Toughie 1726 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1726

Toughie No 1726 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

An enjoyable puzzle that wasn’t all that difficult. It was only the last few pesky four-letter answers that pushed me into the 3* difficulty zone. There are several double definitions (and one triple definition) but everything was gettable without any research being needed.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


6a    Weird phone chat around Spain at basement rate? (2,3,5)
ON THE CHEAP: An anagram (weird) of PHONE CHAT round E (Spain)

8a    Question in audience for inventor (4)
WATT: A homophone (in audience) of an interrogative pronoun gives the surname of a Scottish inventor

9a    Retired character once among religiously dutiful poor (9)
PENURIOUS: A reversal of any of the letters of an ancient alphabet inside ‘religiously dutiful’

11a    Direct but not posh French writer (4)
GIDE: Remove U (posh) from ‘to direct’ to get the surname of a French author

12a    Figure in company traditionally (3)
TWO: This number’s company (and one more’s a crowd)

13a    Pub backed single chaps facing area events (9)
PHENOMENA: A 2-letter abbreviation for a pub + a reversal of ‘single’ + chaps + A (area)

16a    Alternative responses in recess (4)
NOOK: The first two letters and the last two letters might both be answers to a question but they have opposite meanings (‘against’ and ‘in favour’)

17a    One taking interest stealing power? (7)
USURPER: A money lender charging large interest rates goes round P (power). The whole clue provides the definition

18a    Rapid movement between points / a feature of badminton (7)
SHUTTLE: 2 meanings: rapid movement to and fro between two points/something hit with a badminton racket

20a    Caribbean female losing a day exhibiting craft (4)
WILY: I couldn’t think of any Caribbean females and it took me a long time to realise that I didn’t need to. It’s a 2-letter abbreviation for the island nations in the Caribbean + a female with the letters A D (day) removed

21a    Fraudulent part of meal with no set cooking (9)
DISHONEST: Part of a meal + an anagram (cooking) of NO SET

23a    Disallow piece of music in watering hole (3)
BAR: 3 meanings: to disallow/a rhythmic unit in music/a public house (watering hole)

24a    Someone not agreeing with much of caper (4)
ANTI: Remove the last letter from a caper

25a    Object of devotion universally adopted is flower? (9)
AMARYLLIS: A much venerated person from the Bible inside ‘universally’ + IS = a genus of flowering bulbs

29a    Beefcake in establishment for Arabs? (4)
STUD: 2 meanings: beefcake (a sexually attractive man)/a breeding establishment possibly for Arabs (horses)

30a    Bearing East, group put back allowance (10)
TOLERATION: A reversal of a group and E (East) + an allowance = ‘bearing’ or ‘endurance’


1d    Means to stop reproducing / bargain (4)
SNIP: 2 meanings: a surgical procedure for male sterilization/a bargain

2d    Pull oneself up almost narrow opening (4)
CHIN: ‘To pull oneself up on a horizontal bar as a gymnastics exercise’ = a narrow opening with the last letter removed

3d    Trace source of anxiety in academic gathering-place (4)
SCAR: A trace or mark as a result of injury = A (first letter of anxiety) inside the abbreviation for a common room for the use of university staff

4d    Fan in county starved of new support (7)
DEVOTEE: An English county (home of Gazza) with the letter N (new) removed + a support for a golf ball

5d    Boss and I recently restricted in cramped accommodation? (6,4)
STUDIO FLAT: A boss or knob + I + ‘recently’ (2,4) with the last letter removed = a small apartment

7d    Flavouring in chips at ground I love (9)
PISTACHIO: An anagram (ground) of CHIPS AT + I + O (love)

8d    Footballer’s mate with note after note scrawled in carriage (9)
WAGONETTE: The wife or girlfriend of a footballer + an anagram (scrawled) of NOTE + a musical note

10d    Bring home reportedly drink dispenser? (3)
URN: A homophone (reportedly) of ‘to bring home (money for working)’ = a large vessel with a tap for making tea or coffee

13d    Jogger set option to run round end of street (4-2,4)
POST-IT NOTE: Something written on to jog the memory is an anagram (to run) of SET OPTION round T (last letter of street)

14d    Before term, term one rising ahead of others (5,4)
EARLY BIRD: ‘before term ‘ or ‘before the appointed time’ + a term in prison

15d    Ready facility medic with a following’s shown in public (9)
OVERDRAFT: A facility allowing you to take more money (ready) from your bank account than is in it = an abbreviation denoting a medic, A and F (following) inside ‘public’

19d    Go for a thing in pot, we hear (7)
ASSAULT: ‘To go for’ or ‘to attack’ = A + a homophone of a condiment that might be found in a pot

22d    Zip funnily trousers (3)
NIL: hidden (trousers) inside the clue

26d    Spun element in narrative (4)
YARN: 2 meanings: thread that is spun/a narrative or story

27d    Criticise when son leaves behind schedule (4)
LATE: Remove S (son) from ‘to criticise’

28d    Left halfway through really good work (4)
SLOG: L (left) in ‘really’ + G (good) = ‘to work with great effort’

19 comments on “Toughie 1726

  1. A very gentle ‘comfy’ but I’d give it 4* for enjoyment too.

    Thank you and Seasons Greetings to Shamus and Bufo too

  2. A few pesky 4-letter words were also my last-ones-in.

    Can’t say I was happy with “a thing in pot” (19d) – that’s probably the most extreme example of a general looseness i thought characterised the puzzle, though on looking at the answers again, most seem fair enough.

    For their quirkiness, I liked 16a (alternative responses), 20a (caribbean girl), 8d (2 notes) and 14d (2 terms). Surface-wise I liked the jogger (13d)

    Many thanks Shamus and Bufo

  3. Much head-scratching over the parsing of 20a and the second part of 5d (didn’t think of splitting it 2,4) but that was the height of the problems – once I’d given up on the first county I thought of for 4d and checked on the French writer.

    Podium places went to 29a plus 1&14d.

    Many thanks to Shamus and to Bufo – relieved to note that you also struggled a little with 20a!

  4. Had to go on the mainframe to see the snow. Remembered how to make it move around too. That’s as close as I’ll get to see some this year.
    The four letter words in 20a and 2d gave me the most trouble in an otherwise straightforward but enjoyable crossword.
    Favourite is 13d.
    Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  5. A fairly straightforward Toughie but good fun.
    As others have already said some of the four letter answers caused a spot of bother and so did 25a.
    I liked 29a and 1 and 5d.
    Thanks to Shamus and to Bufo.

  6. The pesky four letter 2d and 20a were our last two to sort out. Big penny drop moment when we worked out 20a. We were not certain that we had got 19d sorted correctly as ‘a thing in pot’ just did not seem to describe the homophone for us. It was one of those grids where we really got our money’s worth and the blogger has more work to do as there are 32 clues to work with. Good fun as ever from this setter.
    Thanks Shamus and Bufo.

  7. Most enjoyable , though I needed some help for the last few.
    I had stars by quite a few clues , 1d, 8d, 14d, 15d, and 15d.
    Thanks to both Bufo and Shamus.

  8. Terrific fun. I failed to parse 20A, which was also my last one in. My podium places go to 9A, 8D and 19D. Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  9. All went swimmingly and then we spent 2 hours on the last 2 letters – in 28d. Bufo explained it to us so thanks to him and Seamus too.

    G: Today was brightened by this puzzle and beer 🍻

  10. No tougher than today’s back-pager, really, but an amusing solve. I’d score this at 2*/4*, and my favourite was the charmingly simple 22d. Thanks to Shamus, and to Bufo for the review. Now, where’s that whisky bottle…

  11. Would have been easier on the iPad. I would not confuse letters written in a spidery scrawl

    Brilliant just brilliant. 20ac. How good is that?

    Thanks Shamus. Will we see you again at the birthday bash?

    Thanks Bufo for letting me know that the letter I is not a letter T

    1. Zip is an informal word meaning nothing and the answer is hidden in the clue (indicated by trousers, i.e. pockets as a verb).

  12. Thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, at least, what I could do of it. Needed the hints for 9,20,23,25,30a and 3,4,10,19,22,28d. Favourite was 5d. Was 5*/3* for me.

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