Toughie 1877 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1877

Toughie No 1877 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Micawber’s in a pretty gentle mood today but his puzzles are always enjoyable.

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

Across Clues

1a You have to accept this seaside town’s trendy (4,4,2)
DEAL WITH IT – a seaside town in Kent and a colloquial expression (4,2) meaning trendy.

6a Song of one cast out after taking sides (4)
ARIA – remove the outer letters of an outcast or undesirable person.

9a Kind of music newspaper/magazine (7)
RAGTIME – charade of a derogatory term for a newspaper and a US weekly magazine.

10a In a flap, fluster, needing to get calm (7)
RESTFUL – an anagram (in a flap) of FLUSTER.

12a Dress fitted the tiny character being taken on illegally (8,5)
IDENTITY THEFT – an anagram (dress) of FITTED THE TINY.

14a Having short break, daughter’s awaiting connection (2,4)
ON HOLD – start with an informal phrase (2,4) meaning having a break, shorten it by one letter and add the abbreviation for daughter.

15a A ship, reportedly stationary? (2,6)
AT ANCHOR – this sounds like a large ship for transporting liquids.

17a Pick fruit for show again (8)
REAPPEAR – weld together a verb to pick or harvest and a juicy fruit.

19a Property cleaner mainly rented (6)
CHALET – bring together a cleaner without his or her last letter and a past participle meaning rented.

22a Painting dune-buggies, perhaps, in turn-of-the-century style (4,3,6)
ARTS AND CRAFTS – a synonym for painting followed by what dune-buggies are examples of (4,6).

24a Wandering rodent nesting in Morecambe? (7)
ERRATIC – a rodent is found inside the first name of Mr Morecambe.

25a I refuse horse at agreed figure (7)
NONAGON – string together a response meaning ‘I refuse’, an old horse and an adverb meaning agreed or scheduled.

26a Bring west strange eastern vegetable (4)
EDDO – reverse an adjective meaning strange and the abbreviation for eastern. I didn’t know this vegetable which is of West Indian origin and has a nutty flavour (although it doesn’t look terribly appetising).

27a Old student alone with screen losing focus, in an old-fashioned way (10)
OBSOLETELY – stitch together the abbreviation for an old male student, an adjective meaning alone and an informal word for a screen or set without its middle letter.

Down Clues

1d Song’s no good — awful (4)
DIRE – start with a mournful song and remove the abbreviation for good.

2d Crushing hug is an agonising thing (7)
ANGUISH – an anagram (crushing) of HUG IS AN.

3d I let His Excellency pawn the bizarre unwanted gift (5,8)
WHITE ELEPHANT – an anagram (bizarre) of I LET H[is] E[xcellency] PAWN THE.

4d Agreement to have food during test (6)
TREATY – a verb to have food goes inside a verb to test.

5d Scientists taking time to bisect livid bug (8)
IRRITATE – the abbreviation for the British organisation devoted to scientific education (most famous for its annual Christmas lectures) and the abbreviation for time are inserted into an adjective meaning livid or furious.

7d Bring website up to date about attempt to silence whistle-blower previously (7)
REFRESH – this means to get an up-to-date version of a web page (e.g. by using Ctrl+F5). Put a preposition meaning about or concerning and an exclamation calling for silence after a whistle-blower on the sports field.

8d A b-brood heartlessly consumed, as prowling predator will? (10)
ALLITERATE – start with A and add a brood of young with its first letter repeated but without its middle letter. Finish with a verb meaning consumed. Other examples of a prowling predator here might be hungry hyena or terrifying tiger.

11d Put down the receiver and remain neutral (3,2,3,5)
SIT ON THE FENCE – string together a phrasal verb to put down or suppress, ‘the’ and a criminal receiver.

13d In endless outing drinking pints, hack’ll write this … (10)
JOURNALESE – an outing or trip without its last letter contains pints or beers.

16d … with account in boozer that’s example of black-and-white issue? (5,3)
PANDA CUB – a conjunction meaning with and the abbreviation for account go inside a boozer (the place not the person).

18d Adjusted treadle after shift? (7)
ALTERED – an anagram (after shift) of TREADLE.

20d Indian spinach filling in lean minced meat dish (7)
LASAGNE – an Indian word for spinach is inserted into an anagram (minced) of LEAN.

21d Aware of press release having precedence with dispatch (6)
PRONTO – a colloquial phrase (2,2) meaning aware of is preceded by the abbreviation for a press release.

23d Courier emitting zero? That might make him green (4)
ENVY – take the letter resembling zero away from a courier or messenger.

I have lots of clues in the ‘like’ column, especially 1a, 22a, 3d, 7d and 8d. Which clue(s) stimulated your taste buds?

16 comments on “Toughie 1877

  1. Right up my street although it doubtless took me a great deal longer than Gazza!
    I didn’t know the 26a vegetable and also had to look up the spelling of the Indian spinach – I’ve only seen it written with an extra ‘a’.
    27a troubled me a little – I didn’t realise that ‘losing focus’ could imply the removal of the middle letter.

    Hard to isolate a favourite so I’ll go for a top three of 1&22a plus 11d.

    Thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review – needless to say, I loved the 16d pic!

  2. What a difference a day makes.
    After yesterday’s total failure, today’s really hit the spot.
    Thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review.

  3. Yes – gentle but enjoyable.
    Favourites 15a 8d 16d
    Thought that 13d didn’t need both ‘in’ and ‘drinking’
    Was expecting more from ‘sides’ in 6a rather than any old letters.
    Never mind, at least we got there.
    Thanks Mr. Micawber and Mr. Gazza.
    Now I suppose we’ll have to revisit yesterday which has one answer so far.

  4. I very much enjoyed today’s puzzle – a perfect antidote to my struggles with yesterday’s. There were a couple for which I needed Gazza’s explanation to figure out why the answers were what they were – for instance in 6a I couldn’t figure out what I should have been taking sides from in order to get my song. Like Jane I hadn’t met the vegetable 26a. Many thanks to Mr. Micawber and Gazza.

  5. A lovely crossword and nothing like as tricky as yesterday’s Toughie.
    I’ve never heard of the 26a veg – they look a bit like artichokes.
    I started out with the wrong second word in 12a but then changed my mind when the whole of that little corner went completely wrong.
    13d caused a bit of trouble.
    My last two were 27a and 16d and it was one of those times when I knew that if I could just get one of them then I’d be able to do the other – for once I was right.
    I’ll just pick out a few for special mention – 1 and 22a and 16d. My favourite was 11d.
    Thanks to Micawber and to Gazza.

  6. We’ve been spoiled today. Brilliant stuff and lots of fun. My last act was checking to see if the answer to 26a could really be a vegetable.

    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  7. Nice light entertainment today, very pleasant. Enjoyed 12a and 15a and of course 16d. Last one in was 1a, just couldn’t get with it (was stuck on ‘in’)

    Many thanks Micawber and Gazza

  8. Just a single difficulty star from me today – most of this puzzle went straight in, the rum vegetable aside. But Micawber is always such a congenial and witty host that there is never anything to complain about. Thanks setter and blogger.

  9. Must have been pretty straightforward today – because I finished it without help – which is good for me. **/****. I like 15a and 5d with 8d being my favourite.

  10. One of the rare Toughies which I could complete. Thanks Gazza for helping me to understand 8d and 5d both of which I would have not solved without checking letters. I thought 22a was a great clue.

  11. We justified 6a by reading the ‘one cast out’ as a throwing rope or LARIAT. It still comes up with the right answer and do think that Gazza’s version is a better one. The left side of the grid just sailed in. A few hiccups on the right but not for long and there were plenty of chuckles and smiles all the way through.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  12. Never heard of the exotic veg at 26a, although l guessed at it correctly. Otherwise, an enjoyable but not overly testing puzzle: 2*/4*. My picks were 1a, 15a and 21a. Many thanks to Micawber and Gazza. I like the picture accompanying the hint for 12a.

  13. 2*/3*, not one to scare the horses as a contributor we’ve not seen for a while would say.

    Loved 15a.

    Thanks Gazza and Micawber.

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