Toughie 627 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 627

Toughie No 627 by Dada

Fe fe fi fi fo fo fum

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This was my first opportunity to review a puzzle from Dada, and what a great pleasure it has been.  As Paul in the Guardian this setter has a fearsome reputation, but he is somewhat kinder to us over here at the Telegraph!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


9a    European river prepared for a rainy day? (5)
{CROAT} – this member of a European race is created by putting R(iver) inside the kind of outer covering that would prepare you for a rainy day

10a    Panda chewed a crop, eating insects (6,3)
{POLICE CAR} – panda was the name given to a patrol vehicle with white and black markings – put an anagram (chewed) of A CROP around some insects

11a    Beat counter in a furious manner (7)
{TROUNCE} – a word meaning to beat thoroughly is an anagram (in a furious manner) of COUNTER

12a    Retired rozzer confiscates weapon, hawk having gone for US banker (7)
{POTOMAC} – reverse (retired) another slang word for a rozzer around (confiscates) a weapon used by Native Americans, after dropping the last part (hawk having gone), to get a river that forms part of the border of Washington DC – I visited George Washington’s house at Mount Vernon, on the banks of this river, many years ago

13a    Song soprano found in hand (5)
{PSALM} – to get this song of praise put S(oprano) inside part of the hand

14a    All those gone to lethal end, ultimately slaughtered (5,4)
{DEATH TOLL} – the list of all those gone after an accident or a natural disaster is an anagram (slaughtered) of TO LETHAL and D (end ultimately)

16a    Knowing about perversion in cockpit, dames falling about with laughter (9,6)
{SLAPSTICK COMEDY} – put a word meaning knowing or wily around an anagram (perversion) of COCKPIT DAMES to get something that makes you fall about with laughter

19a    Passing sign, tram’s first caught by holy woman (9)
{MOMENTARY} – an adjective meaning passing or brief is created by putting a sign or portent and T (tram’s first) inside (caught by) a holy woman who was the mother of Jesus

21a    Tree with more rings to count? (5)
{ELDER} – a double definition – a type of tree and an adjective meaning having lived a longer time

23a    State capital, all there welcoming substantial backing (5,2)
{SANTA FE} – the state capital of New Mexico is created by putting a word meaning all there or rational around (welcoming) the reversal (backing) of substantial or plump

25a    Strip for a few dimes? (7)
{PEANUTS} – a double definition – the cartoon strip that features Charlie Brown, Snoopy & Co. and a few dimes or a small quantity of money

I feel a video opportunity coming on!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

27a    Expand complex (9)
{ELABORATE} – a relatively straightforward double definition

28a    Indian leader run ragged securing pardon? (5)
{NEHRU} – this former Indian leader is created by putting an anagram (ragged) of RUN around an interjection that means I beg your pardon

Could this be another video opportunity?

ARVE Error: need id and provider


1d    Initially, shearer trimmed short tail (4)
{SCUT} – the initial letter of Shearer followed by a word meaning trimmed or clipped to give a short tail on, for example, a rabbit

2d    Old position in Java becoming vacant, in oil (6)
{JOJOBA} – put O(ld) and a position or occupation inside J(AV)A after dropping the inside letters (vacant) to get the waxy oil from a desert shrub of the box family – yes, I did have to look it up but the wordplay led directly to the answer

3d    No mates to bully, boy chipper? (10)
{STONEMASON} – an anagram (to bully) of NO MATES followed by a boy gives someone who chips away for a living

4d    Large meal supplied before cutting down (6)
{SPREAD} – this large meal is created by putting a prefix used to mean before inside (cutting) a word meaning down or unhappy

5d    Panic over salt in sweet thing (8)
{FLAPJACK} – a charade of a panic over (in a down clue) a salt or sailor gives a biscuit or cake made with rolled oats and syrup

6d    Course avoiding peak for highlander (4)
{SCOT} – start with a racecourse and then drop the initial letter (avoiding peak) to get a highlander

7d    School magazine’s first leak providing gossip (8)
{SCHMOOZE} – a charade of SCH(ool), the initial letter of Magazine and a verb meaning to leak gives this gossip or tittle-tattle

8d    Builder sees hen producing good eggs? (10)
{BRICKLAYER} – this builder could be a hen producing “good eggs” or fine people

13d    Expert finds a trace of methylhexaneamine in sample after dope’s shown up (4,6)
{PAST MASTER} – this expert is created by putting the initial letter (trace) of Methylhexaneamine inside a sample or preview and preceding it with the reversal (up, in a down clue) a dope or idiot

15d    Party where nurse seen after nose cut (10)
{HOOTENANNY} – this party with folk-singing and dancing is created by putting a nursemaid after most of (cut) a slang word for the nose

Yet another opportunity!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

17d    Person denying Christ crossing people of the Caucasus (8)
{ARMENIAN} – put this denying the divinity of Christ around some male people (3) to an adjective meaning from a landlocked country in the Caucasus

18d    Probably always, rock raised above it (1,4,3)
{I DARE SAY} – to get a phrase meaning probably or doubtless put a two-letter word for always after an anagram (rock) of RAISED

20d    Salesman has to settle up for dog (6)
{YAPPER} – take salesman and a verb meaning to settle up, reverse them both and the result is a slang word for a dog

22d    Posh, after party, takes red jet (6)
{DOUCHE} – put the single-letter word for posh after a two-letter party and add a red or revolutionary to get a jet or shower

24d    Prophet appearing in tam-o’-shanter (4)
{AMOS} – this minor Hebrew prophet is hidden inside (appearing in) the clue

26d    Market in Marrakesh, consequently Britain (4)
{SOUK} – an Arab market or bazaar is a charade of a two-letter word meaning consequently followed by the country of which Britain is the main part – setters take note: Northern Ireland is not part of Britain, so the two names are not synonymous!

Both of the newer Toughie setters, Dada and Elkamere, have breathed fresh life into the Toughie Genre.  How about adding the Spider Woman (Arachne) to the panel as well?

40 comments on “Toughie 627

  1. Excellent ! – it took me a long time to complete, but I enjoyed every minute of unravelling it bit by bit.
    Thanks to Dada, and to BD for the review.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this. Nicely constructed, I particularly liked 16a. 7d was a new word to me but the solution couldn’t be anything else! Thanks to Dada and BD (from Z-Victor-1, really showing my age).

  3. Wonderful stuff – thanks to Dada and BD.
    I got off on the wrong foot by putting Osier in at 21a (well it could mean “having more Os” and it’s the sort of cryptic definition that Paul would go for!).

  4. Very enjoyable crossword from Dada though I personally thought it was more a back pager than a toughie. Thanks to Dada and to BD for the review.

  5. Loved it!
    Probably because I could do it.
    Loads of brilliant clues.
    Was this really a 3star toughie?

      1. Unrelated but I thought I’d let you know anyway that it pays to persevate. Just received an e-mail to advise that almost 3 of her majesty’s pounds are to be deposited in my account as recompense for the dismal performance of the web site.

  6. Very enjoyable but for me definitely 3* difficulty rating, although I was somewhat interrupted by two of the men of the family having a long, loud discussion at the kitchen table while I was trying to get my mind on Dada’s wavelength.

    Definitely 5* enjoyment with loads and loads of ‘favourite’ clues including 9a, 10a, 15a and 22a (d’oh of the day!). Gazza was not alone in thinking that 21a might be osier! Thanks to Dada for the terrific Tuesday Toughie and BD for the hints and explanations.

    If you want more of Dada’s work, the Paul Prize Puzzle in last Saturday’s Guardian (which you can access free on line via a website that works consistently) is well worth a go, if only for the marvellous 8d.

    1. So far I have the Quickie, the Cryptic, the Codeword, the Toughie & now last Saturday’s Grauniad to tackle. If I’m late for dinner tonight I’m blaming you Sue!

      1. Why should I be the only person who puts cryptic solving above all other activities, including feeding the family :D

  7. When I saw who the compiler was I thought it would be a battle royal but sadly it was a stroll in the park. Favourites for me were 7d and 18d thanks to Dada and to Big Dave for the comments.

  8. The only good thing about the kind of weather we, along with the rest of the country I think, have had today is that I could have a look at the toughie with a clear conscience – absolutely NOT gardening weather and housework will still be here tomorrow and the next day etc etc. Did manage about half of it before resorting to the hints – presumably that’s how to learn. I could do the rest of it with the help that the hints gave me and didn’t need to look in the curly brackets – generally quite pleased with myself as a toughie beginner. With thanks to Dada (for the kind of crossword that didn’t put me off for ever) and to BD (for the lesson)!

    1. Assuming the weather is tomorrow as it has been today will it be worth a novice even having a quick look at the toughie? Is Notabilis someone who compiles the back page cryptics under another name or someone completely different. In other words, shall I give it a go or will it put such a big dent in the confidence that I’ll never dare to look again?

      1. Definitely have a go. Notabilis is always entertaining and if he’s appearing on a Wednesday it probably means that it’ll be less devious than some of his Friday puzzles.

      2. Kath, if you type in “Notabilis” in the “Search this site” box – top right – under the calendar – you’ll see the Difficulty / Enjoyment ratings for his most recent Toughie puzzles.

        I don’t think he does the back-pager under another name:

        You have been warned! Lets hope the weather improves tomorrow!

            1. Thanks to Gazza, Franco and Big Dave – I think that I have been warned off – also think (hope) that weather will be better tomorrow so may not have time to look – that’s my excuse and I’m going to stick to it! If it’s really piddling down again tomorrow I might “chance my arm” – so where did that expression come from?!

              1. Never be put off by the difficulty – completing half of a good puzzle is better than doing all of a poor one (no names, no pack drill!).

    2. I shall be attempting tomorrows efforts from Notablis and the back page setter from the waiting room of the Edinburgh Western Hospital where Mrs. B.B. will be having her pre-med for a breast cancer op. in the very near future. It kind of puts things in perspective.

      1. As you say, BigBoab, it puts it all in perspective. Best Wishes to Mrs BB for a successful op. and a full recovery.

  9. “9a – European river prepared for a rainy day? (5)”

    I pencilled in “Croat” but still do not understand the wordplay. How much can one read into a “Question Mark” at the end of a clue?

    Apart from that – really enjoyable puzzle – especially 10a – also nice picture for the Panda Car!

  10. “HOOTENANNY!”.
    Marvellous stuff – had a long day so havent finished yet but this is turning out to be loads of fun. Thanks to BD and Dada (Do I need to ask for more of the same?. R IN COAT is a bit of a devious wossname!. Well done, Sir!.

  11. First crossword I’ve done in a few days, and a very nice one indeed. Many thanks to Dada for a much needed dose of fun.

  12. I echo the above. Tremendous fun to solve. Thanks to Dada for the crossword and to BD for the review.

  13. A Toughie for those of us still on the nursery slopes. Most enjoyable. Thanks to Dada & to BD.

    Now as far as Crypticsue’s suggestion about last Saturday’s Grauniad Puzzle…well to me it’s a bit like the current Dr Who series – totally unfathomable – but I keep going back to it to see if there’s a glimmer of inspiration.

  14. Hard. Very hard for me … and I took a long time finishing this. Used a few ‘assists’ for this to finish it …

    I know everyone else loved it and found it easy … and I thought Dada’s previous Toughie was fab … but this one didn’t do it for me. Sorry. Maybe I should keep my mouth shut about it.

    Favourite clue was 2d, for reasons that will take far too long to explain here…

    Thanks to Dada and Big Dave.

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