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Toughie 1814

Toughie No 1814 by proXimal

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Another Thursday and another hard morning at the Toughie gridface trying to chisel out the answers to today’s clues. And they sure needed a lot of chiselling out. I knew it was going to be a struggle when my first read-through of the clues yielded me exactly nothing. But once the first answer went in I was able to work outwards from that until the grid was eventually filled. The puzzle was difficult even for a proXimal puzzle but it made a change to get a really tough Toughie on a Thursday and I enjoyed the challenge

Across Clues

1a Laurel, Tom and Dick in conversation being crude (5)
BASIC: A homophone of another name for the laurel tree and the word for which ‘Tom and Dick’ is Cockney rhyming slang

4a Home ground unfinished, with little space originally to house footballers (2,7)
EN FAMILLE: A French term meaning ‘at home’ = a little space in printing + the organisation that runs soccer in England + ‘ground using a machine’ with the last letter removed

9a To find fault, get in tradesman (9)
CARPENTER: ‘To find fault’ (4) + ‘to get in’ (5)

10a The less obvious code with letters cycled (5)
THOSE: This was my last one in and I needed Chambers to confirm the definition. ‘The less obvious ones’ = a moral code with the first letter placed at the end

11a At which point should I stop wild hyenas biting wife? (3,4)
SAY WHEN: An anagram (wild) of HYENAS round W (wife). This was my first one in

12a Number look around fish store (7)
KEEPNET: A reversal of a cardinal number and ‘to look’ = something used by anglers to put their catch in

13a Young soldiers losing track (6)
INFANT: Remove RY (railway = track) from foot soldiers

15a Playing with Tom Jones, say, not for all to see (8)
FONDLING: Remove U (for all to see) from the description of Tom Jones that appears in the full title of Fielding’s novel

18a Foolish European to carry around placard in Revolution (8)
GULLIBLE: A reversal (in Revolution) of E (English) and ‘to carry’ (3) around a placard (4)

20a Poorest area of best-loved city (6)
FAVELA: I must admit to having to do a word search for this because it’s a word that I didn’t know. A shanty town in Brazil = a slang term for ‘best-loved’ + a city in Califonia

23a Demand, without regret, cruel foreigner’s love (7)
CLAMOUR: CRUEL with RUE (regret) removed + a foreign word for ‘love’

24a Split trousers pop damaged were useless (7)
FLOPPED: ‘Split’ or ‘made oneself scarce’ goes round (or trousers) an anagram (damaged) of POP

26a Spoils brought back with mass offensive (5)
STORM: A reversal of ‘spoils’ or ‘becomes spoiled’ + M (mass) = an offensive or direct assault

27a Common musical instrument for newbie (9)
GREENHORN: A common (e.g. in a village) + a brass instrument = a raw, inexperienced youth

28a Went off semi-detached, well-known retreat (9)
DETONATED: A reversal (retreat) of the first half of the word DETACHED and ‘well-known’

29a Not completely secure place (5)
STEAD: Remove the last letter from ‘secure’

Down Clues

1d Movement of sportsperson helps side (9)
BACKSWING: The first movement of a sportsperson’s (e.g. a golfer’s) arms when hitting the ball = ‘helps’ + a side

2d Quick to grab a shower (5)
SPRAY: ‘Quick’ or ‘nimble’ round A

3d People study tailless bird (7)
CHECHEN: People from the Caucasus = ‘to study’ with the last letter removed + a domestic fowl. I hope that’s OK. It’s not a very helpful definition especially as Chambers doesn’t give it as a plural form

4d Article replaced by European in living area (6)
EXTENT: Take a word meaning ‘living’ or ‘still existing’ and replace A (article) by E (European)

5d Reservation to get table at front, upon hearing critic’s remarks (4,4)
FORT KNOX: The best I can do is this. A reservation (where the US gold reserve is held) = ‘to’ + T (the first letter of TABLE) + a homophone of critic’s remarks. Can anyone come up with anything better?

6d One related to ‘Ol’ Man River’ — it’s a grower (7)
MATWEED: A 2-letter word meaning ‘old woman’ + a river on the England-Scotland border = a variety of moorland grass

7d Polynesians peeled bananas to be served with onions (9)
LYONNAISE: An anagram (bananas) of OLYNESIAN, i.e. POLYNESIANS with the first and last letters removed

8d Choose new bracelet, not needing female support (5)
ELECT: An anagram (new) of CELET, i.e. BRACELET less BRA (female support)

14d Row around a boat, just beginning to crack up (4,5)
FALL ABOUT: ‘To row’ or ‘to quarrel’ (4,3) goes round A B (first letter of BOAT) to give ‘to collapse with laughter’

16d Joyful, delighted and delirious to release hit novel (9)
GLADDENED: An anagram (delirious) of DELIGHTED AND after removal of the letters HIT

17d Secure both sides on fire guards (3,5)
ALL RIGHT: L (left) and R (right) inside ‘on fire’

19d Knight in chivalrous tale supports island race (7)
IRONMAN: I (island) + N (knight) inside a French- derived word for a tale of chivalry = an endurance race (presumably won by someone of exceptional strength)

21d After introduction to accountant, strapped son is rich (7)
ABOUNDS: A (first letter of ACCOUNTANT) + ‘strapped’ + S (son)

22d Anger aged female on purpose (6)
OFFEND: ‘To anger’ = ‘aged’ (2) + F (female) + a purpose

23d Examined the fourth victim? (5)
CASED: ‘Examined (possibly with a view to burglary)’ = a victim + the letter denoting the fourth in a sequence

25d One poor parking place (5)
PROLE: A member of the poorest class = P (parking) + ‘place’

I think I’ll need to get a new chisel before next week


20 comments on “Toughie 1814

  1. My first message got lost in the ether :(

    The chestnut at 9a was my first one in. My favourite clue 11a was second and then after that I struggled for a while and sent the customary email asking ‘Is it me or Mr X?’ – It wasn’t just me!!

    I chiselled away on and off all morning and most of lunchtime but got there in the end.

    Thanks, I think, to Mr X and to Bufo too. Off to the dentist’s (again) :( which may possibly be less stressful

  2. If this is the Thursday Toughie what can be lined up for tomorrow? I did enjoy the struggle – thanks to proXimal and to Bufo for the review. I agree with CS on 11a being favourite but I also ticked 15a, 24a and 1d.
    In 5d I took ‘to get’ to mean ‘for’ as in ‘I just popped out to get some milk’.

  3. Very difficult. Managed half before needing hints. The explanation for 28a is faulty.
    Congratulations to anyone finishing this unaided!

  4. Ouch! took ages, and did not parse it 10a and 5d – so thanks Bufo for those. All your parsings look fine to me, Bufo, though the “get” in 5d does seem odd (would it be ‘gets’ if it’s a concatenator?) and Gazza may be right

    Quite a few times I thought I’d better leave it and go do something else, but then i’d see another clue and kept at it a bit longer.

    The wild hyenas made me laugh too and i liked 2d, 7d, 19d

    Many thanks Bufo for sweating it out and thanks very much proximal for the challenge

  5. Took me a very long time, but a superb challenge. I struggled for ages with 25d, which I thought must be ‘prone,’ but I couldn’t parse it. I don’t know 20a either, and was lucky to deduce it. Plenty of ingenious and surprising clues, including 12a, 6d, 14d and 7d, but my favourite was 19d. Many thanks indeed ProXimal. If this was a Thursday Toughie it must surely be Elgar at his most fiendish tomorrow ?

  6. It is only Thursday, isn’t it?
    Almost got there but a wrong answer at 19d left me with no hope of getting 26a. I had ‘Vorian’ as the chivalrous knight (Game of Thrones apparently) which made my ‘race’ the indigenous people of the Ivory Coast – seemed OK at the time. I also had ‘trove’ in 10a – made as much sense to me as the correct answer!

    Had to consult Mr. G about that particular Tom Jones and also the poor area.
    Definitely needed help with a few bits of parsing, many thanks to Bufo for all that hard work.

    Thanks also (possibly) to proXimal. As Robin said – this must mean it’s Elgar tomorrow!

  7. After a very long struggle , I got about half way.
    I liked 11a and 7d.
    Thanks to Bufo and ProXimal.

  8. Hmm – I think ‘oh dear’ pretty much covers it. :sad:
    I know that proXimal (the DT have spelt him with an upper case P but I don’t think he is) is a setter I can’t cope with.
    At least I was right about something.
    Total dismal failure from me today which puts me in fear and dread of tomorrow’s Toughie – think it’ll be a long day in the garden.
    With thanks to proXimal and to Bufo and huge admiration to anyone who managed this one.

  9. I’ve decided to limit myself to one crossword a day for a while in an attempt to get this habit under some kind of control. The question of which to choose for tomorrow might be an interesting one …

    (Apologies to proXimal and Bufo. I will have a squiz at the review now to appreciate the clever stuff on show.)

    1. I think that lets me out – maybe not quite as much as Elgar but not far off.

  10. Was beaten in the NE. Didn’t get matweed, those and fondling.
    Couldn’t parse 19d properly as I thought the knight was the iron knight and the island man.
    The rest was parsed properly.
    Thanks to proximal and to Bufo.

  11. A very slow grind for us and quite a lot of electronic assistance used along the way but we did eventually get an almost filled grid before we ran out of time and energy. Certainly very clever.
    Thanks ProXimal and Bufo.

  12. Got there eventually with the exception of 20 where as our blogger, help was sought. Haven’t heard that term since my velvet loons wore out. Have to say more of a struggle than a pleasure.Ty both

  13. I have most of the bottom half done…and that’s about it. I shall perservate a bit longer…

  14. Same as CS – 9a was a relatively straightforward starter and filled the grid from there meccano style. Did not know 20a or 25d and stupidly put an ‘a’ in 18a. Liked 11a, 7d, 23d plus others but top spot goes to 24a; ‘trousers’ as an indicator always amuses me.

    Very engaging and satisfying puzzle, many thanks to proXimal and to Bufo. ****/*****

  15. i did not find it satisfying, i think laborious describes it better. the phrase too clever by half comes to mind.
    i don’t see how anyone is expected to have knowledge of favela and “those” escapes me even with the explanation and i am not sure that prole works surely it is slang?

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