Toughie 1869 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1869

Toughie No 1869 by Messinae

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Thanks to Messinae for a pleasant puzzle with a mini-theme. We could perhaps have done with a bit more variety in the types of clue since nearly half of them involved a container/insertion type construct.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

8a Burial site round ancient city means to make an impression (7)
GRAVURE – put a place of burial around our usual old Biblical city. I didn’t know this procedure which is apparently a way of producing an image from a photographic negative and then etching it in.

10a Condition of volume penned by Nick mostly (7)
PROVISO – abbreviations for ‘of’ and ‘volume’ are contained in a nick without its last letter.

11a Reactionary state cut down monster, 17 (2,2,5)
ET TU BRUTE – to get an example of 17a (according to Shakespeare) reverse a verb to state without its last letter and add a monster or fiend.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

12a Start where film is made (5)
ONSET – split the answer 2,3 to get where a film is shot.

13a Whit, time for this composition? (5)
MOTET – start with a word for whit or tiny piece and append T(ime).

14a Summon archdeacon to tuck into ice-cream (7)
CONVENE – the abbreviated title of an archdeacon goes inside an ice-cream (or, more accurately, its container).

17a Star’s awful moods could produce ironic comment (6,4,5)
FAMOUS LAST WORDS – an anagram (could produce) of STAR’S AWFUL MOODS. An example of this might be “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distan…”.

19a Russian transport tsar arranged to carry common type (7)
TROIKAS – an anagram (arranged) of TSAR contains an informal and derogatory term for a common or uncouth person.

21a Birds finally in flight move energetically (5)
ROUST – I knew this word as a transitive verb meaning to get someone out of bed but Chambers reveals that it’s also an intransitive verb to move energetically. Insert the final letter of birds into another word for a flight or disorderly retreat.

24a See 6d

26a Couple at Buckingham Palace are flirting (9)
PHILANDER – an oldie but goodie – split the answer 4,3,2 to get the royal pair.

27a New climb under development (7)
NASCENT – the abbreviation for new followed by a synonym for a climb (of a mountain, say).

28a Insurgent’s ultimate cause — this? (7)
TREASON – the ultimate letter of insurgent and a cause or motive.

Down Clues

1d Education officials in formal meeting becoming incandescent (6)
AGLEAM – put the abbreviation for the body responsible for administering education in a particular area inside the abbreviation for the mandatory yearly meeting of a public company.

2d Work out manoeuvring to break into radio as dogsbody (8)
FACTOTUM – put a verb meaning to work or function and an anagram (manoeuvring) of OUT into the abbreviation for a method of radio transmission.

3d Amazed finding doctors involved in some French business (10)
DUMBSTRUCK – insert one of the abbreviations for doctors between a French word meaning ‘some’ and a synonym for business or dealings.

4d Left out of exotic place, Peru’s capital (5-4)
UPPER-CASE – an anagram (exotic) of P[L]ACE PERU’S after we’ve removed the abbreviation for left.

5d Cracked engine (4)
LOCO – double definition, the first an informal adjective meaning cracked or crackers.

6d/24a 17 misheard Sky broadcast (4,2,5)
KISS ME HARDY – an example of 17a comes from an anagram (broadcast) of MISHEARD SKY.

7d Goes aimlessly around Sweden, stumped! (8)
FOOTLESS – this was my last answer and I stared at it for some time before this meaning of stumped hit me. A verb meaning potters about contains the IVR code for Sweden. Not exactly PC perhaps but rather amusing.

9d Items of dance music they won’t take off (4)
EMUS – lurking in the clue.

15d Stormy Red Sea — Wren gets anchor maybe (10)
NEWSREADER – an anagram (stormy) of RED SEA WREN.

16d Host’s pelf dissipated in dens of iniquity (9)
FLESHPOTS – an anagram (dissipated) of HOST’S PELF.

17d Fine work of art, very attractive (8)
FETCHING – the abbreviation for fine (a category of pencil) and a work of art which may have involved 8a.

18d Love to be embraced by career girl that’s attractive and rather plump (8)
ROUNDISH – insert the letter resembling a score of love into a verb to career and add an informal term for an attractive girl.

20d Monster so upset Nazi troops (6)
OGRESS – reverse an adverb meaning so or therefore and add the abbreviation for an elite corps of Nazi troops.

22d Personnel detained by criminal organisation, the mob (6)
THRONG – the current abbreviation for what used to be called the personnel department goes inside a Chinese criminal organisation. I don’t know why we have ‘the’ there other than to improve the surface but ‘mob’ (without ‘the’) could easily have been moved to be the first word of the clue.

23d Blame having lost university safe investment (4)
GILT – take the single-letter abbreviation for university away from a word for blame or culpability.

25d Frenchman certainly very engaging (4)
YVES – a positive response with the abbreviation for very taken inside.

I liked 17a (for the excellent anagram) and 16d (just because the answer is one of my favourite words, which rolls off the tongue) but my favourite is 7d (for the ‘penny drop’ moment when I realised what stumped meant). Which one(s) earned your approbation?

23 comments on “Toughie 1869

  1. Great fun, 3*/4*.

    Favourite was 26a which was new to us. We weren’t too sure about the (first) o in 10a as an abbreviation for of, but the BRB has it as such.

    Thanks to Gazza and to Messinae.

  2. Whiled away my hospital waiting room time again very satisfactorily! Loved 26 but couldn’t risk bursting out laughing and every eye in the house turn to me. Shame. Like to think of it as ” ‘er” because that makes it even more hilarious but I fear that may be 28!

  3. I have been away for a while and I very much enjoyed this on my return to Toughie-land. It took me a while and I was pleased to able to complete it. However, I had ‘R’ as the first letter of 7d.

  4. Only 50% done before resorting to “hints and tips” and even then I was stumped by 3 or 4. Nevertheless, very enjoyable with 26a just pipping 17a as my favourite.

  5. The last few in the NE corner took me quite a while to sort out. 7D was my last in. A big laugh out loud moment and absolutely my favorite. I also ticked 17A, 26A, 4D and 6/24. Thanks Messinae. I thought this was fun. Thanks also to Gazza for the review.

  6. Took me a while to find a way into this one – finally found it in the SE and worked my way up from there.
    Like Tony, my 7d began with ‘R’ which I still prefer – the alternative seems a bit too close to home in the current clime.

    8a was new to me and I’d forgotten 13a – I’m sure we’ve met it several times in the past.
    Llike Gazza, I looked up the definition of 21a, must try to remember that one.
    Interesting to see one of today’s back-page answers putting in another appearance here in 28a.

    26a may well be a chestnut but it still gets my vote for top spot – I also liked 17d.

    Thanks to Messinae and to my favourite knight for the review – great illustration for 2d!

  7. Beaten by 7d.
    Liked the mini theme and loved that kind of carry on up the Caesar clip in 11a.
    26a made me laugh too.
    Thanks to Messinae and to Gazza for the review.

  8. I had not realised that R was not the first letter of 7d, so thanks (but I agree with those who still think R is better!).
    I found it hard going without too much to be smiling about, so 3* enjoyment looks right although getting close to 4* difficulty for me.
    Having never seen 26a before it did appeal to me as the brightest spot.
    Thanks Gazza and Messinae.

  9. I am surprised at how many solvers had not met 26a before – I thought it would be known to almost everyone. As I wrote in the review it is a goodie.

    1. It was one of several clues I marked with ch for chestnut so like you I was surprised at the people who hadn’t met it before

    2. Me too but I was a bit doubtful about the ending as, to me anyway, it didn’t quite go with the clue – am I being dim again.

  10. Again we were very slow to get started on this one but once we had sorted 17a and then its two related answers we were up and running. Yes we had seen 26a before but it took a while to recall it and it still got the biggest guffaw.
    Thanks Messinae and Gazza.

  11. 26a a favourite from days of yore … but always good for a laugh!

    One minor quibble is that the references to 17 didn’t indicate across or down … I spent a lot of time “fetching” nothing!

    6d & 24a was a very nice anagram … nearly as good as my all time favourite clue: “Pecking order” (4,2,5)

  12. Just into 3* territory, mainly because of two stubborn clues in the SE corner. Some nice ones here, but my favourite has to be 11a – but only because of the illustration of the hint. One of my all-time favourite film lines: “Infamy, infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!” in the outrageously camp tones of Kenneth Williams. Thanks to Messinae and Gazza.

  13. I really enjoyed it, and I could do it which is always a plus.
    I missed the slightly non-pc bit of 7d but I think that instantly makes it my favourite.
    I was a bit doubtful about the ending of 26a but that’s probably just me.
    Also missed the ‘reactionary state’ of 11a which was stupid.
    4d took for ever.
    All really good fun so thanks to Messinae and to Gazza.

      1. I mean that if the definition is ‘are flirting’ why isn’t the answer ‘philandering’? I seem to be the only one thinking like this so I’m almost certainly wrong but I don’t see why.

          1. I too was slow on this one. Looked for ages for a word ending in “ing”. What it is to be pedantic! Still, I did laugh when the penny dropped.
            I’m not being that slow with the puzzle. Couldn’t start on it until this morning. Well worth the wait.

          2. OK – thanks Gazza. Whatever they’re doing I’m sure it’s jolly good for them at their age.

  14. Frankly I thought that ID was a bit of a cheat! Although reasonably clever there is no way that a mere gleam could be incandescent. Wrong word here methinks!. I liked 17A anagram

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