Toughie 1901

Toughie No 1901 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Thanks to Kcit for what I thought was quite a tricky puzzle (especially in the NW corner where I’d managed to start my original answer to 4d with DE, thus making 1a impossible). There aren’t a lot of laughs here but (as I noticed more when writing the hints than when solving) there are lots of clues requiring containments and insertions.

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

Across Clues

1a Stick around, taking in start of play involving stars (8)
GALACTIC – reverse a dialect verb to stick or bedaub and insert the start of a play (3,1).

5a Reserve at international? One’s on top of the world! (6)
ICECAP – stitch together a word for reserve or coolness and a sportsperson who’s represented his or her country.

10a Gold to be worth more after one’s ignored media outlet (5)
ORGAN – start with our usual heraldic tincture of gold and add a verb meaning to be worth more without the Roman numeral for one.

11a Visionary religious location — going to take that in (3-6)
FAR-SEEING – a present participle meaning going or ‘getting on’ contains the area overseen by a bishop.

12a Nearer, but missing first place — becoming this? (5)
LOSER – a comparative meaning nearer without its first letter.

13a Make speech after returning flag and disappear (9)
EVAPORATE – a verb to make a speech follows the reversal of a verb to flag (with stones).

14a Stop filling regular pan (7)
SKILLET – a verb to kill or switch off goes inside an adjective meaning regular or standard.

15a Stopped touring South America — not now of interest? (7)
DISUSED – a verb meaning stopped or conked out contains abbreviations for South and America.

18a Come back — ailing person has died (7)
RESPOND – an anagram (ailing) of PERSON followed by the abbreviation for died.

20a The writer’s entering place such as certain hot baths (7)
STEAMED – a pronoun identifying the writer goes inside a word meaning place or role.

21a Abandoned current chapter in a book (old) (9)
ABDICATED – string together A, the abbreviation for book and an adjective meaning old or old-fashioned then insert abbreviations for electric current and chapter.

24a Coach backing team’s beginning to tuck into grub (5)
TUTOR – insert the first letter of team into a verb meaning grub (like a pig looking for truffles) then reverse it all.

26a Serious crime extent evident in assault without club (9)
TREACHERY – a word meaning extent or scope goes inside a synonym for assault (often paired with assault in the phrase ‘assault and *******’) without the word for a club or racket. I suppose if the answer is carried out against the state it can be a serious crime but I don’t really like the definition.

27a Turned on by reckless traveller (5)
NOMAD – reverse NO and add an adjective meaning reckless or foolhardy.

28a Top soldier’s ready for cuddle (6)
COSSET – the abbreviation for the top soldier plus the ‘S is followed by an adjective (the same one we had in 14a meaning regular) here meaning ready or geared up.

29a God appearing in single time period? It wouldn’t surprise me (1,4,3)
I DARE SAY – the Greek god of war goes inside the Roman numeral for a single and a 24-hour time period.

Down Clues

1d Arab fiend has operated primarily in most of Arab region? (5)
GHOUL – the initial letters of ‘has’ and ‘operated’ go inside an oil-rich Middle East region without its final letter.

2d Sit around during argument over singular military movements (9)
LOGISTICS – insert an anagram (around) of SIT inside a word for argument or line of reasoning and finish with the abbreviation for singular.

3d Evidence of plane flight I discounted to one taking to air? (9)
CONTRALTO – the North American abbreviation for what we call a vapour trail loses its I, then append ‘TO’. The definition seems very woolly to me even with the question mark.

4d Change tone of line to be used during blight (7)
INFLECT – a verb to blight or contaminate contains the abbreviation for line.

6d Company adopting Communist beliefs (5)
CREDO – the abbreviation for company contains an informal word for a Communist.

7d Crockery range having article out of place (5)
CHINA – start with a word for range (of mountains, possibly) then move the indefinite article.

8d Obstinate when promoted, soldier with power was leading (9)
PIGHEADED – reverse the abbreviation for a US soldier and the abbreviation for power and add a verb meaning ‘was leading’.

9d Monarch undertook to get Duke a commission (6)
ERRAND – concatenate our current monarch’s cipher, a verb meaning undertook or carried out and the abbreviation for duke.

14d Mocking theatrical airs around performers approaching clubs (9)
SARCASTIC – an anagram (theatrical) of AIRS contain the collective word for the performers in a play. To finish we need the abbreviation for the card suit clubs.

16d Crook enters bringing in small bribe (9)
SWEETENER – an anagram (crook, in the Antipodean sense meaning ill or wrong) of ENTERS contains an adjective meaning small.

17d A remarkable rival to the Telegraph? Not always (9)
SOMETIMES – split the answer 4,5 and it could be an admiring statement indicating that the Telegraph’s daily rival is remarkable.

19d Free to turn up having suppressed the panic (6)
DITHER – reverse a verb to free and insert THE.

20d Bill, in terribly seedy surroundings, is evoking tears (3-4)
SAD-EYED – insert the abbreviation for a bill or poster into an anagram (terribly) of SEEDY.

22d Pieces of music: concert’s last in subscription (5)
DUETS – insert the last letter of concert into a word for a (normally annual) subscription.

23d Constant pain in store (5)
CACHE – bring together the constant used for the speed of light and a word meaning pain.

25d Wretched bishop abandoning acquaintance in support of King (5)
RUDDY – remove the chess abbreviation for bishop from an informal North American word for an acquaintance or friend and precede that with an abbreviation for king.

The clues which I liked best were 5a and 17d. Which one(s) caught your eye?

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19 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Much relieved to see the difficulty rating as I was wondering whether it was just me under more trying conditions than usual, particularly as far as the LH side of the puzzle was concerned

    Thanks to Kcit and Gazza too – no particular favourites

  2. jane
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The best laughs were definitely in your cartoons, Gazza – thank you for those!

    I don’t think I’d heard of the ‘evidence of plane flight’ in its shortened form before today so hadn’t managed to parse 3d. Agree that the definition is, in any case, not the best. Same goes for the definitions of 20& 26a. In the former, it seems to me that the answer needs to end with a ‘Y’ rather than ‘ED’ to make sense of the clue.

    No particular favourite although 17d raised a smile.

    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza.

  3. JonP
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found this fairly tricky to parse in a few places due to a few bung-ins so needed to resort to Gazza’s blog for those. Quite a tricky Toughie today for a Wednesday I thought.

    Thanks to Gazza and Kcit.

  4. Spinky
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Having decided to abandon the online Telegraph (ever rising subscription) in favour of myriad sources of free online news and a subscription to the Telegraph puzzles, this was day 2 of the Toughie. It was completed but in what would have been 10* time for a back pager. I played with “manifesto” for 3 down (i.e. flight manifest) for ages but, once sorted, had, like our esteemed reviewer, 4 down beginning with a “D”. Electronic help gave me answers such as “pulicide”! I shall now retire to a darkened room with a cold towel round my head. Thanks to setter and reviewer.

    • Gazza
      Posted October 18, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the Toughie commentariat.

  5. dutch
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Some hard substitutions i thought.

    I made life hard by entering DEFLECT for 4d, almost works (L in defect) – this stopped me getting 1a for ages. 26a took me a while to see assault without club – i find those hard clues, where you have to imagine two words, remove one from the other leaving a short non-word.

    I didn’t know the fiend was arabic, so that confused me as well. I remembered the vapour trail, though an americanism apparently. 20d not in my chambers but it is in collins.

    Favourite was 17d. I also liked the simple 7d. 18a, though a bit sombre, is also a great clue.

    Many thanks Kcit and Gazza

  6. Una
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I was just dreadful.I’m blaming nobody other than myself.Thanks for the great blog, Gazza and congrats to Kcit for creating a real toughie.

  7. Gazza
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Samuel tomorrow.

  8. JB
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This was a stinker. It has taken me nearly all day. 24a was a bung in – surely a pig roots and an army is routed? 25d defeated me, especially as there is an unhappy Bishop Reddy on the internet. The dangers of electronic searching!
    Better luck tomorrow.

    • Gazza
      Posted October 18, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The BRB says that rout is an irregular variant of root and is a intransitive verb meaning to grub or to poke about.

  9. LetterboxRoy
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Quite an uphill plod which, for some reason, I didn’t find very rewarding. Suppose they can’t all be favourites.
    Many thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the entertainment. ****/**

  10. Sheffieldsy
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Done in two sittings, we found it a challenge, doable and ultimately saiftisfying. 4/3.5.

    Favourite was 1a. We had no problem with 3d as a clue, but it took us a while to get it.

    Thanks to Gazza and Kcit.

  11. Posted October 18, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    We found this good and challenging. There was a lot of answer suggestions and then try to work out the why. 4d fell into that category but weren’t convinced so sat on it and eventually got the right word.
    We haven’t finished a toughie on day of issue for some time – managed today because of venturing forth to a quiet pub where we could concentrate.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

    • Miffypops
      Posted October 18, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Did anybody say “Are you stuck”?

  12. Miffypops
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As I lay miserably on my settee I had a “go” at this. It didn’t last long. Lethargy took over and I returned to feelin sorry for myself. Sorry Kcit. Not your fault. Thanks Gazza. The clip at 20d is exquisite. One of the few singers who can convey any of the feeling behind Dylan’s songs. Most serve up a saccharine stew devoid of feeling ( The Birds pop pap for example ).

  13. Posted October 18, 2017 at 9:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Just popped in to look at Gazza’s review (always worth doing). Great pics as usual, and the music just hit the spot. Many thanks.

  14. neveracrossword
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 10:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This kept me amused during the boring Manchester United match. Like dutch, I had “deflect” for 4d – so never got 1a.Thank you Gazza and Kcit.

  15. Jon_S
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 10:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Fairly challenging, especially in the NW corner. All fair and above board at the close, with a time something like *** here, with a handicap claimed for a long day and too little sleep.

  16. Tony
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 10:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m afraid this was a bust for me. After a long time, I got the SW corner and a very meager smattering elsewhere.

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