Toughie 759 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 759

Toughie No 759 by Dada

Yellow-bellied and dilapidated!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

To date Dada’s Toughies have appeared on Thursday, Wednesday and Tuesday in that order. Today completes the second cycle, and what a wonderful puzzle this is. I’m yet to be convinced about 14 across, but there is much to enjoy among the rest of the clues, with the blue highlighter being liberally used.

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.


7a    General to risk eating lean (7)
{BLANKET} – this adjective meaning general or global put a verb meaning to risk or gamble around an adjective meaning lean or gaunt

8a    Asian kingdom backtracking, be patient with one (7)
{KUWAITI} – To get this south-western Asian person reverse (backtracking) our own kingdom (2) and then add a verb meaning to be patient and I (one)

10a    Confident pipe will go round dog’s tail? (10)
{SWAGGERING} – to get this adjective meaning confident put a verb meaning to pipe or warble around what could possibly (indicated by the question mark) be a dog’s tail

11a    Zero people, not quite twelve (4)
{NOON} – drop the final E (not quite) from a word meaning no people (2-3) to get another word for twelve o’clock

12a    Dilemma needs questions answered around universal lines (8)
{QUANDARY} – to get this dilemma put an abbreviated form of Questions and Answers (1,3,1) around a U(niversal) film certificate and then add some train lines (2)

14a    Unvirtuous PM written then? (6)
{AMORAL} – an adjective meaning unvirtuous, when split (2,4) gives the exam that might happen in the morning as opposed to a written exam in the afternoon (PM) – I can see the gist of this, but it doesn’t quite work for me

15a    Parliament strewn with items unintelligible (11)
{WESTMINSTER} – the seat of the UK Parliament comes from an anagram (unintelligible) of STREWN with ITEMS – I love the anagram indicator, very appropriate!

19a    Acknowledgement of a witticism that’s a hit! (6)
{TOUCHÉ} – this word used in acknowledgement of a witticism is also used to claim a hit in fencing

20a    Two individuals from Germany maintaining saint is a great thinker (8)
{EINSTEIN} – put two of the German for an individual around (maintaining) the abbreviation of S(ain)T to get a great thinker

22a    See back of Christmas present that’s flaky? (4)
{SNOW} – The final letter (back) of ChristmaS is followed by a word meaning the present to get something that comes down in flakes

23a    Fine battle unravelling in a bad way (4-6)
{FLEA-BITTEN} – an anagram (unravelling) of FINE BATTLE gives a hyphenated adjective meaning in a bad way or shabby

25a    Partner of ‘la bride’ given personal space (7)
{LEGROOM} – to get the partner of “la bride” you need the French masculine definite article instead of the feminine and the person marring the bride and then combine them to get this personal space

26a    Painful thing to record in halving of capital (7)
{BLISTER} – this painful thing is derived by putting a record or catalogue inside half of the capital of Germany


1d    Huge meal — why would you need the spare tyre? (4-3)
{BLOW-OUT} – a double definition – a huge or lavish meal and why you might need to use the spare tyre

2d    Problem getting held up by wrong answer (4)
{SNAG} – this problem is hidden (held … by) and reversed (up in a down clue) inside the clue

3d    Old coin put in possession of whistler (6)
{PESETA} – this not-very-old Spanish coin is derived by putting a word meaning put inside part of a whistle

4d    Refined weapon good to hide (3-5)
{CUT-GLASS} – this adjective meaning refined or upper-class is created by putting a weapon around (to hide) G(ood)

5d    Withholding the facts, most endangered species at risk here? (4,6)
{RAIN FOREST} – put facts or data (4) inside (withholding) an adjective meaning most endangered to get where many species are at risk

6d    A sat-upon empire? (7)
{OTTOMAN} – this cushioned seat for several people sitting with their backs to one another is also the name of a dynasty of the Turkish Empire

9d    Yellow flower, as it happens, crimson! (4-7)
{LILY-LIVERED} – this hyphenated adjective meaning yellow or faint-hearted is a charade of a flower with large trumpet-shaped flowers, an adjective meaning as it happens or real-time, and the colour of which crimson is an example

13d    Playwright, one fearing the panto season? (4,6)
{NOEL COWARD} – this English playwright could be someone fearing Christmas (the panto season)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

16d    Caveman circling rocky ridge finds amphibian (4,4)
{TREE FROG} – put an abbreviated word for a caveman (4) around a rocky ridge to get an arboreal amphibian

17d    Token reply (7)
{COUNTER} – a double definition – a token used in gambling and to reply or respond

18d    Ancient city square very English at the outskirts (7)
{NINEVEH} – this ancient city located on the east bank of the Tigris was the oldest city of the ancient Assyrian empire – it comes from a charade of a number which is also the square of three, V(ery) and the outside letters (outskirts) of EnglisH

21d    Head’s taken over the works, an indication one’s overstepped the mark? (2,4)
{NO BALL} – a charade of a slang word for the head (3) and a word meaning the works or everything gives an indication that the bowler in cricket has overstepped the mark

24d    Dip one’s toe into river (4)
{TEST} – a double definition – to dip one’s toe into and a river in Hampshire

Congratulations to Dada for knocking fourteen minutes off his personal best for the marathon last Sunday – and Arachne held on to her world record for a girl running a marathon dressed as a bottle when an attempt to break it failed by 22 minutes!

11 comments on “Toughie 759

  1. I love a dada toughie and this one didn’t disappoint so even having to start work didn’t stop me from smiling all morning. Sorry BD doesn’t like my theory about morning and afternoon tests but …. Thanks to him for the explanations and to Dada for the excellent fun.

  2. Fabulous crossword which I enjoyed very much, loved 9d. Many thanks to Dada and to BD for another excellent review.

  3. Excellent offering from todays setter, favourites were 5d 9d 13d and 25a thanks to Dada and to Big Dave for the review. More from this setter please Mr Editor.

  4. Loved it. Quite hard to pick favourites out of so many but 15a and 9d had the biggest stars by them. Thanks to Dada and BD

  5. Very Nice puzzle which brought a number of laughs (and strange looks) on the Tube this morning. Thanks to Dada (more please) and to BD for the review.
    Congratulations too to Dada on his London Marathon performance – I will be visiting your page shortly….

  6. I had a go – managed all the left side but the right side remained almost empty apart from tail ends of answers from the left, apart from 6d. Went to the hints and did the rest from the hints without needing to look at answers so reasonably pleased with myself. What I want to know is how I make the jump to managing to provide the hints for MYSELF, if you see what I mean! I’ll get there one day. I really enjoyed15 and 25a and 6, 9 and 13d. With thanks to Dada for the challenge and to BD for, yet again, filling in the gaps.

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