Toughie 1710 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1710

Toughie 1710 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***


Hello, you chosen few granted access to the site and who have elected to join me here in my little corner.  A big welcome to your Bufo replacement blog service, brought to you by Kitty while our usual Thursday Toughie man relaxes on holiday.

Today we have an enjoyable puzzle from Shamus, in which I found parsing all my answers trickier than filling the grid.

I’m afraid no actual pictures are planned at the time of writing, as I can only access the site by hopping up and down, doing the hokey cokey, turning around three times and then hanging out of the window.  (Well, nearly – I can only gain access via my little budget smartphone on PAYG, and to get 4G reception I have to balance it high up by the window.)  Instead, I have illustrated some clues in words, inviting you to form an image in your head if you so wish.  You could even suggest some of your own word pictures if the fancy takes you.  As they say, the pictures are better on radio …

The definitions are underlined in the clues below, and you’ll find the answers inside the ROCK! boxes.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative – click only if you wish to reveal all.

Do leave a comment telling us how you found it and what you thought.



1a    Loss in playing dramatist’s main part (5,5)
LIONS SHARE: An anagram (playing) of LOSS IN followed by an English playwright, the writer of Plenty, Racing Demon, Skylight, and Amy’s View

      [Image: a big cat enjoying a big meal]

6a    Bitter, a drink shunned by Queen (4)
ACID: The A from the clue followed by an alcoholic drink without (shunned by) the two letters which represent our current monarch

9a    Potty nation incorporating Latin with very old electoral procedure (6,4)
POSTAL VOTE: An abbreviation for chamberpot, then a nation containing the abbreviation for Latin together with those for very and old.  I was held up parsing this – firstly because I didn’t know the potty abbreviation, and secondly by taking the whole of the first word as meaning potty or crazy

10a    Sun on Arab, say, a minor problem (4)
SNAG: S(un) and something of which Arab is an example

      [Image: an Australian sausage]

13a    Flier, one given time to keep front of plane secure (7)
LAPWING: An informal term for a convict (one given time) contains the initial letter (front) of plane and secure, in the sense of secure a title

      [Image: the feathered creature of the answer having a drink]

15a    Exceed largely fantastic French individual (6)
OUTRUN: Drop the final letter from a word meaning extravagant or fantastic (largely fantastic) and follow with a French word for one

16a    Again designate base disposition for 80-plus? (6)
DOTAGE: String together a shortened form of a word indicating something repeated with a synonym for designate by affixing a label to (or perhaps to mark as “it” in a children’s game) and the mathematical base for natural logarithms.  It took me an age to work out how the “again” worked – I always forget that one

      [Image: an octogenarian behaving badly and enjoying it]

17a    Know-alls in estates? (8,7)
BACKSEAT DRIVERS: A cryptic definition, where estate is a type of car which the know-alls are not driving

      [I’m sure you can all picture one or two of these]

18a    Poisonous priest among group in charge (6)
SEPTIC: An abbreviation for priest inserted into (among) a group and followed by the abbreviation for in charge

20a    Decorative work after backward economies a concern? (6)
STUCCO: Economies or fiscal savings reversed (backward) and then a business concern (abbreviated)

21a    Mean investigator reportedly free of gizmos (3-4)
LOW-TECH: A three letter word meaning mean or base and a homophone (reportedly) of an informal shortened word for a detective.  Another abbreviation which I had half forgotten

      [Image: a thuggish-looking policeman using a piece of string to measure a footprint at a crime scene]

22a    Fruit refined with difficulty cut in half (4)
UGLI: A single letter meaning refined or posh and the first half of a malfunction or 10a

25a    Fume in manner of retired gent – means of avoiding emergency? (5,5)
SMOKE ALARM: Fume or smoulder, in the manner of (1,2), and the reversal (retired) of a man’s title

26a    Trend limited to supplier, we hear (4)
TIDE: This course or tendency sounds like an adjective meaning obliged to use only supplies from the parent brewery, garage etc.

      [Image: an accessory worn round the neck and designed to hold a bottle or can of beer]

27a    Rough sea drew near having released a type of anchor (10)
NEWSREADER: A broadcast anchor is an anagram (rough) of SE[a] DREW NEAR without (having released) the A from the clue.  Oh, that type of anchor!



1d    Scandinavian left mobile accessory (4)
LAPP: L(eft) and a digital feature of phones etc.

      [Image: a Scandinavian dancer]

2d    Forcibly get rid of dangerous Thai boxing (4)
OUST: Two words of the clue are here containing (boxing) the answer

3d    Join a new figure on board (6)
SEAMAN: This person on board ship is a sewn join followed by the A from the clue and N(ew)

      [Image: Captain Pugwash]

4d    Hard views including a view that changed to satisfy requirements (4,4,2,5)
HAVE WHAT IT TAKES: H(ard) and slants or opinions containing (including) an anagram (changed) of A VIEW THAT

5d    Plump angler’s aid to catch majority of fish (6)
ROTUND: Something to which an angler attaches his line contains most of a marine fish which is often tinned

      [Image: a fat feline fishing]

7d    Unite around Northern values principally to recover (10)
CONVALESCE: Come together around the abbreviation for Northern and the first letter (principally) of values

8d    Going off course from nameless entrance in Dublin? (10)
DIGRESSION: Remove N(ame) from a seven letter entrance and place inside a footballer with the surname Dublin.  This was my last to parse and I needed help.  I had no idea how to end the word until 20a revealed its secrets, and then I had to chase down that pesky sportsman

      [Image: a dish running away with a spoon]

11d    Party getting good snap, perhaps – cheer for setter? (3,7)
DOG BISCUIT: The usual crosswordland party followed by the abbreviation for good and a food item of which snap is an example.  The setter has four legs, not two

      [Image: the answer being snaffled by a different animal]

12d    Race followed by significant number was first – having plenty in reserve? (10)
STOCKPILED: Race or family followed first by a mathematically significant number, then by three letters meaning was coming first

13d    What could be supported by yard carries trouble (7)
LUGSAIL: This yard is on a ship.  A charade of carries or humps plus trouble or afflict

14d    Big man that lost energy on train after lift heading for home (7)
GOLIATH: A two letter word for vim or energy then a reversal (after lift, in a down clue) of a train, finished off with the initial letter of (heading for) home

      [Image: Richard Osman crying on a Southern Rail service]

19d    Body that’s constituted to exclude dry European leftist (6)
COMMIE: A body of people selected for some purpose, minus two letters for an abstainer and E(uropean).  Yes, the European is part of the deletion, and missing that fact was one of my many hold-ups with the wordplay today

20d    Grate  pickle (6)
SCRAPE: Two definitions.  To grind, and a tight spot

23d    Feature of hospital  charge (4)
WARD: Another two definitions.  Part of a hospital and one under the care of a guardian

24d    Potentate in Eastern peasant community (4)
EMIR: E(astern) followed by a peasant farming commune in pre-Revolutionary Russia, also called an obshchina, which was new to me as so many things in crosswords are


Many thanks Shamus.  My favourite today is 14d, for the definition and also because it made me think of Hoofit and others who have to endure commuting by rail.  Which clue(s) satisfied your requirements?


20 comments on “Toughie 1710

  1. I thought that this was great – easily the most enjoyable Toughie of the week so far. Thanks to Shamus and to the overworked Kitty for the blog – what a shame we missed out on the picture of the Australian sausage! I knew the old footballer but had to look up the peasant community.
    My requirements were satisfied principally by 9a, 4d, 11d, 12d and 14d.

  2. I echo what Gazza said – except I’ll just mark 11d for exceptional stardom

    Thanks to Shamus and Kitty

  3. A bit of a struggle, but just within 3* time, so call it 2.5*/3.5*. I enjoyed 7d and 13a, but unfortunately we very rarely see the latter in our bit of Cornwall. Thanks to Shamus, whose puzzles I always enjoy, and to Kitty.

  4. I didn’t know what to make of Dublin and it didn’t help that entrance can also be a longer word with alternative endings. Thank you Kitty for the illumination.

    My favourite picture is the Australian sausage.

    I had to look up the yard thing and the peasant community.

    I think 27a was my favourite

    Many thanks Shamus and Kitty

  5. I’m ignoring Google Safe Search’s warning and clicking through to the site anyway. Very good Thursday Toughie and equally good blog. Thanks Shamus and Kitty.

  6. Yes, I’ve got access (hoorah) but no, haven’t had time as yet to do the puzzle.
    Will hopefully check back in later.

  7. 13a took us ages to parse even after we had the answer (well it had to be with 5 of the 7 letters checked) and also had an aha moment with ‘that sort of anchor’ for 27a. Excellent fun and much enjoyed. Just loved your radio pictures too Kitty.
    Thanks Shamus and Kitty.

  8. Found it remarkably straightforward for a Shamus, finishing the grid with the four seven letter words in the centre.
    The description of the pictures was good enough for me. Apart from the Australian Sausage. Didn’t know they had one.
    Thanks to Shamus, to Kitty and to BD for rescuing the blog yet again.

  9. Really good fun but I agree with Kitty about some of what were clearly right answers being tricky to untangle.
    I finished it but needed the hints to ‘undo’ several – 22a and 8, 13 and 19d.
    My first answer for 13a was wrong but luckily it screwed up so many others that I doubted it – I had ‘cockpit’ – just don’t ask but, at the time, it did sort of work. Oh dear!
    I liked 9, 21 and 25a. My favourite was either 17a or 11d.
    With thanks to Shamus and thanks and well done to Kitty for untangling them. I thought the pics were particularly imaginative today.

  10. All done but won’t pretend that I found it easy!
    9a – thought ‘potty’ was an anagram indicator which caused problems.
    13a – quite a choice of ‘wings’ and I tried really hard to make ‘waxwing’ work.
    16a – obvious answer but never did manage the parsing (thanks, Kitty).
    18a – didn’t know that ‘P’ is a recognised abb. for priest.
    26a – thought your radio pic. showed a grubby child with a tide-mark round his neck, Kitty!
    8d – loud shouts of ‘foul’! I wonder just how many people of heard of him?
    12d – trouble with the parsing as I thought the ‘significant number’ was a ‘pile’!
    13d – oh dear, I was upside down and inside out with this one. Didn’t know the yard although the answer rang a very faint bell.
    24d – the peasant community was a new one for me.

    Phew – makes even me wonder how I got across the finishing line.
    Favourite was 17a with 25a close behind.

    Thanks to Shamus (but not for the footballer!) and many thanks to our Girl Tuesday on a Thursday for successfully hanging out of the window whilst dancing – quite a feat!

  11. Now, that was good. Not too difficult perhaps for a Toughie, and one or two I couldn’t fully parse, but plenty of smiles and good clues.

    I’ve ceased to have warnings about this site for a few days now, though that said I couldn’t connect at all yesterday. Fingers crossed it’s all sorting itself out.

  12. Many thanks Kitty for both the hints and namecheck.
    As I write we have been sitting for 5 minutes outside East Croydon.
    The hints as usual make what look utterly unintelligible crystal clear.
    Many thanks. Oops the train has just started moving again!!

  13. Thrilled to get access straight away this morning! I did manage to get in late last night but couldn’t post my comment. I’ll make this one quick. Loved it! Didn’t know the feller in 8D. 11D and 17A are my top pics. Thanks Shamus and Kitty.

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