Toughie 1737

Toughie No 1737 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I’m not sure if it’s a deliberate policy to stiffen up the Toughies in 2017 but after yesterday’s trickier than usual Tuesday puzzle we have another today which I found harder than average for a Wednesday. I did enjoy the process so many thanks to Shamus and a Happy New Year to him and all our readers.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared with today’s puzzle and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a Any of several screen performers using short sawn-off rifle (6)
CUSACK – an adjective meaning sawn-off without its last letter is followed by a verb to rifle or plunder to get the surname of an Irish acting dynasty.

4a Explain in detail losing boxer’s experience? (5,3)
SPELL OUT – a losing boxer, if ko’ed, could experience this.

10a Damage good porcelain — and feature of Hispanic blind? (9)
MARGARITA – blind here is an old term for a drinking bout. Stitch together a verb to damage, G(ood) and a type of Japanese porcelain.

11a Revolver, say, hoarded by criminal bumptiously (5)
ALBUM – hidden word.

12a Vessel making delivery round back of port (7)
STEAMER – a type of delivery on the cricket field contains the last letter of port.

13a Like a proper map, characterising mountain for trekkers? (2,5)
TO SCALE – what trekkers may want when faced with a mountain.

14a Source of flavouring in bird, we hear (5)
THYME – this sounds like another informal word for bird (or porridge).

15a A cold drink disciple drained as appreciative token (8)
ACCOLADE – string together A, C(old), a soft drink and the word disciple without its contents.

18a Investigator among schools heard murmur by lodge (8)
COUSTEAU – schools here are groups of underwater swimmers. This is a double homophone – firstly what sounds like the murmur of a dove, then a verb to lodge or stash.

20a Fine Italian article about a range of animals (5)
FAUNA – the abbreviation for fine (on lead pencils) and an Italian indefinite article contain A.

23a How one might describe performing jazz player’s diaphragm? (7)
MIDRIFF – as 3-4 this could describe a jazz player during his/her performance.

25a Special writer with obsession put over doings (7)
GUBBINS – sting together an abbreviation for special, something with which to write and an obsession or craze. Now reverse it all.

26a What squaddies do is broadcast in row (5)
DRILL – double definition. Broadcast here is a verb meaning to sow.

27a Smith, maybe, over in city with a clear view? (9)
ECONOMIST – put a preposition meaning over or concerning between the postal district for the city in London and a cryptic way (1,4) of saying ‘a clear view’.

28a Seat can be obtained by this horse bucking head (8)
ELECTION – a horse that one’s chosen to put a wager on without the leading letter (bucking head).

29a Keep constant summary of billboard? (6)
ADHERE – split the answer 2,4 and it might describe the function of a billboard.

Down Clues

1d Affected sense, perhaps, picked up in travellers’ area (8)
CAMPSITE – an adjective meaning affected or theatrical and a homophone of one of the senses.

2d Anglicans blocking request to repeat enchanting activity (7)
SORCERY – the abbreviation for the Anglican church goes inside a verbal request to repeat.

3d Clubs unobjectionable but devoid of attraction (9)
CHARMLESS – the abbreviation for the card suit clubs is followed by an adjective meaning unobjectionable or inoffensive.

5d Lifts in theatre form part of one’s job? (7,7)
PLASTIC SURGEON – cryptic definition of someone doing lifts and tucks.

6d Many hungry young men in effect (5)
LOADS – young men with nothing inside them.

7d Note well row probing excessive consumption? That’s agreed (2,5)
ON BOARD – the abbreviation for ‘note well’ and a verb to row go inside the abbreviation for excessive consumption of drugs.

8d Moderate much of painting technique (6)
TEMPER – a painting technique without its final A.

9d Route aged flier devised — it’s shared by South Americans? (6,3,5)
TIERRA DEL FUEGO – our only anagram today (devised) of ROUTE AGED FLIER gives us an island shared between Argentina and Chile.

16d Tale involving female initiate’s source of strength (9)
LIFEBLOOD – a fanciful tale contains the abbreviation for female. After that we need a verb to initiate (young players into a sport, for example).

17d Name advantage in replacement of one container (8)
CASSETTE – start with a verb to name or quote and replace the Roman numeral for one with an advantage.

19d Acceptable rally in action in square? (2-5)
ON-DRIVE – charade of an adjective meaning acceptable or feasible and a verb to rally or participate in motor sport. The answer is what may be seen in a cricket match. I think that ‘action on square’ would be better than ‘action in square’.

21d Take advantage of some revolutionary cigarettes I lit up (7)
UTILISE – hidden reversed.

22d Blur, first sign of drunkenness in self-complacent European (6)
SMUDGE – insert the first letter of drunkenness into an adjective meaning self-complacent then add E(uropean).

24d Cool rental property in bay (5)
INLET – an adverb meaning cool or trendy is followed by a rental property.

My favourite clue today is one of 12a, 23a, 2d and 5d. Which one(s) gave you a lift?

17 Comments

  1. halcyon
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A bit of a slog and a bit too much whimsy [and cricket] for me – but I did like 23a.
    Thanks to Shamus and Gazza

  2. Ian Marsland
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Phew! Yes that was hard compared to Shamus’s usual puzzles. Got a little over half without resorting to assistance and I needed Gazza’s help for the last five. As well as 23, liked 27 and 4.

    Thank you Gazza and Shamus.

    • Gazza
      Posted January 4, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You’ve changed your alias so this needed moderation. Both aliases should work from now on.

  3. dutch
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Phew, that was a slog, felt a bit too much like hard work. I made it harder for myself to finish by having stupidly bunged in an -ERY ending to 5d, but got there in the end. Thanks Gazza for explaining blind in 10a, broadcast in 26a, and the cricket meaning of 19d.

    There is also an American acting family for 1a. 5d favourite.

    Many thanks Shamus & Gazza

  4. pommers
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    God help us come Friday! Hard for a Weds and hard for a Shamus but I enjoyed it and agree with Gazza’s ratings.

    Never come across the blind in 10a. Where I come from it’s a blinder. Still, one lives and learns.

    No stand-out for me but ta to Shamus and Gazza.

  5. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    We got 10a from the checkers and wordplay but had not sorted out the ‘Hispanic blind’ part of the clue. As pommers mentioned above, we had heard of ‘blinder’ but not ‘blind’ for this. That NW corner certainly stretched the solving time for us as 1a also took a lot of effort. We always enjoy the way that Shamus puts his clues together and there was plenty to appreciate here.
    Thanks Shamus and Gazza.

  6. LetterboxRoy
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A Goldilocks puzzle for me, though I’m with Pommers & 2K’s about 10a.
    4a, 13a, 5d & 23a are all similar constructions, all of which I like. Not familiar with the cricket reference at 19d, but it makes sense. I did read a few hints to double-check suspected answers.

    Many thanks to Shamus for another really good puzzle and Gazza for the tips. ****/*****

  7. Jane
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My excuse is that I’ve been out for most of the day – the truth is that I’ve managed about half and have come to a complete halt.
    Will keep trying for a while and then doubtless be back to consult the shining knight!

  8. Davelawes
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Would have done better had I not had Clouseau for 16a .
    Thanks for the review

    • Jane
      Posted January 4, 2017 at 11:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I also tried hard to make Clouseau work!

  9. Gazza
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 8:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Beam tomorrow.

  10. Una
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 8:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I got only a little over half. Tres difficile.
    I though 1a and 17d and 19d particularly difficult and 10a impossible .
    I thought 23a and 5d were marvelous.
    If someone were to hand me a margarita , I wouldn’t say no .The first 25 references in Dr Googles book of knowledge refer only to the cocktail.Is this Round Britain Quiz or a cryptic crossword ?
    Thanks Gazza and Shamus.

  11. Jane
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 11:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Finally defeated by the NW corner and 13a, not to mention the parsing of 19d which I’ve never heard of before.
    Top two were the nice surfaces of 26a and 5d.

    Sorry, Shamus – I really did try – and many thanks to Gazza for explaining what I simply couldn’t see!

    As it’s Beam tomorrow, I’ll have to give it a go but I’m starting to think that this week’s Toughies are way beyond me.

  12. Posted January 4, 2017 at 11:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I didn’t have time today for a hard one so I semi-solved, taking a liberal helping of hints to get me to the finish. It’s a better way of appreciating the puzzle than just reading the review – and not a bad way of appreciating that too. Much to appreciate today. Many thanks to Shamus and Gazza.

  13. Sheffieldsy
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 11:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What a struggle but we got there. The lesson is that we should do the Toughie first, while we’re still alert and (when we actually complete once as tough as this) still have time to go on a blind in celebration, rather than leave it until late evening. 4*/4* here.

    Favourite clue was 18a. Thought the use of horse in 28a was highly questionable. 17d was a bung-in that we only understood after reading Gazza’s hint thrice.

    Thanks, then, to Gazza and Shamus.

    • Gazza
      Posted January 5, 2017 at 12:16 am | Permalink | Reply

      I initially shared your doubts about the horse in 28a but Chambers, under ‘selection’, has ‘a horse selected as likely to win a race’.

  14. Lesley
    Posted January 5, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink | Reply

    Well, that stole half my morning. Need to crack on now or the newsagent will have run out of todays paper ( tomorrows crossword.). Really struggled, needed hints and solutions. Thanks anyway guys – Tuesdays not as bad as some people thought, but I may just lie in for the rest of the week and forgo the dastardly toughies.

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