Toughie 612 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 612

Toughie No 612 by Dada

Money Talks

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Today we have a welcome return by Dada with a very entertaining puzzle. It’s full of his usual inventive and witty clues but not as tricky as he can be. I have a feeling that he’s being slightly constrained, but I’m quite happy with that as long as he stays in the Wednesday slot. :D
As usual your comments are welcome and please take the time to register your approval rating by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Piece wife’s getting fried? (4)
{PAWN} – I made a dreadful start by writing in WHIT for this one (well, both fry and hit are slang words for to kill!). I had to revise my thoughts when I looked at 1d. Piece here refers to the chessboard and something getting fried will be ‘in the pan’ – a typical Dada clue and fully justifying the question mark.

3a  Near thing becomes near ting? Be careful about it (5,5)
{CLOSE SHAVE} – put a description of what near thing does to become near ting (5,1) inside a latin word, once used by schoolboys to warn of the imminent arrival of authority, meaning “watch out!” or be careful.

9a  Slow getting back into panel discussion (4)
{IDLE} – hidden (getting .. into) and reversed (back) in the clue is a word meaning slow.

10a  Delicate winger transferred from Real Madrid (3,7)
{RED ADMIRAL} – an anagram (transferred) of REAL MADRID.

11a  Nobleman’s rank retaining name, duke, ultimately (7)
{GRANDEE} – to get this Spanish nobleman put (retaining) N(ame) inside a rank and finish with the last letter (ultimately) of (duk)E.

13a  Significant relation (7)
{TELLING} – double definition.

14a  Change in pounds beats wonga (11)
{SPONDULICKS} – an anagram (change) of POUNDS is followed by an informal synonym for beats or conquers to make a slang word for money (wonga) which we’ve had fairly recently.

18a  Yuppy requiring loan some day when in difficulties (11)
{LOADSAMONEY} – an anagram (in difficulties) of LOAN SOME DAY gives us a rich yuppy (based on the Harry Enfield character who profited from the excesses of the 1980s).

ARVE Error: need id and provider

21a  Charlie around nose, nothing less, in ladies’ outfit (7)
{TWINSET} – in the surface charlie means cocaine but in the wordplay it’s another word for fool. Insert (containing) N(o)SE to make what goes with pearls at the Tory Conference.

22a  Character concealing horse’s weight (7)
{TONNAGE} – a synonym for character or style contains (concealing) an old horse.

23a  Casual suit, edges trimmed, contains bum (10)
{INSOUCIANT} – an anagram (bum) of (s)UI(t) and CONTAINS.

24a  Jelly fish passing barracuda’s tail (4)
{AGAR} – put a pike-like fish after (passing) (barracuda)A to make a jelly made from seaweed.

25a  Bloody outstanding article by a setter for analysis in competition (4,6)
{GAME THEORY} – this scientific analysis of the choices and strategies in competitive situations is used seriously in big business (it was used by all the bidders in the auction of the mobile phone licences). Put a synonym for bloody around (outstanding) a definite article which is preceded by A and what the setter calls himself.

26a  Peter Sellers holds tongue (4)
{ERSE} – the Gaelic language of Scotland and Ireland is hidden (holds) in the clue.

Down Clues

1d  ‘Obnoxious’ about right for ‘smug’ (8)
{PRIGGISH} – an adjective meaning obnoxious or unpleasant goes around R(ight) to make a different adjective meaning smug or sanctimonious.

2d  Old spoken ruling written up for Australian native (8)
{WALLAROO} – form a charade of O(ld), a synonym for spoken (as opposed to written) and a ruling or statute then reverse it all (written up, in a down clue) to reveal a large marsupial native to Australia.

4d  Sprawl around, say, in European province (5)
{LIEGE} – the name of a province in the French-speaking part of Belgium comes from a verb meaning to sprawl containing (around) the abbreviation for “say” or for example.

5d  Classic film role in the bag, American (9)
{SPARTACUS} – this is the name of a classic film. Put a role inside a bag or pouch, then finish with an abbreviation for American.

6d  Pass round untidy semi, seeking dope (6,5)
{SIMPLE SIMON} – the name of an alpine pass in southern Switzerland goes round an anagram (untidy) of SEMI to make the name given to a foolish person (dope), based on a nursery rhyme character.

7d  Reluctant to help, supporting gaffer regularly (6)
{AFRAID} – a verb meaning to help follows (supporting, in a down clue) the even letters (regularly) of gAfFeR.

8d  Tribute union of nations added to record, ultimate in bravery (6)
{EULOGY} – this tribute is formed from the abbreviation for a grouping of nations (with a few currency problems at the moment), a written record and the ultimate letter of (braver)Y.

12d  Next to nothing large eclipsed by small, short and thick (6-5)
{DIDDLY-SQUAT} – an informal American term for something insignificant or next to nothing (the derivation of which is quite amusing – see Chambers) is made by putting L(arge) inside (eclipsed by) an informal adjective meaning small, then following that with another adjective meaning dumpy or short and thick.

15d  Most foolish, anyway (9)
{LEASTWISE} – an American adverb meaning anyway could describe (5,4) the most foolish.

16d  Risk to make peace, then? (8)
{ENDANGER} – a verb meaning to risk, could, if split as (3,5) be a prelude to peacemaking.

17d  Gosh, Pygmalion and Animal Farm so? (2,6)
{BY GEORGE} – this is an exclamation of surprise (gosh!) used famously in My Fair Lady but probably originally derived from a shortening of a phrase from Henry V’s speech on the eve of Agincourt (courtesy of Shakespeare). Both Pygmalion and Animal Farm could be said to be this (so) with respect to the names of their authors.

19d  Number of horses run in sharp practice (6)
{STRING} – the word for a group of racehorses at a single stable comes from putting R(un) inside a deceptive operation (sharp practice).

20d  Parcels to be put away, obscure problem (3,3)
{DIM SUM} – a charade of synonyms for obscure and problem produces a Chinese dish of savoury dumplings with various fillings (parcels to be put away). Wonderful!

22d  All fingers and thumbs alternatively making sense (5)
{TENOR} – a count of one’s fingers and thumbs is followed by another word for alternatively to make a sense or meaning.

My top clues today include 1a, 21a, 25a and 17d, but my favourite is 20d. Let us know what you liked!

23 comments on “Toughie 612

  1. Very gentle fare today but most enjoyable favourites for me 1a 12d and 20d thanks to Dada and to Gazza for the review.

  2. Agree with Qix, and on favourite by far being 20d, also liked 21a and 5d as having the answer from chking ltrs it took me a ridiculous amount of time to unravel . Many thanks to Dada and Gazza for the review.

  3. Enjoyed this one, when I could finally get at it!
    Not really fair to pick out a favourite as the whole thing is good.
    For me this is a perfect Toughie. much harder than a back pager but accessible with a bit of persevation!
    Thanks to Dada and Gazza

  4. Very enjoyable toughie today, extremely entertaining, I loved 20d but as pommers says the whole thing was too good really to pick a favourite. Thanks to Dada and of course to Gazza for an equally entertaining and informative review.

  5. Super stuff, thank you Dada. Hope we don’t have to wait so long for your third Dada. Thanks to Gazza too for the nicely illustrated explanations.

    Back off into the sunny garden now with three generations of family!

    1. Lob us some a tad Northwards will you please, windy overcast and just started to rain Grrr

      1. Persisting down here in Bolton, looks like it’s time to start building an Ark, still, look on the bright side, they’ll not be running around pillaging tonight (one hopes)

        1. Fingers crossed definetly, stopped raining but has that can’t quite make it’s mind up mood about it.

  6. A most enjoyable puzzle! Many thanks to Dada (a word becoming quite popular with my 8-month old!), and to Gazza for the review.

  7. Dada, you are a genius!
    Best crossword I’ve done in ages, and picking a favourite would be unfair on all the others.


  8. Excellent puzzle and I will agree with the call for more and gazza’s favourite ( although there were a few queuing up behind it!)
    I took some time to solve this over an evening pint as I have been straining my brain on Modbus registers and the way to get larger register numbers ti talk (don’t ask unless you know the answer!) but was glad that I had time to slow down and smell the roses on this one!
    I would possibly take issue with the definition of the Harry Enfield character as a ‘yuppy’ though – he was a confirmed working class plasterer from Essex.
    Thanks (and congrats on the recent nuptials) to Dada and thank you gazza.

  9. I will confess to being pleasantly diverted, having got the first and last letters in 21a, by trying to get TOOT (Charlie) around NoSE!

    1. I thought the answer to that one was “cocaine”.
      But only for a moment.

      Convinced for ages that 20d was “Wig Wam” though.

  10. Sterling stuff from Dada – many thanks to him for a cracking crossword and to Gazza for the review.

  11. Very nice crossword. I haven’t been at it all day, honest…

    Liked 1a but will have 5a as a favourite, a really nice bit of wordplay.

    Night all.

    Thanks to Dada and Gazza


  12. Thanks to Dada & Big Dave, really enjoyed this one. Got stuck in the SW corner, needed 4 hints.equals by best ever on a Toughie. Thought all clues were very good, and particularly liked 16 down, very subtle.

  13. Couldn’t sleep, so encouraged by suggestion on other blog to try the toughie, thought I’d give it a look. What a delight! Finished only my second ever toughie. Had to check blog this morning to see how some of the answers worked, so thanks to all. No doubt it will be back to the usual one or two answers today!

    1. Today’s Toughie by Giovanni is not too difficult. My advice would be to skip 1 across and go back to it later – and read it very carefully as it is very easy to insert the wrong answer.

      1. I agree entirely. Off to the seaside now with the great nieces and nephews for sandcastling. Will be back to comment on today’s puzzles later. Have a good day all. Sorry if we are the only ones with sun :D

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