Toughie 1068 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1068

Toughie No 1068 by Dada

There was a young setter called Dada …

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I got the opportunity today to blog this very entertaining, but not too tough, puzzle from Dada. The d’oh when I grasped 13a startled the neighbours.

Do let us know how you got on and please use the star system at the bottom of my bits to provide your assessment of the puzzle.

Across Clues

8a  Engine getting round the bend (4)
{LOCO} – double definition, the second being the Spanish word for insane.

9a  Bear with shaved head? Well I never! (3)
{OOH} – take the first letter (head) away from a fictional bear.

10a  Fruit, a round variety (6)
{ORANGE} – a semi-all-in-one – a round letter followed by a variety or diversity.

11a  Wind is back with low murmur, initially (6)
{SIMOOM} – this is a hot, dry wind in the Middle East. Reverse IS, then add a verb to low and the initial letter of M(urmur).

12a  Bird wasn’t 16 — cuckoo! (4,4)
{MUTE SWAN} – an anagram (cuckoo) of WASN’T and the answer to 16d.

13a  Spot the ball competition (7,5-3)
{PENALTY SHOOT-OUT} – superb cryptic definition of what happens at the climax of a close match when the ball is repeatedly put on the spot. This is the stage at which many England supporters hide behind the settee, especially if their team is playing Germany.

15a  Long-necked creature among sheep, some horse! (7)
{FETLOCK} – insert Spielberg’s long-necked creature into a collection of sheep.

17a  Loaded pistol finally getting in the way, having gone off (7)
{WEALTHY} – the final letter of (pisto)L is put inside an anagram (having gone off) of THE WAY.

20a  Terribly traumatic on getting into aggressive music for a period in New York, perhaps? (11,4)
{PUNCTUATION MARK} – an anagram (terribly) of TRAUMATIC ON goes inside an aggressive form of rock music from the 1970s.

23a  To swamp horse returns, providing transport in winter (8)
{TOBOGGAN} – string together TO, a swamp or quagmire and the reversal (returns) of an old horse.

25a  Comic-book hero knocking over short fascist vermin (6)
{TARZAN} – put together a 20th century fascist without his final letter (short) and a verminous creature then reverse it all (knocking over).

26a  Angel cake maker scoffing cake’s topping (6)
{BACKER} – I spent some time trying to make (Jane) Asher the ‘cake maker’ but what we actually want is a more generic term. This contains (scoffing) the top letter of C(ake) to form the sort of angel who finances a theatrical production.

27a  Go off royal couple? (3)
{ERR} – a couple of royals, first the Queen then the single-character abbreviation for a king or queen.

28a  Little beast showing bit of leg (4)
{CALF} – double definition.

Down Clues

1d  Total chastity then for virgin? (6)
{NOVICE} – split the answer (2,4) to get a description indicating a lack of faults.

2d  A one-liner? (8)
{MONORAIL} – cryptic definition of a, normally elevated, form of transport.

3d  Work of the features editor? (8,7)
{COSMETIC SURGERY} – cryptic definition of the work of someone who rearranges (and, with luck, enhances) bodily features.

4d  Drug dealer‘s bit of skirt is in court (7)
{CHEMIST} – put the bottom bit of a skirt and IS inside the abbreviation for court.

5d  Quality of service addressed, as luck would have it (8,7)
{POSTCODE LOTTERY} – cryptic definition of a situation where services (especially medical ones) vary in quality and scope across the country, so your address determines how well you’re treated.

6d  Risk inhaling dope as a dog (6)
{BASSET} – a risk or gamble contains (inhaling) a dope or fool.

7d  Shah Jahan’s home town in Margate? On the contrary (4)
{AGRA} – this is the place in northern India where Shah Jahan built the famous mausoleum in memory of his favourite wife. It’s hidden and reversed (on the contrary) in the clue. It’s also the name of what used to be my favourite Indian restaurant, behind Warren Street station in London.

14d  I’m disgusted with leaders in union getting huffy (3)
{UGH} – the leading letters of three consecutive words in the clue.

16d  Flightless bird I’m not sure should take drug to get high? (3)
{EMU} – an exclamation expressing hesitation is followed by E(cstasy) then it all gets reversed (to get high, in a down clue).

18d  Poetry in a heap of fruit? (8)
{LIMERICK} – if split as (4,4) this could be a stack of citrus fruit.

On the chest of a barmaid at Yale
were tattooed the prices of ale,
and on her behind,
for the sake of the blind,
was the same information in Braille

19d  First of novels penned by horror writer, an impressive thing (7)
{STONKER} – the first letter of N(ovels) goes inside (penned by) the Irish author of Dracula.

21d  Weep, hugging tree, struggling to speak (6)
{CROAKY} – a verb to weep contains (hugging) a common type of tree.

22d  ‘Are you sure?’ ‘Very much!’ (6)
{REALLY} – double definition.

24d  Master breaking leg in country (4)
{OMAN} – a Master of Arts is inserted in (breaking) the leg side at cricket.

Lots of excellent clues today, including 2d and 4d, but my outright favourite is the superb 13a. Which ones appealed to you?


18 comments on “Toughie 1068

  1. Lovely stuff – I thought Dada had upped the difficulty level a smidge but the fun factor remained the same. Too many dots by clues I liked so I won’t upset Kath.

    Thanks to Dada for a great start to Thursday morning and to Gazza for the explanations.

  2. A gentle, but most enjoyable puzzle today. 2*/4* for me. Many thanks to Dada, and to Gazza for the review.

  3. Can only agree with what’s been. 3d was best for me out of a bunch of splendid clues.

    Thanks to Dada and Gazza.

    P.S. If you fancy a sterner test (but equal fun) from the same setter try the Punk in today’s Indy.

  4. I thought we must be due the patter of hobnailed boots tomorrow but apparently the Friday Toughie will be a Notabilis production..

  5. I didn’t finish this by quite a long way.
    Of the four long answers I only managed to do 3d. I would never have got the remaining three, particularly 13a.
    I loved 9a and 14d.
    With thanks to Dada and gazza. Over in the ‘other place’ everyone is saying how hard BD’s working this week – gazza seems to be doing quite a lot too, so extra thanks.

  6. Odd 13a was my first in but struggled in nw corner. Mostly gentle but 11 was a wordplay guess. Toughie? Not really.

  7. 13a – My favourite clue for quite some time! :smile: Thanks to Dada!

    Thanks also to gazza for the review!

    Ps! gazza, Tarzan seems to have done a runner! (No picture on my old laptop!)

    Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah! Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah!

  8. 5d was something that we had to check with Google but apart from that it all went in steadily but not quickly. Carol has nominated two preferred clues today, 15 across and 9a for its cuteness. Really, really good fun, challenging but do-able.
    Thanks Dada and Gazza.

  9. I thought this was a 19d of a puzzle, loved all four of the 15 letter clues and 4d thought Pommers might have took exception to that one, thanks to Dada and to Gazza for the review.

  10. Little time to spend on this today. Work does keep getting in the way. From what I’ve read of the clues, though, 14D applies for me. Saving it for the weekend.

  11. Smashing puzzle which ruined my game of golf as I had two to get before teeing off !
    Liked 15a amongst many others .
    Thanks Dada and once again Gazza .

  12. It was a treat for me getting Excalibur and Dada in the same week. They both have a sense of humour that lifts their puzzles from the ordinary.

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