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Toughie 1866

Toughie No 1866 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Bufo

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A slight hold-up at the very top of the grid pushed this pleasant puzzle up to the average difficulty level.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Gamble, without question in pursuit of money? That shows guts! (11)
BREADBASKET: A slang term for money + ‘gamble’ round ‘to question’ = a slang word for the stomach

10a    Club heading off for the Cam? (5)
RIVER: Remove the first letter from a golf club used to hit the ball from the tee

11a    Nice exclamation from unhappy cable user (5,4)
SACRÉ BLEU: A French expression of surprise, exasperation, or dismay (as used in Nice) is an anagram (unhappy) of CABLE USER. An expression I learnt from Luck of the Legion in the Eagle comic many years ago

12a    Deceptive activity of the French in part (9)
SEDUCTION: The French for ‘of the’ inside a part or portion

13a    Grassy, about to be covered in dirt? (5)
GREEN: ‘About’ inside dirt or low-down or gossip

14a    Somewhat eccentric about key expression of commitment (6)
FEALTY: ‘Eccentric’ or ‘slightly mad’ (3) round a key on a computer keyboard (3) = the vassal’s obligation of fidelity to his feudal lord. I knew this was a word but I didn’t know what it meant

16a    Carnal activity — various names about that from uncultured guy (5,3)
ESSEX MAN: An anagram various) of NAMES round carnal activity = an archetypal SE English working-class male without cultural interests or good taste but with a large disposable income which he spends freely, mainly on consumer goods and entertainment. That’s not one of the more concise definitions to be found in Chambers

18a    Price set after collapse in takings (8)
RECEIPTS: An anagram (after collapse) of PRICE SET

20a    Health centre to confirm accepting one, not hospital (6)
CLINIC: Put ‘to confirm’ round I (one) and remove H (hospital)

23a    Rough having to dispose of a farm animal (5)
HORSE: Remove A from ‘rough and husky’

24a    Delayed arrival dispersed morale etc (9)
LATECOMER: An anagram (dispersed) of MORALE ETC

26a    Fruit having city vermin back in square (9)
NECTARINE: The postcode for the City of London and a reversal of ‘vermin’ inside a square number

27a    Register name entered in scholarship after setback (5)
ENROL: ‘To register’ = N (name) inside a reversal of ‘scholarship’ or ‘learning’

28a    Organise religious figure, chap caught between eras (5-6)
STAGE-MANAGE: The abbreviation for a canonised person + an era + a chap + an era


2d    Attended a music event — loved keeping volume turned up (5)
RAVED: A reversal of ‘loved’ or ‘beloved’ round V (volume)

3d    Tree, mostly formal, occupying a bed (7)
APRICOT: A fruit tree = ‘formal’ with the last letter removed inside A and ‘bed’

4d    Rouse top former tax officials? (6)
BESTIR: ‘Top’ or ‘most excellent’ + the abbreviation for the Government department formerly responsible for the collection of direct taxation

5d    It’s not looking good as an option for union (8)
SICKNESS: This was my last one in and I assume that it’s to do with the traditional wedding vows

6d    Energy subordinate to power in revised Green table display (7)
EPERGNE: P (power) and E (energy) inside an anagram (revised) of GREEN = a branched ornamental centrepiece for a table. Again I knew this was a word but I didn’t know what one was

7d    Boast about ship, remote and insubstantial? It’s hardly worth anything (5,8)
BRASS FARTHING: ‘To boast’ goes round the abbreviation for a steamship, ‘remote’ and ‘insubstantial’ to give something of very little or no value

8d    Local politician from the South called US city about Republican (8)
ALDERMAN: A reversal (from the South) of ‘called’ and a Californian city round R (Republican)

9d    Going off associates in revolutionary movement (7,6)
TURNING CIRCLE: ‘Going off (like milk does)’ + a group of associates = a revolutionary movement of a vehicle

15d    Precision in account supplied by church office (8)
ACCURACY: An abbreviation for ‘account’ + the office of a clergyman

17d    Start to see gossip providing unwanted attention? (8)
STALKING: S (first letter of SEE) + gossip

19d    This writer subsequently will accept a Conservative being not wholly Right (7)
INEXACT: A personal pronoun representing ‘this writer’ + ‘subsequently’ round A and C (Conservative)

21d    From which speaker delivers story I missed about bird (7)
LECTERN: A story or fib with the letter I removed + ‘about’ + an aquatic bird related to the gulls

22d    Quantity of water power involving river (6)
STREAM: A small body of running water = ‘power’ round R (river)

25d    Girl in Scotland right to swap litres for gallons (5)
MORAG: A Scottish girl’s name = ‘right’ or ‘ethical’ with L (litres) replaced by G (gallons)

12 comments on “Toughie 1866

  1. A nice gentle toughie (although we thought a couple of clues a bit loose with unnecessary words), Just what we needed in our prolonged power outage. Thanks to Kcit and Bufo.
    Continued lack of tea-making facilities will mean an early beer, not that we really need an excuse.

  2. Solved after returning from a very wet Dover Castle visit (to show No2 son’s girlfriend a bit of Kent)

    Fairly fluffy but I did like 11a and 5d

    Thanks to Kcit and Bufo

      1. Really wet this morning especially when queuing for the tunnels, but the sun came out while we were eating lunch in the NAAFI so the rest was fine, and by the time we got home it was perfect tomato and peach picking weather

  3. Almost lost my copy as I have been filing away all day. Mostly invoices and bank statements though but papers were flying everywhere.
    Liked the French exclamation in 11a and never realised that 16a would be in the dictionary. Thought it was a bit osé at first. Maybe one day we will have Thick as the Irish. It fits. 15 letters.
    Joking really. I love everything Irish.
    Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo for the review.

  4. Finally completed a Toughie unaided . Must have been because of the beautiful early spring day day here in Christchurch New Zealand. Awarded myself three large G & T’s as a reward before retiring for the night. 16a was a completely new expression to me.
    Many Thanks to Kcit and Bufo,

    1. Perhaps you were on wavelength because Kcit, although he is from the UK actually lives and works in Wellington.

  5. Thought this was one of the most enjoyable puzzles we’ve had from Kcit. Maybe some of that is down to – as CS calls it – fluffiness, but for me it was mostly about the humour.
    6d was the only one that caused frustration – I know we’ve met the display before but it took for ever to find it amongst the grey clutter that fills my brain.

    1&12a plus 5,7&9d all crowding onto the podium.

    Many thanks to Kcit for making me laugh and to Bufo for the review.

  6. We managed to put all this one together without major hold ups and really appreciated it. Plenty of smiles along the way.
    Thanks Kcit and Bufo.

  7. I fell at the 4D fence. Just couldn’t see it. Otherwise, apart from needing some parsing clarification from the review for 14A and 5D, I tootled along quite nicely. I ticked 1A, 11A, 16A (my favorite) and 7D. Thanks Kcit and Bufo.

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