Toughie 645

Toughie No 645 by Dada

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

When I started I thought this was going provide a struggle. In fact I found it very straightforward but, just in case I was having a good morning and was on the setter’s wavelength, I have left the difficulty rating at 3* after toying with 2*

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.


1a    Insultingly, Irishman not entirely behind European argument (7)
{POLEMIC} A term for an Irishman (which is offensive slang according to Chambers) with the last letter missing goes after a native of a European country to give an argument, especially over a doctrine, belief, etc.

5a    Two males in cotton (7)
[BUCKRAM} A male deer or rabbit + a male sheep = a coarse open-weave fabric possibly of cotton

9a    Red number fifty backed (5)
{LENIN} A red (communist) Russian statesman is made up of a reversal of a number and L (fifty)

10a    Reportedly, arrested character is the king, perhaps? (5,4)
{COURT CARD} A homophone to many (though not to me) of “arrested character” is one of a pack of 52 (a king, queen or jack)

11a    Mutual friend’s second police car wrecked (10)
{RECIPROCAL} “Mutual” = the second letter of friend + an anagram (wrecked) of POLICE CAR

12a    Round circuit, reversing is something precious (4)
{OPAL} A reversal of O (round) circuit = a gemstone

14a    Down mountain, daredevils struggling to hold on (6,6)
{SLIEVE DONARD} A mountain in County Down (the highest in Northern Ireland) is an anagram (struggling) of DAREDEVILS round ON

18a    Time passed by without leadership — that’s doubly clear (6-6)
{TWENTY-TWENTY} Take T (time) + “passed” + Y (by without its first letter) and repeat it to give clear (of vision)

21a    Extraordinary red (4)
{RARE} 2 meanings: extraordinary/red (as underdone meat)

22a    Hot as Jerusalem, head bandages! (10)
{PASSIONATE} AS + a name for Jerusalem (which is not usually spelt this way) goes inside another word for the head to give “hot”

25a    Scent wonder about entering list (9)
{ROSEWATER} A scent = a reversal of reverential wonder inside a list of employees, etc., with assigned duties

26a    Flower bud’s centre, something drawn round it (5)
{LOTUS} An Egyptian or Indian water lily is formed from U (middle letter of bud) inside what two or more people draw as a means of choosing one person

27a    Disputed region remains marginalised, initially in the drink (7)
{KASHMIR} A disputed region in the Indian subcontinent = remains + M (first letter of marginalised) inside a drink made of white wine and blackcurrant liqueur

28a    Where one might yawn in boredom, restlessly (7)
{BEDROOM} An anagram (restlessly) of BOREDOM gives somewhere you retire to when you’re tired


1d    Buddy shot Mickey Mouse (6)
{PALTRY} A buddy (friend) + a shot (attempt) = “Micky Mouse” when used as an adjective

2d    Tranquillity, for example, roughly speaking, madness! (6)
{LUNACY} This word for “madness” roughly sounds like what Tranquillity (where Apollo 11 landed) is an example of

3d    Doctor seeing bloke out of bed, one heaven-bound, dead (10)
{MANIPULATE} “To doctor” = bloke + “out of bed” and one reversed (heaven-bound) + dead

4d    Firm burying half of acacia tree (5)
{CACAO} A 2-letter abbreviation for a firm goes round the first half of acacia = a tropical American tree with seeds from which chocolate is made

5d    Asian winds beneath us (9)
{BHUTANESE} An anagram (winds) of BENEATH US gives an inhabitant of a Himalayan kingdom

6d    Resting place required, dove’s ending — here? (4)
{COTE} A resting place for a baby + E (last letter of dove) = a place of shelter for doves

7d    Cut fruit, so crop up again? (8)
{REAPPEAR} Cut (4) + fruit (4) = “crop up again”

8d    Middle stump firstly taken out, unfortunate opener trapped — a worrying collapse? (8)
{MUDSLIDE} An anagram (taken out) of MIDDLE S (first letter of stump) goes round U (first letter of unfortunate) to give a slippage of a mass of wet earth down a hillside

13d    Egg may be dirty, sandwiches of disease? (4-6)
{SOFT-BOILED} How you might like your egg at breakfast time = “dirty” containing (sandwiches) OF and a disease affecting the lungs

15d    Device for removing old vehicle (9)
{EXTRACTOR} A device for removing = old + a farm vehicle. This is today’s old chestnut.

16d    Cult show’s launch concerning Kirk, primarily (4,4)
{STAR TREK} A cult TV show with a character called Kirk = launch + “concerning” + K (first letter of Kirk)

17d    Possible obsession in euros I sadly admitted (8)
{NEUROSIS} A possible obsession is hidden (admitted) in iN EUROS I Sadly

19d    Where drums employed, trash on top (6)
{TATTOO} The beating of a drum = trash + “on top” (or “in addition”)

20d    Abroad, I raised support for discarded goods (6)
{JETSAM} The French word for “I” + a reversal of a support (for sails) = goods thrown from a ship and washed up on shore

23d    Brush switched for broom, perhaps (5)
{SHRUB} An anagram (switched) of BRUSH gives something of which broom is an example

24d    Dip some wafers, imagining moist surfaces (4)
{SWIM} A dip (in the sea, possibly) is formed from the first letters (surfaces) of Some Wafers Imagining Moist

A enjoyable puzzle but the enjoyment was over far too quickly


  1. Jezza
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    A most enjoyable puzzle that was not overly taxing.
    Thanks to Dada, and to Bufo for the write up.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    It is annoying isn’t it when you solve a really enjoyable puzzle too quickly. Great fun as usual from Dada, thank you, although perhaps not as tough as some in the past. Thanks to Bufo for the explanations too.

  3. pommers
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    A splendid puzzle and you can guess how I would have illustrated 26a, (actually,I’ve already done it – see 20d in DT26519).
    Needed Google for the mountain! Thought it was a mountain in County Down and spotted the anagram but didn’t know the name – filed away for future reference now!
    Thanks to Dada and Bufo

  4. pegasus
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Pleasurable puzzle as others say not too taxing but still good fun, favourites 14a and 13d thanks to Dada and to Bufo for the comments.

  5. BigBoab
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Great fun and not overly difficult, had to look up the Irish mountain however. Thanks to Dada and Bufo.

  6. andy
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Ditto having to check the irish mountain. favourites 22a and 13d. Thanks to Dada and Bufo

  7. Posted October 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Very very good indeed. Laughed my head off when I worked 2D out as I was listening to Dark Side of the Moon as I worked it out.

  8. Patsyann
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Don’t understand 12a. Why does mutual = R? I found this more of a 4* and would not have finished it without help. A great exercise for the little grey cells!

    • Patsyann
      Posted October 6, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      That should be 11a …

      • andy
        Posted October 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        I took it to be the second letter from friend (r) plus anagram indicated by wrecked of policecar, gives a word meaning mutual.

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 6, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Mutual is the definition ie a word meaning Mutual = (or is) R + an anagram of POLICE CAR.

  9. upthecreek
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was a really good puzzle with some great clues. 3d gave me a good laugh [heaven-bound -what next`?]. Also liked 1d 18 19 20 and 25. Thanks a lot, Dada.

  10. Addicted
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Thought I’d have a go as the back-page blog was saying it was fairly easy for a Toughie. Really?? No wonder I don’t often attempt them! However, did eventually manage quite a few solo, which pleased me – also pleased that I spotted the anagram for 14a but have to admit I resorted to hints before bothering to Google (am pleased Pommers was in the same boat!) Don’t think I would ever have got 5d or
    25a or 22a – but I DID solve 16d, 18a and 20d, plus a few others. Thanks for brain work-out – may try again another day if feeling confident!

  11. Posted October 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Once again playing Ketsup here but 16d was sublime. Thanks to Dada and to Bufo for the review. I didn’t find this easy but enjoyed writing every answer in.

  12. Qix
    Posted October 10, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    I’m catching up too.

    This was very straight for a Dada puzzle, but good fun nonetheless. I also liked 16d.