Toughie 1748 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1748

Toughie 1748 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hi all – once again hailing from South Kensington, which is a little less sunny that it was a week ago (though not, at the time of writing, hailing).  Through the haze I’ve brought you some hints, tips and explanations in an endeavour to bring clarification to anyone who may need it.

My hunch is that many Toughie regulars may rate this lower for difficulty than I did: save for a couple of slow parses I didn’t have any great problems but I was not, in general, speedy today.

The definitions are underlined in the clues below, and you’ll find the answers inside the {Global error: answers not found} 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    Basic send-off American woman books for Queen (11)
FUNDAMENTAL: A send-off for the departed contains in place of (for) ER (Queen) a US term for a woman and some biblical books.  I got into a terrible tangle with this one

9a    Bitter oil roused ancient creature (9)
TRILOBITE: This one is easier to unravel: make an anagram (roused) of BITTER OIL to uncover a fossil arthropod

10a    Time card game when discarding hearts in turn (5)
TWIST: T(ime) and a card game without (when discarding) H(earts)

11a    Prime  time for a snack (6)
ELEVEN: This prime number is a time of the day when a snack has a name

12a    Inconsiderate European stops without vehicle (8)
CARELESS: E(uropean) is inserted into (stops) an adjective meaning without a vehicle

13a    Useless person expected run, running around very loudly (6)
DUFFER: Expected at this time and R(un) around the musical notation for fortissimo

15a    Support grabbing Matthew’s place on the tube (8)
TELEVISE: This was the other clue I found tricky to parse, as I needed to confirm another name for the biblical Matthew (Levi).  A support for a golfer contains this Matthew together with the ‘S from the clue

18a    Drink nearly nothing after drunken strip (8)
SPRITZER: All but one of the letters of a word for nought follow an anagram (drunken) of STRIP

19a    Regularly assess replacing line in movie about mountains (6)
MASSIF: Regular letters of assess in place of the L(ine) in a motion picture written backwards (about)

21a    Fence could be benefit for royal residence, we hear (8)
PALISADE: This fence forming an enclosure sounds like (we hear) a (6,4) royal adviser

23a    Edge second-tier award (6)
BORDER: The letter denoting second class followed by an award (such that the answer split (1-5) could mean a second-rank award)

26a    Town records sound of meditation (5)
EPSOM: Some musical records and the sacred syllable of Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism

27a    Pass on what sounds like right way to walk (9)
PROPAGATE: A homophone (what sounds like) of correct (6) stride (4)

28a    Row with people entering into cunning deal (11)
ARRANGEMENT: A line and some people inside (entering into) cunning



1d    Fool parent falling short in current times (7)
FATHEAD: Remove the end from a parent (falling short) and add an abbreviation for the times in which we find ourselves (not CE)

2d    Report that might get Eloise into ELO? (5)
NOISE: Samuel likes this kind of device, which can be harder to hint than to solve.  To turn ELOISE into ELO we want to remove three of the letters, or rather write it with ** ***

3d    Redemption meant getting upset about mood (9)
ATONEMENT: An anagram (getting upset) of MEANT outside mood or note

4d    Somewhat like-minded artist (4)
EMIN: This artist featured recently on the back page; she has set up camp here (but not made her bed) and is lurking, somewhat hidden, in the middle of the clue

5d    Poem hit a nerve – unexpectedly the writer gets dropped (3,5)
THE RAVEN: An anagram (unexpectedly) of HiT A NERVE without I (the writer)

6d    Select group discovered that man is able to move easily (5)
LITHE: Inner letters (discovered) of a select group followed by a pronoun meaning that man

7d    Artist is second to be admitted to China (7)
MATISSE: Is and S(econd) inside the china which is found not in the eastern areas of the globe but the east end of London

8d    Teen is in broadcast thirty years after swinging? (8)
NINETIES: An anagram (broadcast) of TEEN IS IN forms the decade three on from the so-called swinging one.  (I wonder which decade actually has/had the most swinging)

14d    Confused, like a school with no pupils? (8)
FORMLESS: A school which had no pupils – and hence no classes – could be so-described

16d    Fancy drink served up with salt (9)
ELABORATE: Take a popular drink in crosswordland (both in the grid and in glasses), knock it back (served up in a down clue) and chase with a salt

17d    Rock standard covered by learner besieged by agents (8)
FELDSPAR: A norm or standard underneath (covered by in a down clue) L(earner) inside (besieged by) an informal term for FBI agents.  I had a little trouble with this one too, this time with finding an answer which I only distantly recall encountering before

18d    Head over after failing to finish chicken dinner? (7)
SUPREMO: O(ver) follows (after) a chicken dish without its tail (failing to finish)

20d    Hot nuts never wrapped in paper (7)
FERVENT: An anagram (nuts) of NEVER inside (wrapped in) the pink organ which today features a puzzle by Mudd (aka Dada/Paul)

22d    Fireman, maybe, with degree in dance (5)
SAMBA: The forename of an animated fireman (going backwards in the video below) followed by a type of degree

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

24d    Salt  duck (5)
DRAKE: A famous Elizabethan sea captain or the chap pictured

25d    Sellers, perhaps, continue (4)
GOON: Sellers, perhaps – or Milligan or Secombe.  The answer split (2,2) is an exhortation to continue


Thanks to Samuel.  I enjoyed this lots, with my favourites being the foody/drinky clues, particularly the hot nuts in 20d and 18a.  Which bit(s) got you hot under the collar?



25 comments on “Toughie 1748

  1. Your hunch is correct. All over in a twinkling but with plenty of enjoyment along the way. I’d just like to be able to stop singing the Fireman’s theme song now, please
    Thanks to Samuel for the entertainment and Kitty for the illustrated explanations.

  2. A very fine crossword I thought, not *terribly* difficult but I did have to pause on quite a number of occasions to fully tease out the correct parsing.

    The clues you cite are the funniest but I’m going to give a special mention to 15ac, both for its outrageous surface (speaking as a regularly irate Matthew, that place on the tube is MINE, you can’t have it) and for the fact that it was my last one in… it was like one of those magic eye posters, couldn’t make head nor tail of it for ages and then once I found the correct angle, it swam into view at once of course.

    Many thanks to both erudite setter and sleek blogger.

  3. Yes, it was right up my street so I wasn’t at all surprised to read CS’s comment!
    After the 22d clip my earworm is ‘burn baby, burn’ – great disco music.
    If I have to pick a favourite it would probably be 27a – made me laugh.

    Many thanks to Samuel and to our Girl Tuesday. Thought we were going to be short of cats today and then they all turned up together in the second half!

  4. I couldn’t solve 15a – so thanks to Kitty for the explanation.

    I can now put away my map of the London Underground until another day.

    Thanks to Samuel for the entertainment.

  5. Thanks Kitty for the parsing of 15a from me as well.

    One of these puzzles where several clues left me cold, mainly surface-wise (1a, 17d, 14d, and especially 8d – what am I missing, how can a teen do anything after 30 years?)

    On the other hand I really enjoyed quite a few as well, 11a, 12a, 18a, 26a, 27a, 4d, 25d…

    So many thanks Samuel and Kitty

    1. 17d is brilliant! “Rock standard” = classic rock song, “learner” = beginner musician, “beseiged by agents” = music A&R people queueing up to sign that fortunate individual. Tells a complete story in the surface, and yet basically every particle leads to a different meaning to make up the solution. There were a couple of surfaces where I thought, well, that sentence wouldn’t pass muster in the real world, but this wasn’t one of them.

      1. ah ok, thanks – stupidly i didn’t get away from the definition kind of rock – unlike me!

    2. ‘How can a teen do anything after 30 years’? I reckon you’re making a pretty good fist of it, Dutch!

  6. Due a combination of being a bit busy at work and a tricky puzzle in the Guardian, I have only done about two thirds of this one, which seems reasonably straightforward so far. 13a is a word I have not encountered since reading Arthur Ransome…

    Anyone interested in a trip to the finest city in the East Midlands in May should check out fifteensquared.

    Thanks to Kitty and Samuel

  7. I always enjoy attempting a Samuel puzzle and I enjoyed this. I was beaten by 15ac and left the letter E at the end of 18d because I forgot to return to it after being unhappy with the clue/answer relationship. Thanks Kitty for putting me right. Thanks to Samuel too.

  8. There were too many poor surface readings for me to give good marks to this. I found it sadly disappointing. Thanks Samuel and Kitty

  9. A very enjoyable offering from Samuel today, only 15a stumped me as I have zero biblical knowledge – 17d was also a struggle.

    Liked the 20d surface, and 26a raised quite a smile but 2d wins outright as top clue, even if the definition is dubious.

    Thanks to Samuel and to Kitty.

  10. Our comment was going to be about looking for information on the London Underground for 15a but see others have traveled there before us. It was our last one in and a LOL when we twigged it. Relatively gentle and great fun.
    Thanks Samuel and Kitty.

  11. I confess that this one took me a very large number of CS’s ‘twinklings’.
    I got into a muddle trying to sort out several of these answers; didn’t see the 1a funeral; I’d forgotten about the 15a Matthew; managed to convince myself that the 18a drink ended in NI and, having thought of that, couldn’t think of anything else; never heard of the 17d rock and totally screwed up the whole of the bottom right corner by putting ‘souse’ for 24d. Apart from that lot it all went remarkably well! I did finish it eventually and really enjoyed it.
    I liked 21a and 2 and 20d. My favourite was 26a.
    With thanks to Samuel and thanks and well done to Kitty.

  12. Samuel is definitely growing on me. And I don’t mean like a nasty boil or anything like that.
    1a took a while to parse as I thought it was a charade at first with send off being a bit of fun but couldn’t reconcile the al.
    The homophone in 27a made me laugh too.
    Thanks to Samuel and to Kitty for the review.

  13. I greatly enjoyed this. Was unable to parse 1a, so thanks to Kitty for the explanation and to the setter for the fun. Specially liked the homophones.

  14. Thanks for the blog, Kitty, and for all the comments. My wife particularly likes the many cat pictures — and I’m pleased that it’s not just me who has spent today humming the Fireman Sam theme tune. Apologies to anybody who thought one or two of the surfaces were lacking. Will try harder next time!

    1. Many thanks for dropping in Samuel – I really appreciate that, and i think every one else does too.

  15. A worthy 3*/4*. 15a defeated me (obviously not paying attention at Sunday School that day), but there were lots of good clues – 7d, 19a and 20d caught my eye. Thanks to Samuel, and to Kitty for explaining 15a.

  16. An enjoyable, not too difficult Toughie. 17d was my LOI, one where most of the different bits were apparent enough, but putting them in the right order…

  17. As usual a day behind and I struggled on half needing lots of nudging. After more than a year away from toughies I’m having to relearn the jargon and get in setters’ minds. I’ll keep at it and hopefully appear in blog before 4pm, meaning complete before 2pm here!

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