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Toughie 1844

Toughie No 1844 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hello, and welcome to another Toughie week.  Giovanni has provided a puzzle in his usual style, with friendly wordplay and slightly spikier vocab (though nothing too outlandish).  I made rather a meal of it, but that could well be because I’m very tired.  That’s also why I haven’t managed to include any pictures today, for which my apologies.

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



1a    Divers’ equipment in ship going round island (6)
SCUBAS:  Our usual two letters for a type of ship outside (going round) a Caribbean island

5a    Helpful deed by mouser maybe, catching old rat (8)
TURNCOAT:  A good deed followed by a kitty (mouser maybe) containing (catching) O(ld)

9a    ‘Changing to sand’ is it ‘ere? (13)
DESERTISATION:  An anagram (changing) of TO SAND IS IT ‘ERE

10a   Bling that could make you animated (8)
DIAMANTE:  This decoration can be anagrammed to make (that could make you) ANIMATED

11a   Introducer of show unconvincing on stage in leather (6)
SHAMMY:  The initial letter (introducer) of show then an adjective describing bad acting (unconvincing on stage)

12a   Innocent little person has irritating experience meeting revolutionary (6)
CHERUB:  After the forename of a revolutionary figure goes something which can be an irritating experience

14a   Carol hugs a businessperson dancing (8)
SAMBAING:  Carol is a verb here; she is wrapped around (hugs) the A from the clue and a (person who has a) business degree

16a   Fur provides covering, type not entirely acceptable (8)
SEALSKIN:  Closes up or secures and a type or category missing its last letter (not entirely acceptable).  I could have easily extended the underlining to include the whole as the definition, since this works as a semi-all-in-one

19a   Port makes one fade away very quietly with energy minimalised (6)
DIEPPE:  Fade away to nothing or expire contains (has minimalised) the musical very quietly and E(nergy) plus the musical expression for very quietly and energy, abbreviated (minimalised).  Thanks To Verlaine for the correction.  My brain has faded away …

21a   Aggressive character to travel with protection of body of guards (3,3)
WAR GOD:  To travel is surrounded by (with protection of) a body of guards

23a   One bringing the end of Caesar, ruddy penetrative? (8)
THRUSTER:  THE from the clue and the last letter of Caesar is penetrated by the ruddy colour of iron oxide

25a   Last Barbarian journalist, one taking position (2,3,8)
GO THE DISTANCE:  Join together a barbarian with our usual journalist, the Roman numeral one and a position or bearing

26a   Cover with black wrapping that can be moved somehow (8)
SLIDABLE:  A cover (3) within (with … wrapping) the heraldic or poetic black

27a   Deposit in river leads to charge (6)
DEPUTE:  To deposit or place (3) inside a river



2d    In church tot is behaving badly (7)
CADDISH:  Enclosed in an abbreviation for church is a word meaning to tot (up) and the IS from the clue

3d    Cleaner given Birthday Honour — cleaner not half enthralled (5)
BESOM:  Start with a medal awarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.  Inside this (enthralled) is half (=not half) of a common cleaning agent (SOAP).  I knew this as a broom of the type favoured by witches, but it can also be any cleansing or purifying agent

4d    International player, half-hearted reserve at end of season (9)
SPRINGBOK:  A South African international sportsperson is formed of reserve (verb) without one of its central letters (half-hearted) placed after a season of the year

5d    Mo starts to pull some muscles (7)
TRICEPS:  A mo, sec or jiffy followed by the initial letters of (starts to) pull some

6d    Comprehends the meaning of loveless nymphs (5)
READS:  With O (love) at the front we would have some mountain nymphs.  Without it (loveless), understands

7d    A new chair put out — it’s for the dining table (9)
CHINAWARE:  An anagram (put out) of A NEW CHAIR

8d    Epithet in card wife’s left with brief sexist message (7)
AGNOMEN:  Take a three letter card or joker but drop the W(ife) (wife’s left).  Then add a short message (2,3) that males are not welcome.  It’s a Roman epithet

13d   Put down — for example, told to go outside (9)
RELEGATED:  The abbreviation of for example with told or recounted around it (to go outside)

15d   Type getting scolded became less violent (9)
MODERATED:  Type or way plus scolded or chided

17d   Gospel passage in church upset member turning up (7)
EVANGEL:  The reversal (upset) of the middle part of a church followed by a body part (member) which is also going backwards (turning up, in a down clue)

18d   Chemical in egg leading to anger (7)
NITRILE:  A louse egg comes before to anger

20d   Item in fancy wrapping dispatched in advance? (7)
PRESENT:  Split (3-4) this would mean posted beforehand

22d   American fool, first person to be taken in by posh female (5)
DWEEB:  The first person plural inserted into (to be taken in by) a society girl just starting out

24d   Rag at university that sees the night out (5)
SUNUP:  A tabloid paper and the only-used-in-crosswords word meaning at university.  The end of the night


Thanks to Giovanni.  I’m not good at choosing favourites, so am not going to show any favouritism today.  What did you like?



15 comments on “Toughie 1844

  1. I found this one pretty tough too – I think 8d and 18d were the only unfamiliar solutions but several of the others took quite a lot of thought and I needed the hints to see 23a. All fair enough in retrospect but I can’t say it was particularly enjoyable.

    Thanks to Kitty and Giovanni

  2. oh dear. Just when I thought I was beginning to get to grips with the Toughies along comes this one. I found it extremely diff not helped by the fact that I put ADAMTINE in for 10 across.

  3. I found this hard work, definitely Giovanni with his toughie hat on. Made it harder for myself for ending 18d with rate.
    As our resident cenosillicophobic ambulator notes, not overly fun-filled; more a technical work-out.
    Some nice surfaces such as 5d & 10a which I appreciated. On the other hand, what is 20d doing in here?

    Many thanks to The Don and to Kitty. :yawn:

    1. cenosillicophobic – I’ll have to remember that one! Fortunately it is too long to shoehorn into a 15 squared grid…

  4. This was a slow and steady solve for me with the bottom half being slower and steadier. The key for the bottom half was 25 ac which I thought was a very clever clue (among many). There were four that I had never heard of which added to the challenge, and required some Google-doodling on my part, but I do feel a sense of accomplishment in being able to finish without resorting to the hints. Many thanks to Kitty and Giovanni.

  5. I thought this was trickier than we’re used to on Tuesdays – thanks to Giovanni and our resident mouser. I didn’t know 8d or 18d (or if I did once, I’ve forgotten them) and I didn’t know that 11a could be spelt like that. My prizes are awarded to 5a and 25a.

  6. Definitely much more tricky than the usual Tuesday Toughies. It took me ages to get a decent foothold. I couldn’t parse 3D, and 8D and 18D were both new to me. I didn’t realize 22D was American and I would never spell 11A like that. No favorites today. Thanks to Kitty and Giovanni.

  7. Buoyed up by being on a roll over on the Times puzzles, I thought a Tuesday Toughie would prove a mere relaxing stroll, but this was proved to be quite fiddly and challenging. 18dn quite cruel I thought given that either -ITE or -IDE are much more familiar. On the plus side I did like the Gothic editor at 25ac, and nothing wrong with “covering oneself with black wrapping” as prescribed by the following clue. Thanks Kitty and Giovanni!

    1. I would say the parsing of 19ac would be Fade away to nothing or expire, plus the musical very quietly, plus “minimalised” energy, but perhaps I’m wrong…

      1. Oh yes, thanks. Brain is barely functioning today :( – will amend.

        By the way, I very nearly added (who might wear eyeliner) to my hint for 25a!

        1. I cannot confirm or deny rumours that I might be wearing a bit of discreet purple eyeliner right now.

  8. Oh Dear!

    I made a good start by spotting the long anagram at 9A, sadly I thought it was DISORIENTATES and it was downhill from there on.

    Not my best day – thanks to Kitty for enlightening me on my many mistakes!

  9. We made heavy weather of this one. The biggest stumbling block was 23a and it was only the inspiration that sometimes comes while taking a shower (only one of us) that sorted out how the wordplay worked. 8d required some coaxing out of the depths of memories but it was in there somewhere. Much more of a challenge than we usually expect on a Tuesday.
    Thanks Giovanni and Kitty.

  10. That Toughie lived up to its name – 3.5*/4*.

    8d was a word from schooldays and so not used for many years and 18d’s chemical was new to us.

    Liked 11a and 23a but the favourite was 25a.

    Thanks Kitty and Giovanni.

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