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Toughie 1920

Toughie No 1920 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Hi all.  MynoT brings us today’s mid-paper puzzle which has a few tricky bits, but plenty of anagrams to help out.  I didn’t find filling the grid too problematic, but some elements of the wordplay were unfamiliar to me so I spent a while getting everything fully untangled.

The definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the   buttons.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative — click only if you wish to reveal all.

As usual, you may click on pictures to enlarge them or uncover hidden extras.



1a    How copper might become coper, without much enthusiasm (4-9)
HALF-HEARTEDLY:  The answer could be a cryptic indication which would produce “coper” from “copper”

9a    Young boy returning to a country in recession with a priest (5,4)
DALAI LAMA:  String together: the reversal (returning) of a young boy, the first A from the clue, the reversal (in recession) of a country in West Africa, and finally the final A from the clue

10a   Promotional words blemish book (5)
BLURB:  A smudgy blemish and an abbreviation for book

11a   On reflection, go over to find horse (5)
PACER:  A word meaning go over or summarise, written backwards (on reflection), is a type of horse

12a   Old star making a comeback is a burden (4)
ONUS:  Old, abbreviated, and our nearest star, reversed (making a comeback)

13a   Rich and average — words that encompass tasteless person (4)
CHAV:  A sneaky hidden word where the fodder has been separated: join together “rich” and “average” and find the boorish youth within.  I remember this word being everywhere around the time I was in the sixth form, but haven’t encountered it in use for some years now

15a   Migrate to compose dance music (7)
RAGTIME:  An anagram made from the letters of (to compose) MIGRATE

17a   Perplexity of deficiency (7)
NONPLUS:  Split (3,4) the answer could be a minus, hence deficiency

18a   Commanding officer and representative before getting MC (7)
COMPERE:  Abbreviations for commanding officer and for an elected representative precede a poetic word for before

20a   Diamond found in coach parked by hotel within memory (7)
RHOMBUS:  This diamond shape is found in a passenger-carrying motor vehicle placed after (parked by) the insertion of H(otel) into a type of computer memory

21a   Engineers in the morning will be a bore (4)
REAM:  Place our usual military engineers next to “in the morning.”  Widen a hole with a special tool

22a   Crustlike surface of sheath poet abandoned (4)
SCAB:  A sheath, usually for a sword, with a literary word for a poet removed (abandoned) (SCABbard)

23a   More than one spoke of gods in African music (5)
RADII:  A plural of a Latin word for god inside a type of modern North African popular musicI only vaguely remember the music from a previous crossword

26a   No objection to complying with close observation (5)
EYING:  A synonym of complying with no OB(jection) (obEYING)

27a   Emperor’s artist on expedition about beginning of Thebes (3,6)
RAS TAFARI:  A former emperor of Ethiopia is found by starting with our usual artist and adding an animal-watching expedition surrounding (about) the first letter of (beginning of) Thebes

28a   The ‘Men Behaving Badly’ with name-dropping is one that didn’t happen (5-4-4)
MIGHT-HAVE-BEEN:  THE MEn BEHAVING anagrammed (badly) without (dropping) N(ame)



1d    Second Harry Potter book reviewed could offer boost to this London location (4,4,6)
HYDE PARK CORNER:  This location plus BOOST TO could be rearranged to give (could offer) the answer, so to find it make an anagram of sECOND HARRY PottER booK

2d    Handful of gladioli lacking colour (5)
LILAC:  The answer is found in a handful of letters of the clue

3d    Chiller to air his rear potentially (4-6)
HAIR-RAISER:  An anagram (potentially) of AIR HIS REAR

4d    Shellfish from solitary sailor (7)
ABALONE:  Split (2,5) this could be a sailor without company

5d    A point or taunt possibly (2,1,4)
TO A TURN:  This means exactly or perfectly, so I think the definition should strictly speaking have an accent: à point.  It’s an anagram (possibly) of OR TAUNT

6d    Money owed from French telephone company (4)
DEBT:  From in French and the abbreviated name of a telecommunications company

7d    Somewhere for kids to buy lunch that’s refurbished, not new (5,4)
YOUTH CLUB:  An anagram (refurbished) of TO BUY LUnCH without N(ew)

8d    What Caesar’s wife was briefly from the beginning, with European touch (5,9)
ABOVE SUSPICION:  What Caesar’s wife should be, according to the proverb.  Latin for “from the beginning” (ab ovo) without its last letter (briefly), E(uropean), and then a touch or trace

14d   Your fiance could become aggressive (2-4-4)
IN-YOUR-FACE:  An anagram (could become) of YOUR FIANCE (with its accent dropped)

16d   Athletic facility in German school? (9)
GYMNASIUM:  Two definitions: this sports building is also the name given to a top-grade secondary school in many European countries, especially Germany

19d   Right in other than passage (7)
EXCERPT:  R(ight) inside “other than” gives a passage from a book etc.

20d   Area supporting full-bodied bean (7)
ROBUSTA:  Brew this coffee bean by putting A(rea) after (supporting, in a down clue) a word meaning full-bodied

24d   Soldier leaving poisonous plant for sea captain (5)
DRAKE:  Take a three-letter soldier from the beginning of a poisonous plant to find this Elizabethan sea captain

25d   A giant that’s highly excited (4)
AGOG:  Follow the A from the clue with a mythical giant and you’ll be on tenterhooks


Thanks to MynoT.  I didn’t mark out any favourites but was quite amused by the 14d anagram.  Which were you enthused by?


28 comments on “Toughie 1920

  1. Mostly straightforward and all quite entertaining, but I must admit that 1d went in unparsed from the enumeration and a few crossers, and I didn’t have time to go back and work it out. The bean was new to me but easy enough to look up.

    Thanks to Kitty and MynoT

  2. Very enjoyable but a little more head scratching required compared to some recent Tuesday editions.

    Thank you to Kitty for explaining three or four clues that I knew were correct but couldn’t parse.

    Favourite – 17a.

    Thanks to MynoT and again to Kitty.

  3. This was my best ever attempt at the Toughie….I usually do not even try.

    Needed the hints for 27a and 24d, but I’ll let myself off with that.

    Must be a wavelength thing.

    Many thanks to MynoT and to Kitty for the hints.

    1. Hear hear to all your comments and thanks to other bloggers for recommending today’s Toughie.

  4. I managed to get a full grid reasonably quickly but I was too lazy to parse a few, so thanks kitty for, er, 23a, 26a, 27a, 1d & 8d.

    Many thanks MynoT

  5. Don’t often have time for toughies in the week, but did so today and tuned in quickly, apart from initially putting in rat safari for 27, I found the puzzle straight forward and to my liking.
    Knew what Caesar’s wife was, but needed an explanation for ‘abov’ -thanks Kitty.
    Like beery hiker didn’t quite parse 1d !
    Going for a **/***

  6. Two new things learned today – a fact about Haile Selassie and a strange-sounding school! Like Kitty, I think I’ve only come across the African music in a crossword and I did have to check on it again.
    Didn’t work hard enough on parsing the obvious answer to 1d. Knew there was an anagram somewhere in there but didn’t quite join up the dots.

    No particular favourite but an enjoyable solve.

    Thanks to MynoT and to our Girl Tuesday – particularly for the lovely 2d flowers. Would that any of my ‘glads’ ever looked that perfect!

  7. I found this one a bit tricky (I didn’t know the 20d bean or that ‘nonplus’ could be a noun) but enjoyable. Thanks to MynoT and Kitty. My favourite clue was the clever 5d (I’m pretty sure the French don’t write accents on capital letters these days, except for proper nouns, so ‘A point’ at the start of the clue is ok without the grave accent. I’ll now wait for Jean-Luc to appear and tell me I’m wrong! ).

    1. Hi Gazza,
      The accent grave is definitely needed on a capital letter. No exceptions allowed.

      1. Thanks for that J-L. I have now been doing some investigoogling on this and opinion seems split down the middle on the subject. One native Frenchman writes: I am French and when I was young(now 44)I have been taught that there’s no need to put accents on capital letters,and my children are taught that way too.So you can write:A l’école(no need to capitalize école).
        Everyone seems agreed, however, that the Académie française is very much in favour of always using accents on capitals. So, is it a question of theory versus practice?

  8. Managed this one-unusual for me!. The border fell into place quickly which helped. Liked 1d and 2d in particular.

  9. I did know the school but not the African music, and I always thought that 27A was one word. Live and learn. My favorites are 17A, 27A (because I’m a big Bob Marley fan), and 5D. Thank MynoT and Miss Kitty.

  10. Three or four things that were new to me, but I found them all (with a little Google help) to be accessible from the word play. For me, this was a very enjoyable start to the toughie week. Many thanks to all.

  11. Is 1 down a reverse or compound anagram as the light switch is not working here in Vancouver or on this question, could someone explain it more. Thanks in advance

    1. It’s a compound anagram. The answer (4,4,6) + BOOST TO are an anagram of SECOND HARRY POTTER BOOK. As Kitty says in her hint the easier way to get the answer is to remove the letters of ‘BOOST TO’ from ‘SECOND HARRY POTTER BOOK’ and make an anagram of the 14 letters you have left.

    2. Yes I think that’s what they’re called. Basically if you make an anagram from ” Second Harry Potter Book” and it turns out to be Hyde Park Corner, you should be left with “Boost To”…so working in the opposite direction of logic gives us the answer.

  12. Must have been on the right wavelength today as I don’t often finish a toughie! Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, needed the explanations for a few, thanks to a Kitty and MynoT

  13. Solved on a roll while waiting for a telephone call inviting me out to lunch. This would have been a worthy end of the week back pager. Thanks to MynoT for the puzzle and thanks to Kitty for the words of explanation.

  14. We scratched our heads for a long time wondering how the wordplay for 17a worked. Having a quick check in BRB to find that the answer can be a noun would have saved that. Quite a few places where filling in the grid correctly without understanding all the wordplay was possible so an interesting challenge to eventually get everything sorted.
    Thanks MynoT and Kitty.

  15. Completed well within ** time, but only by guesswork! I confess to failing to parse either 1d or 8d, so perhaps *** is a fairer assessment. I liked 20 and 27 across. Thanks to MynoT and Kitty.

  16. We been failing a bit on the toughie front recently. So having got an answer for everything we just cheated and let Kitty explain 4 parsings for us. Good decision!
    Thanks Kitty and MynoT.

  17. I had much more fun with this today than with the Cryptic. A couple of hold-ups in the SE mainly due to not twigging the Haile Selassie synonym. Thank you MynoT and Kitty.

  18. Surprised myself by finishing this as quickly as I did. Knew the bean but not the African music. Thanks Kitty for explaining 23a. Like the other bloggers I too liked 27a

  19. The long clues were very generous, and went in I must admit went in for the most part on enumeration and definition alone. Without any particular issues elsewhere, this was about ** for difficulty. An enjoyable start to the Toughie week.

  20. A certain amount of guesswork involved in completing this. I didn’t know the bean and couldn’t parse 1d until I read the blog. 27a held me up until I twigged the relationship to Rastafarian. 8d seemed obvious enough but again I couldn’t parse it because, to my mind, the Latin for ‘from the beginning’ is ‘ab initio’.

  21. Thanks to Kitty for the parsing of 8d. A total bung in from my part.
    Thanks to MynoT for the challenge.

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