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Toughie 1899

Toughie No 1899 by proXimal

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A few anagrams help you get into this puzzle, which seemed challenging at first but as usual in most of it seemed clear in retrospect. Writing the review was another opportunity to savour the clues – there are some lovely twists in the definitions.

The definitions are underlined and the hints describe how the wordplay works. That should help you get the answers, but you can always click on the SPOILER buttons to reveal them. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Everyone in late night dancing away to relax (3,2,3,4,3)
LET IT ALL HANG OUT: Place a word meaning everyone inside (in) an anagram (dancing) of LATE NIGHT, followed by another word for away

9a    One sharing around English fare (9)
PASSENGER: A person sharing or handing over goes ‘around’ a 3-letter abbreviation for English

10a    Charge article with technology inside (5)
TITHE: The definite article contains (with … inside) an abbreviation for computer technology

11a    Island with mostly dark home in the north (5)
IGLOO: North of Canada, perhaps. The abbreviation for island plus another word for dark without its last letter (almost)

12a    Explorer heading off prepares galleys, perhaps (9)
COOKROOMS: The explorer who found Australia and Hawaii and a word meaning prepares without the first letter (heading off)

13a    Within grass, nest snakes disliked (8)
RESENTED: An anagram (snakes) of NEST goes inside (within) a type of grass

14a    Monitor tribe in outskirts of Sudan (6)
SCREEN: A North American tribe goes inside (in) the outer letters (outskirts) of SudaN

16a    Recruit revamping Olympic Games, somehow magic’s lost (6)
EMPLOY: An anagram (revamping) of OLYMP(ic gam)E(s) where an anagram (somehow) of MAGIC has been ‘lost’

18a    Recommendation about animal pens beginning to rust (8)
REFERRAL: A 2-letter word meaning about plus an adjective meaning animal contains (pens) the first letter (beginning to) of Rust

22a    Splitting from French river, Napoleon perhaps bears north (9)
DECAMPING: The French word for from, a river in Cambridge, and the animal exemplified by Animal Farm’s Napolean containing the abbreviation for North

23a    Charge received from return of rubbish found in M&S (5)
STORM: a 3-letter word for rubbish goes inside the letters M&S, all reversed (return of)

24a    European dons biased about a period (5)
WEEKS: The abbreviation for European is surrounded by (dons) the reversal of a word meaning biased or distorted

25a    Wearing flowery red motif, one is embarrassed (9)
MORTIFIED: The Roman numeral for one is surrounded by (wearing) an anagram (flowery) of RED MOTIF

26a    Rejects from band I sack, now led, gesticulating, away from surroundings (15)
DISACKNOWLEDGES: A magnificent hidden (away from surroundings)



1d    Comparatively fresh make-up runs (7)
LIPPIER: A slang word for make-up applied to the mouth plus the cricket abbreviation for Runs

2d    Right to leave close-fitting coat, French article frays (7)
TUSSLES: Take a 5-letter word for a close-fitting coat and remove the R (right to leave), then add a French plural article

3d    Spacey found his costume for family film (3,5,2,5)
THE SOUND OF MUSIC: A family film in more than one way. An anagram (spacey, as in spaced out or eccentric) of FOUND HIS COSTUME

4d    Gifts on ice, as broke (8)
LEGACIES: A cricket side also known as ‘on’ plus an anagram (broke) of ICE AS

5d    Put pointy object beneath husband to cause distress (6)
HARROW: Place a pointy object, which could be something that points or the sharp projectile you use with a bow, ‘beneath’ (in a down clue) the abbreviation for Husband

6d    Dance music fan daft really, dismissing Queen (10,5)
NUTCRACKER SUITE: A 3-letter word for a fan, an 8-letter word for daft, plus a 5-letter word for really from which the initial Q(ueen) is removed

7d    Product‘s in distribution company, Middle East (7)
OUTCOME: A word meaning in distribution or published, and the abbreviations for company and Middle East

8d    Crime disguised in monastery, away from outsiders (7)
TREASON: An anagram of (m)ONASTER(y), once the ‘outsiders’ have been removed

15d    Garden tool’s cutting method for line of plants (8)
HEDGEROW: A garden tool for trimming lawns goes inside ( is cutting) a 3 -letter word meaning method, or in what manner

16d    Stopped harbouring love, wife left (7)
ENDOWED: A word meaning stopped contains the letter that looks like a tennis score of love plus the abbreviation for wife

17d    Loads of tin vessels (7)
PACKETS: Two meanings, the first refers to money, the second to a boat

19d    Unrest in the heart of compatriot in Glasgow (7)
RIOTING: Hidden (in the heart of …)

20d    Adorable person sorry to upset foreign characters (7)
LAMBDAS: A word for an adorable or gentle person, plus the reversal (to upset) of a word meaning sorry or sorrowful

21d    Flyer: 25 per cent off in River Island (6)
AIRMAN: Remove the last letter (25% off) from a 4-letter Yorkshire river, then add an island known for a breed of tailless cats

I liked the hiddens, one as a remarkable feat and the other for a moody surface. I also liked 21d with ‘River Island’. Which clues did you like?

23 comments on “Toughie 1899

  1. Found 12 a little odd, a term I’ve not heard before.I smiled at 1d .DNK the coat at 2,Chambers 1994 has it. Agree with 21 and the hidden across clue. Good crossword all-round.TY ProXimal and Dutch

  2. This was definitely a Friday-level Toughie through which I progressed in fits and starts rather than at warp velocity. The whole process was enjoyable – thanks to proXimal for some inventive clueing and to Dutch for the comprehensive review. I liked 22a (for Napoleon), 1d (because it made me laugh) and 3d (for the beautifully disguised anagram indicator) but my favourite has to be 26a with its magnificent lurker.

  3. I really, really enjoyed this one. Top half went in relatively easily but the bottom required far more work – well worth the effort.

    The term at 12a was new to me – far more familiar with ‘house’ but fortunately had sufficient checkers in place to prevent a slip up there.
    What an unusual anagram indicator in 3d – couldn’t figure out what on earth ‘Kevin’ would be doing in that particular musical!

    Whilst appreciating that the BRB gives ‘biased’ as a definition of ‘skew’ it doesn’t sit too well with me. I would equate ‘skewed’ with ‘biased’ and ‘bias’ with ‘skew’. I wonder whether Gazza can come up with a convincing sentence?

    1a made the top of the pile here but I suspect that Kath would nominate 20d!

    Many thanks, proXimal, and thanks to Dutch for an excellent blog. Loved the 15d topiary and the interesting garage!

    1. I see what you mean, I imagined you could say her opinions are skew/biased as an adjectival form, but maybe skewed is better..

  4. I very much enjoyed this. Unlike Jane, the bottom went in relatively easily for me, and it was the top half that was much slower. Even when I got 1 across, the NW corner fell very reluctantly. However, I got there in the end under my own steam, and without having to resort to Google which made a very refreshing change. Many thanks to proXimal and Dutch.

  5. Started off with a rush with 1a going straight in and then slowed down considerably as we moved down the grid and struggled mightily with 26a as our last one in. Spent ages trying to identify suitable anagram fodder. What a clever lurker it turned out to be. We did not know the 21d river but worked out what it must be. A clever puzzle that kept us amused all the way through.
    Thanks ProXimal and Dutch.

  6. Winkled them out one by one, but challenging throughout – 4.5*/4*.

    We’ll go with the long lurker as favourite.

    Thanks to Dutch and proXimal.

  7. I can now cross solving a Friday toughie of my bucket list. Needed help in parsing 22a and 24a. 26a was the longest lurker that I have encountered and is my top clue.

    1. friday toughies aren’t for bucket lists, they are for life – now you’ve crossed that threshold, I’m hoping you’ll do many more. But seriously, well done.

  8. Brilliant. Just out of time but got there soon after. As others say, never seen a lurker quite like it – got the answer without seeing it and then couldn’t quite believe when tried to parse..

    Thanks Dutch, great crossy

  9. Very very good, so thank you proXimal (and Dutch).
    Lots of clever and enjoyable wordplay and a beautiful hidden clue that wasted ages as I sought an anagram from the mix of unlikely words.
    (And probably my most challenging crossword completed to date.)

  10. Got there in the end, quite a struggle. Didn’t like the definition of animal in 18a. Didn’t know the cricket reference in 4d and still do not know the river in in 21d – oh, maybe it is the dale where the terriers originated. Pleased to have finished a Friday toughie without resorting to hints. 26a most excellent. Thanks guys.

  11. Late here, and everyone’s asleep there…but I finally finished! Toughies like this are akin to giving birth; once you have the baby in your arms, the labour pains are forgotten. Great feeling of satisfaction. Thanks to ProXimal and to Dutch.

  12. Apologies to proXimal – I didn’t get time to do this. However, I want to congratulate you on the first 15-letter lurker ever seen in the DT. Whether or not it’s a response to long lurkers being mentioned recently, it’s most impressive. :good:

    Well done to Dutch too on another blog of the finest quality. I particularly liked the igloo.

  13. Thanks, Kitty. I had no idea it was the first in the DT and hadn’t seen the interesting analysis. Thanks for sharing it. The idea came from a conversation on DIY COW where I was reminded of a 15-letter hidden I did in the Indy a few years ago. I was due to set a Toughie, so just gave myself the challenge of doing another one. Very pleased to see it was appreciated. Thanks to all commenters and Dutch for the blog.

  14. I usually find proximal much harder than this to solve.
    Compared with last Friday ( which I haven’t finished) it was a doddle.
    But very enjoyable.
    The lurker in 26a took a while to spot as I was trying to find the right letters for a long anagram.
    Thanks to proximal and to Dutch for the review

  15. Great stuff. Did it on the flight from London to HK – not quite all of it (the flight, that is). LIPPIER was particularly resistant – definitely easier for distaff solvers. TUSSLES too had me barking up the wrong tree. 26a may be well hidden, but the surface diesn’t make much sense. And what an ugly word!

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