Toughie 1786 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1786

Toughie No 1786 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

The gentle Toughie week continues with what was probably my second fastest ever solve of a Toughie. On the cup-of-coffee scale of difficulty this ranked at one mouthful. The review was written almost as quickly

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Enthusiastic amateur possibly entitled to employ volunteers (10)
DILETTANTE: An anagram (possibly) of ENTITLED round the Territorial Army (volunteers)

6a    Benefactor in need of new access (4)
DOOR: Remove N (new) from a benefactor

9a    Selfish guest finally interrupts flustered concierge (10)
EGOCENTRIC: T (the last letter of guest) inside an anagram (flustered) of CONCIERGE

10a    Retain part of castle (4)
KEEP: 2 meanings: retain/part of castle

12a    Son enters fashionable crowd (4)
HOST: S (son) inside ‘fashionable’

13a    Shame lawyers stopping terrible smears (9)
EMBARRASS: ‘To shame’ = lawyers collectively inside an anagram (terrible) of SMEARS

15a    Nameless, like common people? (8)
UNTITLED: 2 meanings: without a name/not being a member of the nobility

16a    Approval in note to seize property? Quite the opposite (6)
ASSENT: N (note) inside an item of property

18a    Bat‘s loud noise (6)
RACKET: 2 meanings: a bat (e.g. in tennis)/a loud noise

20a    Woo current Queen — and her attendant (8)
COURTIER: ‘To woo’ + the one-letter symbol for electric current + our Queen

23a    Signatory’s funny turns (9)
GYRATIONS: An anagram (funny) of SIGNATORY

24a    Some refuse last round to get drinks (4)
ALES: Hidden in reverse in REFUSE LAST

26a    Scottish port‘s over prohibition (4)
OBAN: O (over) + a prohibition

27a    Organise slapdash decoration (2-8)
CO-ORDINATE: An anagram (slapdash) of DECORATION

28a    Only fish (4)
SOLE: 2 meanings: only/a fish

29a    Prior wished to have no limits on grant and books (10)
ANTECEDENT: ‘Wished’ (6) minus the first and last letters + ‘to grant’ + one of the main divisions of the Bible (books)


1d    Some desperate ideas turned up in Parliament (4)
DIET: Hidden in reverse in DESPERATE IDEAS

2d    Beware guard (7)
LOOKOUT: When split (4,3) it means ‘Beware!’

3d    Very high-scoring draw? Perfect! (6-6)
TWENTY-TWENTY: The term describes normal human vision

4d    Worker, perhaps, left deer playing like stags (8)
ANTLERED: A worker insect + an anagram (playing) of L DEER

5d    Attempt to secure one pound for hat (6)
TRILBY: ‘Attempt’ round I (one) and the abbreviation for pound weight

7d    Intimidate on account of a heartless wife (7)
OVERAWE: ‘On account of’ + A + the first and last letters of WIFE

8d    Salesman with ordinary tale about independent store (10)
REPOSITORY: A salesman (3) + O (ordinary) + a tale (5) round I (independent)

11d    Privateers arranged voyage on vacation — it prolongs life (12)
PRESERVATIVE: An anagram (arranged) of PRIVATEERS + the first and last letters of VOYAGE

14d    Shocking cargo regularly carried by strange old American (10)
OUTRAGEOUS: Alternate letters of CARGO inside ‘strange’ (5) + O (old) + an abbreviation denoting ‘American’

17d    Understand right to support Conservatives (8)
CONSTRUE: ‘To understand’ or ‘to interpret’ = Conservatives (4) + ‘right’

19d    What wags cut short? (7)
CURTAIL: A dog + that part of a dog that it wags

21d    Repeat line from intellectual (7)
ITERATE: Remove L (line) from ‘intellectual’ (as an adjective)

22d    Protect two small businesses, overdrawn, to be gutted (6)
COCOON: An abbreviation denoting ‘business’ + the same abbreviation + the first and last letters of OVERDRAWN

25d    Study time in depression (4)
DENT: A study + T (time)

I think this would have been easy even as a back pager

21 comments on “Toughie 1786

  1. To say that this was a wrong envelope day would be putting forward a candidate for the award for the Understatement of the Year. Blink and it was gone but enjoyable while it lasted. If it had been on the back page, I’d have given it 1* difficulty so I’m not at all sure what to award for the gentlest of gentle crosswords.

    Thanks to Samuel – you are usually trickier in the ‘other place’ so I’m not sure what happened with this one – and to Bufo too

  2. When I finished this one faster than the back pager, my though was “There are going to be some disappointed people on the blog today.” I did enjoy it, though I’m happy to have a puzzle I can solve before the workday starts. My favorite was 21D because the more commonly used word irritates me. Thanks Samuel and Bufo.

  3. The delightfully easy 4-letter answers provided a great start and, like Chris, I don’t object to a rapid solve as long as it’s enjoyable, which this one certainly was.
    19d made me laugh and earned the gold medal.

    Thanks to Samuel and to Bufo.
    PS If anyone has time – I think the hint for 11d should refer to the first and last letters of ‘voyage’.

  4. Well I sat down with this expecting a bit of a fight and was looking at an almost completed grid in next to no time. I didn’t get 29ac because I put TION at the end of 11d despite the fact that the letters in privateers and ve contain neither an N or an O. Well you know me and pencils.great fun while it lasted. Thanks to Samuel and thanks to Bufo.

  5. I also found it easier than the back pager and more enjoyable.
    Thank s to Samuel and Bufo.

  6. I agree with you all – very easy today, but enjoyable nonetheless. The second day running that I’ve completed it without help. Am I becoming a genius-I suspect not. For a Toughie 1*/3.5*

  7. Only 1a & 29a gave me anything to think about, but quite enjoyable all the same. 19d raised a smile.
    Many thanks to Samuel and to Bufo.

  8. Samuel never seems to fail in giving us puzzles that are good fun and keep us smiling. That is certainly true of this one.
    Thanks Samuel and Bufo.

  9. I don’t normally expect to complete Thursday Toughies as rapidly as I did today, but it was still fun to solve regardless.

    I am also informed, by way of the advertisement on this page, that I can forget about needing a gun… Instead I’m offered the option of a tactical flashlight that is able to blind bears. I shall sleep more securely in Kent tonight armed with this knowledge.

    Thanks to Bufo and Samuel.

  10. I did this one more easily and quickly than the inside back-pager.
    I enjoyed it very much.
    I needed the hint to understand my answer to 29a which was a bit dim.
    I think the fairly high anagram count made it easier, for me anyway.
    I also think that Samuel is the setter whose crosswords vary in difficulty the most.
    I liked 20a and my favourite was 19d.
    With thanks to Samuel and to Bufo.

    1. Definitely agree with your comment regarding the varying difficulty levels in Samuel’s puzzles.

  11. Whilst this week’s Toughies may have been far easier than many Toughie diehards might prefer, they have been three puzzles which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed completing. They’ve given me some encouragement to try to stretch my solving ability to beyond just the back page of theTelegraph. I too found today’s the easier of the three, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment. Favourite clues include 13 & 20 across. The Scottish port in 26 across is very popular in crosswordland it seems. Thanks to Samuel and Bufo. No doubt tomorrow’s will be a stinker – for me at least.

  12. I enjoyed this at the end of a long day – some nice easy ones to get into the puzzle, and a bit more thought to words like 27a and 29a which were my last ones in. Smooth surfaces throughout.

    Favourite was 3d though i also really liked the sort snappy anagrams 23a and 27a, as well as 11d, 19d, and more

    Many thanks Samuel and Bufo

  13. Completed this in double-quick time. This was like a good back-pager.
    Thanks to all.

  14. Not at all tough but very enjoyable.

    HIYD’s comment and Dutch’s selection of clues sum it up to perfection.

    Many thanks to Samuel and Bufo.

  15. Pretty quick throughout, though I did get stuck on the end at 29ac which took an absolute age. A good puzzle, but not exactly a Toughie.

  16. Perhaps a record Toughie time for me, which would have been faster still but for my habit of making things needlessly difficult for myself.

    Found it as enjoyable as I usually find Samuel, so no complaints. I actually did this nearly 24 hours ago so do forgive me for not remembering the highlights and nominating favourites.

    After a Toughie week of steadily declining difficulty I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s likely stiff one.

    Thanks to Samuel and Bufo.

  17. Thanks to Samuel and to Bufo for an enjoyable puzzle. This was my second Toughie completion of the week. So as Crypticsue said, definitely a wrong envelope job! No real favourites, all very straightforward.

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