Toughie 928 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 928

Toughie No 928 by Dada

Hints and Tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Another gentle puzzle from Dada. The only hold-up came with 15 down which has an answer that I wasn’t familiar with. I managed to work it out from the wordplay.
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           Tree French author felled? (5)
{SUMAC} Reverse the surname of a French Nobel Prize winning author (felled = knocked over = reversed)

4a           Greatly impress an admirer of the East End? (4,4)
{BOWL OVER} Whem split (3,5) it gives you an admirer of a particular district in the East End of London

10a        Poison found in medicines, rarely recalled (7)
{ARSENIC} Hidden in reversed form in mediCINES RArely

11a        At first, really happy to get connected (7)
{RELATED} The first letter of Really + ‘happy’

12a        Party elected to kill (2,2)
{DO IN} Party + elected

13a        Comfortable thing, right to this point (2,3)
{SO FAR} Something comfortable to sit on + R (right)

14a        Ill having missed starter, too sweet (4)
{ICKY} Remove the first letter from an informal word meaning ‘ill’

17a        Author reads novel about legendary leader among poltroons (7,7)
{CHARLES DICKENS} An anagram (novel) of READS round L (first letter of legendary) goes inside ‘poltroons’

19a        Be an axe murderer — or make peace? (4,3,7)
{BURY THE HATCHET} An axe murderer might do this in someone’s body

22a        Mock gemstones in one’s shop, well hidden (4)
{JEER} Remove WELL from a shopkeeper who sells gemstones

23a        US president storing old volume on the next floor up? (5)
{ABOVE} The usual crossword representation of Mr Lincoln goes round O (old) V (volume)

24a        Man, say I do crosswords regularly? (4)
{ISLE} The Man is the one in the Irish Sea. I + alternate letters of a 5-letter word meaning ‘do crosswords)

27a        Tea houses otherwise in place of buns? (7)
{CHELSEA} ‘Tea’ goes round ‘otherwise’ to give part of London associated with buns

28a        Arrangement to switch all seats marked J perhaps with K (7)
{NETWORK} If A is row one then J will be *** ***. Reverse (switch) this and add K

29a        Bridge ace takes journey (8)
{BESTRIDE} ‘To bridge’ = ace + journey

30a        Wander over to collect unknown civic dignitary (5)
{MAYOR} A reversal of ‘wander’ round a letter signifying an unknown


1d           Fruit salad to begin with, then fish (8)
{SHADDOCK} An E Asian citrus fruit = S (first letter of salad) + a fish

2d           Chaos in a Sicilian city (7)
{MESSINA} Chaos + IN + A

3d           Hit on the head — or nose (4)
{CONK} 2 meanings: hit on the head/nose

5d           Translation of Navaho and Rumanian book (3,3,2,6)
{OUR MAN IN HAVANA} An anagram (translation) of NAVAHO RUMANIAN gives the title of a Graham Greene novel

6d           Opera in state capital only showing second half (4)
{LULU} An opera by Berg is the second half of the capital of Hawaii

7d           Papal authority to have vessels laden with incense, primarily (7)
{VATICAN} I (first letter of incense) comes between two 3-letter vessels

8d           Damned  / healthy-looking (5)
{RUDDY} 2 meanings: damned/healthy-looking

9d           Sweeping movement of men like so? (6-3-5)
{ACROSS THE BOARD} How chessmen might move

15d        Trifle to be held over a basin (5)
{PLAYA} ‘To trifle’ + A gives a Spanish word for a basin which becomes a shallow lake after heavy rainfall and dries out again in hot weather

16d        Fish  / skim over the surface (5)
{SKATE} 2 meanings: fish/skim over the surface

18d        All off, one off? (8)
{STREAKER} A cryptic definition for someone off (in motion) after taking everything off

20d        So save more scrap (7)
{USELESS} When split (3,4) it’s an instruction to save more

21d        Anything but her Labour background? (7)
{HISTORY} The male equivalent of ‘her’ + someone who is definitely not a member of the Labour Party

22d        Account penned by one biblical character — for another? (5)
{JACOB} AC (account) goes inside one Old Testament character to give another one

25d        All initially in the soup, appointing rotten old Russian leader (4)
{TSAR} The initial letters of The Soup Appointing Rotten

26d        Staunch /  supporter of a plant (4)
{STEM} 2 meanngs: to staunch/a stalk (supporter of a plant)

Once upon a time I blogged the first ever Dada Toughie and it was a genuine Toughie. I have been disappointed with the toughness level of all the other Dada Toughies that I have blogged.

21 comments on “Toughie 928

  1. Agree that it wasn’t a tough toughie but I enjoyed solving it. Interesting that he avoided the romantic theme and went for murder and poisoning! Thanks to Dada and Bufo too.

    1. I agree and thought it more straightforward than the backpager which had a few ‘iffy’ clues! maybe the theme was crime passionelle ;-)

  2. I like puzzles that make me smile and this did just that .Very pleasant .New usage of the Spanish beach for me too.
    Thanks very much .

  3. Definitely an easy toughie,as I was able to do most of it. Thanks ,a lot, to Dada and Bufo. I still don’t understand 29a. Is be =ace ?

  4. Thanks to Dada & Bufo. A Toughie is never easy for me, I managed to solve 8 clues, then used some hints to get me going again. Managed to solve 10 more before looking up the rest. Favourite was 19a which, surprise surprise, one I managed to solve :-)

  5. Gentle but good fun along the way, favourites were 4a 21d and 28a thanks to Dada and to Bufo for the comments.

  6. Really enjoyed this one and managed to finish it without the blog but without Bufo’s explanation I’d never have worked out why 28a was right! Many thanks.

  7. OK, finished now but the bottom half took a bit of doing as the local anaesthetic’s starting to wear off :sad:

    An enjoyable puzzle with a few laughs so thanks to Dada and to Bufo for the review.

  8. Such a hiccup for me! I started off very merrily because I’d muddled up the cryptic and toughie print outs, so didn’t have any real fears as I started solving…. And then I suddenly noticed my mistake, and – what a surprise – lost all my confidence. Ridiculous, but goes to show how much influence our minds have!! Anyway, staggered through to the end & needed quite a few hints & lastly had to peep for a couple (1d I’ve never heard of). So it’s done, hurrah. Many thanks to Bufo for beautifully clear hints. Liked 19a & quite a few others as well. Thank you Setter, too.

    1. I agree about mind set – as soon as someone calls it a Toughie I go wobbly. Am getting better at telling myself that it’s just another crossword although some days I really can’t do them.

  9. The four long clues went in relatively easily for us which gave a nice skeleton of checking letters. We are great fans of Dada’s sense of humour and really appreciated it in this puzzle. Somewhat harder than 2* toughness for us. Spent time on 4a looking for a Cockney expression rather than an area and that misleading island in 24a misdirected us AGAIN.
    Thanks Dada and Bufo.

  10. I agree that this can’t have been a tough Toughie as I didn’t have too much trouble with it – only needed the hints to explain a few.
    Favourites 12 and 19a and 1, 5, 18 and 21d.
    With thanks to Dada and Bufo.

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