Toughie 744 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 744

Toughie No 744 by Dada

Lots of Good Material

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

Over the past six Wednesdays I’ve had Toughies from Notabilis, Elkamere (twice), Osmosis, Micawber and Elgar to blog. Impossible to keep up that standard, I thought, but today sees the return, after a long absence, of the wonderful Dada (whom you may know better as Paul, Mudd or Punk from other publications). This is really great stuff but not too difficult – if I have one criticism it’s that the grid is very “cornery” so that it’s essentially four mini-puzzles.
Tell us what you thought and please take the time to record your enjoyment factor by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Short of clothes, wearing rubbish fabric (7)
{TABARET} – this was a new term for me but it is apparently an upholsterer’s silk fabric, with alternate stripes of watered and satin surface. An adjective meaning short of clothes, i.e. having absolutely nothing to put on, goes inside (wearing) a word for tasteless rubbish.

5a  Bit of stuff for breakfast (7)
{CRUMPET} – double definition, the first a non-PC term for an attractive young lady (bit of stuff). The young Joan Bakewell used to be known as the thinking man’s one of these.

9a  On the door, a heavy ball (7)
{BOUNCER} – double definition, a heavy on the door of a nightclub and a high-rising ball at cricket.

10a  Weapon, like one thrown around for instance in South Africa (7)
{ASSEGAI} – a synonym for like and I (one) contain (thrown round) the abbreviation meaning for instance which is itself contained in the abbreviation for South Africa. Semi-all-in-one, I think.

11a  Tried to remove lid, finding hoard of treasure (5)
{TROVE} – take off the first letter (remove lid) from a verb meaning tried mightily.

12a  Cutting through sheep, material required for bandaging arm (9)
{FLINTLOCK} – this is an old arm. Insert material used for bandaging inside (cutting through) a group of sheep.

13a  Return of repeat about son, unknown, in place of children (7)
{NURSERY} – a repeat (on the TV) is reversed (return) around S(on), then finish with an algebraic unknown to make a place where children may have 5 acrosses for tea with nanny.

14a  Staff in the wrong getting plague (7)
{TORMENT} – a verb meaning to plague comes from inserting staff inside the legal term for a wrongful act.

16a  Fine material, item unlikely to float endlessly past river (7)
{CAMBRIC} – an item unlikely to float (something you would find on a building site) loses its final letter (endlessly) and is placed after (past) a river in the East of England to make a fine white linen.

19a  Waste fried food (7)
{FRITTER} – double definition.

22a  This poured over young flesh? Perfect cheek! (4,5)
{MINT SAUCE} – the traditional accompaniment to roast baa-lambs is a charade of an adjective meaning perfect or unblemished and an informal word for cheek or impertinence.

24a  Material swung through the ears (5)
{SUEDE} – our third material of the day sounds like (through the ears) a verb meaning swung or undulated.

25a  Prolong dinner at first, then stew (4,3)
{DRAG OUT} – this is a phrasal verb meaning to prolong. The first letter of D(inner) is followed by a word, from French, for a highly seasoned stew.

26a  Unholy teacher an undesirable, ultimately (7)
{PROFANE} – an adjective meaning unholy or irreverent comes from the abbreviation of a senior teacher at university (although they don’t tend to do much teaching when they reach this level) followed by AN and the ultimate letter of (undesirabl)E.

27a  English into French food, starter of rubber plant! (7)
{CREEPER} – insert E(nglish) into a French pancake, then finish with the starting letter of R(ubber).

28a  Glass one drops? (7)
{TUMBLER} – double definition.

Down Clues

1d  Asian preserved Greek character? (7)
{TIBETAN} – a Greek letter is cryptically preserved (i.e. put in a can) to make someone from an Asian country.

2d  Bloke holding posh port up in private chamber (7)
{BOUDOIR} – an informal word for a bloke contains the usual letter used for posh. This is then followed by the reversal (up, in a down clue) of a South American port.

3d  Criminal tennis player? (9)
{RACKETEER} – double definition, the second cryptic.

4d  Your clothes split, as tight (7)
{THRIFTY} – an old word for your contains (clothes) a split or breach to make an adjective meaning tight or frugal.

5d  Vehicle, ten in plot (7)
{CHARIOT} – put two letters which, when placed side by side, look like the number ten inside a verb to plot or map out.

6d  Surprise result from winning position (5)
{UPSET} – a surprise result (England beating Sri Lanka in a Test Match, for example) is a charade of an adverb meaning winning and a verb to position or place.

7d  Beginning with Pyrroglaux, another genus encompassing owls, primarily — little hooter? (3,4)
{PUG NOSE} – Pyrroglaux, in case you were wondering, is a type of owl from the island of Palau in the Pacific. Start with its first letter, then add an anagram (another) of GENUS around the primary letter of O(wls) and you end up with a type of facial feature.

8d  Hard to punch something punched? This is dense! (7)
{THICKET} – something dense in the countryside comes from inserting (to punch) H(ard) into what gets punched when the inspector/guard (or whatever they’re called now) comes round.

15d  Slur of minor star proving a comedown? (9)
{RAINSTORM} – an anagram (slur) of MINOR STAR produces what comes down from above.

16d  Funny doctor’s assistant? (7)
{COMEDIC} – double definition, the second a possible term for a doctor’s assistant (2-5).

17d  Miners up on European routine (7)
{MUNDANE} – reverse (up) what Arthur Scargill used to run (miners) and put it in front of a North European.

18d  Against the bar, something round in game? (7)
{COUNTER} – triple definition, the first a prefix meaning against or opposite.

19d  The pictures so filthy, spring into attack? (7)
{FLEAPIT} – insert a spring or bound into an attack or seizure to get a description of a less than salubrious place to watch pictures.

20d  An extreme one moves in the end (7)
{TOENAIL} – an anagram (moves) of ONE is found in a synonym for end to make a bit right at the end of a body (extreme).

21d  Animal, one gutted to be blocked by three rivers (3,4)
{ROE DEER} – insert O(n)E (one gutted) amongst (blocked by) three rivers (two abbreviations and one real one).

23d  Ship taking up masses of water (5)
{SLOOP} – reverse (taking up) masses of water to make a one-masted sailing boat.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

It’s difficult to pick out favourites but I’ll go for 1a, 22a, 7d and 8d. How about you?

18 comments on “Toughie 744

  1. Top quality puzzle today. I solved this without much difficulty, as 4 separate puzzles, with the top left and right followed by the bottom left and right. My last clue in was the homophone at 24a.
    Many thanks to Dada (more of the same please!), and to gazza for the notes.

  2. The perfect Toughie should be a mix of the unknown but getttable (1a), the make you smile (eg 5a) and take long enough to solve that you feel content that it was neither ridiculously easy or grumpy that you couldn’t solve it for far too much of your morning. A big thank you to Dada for an almost perfect Toughie (why oh why don’t we see more of Dada??) and to lucky Gazza for the very nice review.

  3. Really excellent stuff :grin:

    Can’t really pick a favourite but perhaps 5a as I had two of those for breakfast today!

    Many thanks to Dada and Gazza.

      1. Unfortunately they are hard to acquire around here. The Spanish supermarkets don’t have them but I was passing Iceland the other day so called in to get some. The shop’s too far away to make a special journey so they are a rare treat for me! Love them for breakfast with loads of butter and a poached egg :grin:

        1. // I was passing Iceland the other day //

          I didn’t realise that your sea journeys were so far-ranging :D

  4. Nicely pitched so that the last clue went in as the train pulled into Waterloo. Many thanks to Dada for the fun (could we have some more please) and to Gazza for the review.

  5. A plethora of wonderful clues in a delightful puzzle, the three I liked the most were 5a 12a and 22a thanks to Dada and to Gazza for the comments.

  6. Excellent stuff. It took me quite a while to solve maybe only six or seven clues but then I think I tuned in better to the setter’s wavelength. I also completed this corner by corner, the last one being the SW. Couldn’t get milk shake out of my head for 22a until the penny dropped. Some really cleverly disguised definitions – 12a, 20d foe example. I agree it would be great to see more of Dada’s

    Many thanks to Dada and Gazza.

  7. Lovely stuff,thanks Dada and gazza. age with the ratings and the cornery grid – the SW took ages but 20d was last in as I foolishly penned in SERGE for 24a.

    more please!

  8. I was gutted because ‘Red’,’Dee’ and ‘R’ seemed to work for 21d but caused havoc for 24 ac.

  9. I take everything back that I said earlier in a previous blog about this puzzle. It was sublime! I finished this sat in the garden at 7:00 pm in shorts and nursing a glass of Rigwelter. In March!

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