Toughie 1867 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1867

Toughie No 1867 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Hello everybody, and welcome.

I haven’t done many Toughies recently but this did strike me as a “proper” one, though they do come harder.  I surprised myself elsewhere in the grid but had some trouble filling the NW.  It would have been a suitable crossword for solving in public in that I didn’t find myself chuckling much to myself, but nor did I find the need to let out a stream of unladylike expletives.  I did have a few hmms, and a raised eyebrow or three, but as is all too often the case I may have missed something.  I await enlightenment.

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



1a    Maybe Geordie wife injured his hip, to some extent (6)
NEWISH:  We start with the region of England where a Geordie hails from, add W(ife) and then finish with an anagram (injured) of HIS.  Nifty definition, which hid itself from me for some time

4a    Lock inhibits father’s encroachment (8)
TRESPASS:  A lock of hair contains (inhibits) a familiar word for father along with the ’S

9a    Pale, having struck opponents with little weight (6)
WHITEN:  After an abbreviation for weight (little weight) comes “having struck,” followed by some bridge opponents.  Pale here is a verb

10a   Type of gravel everybody emptied until covering Roman road (8)
ALLUVIAL:  Everybody (3) and the outer letters of until (emptied) around the Latin word for a road.  For me this was one of those you construct from wordplay and only then remember the word.  I still looked it up though!

12a   Chat with couple about rise in Japanese food (8)
YAKITORI:  Chat or natter followed by two in Roman numerals around a rise or hill.  New food for me

13a   Schoolkids once in class restricting amount of light to save energy (6)
ALUMNI:  Two letters which might denote a class, specifically the top class, containing a unit of visible light without (to save) E(nergy)

15a   Swimmer assists after mile, with chap struggling (7,6)
MICHAEL PHELPS:  Assists or aids after an anagram (struggling) of MILE CHAP.  This swimmer, the most decorated Olympic champion of all time, “raced” against a …

18a   Swimmer‘s pain around creek affected mum, getting rescue craft (8,5)
MACKEREL SHARK:  The French word for pain has swum through the channel to make it into the English dictionary.  Here it goes around an anagram (affected) of CREEK and is followed by mum (2) and a Biblical rescue craft.  It amused me to see these two swimmers brought into such close proximity here, with no CGI required.  One of these swimmers was involved in a publicity exercise with 15a, but, being computer-generated was “unable to comment after the race” – see here

22a   Maybe bowler admits that hurt character bending? Umpire responds to this (6)
HOWZAT:  Something which a bowler is a type of contains an expression of pain (that hurt!) and an alphabetical character which has a bent shape.  I hope I’m missing something here, as I’m not at all convinced by the “character bending.”  The answer is a cricketing appeal

24a   Some lowlife keen to throttle youngster in return (3,5)
RED ALGAE:  Some primitive life found in the ocean.  Very keen (5) containing (to throttle) a boy, all of which is reversed (in return)

26a   Respect Republican joy (8)
RELATION:  Republican, abbreviated, and some deep joy or euphoria

27a   Part of humidifier ceased displaying intensity (6)
FIERCE:  The answer is found in part of the clue

28a   Style of mop that’s a weight during regularities of her care work (4,4)
ETON CROP:  A heavy weight inside (during) regular letters of her care, after which we have a work (2)

29a   Academic did model work, coating vehicle (6)
SAVANT:  Worked as a model around (coating) a type of motor vehicle.  This immediately brought to mind one Marilyn vos Xxxxxx and the famous Monty Hall Problem.  (The letter from Everett Harman, Ph.D. in the second link nearly made me spit out my tea)



1d    Place for drawers perhaps recently found on base of divan (6)
NEWLYN:  This is a picturesque part of the country, a town in Cornwall – so it could be a destination for artists (including budding ones since there is an art school, from which the illustration comes).  Place a word meaning recently onto the last letter (base) of divan

2d    Chaser possibly beat unknown Scotsman (6,3)
WHISKY MAC:  Make a cocktail by starting with beat (in a culinary sense) and adding a mathematical unknown and one of our usual Scotsmen

3d    One doesn’t believe seeing mushroom, probing short twig (7)
SCEPTIC:  A mushroom inside (probing) a bit of a tree without its last letter (short)

5d    Press  directory (4)
ROLL:  Two definitions, the first being to flatten and the second a register or list of names

6d    Following work, lacking first sign of energy, child’s put down (7)
SQUELCH:  Take a “following work” and remove the first E(nergy) from it, then add an abbreviation for child

7d    Old bird claims rounders team rejected rule (5)
AXIOM:  An extinct bird (not the dodo, but the one pictured below) contains (claims) the number of people on a rounders team which is written Roman style, all of which is reversed (rejected).  I couldn’t remember the size of a rounders team, so looked it up.  It seems that it can be anything from 6-16, but also that the total number of players on a team is limited to the number required here. 

8d    Being least sensible in Lyon, he stands in middle of road (8)
SILLIEST:  The French word for he and stands or is located in, all in the middle of two letters for a type of road

11d   Daily Express initially right to keep paper’s stargazer (7)
DREAMER:  The initial letters of the rag in the clue and R(ight) contain (to keep) a quantity of paper

14d   Cosmetic wheel, at back, adorns black Escort (7)
BLUSHER:  Put the last letter (at back) of wheel inside B(lack) and escort or guide

16d   24 mostly spread about a kilometre in Italian water (4,5)
LAKE GARDA:  An anagram of all but the last letter (mostly) of the answer to 24a around A K(ilometre).  Being a backwards sort of person, I got this first, and used my answer to work out 24a

17d   Sound system, tool touring artist used, jars (8)
AMPHORAE:  A sound system then a gardening tool (one that Santa likes to repeat at the time of year which I hope to hear nothing about for another four months) around (touring) a member of the Royal Academy

19d   Kind of band to carry on during ice dancing (7)
ELASTIC:  To carry on or endure inside (during) an anagram (dancing) of ICE

20d   Burns middle of lip in heart of Cracow having a hot beverage (7)
ARABICA:  Take a short version of the poet Burns and the middle of the word lip inside the central two letters (heart) of Cracow, and finally append the A from the clue.  You should be rewarded for your efforts with a beverage that might have been of more use before starting the puzzle!

21d   Renounce protest, concerned with replacing old boy (6)
REJECT:  A synonym of protest, in which two letters meaning concerned with replace the two-letter abbreviation for old boy

23d   Roger might be followed by this learner in Caribbean business (5)
WILCO:  Sandwich the abbreviation for Learner in between a region in the Caribbean and an abbreviation for a business.  Roger is the radio communications kind

25d   Game reserve’s lion initially rising (4)
POLO:  A reserve or kitty with the head of lion rising (which in a down clue implies moved back) one position


Thanks to Osmosis for the enjoyable pangram with plenty for sport lovers.  I didn’t have any clear favourites, but had fun on my trip to the ocean with the swimmers.  Where did you find joy?

I’ll be back on Tuesday … unless I am nursing a broken arm!




18 comments on “Toughie 1867

  1. I would have liked to spend longer than the time I had available on this – I did manage to complete this but I don’t think I parsed them all and didn’t have time to check. Tough but generally guessable, which made it quite a bit easier than Puck in the Guardian. I did enjoy the challenge.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Kitty

  2. Incredibly I’ve finished this! I needed all sorts of help with spell checkers, inspired guesses, Google and the like but I got there before the hints were published. Being a pangram helped but I am unsure about the inclusion of proper names like Michael Phelps – surely that’s for Sunday’s General Knowledge crossword? Anyway, I’ve been delighted to read the logic behind my guesses and to learn that burnt chicken on skewers is a Japanese delicacy called “Yakitori”. I look forward to sampling it at the next BBQ I attend!

  3. I found it ‘proper’ too . Got most of it solved after lunch, made a very large beef lasagna, a medium courgette lasagna, and a two person vegan lasagna, and then returned to get my last four stragglers.

    Thanks to setter and blogger

    I’m preparing my wrestling arm but if this weekend is as hectic as the ‘catering’ I may be in a darkened room by Tuesday.

  4. There weren’t a lot of laughs here but the clues were pretty fair (as long as you’d heard of the two swimmers, which I had). I wasn’t sure about the ‘class’ in 13a but I presume it must be being used as an adjective as in ‘a class act’. Thanks to Osmosis and to Kitty for the text and pictures. Favourite clue: 2d.

  5. A thoroughly enjoyable struggle – 7 down and 13 across had me beaten. I did 8 down as a “bung in” – I am somewhat surprised to find that I am expected to know that SS represents a road system in Italy! Plenty of great clues but 1 down tickled my fancy the most.

  6. I thought the wordplay was quite good and intricate in this one – perhaps a bit more fun and elegance in the surfaces would have been good, but no complaints about the quality of the cryptic constructions. Though, actually I did object to 22a – if (over at the times) people are going to complain that they don’t know how to spell HABAKKUK, I don’t see why those of us who can’t be bothered with sports should know whether the “character bending” should be a Z rather than an S. Especially as I reckon an S is bendier than a Z! Thanks Osmosis though and I did like the swimmy central rows; regards to our blogger too.

  7. A bit too much for me, even with lots of help I found it a real struggle. Interest waned towards the end. Suppose the clue is in the title.
    Many thanks to Osmosis for the toughest puzzle for quite a while, and to Kitty for slogging it out. *****/***

  8. Good puzzle with every solution also parsed (for which I also give extra enjoyment marks). Failed on 9 across and 1 down. (Not surprised about 9 across but kicking myself for 1 down). Only quibble is 20 down. Is the answer actually a beverage as well as the bean that produces it? Favourite was 23 down …… and out!

  9. Took this with me to help pass the time whilst waiting to meet the latest in my growing collection of ‘ologists. Despite his clinic running almost two hours behind schedule, something approaching half remained to be completed when I could be reunited with a little electronic help.
    I didn’t know that 1d was particularly associated with artists and -like gsol – I wondered whether 20d is in itself a hot beverage.
    Think I was surprised to find 15a in a cryptic but I did smile over the ‘rescue craft’ in its paired 18a.
    The Japanese food was another ‘new’ discovery as was the lowlife in 24a and the unit of light in 13a.

    Certainly found it a difficult solve and – sadly – not a whole heap of fun.

    Thanks to Osmosis for the challenge and to our Girl Tuesday on a Friday – your big scary monster was the best bit for me!

  10. I don’t usually look at Friday Toughies as I know my limits but it was raining so I had a go.
    I found it very difficult and ground to a complete halt with my last four answers all in the top right corner.
    I liked the fishy/swimmy ones and 1a and 1 and 2d.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Kitty.

  11. It is good for thr morale of non-finishers like myself to be reassured it was as difficult as it seemed. I ended up with 5 not done, all in the lower half, one of which was half solved. However it was an enjoyable challenge with a few easier clues to get started. Many thanks to Osmosis and Kitty (whose illustration for 27a made me laugh!).

  12. greetings from Sisi, Crete, where I have just watched the sun sink into the sea from our balcony – it does that every night but amazingly returns the next day. Weather is splendid, not hot, though life remains tough as usual. Do I buy 2 beers at the minimart to take to the beach and risk one warming up, or do resign to having to walk back to the minimart for the second beer? Monty Hall has nothing on that one.

    I haven’t done this puzzle (or any in the last week, actually) though it does look rather toughish and I want to thank Kitty for bravely stepping into my slot with a splendid blog while I’m away.

    best wishes to all

  13. Our favourites were also the two swimmers crossing the centre of the grid. It also took us much longer than it should have to sort out 25d. We did spot the pangram. Quite a challenge and very satisfying to get it all sorted.
    Thanks Osmosis and Kitty.

  14. Tough but fair and satisfying. We could not see how to parse 25d even after much head-scratching and so couldn’t choose between solo and polo. 4.5*/4*.

    12a was new to us and 15a was our COTD.

    Thanks to Kitty for the review and Osmosis.

  15. I did finally finish very late in the evening, but with several parsing questions. My favorite is 2D. It’s been decades since I had one, but if I had the Stones I might just have rewarded myself! Thanks, Osmosis and Kitty.

Comments are closed.