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Toughie 1800

Toughie No 1800 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating  – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***


Welcome to another week of Toughies.

As is so often the case, I find Giovanni puzzles hard to rate for difficulty.  With no fiendish wordplay I filled the grid at a fast-for-Kitty pace, but did need the odd peek at references.  I did enjoy it, and hope you did too.

The definitions are underlined in the clues below, and you’ll find the answers inside the buttons.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative – click only if you wish to reveal all.



7a    Old fellow attending church in posh car is one given to extravagance (8)
ROMANCER:  O(ld) and a male person next to an abbreviated church, all inside a two letter abbreviation for a luxury car 

9a    What boatman uses in row across two lakes (6)
TILLER:  The boatperson would use this to steer.  A row or level outside two occurrences of the abbreviation for lake

10a   Our lot meeting when Dai et al. celebrate in German city (6)
WEIMAR:  I and others (2) next to a date, represented as a number (Roman numeral) next to a month (abbreviated).  Knowing that Dai is the Welsh variant of David might help you to pin down that date

11a   Support isn’t accepted by chief (8)
MAINTAIN:  For isn’t we want a contracted form of are not, used informally for am/is not or have/has not.  He’s inside (accepted by) chief or principal

12a   Unfocused brat creates din, needing to be sorted out (14)
SCATTERBRAINED:  An anagram (needing to be sorted out) of BRAT CREATES DIN

15a   One sort of learner embracing another in society (4)
CLUB:  A trainee, especially a newspaper reporter, engulfing (embracing) another type of learner – specifically an abbreviation of one

17a   High-level operator having renewed enthusiasm when returning (5)
TILER:  Someone who works high up, physically speaking (on top of a building rather than in one), is a reversal of rekindled

19a   Loud noise lacking in our reticent person (4)
CLAM:  A loud noise becomes, when OUR is removed, a taciturn individual

20a   Such a vile man — it could be me! (4,10)
MALE CHAUVINIST:  An anagram (could be) of SUCH A VILE MAN IT.  Could our setter be one?  Well, I couldn’t possibly comment, but perhaps he’ll pop in to reassure us that he isn’t!

23a   Very angry chant when side goes in (8)
STEAMING:  Take a word to chant musically and insert a sporting side

25a   French writer‘s home flooded by water channel (6)
RACINE:  Our usual two letter home surrounded by (flooded by) a channel bringing water to or from a millwheel

27a   Grave is end, leading to start of eternity? (6)
SEVERE:  End (verb) plus the beginning of eternity

28a   Security devices, out of date, sent back in bundles (8)
PADLOCKS:  A word meaning dated reversed (sent back) inside bundles or parcels



1d    Wretched dwelling inadequate for south coast location (4)
HOVE:  Take a lowly dwelling and make it inadequate by removing its last letter.  The location is Brighton.  Well, Hove actually (click the picture)

2d    Expression of frustration from little fellow very angry, upset (6)
DAMMIT:  The little fellow is a shortened male name (and there’s a famous literary Tiny one too).  Follow him with very angry or 23a and reverse the lot

3d    Walk when there’s no parking for vehicle (4)
TRAM:  Walk, trudge or ramble — with the P removed (no parking), we are left with an alternative, vehicular, form of transport

4d    Army going up and down, one about to enter that old territory (6)
ATTICA:  The abbreviation for what is now the Amy Reserve, reversed (going up, in a down clue) and then forwards (going down), contain one in Roman numbering and an abbreviation for about

5d    Climbing mountain, something good for health according to one philosopher (8)
PLATONIC:  A high mountain, reversed (climbing, in a down clue) with a chaser of something healthy (especially when mixed with gin, perhaps?)

6d    Like pub landlords being detained? (6,4)
BEHIND BARS:  This means in locked up, but with a different interpretation of the second word, would be where pub landlords might be expected to spend a reasonable proportion of their time

8d    Most abrupt and ill-mannered person on trial (7)
CURTEST:  A contemptible person followed by (on, in a down clue) an experiment

13d   Change of a climate is bringing disasters (10)
CALAMITIES:  Make an anagram (change) of A CLIMATE IS to bring about these catastrophes

14d   Son hiding in Welsh location with lake and wood (5)
BALSA:  S(on) inside a lakeside Welsh town (pictured).  Not, as I was originally thinking, L(ake) and S(on) inside BAA! 

16d   Experts sitting under massive trees (8)
BULLACES:  Some experts after (under, in a down clue) an adjective which can mean massive or strong

18d   Idolised revolutionary always getting captured (7)
REVERED:  One of our usual revolutionary types has inside (captured) always

21d   This person’s wearing dear Parisian robe (6)
CHIMER:  How the setter might say he is, clothed in dear in French (Parisian).  I didn’t know this word which Chambers tells me is a long sleeveless tabard or the upper robe worn by a bishop (illustrated below).  The internet prefers its alternative spelling with an E appended

22d   Bits of food Diana chose, wasting some (6)
NACHOS:  A lurker indicated a little differently to usual.  Take some of the fourth and fifth words of clue and discard the rest (wasting some)

24d   Celebratory church event not opening? It is opening (4)
GAPE:  The church feast is this one.  Without its first letter (opening) it’s an opening

26d   Name former US President as bringer of victory (4)
NIKE:  Putting together N(ame) with the nickname of a former US president brings us to victory, in the shape of this goddess, bringer of victory


Thanks to Giovanni for a pleasant start to the Toughie week.  I thought there were some nice anagrams today, of which the semi &lit at 20a made me smile.  Where were your smiles to be found?  (… and don’t say on your faces!)


29 comments on “Toughie 1800

  1. Fairly gentle by Giovanni’s standards, but there were still a few of the usual unfamiliar words (16d and 21d) and the German city took a bit of seeing.

    Thanks to Kitty and giovanni

  2. Nice start to the week – favourite was 20 a ,such a neat clue , least favourite 10a ,why is et al. mentioned ?
    Ta to Giovanni and Kitty
    ps I also had your original thoughts in 14d

  3. Stil not used to mild expletives coming from our Don (2d). And I also wondered whether he was being unnecessarily self-deprecating in 20a – I hope so anyway. He’s normally quick to pick up on any gender bias (so well done in 9a Kitty).

    A solid puzzle, not too difficult or obscure, though the German town was a new one to me (and I had to check the robe).

    many thanks Kitty for the review with great pics and thanks very much Giovanni

    1. I too was a little surprised to see 2d.

      The picture for 21d was carefully selected in honour of the way Giovanni will gently chastise anyone using clergyman to clue a member of the clergy.

      (On the other hand, I decided to allow the pic I found for 22d, deciding that I can always claim that it’s a topical one for the 20as should anyone complain!)

    2. well done – those pics have a wonderful juxtaposition of colours – the orange is very nice

    3. To be quite honest , when I saw little fellow= f , I had other expletives in mind , but they didn’t fit and I just couldn’t see the Telegraph publishing it !

  4. I too was a bit surprised at 2d. I’ve certainly never heard of 16d and 21d.

    My COTD was 6d, which is where my local pub landlord should be.

    Thanks to The Don and Kitty.

  5. Not too tricky for a Giovanni.
    I failed on the 10a city.
    I tried to make something out of Machiavelli for 20a until I looked up how to spell him. Oh dear.
    My favourite was 12a.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Kitty.

  6. I did think more than twice before writing in 2d – as Kitty commented, we’re not used to getting even the mildest of expletives from the Don. Perhaps he thought it quite in keeping with his declared 20a personality!

    More in keeping with what we do expect – I had to check on the French author and the particular definition of ‘bull’. The church event was new to me as were both the 16d trees and the bishop’s robe.
    Failed to parse 10a for which there is no excuse living where I do but I did get 14d very quickly which sort of made up for it!

    I liked the image created by the surface of 7a (and how true it is) but my top spot goes to 20a.

    Thanks to DG and also to our Girl Tuesday for the review and the pics – well, most of them, the one for 12a made me feel just a bit ‘ick……..

  7. The Welsh location (a Droitism?) in 14d, the trees in 16d and the robe in 21a were all new but able to be worked out from the wordplay. I thought the long anagrams were particularly good. A very pleasant solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and Kitty.

  8. I had the same problems as KiwiColin , so I feel in very good company.
    And I had the same likes.
    Thanks to Giovanni for a fun diversion and to OGT, Kitty.

    1. I’m reasonably sure that the Welsh location has turned up on previous occasions – possibly in back-pagers. I would ask Mr. K to check but I think he’s somewhat up to his eyes in work ‘stuff’ at the moment. Maybe Kitty would ask him once he’s (hopefully) met his deadline.

      1. What occurs to me is that Bala is a version of ” Baile “, ( pronounced Balye )which means home in Gaelic , and many Irish towns have it in their name.

        1. Having just done a bit of homework it would seem that ‘Bala’ in Welsh refers to the outflow from a lake or the isthmus between two lakes. The Welsh word for home is cartref and homestead is tyddyn.

          1. I’m sure you’re right , while Scots Gaelic and Irish Gaelic are very close , if not the same, Welsh , also a celtic language ,seems utterly incomprehensible to me.

  9. Jane is right. I’ve looked at my copy of The Database, which goes up to the end of March this year, and have found our Bala in three Cryptics and a Notabilis Toughie as well as in a couple of Quickies:

    Date Puzzle Clue Answer
    Sat 1 Mar 2003 Cryptic 23991 A small party back in Wales (4) BALA
    Sat 17 Jul 2004 Cryptic 24422 Preserve indeed found in lake in Wales, it’s a spicy dish (9) JAMBALAYA
    Fri 13 Oct 2006 Cryptic 25122 Esoteric tradition of accountant on Welsh lake (6) CABALA
    Fri 3 Mar 2017 Toughie 1771 (Notabilis) What do sheep have to say about lake, one in Wales? (4) BALA
    Mon 28 Jan 2002 Quick 23651 Welsh lake (4) BALA
    Thu 16 Mar 2017 Quick 28376 Welsh lake (4) BALA
    1. Thank you, Kitty. It must be the Notabilis and the Quick that I remember it from – think I was too busy with work/daughters/cats and dogs to have time for crosswords on the other dates!

    2. For comparison, here are the occurrences in the Guardian cryptic archive up to the same date:

      Date Puzzle Setter Clue Answer
      Tue 18 Dec 2001 Cryptic 22395 Bunthorne Welsh water taxi’s introducing hidden depths here (7) CABBALA
      Wed 2 Oct 2002 Cryptic 22640 Araucaria 22 [22a = Crimean] hood in lake (cold) and stream (hot) (9) BALACLAVA
      Fri 15 Nov 2002 Cryptic 22678 Janus Welsh lake not about to become a much larger one (7) BALATON
      Thu 29 Jul 2004 Cryptic 23207 Pasquale King by a British lake establishing mystical tradition (7) KABBALA
      Wed 22 Sep 2004 Cryptic 23254 Araucaria Lake like a  …  they say like a guitar (9) BALALAIKA
      Sat 22 Jan 2005 Prize 23358 Araucaria Battle by lake with cold and hot material (9) BALACLAVA
      Thu 17 Aug 2006 Cryptic 23847 Araucaria Lake has more or less volcanic effect on headgear (9) BALACLAVA
        1. It seems that it fell completely out of favour after 2006. Nothing at all more recently except for those two Telegraph appearances this year.

  10. 2*/3* and I’d never heard of 21d. On the other hand, I loved 10a. My thanks to the Don and Kitty.

  11. All good and fair from Giovanni, very enjoyable. 6d is a nice clue which made me smile. Not sure about 20a; ‘me’, if I (could be) were ‘such’..? Maybe I’m just confusing myself!?
    Many thanks to The Don and to Kitty for the nice orange colour and funny illustrations.

  12. Great review which I needed for the old territory as I was looking for another army in the down part of the clue.
    Apart from that it was a steady solve ending with the German town and the South Coast resort which took the longest head scratching.
    Thanks to the Don and to Kitty

  13. Late again. I, too, have been chasing deadlines. All was good except for 10A, which defeated me. I was partial to 19 and 20A and 2D. Thanks to Giovanni and Kitty.

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