Toughie 958 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 958

Toughie No 958 by Dada

Addicted to the Witches brew!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Another gentle start to the Toughie week.

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    Flower produced for scented ointment (6)
{POMADE} – an Italian river followed by a verb meaning produced

4a    Launch bombs at the front, the one still to go? (5-3)
{BLAST-OFF} – the initial letter (at the front} of Bombs followed by a phrase (4,3) meaning the one that is still to go

9a    German river, a river alongside isthmus? (6)
{NECKAR} – the A from the clue and R(iver) after (alongside) an isthmus

10a    A Swiss dish splitting sides in classic puzzle (8)
{ACROSTIC} – the A from the clue followed by a Swiss dish inside (splitting) the outer letter (sides) of ClassiC

Elizabeth it is in vain you say
Love not” — thou sayest it in so sweet a way:
In vain those words from thee or L.E.L.
Zantippe’s talents had enforced so well:
Ah! if that language from thy heart arise,
Breath it less gently forth — and veil thine eyes.
Endymion, recollect, when Luna tried
To cure his love — was cured of all beside —
His follie — pride — and passion — for he died.

11a    Secondary food desired or otherwise (4,5)
{SIDE ORDER} – an anagram (otherwise) of DESIRED OR

13a    Country retreat’s opening onto Russian river (5)
{RURAL} – the initial letter (opening) of Retreat followed by a Russian river

14a    Putting game on, I’m grateful when broadcast has covered one (9,4)
{MINIATURE GOLF} – this is putting as in to putt – an anagram (when broadcast) of ON I’M GRATEFUL around (has covered) I (one)

17a    Whinger among men, I suspect, punched by local head of industry (7,6)
{MOANING MINNIE} – an anagram (suspect) of AMONG MEN I around (punched by) a local public house and the initial letter (head) of Industry

21a    Championship game involving the likely leaders (5)
{TITLE} – a game or match around the initial letters (leaders) of two words in the clue

23a    Turkish leader, not without guts, after name for hellcat (9)
{TERMAGANT} – a Turkish leader and N(O)T without its inner letter (guts) after a name or word

24a    Trick with battle to get something clear (8)
{CONSOMMÉ} – a verb meaning to trick followed by a WWI battle

25a    Drug required, as great woman gets cut (6)
{HEROIN} – the central female character in a story without (gets cut) her final letter

26a    Poison in it inhaled by figure, as drug (8)
{NICOTINE} – I’m assuming that the poison is Carbon Monoxide – put its chemical notation inside the IT from the clue and the whole lot inside (inhaled by) a figure or number

27a    Stable couple of articles removed from one of seven? (6)
{STURDY} – drop a couple of indefinite articles from a day of the week (one of seven)


1d    Joke is hard to beat (6)
{PUNISH} – a joke followed by IS and H(ard)

2d    Tree with perfect nuts and a flower, knocked over (9)
{MACADAMIA} – a two-letter perfect rating followed by an adjective meaning nuts, the A from the clue and a river (flower) all reversed

3d    Witch admits love for cavalryman (7)
{DRAGOON} – a witch or 23 across around O (love)

5d    Architect caught in tricky role with more work to do (2,9)
{LE CORBUSIER} – C(aught) inside an anagram (tricky) of ROLE followed by an adjective meaning with more work to do

6d    Company in rush to find cause of trouble (7)
{SCOURGE} – CO(mpany) inside a rush or stampede

7d    Animal covered in soot, terrapin (5)
{OTTER} – hidden (covered) inside the clue

8d    In actuality, record brought up for surgery (8)
{FACELIFT} – inside a four-letter word meaning actuality place the reversal (brought up) of a record or dossier

12d    One drawing game, quite a few not finishing (11)
{DRAUGHTSMAN} – a board game followed by a word meaning quite a few without its final Y (not finishing)

15d    Music lover getting poorer with age, unfortunately (5-4)
{OPERA-GOER} – an anagram (unfortunately) of POORER with AGE

16d    Feeling representation inappropriate at first, Tory has volume turned up initially (8)
{EMOTICON} – the initial letter (at first) of Inappropriate followed by a three-letter word for a Tory and preceded by the reversal (turned up) of a literary volume :roll: :mrgreen:

18d    Ocean a bit choppy having wasted an Arctic vessel (7)
{ICEBOAT} – an anagram (choppy) of OCE(AN) A BIT without (wasted) the AN

19d    Most convenient to keep organ with a drum in home (7)
{NEAREST} – an organ, part of which is a drum, inside a home for a bird

20d    Pen — what does it have in it that’s smelly? (6)
{STINKY} – an animal pen around what might be found in a writing pen

22d    First note, singer’s second between two Cs? (5)
{TONIC} – to get the first note of a scale put the second letter of sInger between a three-letter word for the number represented in Roman numerals by C and another C

Come on Dada! We know you and Paul are the same setter, so why not give us a harder puzzle?

20 comments on “Toughie 958

    1. It is apparently two and a half years since Gnomey ‘misplaced’ that river!!! Perhaps we should assume he knows what country it is in now!

    2. Time flies when you’re having fun….message received & understood memsahib.

      1. It was only a suggestion – I may continue to tease the poor lad unmercifully for some time to come :D

        1. You are right though. I hadn’t realised it was 2½ yrs since the old boy’s faux pas. Perhaps we should let it lie now before he goes all po-faced on us…

        2. I alluded to it in a comment the other day (Friday?) . I think that only Kath noticed.
          “Keepin’ the Dream Alive”
          Thanks Dada and BD!

  1. I couldn’t agree more Dave, the difference between his Paul puzzles and the one’s that appear here are almost unrecognisable. Todays offering was what we are becoming familiar with for a Tuesday, thanks to Dada and to Big Dave for the comments.

  2. I enjoyed this and had an answer for all the clues but don’t really think that counts as finishing it as I needed the hints to explain so many of them.
    Loved 20d particularly.
    With thanks to Dada for the crossword and to BD for sorting out all the problems.

  3. I would never have got 23A in a million years! I confess to resorting to Google for 5D, though I did work out that he had to be French. Several that I had the answer for but could not fathom why they were correct, which is par for my course. I enjoyed it though. I learn something every day. Thanks for the review, Big Dave, which I needed, and thanks to the setter (Shh…don’t spread this around but I’m happy with a gentle Tuesday toughie).

    1. Shh from me too – I know that Toughies are meant to be tough so that the really clever and experienced people have something to get their teeth into but the occasional easy Toughie, if that’s not an oxymoron, gives some of us ‘inbetweenies’ a chance to try without being scared off forever.

  4. Well, I did this one because BigBoab’s cryptic comment said it was fairly easy… not so sure of that myself, but I’m still glad I came :-)

    I was very pleased to get 9A, 14A and 17A quite quickly, and given that I’ve been married for 384 years (well, that’s what my wife tells people…) 23a was a write-in!

    Thanks to BD for explaining a couple of “but why?” answers, and to Dada for the exercise :-)

  5. Took what seemed as long as Steve’s marriage to parse 5d and 23a which were last 2in .
    Plenty of smiles along the way .
    Thanks very much .

  6. We loved it. It illustrates the case that a puzzle does not need to be mind-bending difficult to be a huge bundle of fun. With 27a we explored all the options of dwarfs, Wonders of the World, and even Deadly Sins (metaphorically of course) before coming to the week answer. Parsing some of the answers, eg 2d, took longer than getting the correct word but was well worth the effort.
    Thanks Dada and BD.

  7. Never heard of 5D or 9A .. surely this is a cryptic crossword not a general knowledge crossword?

    And as for 27A … what an awful reference to suggest one of seven means one of the days of the week .. very poor clue indeed in my opinion

  8. Enjoyed this but have severe leg bruising for failing to see the blindingly obvious other c in 22d. Thanks to Dada and BD

  9. An enjoyable puzzle, as they always are from Dada.

    For those who would prefer a more “Paul-like” puzzle, I suspect that the setter is working to a brief from the editor. It seems fairly clear that there is supposed to be an uphill difficulty gradient from Tuesday to Friday, and the editor has probably asked the setter to pitch the puzzles at a particular level. If so, then it is to the setter’s credit that he is able to be sufficiently versatile to do that, and still to provide puzzles that are enjoyable to solve.

    1. You’ll find no complaints from this quarter on the subject of Toughies and their complexity levels. By Friday I really struggle but have noticed that as time goes on I am solving more clues before having to resort to the hints so I must be improving my game.

      Many thanks as always to everyone involved in this indispensable site.

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