Toughie 1762 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1762

Toughie No 1762 by Firefly

A puzzle of two halves

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Due to a number of email problems this review will be a little late today.  A few days ago I lifted the attack status from the website.  Today the attacks restarted, so we are back “under attack” which means the firewall with its five-second delay is also back.  I have been unable to post the review until now, so please accept my apologies for the delay.  BD

What an odd puzzle! I didn’t start it until 16.00 and decided to write the blog as I solved the puzzle. This seemed a good idea when the top half of the diagram turned out to be read-and-write. But then the bottom half was one helluva struggle. So the top half was 1 across and the bottom half was 30 across. I assume that Firefly planned it that way

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a A walk in the park with a hunk from Madeira? (1,5,2,4)
A PIECE OF CAKE: An easy one for starters; in fact it’s a walk in the park. The Madeira is something to eat.

9a Put to shame, e.g. at spud-bashing? There’s some left! (7)
UPSTAGE: An anagram (bashing) of EG AT SPU (SPUD with the last letter removed)  Hidden (some) and reversed (left) inside the clue

10a Flier reportedly did what he could for infection (4,3)
BIRD FLU: A creature that flies + a homophone of ‘did fly’

11a Wind up in grass (4)
NARK: 2 meanings: to wind up (annoy)/a grass (informer)

12a Starter with rosemary infusing each soup (5)
BROTH: The first letter of ROSEMARY inside ‘each’

13a Back storyteller’s protest (4)
RAIL: A reversal of someone who tells fibs

16a No need for hospital with bruised shinbone — that’s a blessing (7)
BENISON: An anagram (bruised) of SINBONE, i.e. SHINBONE less H (hospital)

17a Take another look at increase in speed; could it be … (7)
REVISIT: ‘Increase in speed’ (3) + ‘could it be?’ (2,2)

18a … carbohydrate source’s involved? (7)
SUCROSE: An anagram (involved) of SOURCES

21a Brace of snipe’s capital, pet — finish shortly (7)
STIFFEN: ‘To brace’ = S (first letter of SNIPE) + a pet (huff) + a finish with the last letter removed

23a Den staying in, correct? (4)
NOOK: A den or retreat = ‘staying in like a batsman (not out)’ + ‘correct’. It took me ages to work this one out

24a Blame rostrum after Penny tumbles (5)
ODIUM: Remove P (penny) from the front of a rostrum

25a Victor‘s skirt — ordinary? (4)
HUGO: The surname of a French writer called Victor = ‘to skirt’ + O (ordinary)

28a Sovereign to dine with army unit (7)
SUPREME: ‘Sovereign’ (as an adjective) = ‘to dine’ + a corps of engineers in the British Army

29a Bishop left calculator in bag (7)
BLADDER: B (bishop) + L (left) + someone who calculates

30a If wearing ruby earrings is 1ac, it’s not this! (5,7)
BRAIN SURGERY: An anagram (wearing) of RUBY EARRINGS = something said to be difficult


1d Orchestra’s appearance among islands is a loser (4-3)
ALSO RAN: The London Symphony Orchestra inside a group of Irish islands

2d Setter’s embracing Mum — he’s good at supplication! (4)
IMAM: ‘The setter is’ round mother gives the leader of devotions in a mosque

3d McPhee — ever young — regularly gets mark for service (7)
CHEVRON: Alternate letters of MCPHEE EVER YOUNG

4d Satellite broadcast aberration cut off early with areas missed (7)
ORBITER: An anagram (broadcast) of BERRTIO (ABERRATION minus the last letter and the two letter As)

5d Blackguards — little short of evil (4)
CURS: An evil with the last letter removed

6d Cloaks behind under kimono initially, then sunbathes topless (7)
KAFTANS: The first letter of KIMONO + ‘behind’ + ‘sunbathes’ with the first letter removed

7d Dirty work, but employment for stand-up, perhaps (5,8)
FUNNY BUSINESS: What a stand-up comedian should be + work

8d Dot’s type of engine used for internet site (8,5)
BULLETIN BOARD: A solid dot used to highlight items in a list (6) + a type of motor used to power boats

14d Coaster breaks down following Queen Elizabeth sailing royal course (5)
ASCOT: An anagram (breaks down) of COAS, i.e. COASTER less ER (Queen Elizabeth)

15d Leading lady from the south eating duck — duck! (5)
AVOID: A leading female singer reversed round O (duck) = ‘to duck’

19d Plant that’s successful in fall (7)
CROPPER: 2 meanings: a plant that yields produce/a fall

20d This offender gets proposal (7)
ENDLESS: This one’s a bit naughty. To turn OFFENDER into OFFER (proposal) you must remove three consecutive letters

21d Rest of junk below bottom of stairs (7)
SLUMBER: Rest (sleep) = S (last letter of STAIRS + junk

22d Works discovered ‘online’? (7)
FOUNDRY: A place where metal is worked = ‘discovered’ on an abbreviation for (railway) line

26d Penultimate contest ends in trouble — players held up on motorway (4)
SEMI: The round before the final = a reversal of the last letters of TROUBLE PLAYERS + a British motorway

27d Head pedicab off with crazy bid to escape (4)
CAPE: An anagram (off) of PECA, i.e. PEDICAB minus the letters BID


24 comments on “Toughie 1762

  1. I think that 9a works best as a reversed lurker. ‘Some’ is the lurker indicator and ‘left’ is the direction in which it has to be read.

  2. I had exactly the same experience as Bufo. The top half precisely as described in 1a and really tricky clues in the bottom. I too puzzled for ages on how to account for the NO in 23a. A real penny drop moment when I saw how 20d worked. Lots of fun and much enjoyed.
    Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

    1. Looks like I have thanked the wrong person. Apologies BD and thanks, and many more thanks for rescuing us once again.

  3. Just for a change I’m not going to go on at length.
    I’ll say thank you to BD, yet again, for beating the ******** who are attacking the site.
    I nearly finished this Toughie but had a few problems with some in the bottom half, particularly 20d.
    Anyway, thanks to Firefly and to BD.

  4. A huge thank you to Big Dave once again for saving the day and the site. I personally wouldn’t mind waiting 5 seconds for checking for ever as it isn’t very long to wait and know that the ********* will be beaten on a permanent basis.

    I agree that the crossword was a 1a to start with but definitely got more and more tricky towards the bottom. I also agree with Kiwi Colin’s parsing of 9a, although I will admit to spending more than a Gnoment thinking it was an anagram.

    Thanks to Firefly too.

  5. Sorry to say that I didn’t enjoy this one very much, which is unusual for a Firefly puzzle. I thought there were several poor surfaces and it all became something of a mechanical solve with little to smile about.
    7d was the notable exception but even there the surface wasn’t great.

    Apologies to Firefly – my wavelength was obviously not on top form today – and thanks to Bufo for the review which ironed out a couple of parsing issues for me.

  6. Fight the good fight, BD! As for the puzzle, the top half was easier than the bottom, but overall a steady 3*/3*. No particular stand-out clue for me, but I can’t say I’m overly taken with 20d (I can’t see how the “proposal” comes into it). Still, no worries. Thanks to Firefly and Bufo.

  7. Well done Dave ! Have these idiots nothing better to do with their time ?
    I managed the top part but the lower part definitely needed assisting.
    Thanks to Firefly and Bufo.

  8. Great puzzle, I struggled with the bottom half and used a a few reveal letters to keep me going.

    Thank you Bufo for 20d, i had no idea.

    and many thanks Firefly

  9. We needed Bufo’s hints for three, but it was quite late by then.

    3/4* for difficulty. Other than that, we’re not sure what to make of this – a bit curate’s eggish for us.

    Thanks Bufo and Firefly

  10. Thanks to BD for thwarting the assailants, Firefly for the puzzle and Bufo for the review. I agree that this one was different but my favourite was 20d once I’d worked out what it was all about.

    (ps The hint for 25a contains the answer)

  11. 1ac to start, 30ac to end. Perhaps starting to solve this late at night wasn’t the best idea, then. :-)

  12. Well, I nearly finished my first toughie. The top half went in fairly quickly, but I was completely stuck on 20d. 21a I realised started with ‘s’ and ended with ‘en’. It was the the middle bit I couldn’t work out. 25a I put in ‘hero’, which seemed plausible, though I disliked the thought of her being called a skirt. That was corrected by 22d. Thank you BD for all your effort today and thanks also to setter and reviewer.

  13. what sad & pathetic lives these keyboard warriors lead! as my old nan would have said…’there’s nowt so queer as folk’

    BD – i got straight on to the site without experiencing the 5 second delay.

    1. how remiss of me to forget to thank firefly & bufo for the tints & hips without which there would have been quite a few gaps on my solve.

    1. If you hadn’t noticed, this is a Toughie and you must expect clues like those. If you are expressing a personal opinion, then please make that clear in your comment.

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