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Toughie 1840

Toughie No 1840 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating  –  Difficulty ** –  Enjoyment ***


Hi all, for the last time from South Kensington.

Today’s crossword didn’t put up too much of a fight for the most part, with just the last couple taking a while to fall.  The unusual number of people’s names had me wondering if there is a theme here somewhere.

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



1a    Curse man’s choice of words (11)
MALEDICTION:  To make this curse, put together the sex of a man and a manner of speaking

7a    Tree that’s been around for longer (5)
ELDER:  This tree’s name is also an adjective meaning advanced in years

8a    After depression, distance associate (9)
COLLEAGUE:  After a depression or pass in a mountain range is a nautical measure of distance

10a   Dream I am long time on railway (7)
IMAGERY:  The contracted form of I am, a long time, and an abbreviation for railway

11a   Idle talk about milliner (7)
CHATTER:  A single letter abbreviation for about and a maker or seller of headwear (who may or may not be mad)

12a   Small party where chap’s unknown (5)
COVEY:  An old-fashioned word for chap and a mathematical unknown put together make a word for a small party – of people, or of game birds

13a   Busy Lizzie possibly intolerant, short with son (9)
IMPATIENS:  Intolerant missing its last letter (short) plus S(on).  This is a genus of plants with common names including busy lizzie, touch-me-not and snapweed. A new one to me, but I like some of these names.  Touch-me-not and snapweed sound like me in the morning.  I’m sure this clue in no way describes our regular commenter BusyLizzie!

16a   Girl’s heartless, a new right-winger, in practice of having several husbands (9)
POLYANDRY:  The name of a girl without its middle letter (heartless) is followed by A, N(ew) and a term for a political right-winger which I had to look up.  If you want further clues to the girl’s name, the first Google suggestion is POCKET, and the first which is the name of an actual person is TOYNBEE

18a   Distressed heron in river (5)
RHONE:  An anagram (distressed) of HERON

19a   Girl allowed sex appeal to come before intellectual activity initially (7)
LETITIA:  Another girl’s name, perhaps Ms Dean of Eastenders fame.  Allowed (3) and sex appeal (2) come before the first letters (initially) of intellectual and of activity

22a   Superlatively passionate, he’s taking too much time (7)
HOTTEST:  HE’S from the clue containing (taking) an informal expression for too much or excessive, after which goes the abbreviation for time

23a   Shout cry of pain, with half of finger taken away in big fish (9)
YELLOWFIN:  A word meaning shout and then an exclamation of pain followed by half of the eighth word of the clue, the other half of it having been taken away

24a   Newton, maybe, is measure of current that’s current? (5)
ISAAC:  IS from the clue, the abbreviation for the SI unit of electrical current and an abbreviation for a type of current (also electrical)

25a   Vigorous eternal task for American viper (11)
RATTLESNAKE:  An anagram (vigorous) of ETERNAL TASK gives a venomous American pit-viper with rattling horny rings on the end of its tail



1d    Middle-aged woman left, pursuing journalists (9)
MEDIAEVAL:  We take yet another feminine name and L(eft) and put this after some press.  The definition is a whimsical one, so the following given in Chambers is of no help: “Between youth and old age, variously reckoned to suit the reckoner

2d    Nearly neglected to arrest leader of criminals for rustling, say (7)
LARCENY:  An anagram (neglected) of NEARLY containing (to arrest) the first letter (leader) of criminals

3d    Word from Richard’s girl (5-4)
DICKY-BIRD:  The rhyming slang for word is formed of a variant of Richard and an informal term for a girl.  Thanks to Michael over on 225 for supplying a link which I have shamelessly stolen.  (To have a go at that excellent puzzle first, leave that spoilery link alone and instead click here)

4d    Stand-up’s initiation of laughter for minutes causes gripes (5)
COLIC:  Take an entertainer who might be of a stand-up sort and swap M(inutes) for the initial letter (initiation) of laughter

5d    Popular former performance not accurate (7)
INEXACT:  Join together popular or fashionable, former, and a performance

6d    Havers, perhaps missing the Spanish height in the dark (5)
NIGHT:  Take the Spanish world for the away from the forename of English actor Nigel and add an abbreviation for height

7d    Record one rushing to grab policeman in a right reverend manner (11)
EPISCOPALLY:  One of our usual musical records, the Roman one, and a sudden charge or sortie containing an informal term for a police officer

9d    Doubter upset soccer tie-up (11)
EUROSCEPTIC:  An anagram (upset) of SOCCER TIE-UP

14d   These boxes could be happy ones (9)
PAYPHONES:  An anagram (these … could be) of HAPPY ONES

15d   River flows round about level and clear (9)
EXONERATE:  A river in the South of England around two letters meaning about or concerning (2) followed by a measure or quantity

17d   Under review, Fat Tom’s sternest (7)
AFTMOST:  The last in a little flurry of anagrams.  This is a letter rearrangement (under review) of FAT TOM’S, and the definition is not the most obvious

18d   Wine found in upturned container with lid off (7)
RETSINA:  This Greek wine is a reversal (upturned, in a down clue) of an eight letter container without its first letter (with lid off).  Well done if you got this from the wordplay first

20d   Mosaic creator‘s a half-hearted farmer (5)
TILER:  One who cultivates the land missing one of the central two letters (half-hearted)

21d   Terrible, not beginning to be legitimate (5)
AWFUL:  A word for legitimate missing its first letter (not beginning)


Well, we started with a curse and ended with something terrible, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom!  Thanks to MynoT.  I liked 22a, 3d and the image of happy boxes in 14d.  Sometimes the simpler clues are the ones to bring joy.  Which clues ticked your boxes and made you happy?


26 comments on “Toughie 1840

  1. All pretty straightforward, though I did look up 13a which was new to me too. All very pleasant.

    Thanks to Kitty and MynoT

  2. I only knew the name of 13a as the answer, Busy Lizzie is used in UK mostly!

      1. This mornings was done at silly o clock. The toughie was tougher. But not much.

            1. I made the mistake of looking at the full profile. I may never be the same again.

  3. I really enjoyed this one, and I could do it which is always a bonus.
    I did know 13a but it took me ages to make the last three letters of 16a = right winger.
    Had the wrong anagram fodder for 9d which caused a bit of a hold-up.
    I liked 11, 13 and 22a. 19a made me laugh and 3d was my favourite.
    Thanks to MynoT and to Kitty.

  4. Going by the fact that the toughie is usually beyond me this must be a misplaced back pager. I not only completed it but in shorter time than today’s back pager!

  5. I have coven at first for 12A and It took me far too long to see that 14D was an anagram. I picked 9D as my favorite because it seemed appropriate as today we are celebrating Brexit 1776! Thanks Kitty and MynoT.

  6. Luckily one of our team knew the word for Busy Lizzie so a possible hold-up there was averted. It all slotted together smoothly for us with lots of smiles along the way.
    Thanks MynoT and Kitty.

  7. We liked this quite a lot, giving it 2*/4*.

    Thought 20d was a 21d clue, but everything else was fine, with 4a our COTD.

    Thanks to Kitty and MynoT.

  8. Only just into 2* territory (and only then because I was staring blankly at 14d, until I realised it was an anagram). I liked 22a, but not 17d, which in a nautical context I feel should really have been “aftERmost”. Still, I’m happy to accept that it’s a fair word, so VMTs to MynoT and Kitty.

  9. Solved while particularly over-tired so it took an absolute age, but enjoyable throughout.

  10. Hello kitty,
    Just managed to find the time to finish this nice and friendly crossword this morning.
    The only hold up was to write comic in 4d. Always get confused with switching letters.
    Thanks to MynoT and to Kitty for the review.

  11. A nice puzzle, though 12a & 16a had to be checked.
    Thanks Mynot and thanks Kitty.

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