Toughie 1755 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1755

Toughie No 1755 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

I solved this before I knew who the setter was and it took me almost 5* time. The pangram didn’t help my solve, but it was nice to see. I wasn’t familiar with the actresses, but I knew my drinks.

The definitions are underlined below. If the hints don’t help you find the answers, you can reveal them by clicking on the ANTWOORD button. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a    Broadcaster, after great effort, getting hold of verse composer (10)
STRAVINSKY: The broadcaster is a popular pay-TV network, and follows (after) a 6-letter word meaning great effort containing (getting hold of) the abbreviation for V[erse]

6a    Bit of mashed potato maybe sweetheart’s passed back (4)
STEP: A reversal (passed back) of another word for sweetheart’s (don’t forget the ‘S)

9a    Collapsed private is unstable (10)
TUMBLEDOWN: A 7-letter word meaning collapsed or fell plus a preposition meaning private or belonging to oneself

10a    Worry reflects interference to some extent (4)
FRET: Reverse hidden (reflects ….. to some extent)

12a    Regularly fuzzy when getting in rounds — of this booze? (4)
OUZO: The even letters of fUzZy go inside two letters that look like circles (rounds)


13a    Cleaner‘s upset, overwhelmed by extra career (9)
NAILBRUSH: A 3-letter word for upset or indisposition goes inside what I think must be a cricket abbreviation for N[o] B[all] or extra, followed by a 4-letter verb meaning to career

15a    Party without alcohol and ties to be worn – most crazy (8)
DOTTIEST: The standard 2-letterword for party or function, an abbreviation for going without alcohol, and an anagram (to be worn) of TIES

16a    Sexual centre discussed barrier method? (6)
GROYNE: A homophone of a region of the body that might be described as a sexual centre

18a    Teacher preferring Spain for initial holiday (6)
EASTER: A Spring holiday is derived from a word for teacher in which the initial is replaced by the IVR code for Spain

20a    One in Glasgow area redirected cool Italian chap (8)
GIOVANNI: The Roman numeral for one goes inside a Glasgow area (which I didn’t know, 2.5 miles west of city centre, on the south bank of the river Clyde) followed by the reversal (redirected) of a 2-letter word meaning cool or hip. We know this guy!

23a    Fault by leader in game to reveal playing card (9)
SINGLETON: This playing card is the only representative of its suit in a hand – a 3-letter fault or vice, the first letter in G[ame], and a (3,2) expression meaning to reveal

24a    In US, fancy track being uneven (4)
AWRY: A 2-letter American interjection plus the abbreviation for railway track

26a    Love mate’s jewellery (4)
OPAL: The letter that looks like zero (love in tennis – which, incidentally, comes from the French l’oeuf) plus a word for mate or friend

27a    Advert by old German, describing tart, about to get award (10)
ADJUDICATE: An even shorter abbreviation for advertisement, and a member of a Germanic people from Jutland going around the reversal of a word meaning tart or bitingly sour

28a    Level match, when taking rook (4)
TIER: A verb meaning to match or equal plus the abbreviation for R[ook]

29a    Piece of garden heather not upsetting dog (10)
BEDLINGTON: A bit of your garden used for planting, another word for heather, and a reversal (upsetting) of not


1d    Model English station (4)
SITE: A verb meaning to model or pose plus the abbreviation for E[nglish]

2d    Actress Peggy supporting on stage again (7)
REMOUNT: The surname of an English actress goes underneath (supporting, in a down clue) a 2-letter bit of commercial jargon meaning on or concerning

3d    Blissful place — coppers for hard Australian wine (12)
VALPOLICELLA: To get this Italian wine, replace the abbreviations for H[ard] A[ustralian] with a 6-letter word for coppers in a blissful place in Norse mythology

4d    Having nothing on suspect seen nicked by detective with new uniform on (8)
NUDENESS: An anagram (suspect) of SEEN goes inside the abbreviation for a detective, all underneath the abbreviations for N[ew] + U[niform]

5d    Heard line of people and what they do in country (6)
KUWAIT: A homophone of a word for a line of people and a 4-letter verb for what they do in said line. Seems I’ve been pronouncing the country wrong

7d    With armband short, abruptly vacated seaside resort (7)
TORQUAY: A twisted metal armband without the last letter (short) plus A[bruptl]Y vacated (without it’s contents) gives Britain’s answer to Malibu

8d    Old soap actress at pub, drunken one in pictures (3,7)
PAT PHOENIX: AT form the clue, a 2-letter abbreviation meaning pub plus an anagram (drunken) of ONE all go inside a 3-letter informal word for pictures or photographs

11d    Book twice to meet nucleus of crew in operation of aircraft — BA, for example (12)
ABBREVIATION: The abbreviation for B[ook] twice plus the middle two letters (nucleus) of [c]RE[w] all go inside a word for the industry of production, design and operation of aircraft. A word which because of its length is tiresome to repeat in many of the hints, including this one – and now it’s in the answer as well

14d    Tot unfortunately worse before getting right herbal remedy (6-4)
ADDERS-WORT: A word meaning tot or sum up, an anagram (unfortunately) of WORSE, plus a 2-letter abbreviation for right

17d    Scotsman’s stuck inside largely unable to shift periodical (8)
BIANNUAL: A typical Scottish Christian name goes inside an anagram (to shift) of most of (largely) UNABL[e]

19d    Soldier’s wearing something fireproof in US city (5,2)
SANTA FE: The capital of New Mexico is a 6-legged soldier surrounded by (wearing) a box for valuables that should be fireproof

21d    Ignore a stanza, when holding course in poetry (3-4)
NOR-EAST: This poetical direction is hidden in the clue (when holding)

22d    Fast food urge? Half repeatedly avoided this perhaps (6)
STODGE: I wasn’t sure whether avoided should be part of the definition or not – it seems to work either way, depending on your fast food preferences. Take the second halves of the first 3 words in the clue.

25d    Wife spikes bird to be carved (4)
HEWN: The abbreviation for W[ife] goes inside (spikes) a female chicken

There are quite a few clues I ticked but my favourite has to be 6a – which clues did you like?

24 comments on “Toughie 1755

  1. The left side went in very quickly and I thought that this was going to be another fluffy Toughie but the right-hand side put up much more of a struggle. I did know the actresses (though I can’t imagine that anyone under fifty will remember the 2d one) and the area of Glasgow but I didn’t know the 29a dog or the ‘mashed potato’.
    Thanks to Osmosis for the enjoyment and to Dutch for the review. I liked 15a and 11d.

  2. Had completely forgotten the dreadful 6a dance so thanks for the reminder, Dutch, and also for the parsing of 9&13a.
    I was firmly convinced that Eliot Ness was somehow involved in 4d – that took a while to resolve!
    The definition at 23a was a new one for me and I was very slow to get the parsing of 22d.

    Thought 1a was cleverly constructed but my favourite has to be 20a.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the necessary assistance.

  3. Was making great progress until I got totally stuck on the right side.
    Thought the soap actress was Pat Butcher for which the 5 first letters were an anagram of at pub but couldn’t make sense of the rest. This was.proved wrong by getting the nailbrush in 13a and thought the extra was Nota Bene. NB, PS, all the same to me.
    Spotted the pangram which helped me get the J in 27a and was left with the X to go so I decided to put it in 16a for the sexual bit and thought of xrayed which didn’t make any sense whatsoever.
    Had to give up.
    Didn’t get the Italian chap in 20a or the fast food urge in 22d and didn’t understand 6a at all until the review.
    5d was first in and favourite.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch.

    1. Hi JL,
      Mailed you a couple of days ago and I’m reliably informed that I may need to tell you in case I got consigned to the junk box!

    2. Hi Jean luc –
      I realise now why I was so slow on Sunday after the bash – I was mixing my drinks.

  4. Strangely enough, I came across groyne in a Chekhov short story yesterday, little good it did me, though. I got as close to the soap star as Bet Lynch, which is pretty good, considering I’ve never seen a minute of the show. I had heard of Pat Phoenix, notwithstanding – hard to avoid with a mother addicted to the Mail.

    A most interesting experience, if not the easiest, with Giovanni the pick of the crop for me, and a fine example of how to work a mate into a puzzle with a touch of finesse.

  5. I know very little about dogs or actresses, nor Glasgow for that matter which marred it a tad for me.
    I agree, JLC re the NB at 13a, and also would not have got 6a without the hint. (Did people really used to do that in public? It looks so ridiculous it’s beyond funny!)
    Not convinced ‘award’ for 27a; may be in the BRB it must be at least archaic?
    Didn’t spot the pangram; no change there, then. Enjoyable but not brilliant in my book.

    Many thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the much-neededs.

  6. That’s kept me quiet for the whole of a very rainy afternoon and I confess to making a complete pig’s ear of some of it.
    I did eventually finish it so feeling smug now.
    I didn’t know the Glasgow area and always forget about the 1a broadcaster but, for about the first time ever, spotted the pangram.
    Didn’t know the actresses either but, right at the end, I needed an ‘X’ so stuck it on the end of 8d because we have a Phoenix cinema in Oxford – oh dear – never mind . . .
    I did know the dog – they always look like little lambs to me.
    I’m not even admitting what I did with 6a.
    My favourite was 14d.
    With thanks to Osmosis for the crossword and also to Dutch for the very much needed hints and explanations.

  7. We were eventually beaten by 6a. We had settled for ATOP as it was a reversed lurker in potato indicated by back. Of course we could not fully parse it. Found it all a bit of a grind with too many things that we had to dredge Google for: old actresses, Glasgow areas, rare dogs etc. We did spot the pangram. Like Dutch we did not know who the setter was when were solving but had guessed correctly.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

    1. Me too with 6a – I wasn’t going to admit to it but now that you have I will! If in doubt it’s a lurker even if it doesn’t fit with the clue.

  8. I’ve run out of time today with half a dozen to go so hoping that somebody will still be around tomorrow when I finally complete…or give up. 6A and 16A are my favorite so far!

  9. Well, I finished except for 24A, and no wonder I didn’t get that. “Aw’ means “fancy”? Really? It’s usually more an expression of sympathy or understanding or appreciation. “Aw, I’m sorry to hear that.” I’m adding 8D to my favorites because it brought back very fond memories, and 11D because it tool forever to sort out and was very satisfying when I did. 16A is still Number 1, though. Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

    1. In the US aw means jeez, shucks, or darn – exclamations of surprise. Fancy, or in full “fancy that”, similarly means gee, gosh or my, my – so aw = fancy is maybe a bit obscure/contrived but OK I think (in a cryptic clue).

          1. Definition of aw –Miriam-Webster.
            —used to express mild disappointment, gentle entreaty, or real or mock sympathy or sentiment

            1. Yes, of course, that is the common meaning we all know, even in the UK – but that is irrelevant because the setter is quite obviously using the more obscure meaning I have described above and that is why they have used the US indicator (because it is generally unknown over here, though it is listed as such in the SOED).

            2. EC. To explain further and with more clarity – see my reply to Mr K in DT28343, comment No 5.

  10. Well posting this on SUNDAY is bit daft but makes me feel as if I m keeping up – a bit and contributing! Far too busy in office to do more than glance and then Friday night…
    Rugby yesterday so still glancing!
    Now done
    Not heard of 16a, 14d and don’t like dogs.
    Otherwise knowledge wise I was OK.
    6a too obscure though know the dance.
    Poor / wrong synonyms in 24a and 27a.
    But I enjoyed it as many clues clever + amusing, and with a nudge here and there got it done.
    Always encouraging to know you are 90% on logic trail but just tripped up by the other 10%
    Still learning some of the jargon

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