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Toughie 1820

Toughie No 1820 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hi.  I hope you all had an enjoyable bank holiday weekend.  We return to normality with this pleasant puzzle from MynoT.  I was underwhelmed by a few of the surfaces and generally inclined to be grumpy today – but perhaps I’m just suffering from the after effects of being spun around on the back page blog!

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



1a    Environment with kangaroo, one that just looks (6-7)
WINDOW-SHOPPER:  Follow a computer operating environment with a word which could describe a roo or any creature which moves in similar fashion

9a    One goes round in time with altar vessel to be stored (9)
TURNTABLE:  Take T(ime) and an article of furniture with a flat surface, in between which goes (to be stored) a vessel for water

10a   Scot goes to house of aggressive male (5)
MACHO:  One of our usual Scottish suspects and an abbreviation for house

11a   Car appears half-hearted this month (5)
NISAN:  Start with a car marque of six letters and remove one of the central two (half-hearted) to arrive at a month in the Hebrew calendar which was new to me

12a   Cancel scrapping exercise material (4)
REAL:  A six letter word meaning revoke or annul (a law or act of parliament) is missing the two letters which stand for school exercise classes.  Don’t be misled into thinking of types of cloth; they are immaterial to this clue

13a   Heath inhabitant rambling? Not half (4)
LING:  This shrubby inhabitant of a heath is sitting in plain sight in one of the words of the clue.  All you need to do is identify it and remove half (not half)

15a   Mark provided variable scratch (7)
SCARIFY:  Join together a mark, provided or in the event of, and a mathematical variable.  This feels a little “samebothsidesy” to me

17a   Girl’s one close to attempt to escape (7)
EVASION:  Another game of charades.  Pick a girl’s name (perhaps Mendes or Longoria), keep the ‘S from the clue, use the symbol for one, and finally take a word meaning close to or in contact with.  Put them all together in an attempt to escape.  Are you having fun yet?

18a   Fired first to end worry in difficult position (3,4)
HOT SEAT:  The game now gets a little more involved.  A word meaning fired (from a gun) has its initial letter moved to the last position (first to end) and after this comes a synonym of worry

20a   Sailor in vehicle’s hot and cold (7)
CATARRH:  A common motor vehicle contains a usual sailor and is followed by H(ot)

21a   Droop over pudding (4)
SAGO:  Droop (3) plus over (1) is a type of pudding which is a bit Marmitey – in that it divides opinions.  I don’t think anybody would want to add yeast extract to this!

22a   Get loose during sundown (4)
UNDO:  Included in (during) the end part of the clue

23a   Take pipe that’s broken by second joint (5)
ROAST:  The abbreviation for take, (short for the Latin Recipe), then an old musical pipe of straw containing (broken by) S(econd).  It took me ages to parse this one as I didn’t know the pipe and it took me some time to remember that take

26a   Rent meadow? That’s a point (5)
LEASE:  A meadow and a compass point (not a cardinal one)

27a   Return journeys around island with large organisation, initially lively (9)
SPIRITOSO:  It a musical instruction, and is formed of a reversal (return) of some short journeys containing an abbreviation for island, then large (of clothing) and the first letter (initially) of organisation

28a   Speak to upset heard with a vow (4,1,4,4)
HAVE A WORD WITH:  An anagram (upset) of HEARD WITH A VOW.  With one of the words of the fodder present in the clue, for me it feels a little unsatisfying



1d    Drink concoction of snow-white sleet (3,4,7)
WET ONE’S WHISTLE:  Anagram of (concoction of) SNOW WHITE SLEET.  The picture is from this glossary in Modern Drunkard magazine

2d    Neuter or masculine? Singular standards needed (5)
NORMS:  The abbreviations for the abbreviatable words in the clue with the other word intact, all in clue order

3d    Frequently concerning decimal table (10)
OFTENTIMES:  An archaic, literary or N. American version of the first half of the answer which means frequently.  The answer split (2,3,5) could mean about the decimal multiplication table

4d    Weep at dawn, not acting at first in a restrained manner (7)
SOBERLY:  Weep noisily plus an adjective which could signify at dawn minus (not) the first letter of acting (acting at first)

5d    Perform in theatre as Figaro, perhaps reaching lower note (7)
OPERATE:  The type of theatrical entertainment of which Figaro is an example sits atop a note of the sol-fa scale

6d    Work up representative ceremony (4)
POMP:  The reversal (up, in a down clue) of work and then a political representative, both elements being two letters

7d    In Perth headmaster has no alternative: if that is resistance, one delivers correction (9)
RECTIFIER:  The headmaster of certain Scottish schools drops a word for alternative (no alternative).  Then we have IF from the clue, this usual abbreviation for that is and R(esisitance)

8d    Old pine carried by the cog (4,2,3,5)
LONG IN THE TOOTH:  Pine or ache and a phrase (2,3,5) which could mean carried by the cog

14d   Programme to care after teacher (10)
MASTERMIND:  Take a word meaning to care and put it after a type of teacher.  Another opportunity to air this clip of our very own Tilsit in the 18a:

16d   Signature dish of ragout served by a pub (9)
AUTOGRAPH:  Make an anagram of (dish of) RAGOUT and add A (from the clue) and an abbreviation for a pub

19d   One is of note being raised in country (7)
TUNISIA:  Backwards charades time.  A (one) and IS from the clue then a preposition which can mean of and an old musical note which is nowadays generally known as doh.  All joined together and written backwards (raised, in a down clue)

20d   Singers right to raise serving-up of Australian spicy food (7)
CHORIZO:  A group of singers with R(ight) raised one letter then an informal adjective meaning of Australia, this latter reversed (serving-up, in a down clue)

24d   Dressing needs first-class oil when mixed (5)
AIOLI:  Two letters denoting first class and an anagram (when mixed) of OIL

25d   Socialist coming from the south with very little fuel (4)
DERV:  Another reversal (coming from the south), this time of a socialist, is followed by V(ery)


Thanks to MynoT for today’s Toughie entertainment.  I’m off to 28a somebody about dropping a cat, and then I might be in a frame of mind to think about favourites.  What did you enjoy?


26 comments on “Toughie 1820

  1. I think that ‘underwhelmed’ sums up this one nicely. I did like 16d. Thanks to MynoT and Kitty.

  2. Found most of this pretty straightforward, except that 11a was unfamiliar (an obvious one to look up) and I completely failed to parse 23a but wrote it in anyway – I didn’t know either of the components. Now back to yesterday’s Knut…

    Thanks to Kitty and MynoT

    1. Thanks – I’m still none the wiser about 23a , otherwise a fair puzzle with 8d fave.

      1. R = recipe/take is in Chambers and Collins, though I couldn’t see it just now when I looked in Oxford online. It lives as a pharmaceutical indication. It’s in BD’s list in the preamble to the Usual Suspects as an example of what is not included, but will be in a new list of Latin words and abbreviations coming soon.

        The pipe is the second definition here.

        I’ll add a bit to the blog.

  3. Oh Dear!

    I hate puzzles where the setter cannot be bothered to provide meaningful surface readings.

    The Crossword Editor should also hang his head in shame.

    (Tilsit seems to know a lot about crosswords!)

    1. I’m with you Stan. Hardly any pass the reading out loud test – how for example is a car supposed to appear half-hearted? Oh dear indeed.

  4. Didn’t know 11a, couldn’t work out 23a, and clues such as 7d don’t do much for me.
    I’ll pick 15a for simplicity. Many thanks to MynoT and to Kitty for the review.

    PS – Not in the best of moods; I already had a cough, then yesterday I broke a couple if ribs. Not an ideal combination, I can tell you. :sad:

      1. Thanks Kitty – it has stopped me from smoking though, so maybe not all bad.

        1. Well, every cloud some clouds etc.

          I’m not sure I dare ask how it happened. Not after the antics of a certain LI landlord … !

          1. In the middle of the night, I tripped on a dressing gown which was on the floor. I hit the side of the bed with such force that it snapped the pine side-beam clean in two.

  5. I see your Oh dear, Rick, and raise you two more. So that’s Oh dear oh dear, oh dear

  6. Add my name to the list of the underwhelmed although I did learn a few new things – the 11a month, 23a pipe and alternative name for doh.
    Thought for a while that 1d was going to be an exotic cocktail!

    Thanks to MynoT and to our Girl Tuesday for the usual fun blog. That kitty was certainly enjoying the pet shop and you chose an excellent pic for 8d! Hadn’t seen the clip of Tilsit before – didn’t he do well.
    Glad you’re having a 28a with someone – I didn’t think you’d be happy, despite his assertions!

    1. … with Encota given honourable mention in the cluing competition and Beet landing Clue of the Fortnight!

  7. Needed Kitty’s help to get 23a.
    Nice to see Tilsit on mastermind again.
    18a was very appropriate for me. I don’t want to appear like a tyrant but the few members of staff who caused me so much trouble in the last fortnight have turned the hot seat into an ejection seat and activated the mechanism.
    Thanks to MynoT and to Kitty.

  8. The four long answers forming the border all went in with much thinking needed and this gave heaps of checking letters to help the solving process. 11a and 25d needed BRB checking as did the pipe in 23a. Pleasant enough to solve without any outstanding favourites.
    Thanks MynoT and Kitty

  9. Thanks to Myno T and to Kitty for the review and hints. I must agree with the comments about the surface readings, but I was not underwhelmed. It took me a while but I managed to complete it without the hints. Just needed them to parse 23a&7d. Favourite was 28a, brilliant anagram. Was 3*/3* for me.

    1. You must have a watch on that page, CS!

      I think we’ve had a comment recently from someone who prefers not to know the setter in advance, so maybe we should start simply linking to the page once it has been updated? Just a thought.

  10. 3*/2.5* probably sums it up.

    We enjoyed 7d (our COTD) but not much else made us smile.

    Kitty, your enumeration for the parts of 21a doesn’t quite add up.

    Thanks to Kitty for the blog and explaining 23a and to MynoT for the mental gymnastics.

  11. 3*/3*, I suppose, but no particular favourite clue. Thanks to MynoT and Kitty.

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