Toughie 1775 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1775

Toughie No 1775 by proXimal

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I sometimes struggle with proXimal and started this with some trepidation, but it turned out to be a rather pleasant puzzle in which I made steady progress (except for one clue, see below). When I finished, I was surprised that almost 4* time had passed (time flies when you’re having fun), but this might in part be due to me waiting in the pub until the puzzle appeared online at midnight – perhaps others would rate difficulty lower.

As always, the definitions are underlined in the clues below. The hints are intended to help you work out the answer but you can always reveal it by clicking on the ANSWER button. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Pretty person in water ignoring bachelor by river (6)
RATHER: A ‘person in water’ missing the initial B(achelor), next to (following in this case) the abbreviation for R(iver)

4a    With roughly tenth disappearing, street urchins cooked beetles (8)
SCURRIES: An anagram (roughly) of TENTH is subtracted (with… disappearing) from an anagram (cooked) of STREET URCHINS

10a    Vessel‘s solitary lug pronounced (9)
PRIVATEER: A homophone of a word that can mean solitary or of reserved personality plus the facial feature known as lug

11a    Singer from Aussie city needing no help (5)
ADELE: The capital of South Australia minus a word meaning help

12a    Best soldiers in open air (7)
OUTDOOR: A verb meaning to best plus a 2-letter abbreviation for soldiers

13a    New free bags are unlimited (7)
UNTRIED: A word meaning free or unbound contains (bags) ‘aRe’ without the outer letters (unlimited)

14a    A hassle dispatching large containers of claret (5)
ATRIA: Claret here is slang for blood. A from the clue plus a word meaning hassle or ordeal without the final L(arge)

15a    Not any more openings in Nevada, Louisiana and Oregon for relocation (2,6)
NO LONGER: An anagram (for relocation) of N(evada) + L(ouisiana) + OREGON

18a    Choose about one hundred mice, endlessly diverse (8)
ECLECTIC: Another word for choose goes around the Roman numeral for one hundred, plus (m)IC(e) with the end letters removed

20a    Bishop wears light make-up (5)
FIBRE: The abbreviation for B(ishop) is inside (wears) a word meaning light or ignite (e.g. as a car cylinder)

23a    Maritime town‘s gossip — boat-builder’s son (7)
CHATHAM: Gossip or talk plus one of Noah’s sons

25a    Make mistake piercing metal finish of the dish (7)
TERRINE: A verb meaning to make a mistake goes inside a 3-letter metal, plus the last letter (finish) of thE.

26a    Tears from opponents after scrap (5)
RAGES: Two bridge opponents after a word meaning a scrap (of cloth)

27a    Replacement rug a store ordered (9)

28a    Sing to a daughter in calm surrounding (8)
SERENADE: A from the clue plus the abbreviation for daughter go inside another word for calm

29a    Way up a nose (6)
ASCENT: A from the clue plus nose or smell


1d    Criticism for interrupting retired tennis player mounting (8)
REPROVAL: A word meaning for or in favour of goes inside (interrupting) the reversal of (mounting) a former Australian tennis player regarded as one of the greatest in tennis history

2d    American eyed nasty game (7)
TWISTER: Two meanings, the first an American informal word for tornado

3d    Fussy Greek character with appropriate drink served up (9)
ELABORATE: A 3-letter Greek character, a 3-letter word meaning appropriate or steal, and a drink, all reversed (served up)

5d    Caught three times, your turmoil is shown in diversion for roundabout (14)
CIRCUMLOCUTORY: Roundabout is an adjective here. An anagram (is shown in diversion) including the abbreviation for C(aught) three times, i.e. CCC+YOUR TURMOIL

6d    Traditional meal from pasta — no tips required (5)
ROAST: Remove the end letters (no tips required) in ‘from pasta’

7d    Write misentries penning record (7)
ITEMISE: Hidden in the clue (penning)

8d    Mangy bears start to perish fast (6)
SPEEDY: A word meaning mangy or shabby contains the first letter of (bears start to) P(erish)

9d    Don, a shade upset, considered royal rebuke (2,3,3,6)
WE ARE NOT AMUSED: An anagram (considered) of DON A SHADE UPSET Where on earth did that come from? It is of course another word meaning to don, the reversal of ‘a shade’, plus a word meaning considered or thought. Thanks Physicist and Gilbert

16d    Fire on a makeshift American base (9)
NEFARIOUS: An anagram of FIRE ON A plus a 2-letter abbreviation for American

17d    Humble before Newton, having expert around (8)
DEFERENT: A 3-letter word meaning before and the symbol for Newton (as an SI unit of force) go inside an adjective meaning expert or dexterous

19d    Jockey is on this horse for horse-racing, perhaps (7)
CHARGER: An anagram (jockey) of IS ON plus the answer (this horse) can produce HORSE-RACING. A rather clever all-in-one compound anagram which I didn’t manage to parse – many thanks CS + Gazza

21d    Poet’s ordered hugging outfit for party (7)
BRIGADE: A poetic word for ordered or requested goes around (hugging) a word for outfit or equipment

22d    Like to eat grain and fruit (6)
ACORNS: a 2-letter word meaning like as in similar goes around (to eat) a grain or cereal

24d    Is planning to do pranks (3,2)
HAS ON: Two meanings – to have as an appointment or engagement and dupes. Since pranks can be a verb or a noun, I imagine the ‘to do’ could belong to either meaning

I thought the all-in-one compound anagram (19d) was very clever, and 20a amused me the most. Which was your favourite clue?

22 comments on “Toughie 1775

  1. Who are you and what have you done with proXimal? I found this really user-friendly and it took me about a mid-week toughie time, not a Friday time let alone I can’t finish/proXimal time. .

    Thanks to Mr X for the unexpectedly friendly brain-stretching

  2. Oh – and there I was thinking that I’d finally managed to finish (almost) not just a Friday Toughie but a proXimal one. :sad:
    I confess to two wrong answers that sort of fitted the clue and several more for which I needed the hints.
    I’ve never heard of claret being slang for blood and didn’t think to look it up because I know what claret is!
    Am I the only person in the world who really doesn’t like the 11a singer? Listening to most of her stuff makes me want to go and slit my wrists.
    I liked 23a and 9d. My favourite was 2d.
    Thanks to proXimal and to Dutch.

    1. Am with you Kath re singer . One or 2 songs OK but most nasal monotony . But better than when she talks.
      Have done half as only just got up . Rest tomorrow after Eng v Scotland
      Thanks, so far

  3. Dutch, I think 9d is made up of a 4-letter word meaning ‘don’, followed by a reversal of A+a four-letter word meaning ‘shade’, followed by a five-letter word for ‘considered’.

  4. Couldn’t parse 19d, thanks all for that.Otherwise very enjoyable though took rather longer than it merited. Not my best day at the races. PS Not a great fan of 11 either.PPS 14a should be without L

  5. Been out for most of the day so just about to make a start on this.
    Will report in later.

    1. Made it, bar the full parsing of 13a plus 17&19d
      Heart sank a bit when I read CS’s comment. Like Kath, I was giving myself a pat on the back for managing a proXimal toughie.
      Also like Kath, I’m not a fan of 11a, but a great many people obviously are!

      My top two were 9&22d and I really enjoyed solving this one.
      Thanks to proXimal and to Dutch for the help with parsing. The Ice Age clip made me smile.

  6. Yes CS, what’s going on? I have about two-thirds on the first read through – the last proXimal sat on my desk for three days.
    Thanks to pproXimal and to Dutch

  7. Very entertaining but needed a couple of pints, some of our answers needed substantiating. Thanks to proximal and Dutch.
    G: Now where’s the bar?
    J: Where it always is

  8. I got 14a wrong, no wonder I could not parse it. I had twigged the claret allusion and had bunged in AORTA. I also failed to parse 19d. I justified my answer by inventing a grammatical term, charger, for a qualifying word (in this case HORSE in Horse-racing). I thought this was quite ingenious, such a pity it is completely wrong. 4a stayed unsolved for a long time as I was convinced that SCARAB was involved somehow in the answer. Despite all that I did find it a quite challenging and very satisfying puzzle.
    Thanks ProXimal and Dutch.

  9. Last ones to fall were 1d and 14a in this rather straightforward Friday toughie.
    Couldn’t get “reproach” out of my head in 1d until the parsing of 14a came to me.
    Wondered what was going on in the setter’s head when writing 8d.
    Thanks to Proximal and to Dutch for the review.

  10. My day started very badly at 5:00 am when I couldn’t print the puzzles because my 4-in-1’s print head mysteriously died overnight. Two hours of trouble shooting to no avail. Couldn’t log on to access the puzzle site from Mr. Expat’s PC and use his printer because a couple of his keyboard keys have stopped working so I couldn’t type in my e-mail address. Couldn’t find a PDF option on the site so had to go through hoops to get the puzzles up on my PC monitor, select all, copy and paste into a word doc and e-mail it to his laptop so I could then print. I’m now :”wi-fi’d” to his printer so I can manage until I get a new one. So…I have only glanced at the toughie and won’t get to it until later tonight. Hopefully someone will still be around tomorrow.

  11. Darn. I somehow managed to lose my comment again! Anyway, in short I didn’t find it very easy but I did finish it. Thanks Dutch and Proximal.

    1. Refresh the page immediately before you post; or when you lose your post, hit the back button twice, then re-submit. Seems to be some kind of time-out thing. Works for me.

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