Toughie 1833 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1833

Toughie No 1833 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Many thanks to Micawber for a fun-packed puzzle though if I hadn’t known the setter I might have guessed that it was by yesterday’s compiler, what with the food and music references and a few mad-hat clues. Having come across con, wet and dry in the answers I did wonder at one stage whether there was a Tory party theme but I think that it was just a coincidence.

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

Across Clues

1a Native American private eye tailing city guide (5)
AZTEC – an informal abbreviation for a private eye follows a city street guide.

4a Hopeful this composer performs after concert (9)
PROMISING – ‘this composer performs’ (1,4) comes after an abbreviated concert.

9a Try fruit flip (2,7)
GO BANANAS – a try or attempt and some fruit.

10a Crush journalists (5)
PRESS – double definition.

11a Head of Cosa Nostra supplanted by informer — it’s essentially nuts (7)
RATAFIA – Cosa Nostra is a (mainly US) term for a well-known international criminal organisation. Change its first letter to an informer or turncoat. The result is a biscuit made with almond essence.


12a May’em and trouble in fruit you slice open (7)
AVOCADO – fuse together another word for mayhem with the H dropped as in the clue and a synonym for trouble or fuss.

13a Cheers! Prohibitionist drinking whisky — it’s just for show (6)
TAWDRY – join together an informal word for cheers or thanks and a prohibitionist then insert the letter that whisky(?) represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet. The codeword is usually spelled whiskey rather than whisky.

15a Net fully loaded with ease (8)
FLUENTLY – an anagram (loaded) of NET FULLY.

18a Perhaps pirate broadcast silenced when it comes to receiver (8)
MUTINEER – this sounds like (broadcast) a phrase (4,2,3) meaning silent as far as the hearing organ is concerned.

20a Disturbance when father comes to conciliation service (6)
FRACAS – the abbreviation for a religious father is followed by the acronym for the UK organisation which provides a conciliation service to those involved in disputes between bosses and workers.

23a Incite outside right to provide support on the flank (7)
STIRRUP – a phrasal verb to incite contains an abbreviation for right.

24a Crime relating to handler (7)
OFFENCE – concatenate a preposition meaning ‘relating to’ and a handler (of hot goods).

26a Indian food author listened to by some (5)
RAITA – I’m glad that Micawber included the ‘by some’ in the clue because this Indian side dish doesn’t sound like an author to me (although it may to others).

27a Like legacy I wasted in the red (9)
INHERITED – start with the I and add an anagram (wasted) of IN THE RED.

28a A shortened cane attached to something blown up, full of hot air (9)
BOMBASTIC – A and a cane or rod without its last letter follow a device that gets blown up.

29a Composition of Sturmabteilung as initially reported (5)
ESSAY – the Sturmabteilung were the Nazi storm troops and the two initials by which they were known when pronounced (in English) sound like the answer here.

Down Clues

1d Sounds like former vithe-prethident’th ideology provides a means to solve problems (9)
ALGORITHM – this is how someone curthed with a lithp might pronounce an ideology held by Bill Clinton’s Vice-President.

2d Finish off mountain goat in between times in mountain region (5)
TIBET – drop the last letter of a mountain goat and put what remains between two instances of the abbreviation for time.

3d One typically staying green provided note of hesitation in support of Conservative (7)
CONIFER – a conjunction meaning provided and an expression of hesitation follow one of the abbreviations for Conservative.

4d Fan of loud music regularly skipped Bach (6)
PUNKAH – this Indian fan comes from a loud form of rock music followed by regular letters from Bach.

5d Something in the way former pupils win the ball, beginning to kick off (8)
OBSTACLE – charade of the abbreviation for former male pupils and a verb to win the ball without the first letter of kick.

6d Earnestly request playful fairy tales (7)
IMPLORE – fit together a playful or mischievous fairy and tales passed down through the generations.

7d Being the one whose turn it is, I castle desperately, having limited freedom to move (9)
INELASTIC – a description of someone currently having their turn with the bat is followed by an anagram (desperately) of I CASTLE. Cricket and chess references in the same clue – Rabbit Dave will be over the moon!

8d Blow one’s top with relish (5)
GUSTO – a verb to blow or flurry followed by the top letter of ‘one’.

14d One with judgment getting no credit over time (9)
WITTICISM – the definition here means a joke. The abbreviation for ‘with’ is followed by a judgement or evaluation without the abbreviation for credit but containing the abbreviation for time. I’m not keen on the use of over for a containment indicator in a down clue.

16d In the past, second person once strayed badly (9)
YESTERDAY – an old second person pronoun precedes an anagram (badly) of STRAYED.

17d Warning sign where booze is sold — beer contains about 14 per cent of alcohol(3,5)
WET PAINT – an adjective describing a place where alcohol is sold is followed by an informal term for draught beer containing one-seventh of the word ‘alcohol’.

19d Bliss of North American touring Ireland with camper? (7)
NIRVANA – the abbreviations for North and American bracket an abbreviation for Ireland and what a camper is an example of.

21d Official note on payment Her Majesty’s accepted (7)
REFEREE – a note from tonic sol-fa is followed by a payment or charge containing Her Majesty’s usual cipher.

22d Style acquired by unsophisticated person getting a trim (6)
GOTHIC – string together a verb meaning acquired and a derogatory term for an unsophisticated person or country yokel without his final letter.

23d Quietly stroke plant (5)
SHRUB – an order meaning ‘quietly!’ and a verb to stroke.

25d As, Bs, Cs, Ds, Fs or Gs? (5)
NOTES – split the answer 3,2 to get a ‘definition by omission’.

11a, 23a and 3d all finished strongly but first past the post was 1d. Which one(s) took pride of place on your betting slip?

30 comments on “Toughie 1833

  1. I got one answer, 10a!, hoofit needs to know his limits.
    Thanks for the hints, Gazza, and the setter.

    1. I’m sure that a lot of the difficulty is in your head, HYD. Because it’s a Toughie you think it’s beyond you whereas you’d have solved many of these clues if they’d been on the back page.

      1. Yes Gazza, you are probably right. Funnily enough, when I read 10a, I thought “this can’t be the answer, it’s too obvious and this is the Toughie”
        I do enjoy going through the hints though.

  2. Had to come here for the parsing of 14 and still don’t like one for the definition, perhaps it’s to hot for my better nature to surface.Otherwise good stuff and 1d is also my COD.TY Gazza and Micawber

  3. I’m sure that many people would like to know that the late John Pidgeon’s (Petitjean) wife has left a comment on yesterday’s Toughie blog.

  4. Nice puzzle from Micawber.

    Many thanks to Gazza for explaining 14d & 17d – clues that include percentages always beat me.

    4d – Given the high temperatures in the UK over the last few days, I was expecting a clip from “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum”

        1. Thank you, Gazza – it was a great blast from the past. I think the poor punkah wallah was usually only shown ‘en passant’ as it were!

  5. 17d I’ve heard of places being “dry” but had no idea the opposite meant booze was available. How would you use the expression and not make the place sound like an upmarket shower room?

    1. I think it must refer back to the days following prohibition in the US – ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ states.

  6. OK – I’ve ticked almost every clue in this one so many thanks for the super fun, Micawber. I think you must have guessed that Gazza might be blogging this one, given the rider in 26a!
    Struggled to fully parse 14d (permission to enter the Dim Corner please, Kath) and tried to make ‘red’ the first word of 17d for a while, but no other issues to report.

    Thanks again both to Micawber and to Gazza for a great blog – enjoyed the Captain Pugwash clip and assume that the ‘colleague’ depicted in the 20a cartoon is none other than ‘our Len’!

  7. Totally flummoxed by 4d despite having checking letters and could not make sense of 17d because I put red as the first part of the warning sign. Thanks for putting me right Gazza.

  8. i’ve enjoyed, as usual, reading the comments and viewing the clips. I have to admit that I, too, have a problem with 14d Do I gather it’s the sort of Dick Emery “Ooh you are a one” that is being referred to? Having re-read the etiquette page precludes me from commenting further!

    1. ‘One’ is a witticism or joke, as in ‘Have you heard the one about the pig with the wooden leg?’.

  9. I got about three quarters of this, but I was largely defeated by the SW corner. Of the ones I didn’t get, there were a couple I certainly should have been able to solve, but 14d would never have occurred to me, and I spent far too much time trying to work TT into 13a. Much more than ** for difficulty for me. Many thanks to all.

  10. I liked this very much, though (semi-) unusually for this setter I ended up enlisting a bit of help searching for the last three words.

    I too thought of RD at 7d. :)

    Oh, and for once (26a) I agree with Gazza about a homophone!

    [I mean that I, like Gazza, hear the two sounds not very much alike. I don’t of course disagree with him when he points out the differences between his pronunciation and the assumed one.]

    While I can’t remember what I appreciated most during the solve (when I didn’t have any sensible means of noting them down) the biggest smiles on reading the review were at 9a and 8d.

    Many thanks to Micawber and Gazza – excellent work both.

  11. Solved half at home and the rest on a plane to Belfast. Usual enjoyable time was had so thank you to Micawber and Gazza too

  12. Agree with Gazza in that it felt a bit like a nod to yesterday’s setter, although I’m a tad sun-scorched so it may just be my befuddled mind. Many thanks to Micawber and to Gazza. :phew:

  13. This was a puzzle of two halves – the Northern part was quite swiftly populated. However, when it came to the Southern part – I really did struggle. I think the heat had become quite oppressive so I left it for bit and, as usual, things then started to fall into place. I thought that the answer for 12a was quite current as M&S are now laser etching bar codes etc on the skins of the said fruit to cut down on paper usage. Quite the opposite from ASDA who now have increased their packaging on certain products – ginger of all things. :cool:

    Sorry for the rant – I will opt for 4d as my favourite as our bunks on board HM vessels had ‘punkah louvres’ to keep the incumbents cool. Could have done wither today ‘Phew’

    Thanks to Micawber for the super puzzle and to Gazza for his usual excellent review.

    Go Jack Nowell – excellent match!

  14. Finished in good time.

    Sorry, but did not like 14d although, with the checking letters, there could only be one answer. Having read several times, on this site, that x and y are acceptable synonyms if you can concoct a sentence where the x and y can be swapped and the meaning stays the same, can anyone do that for ‘one’ and ‘witticism’? And please don’t offer ‘have you heard the witticism about…’ It’s beyond us.

    However, 25d was brilliant.

    2*/2* as a result of our dislike of 14d.

    Thanks to Gazza and Micawber.

  15. I agree with those objecting to “one” as a definition for witticism. Surely “a one” would be the person making the quip. Also thumbs down all round for 13a, neither the “dry” wordplay nor the definition of “just for show” are anything like precise.
    But thanks as ever for your explanations

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