Toughie 1784 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1784

Toughie No 1784 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Tilsit (and Dexter)

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings everyone.

It’s the start of another Toughie week and we have the Don to set things in motion. A really enjoyable puzzle that hits the spot for a Tuesday Teaser, not too tough, a few headscratchers and nothing too obscure. All of which made my train journey from Colne to Manchester very pleasant. 22 down caused me to have a few thoughts, and I still rather think you make a case that you could enter either answer.

Your blog today is brought to you with the assistance of Dexter the cat who is rather grumpy as I have run out of treats and he is not falling for the fact I am trying to give him kibble as his treats. Consequently he is sitting on my keyboard in protest. I may need a mediator!

Thanks to Don for a nice start to the week. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    ‘Fact’ I recited — phoney or officially recognised? (12)
CERTIFICATED:    We start with an anagram (phoney) of FACT I RECITED to give a word meaning something officially recognised.

9a    Narrow place in store (4)
COOP:    Had to check the Big Red Book (Chambers, for the uninitiated!) to see the alternative definition. The (short) name for one of our supermarkets is also a word for a narrow confined place, like a prison cell.

10a    In clever manoeuvres Heather makes connections (9)
COUPLINGS:    The word for those things that join railway carriages together is revealed by inserting a word for a type of heather (a crossword chestnut) into a word meaning (military) manoeuvres that are clever or smart, although in practice not brilliant for everyone.

12a    A French king is, in his country, bringing dissatisfaction (6)
UNREST:    A word for something that is a show of dissatisfaction is found by taking the word for the indefinite article in French, adding the abbreviation for a king (which is derived from the Latin word) and adding howsomeone who speaks French says ‘is’.

13a    Temporarily suspend one of the players at Twickenham? (5,3)
STAND OFF:    A word that refers to a situation where a normal situation is suspended is also the name for the person who wears the No 6 jersey in that game played by people with odd-shaped balls.

15a    Like a secret pipe going around firm (10)
RESTRICTED:`When something is secret, it may be said to be this, like classified information Find the name for a type of pipe used in many musical instruments like flutes and clarinets. Inside this, place a word meaning firm and serious.

16a    Ice in stream changing direction finally (4)
FLOE:    The name for a big lump of ice would become something that means a stream if you swap the last letter for it’s compass-point opposite.

18a    Area that is holy with extremists hiding (4)
ACRE:    Find a word that means blessed or holy and remove the first and last letters (extremists hiding, nice way of using this device). This gives the name for a measure of land, or a place in Israel. Our setter likes using religious imagery in some of his clues and this works well.

20a    Hog’s toilet excited student of animal behaviour (10)
ETHOLOGIST:    This leapt out on first reading and was my first entry in the grid. An anagram (excited) of HOG’S TOILET gives a word for a particular scientist – Given the definition it’s reasonable to assume we are looking for an –ologist and the remaining letters fall in.

23a    Cliques not organised individually (2-6)
IN-GROUPS:    A double definition with the first one being slightly cryptic. If something is not organised individually it may be said to be this and it’s also how people perceived cliques.

24a    Redundancies about to be established by firm providing building material (6)
STUCCO:    When savings have to be made in business they are often said to be this. Reverse it and add the abbreviation for a firm or business and this will give a material used by plasterers.

26a    Understanding nothing, the Parisian in dazed state (9)
TOLERANCE:    I spent far too long working this one out. The letter that’s used to represent nothing or zero, plus the definite article in French both go inside a word for a dazed state. This gives a word for understanding.

27a    Wine increased in price (4)
ROSE:    The name for a type of wine is the same as something that means went up in price.

28a    Individuals going after growth, formerly seen as linchpins (12)
CORNERSTONES:    A word that means linchpins or essential parts of something is made up of the followignwordsum: Something that grows (in a field or on one’s foot) + a word for something formerly seen (from the German for ‘first’) + a word for singles or individuals.


2d    Openness to danger at one time certain, with river invading (8)
EXPOSURE:    A short word meaning formerly and one twice the length meaning certain has the name of an Italian river inserted to give a word meaning an openness to danger.

3d    Food wedged between teeth? Floss finally comes out (4)
TUCK:    The name for food (think school shop) is a word that means when something is wedged between your teeth minus the first letter (which is the last letter of FLOSS)

4d    Young Lord Anderson possibly preceded by loud female relation (10)
FAUNTLEROY:    This one went in but does use a bit of obscurity (well, it is a Toughie!). The name of a famous fictional child aristocrat is found by taking the abbreviation for loud in music, adding the name of a female relative plus the first name of a US composer of popular music named Anderson. If you think you’ve never heard of him, you have – try this!

5d    Group of bacteria, see, inside rabbit’s fur (6)
COLONY:    The word for a group of bacteria is found by taking a short word meaning ‘Look!’ and putting it inside an alternative spelling for the name for rabbit fur. I usually have an ‘e’ in it, but not here.

6d    Rubbish half knocked over dope’s put in kitchen wrapping (7)
TINFOIL:    This went in and when I went back to it to parse it, I couldn’t see how it worked. Thanks to the lovely Crypticsue, all is clear. Take the first half of a word meaning rubbish, reverse it (knocked over) and insert something that could be called dope, not drugs or clueless people, but more what they lack! This gives you something to wrap the turkey in.

7d    I offend — act is naughty, creating ill-will (12)
DISAFFECTION:    A word for ill-will is found by unscrambling the letters of I OFFEND ACT IS with ‘naughty’ as the anagram indicator.

8d    Gentleman with memory recalled famous designer (6)
MORRIS:    The name of a famous designer is found by taking the title of a knighted gentleman, adding an abbreviation for a type of computer memory, and reversing the lot.

11d    Recruit sails off — it’s like a sort of dream (12)
SURREALISTIC:    Another anagram. Rearrange the letters of RECRUIT SAILS to give a way of saying something is fanciful, improbable and dream-like.

14d    Saints wanting shelter inside having short trip through trees (5,5)
SCOTS PINES:     Inside the name for a shelter (for doves) goes a short ride in one of the above-pictured cars. Round this goes one of the abbreviations for saints (but not the one with a ‘t’ in it!). This gives you a type of tree.

17d    Musical item providing number with shock in Anglican church (8)
NOCTURNE:    A type of music associated with Chopin in particular is found by taking the abbreviation for number and adding the abbreviation for the Anglican church. Put inside the second abbreviation

19d    Soldier to pull up in position at the back (7)
REGULAR:    The name for a soldier is revealed by taking the word for the back of something and inserting a word meaning pull

21d    Line of old South Americans meeting English (6)
INCASE:    This is a slightly obscure word meaning lining but a fairly easy parse. Take the name of an old S American group of people and add the abbreviation for English.

22d    This method of working sounds common (6)
COURSE:    This caused me a bit of headscratching. A homophone for a style of working sounds the same as something that means common or uncouth. Could you make a case for either entry being correct? Though the ‘this’ rather sways you to the answer. I rather think you still could.

25d    City of divorces with children obviously missing out a lot (4)
RENO:    We finish today with a hidden answer inside the phrase ‘children obviously’ – a nice way from the setter to indicate this as well, a sort of reverse indication.

So we are all done for today. I have found some of Dexter’s treats, so he has cheered up and agreed to stop annoying me while I write a set of quiz questions for a cup final. Each month I treat myself to an album download and this month is from the amazing Rag ‘n’ Bone Man. Just listen to this voice – just fantastic. I think even our setter might just like this!

I’ll see you all again soon. Dexter sends his hugs too!

21 comments on “Toughie 1784

  1. A Tuesday level toughie – with regard to 9a, surely the store has a hyphen?

    Thanks to Mr M and Mr T and his cat

    1. I did wonder about that – given my beloved works for them! However I supposed you could say the same about rosé wine!

      1. I removed the underline from store before publishing for that very reason – the enumeration is (4) not (2-2). It is still fine as wordplay.

  2. many thanks Tilsit (and Dexter)

    I loved ‘understanding nothing’ in 26a.

    I did try to fit THEOLOGIST into 20a, but decided no, not quite how Giovanni would clue that.

    Many thanks Giovanni, enjoyed this.

    1. Hi Dutch,
      I went one further and actually bunged in ‘theologist’ – 14d presented a problem for quite some time until I came to my senses.

  3. Some answers went in from the definition but wordplay had to be parsed later.
    That was the case for 6d, 14d and 28a.
    Had to check the rabbit fur and the Anderson fellow.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Tilsit &,Dexter.
    Have I missed the special birthday bash crossword for which we wrote some drunken clues?

    1. It’s planned for over the Easter weekend although I seem to be a few clues missing. Will be sorting it out over the next couple of days once the quiz setting has stopped.

  4. I didn’t get the designer and a few others. Still, it was fun trying.
    Thanks to Tilsit, Dexter and Giovanni.

  5. My subscription problems were resolved quickly, albeit involving having to cancel the agreement and set up a completely new one, so I am back in business. I found the left side more of a challenge than the right, but all was sorted satisfactorily in decent time. Is 1A really a word any normal person would use? I didn’t cotton to 27A at all but I did 28A, 2D and 4D (my favorite) in particular. Thanks to Giovanni and Tilsit.

  6. We felt this came in as a 3*/2.5*. We have no real reason for a mediocre enjoyment rating, but it wasn’t a crossword that inspired us much – perhaps too many relatively easy anagrams?

    Tilsit’s review reveals the right answer for 18a where we, wrongly (of course) had Agra as a bung-in. Having seen the review, it’s no wonder we failed to parse it. 3d was our favourite – we think it could well be classed as an all-in-one.

    Thanks to Tilsit and Giovanni.

  7. We pondered for a while with 3d. We thought the answer had to be TUCK, TACK or even TACO but convinced ourselves that the S to be removed was from within a word rather than at the beginning. We eventually got it sorted. We found it a very pleasant solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and Tilsit.

  8. As is the norm with Giovanni, a have a few gaps which I may or may not come back to.
    Many thanks to The Don and to Tilsit & Dexter for the hints.

  9. As Tilsit rightly surmised – didn’t realise that I’d come across Mr. Anderson’s work before but I most certainly did know that one.
    21d was new to me as a single word and conversely I wouldn’t have known 23a as anything other than two separate words – though it was nevertheless my favourite today.
    Courtesy of CS, I now understand the parsing of 6d – I’d got half of nitwit reversed and then struggled to fit the ‘foil’ into the wordplay!

    Thanks to Giovanni and also to Tilsit & Dexter for standing in for our Girl Tuesday. She’ll be pleased to see that you kept up the Kitty theme in her absence.

  10. I quite enjoyed this, but found it a little stiffer than our reviewer as I was held up awhile at the end. With 3d and 10a (even though I was almost there) incomplete I gave up and enlisted a little help. There were a couple of other elements new or hazily remembered, but these didn’t cause any issue. I did, however, need enlightenment as to why I was wearing the tinfoil hat.

    Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle, many thanks to Tilsit for standing in and allowing me to get some sleep, and finally thanks, hugs and strokes to Dexter for sitting on the keyboard – kitties like to help in unconventional ways, but they do, I like to think, help.

  11. Giovanni on a Tuesday can sometimes be tough indeed, but not today, with a fairly gentle outing, two stars sounds about right. Last in 14d.

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