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Toughie 1885

Toughie No 1885 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I thought that this was a solid puzzle though without a great deal of sparkle. I proceeded round the grid in a clockwise direction, steadily rather than speedily, and ended up in the SW corner. There are lots and lots of abbreviations here and a fair few reversals, which became even more apparent when I was writing the blog. Thanks to Kcit.

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

Across Clues

1a Significant curtailment of University course (5)
GREAT – the name used for a Classics course at Oxford without its final letter.

4a One scoundrel coming back in to jeer American — that’s marvellous (9)
BODACIOUS – this is a slang, North American, adjective (often used to qualify ‘babes’). Reverse the Roman numeral for one and a scoundrel inside a verb to jeer and finish with a two-letter abbreviation for American.

9a Pore over millions invested in work on farm — it’s a routine operation (9)
TREADMILL – insert a verb to pore over or study and the abbreviation for millions into a verb to do work on a farm.

10a A lot of good fortune about, leading to wealth (5)
LUCRE – stick together a word for good fortune without its last letter and a preposition meaning about or concerning.

11a Sudden idea to cover grain (7)
CAPRICE – charade of a verb to cover or ‘put a lid on’ and a type of grain.

12a Upset, started new round after trump (7)
RUFFLED – we’re playing bridge here. A verb meaning ‘started new round’ or ‘played the first card’ follows a verb to trump. Did the setter miss a trick by not starting trump with a capital letter which may have fooled us into thinking of golf?

13a Approach shown by skilled players, doubling clubs and spades (6)
ACCESS – start with a word for skilled players or experts and double the abbreviations for clubs and spades.

15a Argue vaguely about introduction of colour in revolutionary painting (8)
GUERNICA – this is the name of Picasso’s famous anti-war painting. It’s an anagram (vaguely) of ARGUE containing the reversal of the first letter of colour and IN.

18a Wielder of axe named ash for demolition (8)
HEADSMAN – this axe wielder plied his trade on a scaffold. He’s an anagram (for demolition) of NAMED ASH.

20a Everyone initially restricted by constant source of irritation, recalled in a fever (6)
HECTIC – insert the initial letter of everyone into the reversal of the constant used for the speed of light and a source of irritation that may need to be scratched.

23a First to oust this person, American getting cheers, relatively speaking? (3,4)
PRO RATA – delete a subjective pronoun meaning ‘this person’ from an adjective meaning first (?) or earlier and add an abbreviation for American and an informal word for cheers or thanks.

24a A popular firm making a return having covered each part of the globe (7)
OCEANIA – reverse A, our usual adjective meaning popular and the abbreviation for firm or company. Now insert the abbreviation for each.

26a Move cautiously around old snare (5)
NOOSE – a verb to move cautiously forward contains the abbreviation for old.

27a Hurrying to protect Frenchwoman in onslaught (9)
HAMMERING – a synonym for hurrying contains the way a Frenchwoman’s title is written.

28a Fruit lolly we returned with fruitcake (6,3)
CASHEW NUT – concatenate what lolly is an informal word for, WE reversed and a fruitcake or crackpot.

29a Offering allegiance (after initial change of side) for monarch (5)
ROYAL – change the initial letter of an adjective meaning ‘offering allegiance’ from one side to the other.

Down Clues

1d Detective in Georgia unwise to burst in uninvited (9)
GATECRASH – an abbreviated way of saying a detective from Georgia (2,3) followed by an adjective meaning unwise or foolhardy.

2d Detective encouraged in case? (3,2)
EYE UP – case here is a verb. Join together an informal word for a private detective and an adverb meaning encouraged or elated.

3d Heart’s latest stirrings provided by lingerie items (7)
TEDDIES – the final letter of heart is followed by some stirrings or whirlings.

4d French island in sea inlet? Bridge designer required (6)
BAILEY – this is the name of a British civil servant who designed an easy-to-erect bridge for use by the army. Insert the French word for island into a sea inlet.

5d Food shop I established in spirit and excitement (8)
DELIRIUM – start with a food shop then insert I into an alcoholic spirit.

6d Conservative enthusiastically supporting demand (4,3)
CALL FOR – an abbreviation for Conservative followed by a phrase (3,3) meaning supporting enthusiastically.

7d Superior officer and copper incline to apprehend tenor, one behaving mysteriously (9)
OCCULTIST – abbreviations for the officer in charge and copper precede a verb to incline or tilt containing the abbreviation for tenor.

8d Germ brought about onset of pandemic with alacrity (5)
SPEED – a germ or source contain the first letter of pandemic.

14d Vocal couple at front of class engaged in canoodling (9)
CLAMOROUS – assemble the two letters at the start of class and an adjective meaning ‘engaged in canoodling’.

16d Creature with wings, one on right having difference over left (9)
ARCHANGEL – string together ‘one’, an abbreviation for right, a word meaning difference or modification and the abbreviation for left.

17d Extended journey — miles over a desert (hot interior) (8)
MARATHON – bring together the abbreviation for miles, A and a verbal phrase (3,2) meaning to desert or betray with the abbreviation for hot inside it.

19d Homes erected to house a European or Asiatic? (7)
SIAMESE – reverse types of homes containing A and finish with E(uropean). I presume that the question mark is there because the answer is outdated.

21d Stuff on prescription that will have you looking better (7)
EYEWEAR – gentle cryptic definition.

22d Mostly stiff and tense in arrangement (6)
FORMAT – an adjective meaning stiff or reserved without its last letter followed by the abbreviation for tense.

23d Head to North after coming round in rising alarm (5)
PANIC – reverse (to North) a word for head or top containing the reversal (rising) of IN.

25d Is on trail of number (unknown) engaging in racket (5)
NOISY – IS follows an abbreviation for number and precedes an algebraic unknown.

The clues which I liked best were 1d, 6d and 14d. Which one(s) got you going?

22 comments on “Toughie 1885

  1. This definitely took toughie time for me, though I still finished before the school run (but only just – I can see some day the kids will be late because i’m going “hang on, just two left…”)

    It took me a while to see 1a, and I missed the parsing for 10a and the reversal in the painting – which was a clue I liked – so many thanks Gazza

    I also liked 6d

    Many thanks Kcit

  2. Made a tentative start on this before leaving home this morning – only a handful of clues answered.
    Will battle on now but don’t feel as though I’m making much headway as yet!

  3. This is a stinker! Are you sure it isn’t Friday? However am I supposed to know 4a? Am I the only one who has never heard of this word?

    1. No – you’re not – I only got it with alternate letters in and then guessed having seen the ‘one scoundrel’.
      I also think it might be Friday!

  4. The clues were so long, it really put me off at first.
    But it gradually grew on me and made steady and slow progress
    Following the clues instructions in the right order brought me to completion but I feel exhausted now.
    Love the Picasso in 15a.
    Love the word in 4a.
    Love 28a.
    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza.

  5. Agree with you about the lack of sparkle, I’d forgotten most of these clues as soon as I entered them, though it was a solid midweeker I guess. Favourite clue 1a because that was my university course! Cheers setter and blogger.

  6. We found this a challenge but got some pub time without distractions and managed to finish. Didn’t know the word of the 4a answer but built it up and checked in BRApp. Needed to check a couple with Gazza and are non the wiser on 1a.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

  7. As JB said – it is only Wednesday, isn’t it?
    I didn’t know the Oxford course, had never questioned the definition of 4a although I’d heard of the word, had forgotten the wretched ‘trump’ and had to look up the painting.
    In other words, not a very auspicious performance!

    Liked 28a although not the surface read so will award the honours to 14d.

    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for having all the answers.

  8. We got it all finished after a slow steady plod that took us well into ‘Toughie time’. Nice to see Gazza has put in a map that shows where we and Kcit live.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

  9. :phew: 3* difficulty Gazza – you must be having a laugh.
    This has taken me absolutely ages and only sheer ‘perservation’ and bloody mindedness got me to the finishing line.
    It makes me wonder what tomorrow and Friday will bring.
    I’ve never heard of 4a but will pass it on to the Younger Lamb who has an ongoing ‘chat’ with a university friend of hers – whenever she or he meets a strange word they pass it on to each other and the challenge is to use it every day for three days.
    Neither have I heard of the 15a painting or the nasty beasty in 18a.
    I could go on but I won’t – just jolly difficult I thought.
    I liked 1a and 1d and 17d and, most of all, I liked getting to the end, however long it’s taken me.
    With thanks to Kcit and thanks to Gazza too for making sense of it all.

    1. I found it just a tad too awkward to fully enjoy. All good and fair, but not much fun. ****/** for me

  10. I got the answer right, but until now had thought 4a was an invention of American teen movies (l’m sure l first heard it in a film about a couple of time-travelling schoolboys who kidnapped people like Billy the Kid and Socrates). I liked 19d, though. My RHS was ruined by 16d, which l had originally put down as “wariangle” (an old name for a shrike, and it even seemed to fit the clue). All in all, though, 3*/3*. Thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  11. The top half of the grid fairly flew by, at which point I thought I’d finally mastered this game. The rest though was a bit of a struggle, ending in the SW corner, that definitely took it into Toughie territory. 4ac I thought didn’t exist outside of the Bill and Ted films, but apparently not.

  12. I did not finish. I was defeated by half a dozen on the RHS. If this was Wednesday, I think I will bypass Friday.

  13. 21d defeated me as I had used lhs instead of rhs for 29a. Needed hints to parse 1a and 17d. We started this in the pub at lunch. Very pleased that my husband played, and got several answers. We save the backpager for him to do on his own. I am very disappointed when he doesn’t leave me any clues for breakfast!
    Thanks guys,.

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