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Toughie 1888

Toughie No 1888 by Dada

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hello!  I’m relieved to have been freed from the communication restraints imposed by International Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Plain English (translated from the original meows) will suffice for the hints today as Dada brings enough sparkle to the proceedings with a puzzle full of interjections, exclamations and ejaculations (in the grid, and elicited in the solver!).  For the most part my early progress was fairly smooth, just slow enough to really appreciate the clues, but then I stalled and ended up taking quite a while over the last half dozen or so answers.  Very satisfying!

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



1a    Criticise a business centre for greed (8)
RAPACITY:  We start with a charade of criticise or reprimand, the A from the clue, and a business centre

5a    Anglo-Saxon’s grave fight on the counter (6)
BARROW:  Splitting the answer (3,3) leads to a counter (of a pub, perhaps) argument

10a   Post-WWI coalition saluting a foe, one failing (6,2,7)
LEAGUE OF NATIONS:  An anagram (failing) of SALUTING A FOE ONE

11a   Figure on endless beach finds dock (7)
SHORTEN:  After a seafront without its last letter (endless) add a cardinal number

12a   Porcelain tea cups besides (7)
CHELSEA:  A usual word for tea contains (cups) an adverb meaning otherwise or besides.  The answer is the first important porcelain manufactory in England.  I may have initially googled something silly, having inserted a different word into the tea and convinced myself the result must be a type of porcelain.  Oops!

13a   In condition, muscle to behold (8)
SPECTATE:  Inside a condition or situation goes a chest muscle

15a   Different — Bathsheba, Jezebel or Delilah, might you say? (5)
OTHER:  Start with the abbreviation for the set of books in which these women are found and add a pronoun that would apply to them

18a   Every second in day a drag, oh I’m so frustrated! (5)
AARGH:  Take every second letter of the fourth to seventh words of the clue to end up with an exclamation you may have uttered many times while tackling these puzzles.  Grr!

20a   Money, simply fine stuff (8)
CASHMERE:  Stitch together two synonyms of the same length, one for ready money, and one for simply or only, to make something you could wear

23a   Equipment nicked by gang robber (7)
BRIGAND:  Some equipment or kit inside (nicked by) a gang or crew

25a   I appreciate that rule must be reversed for African city (7)
TANGIER:  “I appreciate that” is a short thankyou, and it is followed by a rule (of a monarch, say) which must be reversed to give rise to this Moroccan city

26a   When both lungs are filled, coincidentally (2,3,4,6)
IN THE SAME BREATH:  This idiom meaning at the same time is more literally described by the first part of the clue.  Ha!

27a   Loud cheer finally, one having cut rent (6)
GARISH:  Loud and showy.  The last letter (finally) of cheer and the Roman one inserted into (having cut) a rent or tear

28a   Hot filling in hot dogs, perhaps — for cats! (8)
PANTHERS:  H(ot) inside (filling in) some creatures breathing with short quick breaths in the manner which overheated dogs do.  Oh!



1d    Look forward to  something saucy (6)
RELISH:  Two definitions to savour here: anticipate, or a sauce or flavouring

2d    Letter marvellous to read out — in which there are no clear views? (3-6)
PEA-SOUPER:  A pair of homophones, a letter of the alphabet and marvellous or smashing, together create a horrid atmosphere in which one can’t see very far

3d    After cold, a cut is unfortunately burning (7)
CAUSTIC:  After C(old) we have an anagram (unfortunately) of A CUT IS

4d    Close to blunt instrument, something sharp (5)
THORN:  The last letter of (close to) blunt and an instrument which is blown.  Don’t prick yourself on the answer …

6d    Rug in this fashion possibly could be corrugated (3,4)
ART DECO:  RUG together with the answer is an anagram of (possibly could be) CORRUGATED, so work backwards and rearrange the letters of CORrugATED to find the required style

7d    Character of Milne and Eliot family (5)
ROOTS:  The Milne character is not Pooh, but it is one of his friends.  Add the initials of the poet Eliot to trace your family origins

8d    Message about hopeless case in smart Aleck (8)
WISEACRE:  Send a telegram around (about) an anagram (hopeless) of CASE

9d    These might get dropped at the end of the dayoh dear! (8)
KNICKERS:  Some garments not normally worn at night are also used as an interjection like “oh dear!” or 18a.  I was held up by disregarding my first thought, which to me was clearly the intended misdirection of the surface read.  So I was hunting around for every other interpretation until forced to come full circle.  Oh dear indeed!

14d   Broadcast can do with aria, though not Beethoven’s Sixth, Pastoral (8)
ARCADIAN:  Make an anagram (broadcast) CAN Do with ARIA, but remove the sixth letter of Beethoven from the mix (not Beethoven’s Sixth)

16d   One getting stick after lessening of speed, a great blow (9)
HURRICANE:  The Roman numeral one makes a second appearance, followed by a stick or rod; all this comes after the reduction by one letter of (lessening of) speed (up).  A bit grimly topical

17d   Going on and on relentlessly at first, then walking casually (8)
RAMBLING:  Going on and on as a chatterbox might do.  Relentlessly’s first letter (at first) and then some sauntering (although the whole of the answer can also mean sauntering).  I feel there is a bit of an all-in-one character to this, as the whole clue could conceivably describe the answer

19d   Good Lord in the sky? (7)
HEAVENS:  Another exclamation – good Lord!  Also, the skies above

21d   Are immaculate walls in Muslim tower? (7)
MINARET:  Immaculate or as new contains (walls in) the ARE from the clue

22d   German heavyweight bust container ship (6)
BRAHMS:  A container for breasts and the prefix used for ships of the navy.  The German was a heavyweight in the world of music.  I struggled here as I was convinced the answer would be a ship.  Laughed when I finally found the bust container.  Well, played, setter, well played …

24d   Plant that’s cold, short of summit (5)
INTER:  Plant here is a verb, and it’s found by dropping the first letter from a cold season

25d   Volunteering force showing character in Greece (5)
THETA:  Take the abbreviation for what is now the Army Reserve, and include before it the definite article to make a Greek letter


Thanks to Dada for a really fun puzzle.  18a produced a big laugh, with 28a following at heel.  I also enjoyed the other interjections as well as my last in, 22d.  Wow!  Which made you exclaim and why?




20 comments on “Toughie 1888

  1. Really enjoyable – thanks to Dada and to Kitty for the review. I liked 15a, 25a, 27a, 28a, 2d and 7d but favourite has to be the LOL 22d which gives new meaning to a ‘lift and separate’ clue.
    My only slight quibble is that, as Kitty says, ‘our volunteering force’ hasn’t been called the Territorial Army for several years.

  2. A fun puzzle, indeed. Lots of humour, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I dont remember seeing “cups” used as a word container before (tea cups in 12a).. So, inventiveness as well as humour!. Thanks Dada and Kitty

  3. Very enjoyable, lots of very good clues, many of which caused a groan and/or smile; but I did need electronic assistance to finish off in the SE corner (including the German heavyweight).

    Top candidates for favourite – 18a, 26a, and 2d – and the winner is 2d; and 9d must get an honourable (un)mention.

    Thanks to Dada and Kitty.

  4. A wonderful puzzle with lots of humour. 22d gets the gong from me today too, but there are plenty of contenders. 24d last in – I stupidly took summit to be the end of the word, which is not clever in a down clue. I didn’t know that the TA had a new name. 6d took ages to see.

    Lovely puzzle I really enjoyed, thanks to Dada and to Kitty for a very entertaining review. ***/**** and a bit.

  5. Agree with your assessment. Quite a lot of easy ones, plenty of entertainment but a little tricky to finish due to obscure GK or devious definitions like 24 which was last in.

    Thanks to Kitty and Dada

  6. An exemplary puzzle I thought, not very hard really but with a few definite “have to stop and think about it” sections. Plus loads of witty stuff, multiple items of underwear and several amusing ejaculations. 18a my favourite for audacity – it is a valid Scrabble word, of course, and therefore fair game!

  7. Extremely enjoyable puzzle full of wit and good clues. And it couldn’t have been too difficult – because I finished it eventually. ***/*****. I very much liked 12a, 2d, and 15a with 9d and 22d tied for the gold medal. Nice one Dada.

  8. I found this a hugely enjoyable way to start the toughie week. The left half went in more quickly than the right half with 22d being the last in – and my favourite once the penny dropped! Many thanks to Dada and Kitty

  9. Yeah – finally managed to access the blog!

    Really enjoyed this one, podium places going to 18&26a plus 1,7,9&22d.
    1a – didn’t realise I knew this – apparently I did!
    15a – spent a while wondering whether all the ladies qualified for the title of ‘the other woman’.
    25a – very slow with the parsing.
    1d – another example of the same answer appearing in both the Toughie and the back-pager.
    9d – had the same thoughts as Kitty so left it blank until it simply had to be.
    22d – how long did it take for the penny to drop! Very clever, Dada.
    24d – even when I had the answer, I was trying to make it some variety of growing plant. No comments, please!

    Many thanks to Dada for a great puzzle and to our Girl Tuesday for her usual excellent blog. I would imagine that you’re too young to have ever experienced a true 2d!

  10. Did this first thing this morning but have been on a “speed-awareness” course in Chesterfield today, so just getting around to commenting. I thought it was pretty good.

    I didn’t know the Anglo Saxon grave or the porcelain, but wordplay helped. I liked 15a, 18a, 28a, 22d (took me a while…) and 25d, amongst others.

    I realise I bunged in 25a without parsing, so thanks kitty for that and your usual excellent blog, which is always a delightful post-puzzle read.

  11. We spent ages looking for a horticultural answer for 24d before the penny dropped, so this was our last one in. The parsing of 25a also took longer than it should have. Plenty to laugh about with the biggest guffaw coming for 22d.
    Thanks Dada and Kitty.

  12. Too late now to go on at length but just popped in to say that I thought this was a brilliant crossword.
    If the blog had been ‘getatable’ I’d probably have given up but it wasn’t – quite glad really as I ‘perservated’ and did eventually get 6d, and why 15a was what it was.
    I’d never have got 22d in a million years or, to quote my Dad, “In the reign of Sam” so thanks for that, Kitty.
    I loved 18a and 7, 9 and 24d, and the blasted 22d now that I know what the answer is.
    Thanks to Dada and to Kitty.

  13. Good stuff, and probably on the easier side for Dada if I managed to solve it at this time of night. :-) Favourites today 18ac and my LOI, 22d.

  14. Seems it was not just me who had trouble accessing the blog today. I absolutely loved this and my printout is littered with ticks and double ticks. I did need the hints to properly parse my (correct) answers for 12A and 6D but that did not detract fro my enjoyment. Apart from the marvelous — and runaway favorite — 22D I loved 15A, 18A, 2D, 9D and 24D. Thanks Dada for the laughs and fun, and thanks to Kitty for the review.

  15. Thanks to Dada and to Kitty for the review and hints. A super puzzle, enjoyed what I could do. Needed the hints for 5&12a and 7,9,22,24d, and to parse 25a. Favourite was 18a. Great fun.

  16. 12a. I don’t recall seeing “cups” as a containment indicator before (or I’ve just forgotten). Could you ask Mr K to have a quick look please.

    1. I can’t find any examples in the Telegraph or the Guardian. The closest thing is its use as a hidden word indicator in this clue from the same setter in his Guardian guise of Paul: Broadly similar, gold cups (5)

  17. As Dutch, I didn’t know the Anglo Saxon burial structure or the Porcelain but the parsing led me to the right answers.
    The usual pleasure to solve a Dada.
    Thanks and thanks to Kitty for the review.

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