Toughie 835

Toughie No 835 by Dada

Many a slip

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

This week it’s my turn to review a Dada puzzle. Not as ferocious as some of his Guardian puzzles (as Paul), but still a pleasure to solve.  A possible five-star rating was spoiled by what appear to be a couple of howlers.

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    Very slight thing — never lose faith? (5,6)
{STICK INSECT} – if this twig-like creature is split as (5,2,4) it could mean to never lose faith

9a    Out of sorts, eating unplucked bird? (4,2,3,5)
{DOWN IN THE MOUTH} – what you might get if you eat an unplucked bird!

11a    Bird in bar (4)
{RAIL} – straightforward double definition

12a    Smart trap for a criminal (5)
{STING} – another double definition

13a    Amphibian wife’s evidently caught? (4)
{NEWT} – Ken Livingstone’s favourite amphibian is derived by putting W(ife) in a trap (evidently caught)

16a    Detailed description better, shortly in range (8)
{SPECTRUM} – a short word for a detailed description is followed by a verb meaning to better without its final P (shortly)

17a    Rangers and Celtic etc provided with strong cigarette? (6)
17a    Hearts and Celtic etc provided with strong cigarette? (6) – revised online clue (see Phil McNeill’s comment below)
{SPLIFF} – neither our setter nor our crossword editor appear to have noticed that Rangers are now in the Scottish Third division, where some say they belong, but the abbreviation for where they, Celtic and ten other teams were last season is followed by a two-letter word meaning provided and the musical notation for strong or loud

See if you can find where Rangers are hiding!

Home Away
1 Motherwell 5 1 2 0 6 3 1 1 0 2 1 4 9
2 Celtic 4 1 1 0 3 2 1 1 0 5 3 3 8
3 Hibernian 5 1 1 0 3 1 1 1 1 4 6 0 8
4 Dundee Utd 4 2 0 0 6 0 0 1 1 1 3 4 7
5 Ross County 5 0 3 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 7
6 St Mirren 5 0 1 1 3 4 1 2 0 3 1 1 6
7 Hearts 5 1 1 1 4 3 0 2 0 1 1 1 6
8 Kilmarnock 5 1 1 1 4 3 0 2 0 1 1 1 6
9 Aberdeen 5 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 2 0 6
10 Dundee 5 0 0 2 0 3 1 1 1 1 3 -5 4
11 Inverness CT 5 0 1 1 3 5 0 2 1 5 8 -5 3
12 St Johnstone 5 0 1 1 1 2 0 1 2 1 5 -5 2

19a    Largely appearing in a thick coat? Getting into furs, in essence (6)
{URSINE} – a word meaning of a creature that is large and has a thick coat is hidden inside the clue

20a    Orange tongue (8)
{MANDARIN} – a double definition – orange as a fruit and tongue as a language

22a    Finally beyond question, it’s a sailing vessel (4)
{DHOW} – the final letter of beyonD followed by a question

23a    Knight perfect for sheikhdom (5)
{DUBAI} – a verb meaning to induct as a knight followed by a rating indicative of perfection

24a    Positive abundantly rich? Not entirely! (4)
{PLUS} – nearly all of an adjective meaning abundantly rich

27a    Author reads novel about Liberal, penetrating various layers? (7,7)
{CHARLES DICKENS} – an anagram (novel) of READS around L(iberal) and inside (penetrating) various layers of eggs

28a    Fortune bringing shame on Nereids, all at sea (11)
{SERENDIPITY} – good fortune that occurs by accident is derived from a four-letter word meaning shame or disappointment preceded by an anagram (all at sea) of NEREIDS


2d    Twenty-cent loans in renegotiating for flat (3-11)
{TWO-DIMENSIONAL} – a pair of the US ten-cent coins followed by an anagram (renegotiating) of LOANS IN

3d    Endlessly beat up, finding head or nose? (4)
{CONK} – drop the final K (endlessly) from a verb meaning to beat to get a word that can mean either the head or the nose

4d    Order suiting a saint (8)
{IGNATIUS} – an anagram (order) of SUITING A

5d    Hard to conceal in the manipulation of words the mark of an illiterate puzzle setter (6)
{SPHINX} – H(ard) inside the manipulation of words perfected as an art form by Alistair Campbell and fellow warmonger Tony Blair followed by the mark used as a signature by an illiterate

What goes on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?

6d    Header from Millwall breaks top side (4)
{CAMP} – the initial letter (header) of Millwall inside (breaks) a top or lid

7d    People I respect initially getting Saturn mistaken for Jupiter, perhaps? (8,6)
{SUPERIOR PLANET} – an anagram (mistaken) of PEOPLE I the intial letter of Respect and SATURN

8d    Close-run thing featured in glossy, perhaps? (5,6)
{PHOTO FINISH} – could be in a glossy magazine

10d    Author like Oscar Wilde gobbling fish and drink up (4,7)
{IRIS MURDOCH} – the nationality of Oscar Wilde (and the author) around (gobbling) a fish and a drink reversed (up)

14d    Cope with position (5)
{STAND} – a double definition

15d    Flat blade ultimately going under surface of soil? (5)
{SPADE} – a three-letter word for a flat followed by the final letter of (ultimately) bladE following (under) the initial letter (surface) of Soil

18d    River Indus dispenses with American monkey (8)
18d    Tree where monkey died (8) – revised online clue (see Phil McNeill’s comment below)
{TAMARIND} – a river forming part of the boundary between Devon and Cornwall followed by IND(US) without (dispenses with) the US (American) – Oh dear! The monkey is spelt without the final D and the answer is actually the tropical fruit that I used yesterday to flavour my Keralan Fish curry

For the benefit of the setter, this is the monkey that is not in the puzzle:

and this is the fruit that is in the puzzle:

21d    As well to translate English for this Antipodean (6)
{AUSSIE} – the French (to translate) for as well followed by E(nglish)

25d    Fruit — talk about slightly thick! (4)
{SLOE} – a homophone (talk about) of an adjective meaning slightly thick

26d    Miss container for debris (4)
{SKIP} – a double definition

I enjoyed this puzzle in spite of the unfortunate errors.


  1. pommers
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Morning Dave

    Spotted the monkey howler (or should that be howler monkey?) but I’d clean forgotten that Rangers got demoted, doh! (Don’t take much notice of Scottish football).

    Didn’t spoil the fun though. Lots of good clues but I think 9a is my favourite, although I’ve a suspicion that I’ve seen it before.

    Thanks to Dada and BD.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      9a appeared in DT 26950 – Aug 21, 2012.

      Depressed and spitting feathers? (4,2,3,5)

      Not so long ago! – The only one I’ve got so far! :sad:

  2. gazza
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this one, especially coming to it after the pedestrian back-pager. Thanks to Dada and BD.
    The error in 17a is probably an indication of how many months ago the puzzle was compiled.

  3. Jezza
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I am perhaps out of toughie practice after my holiday, but I found this quite tricky in places.
    I did enjoy it very much despite the couple of errors; many thanks to Dada, and to BD.

  4. crypticsue
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Was in a bit of a grump this morning until I opened the paper and found a Dada in the middle. I did notice the monkey error but not being a football person, the error in 17a escaped me. My main problem was putting ACME in 6d and then struggling with 1a – d’oh, but I do know that I was in very good company with that one.

    Thanks to Dada for a very enjoyable puzzle – ‘dots’ by far too many favourite clues to list them all, and to BD for the explanations.

    • Jezza
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      I also wanted ACME – fortunately I did not write it in.

      • pommers
        Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink


    • Mike in Amble
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Moi aussi, but I did ink it in as I do. Really enjoyed this puzzle and never twigged about Rangers or the strange monkey. Thanks setter and BD.

  5. BigBoab
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable crossword from Dada even with his Sassenach gaffe at 17a and his wee mistake at 18d, as you say, not his most difficult toughie but very enjoyable. My thanks to Dada and to BD for his usual masterly summing up.

  6. Kath
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this – partly because I could do most of it but also because I thought there were some brilliant clues. I didn’t spot either of the mistakes – probably should have noticed 18d but 17a by-passed me completely – it took me long enough to work out what the first three letters could mean without worrying about whether it was right or not!!
    Far too many good clues to put them all but I loved 1 and 27a and 10 and 25d. Also 9a but have seen something similar recently.
    With thanks to Dada and BD.

    • pommers
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kath

      Re 9a – see reply to me at #1 from stanXYZ.

    • Kath
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Pommers – I did see that – should have said that I had. It still made me laugh again just as much as it did before. :smile:

  7. axe
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    After this mornings fairly gentle puzzle , I thought i would give today’s toughie a go.

    Have managed about half before i required help. I am very much a fan of the format of highlighting the definition allowing me to look again at the clue, that did permit me to complete a few more, but i still required a more detailed explanation of the remainder.

    many thanks to yourself and the setter.

  8. stanXYZ
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Far Too Tough for me!

    This puzzle could be described as “horrid” – but I’ll stick with “Far Too Tough for Me”! Well and truly beaten!

    Thanks to BD for the many, many explanations that were required.

  9. Pegasus
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I spotted the gaffe at 17a but missed the one at 18d , However it didn’t spoil the enjoyment factor. Favourites were 1a 5d 15d and 27a thanks to Dada & Big Dave for the comments.

  10. Tilsit
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Splendid puzzle – the Celtic and Rangers one is forgiveable as it was probably set beforehand. it was only while I was talking to my nurse getting my legs lagged that I remembered about the monkey.

    Mind you, a booboo in the Graun as well today. Must be a special occasion – perhaps it’s the feast of the patron saint of crossword howlers.

    • Kath
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Not sure what remembering about the monkey while talking to your nurse says about the nurse!!

    • andy
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      I think the Guarn booboo is less forgivable than these two

  11. gazza
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Beam tomorrow – looks like it could be a good week.

    • Kath
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Dare I have a little peep at it? I really can’t resist his puzzles.

      • gazza
        Posted September 4, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        I shall be blogging it tomorrow and I’ll be very disappointed if you don’t have a go at it. :D

        • Kath
          Posted September 4, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

          As I have said before I can’t resist at least looking at his puzzles. The combination of his potentially risque clues and your inability to miss the chance for a picture is just too good to miss, even if I can’t do the crossword! I might just be a bit careful about what I say this time – do seem to remember a minor encounter with a hot water bottle and wishing that I’d never mentioned it!! :grin:

  12. 2Kiwis
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed this one which took a long time to finish. Think it is our first from Dada. Missed the two errors. Not surprising for the football one from where we are, but should have noticed the monkey. 7d our last in. Not encountered before. Got it from the checking letters, then Google check but still took ages to piece together the bits for the anagram. Thanks Dada and Bd.

  13. andy
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this very much, thank you Dada and BD. My late dad told me the riddle re 5d, took me a while to solve but i’m no Oedipus and the sphinx remained intact.

  14. Qix
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this one, in spite of the errors. The Scottish football reference implies that the puzzle was set some time ago, and it’s really an editorial issue, I reckon. Some Rangers fans might have been given false hope by that one!

    This was Dada in a benevolent mood, and 5D on its own made the whole puzzle worthwhile for me.

  15. Phil McNeill
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    Hello, Telegraph Crossword Editor here.

    Like Hugh on The Guardian, I am happy to apologise for mistakes. What would be the point of not doing so?

    Having just found out about the two in this puzzle, of course I’m happy to acknowledge the errors — it’s a bit late to do it in the paper now.

    The annoying thing about the Tamarind clue is that it was originally clued correctly as a tree. Unfortunately the clue was almost identical to one used six weeks earlier (the clue was “Tree where monkey died”). So I asked Dada to tweak it — then failed to spot that he had inadvertently trained his sights on the monkey rather than the tree.

    Apologies to all Scottish football fans, and solvers, regarding Rangers.

    Thanks for pointing these things out, I’ll correct them in the online archive.

    All the best
    Phil McNeill

  16. Phil McNeill
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    P.S. You may be interested to know that the inadvertent clash with Giovanni’s clue for ‘Tamarind’ wasn’t the only one in this puzzle. Dada’s original clue for ‘Down in the mouth’ (“Out of sorts, so spitting feathers?”) was similar to the clue in a Daily Cryptic the previous month.

    If you do ever spot a mistake, I always appreciate hearing about it: [email protected].

    Have a nice day

  17. Qix
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for the insights.