Toughie 1637

Toughie No 1637 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Thanks to Kcit for today’s puzzle. Most of it went in without too many problems but I’ve given it an extra half of a difficulty star for the trouble I had with 10a.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a Be assured of success in bespoke tailoring? (4,2,4)
HAVE IT MADE – I think that this is a cryptic definition. At first I thought that the definition was just the first four words but I couldn’t make the rest of the clue work grammatically.

6a Avoid taking stuff from bakery back (4)
SNUB – reverse items on sale at a bakery.

9a Unhappy being ‘Prisoner X’, taking refuge in whisky (10)
MALCONTENT – insert an informal word for a prisoner and what X is as a Roman numeral into a type of whisky.

10a Meek individual with change of character becomes such a nuisance (4)
LIMB – this was my last answer as I couldn’t think of a 4-letter nuisance which matched the checking letters – so I ended up having to reveal a letter. The meek individual is actually a small woolly creature (of which Kath has two) and we have to change its second letter to make a word that can mean an imp or mischievous child (from ‘a **** of Satan’ – not a phrase that I’ve ever heard used).

12a Disagreement about bunking off punishment (4)
LASH – remove the letter meaning about or approximately from a disagreement or angry exchange.

13a Bar rings us, calling in copper without arousing suspicion (9)
INNOCUOUS – string together a bar or watering hole, two round letters and US then introduce the chemical symbol for copper.

15a Do this — and risk a wet splashing? (5-3)
WATER-SKI – an anagram (splashing) of RISK A WET.

16a Invade? Best to save force till later (6)
INFEST – start with a superlative meaning of the best quality and move its initial F(orce) a couple of places to the right.

18a College having change of heart after the writer rejected commission (6)
EMPLOY – a word for a technical college has its central two letters reversed and that follows the reversal of a personal pronoun.

20a Friendly enquiry doubting presence of wifi? (8)
AMICABLE – we have to split the answer 2,1,5 and it could, at a pinch, be a query about how one is connected to the internet. Does this work for you?

23a Special tricks in writing — and what they outperform? (9)
SWORDPLAY – the abbreviation for special is followed by a term for verbal ambiguity. The reference is to the adage ‘The *** is mightier than the *****’.

24a Cautious, bringing article forward in the wrong way? (4)
AWRY – start with an adjective meaning cautious or circumspect and bring the indefinite article to the front.

26a United getting behind half of FA — surprised? (4)
AWED – united or hitched follows one of the letters of FA.

27a Description of Queen’s trainer (note Queen not present) at work? (10)
EQUESTRIAN – an anagram (at work) of QUEEN’S TRAI[ner] after removing the abbreviation for note and the Queen’s regnal cipher.

28a Merit attention being given to name (4)
EARN – a word for attention is followed by the abbreviation for name.

29a Malevolent astronomer shunning company about moon of Jupiter (10)
PERNICIOUS – start with the name of the Polish astronomer who proposed the theory that the sun, rather than the earth, was at the centre of the known universe. Now remove the abbreviation for company and insert one of the moons of Jupiter.

Down Clues

1d Work in garden keeps male in (4)
HOME – a verb meaning to work with a garden implement contains the abbreviation for male.

2d With some courage turned round pointed item piercing barrel (7)
VALIANT – reverse a metal thing with a point inside a large barrel or tank.

3d Line taken from where SF is set, often offering a different view (2,5,5)
IN OTHER WORDS – where works of science fiction are often set (2,5,6) with the abbreviation for line removed.

4d I believe spirits may pen writing (8)
METHINKS – the short word for alcohol which has been made undrinkable (for most people) contains a synonym for writing or coverage in the print media. The BRB doesn’t list ‘writing’ as one of the meanings of this word but I did find it in other dictionaries.

5d Activity in restaurant requiring much effort? Artist’s failed to appear (6)
DINING – start with an adjective meaning requiring much effort or exhausting and remove the usual abbreviation for an artist.

7d Nasty moment, turning up amidst clamour (7)
NOISOME – reverse the abbreviation for moment inside a clamour.

8d Prow of boat in inlet — easy target for one with charge (4-6)
BABY-SITTER – insert the first letter (prow) of boat into an inlet or cove and follow that with an informal term for an easy target in sport.

11d Mix of laconic and stoic, shattering received opinion (12)
ICONOCLASTIC – an anagram (mix) of LACONIC and STOIC.

14d Gamble money earned from cleaning chimneys? (10)
SWEEPSTAKE – split as 5’1,4 this could be income from cleaning chimneys.

17d Celebrity upset about fire in the sky (8)
EMPYREAN – this is an adjective meaning ‘relating to the highest and purest region of heaven’. Reverse a word for a celebrity and insert a word for the fire used to burn a corpse.

19d Harbour venue home to a particular person making discoveries (7)
PIONEER – a place for tying up boats contains (home to) an adjective meaning ‘a particular’ or ‘a certain’.

21d Meaty pancake — it fills hole, mostly (7)
BURRITO – insert IT into the sort of hole that Rabbit Dave may call home without its final letter.

22d A question brought in by this organised support (6)
CLAQUE – A and the single-letter abbreviation for question go inside what this (i.e. 22d) is to make a group of hired applauders.

25d Number reflected American responsibility (4)
ONUS – … and we finish with an old chestnut. Reverse an abbreviation for number and add an abbreviation for American.

I liked 15a and 22d but my favourite is 14d. Which one(s) made your day?


  1. dave lawes
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    thanks to Kcit and Gazza – definitely needed the explanation for 10a , had to look up 22d favourite was 29a

  2. dutch
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I quite liked 15a and 3d, but there were also a few clues that didn’t do much for me today.

    Many thanks Kcit and Gazza

  3. Expat Chris
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    10A was my last one in, and I arrived at the correct solution somewhat creatively. I settled on limp for the meek individual, and the change of character was adding a curved line to P to literally change it to a B. Obviously not correct now that I’ve read the review but it sounded good to me at the time! I did have to verify my answer in the BRB.

    Lots to like here, and I checked 1A, 9A, 20A, 23A and 22D. 17D was also a new word and I was chuffed to have worked it out. Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

  4. Jane
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wasn’t at all sure about 10a but decided it couldn’t be anything else.
    20a didn’t quite work for me and I wrote in 3d long before the penny dropped over the parsing.
    17d was a new word but, like Chris, I did manage to work it out.

    Am I the only one who put ‘clique’ for 22d?
    No particular favourite but I’d mention 9a&11d simply for the sound of the words.

    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the pictorial review – nice clip for 8d!

    • Kath
      Posted July 13, 2016 at 4:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

      No, you’re not the only one with ‘clique’. I decided that the A from the clue could, at a push, mean ‘one’ therefore I. Creative or what, but not half as creative as Expat Chris was with 10a which I thought was great.

  5. Verlaine
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Agree with you on 10a – I was very unhappy about it, and had to trawl through various dictionaries before I finally found the definition that made the penny drop. Not a good sign. I wasn’t especially on the aesthetic wavelength for a lot of this, not really loving most of the surfaces, though there was some enjoyment to be had in unravelling the wordplay nonetheless.

    Thanks Gazza and Kcit.

  6. Kath
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I enjoyed this one – well, I could do it which is always a big plus for me.
    I’m really glad that everyone, including Gazza, had trouble with 10a. I did eventually find the **** of Satan but still couldn’t work out what the meek individuals were – my two are definitely not!
    I felt as if I was playing put and take with letters in lots of the answers.
    I think I’ve vaguely heard of 21d but didn’t really know what it was, let alone how to spell it.
    I liked 9 and 29a and 8 and 14d. My favourite was 15a, which is good fun if you fancy a 90 mph gargle.
    With thanks to Kcit for a good fun crossword and to Gazza for the hints and the cartoons.

  7. Gazza
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Beam tomorrow.

  8. LetterboxRoy
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Got most of it (yay!), but no way I was ever going to get 17d, and 22d my thinking was miles off. 10a just had to be that though I’ve never heard of it, or the quoted saying above.

    Plenty to like – 20a, 24a, 27a & 29a, 4d & 8d.

    This, for me, was a ***/*** even though I didn’t actually finish it. It kept me occupied and as BD pointed out to me a while ago when I was whining about ProXimal toughie “It’s supposed to be tough, the clue is in the title.”

    A nice balance of difficulty and cleverness. Looking forward to Beam tomorrow for more of the same.

    Thanks to all as ever.

  9. Sheffieldsy
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 6:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    We really enjoyed this one. 3*/3.5* as a result. 17d and 22d were new to us but had to be from the construction and 10a was a new meaning of a known word. We liked 9a, 16a (because we got the parsing quickly), 20a (so, yes, Gazza, this worked for us – just), 24a (a little gem), 29a (simply for working Copernicus into an answer), but the clear favourite was 4d.

    We thought the harbour venue part of 19d was weak, especially given how good the remainder of the crossword was.

    Thanks, Gazza, for the review and to Kcit for such fun.

  10. 2Kiwis
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    10a was also our last one in and we had followed the same path as Expat Chris in justifying it. Luckily one of our team had heard of the ‘**** of satan’ which was a help. Not a quick solve for us and an enjoyable one.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

  11. Wolfson Bear
    Posted July 13, 2016 at 10:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I think 10a must be in contention for “worst clue of the year”. Why make things so obscure?

    Overall this was in line with yesterday’s – lots of easy ones, some good clues and unnecessary obscurities that spoilt things

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 12:28 am | Permalink | Reply

      Probably his cheifest objective, he pilots obscurity.

  12. jean-luc cheval
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    10a was left unfilled.
    Liked 28a (merit attention) and 22d ( a question brought in) the most and the picture that went with the latter.
    The “petit Journal” on canal+ had an item on the clapping of Kim jung un. They start at the same time, clap for exactly 17 seconds and stop. Made me laugh.
    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza.

  13. Heno
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do. I was pleased to say that I got 10a, but struggled on a few others. Couldn’t finish the SW corner, had never ever heard of 17&22d so didn’t feel too bothered about those.i thought 23a was so obscure. couldn’t get 19d or 26a. Favourite was 9a. Overall quite entertaining.

Leave a Reply, but please read the Comment Etiquette (under Contact on the menu) first, especially if you are asking a question

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *