Toughie 1878 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1878

Toughie No 1878 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Warrington. I’m rather relieved this is on the easier side of things as I’ve had to do this from the clue list without a grid. Nothing terribly taxing and some nice clues to make you smile.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    It could be instant to accommodate drinking establishment (6,5)
COFFEE HOUSE:    The name of a beverage that comes in instant varieties goes before a word meaning to accommodate to give somewhere to have a drink. Odd to have the first half of the clue to also be part of the definition.

9a    Idiot curtailed period for social medium (7)
TWITTER:    An idiot followed by the name for a period at school, minus its last letter (curtailed)

10a    Place to sit established by driving location (6)
SETTEE:    One of the words that has the most definitions in Chambers and means established goes before a location for driving but not in a motoring sense gives you somewhere to sit.

12a    Prison lacking excitement and openness (7)
CANDOUR:    A nickname for a prison goes before a word meaning dull and lacking excitement (often found before ‘Scotsman’ in descriptions of Andy Murray). This reveals a word meaning openness.

13a    Joy in English over when immersed in another language (7)
ELATION:    Take an abbreviation for English and add the name of an ancient language. Insert O for over and this reveals a word meaning joy.

14a    Hang around having abandoned good ship (5)
LINER:    A word for a ship is revealed by taking a word meaning to hang around and remove G for good.

15a    Authoritative ref’s possibly restricting time in feature of rugby (9)
MASTERFUL:    Inside a term in rugby that usually goes with ‘ruck’ goes an anagram of REF’S with a T (time) inside that to give a word meaning authoritative.

17a    Game feasible after managerial work within company (9)
BADMINTON:     The name of a sport is found by taking a shot name fo office work inside the name of one of Britain’s biggest companies known as an abbreviation. Add a short word meaning feasible and you have the name.

20a    Furious judge’s admission? (5)
IRATE:    A word meaning furious is found by taking what a judge would say is his job description if asked.

22a    Fancy lyricist goes beyond limit (7)
CAPRICE:    The name of Lord Lloyd-Webber’s lyricist chum follows something that means to limit or restrict and leads you to a word meaning fancy.

24a    Understanding within the near future? (7)
INSIGHT:    If something is nearby in terms of time or distance it is said to be this phrase, which when taken as one word, it means understanding.

25a    Fish not lacking oxygen in narrow strait (6)
SOLENT:    The name of a famous Southern strait is revealed by taking the name of a fish and adding NOT minus the chemical symbol for oxygen.

26a    Part of Midwest restaurant area (7)
INDIANA:    The name for a sort of restaurant takes the symbol for area and gives you a Midwestern state of the USA.

27a    Purpose in dear store reviewed (6,5)
RAISON D’ÊTRE:    A French expression that means purpose is an anagram (reviewed) of IN DEAR STORE.


2d    Better order empties characterising a barbecue? (7)
OUTDOOR:    A word that describes where a barbecue is invariably held is found by taking something that means to better and add ORDER without its innards (empties).

3d    Technophobe’s ideal place? On the contrary! (3,4,2)
FAR FROM IT:    Probably my favourite clue today. A way of saying where someone who hates computers would ideally be can also be a phrase meaning on the contrary.

4d    Follow regular features in tennis rules (5)
ENSUE:    The alternate letters of TENNIS RULES gives a word meaning to follow.

5d    Power failure round end of tour produces great offence (7)
OUTRAGE:    Inside the name for a power cut goes the last letter of TOUR to give something that means great offence.

6d    Novel phrase that’s repeated for legal official (7)
SHERIFF:    The name of a legal official both here or in the USA is found by taking the title of a famous novel (by H Rider Haggard) and something that means a repeated (musical) phrase.

7d    Touch lightly bass in bag — or another fish (11)
STICKLEBACK:    The name for a small fish is revealed by taking a word meaning to touch something lightly (and playfully) and the abbreviation for bass and placing it all inside a type of hessian bag.

8d    Function, it’s said, by side to claim benefit (4,2)
SIGN ON:    A homophone of a mathematical function goes before a type of side in sport to give a phrase meaning to claim benefits.

11d    All unite in working around fellow having major impact (11)
INFLUENTIAL:    An anagram of ALL UNITE IN goes around F (fellow) to given an andjective meaning having an impact.

16d    Delicate appeal six took up in hearing? (9)
SENSITIVE:    A word meaning delicate is a word meaning appeal and a reverse of the symbol for six (which is another number!) all inside what hearing is.

18d    See graduate after decline in educational qualification (7)
DIPLOMA:    The name for a decline or fall takes a way of saying ‘see’ as a command and an abbreviation for a higher university graduate.

19d    Nancy’s here with Eliot getting hostility (7)
ICINESS:    The way the locals say ‘here’ in the town of Nancy goes before a famous person with the Christian name Eliot to give a word for hostility or sang-froid in Nancy.

20d    How one might describe convict, Republican, one privy to secrets? (7)
INSIDER:    The location for a convict takes the abbreviation for a Republican to give the name for someone who has access to secure information.

21d    Sport administrators promoted African country finally banning a party from Asia (6)
AFGHAN:    The name for an inhabitant of an Asian country is found by taking the name of soccer’s administrators and reversing it (promoted as a reversal indicator??). Add the name of an African country and remove A, its last letter.

23d    It’s put away in Berkshire institution for auditors (5)
EATEN:    A homophone for the name of a famous educational establishment in Berkshire means to have been put away (by mouth).

A pleasant puzzle with a bit of a quibble over 21d that shouldn’t cause too much trouble. See you again soon.


13 comments on “Toughie 1878

  1. I didn’t find this too tough but it was very enjoyable indeed with one minor niggle – the enumeration of 27a. Although I understand it, I don’t particularly like the convention to ignore possessive apostrophes when enumerating, but with foreign words and phrases this is a step too far IMHO.

    I needed to resort to Google to establish that we were not looking for George or TS in 19d.

    There were lots of potential favourites here but I am going to select 3d for this honour.

    Many thanks to Shamus and to Tilsit.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I thought there were some very clever constructions (7d and 17a) and smiles along the way at penny dropping moments (3d and others). I found it a steady solve without any real holdups. Many thanks Shamus and Tilsit.

  3. Well, that was quick. I’m expecting the usual complaints that it wasn’t tough enough, though it’s fine by me. My only hold-up and last-one-in was the rugby clue. A pleasant solve, many thanks Shamus and Tilsit

  4. Probably my quickest solve of a Shamus, though I am certain I wouldn’t be saying that if I had to do it without a grid. My star clue was 6D. Respect to blogger and thanks to setter.

  5. Plenty of fun and not overly hard, 2*/4*.

    Favourite clue was 17a because it took us a while to parse.

    Thanks to Tilsit for the review and Shanus for the puzzle. Tilsit, when will we see the review of the Omnium, or did we miss it somehow?

  6. I enjoyed this, and was relieved to find it gentler than I usually find Shamus. Didn’t know that Eliot and had to check the brb to verify the rugby thing, but neither posed a problem in the business of filling the grid. My favourites are 3d and 7d.

    Thanks to Shamus and Tilsit.

  7. That was most enjoyable but makes me think that it will be followed by a 5* stinker tomorrow to satisfy the super solvers.

    For once I did recall something learned from a previous puzzle – the rugby ‘thing’ but, yet again, I had completely forgotten that wretched Nancy. Fortunately, the required Eliot was my first thought so it wasn’t a huge leap to get the first three letters.

    I did have a purely personal niggle with the description of 25a – believe me, it doesn’t seem like a ‘narrow’ channel when you’ve been sitting on the car ferry for an hour or so!

    Really enjoyed the construction work required for 17a & 7d and 1a gave me a laugh out loud moment but the honours have to be awarded to 3d. That will come as no surprise to Kitty, who doubtless thought of her neophobic friend when she was filling in the answer!

    Many thanks to Shamus and also to Tilsit – not sure how I would have fared without the grid in front of me.

  8. Gentle and fun is how we would describe this puzzle too. We liked the two clues with a French flavour, 19d and 27a.
    Thanks Shamus and Bufo.

  9. An accessible toughie for the second day running. The Friday puzzle will as usual expose my limitations. Until five months ago we lived in Southampton for over three decades and at no time did 25a appear narrow. My favourite clues were 7d, 3d and 19d.

  10. Three-quarters of this l found quite easy; the SW corner brought me up with a round turn (as us old sea-dogs are won’t to say). Overall, then, a high 2*. Some great clues to choose from: 3d, 6d, 7d, 16d among them. But my favourite was my last in – 19d. Thanks to Shamus, and to Bufo.

  11. Solved this more than 14hours ago and remembered that it was pretty gentle too.
    Would have preferred a different enumeration in 27a also.
    I do miss a good 26a restaurant so much.
    Could do with a lovely curry.
    Thanks to Shamus and to Tilsit for the review.

  12. I don’t believe it – this is the second Toughie I’ve completed unaided this week. **/****. Lots of good clues 17a and 22a were my favourites. Pride before a fall – I’m just about to have a go at Friday’s!!

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