza’s problem”. All good fun and much appreciated.
    Thanks Shamus and Gazza.

  14. 8a seems to be a bit of a stinker – I can only agree with Gazza that perhaps ‘s property is meant to be the definition, but even then it ain’t grammatically correct. 20a is also a bit whiffy; justified only by the lack of any other words to fill the grid space [you’d think i*e*a would have plenty of options but no]. Maybe the setter shouldn’t have painted himself into that particular corner. Apart from the nicely constructed 22a and 14d this was a bit dull. Several of the surfaces leave much to be desired.

    Thanks anyway to Shamus and to Gazza.

  15. Really fun puzzle, had to share rather slowly with mother. 8a worked for me straight away – I guess some think on different tangents. Really loved 26a. Correctly guessed 22a and laughed lots when I read the hint and understood. Thank you guys zzz

    1. Have been quietly muttering all day thinking I might have missed something obvious in 8a, Lesley I’d be interested to see how you parse the answer as I am still utterly stumped

    2. I think 8A “worked” for all of us inasmuch as seeing the answer was no problem. It’s how that answer fits the definition that’s the issue.

  16. Gazza 8a I made by abbreviating has property to ‘s property i.e .owner probably rubbish but best I could come up with .Unlike you 26 a made me grimace but I did enjoy 1a and quite a few others .Thanks yet again to both Shamus and Gazza.I also had “raked ” first time around.

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