Toughie 1764 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1764

Toughie 1764 by Messinae

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Welcome, friends.  Tuesday has come again, and so so have I.  I found the NE corner no trouble, but had to beaver away a bit, especially in the south, to get some of the rest.  It didn’t help that, becoming hopelessly entangled in the long anagram, I took ages to see 22/23a, which finally came all in a rush.  I found it a bit of a mixed bag but there was plenty to appreciate.  All of this means I was a little unsure of what ratings to award.  I would have liked to ask 22/23a’s scorer, but she’s had to pop out for a while

The definitions are underlined in the clues below, and you’ll find the answers inside the yes, no, 64, CEO, never, much better, biscuit (questions available on request) 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    Award soldier on day of victory (4)
GIVE: Join together a couple of two letter abbreviations: our usual American soldier and (when followed by day) the day of the Allied victory in 1945.  The answer is a word I nearly used in the intro, changing it to “award” because of this clue.  There is another award at the end of the across clues too

3a    It finds things underwater new in Leicestershire river (5)
SONAR: N(ew) inside the principal river of Leicestershire, a major tributary of the River Trent.  (I should probably brush up on my rivers, but then again, if crosswords start to feel like work I will cease to enjoy them)

6a    Early socialist network (British) (4)
WEBB: The electronic network which allows this blog to exist by an abbreviation for British gives the surname of either one of a husband and wife pair of early socialists.  I’ll use a picture of Beatrice, who is better known by her maiden name

8a    Wait constantly when news comes out between trips (5,10)
DANCE ATTENDANCE: These trips are what you might take on a dance floor (two left feet not required), and there are a couple of them.  In between, insert the traditional broadcast time of the television evening news (2,3)

9a    Team batting without freedom (6)
INSIDE: The team batting could be phrased as the batting team.  So start with cricket’s word for batting and add a synonym for team, to get locked up

10a    One expression of triumph in line used by meteorologist (8)
ISOTHERE: This contour of equal mean summer temperature on a weather map is a charade of the Roman numeral for one and a (2,5) expression of triumph or defiance.  After trying in vain to justify ending this with M, I finally looked up the word to which the wordplay led me.  I have also learned that the contour line of mean winter temperature is an isocheim

11a    Authorising woman’s jewellery (8)
ENABLING: A woman, perhaps Coronation Street’s Mrs Sharples, and some showy jewellery

13a    Class emptied inorganic type of acid (6)
FORMIC: A school class followed by the outer letters only (emptied) of inorganic

15a    Feeding trough in south-east pen (6)
SCRIBE: Put a feeding trough or manger inside the abbreviation for south-east

17a    Got rid of a politician, that’s a hazard of mine (8)
FIREDAMP: Got rid of or dismissed, the A from the clue, and our usual politician.  The mine is a pit

19a    It may provide leverage to thwart lawyers (8)
CROSSBAR: Thwart or frustrate and the collective term for the legal profession

21a    Plant  chestnut (6)
SORREL: Two definitions: a plant and a colour

22a    and 23: Garden vehicle viler American youths vandalised (2,5,1,6,1,4)
I’M SORRY I HAVEN’T A CLUE: An anagram (vandalised) of VILER AMERICAN YOUTHS gives a Radio 4 comedy vehicle for G. Garden and others

23a    (See 22a)

24a It delivers KO in Rocky 3 (5)
ETHER: This anaesthetising compound is an anagram (Rocky) of 3 (I’m sure I don’t need to spell it out for you)

25a    Award given in topless bar (4) 
EMMY: A short crowbar favoured by burglars without its first letter (topless)

  ARVE Error: need id and provider



1d    Doing less ruined being religious (9)
GODLINESS: An anagram (ruined) of DOING LESS

2d    Butterfly wings put over attractiveness to mates (7)
VANESSA: To find a genus of butterflies, take wings or blades and add a two letter abbreviation for allure


3d    One alcoholic drink and knight tucks into another nip (9)
SNAKEBITE: Favoured by students, this drink is a mixture of lager and cider.  The recipe given in the clue is: a Japanese rice wine containing the chess notation for knight followed by the kind of nip for which one would use teeth

4d    Love strong drink with watery content (7)
NOTHING: This strong drink is often prefaced by egg.  Place inside it a synonym of watery or weak

5d    Press to abandon current party music (5)
RONDO: Remove the letter representing electrical current from a tool for pressing clothes, and then append crosswordland’s usual party

6d    Came through broken heart taken in by wimp (9)
WEATHERED: Came through or endured.  A wimp or unmanly man contains an anagram (broken) of HEART

7d    Rum eccentric type lured into temptation endlessly (7)
BACARDI: Remove the end from some temptation (like that which an angler presents to a fish).  Then insert into it an eccentric type or wag

12d    Butterfly fluttering on timbers (9)
BRIMSTONE: This second butterfly to appear today is the original butter-coloured fly from which the name butterfly may be derived.  He is an anagram (fluttering) of ON TIMBERS


13d    Scotsman’s steps for ‘Tales of Vienna Woods’ perhaps (9)
FORESTAIR: A Scottish word for some outside steps at the front of a house.  Split the answer (6,3) and it could describe one of the Tales from the Vienna Woods, a Strauss Waltz.  This was the last to fall because I don’t speak much Scottish and it’s not the type of clue that you can readily construct from the wordplay

14d    Trump topped Clinton – it’s hairy (9)
CAPILLARY: Start with trump in the sense of (to) best, and add the last runner-up US presidential candidate, missing her first letter (topped)

16d    Force wearing fancy lace is sweet (7)
CARAMEL: Drive or thrust inside (wearing) an anagram (fancy) of LACE

17d    Pelt man on board leaving work – one needs to clean up (7)
FURBISH: An animal’s pelt followed by the name of a chess piece (man on board) without op (leaving work).  I spent ages here trying to find a seaman to remove from some work

18d    Series of letters from a friend needing money (7)
ACRONYM: The answer is constructed from A, a friend or sidekick, and M(oney)

20d    Lighter  bump (5)
BARGE: Two definitions: a large open boat, and bump or shove


Thanks to Messinae, who has provided us with plenty of libation today.  I can’t pick a favourite, so will just ask you – which clues would you award top marks to?


23 comments on “Toughie 1764

  1. Enjoyed this one a lot, but found it a little tricky in places but just managed to finish it within my self-imposed deadline. Loved the Garden vehicle once the penny dropped! 13d was last in and was unfamiliar to me, as was 10a.

    Thanks to Kitty and Messinae

  2. Thanks to Messinae for the puzzle (worth doing just for the Garden vehicle) and to Kitty for the explanations. Contenders for top honours were 8a, 9a and 14a but the winner has to be 22/23a. I’m not keen on 24a which really needs two steps to solve the anagram.

  3. Isn’t 1a more appropriate for a Down clue? The positional indicator “on” normally works the other way around for Across clues. (I suppose it may depend on the individual crossword editor though.)

    13d is the sort of word you’re more likely to see in a barred grid puzzle, but the wordplay was fair, and it is a Toughie after all.

    1. Yes, that’s the “on” convention for across clues, though I have to say I’d be happy to scrap it. I think it’s an unhelpful and meaningless hoop for the setters to jump through.

      1. I agree with you. And I still can’t get used to “chasing” in an Across clue for word components on the right hand side. Seems strange to me. “After” and “following”, obviously yes.

  4. Fell into exactly the same traps as Kitty with 10a & 17d and it took a blind leap of faith to get 13d – a new one for me.
    My congratulations to anyone who got the 22/23a combo without plenty of checkers in place! Took me ages, even after the second letter of the first word went in. Think that has to be my favourite with 8a taking the silver medal.

    Thanks to Messinae and to our Girl Tuesday – will pop back in later to catch up on the pics.

  5. That took some doing! Don’t get 8a and put in ‘…ts’ at the end which skewed 7d; wasted time on the ‘m’ at 10a and 22/23a took an age to see. Also didn’t know the boat part of 20d, and muttered Really?? at 2d. Isn’t there an errant ‘s’ at 11a? Liked 24a, 22/23a but 14d gets top spot for me.

    Thanks to Messinae for a great puzzle, and to Kitty for the pointers.

  6. Thanks to Kitty for explaining 22a (my last one) which I got from all the fodder but didn’t have a clue as to why.
    Learned a bit more about the Fabian society in 6a.
    The butterfly in 13d is called Citron here. Never seen a lemon fly before.
    Thanks to Messinae and to Kitty.

  7. I googled the river , which helped a lot and I fell for the last letter in 10 being an “m”.
    I don’t get 23a at all , nor do I understand why very small blood vessels are hairy.
    Other than that , very enjoyable.I especially liked all the chemistry clues.
    With thanks to Messinae and Kitty. Great pic at 7d.

    1. Hairy as in hair-like, or very thin tubes. It can refer to anything from tiny blood vessels to the very thin glass tube of a thermometer.
      22/23a is a Radio 4 show Graeme Garden, amongst others, uses as a vehicle for comedy. That is, ‘vehicle’ as in facilitator.
      Hope that helps.

  8. As we were solving this we just knew for a certainty that we would not be the only people trying to justify an M for the last letter in 10a. BRB put us right. 22/23 combination was a challenge and really got it from the enumeration and checkers and then a huge guffaw when we twigged the Garden vehicle part of the clue.
    Really good fun and much enjoyed.
    Thanks Messinae and Kitty.

  9. I did get 10A right first time, but failed on 21A, in no little part because I foolishly bunged in antonym for 18D. Brain fog. No surprise that I had absolutely no idea what 22/23 was all about. I got the last four words from matching the checkers with what I was thinking then the first two words fell into place. Had I been aware of the program, it would probably be my favorite clue, but as I wasn’t, I’m going for 14D. Thanks Messinae and Kitty.

    1. The show is something of an institution in these parts. It was mentioned a couple of times here. I posted this video of it then and wasn’t going to repeat myself, but if you have a couple of hours to spare:

  10. I found this really difficult and didn’t quite finish it – the top half was fine but it all went horribly wrong at the bottom, particularly the right hand bit.
    I never did get the long 22/23a anagram – was completely hung up on tractors and the like. Oh dear.
    I also got 21a wrong – I’ve never heard of the answer being a colour, only the salad plant/herb and I had ‘annual’ – it’s a sort of plant and the chestnut bit was something overused. Oh dear, again.
    I liked 8 and 19a and 14d. My favourite was 10a.
    Thanks to Messinae and to Kitty.

  11. 4*/3*. We needed the hint for the massive anagram, but when we got it we could see what a good clue it is. 24a was our favourite, though.

    Whilst we got the answer easily enough, money for the m on the end of 18d didn’t sit well with us. Talking of m, we avoided the m trap in 10a.

    With drinks (twice), party and rum mentioned in four of five consecutive down clues, we thought there was a theme developing, but we were disappointed. Time to develop that theme in the Sheffieldsy household this evening, then!

    Thanks Kitty and Messinae.

  12. Right at the top end of 3* for me, and 4* for pleasure. My long-time favourite was 18d, but was blown away at the death by 22/23a, my last in (and only then because I had two letters of the last word, and worked out from the anagram fodder that it could only be “clue”). Many thanks to Messinae, and to Kitty for a purrfect review.

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