Toughie 1821 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1821

Toughie No 1821 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

I couldn’t work up a great deal of enthusiasm for this puzzle – if you could then do please try to convince me that I’m wrong. It does seem to require an awful lot of abbreviations and insertions/deletions of individual letters.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

5a Writer was aware of recommendation (4,3)
FELT TIP – charade of a verb meaning ‘was aware of’ or experienced and a recommendation or hint.

7a Share vote (Labour’s third, out of it) (5)
ALLOT – remove the third letter of ‘Labour’ from a vote or election.

9a Young fellow about to bet and behave badly (4,2)
PLAY UP – a word for a young man (often one who’s conceited or saucy) contains a verb to bet or stake money.

10a Call back about fire in the sky (8)
EMPYREAN – I vaguely knew this adjective meaning ‘relating to the sky or heaven’ but I had to check it out in the BRB. Reverse a verb to call or entitle and insert the fire used in a funeral ceremony.

11a Star portraying FBI agent after introductory episode? (7,3)
LEADING MAN – an informal term for an FBI agent (1-3) follows an introduction or preamble (4-2).

13a Square number unspecified? The writer’s dismissing 1,000 (4)
NINE – the abbreviation used for an unspecified number and a possessive pronoun (the writer’s) without the Roman numeral for 1,000.

14a Break over: judge to imprison male, as long as one remembers? (4,3,2,4)
TIME OUT OF MIND – string together a break (possibly one called for by a coach in some sports in order to discuss tactics), the abbreviation for an over in cricket and a verb to judge or give a verdict containing the abbreviation for male.

16a Ocean current will have staff coming round (4)
MAIN – the symbol for electric current is contained inside a verb to staff.

17a Clownish figure: President when seizing new source of drink (5,5)
COCOA BEANS – start with the name used by a famous Russian-born clown then add the familiar forename of a 19th century US president and a conjunction meaning ‘when’ containing the abbreviation for new.

19a Vandalised grave standing in for one show of uncivilised behaviour (8)
SAVAGERY – an anagram (vandalised) of GRAVE goes inside a word meaning ‘for one’ or ‘for example’. What do you suppose the surface means?

20a Screw, sadly, set back railway (6)
SALARY – this is what screw, as a noun, is a slang term for. Reverse an exclamation meaning sadly or unfortunately and add an abbreviation for railway.

22a Abandon yeast? Not entirely (5)
LEAVE – a word for a substance, usually yeast, which is used to make dough rise without its last letter.

23a Bread identified in brief epistle’s words at the end (7)
EPITAPH – insert a type of flat bread (one requiring very little 22a) into the abbreviation for one of the epistles in the New Testament.

Down Clues

1d Jade company retaining line over year (4)
CLOY – jade here is a verb. The usual abbreviation for company contains the usual abbreviation for line and that’s followed by one of the usual abbreviations for year.

2d Take on horse after endless difficulty (4,4)
STEP INTO – a piebald horse follows a difficulty or tizzy without its final W.

3d Discourage females (6)
DAMPEN – two non-human females joined together, the first an animal and the second a bird.

4d See payment for accommodation accepted by upstanding Italian city-dweller (10)
FLORENTINE – an exclamation meaning see and regular payment for accommodation go inside an adjective meaning upstanding or excellent.

5d I will avoid poor showings by end of game? Not so (5)
FALSE – poor showings or flops without the letter I are followed by the last letter of game.

6d Construction of minute car type requires several examples of this! (9,4)
PNEUMATIC TYRE – an anagram (construction) of MINUTE CAR TYPE.

8d Front of torpedo was wet and pointed (7)
TRAINED – the first letter of torpedo followed by a verb meaning ‘was wet’ give us a verb meaning pointed (a rifle, for example).

12d Evil conflation of love and malice (10)
DEMONIACAL – I’m prepared to bet that many solvers, as I did, tried to make an anagram of ‘love’ and ‘malice’ here. Actually it’s an anagram (conflation) of AND MALICE with the letter that’s used for ‘love’. Although the love/O substitution should be well-known to solvers this does seem to me to be verging on indirect anagram territory – what do you think?

14d Working dog consuming a volume (7)
TRAVAIL – a verb to dog or shadow contains A and an abbreviation for volume.

15d Fellow doesn’t keep up with trendy leading example (8)
FLAGSHIP – concatenate the abbreviation for fellow, a verb meaning doesn’t keep up and an informal adjective meaning trendy.

17d Conservative Party upset expert (6)
CLEVER – an abbreviation for Conservative followed by the reversal of a party.

18d No Hearts limiting openings for regular team card player (5)
NORTH – NO and the abbreviation for the card suit hearts contain the opening letters of ‘regular team’.

21d Elevated energy in quantity of water leads to discharge (4)
LEAK – start with a body of water and move the abbreviation for energy up a couple of places.

The clue I liked best was 3d. Which one(s) made your day?

22 comments on “Toughie 1821

    1. Something must have sunk in from that episode because, although I couldn’t remember the puzzle or your help in solving that clue, I did remember the phrase.

      1. You don’t see the phrase very often but when I do I always think of you!

        1. I knew it as the title of Bob Dylan’s Grammy-winning 30th studio album (released in 1997).

  1. Ah well – Kcit has one happy customer here, despite the fact that I’ve never heard of the 14a phrase. Pleased to note that it was also a new one for you a while ago, Gazza!
    Don’t think I’ve come across 10a before today – or at least not the meaning of it.

    Enjoyed the solve and gave podium places to 5&11a plus 3d.

    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza – sorry you weren’t very enamoured on this occasion.

  2. 14a new to me, too. Enjoyable if not the most engaging puzzle. Many thanks to Kcit and to Gazza.

  3. Inadvertently I ran this off thinking it was the back-pager and for a long time wondered why I was making such heavy weather of it. I managed to finish it without help and enjoyed it along the way, although there were a number of things, in addition to 14a, that I was unaware of (the slang in 20a and the sky in 10a). Many thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

    1. Years ago the phrase “he gets a good screw” to mean “he’s well paid” was fairly common though these days it would probably have a completely different meaning.

  4. Even if this crossword was a bit “manqueshine”, it’s always nice to solve a toughie without too much trouble.
    8d made me smile.
    14a was also new to me but most idioms are.
    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza.

    1. Ps: The lady in 4d looks a bit scary. Are you sure it’s not a picture of Florence Nightingale?

      1. It is a picture of Florence Nightingale (who was born in Florence and is thus Florentine).

        1. On another subject:
          Have you seen what Toulon managed to do?
          Top14 final on Sunday.
          Just incredible.

  5. We enjoyed this, unlike Gazza. We completed it with a couple of beers unde the newly built pergola on our deck (four days in total, finished mid-afternoon today). Now we need to get the climbing plants climbing!

    Our favourites were 3d, 13a and 17a. Overall, 2.5*/3.5*.

    Thanks Gazza and Kcit.

  6. We were quite surprised to see that many people were not keen on this puzzle. We thought it was an enjoyable solve with a Goldilocks level of difficulty. 14a was a phrase that took a lot of remembering but it was there somewhere.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

    1. I’m probably just a bit grumpy as I am nursing broken ribs – it was fine, just couldn’t get fully engaged. Your assessment is probably fairer. Thanks again.

  7. Well, for the second day in a row I was unable to get even a partial footing on the toughies.
    A scant half dozen solved. My mojo is definitely on vacation.

  8. A rare visit to toughie land for me. I was talking to my Chinese colleague yesterday who was interested in the puzzles he had seen me doing most lunchtimes. His spoken English is excellent but he decided he didn’t fancy attempting to do a cryptic crossword in his second language. I mentioned that there was also a tougher version so I felt honour bound to have a crack at it on this occasion. It took three sittings. I found it quite tricky as I hadn’t heard of the phrase at 14a and like Gazza I had to check 10a, plus I needed several checkers before I could solve the anagram at 6d. Nevertheless it was satisfying to complete without hints, although I nearly caved in on a couple of occasions.
    Thanks to Kcit for the challenge, and to Gazza for the review.

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