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Toughie 1852

Toughie No 1852 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Welcome one and all.  Perhaps it was just me being furry-brained, but I found this tricky.  I think I’m getting too old to solve at midnight as once again I was falling asleep on the grid.  This has some more intricate constructions than is usual for a Tuesday Toughie, and I think that if I’d been more awake I’d have enjoyed untangling them more.  As it was, I have to say I left some of the fiddly bits until morning, but did appreciate them then.

The thing that really struck me on writing the review was no fewer than seven instances of “about” used to indicate a containment.

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



9a    What’s carried on air? Articles about memory (5)
AROMA:  Not sound waves, but something which will activate another of the senses.  Two grammatical articles around (about) some computer memory

10a   Mentions a rocky area of America (9)
MINNESOTA:  An anagram (rocky) of MENTIONS A

11a   Former warning about Lake in remote part of country (7)
EXCLAVE:  Our usual prefix for former and the Latin (or old school slang) for beware around (about) L(ake)

12a   Outdoor space kept by old couple (4-3)
OPEN-AIR:  A printing space is contained in (kept) O(ld) and a couple or brace

13a   Oculist’s last to slip back in subject of eyes (5)
OPTIC:  Take a word for subject or theme and put the last letter of oculist a couple of places further on

14a   Alarm about hat (a couple of times) and shoes (9)
STILETTOS:  A distress call around (about) a slang term for hat with two instances of the abbreviation for time (times)

16a   Someone from Mexico perhaps caught artist leading Debussy work in ancient broadcast (7,8)
CENTRAL AMERICAN:  We start off with C(aught).  After that we have a Royal Academician and a work by Debussy (below) inside an anagram (broadcast) of ANCIENT

19a   Tempting transaction misled eye — so many sadly caught by that (4,5)
EASY MONEY:  An anagram (mislead) of EYE inside which (caught by that) is an anagram (sadly) of SO MANY

21a   Clothing hot? Somewhat (5)
HABIT:  The abbreviation for hot and somewhat (1,3)

23a   Conclusive exclamation about unlimited data in field of operations (7)
THEATRE:  The operations are medical.  An exclamation someone might make to underline something goes around (about – 4) the internals (unlimited) of data

25a   Dreadful company stifling life? Not half (7)
SQUALID:  A team or crew around (stifling) half (not half) of life

27a   Man getting into piece of music about northern country (9)
ARGENTINA:  A man is inside (getting into) an operatic song (piece of music) which also contains (about – 5) N(orthern)

28a   Irish airport  to criticise  sound of engine? (5)
KNOCK:  Three definitions for the price of two.  Ireland West Airport, to criticise, or the sound an internal combustion engine can make if ignition occurs at the wrong point



1d    Food crop I abandoned in complex situation (4)
MAZE:  A cereal crop without I (I abandoned)

2d    Animal about to tuck into endless salad item (6)
TOMCAT:  A favourite animal of mine.  An abbreviation for about inserted into (to tuck into) a fruity salad item with no last letter (endless)

3d    Preserve excellent sources of chilled absinthe (curious drink) (7,3)
JAMAICA RUM:  A charade of a fruity preserve, excellent or topping, initial letters of (sources of) chilled and absinthe, and finally curious or odd

4d    City name accepted by friends there? (6)
AMIENS:  A city and commune in northern France consists of a French word for friends (friends there) containing (having accepted) N(ame)

5d    Final cut? Company quiet about current rave review, perhaps (8)
ENCOMIUM:  Final (3) with its final letter cut followed by the abbreviation for company and quiet (as in keep ***) around (about) the symbol for electric current

6d    Supports making a switch to deliver celebration (4)
FETE:  Supports usually found on the end of legs with the final two letters switched (making a switch).  I’m not too keen on the impreciseness of the indication here

7d    Reclusive staff keeping working on reserve, mostly (8)
MONASTIC:  A long upright pole, especially one carrying the sails of a ship, containing (keeping) working or operational (2), then two of the three letters (mostly) of a word for reserve

8d    Protected bag soldiers picked up — bag containing note on climax of assault (10)
SACROSANCT:  A pouch or bag-like structure, the reversal of some soldiers, then the same bag again, this time containing N(ote).  After all this goes the end (climax) of assault

13d   Formulation of LSO charter implying such output? (10)
ORCHESTRAL:  An anagram (formulation) of LSO CHARTER

15d   Underground movement capable of bringing down Parliament and other institutions (10)
EARTHQUAKE:  This seismic event can also mean a great upheaval, but I think I’m probably missing something here.  I did notice that five years ago one of these damaged Wellington’s parliament building

17d   Small quantity of information about gains elevated savings (4,4)
NEST EGGS:  S(mall) and some information around (about) gains or obtains.  This is all reversed (elevated, in a down clue)

18d   Underwear brand introducing grand elevation of passion (8)
LINGERIE:  A brand or range containing (introducing) G(rand) and a reversal (elevation) of rage

20d   One readily agrees, longing to invest millions in it (3,3)
YES MAN:  A Russian doll clue.  Inside longing (3) is M(illions), itself inside the abbreviation for sex appeal (it)

22d   US author not above adding extra line (6)
BELLOW:  Saul, the Canadian-American Nobel Prize-winning writer, can be found by adding an extra L(ine) to a word meaning not above

24d   Incline ambassador to escape closing words? (4)
TEND:  Take the closing words of a book or film (3,3) and remove His Excellency from them

26d   Peer expected to provide home for King (4)
DUKE:  A synonym of expected contains (to provide home for) K(ing)


Thanks to Kcit for the workout.  How was it for you?



26 comments on “Toughie 1852

  1. I am not sure why but I found this one at the easier end of the Tuesday range, apart from a couple of parsing difficulties – I was hoping you might have seen something I didn’t in 15. Maybe it was because I had a warm-up tackling Arachne in the Guardian. I liked 21 for its simplicity.

    Thanks to Kitty and Kcit

  2. Toughies are always tricky . the number of anagrams helped a lot.
    11a was the most problematic.There were lots of interesting clues .
    28a was an easy one for me.22d is one of my favourite writers.
    19a is my favourite .
    Thanks to Kitty and Kcit.

  3. A completed toughie is still a rare and satisfying experience for me. I have heard of enclave but 11a was a new word for me. Is this not a pangram? Thanks to Kitty for explaining 14a and for the splendid feline images.

  4. 5d for me was a case of looking up the result of the wordplay and being surprised that it is a word. I liked the quirky 21a, and 14a since I spent too much time looking for two hats.

    Many thanks Kcit and Kitty

  5. I didn’t notice all the ‘abouts’ (but I bet Silvanus did!). Like Kitty I thought I must be missing something in 15d. Nothing really stood out for me today but I’ll opt for 21a as top clue. Thanks to the two Ks.
    As beery hiker has mentioned the wonderful Arachne is in the Guardian – thoroughly recommended (especially if you want to see how a Spoonerism should be done).

  6. 15d cryptically speaking ‘underground movements’ of extremist parties can be described as a political 15d when they bring down a parliament or other large national institution

  7. J let me have a look at this and I accidentally finished it (me bad), she did have to help with some of the parsing though. I liked the word play and the (strange) new word and very much enjoyed it. Thanks to Kcit and Kitty

  8. I found this a very enjoyable solve. No real hold ups – one or two new words for me, but helpful checkers, and the word play, enabled me to sort them out. I realized it was a pangram far later than might have been helpful ( i.e. after I had finished). 6d was my last in. Many thanks to Kcit and Kitty

  9. Agree with Kitt’ys assessment, except I’ll give it ***/*** since I’m feeling generous.
    Quite a few long clues but they all add up, including 5d which was new to me. Only 21a raised a smile, thought 10a is pretty slick.

    Many thanks to Kcit and to Kitty for the review.
    Thanks CS too, for the 15d rationale – still not keen on it.

  10. Tricky for me but competed without hints, so very satisfying. A couple of new words in 11A and 5D, and I didn’t get around (didn’t bother is more accurate) to parsing 16A. Lots of ticks though, including 10A, 13A, 14A, 3D and 13D. thanks to Kcit and Kitty.

    1. I checked after I saw your earlier post and it certainly is – I hadn’t noticed. Well spotted PLR.

    2. Good spot, PLR! I must admit the pangram completely passed me by. I find that they’re nice when you notice them – especially if it helps with the solve – but not terribly interesting otherwise.

      I’m glad you liked the pictures, because they were a very last-minute addition. I got a bit distracted elsewhere on the web this morning. Will remember to keep them as a priority next week!

  11. Have to admit that I was too lazy to check on the works of Debussy so thank you for parsing that one for me, Kitty.
    Tried to get ‘bobcat’ into 2d (should have realised that the enumeration was wrong) until I ran out of ideas for a relevant salad item – it was SO simple when the grey cells finally came to life.
    Also got hung up on ‘yearn’ in connection with 20d so that was another that took a while to parse.

    The answer to 12a put in an appearance in yesterday’s Rookie – have to say that I thought Dill’s clue had the edge!

    I liked 25a & 3d – gold medal went to the succinct 21a.

    Thanks to Kcit and to our lovely Girl Tuesday. Loving your undies!

    1. Meant to add – think perhaps 23a refers to the military rather than medical world.

  12. We had spotted that it was a pangram which was useful as the answer for 11a was a word we had not remembered. Quite a lot of unpicking involved and the last one to sort out out was the little 24d which took much longer than it should have as we were trying to remove the initials from one word instead of two. We enjoyed it.
    Thanks Kcit and Kitty.

  13. We went through this at a reasonable lick and were then gratified to find Kitty rating it as 3/4 for difficulty. Terrific boost, thanks.

    Favourite clue was25a (where else, other than crossword land, can not half = half?)

    If CS’s explanation for 15d is correct (and we don’t really buy it), it’s a poor clue and sticks out like a sore thumb by comparison with the rest of the crossword.

    Thanks Kitty and Kcit.

    1. I did have a sneaking suspicion that it wasn’t more than 3* difficulty, but it caused me trouble so I thought I’d leave the rating as I found it. Since in general I think bloggers tend towards rating difficulty too low, I thought it wouldn’t be an altogether bad thing to risk erring in the other direction once in a while. Redresses the balance a bit. Be boosted! :)

  14. Thanks to those who have left comments and thanks today (and indeed also to anyone who may chip in tomrorrow). Sorry I couldn’t be more upbeat. Hopefully I won’t be such a big grumpy puss next week!

  15. Finally managed to print this out and do it. I thought it was harder than usual for a Tuesday but very amenable to persistence, perhaps a (**)/*** difficulty.

    I didn’t have any particular issues with 15dn as a straightforward cryptic definition. My favourite I think was 24dn. I didn’t fully parse any of 17dn, 18dn or 20dn so thanks for an invaluable blog Kitty! And to kciT of course…

  16. Thanks to Kcit and to Kitty for the review and hints. I really enjoyed this one. Was only beaten by 5d, which I didn’t mind as it was a new word for me. Favourite was 14a.

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