Toughie 1770 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1770

Toughie No 1770 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A pleasant puzzle that went in smoothly apart from a slight hold-up in the NW corner. When writing the blog I discovered that I hadn’t looked at 24 down which turned out to be a word I’d never heard of though the answer was obvious from the wordplay.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Mental attitude, note, during inconclusive time at court (7)
MINDSET: N (note) during the period halfway through a series of games at tennis

5a    Painful disease mostly a scourge? One would see the cards dealt differently (7)
GOULASH: A disease (especially of the big toe) with the last letter removed + a scourge. According to Chambers the answer is a re-deal of cards that have been arranged in suits and order of value, so many (as eg five) cards at a time. I didn’t know that!

9a    Calumny I ignored, retaining a name (5)
LABEL: Replace the letter I in a word meaning ‘calumny’ by the letter A

10a    Using one source of intelligence possibly seen as this? (9)
INGENIOUS: An anagram (possibly) of USING ONE I (first letter of Intelligence). The whole clue provides the definition

11a    Volatile liquid from Switzerland left room for being refined (10)
CHLOROFORM: The IVR for Switzerland + L (left) + an anagram (being refined) of ROOM FOR

12a    Contributor to downfall of industry spurning technology (2-2)

14a    Hard to resign unexpectedly, protracted negotiations ensuing (5-7)
HORSE-TRADING: An anagram (unexpectedly) of HARD TO RESIGN

18a    Wind damage in church — Rector’s first man controlling source of hiss? (5-7)
SNAKE-CHARMER: ‘To wind’ + ‘damage’ inside the Church of England + R (rector). The hiss comes from a reptile

21a    Peak interpretation of the missing link? (4)
APEX: A summit = a primate from which man is descended + a letter indicating that something is missing

22a    Removal of creatures from harbour is a defensive measure (10)
PORTCULLIS: A harbour + the elimination of unsuitable or superfluous animals + IS

25a    Speed and bustle energised part of politician’s campaign (9)
BATTLEBUS: ‘Speed’ (3) + an anagram (energised) of BUSTLE = a mobile base for a politician on tour

26a    Danger from each disease unending (5)
PERIL: ‘Each’ (3) + ‘disease’ (3) with the last letter removed

27a    Boy and man recoiling, jabbed by black insect (7)
LADYBUG: A boy (3) and a reversal of a man (3) round B (black) = the American name for a spotted insect

28a    Current memory involves US city laser, perhaps (7)
ACRONYM: ‘Alternating current’ + ‘read only memory’ round a US city


1d    Endless insolence contributing to staff hostility (6)
MALICE: ‘Insolence’ (3) with the last letter removed inside a staff carried as a mark of authority

2d    A lot of moonshine filling most of neighbouring astronomical object (6)
NEBULA: ‘Moonshine’ or ‘nonsense’ (4) with the last letter removed inside ‘neighbouring’ with the last letter removed

3d    Ecological concept worse with polar melting? (5,5)
SOLAR POWER: An anagram (melting) of WORSE POLAR = green energy

4d    One apprehended by the force? (5)
THIEF: I (one) inside THE F (force)

5d    Rig water tanks after finally identifying source of cracks? (3-6)
GAG-WRITER: G (the last letter of IDENTIFYING) + an anagram (tanks) of RIG WATER. The cracks are jokes

6d    Goes heading off in vessels (4)
URNS: Remove the first letter from ‘goes

7d    A sport — I’ll occupy half of game in defence (8)
APOLOGIA: A + a sport played on horseback + I in the first two letters of GAME

8d    Political meeting shows expressions of affection about rising idiots (8)
HUSTINGS: ‘Embraces (i.e. expressions of affection)’ round a reversal of ‘idiots’

13d    No great choice of clothing for daredevil sportsman (4,6)
BASE JUMPER: This term for someone who parachutes from a fixed structure or cliff could also imply ‘no great choice of knitted upper garment’

15d    Quantity of fish and quantity of game — youngster may find it a burden (9)
SCHOOLBAG: A shoal of fish + the quantity of game secured when hunting = something carried by a youngster to their place of education

16d    I stop, mostly to consume cooked bun in historic city (8)
ISTANBUL: I + ‘to stop’ with the last letter removed round an anagram (cooked) of BUN

17d    Skilful fiction, observed to dismiss love (8)
TALENTED: ‘Fiction’ (4) + ‘observed’ (5) with the letter O (love) removed

19d    Historic coin, an affair mostly containing gold (6)
FLORIN: An affair (5) with the last letter removed round ‘gold’ (2). The coin isn’t all that historic. I remember them well

20d    A poor place to accommodate unknown refugee’s aim (6)
ASYLUM: A + ‘a poor place’ round a letter denoting an unknown quantity

23d    Scientific innovator turning up in medical setting (5)
TESLA: The surname of a Serbian-American physicist is hidden in reverse in MEDICAL SETTINGS

24d    Viral infection billions contracted in error (4)
FLUB: A viral infection + B (a contracted form of billions’

It’s been a day for removing the last letter from things

20 comments on “Toughie 1770

    1. It is one of the definitions for bat in the BRB. Albeit not one I had been aware before today.

  1. Solved steadily – nice puzzle. Three new words for me, 5a, 7d and 24d, but could be worked out and then confirmed in the dictionary. 3*/4* for me. I liked 24a18a, 28a, with maybe 22a as the winner.

  2. Very poor surface readings such as 8d Political meeting shows expression of affection about rising idiots. What on earth does that mean? All in all, this week’s Toughies have been very disappointing

    1. Wasn’t the point about the surface reading? On the surface, it doesn’t make much sense.

  3. For whatever reason, it took me a long time to get going on todays puzzle and, having completed it, I still wonder why. Granted, there are a few ‘iffy’ clues/surfaces but I thought it was quite enjoyable with a few ‘smile’ moments along the way. I think I’ll opt for 10a as my favourite – quite ingenious :cool:

    Thanks to Kcit for the puzzle and to Bufo for his review.

  4. The goulash card term surprised me. I thought 10a was ingenious indeed. I knew the error in 24d but it took me a stupidly long time to translate viral infection- doh.

    Ah well, Bufo, like myself, having you remember something might not rule out ‘historic’ ;-)

    I liked 11a, 14a, 22a, 1d, 4d (which I rather stupidly misspelt giving me problems with 10a), 5d, 20d and more – many thanks Kcit and thanks Bufo

  5. Like Bufo we noted the number of clues where the last letter from a word had to be dropped, several clued by ‘mostly’ too. Thought that 28a was a good penny drop moment. A nice level of difficulty and plenty to enjoy.
    Thanks Kcit and Bufo.

  6. I enjoyed the struggle. I made lots of mistakes along the way, such as mentally insisting that 11 a had to be some form of cultivated.
    I liked 22a, 27a, 28a, 18a and 2d.
    I was surprised by 5a , as I haven’t heard of it before.
    Thanks to Bufo and Kcit.

  7. Tried to solve this whilst sitting in a freezing cold garage workshop waiting for work to be finished on my beloved old Honda – not the most conducive of surroundings!
    Several new things to learn – the required definition of 5a, 12a plus 13&24d.
    Top three for me were 22a plus 5&20d.

    Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo for confirming the answers.

  8. It felt harder, but my watch says it was 2*. Enjoyable, though, so gusting 4* on that front. I liked quite a few, but 22a and 28a led the pack. 5a was new to me – an unashamed “bung-in” – and I’m not sure I’ve ever come across 12a (although I suppose the existence of “hi-fi” suggests that there might be such a thing). Thanks to Kcit and Bufo.

  9. For a Toughie, about ** for difficulty perhaps? Never really stuck, just a fairly steady, enjoyable solve. Last in 17d and 7d. The latter would have gone in a lot sooner if I hadn’t wanted it to be APOLOGY so badly, when of course it couldn’t. No really obscure words, this wouldn’t have been out of place as a slightly more difficult than usual (say a Thursday :-) ) back pager.

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