Toughie 1692

Toughie No 1692 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty */**Enjoyment **

Kitty’s army of fans will be disappointed to find out that she’s not here today – we’ve done a swap and she will be blogging tomorrow’s Toughie.

Thanks to Warbler for a very gentle Toughie today. The only clue which I had to think hard about parsing was 7d and I’ve increased my difficulty rating by half a star for that one.

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

Across Clues

8a Abundant enjoyment mostly found in writing (7)
PROFUSE – insert a word for enjoyment without its last letter into non-poetic writing.

10a In March I verified data store (7)
ARCHIVE – the first of our lurkers.

11a Outstanding support for group of stars (5,4)
GREAT BEAR – charade of an adjective meaning outstanding and a verb to support or carry.

12a Small disagreement can be tiring (5)
STIFF – the abbreviation for small (strangely not in Chambers) followed by a minor disagreement or quarrel.

13a Fool runs over explosive (5)
NITRO – an informal word for a fool followed by two single-letter cricketing abbreviations.

14a Figure duck disturbed cat and left shortly (7)
OCTAGON – string together what resembles a duck at cricket, an anagram (disturbed) of CAT and a past participle meaning left without its last letter.

17a Mistakenly be inane about the setter during passage in book (5,3,2,1,4)
THREE MEN IN A BOAT – an anagram (mistakenly) of BE INANE contains the pronoun the setter would use of herself, then the lot goes inside a bodily passage.

19a Comply with old British deal (7)
OBSERVE – abbreviations for old and British followed by a verb to deal or deliver.

21a Manner adopted by lusty leader (5)
STYLE – our second lurker.

24a Nameless rancid mixture is pungent (5)
ACRID – an anagram (mixture) of RA[n]CID without the abbreviation for name.

26a Announced supposed space for visitor accommodation (5-4)
GUEST-ROOM – a homophone (announced) of a verb meaning supposed or imagined followed by another word for space.

27a Girl starts to smile impishly about excuse (7)
EVASION – start with a girl’s name (that of model Miss Herzigová, for example) and add the starting letters of smile impishly and a preposition meaning about.

28a Crafty journalist returned acknowledgements of debt after third of November (7)
DEVIOUS – reverse our usual Crosswordland senior journalist and add the third letter of November and some acknowledgements of debt.

Down Clues

1d Greek descendant of farm animal discovered in vast geological age (6)
EPIGON – insert a farm animal in a word for a very large division of geological time. I didn’t know this word, from Greek, for the (normally less distinguished) descendant or follower of a famous person, but the wordplay was clear.

2d Pastor worked up about the French heavenly guide (4,4)
POLE STAR – an anagram (worked up) of PASTOR contains a French definite article.

3d Sell last pieces of fine Japanese silver? He would. (10)
AUCTIONEER – this is a semi-all-in-one. A verb to sell is followed by the last letters of three words in the clue.

4d Country-loving group second to get cut off following father (9)
PATRIOTIC – a group (of musicians, say) and a second or short period of time without its last letter all follow an affectionate term for father.

5d Island surrounding church freezes over (4)
ICES – one of the abbreviations for island surrounds one of the abbreviations for church.

6d Backing for railway track (6)
SIDING – double definition, the second being a section of track possibly used for shunting.

7d Bond bird hit fellow getting uppity? (4,4)
REEF KNOT – my initial thought here was that the bird was the second word (doubtless a deliberate attempt by the setter to mislead) but I couldn’t get the parsing of the first word to work so I had to think again. The bird is an alternative spelling (3) for a female ruff (a wading bird) and she’s followed by the reversal of an informal verb to hit hard and F(ellow).

9d PM‘s idea of paradise (4)
EDEN – double definition, the first the surname of a UK prime minister of the 1950s.

15d Passing over crossing initially is very easy (10)
TRANSITIVE – a word for a crossing followed by the initial letters of the last three words. The answer and the first bit of the wordplay mean pretty much the same thing.

16d Gas turbine machine with black top (3,6)
JET ENGINE – a machine in which power is applied to do work has an adjective meaning black atop it.

17d Hospital men in Texas remodelled chests (8)
THORAXES – the abbreviations for hospital and enlisted men in the army go inside an anagram (remodelled) of TEXAS.

18d Bullish idiot producing contradiction in terms (8)
OXYMORON – we start with a somewhat whimsical adjective (not listed in Chambers) which, if it actually existed, would mean bullish or ‘like a bull’ and that’s followed by an idiot.

20d Use special 23 for feast (6)
SPREAD – an abbreviation meaning special and the answer to 23d.

22d He-men’s tangle? Exactly! (6)
ENMESH – an anagram (tangle) of HE-MEN’S. Tangle is doing double duty.

23d Study of grass in report (4)
READ – the answer sounds like a type of grass.

25d Irish assembly‘s ideal is shattered after European withdrawal (4)
DAIL – an anagram (is shattered) of ID[e]AL without the abbreviation for European gives us the lower house of the Irish Parliament.

I got a laugh from 18d but my favourite (for the clever bit of deception in the wordplay) is 7d. Which one(s) lifted your spirits?


  1. Verlaine
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Definitely a single star difficulty from my point of view, but not unpleasant for that. I chuckled at the “bullish” in 18d for a start.

    There were a couple of clues that I thought could have been tighter – the first half of 3dn and the second half of 16dn for instance, which aren’t clued in two separate directions so much as one twice over, if you see what I mean?

  2. dutch
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Nice gentle start to the week. I particularly liked 18d (bullish idiot) and the 21a hidden

    I didn’t know the 7d bird but I came across the hit recently so I could guess the answer

    3d I thought wordplay (sell) and answer were a bit too close to give a satisfying clue (cf Gazza’s hint for 15d)

    many thanks Warbler and thank you Gazza

  3. Jeroboam
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Just got my internet back after best part of 3 days down. This could have just as easily been a back pager, with for me, too many well worn wordplay devices in play. Still, it would be churlish not to thank Warbler and of course Gazza for his review.

  4. Jarman Island
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I agree with Gazza’s assessment in general. Have to say that gratuitous use of obscurity does slightly irritate me though (1d and 7d). Not what cryptic crosswords are about imo. Quite enjoyed 17a. The”passage” word is imaginative. And 26a although easy made me smile. Thanks to Warbler and Gazza’s.

    • dutch
      Posted October 18, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

      1d is the only word in chambers that fits these checkers

  5. happy days
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found it somehow a little inept and lacking polish. I agree with Dutch about 3d and 15d, No favourites, I’m afraid

  6. Kath
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    More of a 2* difficulty for me.
    I got into a muddle with 7d and failed to find the passage in 17a.
    I thought it might be a pangram but, as always whenever I remember to think about the possibility, we’re missing a couple of letters.
    I’ve never heard of 1d but it wasn’t too tricky to ‘invent’ it and look it up.
    I liked 11a and 3d. My favourite was 18d – made me laugh.
    With thanks to Warbler for the good crossword and to Gazza for the hints and pics.

  7. Expat Chris
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    1D was a new word for me, and I couldn’t parse 7D. Never heard of tonk! I did enjoy the puzzle and I don’t think Warbler is in any way inept. My favorite is 18D. Thanks Warbler and Gazza.

  8. herbage
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    agree re 7d. Ree is rarely seen. good artwork, Gazza

  9. Warbler
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I would like to thank Expat Chris for defending me against accusations of ineptiude!

    • dutch
      Posted October 18, 2016 at 4:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

      happy days offered an opinion on the puzzle, saying “I found it” (rather than Warbler) “somehow a little inept” – to me that is an important difference…

      • LetterboxRoy
        Posted October 18, 2016 at 8:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I see that, Dutch but consider this:

        If I write that your last post, for example, was ‘inept’ [awkward, clumsy, incompetent], would you take it that your message itself wasn’t good, or that I might be suggesting you are an incompetent poster? Can a crossword itself even be inept?

        Perhaps the wording of the original post could have been better.

        Just shooting an arrow for our beloved Warbler. :smile:

  10. pommers
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I always like a Warbler puzzle and this was no exception. A very pleasant puzzle which wouldn’t have been out of place on the back page. 18d was fav among a lot of good stuff.

    Many thanks to the anything but inept Warbler and to Gazza.

  11. Jane
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 5:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m quite a Warbler fan and always enjoy looking for the ‘bird’ mentions, but was very slow to get 7d having sorted out two birds, a fellow and no ‘hit’! Unlike Chris, I did actually know the word – just didn’t see it for ages.
    1d was a new word but, as others have said, easy enough to work out and then check. I also left 12a&15d until they couldn’t be anything else.
    17a and 18d were top of the pile for me.

    Thanks to Warbler and to Gazza for taking Kitty’s place today. I can assure you all that my 26a has now been vacated and Kitty will be back home in time to bring us tomorrow’s Toughie blog!

  12. LetterboxRoy
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A very enjoyable solve today with a few smirks along the way, most notably 18d. Thought 14a was a great clue too, with an amusing surface. I knew the 2nd part of 7d but couldn’t quite put it all together with any confidence – needed Gazza to untangle that one.

    After 11a & 2d, I was half expecting to see Mummy Bear appear somewhere!

    Many thanks to all as ever.

  13. 2Kiwis
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    We scratched our heads about 6d when we saw lining as backing on a garment or material and line seemed to imply railway but were not happy with it. A bit more thought and the penny dropped. We were also fooled with the correct parsing of 7d. A gentle solve and we enjoyed it.
    Thanks Warbler and Gazza.

    • Una
      Posted October 18, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Me too about lining .

    • dutch
      Posted October 18, 2016 at 7:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

      and me

    • Jane
      Posted October 18, 2016 at 9:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      and me!

  14. Una
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 7:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A lovely puzzle,although 27a evaded me as I read the clue to make a girls name.
    I liked a lot of clues , including 17d and 18d.
    Thanks to Gazza and Warbler.

  15. jean-luc cheval
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 7:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Was even slower than Jane in getting 7d as I needed not only to read the hint but reveal the answer as well.
    For 1d, I actually checked Epigra but thanks to the BRB the right answer was just above.
    Had to count the letter E twice in 17a as I thought there was one too many.
    Just realise that I always explain my solving process on this blog. Hope you don’t mind.
    The more I remember about a crossword is always a good thing.
    Thanks to Warbler. Sorry I didn’t know the other bird and thanks to Gazza for the review.

    • Jane
      Posted October 18, 2016 at 9:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Certainly no complaints from me, JL. Sharing the trials, tribulations and occasional triumphs is surely what this wonderful site is all about!

  16. Salty Dog
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 8:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Right on the 1*/2* cusp for difficulty, but certainly not without its joys (so 3* for satisfaction). I liked 17a and 18d (“military intelligence” was always the one that appealed to me). Thanks to Warbler and Gazza.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted October 18, 2016 at 9:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Chuckled. How about ‘political correctness’.

  17. Jon_S
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 9:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A definite * for difficulty, but never not enjoyable. 18d was worth the price of admission alone. :-)

  18. Posted October 18, 2016 at 9:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It was a nice change to be able to solve a Warbler casually. Jane kindly printed it out for me to do on the train home, but I thought I’d “just make a start” … and so not much of the grid actually made it onto the train unfilled. I did tear my hair out over 7d though – I have learnt a few more birds recently, but the one there was yet to fly into my consciousness.

    Like others I didn’t know 2d and had to verify my answer in the brb. I’m also in good company with having tried for far too long to fit a name into 27a.

    I do see what Verlaine means about 3d and 16d, as well as Gazza’s point about 15d – they weren’t my favourite clues. My favourite was 18d – lovely. Thanks to Warbler, and many thanks to Gazza for so obligingly taking on today’s review.

  19. hoofityoudonkey
    Posted October 18, 2016 at 9:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Gazza, great stuff.
    As a committed birder, I have never heard of the female Ruff referred to anything other than a ‘reeve’, so I have learnt something new today.

  20. Heno
    Posted October 19, 2016 at 1:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Warbler and to Gazza for the review and hints. Fantastic, a Toughie completion. Was on the gentle side, but was very entertaining. Hadn’t heard of the bird in 7d, but had a guess at the first word of the clue. Also had never heard of 1d, but by an amazing coincidence, it just had to be. Last Friday a friend of mine had a Specsavers moment in the pub, and thought that Wadworth’s Epic was Epig, so we said later is Epig on? Strange or what?

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