Toughie 1525

Toughie No 1525 by Kcit

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***

As is traditional, Gazza kindly offered me the chance to do an on the day Toughie review while I am on my Christmas/New Year break from work.   This time the email inviting me to do so came with the ‘rule’ that I had to decide before the setter’s name went up on the website.   After checking the list to see who might be  due to make an appearance in the middle of the paper, I said ‘yes please’ and so here I am with my thoughts on this Kcit Toughie.

The crossword didn’t take long to solve and my only hold up was deciding whether my explanation of 1d was what our setter intended.   All my test solving of cryptic crosswords has definitely made me more conscious of the spread  of clue types in each crossword I solve – did anyone else notice that there are ten clues requiring you to remove a letter (in most cases, an initial letter) in order to obtain their solutions??

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.


7a           Detained party, I fancy, may appear here (8,6)

identity parade

9a           Something added about house — something added about house sport — identifies contributor to match (10)
PHOSPHORUS   Insert the abbreviation for house (about house) into something added to a letter, for example, then repeat the process just as the clue does, but this time include the abbreviation for a particular sport, to produce a chemical used in the manufacture of match heads.

11a         One from South America and one North, going to Central America (4)
INCA   The letter that looks like a number one followed by the abbreviations for North and Central America.

12a         Metal point not finished (3)
TIN   Almost all of (not finished) a point on a fork.

13a         Drug carried by town river with treatment to get through cold period (10)
OVERWINTER   Insert the abbreviation for Ecstasy (drug carried) into an anagram (with treatment) of TOWN RIVER.

16a         Contralto mostly abandoned indication on score (4)
CLEF   Another ‘almost all’ clue –   follow the abbreviation for Contralto with the first three letters (mostly)  of a synonym for abandoned.


17a         Look for comfort — recoil of weapon’s broken leg (7)
SNUGGLE   A reversal (recoil) of a weapon’s and an anagram (broken) of LEG.


18a         Best friend consuming a lot of time in pursuit of love (7)
OPTIMAL   The letter used to indicate love (nothing) is followed by an informal friend into which is inserted (consuming) ‘a lot’ of TIMe (from the clue).

20a         Poor farmer — ready for business, but nothing’s shifting (4)
PEON A poor farmer from Spanish speaking America is obtained by moving the O (nothing’s shifting) in a way of saying ready for business.

21a         Platter? Her diet’s wrecked after short space (6,4)
ENTREE DISH    An anagram (wrecked) of HER DIETS goes after the shorter of the two spaces used by printers.

23a         Briefly near abandoning literary style? I am surprised (3)
GEE  An informal interjection expressing surprise is obtained by removing the abbreviation (briefly) for near from a literary style.

24a         Pointedly ignore note included in membership renewal? (4)
SNUB   The abbreviation for note included in a membership fee (renewal?)

25a         Shed light on state in which one finds boy and girl in Dickens (6,4)
LITTLE NELL   A shorter way of saying ‘shed light on’ and a verb meaning to state, the latter having a boy’s name inserted.

28a         Pouring in addition will involve new rainwear (10,4)
WELLINGTON BOOT   A verb meaning pouring and an expression meaning in addition into which is inserted (involving) the abbreviation for new.  The ones in the illustration are the ‘originals’ which can be seen at Walmer Castle here in Kent.

welllington boot


1d           Quits, as it were — really meaning it? (4,1,9)
WITH A VENGEANCE  Before people adopted the American way of using quit to mean resign, quits always (as it were) meant (and still does to me) got even with someone, which is one meaning of the solution in addition to ‘really meaning it’.

2d           Inclines to dismiss a visual aid (4)
LENS   Remove the A (dismiss a) from another way of saying inclines.


3d           Long arrangement of rope? Not hard (4)
ITCH   Remove the H for hard from a type of knot where one rope is connected with another (arrangement of rope).

4d           Repeat: ‘I support imprisoning renegade’ (7)
ITERATE     I (from the clue) and a golfing “support” imprisoning a renegade.

5d           One with job on line receiving hard address (10)
APOSTROPHE   A (one), a job and a line or twist of stout fibre, the latter receiving H (hard).   Thank you to the BRB for explaining that this address is a sudden turning away from the ordinary course of a speech to address some person present or absent.

6d           Part of chain restraining one, angry? Not initially a good idea (10)
BRAINCHILD   This part of a chain is a subsidiary shop, office etc, and you need to insert an I (restraining one), the result then followed with a word for angry with its initial letter removed.


8d           See our debacle in dissolution — about time for this? (6,8)
DECREE ABSOLUTE The first part of the clue cryptically describes the final stages of a divorce –   an anagram (in dissolution) of SEE OUR DEBACLE into which is inserted (about) T for time.

10d         Relieved expression, avoiding hot seat (3)
PEW   Remove the H (avoiding Hot) from an interjection of relief.

14d         Scrap with fashionable fool about British film (6,4)
RAGING BULL   A scrap of material, a shorter way of saying fashionable and an easily duped person (fool) into which is inserted B (about British).

raging bull

15d         Invoicing without first including pound charge leads to resentment (3,7)
ILL FEELING   Yet another ‘take a letter off’ clue –   remove the first letter from another way of saying invoicing, then insert an L (£) and a charge.

19d         Cheers up, insulated by knowing to ignore a piece of legislation (7)
STATUTE    A reversal (up in a Down clue) of an informal way of saying thank you (cheers) is inserted into an adjective meaning knowing, shrewd or perceptive, once you have (yet again) removed the A at the front (ignore a).

22d         Detective seeing nothing different when turning up? (3)
EYE   This informal term for a detective is, as indicated by the wordplay, a palindrome

private eye

26d         No initiation of flash connection (4)
LINK   Remove the first letter (no initiation of) from a flash.

27d         Shelter not getting approval? (4)
NOOK   And a chestnut to finish –   split the solution 2,2 and the ‘not getting approval’ becomes clear.


Gnomethang assures me that he will be doing both his scheduled reviews this week which means that I can (fairly confidently) say that this should  be my last review of 2015. I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year, with the hope thatwe all get what we wish for  in 2016.



  1. Expat Chris
    Posted December 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    My heart sank when I first saw the grid, but it wasn’t that difficult after all. I did notice that there were a lot of ‘drop a letter’ clues but didn’t count them. I didn’t know that definition for 5D but the BRB enlightened me once again. My top picks are 17 & 18A and 1 & 8D. Thanks to Kcit and CS for the review.

  2. dutch
    Posted December 30, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks crypticsue, I hadn’t parsed 23a (I am surprised) but now I see I was reading library instead of literary, duh, so thanks for that. I thought the same as you for 1d.

    There seems to be a lot more single-letter manipulation in a lot of recent crosswords.

    I liked the two long clues 7a and 8d because they were semi-all-in-ones, and I liked the quirky construction of 9a (contribution to match). I think my favourite is 18a, because of “best friend” and the surface reading, and as a closed second I liked “hot seat” and the surface in 10d. I didn’t remember the “address” meaning of 5d, but i think now that I have come across it before. I made life harder for myself by being convinced 28a (rainwear) had to end in “coat”.

    many thanks Kcit, very enjoyable, and thanks again CS

  3. Kath
    Posted December 30, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Difficult enough for me.
    I’d never heard of that meaning of 5d and needed Sue’s hints to explain a few of my answers – quite a few!
    I did notice that there were lots of clues where a letter had to be removed to get the answer but hadn’t counted.
    I liked 7a, (mainly because of the pictures of the collies) and 17a (because it’s a nice word).
    With thanks to Kcit and to CS.
    The Kiwis are going to be doubly pleased – their capital gets a mention in both crosswords today.

  4. Paso Doble
    Posted December 30, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Two Toughies completed in 2 days – we are very pleased with ourselves! An awful lot of bung-ins so thanks very much, Crypticsue, for the explanations. And thank you to Kcit for a puzzle we could do.

  5. KiwiColin
    Posted December 30, 2015 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    As Kath mentioned above we are pleased to see our capital in both crosswords. Kcit actually lives quite close to Wellington. Had not fully parsed 23a as I was looking to remove just a single letter. Have it sussed now. I did wonder for a while if we were dealing with a printing error in 9a until the penny dropped and despite the surface being rather clunky will vote for it as favourite. Good fun.
    Thanks Kcit and CS, it is nice to have a ‘live’ review from you.

  6. crypticsue
    Posted December 30, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    don’t miss one of the great treats of the Toughie calendar tomorrow – Micawber’s end of 2015 crossword. I for one can’t wait.

    • Expat Chris
      Posted December 30, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      I don’t recollect trying last year’s offering and I was a bit worried that this is going to be all odd British news items and that could be the kiss of death for me and other over-the-ponders. But I just had a look at the blog for last year to get a feel for the types of clue and it looks as if one doesn’t have to have heard of the particular event to be able to solve and parse the clues. All very fair, so I will only have myself to blame if I crash and burn.

  7. Jane
    Posted December 30, 2015 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    As a ‘lesser’ solver, I always add a couple of stars to CS’s difficulty ratings and I certainly spent some time on this one. Well worth the effort though as it was most enjoyable and fairly free of obscurities. I did (and still do) wonder a little about 1d and needed the review to appreciate the alternative definition of 5d. I also missed the type of ‘chain’ in 6d so struggled to parse that one and wanted the ‘flash’ in 26d to have something to do with ‘bling’ – took a while to dig myself out of that one!
    Never heard of the 14d film!
    Favourite is 9a with a mention for 17a.

    Many thanks to Kcit and to CS for giving up her ‘time off’!

  8. Salty Dog
    Posted December 30, 2015 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m with you, Jane! Certainly 4* difficulty for me, although I’m rather out of practice due to the usual Christmas excesses taking precedence over crossword puzzles! I got about half of this before resorting to Crypticsue’s hints. One I did get was my favourite – 14d. Thanks to Kcit, and to CS for the review (and the hints!).

  9. Lesley
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    just completed yesterdays (only started this morning though!) Was fun, but I had to look at hints to justify 1d – fair enough – and 19d. Kicking myself, had all the elements but couldn’t make it work. Maybe because brain is frozen, boiler dead. Thanks as ever all you guys. Looking forward to trying todays, today, with fixed boiler and new specs. Oh – absolute favourite was 28a.

  10. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Much easier than the back page for me.
    The eye for an eye reference in 1d didn’t cause any problems but did wonder if my answer in 21a was correct as the combination of the two words sounded a bit strange.
    I don’t know if I will get a chance to have a go at today’s crosswords (31st) so I wish BD, CS and everyone a Happy New Year.