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Toughie 1870

Toughie No 1870 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

The bottom half went in reasonably quickly but I had more of a problem with the top half. But it all came good in the end and it was a very enjoyable exercise

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Well-to-do duke, American (10)
PROSPEROUS: The rightful Duke of Milan in The Tempest + ‘American’

6a    Retailer sells hopeless clothes (4)
SHOP: Hidden in (or clothed by) SELLS HOPELESS

10a    Employ most of dinosaurs in retirement (5)
EXERT: Remove the last letter (S) from a reversal of the plural form of a species of dinosaur in its abbreviated form

11a    One acts like eight or nine of French Resistance (9)
PRETENDER: Eight and nine come before another number and are therefore ***-***. Put this before the French for ‘of’ and R (Resistance)

12a    Very fine hour with fliers (8)
HAIRLINE: ‘Very fine (like some cracks)’ = H (hour) + a company you can fly with

13a    Cause embarrassment to party that’s after answer (5)
ABASH: A (answer) + a party

15a    Use just over half of gas etc supplied by London area (7)
UTILISE: The first 5 letters of a 9-letter word encompassing gas, electricity, etc. + a London postcode

17a    Sugar-coat reports circulating about alien base (7)
SWEETEN: A reversal of ‘reports’ round an alien and the base of natural logarithms

19a    Stuffed on account of agent (7)
OVERFED: ‘Stuffed with food’ = ‘on account of’ + an agent of the FBI

21a    Disappointing holiday, a possible result of taking drugs? (3,4)
BAD TRIP: An episode of terrifying hallucinations and physical discomfort resulting from taking a drug. It could also describe a disappointing holiday

22a    Stranger died in European river (5)
ODDER: ‘Stranger (or more strange)’ = D (died) in a Central European river

24a    Need discovered French author to be bright (8)
LUSTROUS: ‘Need’ or ‘passionate desire’ + the surname of a French writer with the first and last letters removed (discovered = dis-covered)

27a    Unusual gear? Just three-quarters of it (9)
DIFFERENT: The first 9 letters of a 12-letter word for a gear enabling one driving wheel of a vehicle to move faster than another

28a    British remain in port (5)
BREST: B (British) + ‘to remain’ = a port in Brittany

29a    Lift articulated beams (4)
RAYS: A homophone (articulated) of ‘to lift’

30a    Priest sets out to find relative (10)
STEPSISTER: An anagram (out) of PRIEST SETS


1d    Go to check king’s ready (4)
PREP: ‘Go’ or ‘vigour’ goes round (checks) R (king) to give ‘to make ready’. My first thought was that ‘go’ meant ‘go to the toilet’ but the resulting word doesn’t mean ‘ready’

2d    The setter’s leaving nothing of importance working (9)
OPERATIVE: O (nothing) + a 10-letter adjective meaning ‘of importance’ with IM (I’m = the setter is) removed

3d    Religious leader in huff about being elevated (5)
PETER: A religious leader (one of the 12 Apostles) = a huff + a reversal of ‘about’

4d    Salesperson with additional pay for extra performance (7)
REPRISE: A salesperson + an increase of salary

5d    Incompetent being this would make fuse start to fail (7)
USELESS: If FUSE were this it would become F (first letter of FAIL)

7d    Evil alter ego contracted artist … monster! (5)
HYDRA: The name of the evil alter ego in Stevenson’s story with the last letter removed + an artist

8d    Siren in temple curtailed exercise (10)
PARTHENOPE: One of the Sirens in Greek mythology = a former temple in Athens with the last letter removed + physical exercise. I’ve never met this siren before

9d    Progress to pull a good pint (3,5)
GET AHEAD: When split (3,1,4) it could mean ‘pull a good pint’ in that you end up with froth on the top of the beer

14d    Not working having left monastery (3,2,5)
OUT OF ORDER: It could also mean ‘no longer in a religious fraternity’

16d    Traitor’s doing well with Queen (8)
INFORMER: ‘Doing well’ (2,4) + our Queen

18d    Universal bar suits regularly getting promoted over Fast and Furious (9)
TURBULENT: A reversal of U (universal) and alternate letters of BARSUITS + a period of fasting

20d    American airport terminal’s beginning to be most boring (7)
DULLEST: An airport serving Washington DC + the first letter of TERMINAL

21d    Holding up trophies, substitute’s where coach might be (3,4)
BUS STOP: A reversal of ‘trophies’ and ‘substitute’. The coach is one with wheels

23d    Duck crackers (5)
DAFFY: The name of a cartoon duck from Warner Brothers = ‘crackers’ or ‘crazy’

25d    Performing song with this religious leader could be absorbing (5)
RABBI: An anagram (performing) of ABSORBING with the letters of SONG removed

26d    One’s one to have one on the Walk of Fame (4)
STAR: This leading performer might have one of these on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

I won’t be around the next two Thursdays so that’s it for me until mid-September

11 comments on “Toughie 1870

  1. 4*/4* for me. I totally concur with Bufo’s comments: “The bottom half went in reasonably quickly but I had more of a problem with the top half. But it all came good in the end and it was a very enjoyable exercise”.

    The siren in 8d was new to me. I’m not 100% convinced by 26d, but, that apart, this was a lovely puzzle from start to finish with 11a my favourite.

    Many thanks to Samuel and to Bufo.

  2. The NW corner took this from a Mister Ron to a Samuel, taking as long to sort that out as it did the other three-quarters. I wasn’t keen on 26d either.

    Thanks to Samuel and Bufo too – enjoy your holiday –

  3. Like CS I was held up in the NW, but unlike her and RD I liked 26d. Lots of other likes too – plenty of smiles, plus a chuckle at 23d.

    Lots of 29as in today’s crosswords!

    19a describes me at the moment. It may be time to diet … after I’ve helped out with the birthday cake, that is.

    Thanks to Samuel and Bufo. Have a good break.

  4. Like others, I was able to access this from the bottom half and work steadily upwards, with the top half being much slower and the NW corner almost at a stop. (I hadn’t met the synonym for ‘huff’ which didn’t help). Nor had I heard of the siren, but fortunately the checkers were very helpful and I was able to piece it together. When I finally got 1 ac, I thought it was a wonderful clue! many thanks to Samuel and Bufo.

  5. We did so want 1d to be the Scottish word we found in BRB but could not really justify ‘to make a trial of’ as ‘ready’. Plenty to keep us amused and like others, got most of the bottom half done while the top was still blank.
    Thanks Samuel and Bufo.

  6. I’m another who worked this one from the bottom upwards.
    Had PEEK for 1d – almost managed to justify it!
    The siren was new to me but the clue worked very well as did the similarly constructed clue for 1a.
    Took ages for me to ‘see’ the parsing of 2d.

    Liked 12&19a – top spot reserved for 14d.

    Thanks to Samuel and to Bufo – hope you enjoy your break.

  7. Bottom up solve and stuck in the NW corner for me too. I toyed with pack and prep for 1D and settled on peek. 2D was a bung in but didn’t help me with 12A which I needed the hint to solve. No ticks on my page, I’m afraid. I was probably just too focused on trying not to be beaten that I didn’t pay attention. Thanks Samuel and Bufo.

  8. That was the kind of crossword that I didn’t want to give up as every answer was a great penny drop moment.
    Never doubted that Samuel could provide us with a proper toughie.
    Thanks to him and to Bufo for the review.

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