Toughie 1886 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1886

Toughie No 1886 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I didn’t find this overly difficult until I stalled on the last few answers (mostly in the SW corner) and then stalled even more trying to work out the wordplay for 23 across. Overall I found it an enjoyable solve.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Join a friend touring holiday destination, ignoring one area (10)
AMALGAMATE: A and ‘friend’ round a holiday destination on the Costa del Sol with one letter A (area) removed

6a    Gloom ultimately surrounding 3? (4)
FOGG: ‘Gloom’ + the last letter of SURROUNDING = the surname of a fictional character who was definitely a 3 down

9a    Print of house with illuminated table outside (10)
LITHOGRAPH: ‘Illuminated’ + an abbreviation for ‘house’ + a table

10a    Angry over Republican leaving shop (4)
DELI: Take a word meaning ‘angry’ and remove the letter R (Republican). Then reverse it (over) and you get a shop that sells high-quality foods

12a    Shake stage when speaking (4)
FAZE: To shake is a homophone (when speaking) of a stage in growth or development

13a    Doctor so stilted and most unemotional (9)
STOLIDEST: An anagram (doctor) of SO STILTED

15a    Lasting kiss inside … and outside (8)
EXTERNAL: ‘Lasting’ or ‘everlasting’ round the letter that denotes a kiss

16a    Cousins maybe ask about time with Queen (6)
SKATER: The Cousins is Robin Cousins. An anagram (about) of ASK + T (time) + our Queen

18a    Protection from cooking fat? Yes (6)
SAFETY: An anagram (cooking) of FAT YES

20a    Plane? No, it’s undergoing repair in shed (8)
JETTISON: A type of aeroplane + an anagram (undergoing repair) of NO IT’S = ‘to shed’

23a    Close drip, stopping leak (9)
SECRETIVE: ‘Close’ or ‘reticent’ = a drip introduced into a vein inside ‘to leak’. It took me ages to work out the wordplay

24a    Control southern route (4)
SWAY: S (southern) + a route

26a    Film with prince initially usurping king in Morecambe? (4)
EPIC: Take the first name of Mr Morecambe and replace R (king) by P (first letter of prince)

27a    In story, returning evil’s held to be perfect (10)
INFALLIBLE: IN + a story round a reversal of ‘evil’

28a    For this song might make fortune (4)

29a    Unyielding regarding missing holy period? (10)
RELENTLESS: ‘Regarding’ + a religious time of fasting + a suffix which suggests it might be missing


1d    Friend‘s friendly when losing power (4)
ALLY: Remove P (power) from a word meaning ‘friendly’

2d    Pull dustcart taking back bottles (7)
ATTRACT: Hidden in reverse in DUSTCART TAKING

3d    Get to catch throw by one who’s terrible ball player (12)
GLOBETROTTER: GET round ‘throw’ + a terrible or depraved person = a basketball player from Harlem

4d    One who might shoot king arrested by alien? (8)
MARKSMAN: K (king) inside a possible inhabitant from another planet in our solar system

5d    The best setter (3,3)
TOP DOG: This term for a winner, leader or prominent person could also refer to the best setter (when the setter might be competing at Crufts). I think I’d have preferred a question mark at the end of the clue

7d    Public housing unlimited near gorge (7)
OVEREAT: ‘Public’ goes round (housed) the middle two letters of NEAR (unlimited) to give ‘to gorge’

8d    Shiny rubbish bins discovered to contain goods? Quite the opposite (10)
GLITTERING: ‘Rubbish’ and the middle two letters of BINS (dis-covered) inside G G (good x 2)

11d    Quickly leave after defeat yet to be arranged (7-5)
LICKETY-SPLIT: ‘To beat’ + an anagram (to be arranged) of YET + ‘to leave’ = a US informal term for ‘very quickly’. This is not a term I’ve ever used and I’m not sure that I even knew what it meant

14d    Tenacious relative runs up surrounded by exercise books (10)
PERSISTENT: A female relative with its letter R (runs) moved to the front inside abbreviations denoting ‘exercise’ and ‘books (of the bible)’

17d    Outdoor air that could benefit a lady? (8)
SERENADE: A cryptic definition for a romantic song sung under a lady’s window by a suitor

19d    Force fighting in splinter group (7)
FACTION: F (force) + ‘fighting’

21d    Shuffle last of cards hard, then proceed at leisure (7)
SHAMBLE: The last letter of CARDS + H (hard) + ‘to proceed at leisure)

22d    Bear with pub having cider only now and then (6)
WINNIE: The first name of a fictional bear = W (with) + a pub + alternate letters of CIDER

25d    Place to eat pickle (4)
MESS: 2 meanings: a place where members of the armed forces eat/a pickle or muddle

I’m not around next week so I’ll see you next month.

22 comments on “Toughie 1886

  1. Pretty straightforward for a Samuel.
    Incidentally, I saw that Toro reviewed a Samuel back in 2015. I thought he only started compiling toughies this year.
    No problem with the “intraveineuse” in 23a but 16a and 11d gave me the most trouble.
    8d gets the top prize today.
    Thanks to Samuel and to Bufo for the review.

  2. I was going to say that I found this one fairly straightforward but, having read Bufo’s hints, I find that I’ve got 12a wrong (just the first letter). I was thinking of a different sort of stage and although I wasn’t too thrilled with my answer as a synonym for shake and didn’t like the homophone (nothing new there) I never thought to look further.
    The clues I liked best were 3d and 22d. Thanks to Samuel and Bufo.

  3. This was great fun with nice smooth surfaces throughout and just the right level of challenge for me for a Toughie. Each clue got a nod of approval when I had solved it, except for 11d, my last one in. The answer couldn’t have been anything else given the wordplay and checking letters, but initially I only wrote in the second word. The first word seemed utterly implausible until I checked my BRB to find the origin of the phrase designated as “US (colloq)”!

    The good news is that most of the other 29 clues could have been considered as potential favourites with 23a, 26a, 3d, 8d & 22d making my shortlist and the wonderful 6a in pole position.

    Many thanks to Samuel and to Bufo.

  4. Just stuck on 2 four letter words. 6a came to me in a d’oh moment but I had “wave” for
    12a. A”new wave” is a stage so it fitted nicely.

  5. I found this slow going but still got the kids to school on time. I particularly liked 6a, 15a, 18a anagram, and 8d. Last one in was 17d, vowel checkers only and took me a while to realise it was a cd.

    28a I was looking for a word PRO**** which would be a synonym of FORTUNE – took me a while to see the answer staring me in the face.

    22d, I was trying to work ‘only’ into the odd letters fodder for a while – i guess it’s superfluous.

    I didn’t bother to look up the skater.

    Many thanks Samuel and thanks Bufo

  6. Defeated by Phileas – how silly is that! Like Bufo, I struggled with the wordplay in 23a which is ridiculous given that I spent most of this morning in hospital with one of those wonderful things strapped to my arm!
    Made what I think was probably the same mistake as Gazza over 12a – it was ‘almost’ a homophone – and although I was familiar with the 11d phrase – I always thought that the second word was ‘spit’. Ah well, we live and learn……

    Top three for me were 5,11&17d.

    Thanks to Samuel and to Bufo – hope you’re off to somewhere nice for the next week or so?

    1. Welcome to the blog, Angela.
      Bottles means contains here, so words 2-3 of the clue contain (bottle) the answer back(wards).

    2. It got me too – it was the only answer that I couldn’t explain.
      Every time this kind of clue catches me out I say, “When will I learn”. Today I give up and say, “I’ll never learn”. I admit defeat. :sad:

  7. Slow going today, defeated by 6a and 11d. Some very misleading cluing. Fave 1a, I think…
    Many thanks to Samuel and to Bufo for the answers you provided.

      1. Thanks Kath for much needed encouragement. Sometimes the toughie seems to be written in a language that is unknown to me. Completing a Friday toughie is on my bucket list.

        1. If you’re anything like me something that says “Toughie” at the top puts your brain into a place that tells you that you can’t do it. I’ve been trying these blasted things for a while now – I’m only just getting beyond that mindset.
          Friday Toughies – hmm – well – I think I’ll just forget the bucket list for the moment and head for the fields.

  8. I thought this was a very good crossword – I enjoyed it a lot.
    Because I could do it I was expecting several comments along the lines of, ‘not really a Toughie’ but apart from Gazza and JLC no-one suggested that.
    I was caught out, AGAIN by 2d.
    I didn’t understand 3d although it had to be what it was and I think I’ll forgive myself for not knowing that one.
    I liked most of them but the ones that stick out for me were 12 and 20a and 11d. My favourite could be either 5 or 22d.
    Thanks to Samuel and to Bufo.

    1. Oh dear – where did the ‘I Kath’ come from – must have done something dim, just for a change.
      Sounds a bit like “I Claudius”.
      I’ve tried to correct it but it might take someone clever than me to make it work.

  9. The pesky four letter answers were the last to fall (apart from parsing 23a) with 12 being the one that held out longest. 16a was someone we had not heard of so had to make a guess from the wordplay and Google check.
    Thanks Samuel and Bufo.

  10. Almost finished, apart from 12A, but I do have a warm glow of satisfaction from doing the rest, and parsing them, without electronic assistance. I did wonder about the evil bit of 27A but decided it did work as a synonym. 3D was last but one in, and then 6A followed right away. So many ticks on my page, but I’ll settle for 3D as the winner, with 23A and 11D close behind. Many thanks Samuel and Bufo.

  11. For the most part reasonably straightforward, but the last 1% took the classic 99% of the time. 4d, 20ac and 17d being the prime culprits. Cryptic definitions just aren’t my strong point… Was I the only person to solve 6ac first, and then make an educated guess at 3d?

  12. Certainly 4* difficulty for me. I managed well over three-quarters of it unaided, but the SE corner – centred around 11d, which beat me all ends up – needed a few hints. I think my favourite clue was 16a, but there were lots of contenders. Thanks to Samuel for the exercise, and Bufo for the assistance.

  13. We had 12a wrong, in the same way Gazza did.

    4*/4*, then, with 16a as favourite.

    Thanks Bufo and Samuel.

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