Toughie 1514

Toughie No 1514 by Kcit

Truncation, truncation, truncation

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

I didn’t notice it as much when solving the puzzle but when writing the review it became apparent that the wordplay was a bit ‘samey’ – no less than eight clues require us to chop off the last letter from a word. This detracted from the enjoyment for me.

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

8a Very good thing rejected? Greek character returned wail (7)
ULULATE – this is a verb to wail or keen as an expression of grief. Reverse a slang term for an outstanding example of something and then reverse a Greek letter.

10a Note getting out of linen clothing will lead to legal action (7)
LAWSUIT – drop the abbreviation of note from a sort of fine linen and add a set of clothes.

11a The chap is collared by old Greek against religion (9)
ATHEISTIC – the chap (2) and IS are contained in one of the dialects of ancient Greece.

12a Money advanced to hold shareholders’ gathering is factor in outburst (5)
MAGMA – the abbreviations for money and advanced contain the abbreviation for a shareholders’ gathering held once a year.

13a Expatriates filling halls? On the contrary (5)
ATRIA – these halls appear inside expatriates.

14a Thug cut in, suppressing loud struggling (7)
HOODLUM – a word meaning ‘in’ (as opposed to out or away) without its last letter (cut) contains an anagram (struggling) of LOUD.

17a Formerly popular, a low, low note you’ll find rarely (4,2,1,4,4)
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON – string together an adverb meaning formerly, an informal word meaning popular or trendy, A, an adjective meaning low, a verb meaning low and the abbreviation for note (the same abbreviation that we had in 10a). “You’ll find” is just a linking phrase.

19a Broadband offering Irish rock? (7)
FASTNET – split the answer 4,3 and it could be what broadband providers offer.

21a Notice put on computer peripheral? (3-2)
ADD-ON – an abbreviated notice and a verb to put on or slip into.

24a Plan to lose all but end of the argument (5)
THROW – drop the last letter from ‘the’ and add an argument.

26a Left in total black, wake up incompletely, continuing to doze (9)
SLUMBROUS – insert the abbreviation for left into a total, then add the abbreviation for black and a verb to wake someone up without its last letter.

27a Operating problem recalled — ditches gadget (7)
GUBBINS – reverse an informal word for an operating problem (especially a software defect) and add an informal verb meaning ditches or throws away.

28a Closed, having kept theatre’s sponsor cross (7)
TANGELO – an adverb meaning closed (relating to a door, for example) contains an informal term for a sponsor or backer in the theatre.

Down Clues

1d Fellow attracting gossip in part of South America (6)
GUYANA – a fellow or bloke is followed by a word for a collection of gossip or anecdotes.

2d More than Happy Hour — epic, possibly (8)
EUPHORIC – an anagram (possibly) of HOUR EPIC.

3d Sewers, say, an island put in place (10)
SANITATION – insert AN and an abbreviation for island into a place or position.

4d Chess player with predicament that admits of no escape (5,4)
BLACK HOLE – charade of one chess player and a predicament or difficult situation.

5d Heads for some water in Margate – for this? (4)
SWIM – the first letters of four words in the clue.

6d One’s used to batter, well-chewed food and jelly (6)
CUDGEL – charade of doubly-chewed food and a jelly-like substance.

7d Picked up blemishes — a lot, but not all — in hypothetical concept (5,3)
STRAW MAN – to attack a ***** *** is to set up a much weaker proposition than your opponent has put forward and then proceed to refute it without actually addressing what your opponent has argued. Reverse blemishes on the skin and add a word meaning a lot without its final letter.

9d Achievement’s to put out fine food (4)
EATS – start with an achievement plus the ‘S and take away the abbreviation for fine.

15d Working daughter about to secure reputation, setting up solo enterprise (3-3,4)
ONE-MAN BAND – an adverb meaning working or in operation and the abbreviation for daughter contain the reversal of a phrase (3,4) which could mean to secure reputation.

16d Soldier, when engaged in writing, is a dreamer (9)
FANTASIST – a soldier insect and a synonym for when go inside an informal metaphor for handwriting.

17d Male participating in bid, not entirely out of public view (3-5)
OFF-STAGE – an adjective meaning male or all-male goes inside a bid without its last letter. This reminds me of an instruction shouted into the wings in a cash-strapped pantomime production of Ali Baba: “Wait there, you 39 thieves!”.

18d Perhaps last year’s weather upset you before, as one averse to change (3,5)
OLD FOGEY – an example of last year’s weather (3,3) is followed by the reversal of a word that meant you in the past (before).

20d Singular exclamations, mostly about book writer (6)
SCRIBE – the abbreviation for singular is followed by exclamations or shouts without the last letter, with the abbreviation for book inserted.

22d Food that is a source of discomfort! One keeps away (2-4)
NO-SHOW – a word, from Yiddish, meaning food is followed by an exclamation indicating that something is uncomfortable or painful.

23d Leave office, completely losing base (4)
QUIT – an adverb meaning completely without its last letter.

25d Women informed parliamentary official (4)
WHIP – the abbreviation for women and an informal adjective meaning informed about the latest trends.

My favourite clue today was 19a. Which one(s) appealed to you?


  1. Una
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I needed quite a few nudges to finish this , so much thanks to Gazza.I don’t think I would ever have worked out the last bit of 26a.
    Lovely, lovely puzzle. It is hard to pick a favourite. I liked all the multi-word clues , especially 4d.
    With thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  2. Jane
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Needless to say, this took me a great deal longer than it took you, Gazza! However, I also seem to have got more enjoyment from it – perhaps it’s just the sense of satisfaction on reaching completion of another Toughie.
    No obscure words (always a plus point) although I failed to fully parse 1d as I hadn’t come across the ‘gossip’ before today.
    Remembered 28a&7d from recent appearances which helped a great deal.
    Favourite is 27a simply because I like the word and 19a induced a wry smile!

    Thanks to Kcit and the KISA (the abb. brought another wry smile).

  3. dutch
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks gazza, I had forgotten the linen, which puzzled me, and I forgot to google the broadband answer for the Irish rock. My Irish geography is not very good, perhaps I need to visit more.

    Managed the rest, though I wasted time trying to fit “gum” for well-chewed food in 6d, and I had to get beyond seeing “picked up” as a homophone indicator in 7d.

    I liked 24a and 22d

    Many thanks Gazza and Kcit

    • Gazza
      Posted December 9, 2015 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      I only knew the rock from the Fastnet Race which is a yacht race where the competitors race from Cowes out to and around the rock and back to Cowes.

      • andy
        Posted December 9, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        I only knew it from the Shipping Forecast :)

        • Jane
          Posted December 9, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          We had a clue not that long ago that involved us all in a discussion about the Shipping Forecast. Can’t recall which particular promontory we were looking for then, but the conversations came to mind when today’s 19a cropped up.

      • Una
        Posted December 9, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        There was a terrible tragedy about that race during the seventies.Sixty foot waves and many hands lost and there hadn’t been any weather warning.

    • dutch
      Posted December 9, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      didn’t know the race either – I’m an embarrassment to our seaworthy friends

      • neveracrossword
        Posted December 9, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

        We knew someone in that race. He was knocked out when a powerful wave dislodged a stove on board – but he survived, fortunately.

  4. Posted December 9, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    This morning I upgraded the site to use WordPress version 4.4. It seems that this has disabled the YouTube shortcode (see 15d in the review). I hope this is only a temporary problem.

  5. Hanni
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink


    A steady solve with a few smiles along the way. Confused myself in the SE/SW corner (it’s not difficult to do) by filling in the wrong words to the wrong clues.

    Biggest smiles went to 19a, I love the shipping forecast, and 27a as it’s a magical word.

    Many thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for blogging.

  6. KiwiColin
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    The three letter word that completes 1d was new to me and I had missed it in a quick look at BRB at the time. Have now rechecked this morning and there it is. I enjoyed solving this one and had not noticed the plethora of truncation clues so they did not detract from the fun. I must have heard of 19a from the yacht race as I wrote it in immediately from the checkers. A nice level of difficulty and good fun.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza

  7. Heno
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review and hints. I agree with Gazza’s comments about truncation. By the time I got to 20d, I was completely ground down, and had to resort to the hints. Needed 11 to finish. Was 5*/1* for me.

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Incredibly beautiful day down here. Had lunch on the seaside at the O Beach in Toulon with temperatures reaching 20 degrees. Saw some people swimming.
    Hard to finish the crossword as the lights in the bus were really dim.
    A couple were bunged in towards the end so thanks to Gazza for the parsing.
    Favourite was 6d.
    Thanks to Kcit.

  9. Gazza
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Messinae tomorrow.

  10. Wolfson Bear
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    A surprise crossword day for me. If I had to say which compiler I find the easiest it would have to be Jay on the back page .Today I found him quite a challenge and then sailed through the toughie somewhat quicker. Jay had cobbled together a number of words unfamiliar to me in such a way they crossed in the grid and it took a lot of persistence to make a breakthrough.

    In contrast in the toughie there were no unknowns to me (except the linen but that was easy to guess)

    I would estimate I find the toughie easier than the backpager about once every two months – but I never expected it to happen on a Wednesday!

    Thanks to both setters and bloggers (I would have given the Jay 4*)

  11. Salty Dog
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    3*/4*, I think. Through sheer stupidity, I failed to crack three in the SW corner, but there was plenty to enjoy elsewhere. 8a was good (if I’d printed it out a bit larger it would have been rather easier, and I laboured for some time under the impression that I was looking for a “wall”, not a “wail”!). I also enjoyed 19a, 16d, 18d and 22d. Thanks to Kcit, and to Gazza.

  12. Killer Watts
    Posted December 10, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    As a regular back-pager, which I always considered my limit, I’ve had only a few stabs at these Toughies. This one I persevered with last night and this morning and completed all bar two. These were 8a and 1d. As you can imagine, I’m pretty pleased with myself !
    Thanks to all.

    • Gazza
      Posted December 10, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Well done. Keep persevering with the Toughies.