Toughie 1799 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1799

Toughie No 1799 by proXimal

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

I was quite relieved that proXimal was not at his most fiendish today – the result is an enjoyable puzzle with lots of clever and entertaining clues. I enjoyed the attention to reversal indicators that are specific for down clues.

The definitions are underlined as usual. You can click on the NOT YET! buttons to reveal the answer. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Sudoku, perhaps, mostly dead popular with boring person (5,6)
LATIN SQUARE: A 4-letter word for dead without the final letter (mostly), a 2-letter word for popular, and a boring or old-fashioned person

10a    Concerning bill makes you rise up (5)
REACT: A 2-letter word for concerning and a legislated bill

11a    Victor, one in woolly costume from Russia (9)
MUSCOVITE: The letter represented by the international radio code word Victor plus the Roman numeral for one go inside an anagram (woolly) of COSTUME

12a    Maybe jeans male leaves by fireplace to blacken (9)
DENIGRATE: The material jeans are made of without the final M(ale), and another word for fireplace

13a    English author making comeback? No time for Scandinavian one (5)
IBSEN: The reversal (making comeback)of a 6-letter English author without the final T(ime) gives a Scandinavian playwright

14a    Not part that’s English, North American car part (6)
ENTIRE: The abbreviations of English and North plus the American spelling of a car part that goes around the wheel

16a    Watchman shelled by soldiers — they’re in competition (8)
ENTRANTS: A 6-letter watchman without the first and last letters (shelled) and some 6-legged soldiers

18a    Cook keeps mellow with increased pressure to make trifles (8)
FRIPPERY: A 3-letter verb for a way of cooking contains (keeps) a 4-letter word meaning mellow (as in soft and well-matured) with an extra P (increased pressure)

20a    Current to stay bearing to west part of Europe (6)
IBERIA: The physics symbol for current, a 2-letter verb that can mean to stay (let it **), and the reversal (to west) of a 3-letter bearing

23a    Bereft of father, one decorating place in tomb (5)
INTER: Someone who decorates (a house) without the initial 2-letter father

24a    Fondly recalling long vacations abroad, leaving Avon relaxed (9)
NOSTALGIC: An anagram (abroad) of LONG VACATIONS minus (leaving) an anagram (relaxed) of AVON

26a    Agree minor changes in film (9)
HARMONIZE: An anagram (changes) of MINOR goes inside a film or mist

27a    Irritation from husband apparently needing food (5)
CHAFE: The abbreviation for husband is found inside an eating establishment (apparently needing food)

28a    Sick reptile stuck in stone vessel (7,4)
SAILING BOAT: A word for sick and a large reptile of the slithery variety go inside the abbreviation for ST(one)



2d    Military man elected, not for the first time (5)
AGAIN: A Turkish military commander plus a 2-letter word that can mean elected

3d    23 holds as an example (7)
INTEGER: An interesting all-in-one. The answer for 23 contains (holds) the abbreviation for ‘as an example’

4d    Craft piece subject to Anglo-French article exchange (6)
SAMPAN: Take a piece or specimen and replace the French article at the end with an English one

5d    Ingenues cast without some sense (8)
UNSEEING: An anagram (cast) of INGENUES

6d    Note island dock to the north is less restricted (7)
ROOMIER: The second note on the sol-fa scale, the abbreviation for island and a 4-letter verb meaning to dock (a boat), all reversed (to the north, in a down clue)

7d    Violin part aged with scale in auditorium, Italian landmark (6,2,5)
BRIDGE OF SIGHS: A part of the violin supporting the strings, a 2-letter preposition that can mean aged (a surprise to me, but it’s meaning 23 in Chambers), and a homophone (in auditorium) of a word meaning scale or magnitude

8d    Drink Frenchman’s sauce up (8)
PILSENER: A common French name (don’t forget to include the ‘S) plus a word for sauce or cheek, all reversed (up, in a down clue). And this is my favourite one:

9d    Finally gain chastisement for rigging sporting events (6,7)
TENNIS MATCHES: An anagram (for rigging) of (gai)N+CHASTISEMENT

15d    Sound of some flying butterflies (8)
TWITTERS: Two meanings, bird sounds and nerves

17d    King stuffs face with another at dinnertime (8)
PRANDIAL: The 1-letter abbreviation for King goes inside a slang word for face, followed by another word for face

19d    Rows primarily on erected timber bound by climber (7)
PERGOLA: An all-in-one. The first letter of (primarily) Rows plus the reversal (erected, in a down clue) of a piece of timber, all inside a climbing plant (that produces a common vegetable)

21d    This youngster keen to play for Beckenbauer, perhaps … (4,3)
BEAR CUB: A compound anagram: An anagram (to play) of the answer (this youngster) + KEEN produces BECKENBAUER

22d    … like winger or at the back (6)
ASTERN: Split (2,4) the answer could mean ‘like a winger’

25d    Taking part in bobsleigh, an Afro-Caribbean nation (5)
GHANA: Hidden in the clue (Taking part in…)

For the clueing, I liked the compound anagram (21d) and the two all-in-ones (3d,19d) with 3d being my favourite today. I also liked the double definition (5d). I thought the surfaces of 1a, 5d, 9d and 25d were rather clever. Which clues did you like?

12 comments on “Toughie 1799

  1. Great puzzle from proXimal.
    The “of” in 7d did make me smile.
    Only held up by 17d and 28a for which I award the joint favourite prize.
    Thanks to him and to Dutch.

  2. I agree that proXimal today is gentler than usual – thanks to him and to Dutch for the review. I’ve never heard the 15d term (in the plural) used to mean butterflies – it usually appears in a phrase such as ‘all of a *******’. I liked 14a and 27a but my favourite was the excellent 3d.

  3. A good puzzle requiring full attention; I don’t always finish ProXimal’s offerings so this must be on the lighter side. I had never heard of 18a and I could not parse 16a for quite a while, even though I had put it in. Didn’t know 1a, either, but it was well clued.

    Some very enjoyable clues, as usual – 21d, 28a, 8d & 7d among others, but 3d takes the top spot for me too.
    Thanks ProXimal, and thanks to Dutch for explaining 16a. (D’oh!!)

  4. Just popped in to see how Dutch rated this one. Should have known that he’d find it benign as I’ve got almost halfway through!
    Not looking at the review or comments yet – hopefully back later with a more complete grid.

    1. Did far better than usual with a proXimal despite getting off on the wrong foot by putting in ‘brain number’ for 1a. It almost worked!
      The only two I needed the hints for were 14a and 15d. Like Gazza, I haven’t heard the latter used as a plural in the sense of ‘butterflies’.
      Thanks to Dutch for the full parsing of 7d (the ‘of’ defeated me) and also 21d where I realised I was using some of the letters in Beckenbauer but foolishly forgot to look at what was left!
      13a always makes me smile – anyone else remember ‘poem by Henry Gibson’?

      Podium places went to 12&28a plus 3&22d.

      Many thanks to proXimal for allowing me a chance with this one and to Dutch for the help where needed. The 23a pic made me smile!

  5. I usually approach a Friday toughie with apprehension, but I very much enjoyed this. I was fortunate in getting all four of the long clues around the outside early on which was a great help. I hadn’t heard of the term in 1 ac. but I agree with LetterboxRoy in that the word play was very clear. I had met 18 ac – John Betjeman’s ‘And is it true? For if it is, No loving fingers tying strings Around those tissued fripperies,’. I couldn’t decided whether 15 d. should end with an ‘s’ or a ‘y’ (and in the end chose the wrong one). Many thanks to proXimal and Dutch.

  6. We enjoyed this and finished in good time for a Friday. But had to check on 3d and 19d – whatever happened to the ? at the end of an all-in-one?
    Our neighbour in the pub was a mine of information on Beckenbauer (and probably all things football) but that gave us no reason for our answer. Then he (who says he only occasionally does a cryptic crossword in the metro) had a proper look at the clue and explained it to us. Good for him but sad for us as we like to get there ourselves.
    At the end of another good toughie week we will thank all the betters and sloggers, and god bless PJ.

    1. I don’t think an all-in-one requires a ? – not unless there is a definition by example or some fanciful element.

  7. No wonder we could not parse 1a, we had put in magic square. Further research this morning and we discovered the correct answer (which was new to us) and also the fact that the diagonals do not necessarily add up in Sudoku. The rest of it all came together after a significant input of time and effort with plenty of smiles along the way.
    Thanks ProXimal and Dutch.

  8. Some clever clues in a puzzle that took far longer for me to solve than I’d guess the more Toughie savvy will have taken. That said, it was very satisfying to actually complete a Friday Toughie, albeit with help from Dutch. Favourite clues included 7d and 28a. Would never have got the first part of 1a without a little cheating, as I’ve never come across the term before. Thanks to proXimal and Dutch.

  9. I started this with some trepidation and no real anticipation of being able to finish it. To my joy, I managed to complete it. That, of course, added to the pleasure.

    My fave was 3d. Very clever. I also liked 13a and 7d very much, albeit it I didn’t know the 2-letter preposition in 7d, for which many thanks to Dutch. It took a while before the penny dropped re 8d, and that’s another clue I really liked. And the same goes for 1a. I could only parse it one way but was very unsure of my answer until I read the interesting entry in Chambers. I could go on…

    Appreciative thanks to ProXimal for a most enjoyable crossword and to Dutch for a super blog.

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