Toughie 1776 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1776

Toughie No 1776 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***


Hi cutie-pies!  Today’s puzzle is very special for it is the 444x4th Toughie.  By some amazing mathematical coincidence, it is also the 4x444th Toughie.  That’s NumberWang! If you notice something else odd(er than usual) about today’s blog you might like to pay attention to the date, or refer back to my blog of a year ago.

All of which means that I am delighted MynoT has obligingly included some nicely numerical nuggets.  He’s mixed these with plenty to drink, so I’m left a little pie-eyed.

I had a quick starter of the right hand side of today’s puzzle, which slipped down easily in a 1*-ish manner and left me time to chew on some of the meatier morsels later, including a couple of new ingredients.  Not wanting to linger too long over dessert, I used the dictionary at the end, so have a little pie on my face.

The definitions are underlined in the clues below, and you’ll find the answers inside the  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    Prince of Wales familiarly preceding Her Majesty’s horse (6)
CHASER:  A nickname derived from Charles comes before 2 letters which stand for our current queen

4a    Flatterer is one among grown-up men (8)
ADULATOR:  One (1) inside mature and then some military men

10a   She sings about Chinese hair (9)
CHANTRESS:  Join together a single letter abbreviation for about, the dominant ethnic group in China and a lock of hair.  I couldn’t decide which of these songs to use, so have given you 2 4 1

11a   Requirements of river running from south to north, and east to west (5)
NEEDS:  Start with the abbreviations for south and north and insert a river between them, so that the river can be said to be going from the one to the other.  Then write the whole lot backwards (east to west)

12a   Soul to play in a lively manner (7)
ANIMATO:  Soul (5) and the TO from the clue leads us to the musical instruction underlined above

13a   OR to go too far? (7)
OVERRUN:  In a reversal of the common cryptic method, this time we take words for which O and R are (separately) abbreviations and write them out in full

14a   Raise the spirits of the dead after beginning of Easter (5)
ELATE:  After the first letter (beginning of) Easter we have an adjective meaning deceased

15a   Finished lamb – I should get a different meat product (8)
PASTRAMI:  A charade of over or finished, a male ovine creature and the I from the clue leads us to a meat product which isn’t lamb

18a   Clergyman’s symphony (8)
PASTORAL:  Two definitions really, though I decided to underline only the more straightforward one.  Of a member of the clergy or Symphony No. 6 by Ludvig Van B.  (Incidentally, if I ever own a Turkish Van cat I’d call him Ludvig, and if he has a sister she’d probably be Dee Light.  I have a vision of having a swimming pool and one or two of these to join me in it.  Pure pie in the sky of course.)  I won’t give you my favourite definition of this word, but you can probably find it in the Uxbridge English Dictionary (or guess).

20a   Live and be a success lacking nothing (5)
DWELL:  Live or reside: be a success (2,4) minus a zero-shaped character

23a   Charged and doomed? That’s not right (7)
ACCUSED:  Another deletion of a single letter: this time we want to remove R(ight) from the middle of a word meaning doomed

25a   Be a mite fussy; it keeps rafters together (3,4)
TIE BEAM:  An anagram (fussy) of BE A MITE, though there’s less shuffling about of letters than ideal for one of this clue type.

26a   Number one isn’t in also (5)
ETHER:  This number isn’t mathematical but chemical, and it will numb your senses and put you to sleep.  Again, we’re taking out a single letter (one denoting 1), and we’re taking it out of a word which can mean each of two, as well as one of two.  I’m still struggling a little to equate it to also though, so I’d welcome further input from you: can you come up with a sentence where the two can be interchanged?

27a   Axes cut and perfect this instrument (9)
XYLOPHONE:  These axes aren’t for cutting, and they’re not instruments either, but two of the fixed reference lines on a graph.  Follow them with cut (3), and perfect/sharpen (4).  I’m toning down the cattitude temporarily, but the answer can hardly be illustrated other than with this famous animal (click the picture for more) …

28a   Ewe’s pail must be positioned vertically (8)
PALEWISE:  The letters of EWE’S PAIL are to be anagrammed (must be positioned). The letters are arranged horizontally, for it is an across clue, but the answer is upright like the stakes of a type of fence (one you probably wouldn’t want to be beyond)

29a   Stop to liberate worthless person? Not right one initially (6)
FREEZE:  To liberate is followed by a worthless person / nothing, minus the initial letters (initially) of right and one



1d    Chicken helped, we hear, wore a rosette (8)
COCKADED:  A male chicken we’ve seen a bit of recently with, at its tail end, a homophone (we hear) of helped/assisted.  Another alternative definition arises fit for the UED; again, you will be able to work that out for yourselves

2d    A male titan with no limits on lethal danger if knocked back (7)
AMANITA:  Putting together the A from the clue, a male human, and the innards of the word titan forms a hitherto unknown to me (though now I see that it’s the iconic toadstool) genus of poisonous mushrooms.  I managed to misinterpret the wordplay so this one really did a number on me.  Anyone for some mushroom pie?

3d    Sociable, lively person unusually Green (9)
EXTRAVERT:  Beyond the usual, (5) + green (4) (French, but also in heraldry, saving the setter the need for a French indication).  The less usual spelling of this word didn’t wrong-foot me as I’ve encountered both variants.  Being the antonym, that is what I shall illustrate

5d    Very sadly put record on so recently (14)
DISCONSOLATELY:  A mournful charade of a musical record (4), ON and SO (from the clue) and recently (6)


I’m in a 10der mood 2day
& feel poetic 2;
4 fun I’ll just – off a line
& send it off 2 U.

I’m sorry U’ve been 6 so long;
Don’t B disconsol8,
But bear your ills with 40tude
And they won’t seem so gr8


6d    Knight sacrificing great deal to get weapon (5)
LANCE:  One of the Knights of the Round Table has lost the last 3 letters of his name to produce this stabby weapon

7d    More to be broadcast after article’s proposition (7)
THEOREM:  This mathematical proposition = an anagram (broadcast) of MORE placed after the definite article

Some examples

1. The Ham sandwich Theorem
2. The Killing–Hopf theorem (originally phrased “there exists a method by which to kill Hopf and get away with it”)
3. The Ugly duckling theorem
4. The Non-squeezing theorem
5. The Cook–Levin theorem, which gives the most efficient way of cooking Levin.
6. The Buckingham π theorem
7. The Hairy ball theorem


8d    Feel bitter about gift with top missing (6)
RESENT:  A gift of a clue.  Remover the first letter (top, in a down clue) from a present

9d    Logical dilemmas of Buddhist over small bit of text – it is written up after party (5,9)
ZENO’S PARADOXES:  Lots of ingredients to assemble: firstly, a branch of Buddhism, single letters for over and for small, and an abbreviation for a distinct section of writing.  There’s more: it/the other goes up (written up, in a down clue) – after a common crosswordland party (2).  This is a set of paradoxes, the most famous one being Achilles and the tortoise

16d   Revolutionary to look about very softly in Cayenne (3,6)
RED PEPPER:  A left-wing revolutionary + look narrowly or closely around (about) the musical symbol for very quietly

17d   Shopping centre with roof brought down by you twice? Nonsense! (3,2,3)
ALL MY EYE:  A (principally N American) shopping centre has its “roof” – the first letter – brought down (remembering this is a down clue) to the end of the word.  Afterwards we have two instances of an archaic/dialect/poetic word for you

19d   Fish in every spirit (7)
ALCOHOL:  A type of fish I had to check but is now ringing faint bells (a campanologist fish?) inside every (3) gives us something to drink.  Anyone for a pie and a pint?

21d   Have a look at love-god – uplifting or ugly sight? (7)
EYESORE:  Have a look at (3) and the reversal (uplifting, in a down clue) of a Greek love god

22d   Suffer to get out of bed and call to account? (4,2)
HAVE UP:  Suffer/endure (4) + out of bed (2) = call to account, perhaps before the courts

24d   One locks up gang led by son (5)
SCREW:  A slang term for one who holds the prison keys is reached by adding a gang or team to the abbreviation for son


Thanks to MynoT.  I was delighted to see 9d feature today.  I also smiled at 21d and 14a raised my spirits (no fish in my 19d 1a) as well as a few more of the grid entries as they went in.  After the last one of those, it only remains for me to ask: how was it for you?

(I’ll shut my pie hole now … )


29 comments on “Toughie 1776

  1. Nothing too difficult here, though it took me a while to remember 2d which was last in, and 25a was unfamiliar but had to be right. Oh and the fish in 19 was at best distantly familiar from a previous crossword…

    Thanks to Kitty and MynoT

  2. Thanks to MynoT and to Kitty for the tour round Mrs Miggins’ pie-shop. I didn’t like 1d – the definition surely demands a verb but the BRB (and other dictionaries) only have the answer as an adjective.
    Ref. 26a how about “Kitty’s a blogger, and not a bad one, either”.

  3. I started 26a with neither, and it worked for me …. I may be wrong
    Thanks for the revue

  4. 19D was a gift because I had just finished writing a paragraph that included a certain New York State river that sounds like the plural of the fish. 9D….I worked out the second word from the clue but came unstuck on the first and gave in. I’ve never come across that expression before. 12A was new to me also but I got it eventually. Overall, I found the RHS much easier than the LHS. 27A is my favorite. Thanks to MynoT and to Kitty for the very entertaining blog.

    1. Very entertaining is what I aim for (after the important but less glamourous aims of accuracy and clarity) so I really appreciate your comment, Chris. :rose:

  5. We really liked this. As one with a maths degree, though, even a year ago the fate was frightfully imprecise. We had a similar thought to you, Kitty, about 29a but the BRB does offer that meaning and gives the example of “he isn’t hungry and she isn’t either”. (Gazza, in your example isn’t it more akin to ‘moreover’ rather than ‘also’?). I shall now reconsider founding the pedant’s club….

    We have it 2.5*/3*. Our favourite was probably 15a – for a while we were convinced it began with ‘b’ (last letter of lamb).

    Thanks Kitty and MynoT.

    PS. I’m sure there will be much tittering about the 7th example to 7d.

    1. It took me a while to work out that you must have meant date not fate … :)

      (My degree is physics and maths so I feel that the date is precise enough for some applications.)

      After a second look at that brb entry I’m wondering how I managed to miss their example!

  6. Yep – RHS flew in then LHS was a crawl. Couldn’t finish this without help, too many bits and bobs I didn’t know or have never heard of – 28a 2d 9d (got the second part) & 17d.
    Wasn’t sure about the fish, also/either. I did check to see if there were 22 clues and 7 anagrams…
    A very enjoyable workout, didn’t mind the bit of education along the way because it’s stuff I should probably know.
    Many thanks to MynoT, a good tussle; and thanks to Kitty for the pointers (BTW, well done at the weekend).

    1. Nice use of also/either, LbRoy!

      Thanks. I dithered about saying one last thing about the mara but thought I’d banged on about it enough. But there is an unknown Anon (to go with a couple of known Anons) who donated a whopping 50 squids and I would really like to thank them properly.

      In case anyone is remotely interested, I tracked the whole thing on a GPS watch, and uploaded the data here.

  7. Didn’t get the first part of 9d. Totally unknown to me.
    Thought 1d was going to be “cocarded” as a cocarde is a rosette in France but thought the homophone didn’t quite work.
    Spelled 3d with an “o” in the middle so with two wrong letters, didn’t get 12a also either.
    Thanks to MynoT and to kitty for the wonderful review. Loved the game show.

  8. Came frightfully unstuck in the NW because I didn’t know the alternative spelling of 3d. That rendered 12a (and therefore 2d) impossible. Double-checked everything – apart from said 3d!
    Also made a mess of the first word of 22d.
    No other problems but new words learned at 28a & 9d plus the 19d fish.

    Top of the pile were 27a&6d.

    Thanks to MynoT and to our Girl Tuesday. Sorry that there were so few kitties around today but enjoyed the cartoon and the delightful singing of Sarah Brightman.

  9. Good fun and, apart from a couple of things I didn’t know, not too tricky.
    I’ve never heard of 28a but it was obviously an anagram.
    I’ve never heard of 9d either but the second word was OK with so many letters in and the first was a lucky guess – trying to read about it made me go boss-eyed.
    I liked 15a and 6d. My favourite was 27a once I remembered the right kind of ‘axes’.
    Thanks to MynoT and to Kitty.

    1. Running round Woking & Worplesdon looks tiring. Pastoral – no comment; I tried adding ‘dictionary’ but got a 404.
      On your pi theme, geometrically if you raise the line across the centre of a circle by the correct degree pi becomes exactly 4..?
      Trivia groan: the sequence of numbers 4178 appears only 3 times in the first million decimal places of pi. That is unusual.

  10. Couple of new things for me today esp in NW, and I couldn’t remember the logical dilemmas but easy enough from wordplay, then experienced a faint recollection.

    Lucky enough to know the fish, comes from living in Vancouver for a while.

    Favourite was 27a

    Last one in was 22d – it took me years to get the first word.

    Many MynoT and thanks Kitty for an amazing blog

  11. 22a was the last one for us and then we got it wrong. We settled for FACE UP but agree that this means ‘be called to account’ rather than ‘call to account’. The rest all went together without too much of a fight. BRB was called on a couple of times but not for the fish which we had remembered.
    Thanks MynoT and Kitty.

    1. 22 down was my last also and I got it wrong with WAKE UP. I was woefully lacking with 9 down and needed a Google search to complete the first five letters of the answer. One for the memory bank. A most entertaining challenge. Thanks to Mynot and also to Kitty.

      1. Obviously I didn’t read every word of the blog, because I had wake up, too, though I couldn’t justify “suffer.” But I was thinking in terms of “wake up call” as being called to account. “Have up” is not a phrase I would personally use.

  12. Enjoyed this and found no hold ups even the deadly fungus was familiar…I’m on my 4th wife. Is Elkamere to be feared?

  13. I’d never heard of the dodgy fungus, or the alternative spelling of 3d, so needed a hint in the NW corner. Overall, though, 2.5*/4*. I loved 15a and 9d, but my favourite was 17d – in honour of my wife’s uncle, who for some reason always followed that expression with “…and Betty Martin”. Thanks to MynoT and Kitty.

  14. Quick on the RHS, slower in the SW, particularly slow in the NW as weariness began to set in. I should really start these earlier.

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