Toughie 1783 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1783

Toughie No 1783 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A proper toughie I thought – this went relatively slowly for me and it took me quite a while to finish my last quadrant, NW. Of course it all looks remarkably straightforward in hindsight – maybe it was just me. We have a pangram, which I only noticed on completion – so unfortunately I didn’t manage to use it in the solve. Not many laugh out loud moments, unless you count 25d, but plenty of smiles because of clever clueing and interesting definitions.

Definitions are underlined as usual. I hope the hints will suffice to help you solve any clues you might have missed – if not you can always reveal them by clicking on the answer button. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and what you thought.


1a    Domestic meal cooked by retired English ruler once (11)
CHARLEMAGNE: A bit of everything in this clue: A 4-letter domestic help, an anagram (cooked) of MEAL, plus a reversal of a 3-letter abbreviation for English

10a    Express indirectly spotted when heading off (5)
IMPLY: An adjective meaning spotted as skin might be, without the first letter (heading off)

11a    Chaps in office win no local runs (among seven) (9)
TRIUMVIRI: A 7-letter word meaning win or prevail without the abbreviation for a local or pub, then the abbreviation for R(uns) goes inside the Roman numeral for seven

12a    Game, with outside of the ball getting a battering (9)
CROQUETTE: A game played on a lawn plus the outside letters of T(h)E

13a    Such a King Edward could get black edging (5)
BAKED: A semi-all-in-one: A from the clue, the chess or cards abbreviation for King, and a shorter form of Edward with the abbreviation for B(lack) at the front edge

14a    Key event containing upmarket foreign brass, as it were (6)
ESCUDO: A key on your computer plus a 2-letter event or party going around (containing) the abbreviation for U(pper-class)

16a    Hobby-horse, needing repair at top, rejected (8)
FIXATION: A 3-letter verb meaning repair, AT from the clue, plus a reversal (rejected)of No 1 (top)

18a    Seamen ordered fast food without hesitation in European city (8)
SALZBURG: A homophone (ordered) of another word for sailors, plus your standard McDonald’s fare without the final two letters that are used to express hesitation

20a    Gets married, gets divorced, essentially having to cut back (6)
UNITES: A word that can mean gets divorced or gets untangled, with the central two letters reversed

23a    On the subject of retracting, Mayor of Salford bottles up (2,3)
AS FOR: Reverse hidden (retracting ….. bottles up)

24a    Youngster, ten, probing slug that’s damaged plant (9)
GLADIOLUS: A 3-letter young man and the letters that look like the number ten go inside (probing) an anagram (that’s damaged)

26a    In spring, one’s presented with course before going on vacation (6,3)
EASTER EGG: A course or compass direction, a 3-letter word for before, and G(oin)G without the central letters (on vacation)

27a    Parking area over by university that’s swamped in US (5)
BAYOU: An area (often at the side of a road) for cars to park, plus the abbreviations for Over and University


28a    News about line dancing? The leader to get beer and cheese (11)
WENSLEYDALE: An anagram (about) of NEWS, a 3-letter straight line between features in a landscape, the first letter (the leader) of Dancing, and a kind of beer



2d    Animal briefly in river (5)
HIPPO: A word for in or trendy plus an Italian river

3d    Comedian from long ago, endlessly raised roof, we hear (3,4)
ROY HUDD: Reversal (raised) of a 4-letter word meaning long ago without its last letter (endlessly), plus a homophone(?) of another word for roof (eg of a pram)

4d    Being part of hospital, computer systems close to capacity (6)
ENTITY: A hospital department, an abbreviation for computer systems, and the last letter (close) of capacitY

5d    A relative taking heartless Irish idiot personally (2,1,3,2)
AS I SEE IT: A from the clue, a short form of a sibling, then the outer letters (heartless) of both a word for the Irish language and I(diot)T a 5-letter Irish colloquial word for idiot without the central letter (heartless) – Thanks Gazza @ comment 2

6d    Country‘s revolutionary top-class graduate in scrap (7)
NAMIBIA: Reversal (revolutionary) of all of a 2-character denotation for top-class, plus a graduate inside a word meaning to scrap or to throw away

7d    Christopher, with companion, cleanses soiled culinary equipment (7,6)
KITCHEN SCALES: A 3-letter nickname for Christopher, the 2-letter abbreviation for companion and an anagram (soiled) of CLEANSES

8d    Roll in the NAAFI maybe sounding so lean (4,4)
SICK LIST: A homophone of the Latin word for so, plus a word meaning lean or tilt. The NAAFI bit confused me – I am assuming this is just one place (hence ‘maybe’) where the answer might typically be posted – if anyone has further insight, please comment

9d    Dish, as informed later, that may contain eggs (5-4,4)
BIRDS-NEST SOUP: I think this is a 2-letter word for as plus a 2-letter for well-informed or versed, coming after (later) a home that may contain eggs. The enumeration seems to have been corrected online











15d    Unemotional type, that’s often won at fete, caught for good (4,4)
COLD FISH: A typical prize at a fete or fair, with the starting G(ood) replaced by C(aught)

17d    Continue showing old king in newspapers, etc (8)
PROGRESS: The abbreviation for Old and the Latin abbreviation for a king go inside a word for the printed media

19d    Hound The Eagles in outskirts of Belgrade? (7)
BERNESE: Another word for eagles, especially sea-eagles, goes inside the outer letters of BelgradE

21d    Perhaps a stage for daring entertainment that’s on hand (4-3)
NAIL-BED: Two meanings, a less-than-comfortable resting place and part of the finger

22d    Noise from, say, silver jackfish when separated (6)
JANGLE: Separate to Jack+fish: the card abbreviation for Jack plus a verb meaning to fish

25d    I’m amused about openings in young advertising firm (5)
LOYAL: The text abbreviation for ‘I’m amused’ goes around the first letters of Young and Advertising

I enjoyed the all-in-one at 13a and I liked the simpler 2d, 4d, 15d and 22d – which clues were your favourites?

23 comments on “Toughie 1783

  1. Thanks to Osmosis for the challenge and Dutch for the review. My favourite was one of 13a or 25d.
    I think that the Irish idiot in 5d is an eejit.
    I nominate the 3d ‘homophone’ as the worst of the year so far.

    1. Ah! – well that is certainly more elegant cryptically – a new one for me.
      Many thanks Gazza

  2. I suppose people may pronounce Hudd as Hood oop north, but the way the fellow pronounces himself is surely the yardstick.

        1. Problem there is that many Northerners would probably pronounce all those examples as ‘oo’ as well.

          1. True, but JI may have heard the southern pronunciation of my examples, but not Hudd.

            1. As I said the other day when the homophones were roo and rue as a French street.
              Obviously an easy mistake to make if you’re the accident prone Clouseau.

  3. Yes, it was fairly tough – but for me not as much so as yesterday’s Firefly.
    Getting 1a almost immediately was a great help and I didn’t find any obscurities beyond a bit of thought required for the ending of 24a.

    Top three for me were 12&26a along with 2d.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for a fine blog – think the NAAFI reference is simply to indicate that the answer was originally mainly associated with the armed forces – army and navy in particular. I can only conclude that the magnificent men in their flying machines were far too dedicated to take time off ‘sick’.

  4. Some tough ones recently and this is no exception. 8d & 11a defeated me altogether, though I vaguely remember 11a now I see it.
    Lots to like – the old conker a 20a, 15d, 5d; but top prize for the penny-drop-inducing smile is 22d.
    Thanks Osmosis for a nice puzzle, and to Dutch for a hint or two. ****/****

  5. We were totally beaten by 3d. We had never heard of him of course and even searching through Google supplied lists of comedians failed to turn up any name that fitted the checkers. Apart from that, after a lot of hard work we did get everything else sorted and had noted the pangram which sadly did not help with 3d.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  6. Sadly I couldn’t get my head round this one at all without checking most of the hints. More practice required methinks. Thanks to Osmosis and special thanks to Dutch for explaining all.

  7. Totally failed in the NE. 8d, 9d, 16a and 20a remained unsolved.
    That’s two days in a row.
    Count me out.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch.

    1. I meant NE! – I said NW in the preamble, but it seems i can’t tell left from right.

      so yes, I also thought NE was hard

  8. Robin Hudd… mmm. Over exercised by this clever offering though like our blogger couldn’t see why at the denouement.However all to no avail as a tired gargle slipped in for 22 doh. Made up a few cheeses on my route to the obvious. Not sure about my favourite but 5d raised a smile.TY to D & O

  9. A fine puzzle to end the Toughie week on – 4*/3.5* here.

    We did spot the pangram, but so late on that it only helped us get 16a. Much to enjoy with favourites being 13a (stylish) and 22d (belly laugh).

    No problem with the homophone for us northerners (a Yorkshire lass and a Lancashire lad), yet we do pronounce Hudd and hood markedly differently. Reminds us of when we lived in Essex and our daughter came home from school to announce they’d done the letter ‘a’ that day. Mrs Sheffieldsy asked, “A for Apple?” and was told, “No, a for umbrella.” We moved back north within the year!

    Many thanks to Dutch and Osmosis.

  10. I didn’t get 20a or 21d and couldn’t parse 3d,(though it couldn’t be anyone else). I don’t think that clue was very gudd. “Eejit” is a word often used by the late Terry Wogan.
    Thank you Dutch and Osmosis.

  11. I am approximately 3/4 of the way through, so avoiding the review and hints. Back later, or more likely tomorrow if anyone is still around.

  12. Isn’t “soiled” in 7d to denote an anagram going too far? I don’t see how changing letters around makes them dirty

  13. Failed on 11A, 20A and 8D. Oh, well. I found it very difficult, but liked so many solutions once I’d managed to unravel them, 12A, 13A, 26A, 5D 19D and 21D in particular. 19D has to be my favorite because my grandson has one. The family actually had two at one time. Beautiful animals, Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  14. 3d Roy Hudd – the Hudd bit was stretching it a bit far!!!
    I liked 1A for a bit of everything.

Comments are closed.