Toughie 1417 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1417

Toughie No 1417 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Toro

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BD Rating - Difficulty *** - Enjoyment ****

Another high-quality Tuesday puzzle from the Don to which this rather hurried set of hints doesn't really do justice.

Definitions are underlined. 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 Novelist needs study with minimal source of heat (6)
CONRAD To study + a heating device in abbreviated (minimal) form.

4a Bird half-hidden by brown plant (8)
CUCUMBER The first half of a bird whose sound is associated with spring + a shade of brown.

8a Bunk two fellows installed in tall building (6)
PIFFLE F(ellow) twice inside a tall or otherwise imposing building.

9a Backs Scripture portions in school lessons? (8)
REVERSES Scripture or divinity as a school subject + segments of Biblical text that might be read as a lesson in a Christian school assembly, say. (Not altogether convinced of my parsing of this -- alternative views welcome.)

10a This person's binding religious books by unorthodox dean together (2,6)
IN TANDEM 'This person is', if said in the first person, goes round books of the Bible and an anagram of DEAN.

11a Payment concerning mum maybe, but not dad (6)
RENTAL An adjective meaning relating to a mother or father, minus a word for dad.

12a Builder has engraved amphibian, not a huge beast (8)
MASTODON A builder in stone around an amphibian minus A.

13a Confined water? Then enclosure becomes wet (6)
DAMPEN A structure that holds back the flow of a river + an enclosure for animals or children.

15a Ruler didn't stand criticism (6)
SATRAP Didn't stand but ___ + criticism or blame.

18a What's cut Sol's supply? Put in answer: eclipse (8)
OUTCLASS An anagram (supply or in supple fashion) of CUT SOL'S into which is inserted A(nswer).

20a Trousers with feature made for a really big customer (6)
CHINOS A facial feature + an abbreviation meaning extremely large (of clothes).

21a Rather engaging church glass (8)
SCHOONER A synonym for rather around an abbreviation for church.

23a Rubbish penned by a model who has defected (8)
APOSTATE Rubbish or trash inside A + to model.

24a Sort of indulgence -- what you'd expect with Giovanni? (6)
PARDON Standard or expected + the honorific title of Giovanni the opera character (and the first name of Giovanni the setter).

25a Tip a smaller amount of money, being half-hearted (8)
LISTLESS To tip or tilt like a ship + a smaller amount of money (or anything else).

26a What has Andrews contracted? (4,2)
DREW IN The solution could be taken as describing what the word ANDREWS has.


1d Cold month has fifty leaving holiday island (5)
CAPRI C(old) + a month minus the Roman numeral for fifty.

2d Telescope unmanageable without its bottom component (9)
REFRACTOR Unmanageable or recalcitrant minus the final letter.

3d Doctor faced with hospital being demolished -- terrible (7)
DREADED The abbreviation of doctor + a word for faced or turned minus H(ospital).

4d Formality of style that could make connoisseur seem silly (15)

5d It's unlike a nude chap to get embarrassed (7)
COVERED A chap or fellow + blushing or embarrassed.

6d Where one may leave for travel -- kiss most important (3,4)
BUS STOP To kiss + most important or leading. (The synonym for kiss is listed as archaic or North American informal. Do our American solvers recognise it?)

7d Gentle sounds made by reddish-brown fish (9)
RUSTLINGS A reddish-brown colour + a kind of fish in the plural.

12d Form of entertainment with which American children may enthral one in street (5,4)
MUSIC HALL American + CH(ildren) around the Roman numeral one, all inserted into a famous London street.

14d Victorian city suffering mob rule with one leader deposed (9)
MELBOURNE ...Victorian in a geographical not historical sense. Anagram of MOB RULE, then (o)NE.

16d Such could arrange men to be in formal attire (7)
TAILORS Non-commissioned soldiers (men) inside men's formal attire.

17d Spend time making transition (7)
PASSAGE To spend or while away + a time or era.

19d Like some junctions bound to restrict cars and such ultimately (1-6)
T-SHAPED Bound or tied (with sticky stuff) around (car)S and (suc)H.

22d Quarrel brings any number into devastation (3-2)
RUN-IN A letter that can be used to mean any number (of) inside a word for devastation.


18a, 24a and 16d were my picks today, though I enjoyed quite a few of the rest too. What did or didn't float your boat?

Over to you - please rate and comment on this puzzle below.

15 comments on “Toughie 1417

  1. Rather pleasant toughie from the Don with no obscurities! Plenty to like, e.g. “not a huge beast” (12a), “didn’t stand criticism” (15a), “nude chap” (5d).

    I also like 20a (for a really big customer), 24a (reference to Giovanni – I quite like clues where setters refer to themselves, makes it more personal), and 26a (what has Andrews) for quirkiness.

    Many thanks Giovanni, and thanks Toro, (I thought 9a was pretty much as you indicated, RE+ verses)

  2. A gentle Giovanni which could have easily been on a Friday back page.
    How can a word like 4d have anything to do with style. Such an awful exercise in pronunciation.
    It’s been a long time since we saw that old chestnut in 21a. But 1d and 15a were seen recently.
    5d gets my vote.
    Thanks to the Don and to Toro for the review.

  3. There’ll be dancing in a certain corner of Devon tonight – tomorrow’s Toughie is by Micawber

    1. Obviously my sacrifice of a goat over the weekend has worked a treat – a lovely back-pager by Petitjean to blog today and a Toughie by Micawber tomorrow. :D

  4. I concur with all that Dutch and Jean-Luc have said.
    There were quite a number of double unches here too, but it seemed to matter less.
    My favourite was 7d because it was my first one in and it began the healing process after an incomplete back-pager.
    Thanks for explaining 11a, Toro and thanks to the Don.

  5. I’m also a bit unsure about 9a Toro – but my best guess [trying to get inside the Don’s head] is that it’s a double definition. Backs and “scripture portions in school lessons” = RE verses.

    I found this on the tough side for Giovanni but it gradually surrendered, corner by corner. I liked 11a, 12a [not a huge beast] 5d [for the surface] and 16d [my last in so it must be good!].

    Thanks for the blog and thanks to the Don for the challenge.

  6. Quite gentle we thought, despite the 14 double unches. Actually we hadn’t even noticed they were all there until we looked at the completed grid and did a count. If it came to a toss-up between double unches and a surfeit of four letter answers, we think the double unches are generally easier to cope with. This grid has no four letter answers. We spent longer than we should have searching for a more obscure bird or plant for 4a than it turned out to be. All good fun.
    Thanks Giovanni and Toro.

  7. Just into 3* time, and 4* for enjoyment. Lots of good clues, but l think my favourite is 8a. Thanks to Giovanni, and of course to Toro.

  8. There’s no getting away from the fact that I’m just not on Giovanni’s wave-length.
    I find his Friday back page cryptic crosswords the most difficult in the whole week.
    I did about half of this one before coming running here for the hints – thanks to Toro.
    I quite enjoyed the half of the crossword that I managed to do but, to me anyway, this one was certainly not easier than today’s back pager – can’t remember who suggested that it was but I know someone did.
    With thanks to Giovanni for the crossword and to Toro for the much needed hints.

  9. I started this before “clocking on” and picked it up again at the end of the business day. It turned out to be a not very enjoyable slog and by the time I had had enough, I was left with 4A and 5D. Including ‘of money” in the 25A clue is surely the kind of thing that someone submitting a puzzle to the Rookie corner would be taken to task about.

    The puzzle did not raise one smile or one starred clue from me. But each to his own. Others seem to have had fun. Thank you Toro for the review that sorted out the two I didn’t resolve.

  10. It’s ridiculous ‘o’ clock but we managed to struggle through it in between breaks to rescue frogs that the cats have dragged in
    NIght night!

  11. Thanks for the review, Toro. I’m always pleased when I complete a Toughie without hints, but was grateful for your explanation of 3d and 20ac. And thanks to ~Giovanni, of course – always fair.

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