Toughie 1837

Toughie No 1837 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Thanks to Samuel for an enjoyable but pretty gentle Toughie. We’ve had an easy ride so far this week – are we being softened up for a stinker by the time we reach Friday?

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

Across Clues

1a Swamp’s brown, almost black, and ultimately ordinary (3,8)
BOG STANDARD – string together a synonym for swamp plus the ‘S, a brown colour, an adjective meaning black or unilluminated without its last letter and the ultimate letter of ‘and’.

9a Lies heartlessly about dreadful elitism going on forever (9)
LIMITLESS – the outer letters of ‘lies’ contain an anagram (dreadful) of ELITISM.

10a Relative from Greece insists on return (5)
NIECE – a reverse lurker.

11a Corrupt trade involving this choice could result in deportation (6)
OPTION – this is a compound anagram so the answer plus TRADE make an anagram (corrupt) of DEPORTATION (or to put it another way remove the letters of TRADE from DEPORTATION and make an anagram of what’s left over).

12a Practice try again with forwards in sevens event (8)
REHEARSE – a verb to try again (in court) followed by the leading letters of ‘sevens’ and ‘event’. Surely the definition should be ‘practise’ rather than ‘practice’?


13a Deal with variable agreement (6)
TREATY – a verb to deal with or tackle is followed by one of the mathematical variables.

15a Let off salesperson with leaving dodgy review (8)
REPRIEVE – start with an abbreviated word for a salesperson and add an anagram (dodgy) of REVIE[w] without the abbreviation for ‘with’.

18a Brief run can end in jog (8)
FLEETING – bring together a verb to run or clear off, another word for a can and the end letter of ‘jog’.

19a Roman politician‘s cool and reserved at first in company (6)
CICERO – a verb to cool and the first letter of reserved go inside the usual abbreviation for company.

21a Reportedly glimpse better-looking sailor (8)
SEAFARER – this is a double homophone – firstly a verb to glimpse and then a comparative meaning better-looking or more attractive.

23a Weak moan about the French (6)
FEEBLE – reverse an informal verb to moan or complain and add one of the French definite articles.

26a ‘Heroes‘ single sold badly (5)
IDOLS – start with the Roman numeral for a single and append an anagram (badly) of SOLD.

27a Police information: king has been kidnapped by women (9)
GENDARMES – a short word for information is followed by a single-letter abbreviation for king caught inside an informal (mainly North American) term for women.

28a Large helping mostly eaten when out of sorts? (11)
ELEPHANTINE – an anagram (when out of sorts) of HELPIN[g] and EATEN.

Down Clues

1d ‘Sing live!’ — line offered by ticket-seller (4,3)
BELT OUT – concatenate a verb to live or exist, the abbreviation for line and a (sometimes illegal) ticket-seller.

2d Corporation’s housing is for the first person in range (5)
GAMUT – another word for one’s ‘corporation’ contains the first person equivalent of the verb ‘is’. As the very catty Dorothy Parker said of a stage performance by Katharine Hepburn ‘She ran the whole ***** of emotions from A to B’.

3d Flier in favour of diplomacy, not cold revenge (3,3,3)
TIT FOR TAT – assemble a feathered flier, a preposition meaning ‘in favour of’ and a synonym for diplomacy without the abbreviation for cold.

4d Celebration that could make hotel hot (4)
NOEL – split the answer 2,2 to make hotel into hot.

5d One responds with ‘Fans were ruining boxing!’ (8)
ANSWERER – hidden (boxing) in the clue.

6d Fool‘s caught trapped in sand (5)
DUNCE – insert the cricketing abbreviation for caught into a heap of sand.

7d Arrive in advance of quiet retreat (7)
PRECEDE – the musical abbreviation meaning quiet is followed by a verb to retreat.

8d Bring back 15 with time to act for power (8)
RETRIEVE – the answer to 15a with the abbreviation for time replacing that for power.

14d Lift two-thirds of team facing an uphill challenge? (8)
ELEVATOR – two-thirds of a football or cricket term followed by A and a rocky hill.

16d Step up — one entering may become very angry (5,4)
RAISE CAIN – knit together a verb to step up or increase and a synonym for ‘may’ containing the Roman numeral for one.

17d Cajole father to leave free-living drunk (8)
INVEIGLE – an anagram (drunk) of FREE-LIVING after we’ve removed the abbreviation for the religious father.

18d Make trend (7)
FASHION – double definition, the second meaning trend or vogue.

20d Supervise one writing poem for knight (7)
OVERSEE – start with the word ‘one’ then write a word for poem in place of the chess abbreviation for knight.

22d Passage exposed Scottish town (5)
AISLE – remove the outer letters (exposed) from a Scottish town noted for an eponymous fabric pattern.

24d Child ignoring negative Disney character (5)
BAMBI – remove the negative response from a word, from Italian, meaning little child.

25d Move slowly inside church (4)
INCH – fuse together a preposition meaning inside and one of the abbreviations for church.

2d was top clue for me with 1a and 18a runners-up. Which one(s) fired your imagination.


26 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyable enough but definitely an escapee from the inside back page of the paper.

    Thanks to Gazza – I agree about 2d – and to Samuel too

  2. Una
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As tough as a veal cutlet , but very enjoyable.
    I liked 1a and 21a in particular.
    Thanks Gazza and Samuel.

  3. Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyed all of this.
    We’ll be concentrating on our beer this evening.
    Thanks to Samuel and Gazza.

  4. Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m trying to decide whether this was a a smidge easier or harder than yesterday’s.

    My favourite was 3d. Having seen the picture I shall add 24d to the honours list too.

    Many thanks to Gazza for the analysis and pictures.

  5. LetterboxRoy
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Nowt too taxing, but all good, liked 21a, 3d, 22d & 23a, but top spot goes to 4d for me today. I couldn’t explain 24d though… D’oh!
    Very enjoyable, thanks to Samuel and to Gazza for the entertainment – had to laugh at 6d; absolutely!

  6. Sheffieldsy
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    We agree with Gazza’s difficulty rating but feel it deserves a little more for enjoyment, so 2*/3.5*.

    We liked 8d and 22d but our favourite was 20d.

    Gazza, you’re right about practice/practise (practice is a noun in English as I remember it from school), however our BRB app has “practise also (N American) practice”. So, are American spellings allowed in clues?

    Thanks to Gazza and Samuel.

    • Gazza
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

      If American spelling is used it should be specifically declared, but there’s no need for the American spelling at all here.

  7. happy days
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    12a should definitely be practise

  8. Rabbit Dave
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I agree with those who say this was another non-tough Toughie, but it was very enjoyable apart from the decidedly dodgy practice. 2d was my favourite with 1a, 20d & 3d running it close.

    Many thanks to Samuel and to Gazza.

  9. Heno
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Samuel and to Gazza for the review and hints. I’m in a state of shock. For the first time ever I’ve completed two Toughies on the trot. I know they were both very easy, but nevertheless, the bunting is going up! I thought it was a quite inventive puzzle, with 1a being my favourite. Last in was 21a. Was 2*/3.5* for me.

    • Gazza
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 5:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

      There’s no stopping you now, Heno!

      • Heno
        Posted June 29, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Gazza, I’m sure I’ll be brought down to earth today 😀

  10. Gazza
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Kcit tomorrow.

  11. jane
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Much enjoyed despite needing the prompt from Gazza to parse 22d.

    Top two for me were 21a & 4d.
    Thanks to Samuel and to the shining knight – especially for the 12a pic!

  12. PLR
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Gentle ‘toughie’ surely an oxymoron but perhaps1a is not an apt description for this one.

  13. Mister Ron
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for the blog and the comments — although I’m slightly disappointed at the lack of a Bowie picture/clip for the ‘Heroes’ clue!

    Regarding practice/practise, I can only assume that despite the surface, I was defining the noun (which Chambers gives as “practice”) rather than the verb (which Chambers gives as “practise”). I can’t remember for certain as it’s some time since I set the puzzle, but that’s my story and I’m sticking with it! Apologies for any confusion.

    • Gazza
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for popping in, Mister Ron – we do appreciate it. Sorry for the lack of Bowie.
      I’m still not really convinced on the practise/practice question – if practice (the definition) is a noun then I can’t see how it matches the answer (rehearse) which can only be a verb.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Cheers for the fun and games: incidentally; Heroes is one of my favourites so here it is for you

  14. 2Kiwis
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As both of us always have to check up on the practice/practise spelling whenever we use the words, we never thought to question the usage here.
    Gentle and fun sums up the puzzle for us too, exactly as we like it on a Wednesday.
    Thanks Gazza and Samuel.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 10:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Practice makes perfect … keep practising!

  15. Salty Dog
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Agree with your ratings on this one, Gazza. My favourite was 1a. Thanks to Samuel, and of course Gazza.

  16. Mr Kitty
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 9:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Lots of fun, and not much more difficult than Mister Ron’s back-page crosswords. I particularly liked 1a and 2d. Thanks to Gazza for the entertaining blog and to Mister Ron for the puzzle.

  17. dutch
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 10:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks Gazza –

    I filled the grid rapidly but did not parse 20d or 22d, so thanks for those. Also, I had convinced myself that a ROTA was an uphill (reversed) challenge in 14d.

    I liked the better-looking sailor (21a), the large helping (28a) and making the hotel hot (4d).

    Many thanks Shamus, also for dropping in

    • stanXYZ
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 10:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Shamus?

    • Heno
      Posted June 29, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Surely it’s Samuel?

  18. Expat Chris
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 10:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Late again. Although I completed the puzzle over my morning cuppa I neglected to post until now. Practice Schmactice. I’d forgotten there was a different UK spelling so no flags were raised on this side of the pond. Enjoyed the puzzle and 1A was my favorite (though no reflection at all on my assessment). thanks Samuel and Gazza.

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