Toughie 1441 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1441

Toughie No 1441 by Shamus

 There’s just no escaping the day job…

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Toro is having family fun and Dutch is doing his bit to “help the Greek economy”, and this gives me the chance to review this Tuesday-level Toughie, the majority of which didn’t take me long to solve, with the last two holding out long enough to add an extra half a star to my difficulty rating.

The subtitle relates to the fact that although I’m having a lovely stay[at home]cation, this crossword has no fewer than six reminders of my daily work.

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           Tries to curry favour with old masters right away in competition (6,2)
COSIES UP  Insert into a type of competition, the abbreviation for old and how we might refer to masters with the R removed (right away).

6a           Lethargic after getting out of bed in function (6)
SUPINE   An adverb meaning out of bed inserted into a trigonometrical function.


9a           Effort in race produced by second coach (6)
STRAIN   I debated for a while as to whether this is a single definition clue or whether it could be a double definition as both ‘effort’ and ‘race’ are meanings of the solution.   Either way, it is the abbreviation for Second plus a verb meaning to coach.

10a         Medical work, maybe, to position again short part of foot (8)
RESEARCH   A verb meaning to position again, minus its last letter (short) followed by part of the foot.

11a         Plausible character‘s drink (8)
SMOOTHIE   An informal term for a plausible character or a thick drink made of fruit, milk, yoghurt or ice cream.


12a         Association‘s main measure (6)
LEAGUE An association of clubs for games or a nautical (main) measure.

13a         A Republican, possibly aged Republican, located in prison site of drills? (6,6)
PARADE GROUND   A (from the clue), the abbreviation for Republican, an anagram (possibly)of AGED and another abbreviation for Republication, all inserted into a confined space (prison).

parade ground

16a         Decoration no good round much of shop with minister on election tour? (12)
BARNSTORMING   An addition to a medal (decoration) and the abbreviation for No Good into which are inserted (go round)  almost all (much) of a shop and the abbreviation for minister.

19a         Strike with a vote that’s retrograde (6)
WALLOP   The abbreviation for with, A (from the clue) and a reversal (that’s retrograde)of a vote.

21a         Provide force to get major road illuminated at end of lane (8)
MILITATE   One of the country’s major roads, a way of saying illuminated, AT (from the clue) and the ‘end’ of lane.

23a         Clout on centre of jaw leads to real agony later (8)
SAYONARA   Clout in the sense of influence, ON (from the clue) the ‘centre’ of jAw and the ‘leads’ to real and agony produce a Japanese word meaning goodbye (later being what the BRB calls a chiefly US interjection with the same meaning).

24a         Province with banking system backing foundation (6)
ORIGIN   A reversal (backing) of one of the provinces of the United Kingdom and a banking system.

25a         River continually seen between poles (6)
SEVERN   This British river is obtained by putting an adverb meaning continually between two poles.


26a         Mould — problem for office manager? (8)
TEMPLATE   Split 4, 4, this mould or pattern could be a problem for an office manager.


2d           Working with magazine as scheduled (2,4)
ON TIME   An adverb meaning working followed by a well-known American magazine.

3d           Final stage of cricket, say (5)
IMAGO   The cricket here being an example (say) of an insect.


4d           It might produce a general polish on wood (9)
SANDHURST   A verb meaning to polish and a wood or grove.

5d           Warn of what’s on far left of ship? (7)
PORTEND   Split your solution 4, 3 to get a way of referring to the far left of a ship.

6d           What could be found in ropes is a leaf (5)
SISAL This component of ropes does indeed come from the leaf of the Mexican agave plant, so in addition to the hidden word element, the clue is also an &Lit.


7d           Agree to promote good number, song connected with a record (4,5)
PLAY ALONG  Once you realise that ‘promote’ is  a reversal indicator, all becomes clear.    G (good), the abbreviation for number, a song, A (from the clue) and a Long Playing record are all reversed to produce a, usually temporary, way of agreeing with someone.

8d           In audience, criticise performance in romantic piece (8)
NOCTURNE This romantic piece of music is a homophone (in audience) of an informal way to criticize and a performance or act.

13d         Place done up? It determines criminal justice (5,4)
PENAL CODE   An anagram (up?) of PLACE DONE.

14d         Tend to conceal with difficulty recipe in part of restaurant (5,4)
GRILL ROOM A verb meaning to tend to (especially horses) conceals or has inserted an adverb meaning with difficulty and the abbreviation for recipe.

grill room

15d         A graduate’s in time to get source of information (8)
DATABASE   A (from the clue) and an abbreviated way of saying belonging to a Bachelor of Arts (graduate’s)  inserted into a particular time.

17d         Horn of sheep, maybe, found in fortification (7)
RAMPART     Split this fortification 3,4 and you’ll get a way of describing a horn of a sheep.


18d         Austere holy man suppressing a lot of deceit (6)
STRICT   A holy man ‘suppresses’ almost all (a lot) of a deception (deceit).

20d         Shellfish, soft and uncooked put by salmon’s tail (5)
PRAWN   The abbreviated musical instruction to play softly, another way of saying uncooked and the ‘tail’ of salmon.

22d         Fabric shown by wife in work (5)
TWILL   The abbreviation for wife inserted into work (the land).


My favourite clue was 6d – this solution so often appears as one of Crosswordland’s chestnuts but I thought this was a particularly good clue to get us there.

I’ve enjoyed my first blog of a Shamus Toughie – I wonder who I’ll get next Tuesday??

13 comments on “Toughie 1441

  1. You have given us another puzzle to work out , CS, your line of work. Could it be some sort of research into military history and law ?(10a,13a,21a, 17d, 4d,13d.) Or could it be some kind of lobbying group (1a, 11a , 16a, 10a,15d, 7d,) ? I don’t expect an answer.
    I really enjoyed this, just about my Toughie level.
    My favourite is 14d , though really I liked them all.23a was my last one in, which is also a great clue.
    Thanks Shamus and CS.

  2. Gentle but enjoyable.
    Found that 5d, 8d, 17d and 26a were a bit simplistic.
    23a made me laugh.
    Favourites are 4d and 7d.
    Thanks to Shamus and to CS for the review.

  3. Very enjoyable. Particularly liked 23a & 7d. Got stuck on 11a, even with all the letters! Thank you CS and Shamus.

  4. Nice moderately challenging puzzle today.Not really happy with 23a clue.Should it not be see you later rather than just later

  5. Three-quarters of the puzzle went in quite well, but the SW corner took me an age to get a foothold in, with 16A the last one in. 23A and 26A were my favorites. Thanks Shamus and CS.

  6. We had a tentatively filled grid quite quickly but sorting out the wordplay for the last few took some time. These were 23a, 24a and 18d. We think of complicated Lego type clues such as 21a and 23a part of this setter’s signature constructions and enjoy unpicking them. Good fun.
    Thanks Shamus and CS.

  7. We had only finished half of this puzzle when we walked the dog down to the Black Bear. After a detailed discussion of some of the remaining clues on the way, we completed it before we had finished our first pint, and we found both very enjoyable, although 9a was a bit strange. I have to say that Sam, the tatty lurcher, was not too helpful as she was a bit preoccupied with sniffing. Thanks to Shamus and CS.
    Please note we don’t always walk to our local pubs, we sometimes get the bus.

  8. For some reason l just couldn’t get on the Shamus wavelength. Looking back at previous puzzles by this setter l see l haven’t had any particular problems, but this one beat me hollow. Thanks to Shamus and CrypticSue. I’ll try and do better next time.

  9. I thought this one was tricky – there were several answers that I didn’t get and, having looked at the hints and, in lots of cases, the answers too, I would never have got them.
    There were far too many that I couldn’t do to go into detail of all off them – you’d all be bored stiff.
    I blame a day in the garden – it’s either that or total stupidity. Oh dear!
    My favourite was 11a.
    With thanks to Shamus and to CS.
    PS – Shamus likes cricket or crickets. One of my favourite clues of his was “Nervous characteristic of cricket”. I was doing the hints that day and the answer made me laugh all day.

  10. So tired, but couldn’t go to bed without having a shot at a Shamus Toughie.
    Came rather unstuck with 21a – not a word I’m familiar with – and 16a because I only had a vague recollection of that particular meaning. Needed to check with the blog to confirm both of those.
    Really liked 11a but favourite goes to 14d.
    Many thanks to the twinkly-eyed one and to CS for the invaluable assistance.

    Now I really am going to bed!

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