Toughie 1876 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1876

Toughie No 1876 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hi all.  I hope you are well and have fresh air to breathe.  This is a crossword in the usual Giovanni mould, which I found not tooo full of verbal exotica but nevertheless harder than the average bear.

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



5a    The old man is embraced by a maiden in a movement defying social convention (7)
DADAISM:  Another name for “the old man” is followed by the IS from the clue inside (embraced by) the A from the clue and the cricket abbreviation for maiden.  It’s an avant-garde art movement

7a    Rebuke youngster, learner lacking energy (5)
CHIDE:  Take a young person with the abbreviation for learner missing (lacking) then append the physics symbol for energy

9a    Strong wine taken after work’s over (6)
POTENT:  A deep red Spanish wine goes after an abbreviated word for a work, especially a musical composition, which is reversed (over)

10a   Cold wife, lacking firepower going about? (8)
UNWARMED:  The abbreviation for wife has an adjective meaning without weapons around it (going about)

11a   Goes through safe report that’s been amended (10)
PERFORATES:  An anagram of SAFE REPORT (that’s been amended)

13a   Numbers possibly in reserve (4)
BOOK:  Numbers is an example of the answer (in the Bible).  The second definition is a verb

14a   Deeply hate nob, horribly unacceptable in behaviour (6,3,4)
BEYOND THE PALE:  An anagram (horribly) of DEEPLY HATE NOB

16a   Times of relaxation not half evident in spring festival (4)
HOLI:  A season of rest and recreation (at least in theory – parents may disagree) loses its second half (not half evident) to give a Hindu spring festival (one which Giovanni seems to like to mark annually in early September! – see 6d here).  I’ll be eco-friendly and recycle the picture

17a   Any number in circle led by a member of tribe once? (10)
AMERINDIAN:  The letter standing in mathematics for any number inside a great circle through the poles of the earth, heavens or other body, all preceded by (led by) the A from the clue

19a   One sort of organ may get its sound from this (8)
EARPHONE:  Perhaps a cryptic definition, but I think there may be more to it: take an organ of the body and follow it with a single elementary speech sound.  The whole describes what the said organ might have plugged into it to deliver sound

20a   Loveless god, this person has to make strides (6)
THRIVE:  A god of Norse mythology without the letter symbolising love in tennis (loveless) followed by the contracted form of “this person has” in the first person

22a   Boy that makes cheerful sound (5)
SONNY:  A familiar mode of address to a boy sounds like an adjective meaning cheerful and bright

23a   Country uses security device, holding information back (7)
SENEGAL:  A piece or wax or other material used to keep something closed and impervious around (holding) three letters meaning information, reversed (back)



1d    Acerbity of English magistrate missing nothing (4)
EDGE:  This word meaning sharpness is formed of E(nglish) and the historical title of the chief magistrate of Venice or Genoa without the letter that stands for zero (missing nothing)

2d    Gym period beset by noise coming from insect (8)
DIPTERAN:  Start with an old abbreviation for what is now called Physical Education and a period of years.  These are surrounded by (beset by) a continuous loud noise to make this fly

3d    Nasty looks from bully left surrounded by foreign police (6)
SCOWLS:  Bully or subdue and the abbreviation for left inside (surrounded by) Nazi police

4d    Story about poet incorporating old material (10)
FIBREBOARD:  An untruth and about or concerning followed by a poet containing (incorporating) O(ld)

5d    One’s finished after queen has been grabbed? (5)
DRONE:  Finished or over containing the single letter abbreviation for queen.  The whole provides the definition and might give you a buzz when you see it

6d    What must pose explosive threat? Must not drunken male with glass? (5,2,6)
MOUNT ST HELENS:  Follow an anagram (drunken) of MUST NOT with a male pronoun for a male and an optical glass

8d    I, perfect in speech, may be one to be seen through (7)
EYEHOLE:  Spoken aloud (in speech), “I” together with a synonym of perfect sound like something to peep through

12d   Sly act in restaurant perhaps that leaves others to clear up mess (3-7)
FLY-TIPPING:  A charade of sly or artful and payment to service staff at a restaurant, who have the unenviable task of dealing with the general public (the majority of whom are lovely, but it only takes one)

14d   Man tucked into fish, possible source of energy (7)
BIOMASS:  This Man is an island, and is inside (tucked into) a fish

15d   Current is flooding area (8)
EXISTENT:  The IS from the clue inside (flooding) area or amount

17d   Soon, your setter’s turning up as ‘Giovanni’? (6)
ANONYM:  Soon (4) and the reversal (turning up, in a down clue) of how the setter would indicate that something is of or belonging to him

18d   Article really nasty, not the last thing to come under the hammer (5)
ANVIL:  An indefinite article and a word meaning detestable without its last letter (not the last)

21d   Enthusiasm beginning to recede with time (4)
RAGE:  The first letter of (beginning to) recede and then a long period of time.  Quite


Thanks to Giovanni.  I liked the 14a anagram and 21d, but my favourite today is 5d.  Which would you 21d about (or indeed against)?




16 comments on “Toughie 1876

  1. Hi Kitty – I concur with your rating, and thanks to Giovanni.

    Those of us who solve from the online version have the extra problem of ‘who is it?’ to solve. I suspected Dada (5 across) and wondered about Giovanni (17 down),but what made me plump for the wrong one was 5 down. A Dada clue if ever there was one. And it turns out to have ben the Don! Respect maestro, respect.

    1. Hi Conrad. Ah yes. I’m not very awake today and somewhat distracted, or I might have thought to mention it, but it is indeed true that the online version doesn’t give the setter’s name. At least on this occasion the list of Toughie setters on the site had been updated in good time – which is not always the case!

  2. I made rather heavy weather of this though afterwards I couldn’t really see why. Thanks to Giovanni and to Kitty for the explanations and the pics (especially the laugh-inducing one at 13a). The standout clue for me is the brilliant 5d – which I’ve always felt sorry for since it has only one role in life and it loses its undercarriage and dies once it’s achieved it.

  3. Spent too long on Paul in the Guardian to have any chance of finishing this in my lunch break, hope to find time to have another look later.

    Thanks to Kitty and Giovanni

  4. I quite enjoyed this, though hardly a quick solve. Standard solid clueing that makes you wonder in hindsight why it took so long. Last one in was 2d, first one in was 13a.

    Many Thanks giovanni and thanks kitty for the usual superb blog

  5. Like Gazza I made heavy weather of this but, unlike Gazza, I can see why – it was difficult.
    I spent too long trying to think of the name of a man in 14d and the two long answers, 14a and 6d took ages.
    I liked 14 and 22a and 5 and 12d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Kitty.

  6. An enjoyable solve in the safe hands of the dear old Don. Some straightforward enough clues but then a few others to give us pause. My favourite was 14d due to the interesting use of “man”. Thanks to setter and blogger!

  7. The rest wasn’t too difficult as most of the obscurities were well signposted. Quite a pleasant challenge.

  8. Thank goodness for Kitty’s upbeat blog – made up for a puzzle that I found quite a slog and rather lacking in humour. The ‘new’ Giovanni image obviously hasn’t filtered through to his Toughies!

    12d earned a tick for its aptness and 5d struck me as being rather clever.

    Thanks to DG and to our Girl Tuesday for the much needed fun – the pics at 12&14d were superb!jane

  9. I got all but a handful in the SW corner, and in the end I was beaten, and beaten down, by just too many things I had never heard of. It’s probably the disappointment of not finishing, but please forgive me in saying that I really did not really enjoy today’s challenge.

  10. It took us ages to get a toehold and even when we did it was still a slow solving process until we had the two longer answers that cross in the centre of the grid. 5d gets our vote for top clue. Quite a lot harder than we are used to seeing on a Tuesday and a pleasure to solve such well crafted clues.
    Thanks Giovanni and Kitty.

  11. Finally got there. Did check to make sure it was at least a 4* 45 mins in. IOM – doh!

    Never heard of 17 across, couldn’t think of meridian for ages. Thanks all

  12. A right b****r of a puzzle, l thought, and l needed 4 Kitty-hints to complete. 12 was my favourite. Thanks to the Don, and to Kitty for the helping hand.

  13. Just crept over the line without referring to Kitty’s hints. Some arcane general knowledge involved here, to be sure.

    We agree with Kitty’s ratings and we select 5d as COTD too.

    Thanks to Kitty and the Don.

  14. One where all but the last five clues went in pretty sharpish. But as for the rest, they pushed it well into **** time. Last in 4d and 17ac that I suspect I might have got quicker if I’d solved earlier in the day, as it was pretty obvious what the last six letters of the latter were. Favourite clue today 14d.

  15. I needed two hints (17A and 15D) and several clarifications. I must not have been enjoying it much since I didn’t tick any clues. Anyway, respect as always to Giovanni in toughie mode and thanks to Kitty.

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