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Toughie 1862

Toughie No 1862 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Another Thursday and another puzzle that was fairly straightforward. My only blip was filling in the wrong answer at 21 down.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Excited smoker’s accessory — or office accessory? (11)
HIGHLIGHTER: ‘Excited’ (4) + something a smoker uses to produce a flame (7)

7a    Bats fluttering in wet conditions first off stay dry (7)
ABSTAIN: An anagram (fluttering) of BATS inside wet weather with the first letter removed = ‘stay dry’ or ‘go on the wagon’

8a    Ruler losing time with speaker’s opening gibes (7)
SARCASM: A Russian ruler minus the letter T (time) + a homophone (speaker’s) of an opening or a gaping hollow

10a    Literary heroine book cast in vital female part (5)
OVARY: Remove B (book) from the surname of the title character of a novel by Gustave Flaubert

11a    A rum suit I fancy in holiday destination (9)
MAURITIUS: An anagram (fancy) of A RUM SUIT A = an island in the Indian Ocean

12a    Heating device with club (7)
ANDIRON:A firedog = ‘with’ + a golf club

14a    Team not at any time heading south? (7)
EVERTON: Split this Premiership football team (4,2,1) and it will not at any time be heading south

15a    They’re paid in tribute to get on in Syrian city (7)
HOMAGES: ‘To get on’ (3) in the name of a Syrian city

18a    Spiteful saying backed with ridicule (7)
WASPISH: A reversal of a saying or proverb (3) + an interjection expressing ridicule (4)

20a    A big blow in retirement cutting drink, source of sweetness? (4,5)
BEET SUGAR: I’m told that the enumeration is given as (9) in the dead tree version. A reversal of A and a big blow (of wind) (4) inside an alcoholic beverage (4) = a sweet substance obtained from a root

21a    Trouble in the past besets old King (5)
AGGRO: ‘In the past’ goes round the a British king (one of six)

22a    Judge largely found round centre of courts provides confidence (7)
ASSURES: ‘To judge’ with the last letter removed goes round the middle two letters of COURTS

23a    Surprised reaction after poster is put in outstanding scholarly institution (7)
ACADEMY: A poster (advertisement) in ‘outstanding’ + an interjection expressing surprise

24a    Mother, perhaps, almost completed dissertation in interlude (11)
PARENTHESIS: A mother or father with the last letter removed + a dissertation


1d    Partner beginning to hate the Beach Boys? (7)
HUSBAND: H (first letter of HATE) + what the Beach Boys are an example of (2,4)

2d    It’s lacking in seriousness producing extra money (5)
GRAVITY: Remove IT from ‘seriousness’ to give extra money (often found on a train)

3d    Stir leaderless crew and employee on TV (4,3)
LINK MAN: Sir (prison) with the first letter removed + ‘to crew’ = a person who holds together items of a TV programme

4d    Wave, say, as diplomatic move (7)
GESTURE: 2 meanings: a movement of the hands such as a wave/an action dictated by diplomacy

5d    Drains set to deteriorate, giving problem in schedule? (9)
TARDINESS: An anagram (to deteriorate) of DRAINS SET

6d    Boxer amid break not one prone to fantasy? (7)
REALIST: A boxing champion (the Greatest) inside a break

7d    A boar and a pig running wild around house? It’s a recognised fear (11)
AGORAPHOBIA: An anagram (running wild) of A BOAR A PIG round HO (house)

9d    Film about a new hospital with poor distrust of others? (11)
MISANTHROPY: A film (4) round A N (new) + H (hospital) + ‘poor’ (4) = hatred or distrust of mankind

13d    In list, artist replaces European medic (9)
REGISTRAR: Take an 8-letter word meaning an official list and replace E (European) by RA (artist)

16d    Gets together announcement of increased cost of beef? (5,2)
MEETS UP: A homophone of an announcement that beef etc. costs more (4’1,2)

17d    Claims benefit having two partners in old Asian city bar area (5,2)
SIGNS ON: The abbreviations for two bridge partners inside the former name of Ho Chi Minh City with the letter A (area) removed

18d    Course pursued by hawks? (7)
WARPATH: A cryptic definition in which a hawk is someone who is definitely not a dove

19d    Moving past this entrance could be trespassing? (7)
INGRESS: An anagram of TRESPASSING after removing the letters of PAST

21d    Bring together cycling in tea-growing area (5)
AMASS: Take a tea-growing area in north-eastern India and cycle the letters (put the last two letters at the front). I filled in the tea-growing area at first because it seems to me that it fits the clue much better

What is this strange round yellow object in the sky?


11 comments on “Toughie 1862

  1. I’m pleased to note that I wasn’t alone in putting the tea growing area in 21a first of all as that’s how the clue read for me until, of course, 23a wouldn’t work

    Thanks to Bufo and Shamus too

  2. Most enjoyable , in particular 1a , 7a , 10a and 18d.
    Funniest clue is 1d.
    Thanks to Shamus and Bufo ( i needed your help at 21d.

  3. Enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Shamus and Bufo. I avoided writing the wrong answer in 21d only because I already had 23a filled in. I liked 14a and 1d best.

  4. Made the same mistake on 21d, but easily corrected later. Even after correcting it, we’re sure it could be justified either way. Top clue was 2d, we thought. 3*/2.5*

    Thanks to Bufo and Shamus.

  5. This took me only as long as today’s backpager and is probably the gentlest toughie I have encountered. Had I not been one in the dim distant past 13d might have caused me difficulty. I wonder how many non medics outside the UK would be aware of this middle grade doctor. 1a and 18a were my favourites today.

  6. Took me forever to see 1A and when I did it made me smile so that’s my favorite today. I also ticked 1D and 2D. I considered both options for 21D and favored the tea growing region, but didn’t put either in until I had 23A. Unusually prudent for me. Thanks to Shamus and Bufo.

  7. Managed this one before going out for a ‘girlie’ lunch but have obviously had to wait for the review – no problem, the food and wine were good!
    Needed Bufo’s help to parse 8a as I’d convinced myself that the second ‘s’ was the opening of ‘speaker’. Not enough lateral thinking my girl.

    Thank goodness CS pointed out the enumeration issue with 20a – I spent quite a while looking for an alternative answer.

    Ticks littered about the page but I think top honours go to 1d.

    Thanks to Shamus and to Bufo for the review.

  8. When I can do them (or even when I can’t) I really enjoy Shamus’s crosswords but I do admit to finding him quite tricky.
    Not many anagrams – my ways in to any crossword.
    I found myself in all kinds of trouble with 8a
    I’d never heard of that meaning of 2d (lack of general knowledge strikes again) and, like several others, my 21d was upside down. Is there any kind of rule to this kind of clue?
    I liked so many of these clues that it’s difficult to pick any out – may be I’ll go for (i.e. mention rather than attack) 18a and 9d. My favourite was either 1 or 18d.
    Thanks to Shamus for the crossword and to Bufo for sorting out my problems.

  9. Perhaps the training run with the back-pager on Tuesday had put us onto the setter’s wavelength as we seemed to just sail through this one. Looks like we were saved from the indecision about 21d by having the across answers in first in that corner. Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Shamus and Bufo.

  10. Top end of 2*, and 4* enjoyment. Lots of nice clues, of which I particularly liked 21a, 1d, 2d and 9d. Many thanks to Shamus, and Bufo.

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