Toughie 1851 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1851

Toughie No 1851 by proXimal

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Thankfully a not-over-the-top-difficult puzzle from proXimal. My top half seemed to go in fairly smoothly, then I slowed down considerably as I sank towards the bottom. I still managed to finish in just over what is 3* time for me, with several smiles along the way. A couple of references are encouraging me to pop into the pub.

The definitions are underlined below and the hints attempt to explain the wordplay. You can reveal the answers by clicking on the BEERS buttons. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Grant promotion and hand in report (5)
ADMIT: A 2-letter promotion plus of homophone (in report) of a word meaning hand

4a    Restraint to consume liquor for period (9)
TIMESCALE: A 3-letter restraint goes around (to consume) the Mexican spirit that sometimes has a worm

9a    From the East, rogue state causing bother to Trump (9)
TARNATION: Reversal of a 3-letter rogue or despicable person plus a state or country gives an American way of saying bother!

10a    After change of heart, endorse tailor (5)
ADAPT: Change the central letter in a word that can mean endorse or approve

11a    Mammals decided about following evasive duck (7)
COYOTES: Reversal (about) of a 3-letter word meaning decided or fixed comes after (following) a 3-letter word for evasive plus the letter that looks like a score of zero (duck)


12a    Diamonds buried in eastern settlement by large desert (3,4)
LET DOWN: The abbreviation for Diamonds goes inside the abbreviation for Eastern plus a settlement (as in urban area), all coming after (by) the abbreviation for Large

13a    Disapproval from public about HS2? (6)
OUTCRY: A 3-letter word meaning public, a Latin abbreviation for about, and an abbreviation of what HS2 is an example of (the question mark indicates a definition by example)

15a    Too much in order to house cleric, retired and sick (8)
OVERKILL: Reversal (retired) of an informal word for in order or all right containing (to house) a 3-letter abbreviation of a cleric, plus a word for sick

18a    Rough toilet paper, apart from core that’s smoother (8)
EPILATOR: An anagram (rough) of TOIL(et p)APER without the central three letters (apart from core)

20a    Develop plot beside a river flat (6)
PLANAR: A verb meaning to develop a plot plus A from the clue and the abbreviation for River

23a    Burn marks inside hatch (7)
CREMATE: The abbreviation for Marks goes inside a verb meaning hatch or concoct (a plan or idea)

24a    Make cuts in England, to the East being favourable (7)
ENGRAVE: I’m not convinced I’ve got this – we have a three letter abbreviation for England, to the east of which we have an adjective meaning very enthusiastic – does anyone see anything else?

26a    Potty is toilet promptly emptied (5)
LOOPY: A 3-letter word for toilet plus the outer letters (emptied) of P(romptl)Y

27a    Worthy bridge opponents — I’m invited into their play area (9)
ESTIMABLE: Two bridge opponents, then insert I’M from the clue into the furniture on which a game of bridge is usually played

28a    Friend more knowledgeable about energy drink (9)
BUDWEISER: A 3-letter friend or pal, then a word meaning more knowledgeable containing the abbreviation for Energy

29a    One favouring autocrat’s sleeveless attire (5)
SARIS: A supporter of Russian emperors without the outer letters (sleeveless)


1d    Plant tower for trailer and garden tool boxes close to track (9)
ARTICHOKE: A lorry that tows a trailer plus a garden tool that contains (boxes) the last letter (close to) in track

2d    Drive to the north in PM being irritable (5)
MARDY: A reversal (to the north, in a down clue) of the abbreviation for drive goes inside our interim PM

3d    Heavy machine to carry over hill (7)
TRACTOR: The reversal (over) of a verb meaning to carry plus a 3-letter hill

4d    Desire garment, needing to drop size, primarily (6)
THIRST: A garment or top (1-5), in which the first letter (primarily) of Size drops down the word a few spaces.

5d    Gracious person not late (3,5)
MAN ALIVE: A 3-letter person, plus a word meaning still kicking or not late

6d    Crack that’s damaged ruler (7)
SHATTER: An anagram (damaged) of THAT’S plus an abbreviation for our ruler

7d    A federation to arrest revolutionary from Asia Minor (9)
ANATOLIAN: A from the clue, a political alliance, plus a reversal (revolutionary) of a verb meaning to arrest

8d    Not the first to tidy and put away (5)
EATEN: A 6-letter verb meaning to tidy without the first letter

14d    Repeated order to wet child — you must release hydrant (5-4)
TWICE-TOLD: An anagram of TO WET C(h)ILD without the abbreviation for Hydrant

16d    Almost agree about where to see aquatic monster’s bulk (9)
LARGENESS: An anagram of AGRE(e) (almost) – goes IN (which is part of the answer to the ‘where to see’ question) the habitat of a famous Scottish aquatic monster (with the first word abbreviated)

17d    Familiarity not popular on the street (8)
HOMELESS: Remove a 2-letter word meaning popular from a 10-letter word meaning familiarity or comfort

19d    Test article, two variables, when immersed in alcohol (7)
ANALYZE: An indefinite article, then two algebraic variables contained (when immersed) in a kind of alcohol that is served in a pint glass

21d    Set up posh kitchen almost entirely for veggies (7)
LEGUMES: Reversal (up, in a down clue) of a 3-letter word meaning set, the single letter abbreviation for posh or upper-class, plus most of a word for dining area or kitchen

22d    Transforming aluminium into gold, mad guru (6)
MENTOR: Take a word meaning mad and change the final two letters from the chemical symbol for Aluminium to another word for gold.

23d    Oddly, bechamel, not meat, is star of the show (5)
CELEB: An anagram (oddly) of BEC(ham)EL without the meaty bit

25d    Half of US houses originally beige colour (5)
AMBER: Take the first half of another word for US and insert (houses) the first letter (originally) of Beige

The surface of 13a made it my favourite clue today – I also liked 4d and 9a. Which clues did you like?

14 comments on “Toughie 1851

  1. I thought that this was a proper Friday Toughie – thanks to proXimal and Dutch. I particularly liked 1a, 9a, 13a, 6d and 16d.
    I needed to check the BRB to verify that the last 4 letters of 24a can be an informal adjective meaning ‘extravagantly enthusiastic’ (as in **** reviews).

    1. 24a that was what I thought – sorry I should have said adjective rather than verb, will fix – but why bother with the ‘to the East’? I still feel like I’m missing something.

      1. It just means being to the right (of what we’ve already got). I suppose it’s just there to improve the surface.

        1. “Favourable”, that’s another one, I feel like it’s not a particularly good synonym of “wildly enthusiastic”, though obviously they’re in the same ballpark. It is necessary but not sufficient for **** reviews to be favourable.

          Maybe I should stop pointlessly nitpicking and get some work done today.

  2. I actually thought this was actually pretty hard, not on the Elgar scale perhaps but certainly by any normal standards – I had five clues with question marks beside. 6d I eventually saw, 18a was just me not being able to count letters, but I also don’t get 24a, thought “where to see aquatic monster” to suggest “in L ****” was VERY tenuous, and I have trouble seeing “familiarity” as a direct synonym for what it has to be in 17d. Definitely a nice workout though with some very strong cluing going on elsewhere, so thanks setter and blogger!

  3. This was 5* difficulty for me. I finished the west side after a lot of thought, then the NE quadrant, and finally I bunged in some words that fitted in the SE, eventually to my surprise managing to parse them correctly. Favourite was 9a. Many thanks to proXimal and Dutch.

  4. My heart always sinks a little when I’ve spent hours solving a Toughie only to see yet another ‘not too difficult’ rating from Dutch so I was delighted to note that both Gazza and Verlaine appear to rate this one as being rather more tricky. Not complaining, Dutch, just envious of your abilities!
    Had to look up the chap from Asia Minor and have never come across the 14d expression before today.
    Surprised to find the DT accepting of the ‘mad’ synonym in 22d in these politically correct times!

    I liked 13&26a along with 1&17d. Not overly keen on 9 or 24a.

    Thanks to proXimal and to Dutch.

  5. I found this very difficult, and disappointingly, I finished up with a handful short. I hadn’t met the synonym for irritable nor the apparent abbreviation for drive in 2d, and I hadn’t heard of the liquor in 4a. Also, I didn’t get 4d and 6d, although I certainly should have. I’m trying hard not to feel too disappointed in failing to finish a proXimal puzzle, but so far not succeeding very well! Thanks to him and to Dutch for another wonderful blog.

  6. Found this quite impossible. Even the hints did not help. I think 28a was the bitter end!
    Such a change from yesterday when I was on the same wavelength as the setter.

  7. I just could not get into this at all and gave up with only three answers completed. No sense in banging my head against the wall. 28A (the beverage, not the clue) is an abomination and if there is one export I will unreservedly apologize for, this is it. So thanks but no thanks Proximal. This was not my cuppa. And thanks to Dutch, though I think you graded the difficulty way too low.

  8. Unlike Dutch, I solved this bottom up. Also unlike Dutch, but like most others I found this a real test and only manage the last part (minus 7d – grr) when I came back for a second session. Some of the parsing held out for an age, so I’m pleased I managed to get there.

    Dutch and Gazza have highlighted the, er, highlights, but I think I’ll add 23a for elegant simplicity.

    Thanks to Dutch and proXimal.

  9. We’ve just finished and feeling pleased with ourselves.
    G: It must be the change in beer what did it, tonight weem on little trip to Ma Pardoe’s 🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺

Comments are closed.