Toughie 1760 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1760

Toughie No 1760 by Busman

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

On this special day Kitty is canoodling on the other side, so I’m filling in here. We have a very pleasant crossword offering brandy and more than one port. My last one in was 11a where the combination of a wrong checker (7d) and a focus on the wrong definition held me up for a while, putting me half-way between 1* and 2* time – a nice gentle start to the toughie week

As usual, the definitions are underlined. The hint is intended to help you find the answer, but you can always reveal the answer by clicking on the HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY button. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Wide support for chair, one seen on TV? (11)
BROADCASTER: Another word for wide plus a small swivelling wheel under a desk chair, for example

9a    Mistake made by some vicar or reverend on retreat (5)
ERROR: Reverse hidden (some … on retreat)

10a    Rushes by rotten branches (9)
OFFSHOOTS: A word for rushes or moves very quickly follows a short word meaning rotten (‘by’ means ‘next to’ which can be either side)

11a    Pirate looked around Lake District mountain (7)
SKIDDAW: A word meaning looked goes around a Scottish Captain who was executed for piracy. The Yoda-like construction had me well foxed – I spent ages looking for a 7-letter pirate, not helped by a wrong checker (see 7d)

12a    Performing arts popular when showing top Russian women (8)
TSARINAS: Anagram (performing) of ARTS plus a word for popular plus a word for when

14a    Dodgy anagram about brandy (8)
ARMAGNAC: An anagram (dodgy) of ANAGRAM (!) plus a 1-letter abbreviation for about

15a    No restriction in port (4)
OBAN: The letter that looks like zero plus a restriction or prohibition will give this Scottish port

17a    Fixes transfers (7)
ASSIGNS: Two meanings. Are they related?

19a    Look after unusually extensive capital (4)
OSLO: A short word for look follows an abbreviation meaning very large

20a    Detective turns in criminal online in threatening place (5,3)
LIONS’ DEN: An abbreviation for a detective is reversed (turns) inside an anagram (criminal) of ONLINE

21a    Impetuous fellow‘s rip-off (8)
TEARAWAY: Split (4,4), the answer would mean rip off (without the hyphen)

23a    Timeless seasonal visitor coming over bumped into composer (7)
SMETANA: Our jolly sleigh-rider in the red suit without a T (timeless) goes around (coming over) a word meaning bumped into or encountered

25a    E.g. Arab people with king in tights (9)
RACEHORSE: An ethnic group of people plus the Latin abbreviation for king inserted into tights or stockings

26a    Grieve for an instant by receptacle for ashes (5)
MOURN: A 2-letter instant plus a vase or receptacle for ashes

27a    Ploughman as investor (11)
SHAREHOLDER: Split (5-6), this would describe a ploughman



2d    Boat’s knocking out top boats (5)
RAFTS: Remove the first letter (knocking out top in a down clue) of a general word for boat (plus the ‘S)

3d    Too controlled, as a nonentity (4-3)
ALSO-RAN: A word meaning too plus a word meaning controlled or managed gives a horse who didn’t place or by association an unimportant person

4d    Inquest lawyers having gold swapped for singers (8)
CROONERS: Take lawyers or medical practitioners who preside at an inquest and swap two letters meaning gold around

5d    Shy in boozer, put up with son (4)
TOSS: Reverse (put up, in a down clue) a boozer or drunk and add the abbreviation for son

6d    Articles about performances (8)
RECITALS: An anagram (about) of ARTICLES

7d    It’s vulgar. Going topless, it’s just the same (9)
CRUDENESS: Removing the first letter from the answer still gives you a word with the same definition. I made my life harder by entering BRASHNESS, which doesn’t fit the definition as nicely as the answer, and gave me problems with 11a

8d    Overseas territory in which friend has to keep personal pass (5,6)
CROWN COLONY: A 5-letter word for friend goes around (has to keep) both a preposition meaning personal or belonging to oneself plus a word for a mountain pass

12d    To me to be without money is vexatious (11)
TROUBLESOME: TO ME from the clue goes around (to be without) a Russian currency

13d    Wearing fashionable pants, that is wise (7)
SAPIENT: The abbreviation for that is goes inside (wearing) an anagram (fashionable) of PANTS

16d    Pal leaves perambulator around the trees (9)
ARBORETUM: An anagram (around) of (p)ERAMBU(la)TOR, once the letters of PAL have been removed (leaves)

17d    At first, Australia bats terribly — batting second, resists (8)
ABSTAINS: The first letter of A(ustralia), an anagram (terribly) of BATS, a cricket term describing the side that is batting, plus the abbreviation for S(econd)

18d    ‘He, Tarzan’ out in town in Galilee (8)
NAZARETH: An anagram (out) of HE TARZAN

19d    Where honoured names are doing well (2,1,4)
ON A ROLL: Two meanings

22d    Passage where ladies sleep regularly (5)
AISLE: Even letters (regularly) in ‘ladies sleep’

24d    Song — one from musical male dropped (4)
ARIA: A song from West Side Story without the initial M(ale)

The clues that made me smile today were 14a (dodgy anagram) and 18d (He, Tarzan). I also liked 12d and 13d. 17d gave me the shudders. Which clues did you like?



23 comments on “Toughie 1760

  1. Not much harder than a back pager but enjoyable. The composer I do not know and 27ac didn’t begin with stake Doh! Thanks to Busman for the puzzle and Dutch for the review. Great pick at 19d.

  2. A comfortable level of Toughie for me, so Dutch’s rating comes as no surprise. As with the back-pager, we start out with a laugh, which is always a good place to begin.
    My only slight hesitations were with 11a where, with the first letter in, I lazily tried to make the rather more famous peak work and with 23a where I needed to verify the composer with Mr. Google.

    My top places went to 1,21&27a plus 19d.

    Thanks to Busman and to Dutch – good of you to stand in for Kitty but I hope you also remembered your own ‘dutch’ today!

  3. Thanks to Busman for the gentle Toughie and to Dutch for the review. I rarely take much notice of grids but this one seemed rather odd with lots of answers having less than 50% of letters checked.
    I don’t think that 27a really works – surely even the most bent-over ploughman doesn’t actually hold the ploughshares?
    My favourite was 14a.

    1. I wasn’t keen either Gazza but an investor hold shares as in owns them. I suppose the ploughman holds his ploughshares in the same way.

      1. I moved in some exasperation from SMALL to STAKE before finally settling on SHARE – damned unches!

  4. I had to be up early this morning to visit my second favourite dentist, which, together with the bloggage means I haven’t had much sleep. I shall blame that for a solve on the slow side. Like Dutch I had a hmm at 17a, but I enjoyed the 1a support and lapped up the alcohol – it washed down the food nicely.

    Many thanks to Busman and Dutch.

  5. My best go at a Toughie to date… em all except 25a, then had a big ‘doh’ when I saw the hint.

    Thanks to the setter and to Dutch.

  6. Got into a bit of a mess with 14a/7d, by sloppily entering 14a wrong. Thought 18d (Sorry, Dutch) & 22a rather weak; not keen on 27a, and I’m also in the hmm camp for 17a. That aside, mostly enjoyable with top picks going to 12d, 4d & 8d.
    As for 17d – “I’d rather a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.” Tom Waits (?)

    A quirky curate’s egg for me, thanks to Busman and to Dutch for the entertainment.

  7. I know this isn’t a tough enough Toughie for the really clever people but I rather enjoyed having a second crossword to do without tearing my hair out.
    I got terribly held up with the 8d overseas territory – not sure I’ve heard of it.
    Couldn’t get 11a until I got the previously mentioned answer.
    The 23a composer caused trouble – he had to be who he was but I was thinking of the wrong kind of seasonal visitor i.e. a tourist and it took me ages to work it out – dim.
    With thanks to Busman and to Dutch.

  8. Last in was 17a where, with all the checkers in there were not many other options. 14a, although it went in without any hesitation was an interesting anagram of anagram which raised a smile. Gentle and pleasant.
    Thanks Busman and Dutch.
    Ps. I did thoroughly enjoy your Indy puzzle yesterday Dutch. Congratulations.

      1. I too enjoyed it Dutch. Particularly the deadline which I think I have seen before but it is raising a smile even now.

  9. A nice start to the Toughie week. Incidentally, why do we only get four Toughies per week? We know Monday’s edition has a General Knowledge crossword in addition to the back page cryptic and the Quickie, but surely the cryptic compilers can come up with a fifth Toughie and make Monday a four crossword day? Or why not let some of our wonderful rookie compilers loose? I suspect it will be some unfathomable Telegraph policy.

    We give this a 2.5*/3.5* rating. Our two favourite clues were 12a and 8d. We bunged in the 23a composer but could not parse it, otherwise we’d have been at 2* difficulty. We also questioned 17a.

    Thanks, Dutch, for explaining 23a (I don’t think we’d ever have got there) and Busman for the enjoyment.

  10. Needed 3 nudges. Tired !
    27a ? Mmm.
    Not heard of 23a.
    Have house near 11 so went in quickly . !
    Id say ** for difficulty -at least . But enjoyed it .
    Late as just back from Chile. And into the SP sauna !

  11. I thought that castor was spelled with an ‘o’ but I see the dictionary permits ‘e’.

  12. Agree with your ratings, Dutch. 11a was the only one which wrinkled the SD brow for a moment. 14a reminds me – I must buy another bottle. Thanks to Busman, and of course to Dutch.

  13. A very pleasant puzzle to kick off the toughie week. I did think that there was a possible ‘theme’ going on re ‘alcohol’ but unless I’m missing something……..? Possibly a second glass to share with Salty Dog?

    Really enjoyed the challenge but have no particular favourites. Thanks to Busman for the puzzle and to Big D for his review. Well done on your ‘Indy’ puzzle inauguration – I thought it to be very enjoyable indeed. See you for a beer in March.

    I was relieved to see that you were not involved in the avalanche at Tignes.

    1. thank you, glad you liked the indy puzzle

      Our family ski trip is this coming saturday, to Paso Tonale in Italy – but I was quite horrified to read about the father, two teenage sons and instructor who died in the avalanche in Tignes, where i have skied.

  14. Dutch, I haven’t had a chance to look at this puzzle yet. But I have to post to say how much I enjoyed your Indy puzzle from the other day. It was amazingly good. So many smiles, with the biggest for the breakfast item. Just brilliant.

    I’m sure when I try the toughie I’ll be back to take advantage of your hints. Thanks in advance for them.

    1. well thank you very much – glad you liked the breakfast item, to be honest I was’t at all sure how that clue would go down

  15. I am on a business trip all week. It’s 7pm EST and I am only just able to look at the puzzle. I am going to be a day late (and probably a dollar short) on my comments until Sunday.

  16. Long time since we saw Busman.
    Fun clues.
    22d made me smile.
    Thanks to Busman and to Dutch for the review.

Comments are closed.