Toughie 1790 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1790

Toughie No 1790 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Another puzzle of two halves. The bottom half went in fairly easily but the top half needed a lot of effort. I then had to think hard about some of the wordplay. But overall I enjoyed the challenge

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Rockwell, say, showing kind fellow by a church (8)
TYPEFACE: A kind (sort) + F (fellow) + A + the Church of England

5a    A quiffed man on airline grew smaller (6)
ABATED: A + an airline + a man (from the 1950s) with a quiff

10a    Resultant policy that’s damaged aspect of a dictatorship? (11,4)
PERSONALITY CULT: An anagram (damaged) of RESULTANT POLICY = excessive adulation of someone in public life

11a    View extraordinary number in dome (7)
OPINION: An extraordinary number (3.14159…) inside a dome (head)

12a    Civil rights campaigner to nail head of syndicate? (7)
KINGPIN: A civil rights campaigner assassinated in 1968 + ‘nail’

13a    Introduction about America by legal graduate in training (8)
PREAMBLE: ‘About’ (2), America (2) and a legal graduate (2) inside ‘training’ (2)

15a    Understood amount a citizen’s invested (5)

18a    Lacking time, one delays figure that’s recently awoken? (5)
RISER: Remove the Latin word for time in music (5) from a word for someone who uses delaying tactics (10) and you are left with someone who has got out of bed. It took me a long time to work this out and I don’t like it much

20a    Replace drink factory (8)
SUPPLANT: ‘To drink’ + a factory

23a    Trouble ahead of all others in SA city with a number leaving (7)
DISTURB: Three letters denoting ‘first’ or ‘ahead of all others’ inside a South African city with A N (number) removed

25a    One undistinguished set of players entering a country, not Italy (4-3)
ALSO RAN: An orchestra (set of players) inside A and an Asian country with the letter I (Italy) removed

26a    Debater lent skis possibly for idle enjoyment (4,3,8)

27a    Admission in French service maybe (6)
ENTRÉE: The French word for ‘in’ + a plant such as a service

28a    Spiteful single victor returns ahead of sumo wrestling (8)
VENOMOUS: A reversal of ‘single’ and V (victor) + an anagram (wrestling) of SUMO


1d    Very fine trophy in effect? (6)
TIPTOP: The first half of the word is a reversal indicator and the second half is a trophy in reverse

2d    Advice by Republican in foreign capital showing bias (5,4)
PARTI PRIS: Advice (perhaps about which horse to back at Aintree this afternoon) and R (Republican) inside a European capital. A term I didn’t know

3d    Peer round island toured by those running sport in state (7)
FLORIDA: A peer round I (island) inside the governing organisation of a sport

4d    Commercial series that’s pulled in office (5)
CHAIN: I assume there’s two or more definitions here, possibly a series of shops under the same ownership, something that’s pulled and a symbol of office. I’m not sure exactly what the setter had in mind

6d    It’s put on arm in medical area with sick note (7)
BAYONET: Something fixed to a firearm = a medical area + an anagram (sick) of NOTE

7d    Source of tension with uproar striking US heart, perhaps (5)
TRUMP: The first letter of Tension + an uproar with the letters US removed = a playing card that could be a heart

8d    Greek character observed in lift set off (8)
DETONATE: A reversal (in lift) of a Greek letter and ‘observed’

9d    Tonic in hitchhiker’s request? (4-2-2)
PICK-ME-UP: When split (4,2,2) it could be a request by a hitchhiker

14d    Detective overlooking corpse is invasive type (8)
BUSYBODY: A detective (4) + a corpse (4)

16d    Line retained by actor not adapted for singer (9)
CONTRALTO: An anagram (adapted) of ACTOR NOT round L (line)

17d    Pair of critics characterising food as trustworthy (8)
CREDIBLE: The first two letters of CRITICS + ‘characterising food’

19d    By the sound of it, regret fat in dish (7)
ROULADE: A homophone of ‘to regret’ (3) and ‘fat’ (4)

21d    Standing order blocking renovation of hotel in African country (7)
LESOTHO: SO (standing order) inside an anagram (renovation) of HOTEL

22d    Impositions aboard American ship touring Spain (6)
ONUSES: ‘Aboard’ (2) + the designation of an American ship (3) round E (Spain)

24d    Shelter in road in wintry weather (5)
SLEET: ‘Shelter’ inside an abbreviation fora type of road

25d    One’s wet stroll — to lose weight, that is (5)
ALKIE: One that’s wet (i.e. fond of the booze) = ‘to stroll’ with the letter W (weight) removed + ‘that is’

23 comments on “Toughie 1790

  1. I really enjoyed this Shamus puzzle (except for the 19d homophone!) and I even got the 1950s chap who I missed yesterday. Thanks to Shamus and Bufo. My favourite was 2d.
    I took the ‘office’ in 4d to be a slang word for lavatory.

    1. I wouldn’t have worked 4D out because I wasn’t aware that office = lavatory. So I’m happy now Gazza.

  2. Just crept over the edge of my Toughie spectrum, despite taking less time than Mr T in the back page. My favourite was 4d as remembering ‘the usual offices’ euphemism made me smile

    Thanks to Shamus and Bufo

  3. This one beat me. Couldn’t solve 2d (new phrase for me) and 25d and need the hints to untangle a few others that I just biffed in (being pretty sure they were correct). Enjoyed the rest though even though it took me an age to wade through. :-)

  4. That was most enjoyable and also quicker than the back pager.1a had me puzzled for a while . It happens to be a well known school in Tipperary but I knew it couldn’t be that.
    7d was my last one in .
    It’s difficult to pick a favourite , either 14d or 9d.
    Thanks to shamus and Bufo.

        1. Jane is the only one who thinks he’s Irish. The rest of us just know he’s using one of his private investigator aliases :roll:

          1. Sadly, I have been forced to accept that, CS, although I still maintain that he looks Irish! It is, however, invariably true that he includes at least one Irish reference in the majority of his puzzles.

            If you pop in, Shamus, perhaps you’d back me up on the latter assertion?

            1. I thought he was Irish too for a while , because of some clues that he posted . But I was put straight.

              1. Our setter gets his alias from Shamus Town, in the Raymond Chandler novels about someone with a name which is very similar to his own real name! Watch out for the credits on Only Connect as he is usually there as a question setter.

  5. Took me quite a while to complete this one. I had to ask Mr. Google about Rockwell and the 2d bias and hadn’t met the 14d detective previously. I also needed Bufo’s help with the parsing of 18a & 1d.
    Always strikes me as odd that a word relating to alcohol use should be spelled with a ‘k’.

    Top three for me were 7,9&19d – no surprise there, Gazza always picks the clever ones and I go for the funnies!

    Thanks to the twinkly-eyed leprechaun and gratitude to Bufo for the help where needed.

  6. I finished under my own steam but spent altogether too long trying to work Norman or artist into 1A, and then the penny dropped. Managed to drag 2D up from somewhere and then parsed afterwards. I was looking for a generic term for a set of players in 25A, not such a specific one, so that one remained unparsed. 18A didn’t float my boat either. I particularly liked 11A, 26A and 9D, but the trophy goes to 1D, with 4D getting the silver medal. Thanks Samuel and Bufo.

  7. !8a was the one that beat us. We had the right answer from the definition and had tried adding all sorts of time letters and words but did not get as far as the correct 5 letter one. Like Bufo we had not heard of office as a lavatory euphemism but decided it had to be. Not a quick solve and heaps of fun.
    Thanks Shamus and Bufo.

  8. Finished in 3* time but needed 3 hints in the NE corner, so 4* is fair enough. The same for enjoyment; some fine clues here, of which 25a was my favourite. Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  9. Solved in about ***/**** time, though not without a few lucky guesses here and there. Definitely not easier than the back pager, which was solved in about half the time.

  10. Bottom half went in easily – top half a struggle. I hadn’t come across 2d. Needed 3 hints – thanks for those Bufo. 4*/4* for me. Finished this morning. 6d was my favoutite once the penny had dropped. x=49.

  11. In full agreement with all the others who found this a grid of two halves: the bottom was simple, the top not so much. I didn’t parse the timeless delayer or the office puller properly, so thanks Bufo & co! And thanks to the setter for a decent midweek challenge. I enjoyed the Rockwell penny drop moment too.

  12. I struggled through this, but couldn’t finish it without hints. Quite a lot of lego for a Shamus puzzle, I thought.
    Lots to like though, with 1a & 6d hanging around the top spot.
    Many thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the tips.

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