Toughie 1681

Toughie No 1681 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

A setter and two of our bloggers get namechecks today and this brightened up a puzzle which I didn’t otherwise find terribly inspiring. There’s an awful lot of chopping off last letters.

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

Across Clues

1a Dreadful booze changes tourist’s colour? (5-8)
PAINT-STRIPPER – split the answer 6,7 and it could mean ‘applies colour to tourist’.

9a Guarantee a variety of users will receive a new computer at the outset (9)
ASSURANCE – start with A and add an anagram (variety) of USERS containing the initial letters of three words in the clue.

10a Red-haired person‘s hair coming back to us (5)
RUFUS – reverse a word for hair and append US.

11a Avoiding new developments, expending energy to make mark on wood? (5)
NOTCH – start with a phrase (2,4) which could signal a rejection of the latest scientific developments and remove (expending) the abbreviation for energy.

12a Scientist passing oxygen and hydrogen through bromine (4)
BOHR – arrange the chemical symbols for the three elements as required by the clue.

13a Fruit-tree — perfect example for trimming (4)
PEAR – start with a word for a paragon or prized example and cut off its last letter.

15a Image seen in Tube shows medical centre (7)
HOSPICE – insert the short word for a photograph into a tube or pipe.

17a Praise craft shown by a lot of composition (7)
WORSHIP – a craft (of the sea-going kind) follows a term for a composition or opus without its last letter.

18a Crafty work, note, the first time being overlooked (7)
CROCHET – a musical note without its first T(ime).

20a Take care of half the damage in game with wife (2,5)
GO DUTCH – combine an oriental board game and a Cockney term for one’s wife (and the alias of one of our bloggers).

21a Succeeded in blocking item at auction? Failed (4)
LOST – insert the abbreviation for succeeded into an item at auction.

22a A good time you’d expect to roll? (4)
BALL – if you’re having one of these you’re having a good time. It’s also something that you’d expect to roll (because of its shape).

23a Player walking with difficulty by end of tour (5)
GAMER – an adjective meaning having a disabled leg is followed by the end letter of tour.

26a Something of horn: hard, bonelike item (5)
TOOTH – I think that this is meant to be a semi-all-in-one with the whole clue being the definition. Something you might hear from a horn is followed by the abbreviation for hard.

27a Ideal sort for exercising, enhancing performance (9)
STEROIDAL – an anagram (for exercising) of IDEAL SORT.

28a Museum founder sad at a museum folding, beginning to despair (6,7)
MADAME TUSSAUD – an anagram (folding) of SAD AT A MUSEUM followed by the first letter of despair.

Down Clues

1d A sweet location — chapel should be moved here (5,9)
PLAIN CHOCOLATE – an anagram (should be moved) of LOCATION CHAPEL. I suppose that ‘here’ just improves the surface and could mean ‘in this clue’.

2d Small map — it covers most of the cardinal points (5)
INSET – IT contains three cardinal points.

3d Flickering illumination shows something wrong about church land mostly (10)
TORCHLIGHT – a wrongful act in law contains an abbreviation for church and a verb to land or descend without its last letter.

4d Credible catch, stored in box (7)
TENABLE – a verb to catch or arrest goes inside an informal word for what we used to refer to as ‘the box’.

5d Winter spectacular — costs twice reduced at the beginning (and how!) (3,4)
ICE SHOW – a word for costs or charges without its first two letters (twice reduced at the beginning) followed by HOW.

6d Place’s opening or closing? Opening (4)
PORE – the opening and closing letters of ‘place’ separated by OR.

7d Discharge that damages body during uproar (5,4)
RIFLE SHOT – put a word for body (in contrast to spirit) inside an uproar or furore.

8d Pastoral literary production has phrase involved with ‘hard soil’ (1,10,3)
A SHROPSHIRE LAD – an anagram (has … involved) of PHRASE and HARD SOIL gives the name of a poetry collection by Housman (and the alias of our second blogger of the day – I’m sure that we all send him our good wishes and hope for his speedy return to blogging duties).

14d Substantial reminder regarding legal action not clearly indicated (10)
PRODIGIOUS – start with a reminder or nudge and add an adjective meaning ‘concerned with lawsuits’ without its first three letters (a past participle meaning ‘clearly indicated’ or illuminated).

16d Bad weather conditions currently occurring on board to naval fighter (9)
SNOWSTORM – put an adverb meaning ‘currently’ into the usual abbreviation for ship and add TO and the abbreviation for a ship-borne soldier.

19d Bar very much upset about endless tirade (7)
TRANSOM – reverse a word meaning very much or the greatest quantity around a tirade without its last letter.

20d Lyricist, good one, boy singer mostly picked up (7)
GILBERT – string together the abbreviation for good, the Roman numeral for one and the reversal of a boy singer without his last letter to get the lyricist who rejoiced in the middle name of Schwenk.

24d Information outlets raised point about newspaperman (5)
MEDIA – reverse a verb to point or train around the abbreviation for a senior newspaperman.

25d Tax cut reversed after husband invested – it sounds like a blow (4)
THUD – reverse a form of tax without its last letter and insert the abbreviation for husband.

I thought that the 28a anagram was pretty good but my top clue is 1a. Which one(s) earned your applause?

For a masterly (or should that be mistressly?) example of the setter’s art and loads of laughs I thoroughly recommend Arachne in the Guardian today.


  1. Una
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    1a definitely gets my vote as best clue in a crossword that I enjoyed.I also liked 12a, 20a , 22a , 7d and 8d.
    Thanks Gazza and Kcit. Now, I’m off to the Guardian.

  2. dutch
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well! I hope SL has seen 8d! I appreciate the encouragement in 20a. And nice to see our Monday setter (10a), though I hadn’t appreciated the meaning of his pseudonym.

    I liked 1a, 12a, 22a, 26a, 27a, 6d

    Favourite is 20a, of course!

    Many thanks Kcit, thanks for the namecheck, and thank you Gazza (and I agree, today’s Arachne in the Guardian is a treat)

  3. Sheffieldsy
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A nice steady solve. Favourite by a long way was 26a for the penny-drop moment and the look on Mrs Sheffieldsy’s face when she got it too.


    Thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  4. halcyon
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I agree with you Gazza – rather uninspiring. I don’t think “enhancing performance” is an acceptable definition in 27a, at least not without a question mark or other qualification. Nor do I like clues that ask you to manipulate rather fanciful phrases [11a] unless they’re witty.
    But I did like 1a, the neat 6d and thought 5d was exceptionally cunning for the red herring twICE reduced which leaves one wondering what to do with “costs”.

    Thanks for the blog and thanks to Kcit for the puzzle.

    • Jane
      Posted September 28, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The drugs in question, when used by sportsmen, are invariably referred to as ‘performance enhancers’ so it seems fair enough to me.

    • Gazza
      Posted September 28, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think that ‘performance enhancing’ would be better for 27a.

      • halcyon
        Posted September 28, 2016 at 7:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Indeed Gazza. At least then it would be in the form commonly used. But my point is that they are not synonymous. Either way around one is only a small example of the other. Steroidal drugs are sometimes [but by no means always] performance enhancers and “enhancing performance” is by no means always steroidal. It needs a? at the very least.

  5. LetterboxRoy
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A lot to like today. 1a, 7d, 20a, all very good as well as the amusing 8d &10a. ***/***
    Thanks to all as ever

  6. Jane
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Took me a while to sort out the parsing of 15a&3d and, needless to say, I had to look up the 12a scientist but otherwise no significant problems to report.
    Good to see the name checks and I also liked 26&28a plus 6d. Favourite was 1a.

    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza, whose help I – for once – didn’t need!

  7. Rabbit Dave
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I can see why anyone looking for a Toughie might feel a bit short changed by this, but I enjoyed it a lot with 1a my favourite. Many thanks to Kcit.

    Many thanks too to Gazza for clarifying the parsing for 11a & 14d, and for the great picture for 20a – shame about the spelling of Amsterdam, but that’s not Gazza’s fault!

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Even with a straightforward puzzle I manage to slip in a mistake or two.
    Thought that 1d was going to be a Peach Charlotte and bunged in Sandstorm in 16d before realising my errors.
    The tree in 13a was a Deal originally.
    Only saw 10a spelled Rufous in the BRB.
    Silly parsing in 3d as the word ends with a T.
    Thanks to Kcit for the namechecks and to Gazza for the review.

    • Jane
      Posted September 28, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Me too with ‘peach’.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted September 28, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You were correct re ‘van’ JLC – thanks for your input. :good:

  9. Stone Lee
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Don’t usually look at the Toughie but completed this and yesterday’s. Today’s was more of a challenge but no new words (unlike today’s cryptic). Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review and explaining the parsing of a couple of the clues.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted September 28, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Well done – but beware, they can be addictive; as I have discovered!

  10. Verlaine
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I thought this was a fun puzzle, no complaints as to its enjoyability from me. Another **/*** I reckon. Thanks Kcit and blogger.

  11. jean-luc cheval
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for the recommendation as Arachne’s last outing left me indifferent.

  12. Gazza
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Firefly tomorrow.

  13. LabradorsruleOK
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Like Stone Lee venturing into Toughie- land when Penultimate Pager (more & more these days) is on the easier side.
    Not as successfully though needed 1a & 1d to get going on the West side.
    Starting to get there though.
    Thanks to Kcit & Gazza for educational & informative hints.

  14. JB
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 6:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I thought this was OK but there were too many truncation.

  15. 2Kiwis
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 7:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Quite by chance we happened to get 10a, 8d and 20a in quick succession in the solving process and wondered who else we were going to meet. We enjoyed the solve but did note that there were rather a lot of deletion and truncation clues, 11a being the one that we found hardest to parse.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

  16. Posted September 28, 2016 at 7:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Not really having time for a Toughie today, I might have saved it for later but the comments on the other side piqued my curiosity so I just read the review. The surface of 26a was pleasing and it was nice to see the name-checks.

    Apologies to Kcit and thanks to Gazza. The 20a pic made me smile and completely overlook the mrisspelling.

  17. Gazza
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 8:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m a bit disappointed that nobody’s commented on the 28a waxwork. To me it looks more like Sylvester Stallone in drag than Jennifer Lopez. Check out those thighs!

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted September 28, 2016 at 8:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Mr T from the ‘A’ Team, more like. Reminds me of the Fulham (Craven Cottage, King’s Road?) Micheal Jackson monstrosity.

    • Sheffieldsy
      Posted September 28, 2016 at 8:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

      If you want to see a stonking clue, look at 6d in today’s Guardian.

      • Gazza
        Posted September 28, 2016 at 8:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Yes, brilliant. There are a whole host of superb clues in that puzzle, e.g. 10a, 3d, 17d.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted September 28, 2016 at 8:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Or that ‘restoration’ of a Christ picture the some Italian cleaning lady decided to touch up.

    • Posted September 28, 2016 at 8:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You’re both wrong. Its Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.

      • LetterboxRoy
        Posted September 28, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

        A slight sideline Kitty: Did you see the Schrodinger (..and then today we had Bohr!) post?

        • Posted September 28, 2016 at 9:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Yes. You calculated that the pictured cat was going up and down simultaneously.

          Schrödinger’s Kitty agrees and disagrees with your assessment.

          • LetterboxRoy
            Posted September 28, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink | Reply


      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted September 28, 2016 at 9:47 pm | Permalink | Reply


        Singing “Walk This Way”?

  18. Salty Dog
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 9:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My determination to make the first word of 1d “peach” cost me a deal of time and put me just into 3* territory. I loved the in-house content ( 10a, 20a and 8d – surely too many to be pure coincidence) but 1a was my favourite. Many thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  19. shropshirelad
    Posted September 28, 2016 at 10:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Sorry to hijack your review Gazza, but I have a few words to say and I hope you won’t mind. First of all, I want to thank everyone for their kind words on BD’s review of yesterdays back pager – wishing me well. That really, really is very much appreciated and I can’t thank you enough.

    I just want to say that the last few months have been very emotional and upsetting for me in so many ways – I wouldn’t know where to start. I’ve had bereavements to deal with and all that that entails, along with all sorts things that have ‘jump started’ my depression from a severe road traffic accident that nearly killed me in 2002. Suffice to say, I’m not in a ‘good place’.

    I am getting the help I need – so please do not worry.

    I just wanted you all to know that ‘mental illness’ is exactly what it says on the tin. Look at your friends and family members and ask the question – ‘Are they really OK?’

    • Gazza
      Posted September 28, 2016 at 10:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Keep strong, SL. You know that everyone on the blog wishes you the very best and looks forward to seeing you back in the blogging chair whenever you feel ready.

      • shropshirelad
        Posted September 28, 2016 at 10:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thank you sir – you are indeed a scholar and a gentleman.

        • crypticsue
          Posted September 28, 2016 at 11:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Takes one to know one :rose: x x

      • Jane
        Posted September 28, 2016 at 11:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thoughts are with you, SL. Take good care of yourself.

    • Posted September 28, 2016 at 11:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Sending my best wishes and hope that the black clouds clear very soon, SL. I’m very glad to hear you’re getting the help you need. Know that you can get in contact any time you want to talk.

    • dutch
      Posted September 29, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for dropping in SL – remember you have lots of friends. Happy to hear you have help. Hope to hear from you occasionally – we will look forward to seeing you back.

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