Toughie 1924 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1924

Toughie No 1924 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Hello and welcome to a Toughie Tuesday which I found tough.

I’ve taken to trying to avoid seeing the setter names in advance, partly so I can enjoy the game of guess who, but also to try to avoid or spot any biases.  Last week I only managed to guess one day correctly (Friday, without much confidence), but today was very clear very early on.  Don is one, indeed!

The definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the (the music won’t play and there are no cats) 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    Units of precious material bringing a certain uneasiness (8)
SCRUPLES:  These are historical units of weight equal to 20 grains, used by apothecaries.  If you have moral standards you will have experienced these feelings of doubt or hesitation with regard to the morality or propriety of a course of action.  This was my last in and since the weights were new to me and the second definition didn’t manage to point me to the answer, I didn’t have any of these when I resorted to a word search

5a    Prison room chipped with insertion of the chap’s carpentry tool (6)
CHISEL:  A room in a prison missing its end letter (chipped) containing (with insertion of) a pronoun meaning the man’s

9a    Organ of bird seen in northern city (5)
LIVER:  The fanciful bird which is the emblem of a certain city in NW England is also an organ of the body (which has to work hard in the case of many a crossworder)

10a   Stop to absorb English view, shortly resting (9)
QUIESCENT:  Stop or give up (4) containing E(nglish) and a view or prospect missing its final letter (shortly)

12a   Notes from girl in show imbibing drink with gangster? (10)
MARGINALIA:  These jottings and doodles written outside the main part of a text are formed of a girl in a musical (Sondheim or Rodgers & Hammerstein, take your pick) containing (imbibing) an alcoholic drink and the first name of a notorious American mobster.  It’s well worth looking these up online — there are some truly weird and wonderful examples to be found

13a   Grimace to show vexation when tea is not provided (4)
GRIN:  Remove another word for tea from the beginning of a feeling of vexation, annoyance or embarrassment

15a   Transporter returned piece of furniture that could be shrunk for packing? (11)
RETRACTABLE:  One who transports things by means of a light wheeled vehicle, reversed (returned), and then an item of furniture with a flat top

16a   5-5? Come on! (3)
FIE:  Nothing to do with the answer to 5a.  5 as a word minus (–) 5 as a Roman numeral

17a   Vote for a second person that’s old-fashioned (3)
AYE:  Follow the A from the clue with an old-fashioned form of the second person pronoun

18a   Prisoners given exercises kept within bounds (11)
CONSTRAINED:  Join together some lags with a verb meaning given exercises

20a   Bathroom’s flowing water not fine for drinker (4)
LUSH:  Toilet water (not the perfume) when it’s flowing, without f(ine)

21a   Social worker dealt with worry and anger (10)
ANTAGONISE:  A social worker insect plus worry intensely 

24a   Agreement about material getting snagged by puss (9)
CONCORDAT:  About (2) and some ribbed cloth inside (getting snagged by) a feline

26a   Greek philosopher using Socratic method, brooking no resistance (5)
IONIC:  The Socratic method of discussion by professing ignorance without (brooking no) R(esistance)

27a   Refuse drink after juice has been sent back (4,2)
PASS UP:  To drink follows some plant juice which has been reversed (sent back)

28a   Bothered and embarrassed by commercial label (8)
BADGERED:  Our usual word for embarrassed or shamefaced after a brand or marque



1d    Behold this person, with it at the outset, as dancer (6)
SALOME:  To begin with (at the outset) we have the abbreviation for sex appeal, then a word meaning behold and a first person pronoun (this person).  The daughter of Herodias and nemesis of John the Baptist

2d    Don is one person trying hard, but no saint (5)
RIVER:  There are actually several of these geographical features called the Don.  Remove ST from the beginning of someone earnestly endeavouring

3d    Tireless individual not getting on is behind nine others, falling short (10)
PERSISTENT:  An individual without ON (not getting on) comes before the IS from the clue and an ordinal number with nine placed earlier, without the last letter (falling short)

4d    There’s not much money here when person has lost pounds (3)
SOU:  An individual loses L (pounds) from the end to make a small amount of money

6d    Show disapproval? It’s conveyed by this sound (4)
HISS:  This is a semi-all-in-one, with a sound of disapproval I might make inside (conveyed by) the last part of the clue

7d    Parade’s given order, gathered round explosive leader (9)
SPEARHEAD:  An anagram of PARADE’S around the abbreviation for high explosive

8d    Like many words derived from province dad’s not used (8)
LATINATE:  “Derived from a historical province” loses an informal two-letter word for father.  Words in the style of an particular old language

10d   To rave in front of eyewitness in court gets one detained (11)
QUARANTINED:  Rave or bluster, IN (from the clue) and the first letter (front of) eyewitness inside a courtyard

11d   Maybe painter otherwise challenged avoids a tint that’s unusual (5,6)
IDIOT SAVANT:  An anagram (that’s unusual) of AVOIDS A TINT.  Challenged here means impaired.  This painting is Cat in a Cage by Gottfried Mind, number 4 on this list

14d   A group performing, one no good, giving up (10)
ABANDONING:  Time for a multipart charade: put together A, a group, performing, the Roman one, and the abbreviation for no good

15d   Dissenters demonstrating a curtness, being put out (9)
RECUSANTS:  An anagram (being put out) of A CURTNESS

16d   What may be marked with a D in paper (8)
FOOLSCAP:  This paper size is, split differently, also a dunce’s hat

19d   Ward in which church is guarded (6)
FENCED:  Ward (off) containing (in which … is) the abbreviation for a type of church

22d   Successful person, not the first in a sporting circle (5)
INNER:  A victor loses her first letter

23d   Something aromatic upsetting university group (4)
TOLU:  The reversal (upsetting) of an abbreviation for university and a group or set.  It’s a balsam used in medicine and perfumery, which was new to me

25d   Martyr casting off an ecclesiastical garment (3)
ALB:  The first-recorded British Christian martyr without (casting off) AN


Thanks to Giovanni.  I liked 16a.  Which made you say “come on!” and why?


19 comments on “Toughie 1924

  1. I found this one pretty tough to finish – difficult to say whether it was more or less difficult than Pasquale in the Guardian (this one had fewer obscure solutions but took me just as long) – two Dons in one day is something of an overdose so I am looking forward to tackling Knut later as an antidote. 4d was my last in after 1a – I thing 23d was the only unfamiliar solution.

    Thanks to Kitty and Giovanni

  2. I thought that this was quite tough for a Tuesday and I enjoyed it. I needed both checking letters to twig what 16a was all about. Top clues for me were 13a, 16d and 3d. Thanks to Giovanni and Kitty.
    I was surprised to discover that the 9a bird has flown across the country!

  3. Crikey – if that’s the gentlest Toughie of the week then I don’t fancy my chances with the rest!
    Several things I needed Mr G’s help with including the new word at 23d and I needed Kitty’s help to explain the missing Dad in 8d.
    Still being remarkably thick over the ending of 3d – can someone spell it out for me, please?

    Top two for me were the 16’s.

    Thanks to ‘the one’ and to our Girl Tuesday for all her hard work in unearthing the relevant reference material.

  4. The internet isn’t big enough for me to describe what I disliked about this puzzle. Gave up and binned it. Have to be honest.
    Thanks anyway, but sorry Giovanni, not my cup of tea at all. You have my sympathies, Kitty.
    ***** / * That’s a first for me.

  5. I came within a little over a handful of finishing. Most of those I did not get I had not heard of – 1a for immediate example. With respect and apology, these (for me) unknowns significantly detracted from my enjoyment of this.

  6. Agree that this was quite a lot trickier than we are used to meeting on a Tuesday but eventually it all came together with a bit of electronic assistance. Our last one in was also 1a as it took a long time for the old measures to be dredged from memory banks.
    Thanks Giovanni and Kitty

  7. I always read Kitty’s review for the entertainment, but I never try to do it and today’s offering explains why! I would not have been able to get one answer.

  8. Very tough indeed and the parsing of some clues led me to answers that I had to check.
    Failed on 2d and 6d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Kitty for the review.

  9. We didn’t get very far at lunchtime. Mrs Sheffieldsy headed off to the ballet with our daughter early evening, so this was mostly a solo effort, and hard work it was too. However, it was finished without using Kitty’s hints. Overall, 4* / 3*.

    Favourite clue was 3d, very clever indeed, with 16a a close second.

    Thanks to Kitt and the Don.

    1. TO, 13a. One “definition” of grimace is: a twisted facial expression conveying wry amusement – which could, just about, be called a (sort of) grin. I’d hardly call it a “precise definition” though, more of an obscure one. I don’t have my BRB to hand at the moment, and that may well say otherwise.

  10. Deceivingly straightforward at the start, and indeed most of the way through, the last few clues though were pretty tough. For me 1ac, 10ac and down, and 8d all detained me for perhaps longer than they should. All good stuff though.

  11. Hit the wall about one third through, but done in time, which always adds to the enjoyment factor. Liked 16a and 26. Didn’t like “dealt” in 21 which made me doubt the write-in, but guess it works in retrospect.

  12. Very clever puzzle but too difficult for me…….I only got about 65% done. No real favourites: it was hard work so hearty congratulations to all of you who completed it. And to Kitty and Giovanni of course.

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