Toughie 1787 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1787

Toughie No 1787 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A tricky puzzle that I finished in just over 2* time. Trademark seamless precision, lots of innovative wordplay and misleading definitions – including several clever part-of-speech misleads –  made this a most enjoyable solve.

The definitions are underlined below. I hope the hints are useful – you can always reveal the answer by clicking on the SPOILER button. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a    Soldiers having gathered around old token for remembrance (7)
MEMENTO: A 3-letter word for soldiers goes inside (having … around) a verb meaning gathered or came together plus the abbreviation for old

5a    Make a lot of noise about constant fog (7)
BECLOUD: Fog is a verb here. A (2,4) phrase meaning make a lot of noise goes around an algebraic constant

9a    Banks of Oder overcome by river in its rush (7)
TORRENT: The outer letters (banks) of Oder go inside (overcome by) a river that runs through Stoke

10a    Jazzman Ronnie, namely, Barker (7)
SCOTTIE: Surname of Jazzman Ronnie plus a Latin abbreviation meaning namely

11a    Substantial job as hired muscle? (5-4)
HEAVY-DUTY: A nice cryptic indication, this could read as a thug’s working shift

12a    After male leaves, dregs of society’re going to row (5)
SCULL: A 4-letter word for the dregs of society without the last M(ale), then add the contraction that would mean ‘re going to

13a    Thin good-for-nothing hasn’t succeeded (5)
WATER: Thin as in to dilute. A 6-letter good-for-nothing or idler without the S(ucceeded)

15a    Dollar per seed-head quoted for chancer (9)
BUCCANEER: Homophone (quoted) of: a slang word for dollar, another word for per (2-letter version since it comes before a vowel), plus the seed-head in wheat and other cereal

17a    Incompetent conservative Republican houses rejected Communist name (9)
BLUNDERER: The incompetent here is noun (a person). A 4-letter word for conservative (not tory) plus the abbreviation for R(epublican) contains (houses) a reversal of (rejected) a 3-letter communist plus the abbreviation for N(ame)

19a    Ill-defined personal appeal backs retiring (5)
TIMID: A reversal (backs) of both a 3-letter word for ill-defined or obscure plus ‘personal appeal’

22a    Suffer before dog’s home (5)
INCUR: A word for home comes before a dog

23a    Pub chain, each putting end to second simple eating-house (9)
BRASSERIE: Take a word for pub and a word for chain, and in each move the last letter to the second place

25a    Core of centrism to benefit Labour (7)
TRAVAIL: The central two letters (core) of centrism plus a verb meaning to benefit or to be of value to

26a    Rio must put in order one of its major industries (7)
TOURISM: Anagram (put in order) of RIO MUST

27a    Fellow feeling ‘thimple’ when representative makes an entrance (7)
EMPATHY: Another word for ‘thimple’ preserving the lisp includes (when … makes an entrance) a representative (in the house of commons)

28a    Mitigate report that covers support being withdrawn (7)
SWEETEN: Reversal (being withdrawn) of a report or tidings covering a golf support


1d    Dull hack produces first of new books (7)
MATTHEW: A 4-letter word meaning dull plus a verb meaning to hack

2d    Larger amount of Italian poet, never seeing English as incisive (7)
MORDANT: A 4-letter word meaning a larger amount of, and a 5-letter Italian poet of the Late Middle Ages, neither of which (never) have their last letter E(nglish)

3d    Poor donkey, having the wrong part doubled! (5)
NEEDY: A word for donkey, but change the doubling of  a central letter to the other central letter

4d    Be more than affected by general anaesthetic — and local more so? (9)
OUTNUMBER: A 3-letter word describing what you are when affected by a general anaesthetic, and the comparative (more so) of a 4-letter word describing what you are when affected by a local anaesthetic

5d    Article dropped by Sotheby’s unexpectedly generating lots of orders? (5)
BOSSY: An anagram (unexpectedly) of SO(the)BY’S without the definite article

6d    Cast iron’s founders to make a roll (9)
CROISSANT: Anagram (founders, as in collapses) of CAST IRON’S

7d    Ring and baronet lacking refinement become painfully obvious (7)
OBTRUDE: The letter that looks like a ring, the abbreviation for B(arone)T, and a word meaning lacking refinement or discourteous

8d    Resident departs with Pickwick’s man (7)
DWELLER: The abbreviation of D(eparts) plus Mr Pickwick’s valet in Dicken’s The Pickwick Papers

14d    Second note had animal securing tail for Christopher Robin (9)
REDBREAST: The second note on the sol-fa scale together with the contraction for had, plus an animal or brute containing the last letter (tail) of (Christophe)R

16d    Shakespearean contemporary volume introducing soldier possibly imprisoned by goddess (9)
CERVANTES: This Spanish writer is derived from the abbreviation of V(olume) preceding (introducing) a 6-legged soldier (perhaps, since soldier is just one example of this 6-legged creature), all contained inside (imprisoned by) the Roman goddess of agriculture

17d    Show annoyance in SW city when duck has flown east (7)
BRISTLE: A city in SW England without the letter O (when duck has flown), then add the abbreviation for E(ast)

18d    Note almost discordant sound in revolting release (7)
UNCLASP: The abbreviation for N(ote) plus a 5-letter discordant sound without the final letter, all inside a 2-letter word that can mean revolting or in revolt

20d    Damage to be deposing leader based on class struggle? (7)
MARXIST: A 3-letter verb meaning to damage, then a 5-letter verb meaning to be -without the first letter (deposing leader)

21d    Doctor meeting Irishman with amputated foot? That’s hardly likely (5,2)
DREAM ON: An abbreviation for doctor the a 6-letter Irish name without the last letter(with amputated foot, in a down clue)

23d    Secure not to have a clerical role? (5)
BELAY: Split (2,3) the answer would mean to have the opposite of a clerical role

24d    Regular specks of ketchup also put over dressing (5)
SAUCE: Reversed (put over) regular letters (regular specks of) in ‘ketchup also’

My favourite today is 5d. The cryptic indication in 11a made me smile and I thought the pub chain in 23a and the wrong double in 3d were very clever – they were my last to parse. There was plenty more to like – which were your favourite clues?

16 comments on “Toughie 1787

  1. I thought this was just wonderful and cements Notabilis in my mind as almost certainly my favourite Toughie setter. Too many genuinely inspired and original clues to fully enumerate, but I singled out most of the same ones for exceptional praise as our esteemed blogger. plus I even make a cameo appearance at 1d! Thanks both.

  2. Wonderful – and on the Toughie spectrum too – thank you Notabilis. 5d was one of my ‘clues I really liked’, but like Verlaine I found there were too many good clues to list them all.

  3. Ho hum – I was really hoping that you would rate it a little higher for difficulty, Dutch, but should have accepted by now that you are way ahead of me in the crossword competence stakes!
    Needed to do a bit of investigating to arrive at the answer for 16d and 5a didn’t exactly trip off the tongue but I managed all the rest – albeit it in a time that I’d be ashamed to admit.

    Favourite by a mile was 21d.

    Thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch whose help I needed for the full parsing of 23a – ‘simple’ is a rather inaccurate description of many 23a’s I’ve visited!

    1. Yes, the one pictured may have been originally but I’m not sure it can be described as simple these days

      oops just realised the pic was in twice, corrected.

      I’m not completely happy with time=difficulty thing, but it’ll do. It just that sometimes an easy puzzle takes me ages because i’m just not seeing synonyms etc, and sometimes a tricky one can be quick if you are on wavelength.

  4. Great puzzle – thanks Notabilis and thanks to Dutch for the blog. I’ll choose 1d, 3d and 5d for special mention (and 27a for the biggest laugh).

  5. Quite hard work, but very satisfying and enjoyable with a fair bit of guess ‘n check. Hardly any anagrams, mostly pure wordplay which is nice.
    Lots of favourites for different reasons, but I’ll leave it to 11a & 5d to fight it out for top spot.
    Many thanks to Notabilis for a fine puzzle, and to Dutch for the review.

  6. Pride before a fall – after the last 2 days of ‘easy’ Toughiies, or me thinking I’m suddenly brilliant. I’m a third of the way through this one and suspect I shall soon be looking at the hints. Learning all the time!!

  7. Too good a puzzle to single out individual clues, so I will nominate the northwest corner as my favourite for containing the excellent surface at 11a and the huge DOH moment when 1d yielded swiftly followed by 13a with a “how could you fail to see that earlier” to self. 3/5 from me with thanks to setter and blogger.

  8. After realising that I wrote the wrong ending in 20d, I finally managed to get 28a and 16d.
    This helped to finish this wonderful crossword.
    Thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch.

  9. Definitely tuned to my wavelength, steady progress and enjoyable throughout. As already said lots of stand out clues but I particularly enjoyed 27 for its sheer naivety. TY Notabilis And Dutch

  10. This has been a strange week for me in crossword-land. For the first time ever I have successfully completed all four toughies in the week. However, I was completely defeated by the SW corner of today’s back-pager. At present my sense of disappointment in the latter is outweighing my sense of accomplishment in the former. My thanks to all, along with my great appreciation of this blog and its many regular contributors.

  11. 18d was our last one in as it took ages to see the wordplay. We had two possibilities from the checkers and definition, one with an M for the penultimate letter and one with an S and it took us quite a bit of thinking to sort that out. We see that we are not the only ones to have got the biggest laugh out of 27a. Good level of difficulty and good fun.
    Thanks Notabilis and Dutch.

  12. i had actually finished this in the wee small hours of the morning, courtesy of yet another poor night’s sleep, but haven’t been able to comment until now. I loved it, not just because I solved it but it was fun, too, although there were a couple I never managed to parse. My favorites are 10A, 19A, 27A (definitely a big laugh), and the wonderful 5D. Many thanks to Notabilis and Dutch.

  13. Absolutely loved this one. It did take me quite a long time and more than one sitting, but it was worth every second as I pulled everything together in the end.

    Favourites? How could I possibly choose?

    Many thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch.

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