Toughie 1758 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1758

Toughie No 1758 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A slow start after which the top half fell quickly. The bottom half took slightly longer but it was finished in average time. I didn’t like all the double unchecked letters but they didn’t cause any problems

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Everything changed presumably in tranquil spot (5)
OASIS: Split the answer (1,2,2) and expand the first letter to give something equivalent to ‘everything changed presumable’

4a    Applause I limit in competitive event (8)
HANDICAP: Applause (4) + I + limit (3)

8a    Mushy peas served by one in red and navy? (3,5)
SEA POWER: An anagram (mushy) of PEAS + someone who is in the red or is in debt

9a    Angel represented in European church in style (8)
ELEGANCE: An anagram (represented) of ANGEL in E (European) and an abbreviation denoting ‘church’

11a    Papa about to struggle with Western, cinematic event? (7)
PREVIEW: The letter represented in the phonetic alphabet by ‘papa’ + ‘about’ + ‘to struggle’ + W (Western)

13a    Speaker forgoing intro with line not half giving bother (9)
ANNOYANCE: A speaker (public address system) with the first letter (intro) removed + the first half of an 8-letter word meaning ‘line (of forefathers)’

15a    Quickly finish off pitcher’s filling of regular hot liquid (2,3,3,7)
GO FOR THE JUGULAR: A pitcher (3) inside an anagram (liquid) of OF REGULAR HOT

18a    Horse carrying learner goes to drink — it’s hit with stick in group (5,4)
STEEL DRUM: A horse (5) round L (learner) + an alcoholic drink = a percussion instrument originating from Trinidad and Tobago

21a    Irritable English singer left unnoticed in pub (7)
PEEVISH: E (English) and the King of Rock and Roll with the letter L (left) removed go inside an abbreviation for ‘public house’

22a    Engineers backed approval to wear gear modelled for uncertain situation (4,4)
GREY AREA: The Royal Engineers and a reversal of ‘approval’ inside an anagram (modelled) of GEAR

24a    Count list not book as revealing (8)
TELLTALE: ‘To count’ + a list with the letter B (book) removed

25a    Man sure to dance around clubs, resource for holidaymakers? (3,5)
SUN CREAM: An anagram (to dance) of MAN SURE round C (clubs)

26a    Beef consumed in humble atmosphere (5)
BLEAT: ‘To beef’ is hidden in HUMBLE ATMOSPHERE


1d    Passage bringing about reduction in fare? (10)
OESOPHAGUS: A cryptic definition for the passage in the neck by which food (fare) is taken into the stomach

2d    Keep back a vest maybe (5,3)
STAVE OFF: A reverse anagram. The first word is an anagram of A VEST and the second word is an anagram indicator

3d    Old rites analysed as less exciting (8)
STOLIDER: An anagram (analysed) of OLD RITES

4d    Husband seeing red charter (4)
HIRE: H (husband) + ‘seeing red’ = ‘to charter’

5d    It might carry one over mere bit of misunderstanding hypothetically? (6)
DINGHY: Hidden in misunderstanDING HYpothetically

6d    It could be basis for firing minister by the sound of it (6)
CANNON: A large gun is a homophone of a minister

7d    Staff putting pressure on President (4)
PIKE: P (pressure) + Eisenhower’s nickname

10d    Name encapsulated by record start in athletic contest (4,4)
LONG JUMP: N (name) inside a record + ‘to start (with fright)’

12d    Novelist sounding harsh, we hear, in familiar piece (8)
WARHORSE: A homophone (sounding) of the surname of the author Evelyn + a homophone (we hear) of ‘harsh’ = any standard, familiar, reliable, much performed piece of music. I wasn’t aware of this meaning of the answer

14d    Way of making one flush? (10)
ENRICHMENT: A cryptic definition of the process by which one becomes flush (having lots of money)

16d    Choir in line occupying my part of deck (4,4)
GLEE CLUB: L (line) inside ‘My!’ + one of thirteen cards in a deck of cards

17d    Take action in individual drinker’s scandal? (8)
LITIGATE: ‘Take legal action’ = ‘drunk’ + I (individual) + a suffix denoting a scandal. At first I had the first three letters meaning ‘in (like a fire)’ but then I couldn’t explain the drinker

19d    In Madrid, it’s the characteristic of four in side (6)
ELEVEN: The Spanish word for ‘there’ + a word describing the number four (and an infinite number of other integers) = a soccer or cricket side

20d    Feature in, say, daily broadcast of numbers in Berlin? (6)
LEADER: A homophone (broadcast) of German songs

22d    Generally members have their middles suppressed here? (4)
GYMS: Take the first and last letters of GENERALLY and MEMBERS

23d    A lover of queen in small part (4)
ATOM: Here the queen is a female cat and the answer is A + a male cat

Fair enough

18 comments on “Toughie 1758

  1. Unsurprisingly, I did have to check the spelling of 1d and the definition given at 12d.
    Tried all manner of words that would complete the last bit of parsing for 13a – never thought to put the four letters at the front of the word! Also needed Bufo’s help to parse 17d – should have got there (lit up like a Christmas tree is certainly one I’ve heard before!).

    Top two for me were 1a & 23d – carry all the hallmarks of the twinkly-eyed one.

    Thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the explanations.

    1. I would imagine that we have to assume that the apparent Nina was entirely unintentional – can’t believe that it would have got past the editor…………

  2. Why should Thursday be any different.
    Today it’s 16d that beat me. Just couldn’t see it.
    Couldn’t parse the wordplay in 17d and just bunged it in.
    Getting all the across clues did help get 1d and 14d.
    Thanks to Shamus and to Bufo.

  3. I particularly enjoyed 8a, 5d, 22d and 23d is my favourite.

    I didn’t like 13a. I thought line was guidance (as in the company line), hence half being ANCE. Then I thought that to use a word with redundant meanings like ‘line’ to complete the first half of a common 4-letter ending (-ance) was perhaps asking a lot. Of course, it could also be the second half, where there were was I think just the one possibility.

    In 20d, I had eventually decided that ‘broadcast’ most logically applied to the first half of the clue (though that gave ‘of’ as a link), only to have to fix that later when the crossers did not work.

    17d, I’m not sure ‘individual drinker’s’ really works, there’s a funny noun to adjective thing going on – or can lit be a noun?

    Many thanks Shamus and thanks Bufo

      1. I don’t think individual drinker is the same as a drunken individual.

        Logically it’s similar to yesterday’s tenth player =MANX, but there player and man are both nouns; I think drinker = drunk (noun) = drunk (adjective) = lit is a few steps too many (for me, anyway)

  4. I enjoyed this, double-unches and all, – thanks Shamus and Bufo. I’ll nominate 2d, 14d, 22d and 23d for the laurels.

  5. With 2 nudges and 17d “looked at ” – still dont get it – , got it done, though not wthout effort.
    And daft errors like handclap for 4a and premier for 11a to start with threw things ! Duh !
    Not a back pager – agree with *** – but then I am not seasoned campaigner !
    Liked and got early to my surprise 15a.
    I thought it was full t of clever wordplays, so thanks to Shamus
    Beef = bleat ? Mmm. My only beef

  6. It always seems to be the pesky four letter answers that give us most trouble. 22d was the guilty party in this one. Very obvious when you twig the word play.
    Lots of fun and kept us smiling.
    Thanks Shamus and Bufo.

  7. 3*/3*. We finished it, read the hints and then discovered that pole should have been pike. That’s what bung-ins and double unches do for you. Overall most enjoyable, but we join the chorus of disapproval of 17d.

    Favourite was 15a – quite the one to unpick after the fact.

    Thanks Bufo and Shamus.

  8. Much enjoyed this one: top end of 2* difficulty and 4* enjoyment. The delightfully simple 1a was my last in, and vies for favourite clue status with 21a. Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  9. Totally thrown by having B(r)it for 23D for the longest time until I eventually sorted out 22A . Even so, I failed on 23D, 24A and 12D. Not my finest hour. I did rather like 1A, 8A and 22D. Thanks Shamus and Bufo.

  10. Don’t get the fuss about 17d. Clue says “drinker’s”, so read as drinker is lit. Good fun, although frustratingly defeated by 8a.
    Thanks Guys.

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