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Toughie 1884

Toughie No 1884 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Ahoy there me hearties! Ready yer sea legs and set sail aboard the good ship Toughie, captained by MynoT, with your Kitty attempting to navigate.  I found this about right for this stage in the proceedings: on the Toughie scale but at the easier end of it, and enjoyed writing the hints over a breakfast of toast, beans and cackle fruit.  Yarr!

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



1a    What Charon might do — or be (4,6)
CAST ANCHOR:  What Charon might do on his lunchbreak.  (Or what a pirate might do when he goes looting.)  The ferryman of the dead has been chosen because this is a reverse clue: the second word is an anagram of CHARON, with the first being the direction to make an anagram of him.  Arr!

6a    Refuse to raise one down (4)
MARC:  Ok, land lubbers.  Solve 1d first, then reverse it (raise, for it is a down clue) and write it acrossways here.  (Or think of some fruit refuse that fits and use your answer to help you with 1d.  Whichever order works for you)

9a    Create stress as cut announced by hospital dept posh dislike in the East End (10)
ACCENTUATE:  Stress here is emphasis.  A sound-alike (as … announced) of a synonym of cut, the hospital department most often visited by crosswordy types, one letter standing for posh, and finally a word meaning dislike intensely having had its initial H dropped (in the East End).  Shiver me timbers!

10a   One way (or another) to avoid vehicle tax (4)
SORN:  A compass point, the OR from the clue, and then another compass point

12a   List of soldiers visible to all (4)
MENU:  Some soldiers followed by a single letter classification of a film etc. certifying that it’s fit for general viewing

13a   Aims I put out after time in paraphrase (9)
TRANSLATE:  Aims (a weapon, for example) without the letter I (I put out) and then “after time.”  Do this here

15a   The actor plays divine ruler (8)
THEOCRAT:  An anagram (plays) of THE ACTOR

16a   Imitator of City gardener (6)
ECHOER:  Put together the City of London postcode and one who uses a long-handled garden instrument with a narrow blade

18a   A great volume’s needed to hold hydrogen in (2,4)
AT HOME:  A (from the clue) and a large book containing (to hold … in) the chemical symbol for hydrogen

20a   Almost recommend supping a drink (8)
ADVOCAAT:  All but the last letter of (almost) recommend or champion, containing (supping) the A from the clue.  A strange type of grog, this, if ye asks me.  (If ye mix it with lemonade, there’s a chance I might drink it in another of today’s puzzles)

23a   Queen among cats again takes over (9)
REANNEXES:  The first queen of Great Britain inside (among) some cats of a type which may be of a Devon or a Cornish variety (like scones, but less edible).  A Devonian kitty is pictured

Paper version: Queen among cats becoming attached again
The definition here doesn’t work

24a   A single time in concerto (4)
ONCE:  The answer is buried in the last word of the clue

26a   Food for writer (4)
DAHL:  Two definitions: an author and some Indian foodstuff which we’ve seen recently spelled slightly differently

27a   Odds such as 50 to 1 against Cape (10)
LIKELINESS:  Join together “such as,” the Roman numerals for 50 and for 1, and another word for a cape or headland

28a   Green light beginning to reflect a lady’s fingers (4)
OKRA:  Green light or permission followed by the first letter of (beginning to) reflect and the A from the clue

29a   Black dog’s manifested in obsessive travellers? (3-7)
JET-SETTERS:  Black, then a type of dog and the ‘S from the clue



1d    Stuff about sheep (4)
CRAM:  A single letter for about and a sheep (one that ain’t no lady)

2d    Hide in SE Greek island (7)
SECRETE:  Take the compass points straight from the clue and add a Greek island

3d    Declaration of a new word for something material in construction (12)
ANNOUNCEMENT:  A charade, which should be easy to see when the breaks are delineated: A |new |word for something |material in construction.  Just connect the bits

4d    When there might be terrible outcry about American lawyer (5-3)
COURT-DAY:  An anagram (terrible) of OUTCRY around the abbreviation of a type of lawyer in the US

5d    Old university promoted Disney ban (6)
OUTLAW:  Abbreviations for old and university followed by the reversal (promoted) of Mr Disney’s forename

7d    A singing party forgetting line — one’s stoned (7)
AVOCADO:  The A from the clue, a word meaning singing, and a party or bash, leaving out (forgetting) the L(ine) from the middle bit

8d    Make bishop cheat on second rank (10)
CONSECRATE:  Another charade: swindle or hornswoggle, an abbreviation (not S – a bit longer) for second, and rank or judge

11d   Mind scientist struggling in school pigsty (12)
PSYCHOLOGIST:  The answer is found in an anagram (struggling) of SCHOOL PIGSTY

14d   Wireless mast I adore demolished (5,5)
STEAM RADIO:  This time it is MAST I ADORE which is anagrammed (demolished)

17d   Traveller foolishly soused around the centre of Gray’s Inn (8)
ODYSSEUS:  An anagram (foolishly) of SOUSED around the middle two letters of Gray’s Inn

19d   That man ploughed earth for Erica (7)
HEATHER:  A pronoun meaning that man followed by an anagram (ploughed) of EARTH

21d   8, troubled with son leaving, could get to grow together (7)
ACCRETE:  Take some pieces of 8d, but leave out the letters in son (with son leaving).  These, anagrammed (troubled), make a word meaning to grow by accumulation or coalescence.  I can see at least two other answers made from pieces of eight?  All the pieces of eight may be found in OCEAN CREST.  Yo-ho-ho!

22d   Cut  tax! (6)
EXCISE:  A straightforward double definition

25d   Seeks work but short of time (4)
ASKS:  Some pieces of work minus (short of) T(ime)


Taaarrrr to MynoT for the booty.  I had a soft spot for 23a and no black spot.  What be yer treasure, mateys?




37 comments on “Toughie 1884

  1. Enjoyed this – mostly quite straightforward but 10a defeated me – I am not surprised as I have never come across the acronym. 11d was my favourite. I suspect I may not have parsed everything as my time was pretty limited by the time I finished Vlad in the Guardian (which I recommend – tough but very entertaining)

    Thanks to Kitty and MynoT

  2. Well, shiver me timbers Kitty, your Tuesday blogs continue to be a high spot of my crossword week! I do hope I can remember ‘hornswoggle’ – brilliant word.

    I did encounter a few sharks swimming around in this one but am trying to blame it on being out of practise after my week away. 1a was the first problem – I’m only used to ‘weighing’ the wretched things and – because I couldn’t get the first word of that, my 1d sheep refused to sit in the right place, which left me rather mystified over the 6a refuse.

    23a – my word, that was really scraping the rum barrel and I didn’t care much for 4d either. Walking the plank is about right for both of those!

    Two pearls went into my treasure chest today – 27&29a.

    Thanks to MynoT and to our Cap’n Girl Tuesday.

  3. Thanks to Kitty for explaining 10a, 13a and 23a.

    I didn’t need any further help despite having a patch over my right eye and a parrot on my left shoulder.

  4. What on earth is SORN? Total fail on that clue I’ve never heard of the 23A cats either. I did tick 1A because I thought it was a clever clue, but I’m with Jane. Isn’t it usually weigh anchor and drop anchor? To me, cast off is simply untie from the mooring. Ah, well. I did enjoy most of this, so thanks MynoT and thanks to the ever-entertaining Kitty.

    1. Hi Chris,
      Maybe it’s a peculiarly British acronym. Stands for Statutory Off-Road Notification – declaration of which avoids the necessity to pay our exorbitant vehicle tax.

    2. Sadly my motorbike has been in SORN for a few years and I recently sold it since I wasn’t using it. 17 years old, maybe I just want a new one…

    3. It was my last answer. I knew him, but the acronym didn’t exactly spring into mind and I was going through the alphabet (again) when the penny piece of eight dropped.

  5. Ground to a halt in the NE corner for a while because I was sure the answer to 8d only applied to buildings and not to bishops. One lives and learns. I’m also not sure that 13 a really means “paraphrase”.
    An enjoyable piratical romp. Thank you Kitty.

  6. Blistering barnacles! – what a fine blog! Thanks Kitty and thanks also to MynoT. My treasure map has got an X beside 1a and 5d.

  7. Tricky I thought, though finished well before the school run.

    People in my research group used to think it was funny to order snowballs for me in the pub. Actually I’ve only really ever enjoyed advocaat with vanilla ice-cream.

    I didn’t know the cats so had to check them, and to me 6a is a brandy rather than refuse, so i needed brb to make that connection – ok, brandy made from grape “refuse” – well it’s not really refuse then, is it? I love arguing with brb, she doesn’t argue back.

    Many thanks MynoT and many thanks Kitty

  8. I too thought this was very tricky in parts – was completely defeated by 10a, as a non-driver. Elsewhere a weird mixture of clues that bugged me somewhat (does “in the East End” apply to both the first and last three letter segments of 9a?) and ones I found very admirable. Very much enjoyed 8d and 29a, for instance. Overall I think I enjoyed this though, thanks MynoT and Kitty!

    1. Hi Verlaine,
      Not sure what you meant about 9a. I took it as a homophone of axe (ACC as it’s pronounced in the answer) followed by a hospital dept (ENT) and then by the usual one letter abb for ‘posh’ and a dislike (HATE) as it might be spoken by those in the East End who drop their aitches.

    2. And tarrr to you for answering my Twitter question as to how a pirate might say thank you. As you can see, I have shamelessly pirated your suggestion.

      (Btw, I agree with Jane about 9a. Some people don’t like homophones of letter combinations that aren’t real words – like axe to sound like acc – which is a valid objection, though not one I’ve managed to form an opinion on either way, but that’s a different beef entirely.)

    3. Ah (arrrrr?), the light dawns. I thought it was ‘ack, due to tackling the puzzle in excessive haste.

      It does seem a leeeetle bit dodgy to clue just ACC as “cut announced”, when it clearly only becomes an “axe” sound conditionally, when followed by an e or i…

  9. All pretty straightforward, except for 23a. My paper version had the clue as “Queen among cats becoming attached again”. Answer was obvious but the tense was incorrect for this clue. Another editorial error? This was close on the heels of the recent back page disaster.

    Thanks anyway guys

    1. Yes, I had the same issue with 23a, Lesley. Seems likely it was an editorial change that didn’t make the ‘putting to bed’ of the paper version.

    2. Well spotted, Lesley!

      Why do “they” keep changeing the clues?

      And why do “they” never give a reason as to why?

  10. Thanks to MynoT and to Kitty for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle. I’m glad I got into a Toughie. Needed the hints though for 10&27a and 8&25d. The clue in the paper for 23a seemed all wrong. Took ages trying to solve an anagram for 13a, before the penny eventually dropped. I liked 20a, but my favourite was 16a, very droll. Was 3*/4* for me.

  11. Pedantically I also want to query whether a ferryboat of mythological vintage would have an anchor, as opposed to just some mooring ropes or something. These are the burning issues that keep me up at night!

  12. Another doable toughie. I too was affected by the paper version of 23a but 17a did not work unless the correct tense was used. Never heard of the Devonian/ Cornish cats. Thanks to the hinter and setter.

  13. Not surprisingly we were totally beaten by 10a. The rest all went together smoothly enough with plenty of smiles.
    Thanks MynoT and Pirate Kitty.

  14. Easyish for a Toughie, with no real hold-ups. 10ac I dragged up from the depths, the mysterious 10ac declaration that comes through the post once a year. 29ac surely aren’t obsessive, but there is a question mark, so…

  15. Beaten by 10a too and 25d come to think of it.
    The rest was very straightforward but had to give up on these two.
    Thanks to MynoT and to Kitty.

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