Toughie 1116 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1116

Toughie No 1116 by Dada

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I’m not feeling quite so grumpy this week and so enjoyed this puzzle even though it was fairly straightforward

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.


8a    African country African? Not so! (4)
{MALI} Remove SO from the beginning of a word for a native of a country on the Horn of Africa

9a    Food and drink (3)
{TEA} 2 meanings: a meal/what you might drink when having this meal

10a    Nothing to recover via the trap (6)
{ORALLY} O (nothing) + ‘to recover’ = via the trap (mouth)

11a    Agonising time for political party (6)
{LABOUR} 2 meanings: the pains and physical effort of of childbirth (agonising time)/a political party

12a    Two legal terms, one taken away? (8)
{SUITCASE} An action at law + another action at law = something you take away on holiday with your belongings in

13a    Picture — a drawing done to death? (5,10)
{FATAL ATTRACTION} This title of a 1987 psychological thriller film (picture) suggests a drawing (pulling towards) that will result in death

15a    State dedicated to princess maintaining leadership in Luxembourg (7)
{FLORIDA} ‘Dedicated to’ + a princess from a work by Gilbert and Sullivan round L (first letter of Luxembourg)

17a    Spirit has been drunk (7)
{BANSHEE} An anagram (drunk) of HAS BEEN

20a    Still only sitting down (15)
{NOTWITHSTANDING} Still = nevertheless. Split the answer (3,4,8) for the ‘only sitting down’ part

23a    Who will eat too much waste matter? (8)
{PIGSWILL} Question: Who will eat too much? Answer: **** ****

25a    One downsizing / ship (6)
{CUTTER} 2 meanings: One making reductions/ship

26a    Part of Oxford where the Olympics once took place, we hear? (6)
{INSOLE} An Oxford is a type of shoe. The Olympics once took place in the capital of South Korea

27a    It’s junk, however you look at it (3)
{TAT} A palindrome

28a    Capital city regularly, not seldom seen (4)
{OSLO} Alternate letters in nOt SeLdOm


1d    Some wingspan, a magpie that’s seen overhead (6)
{PANAMA} A type of hat is hidden in wingsPAN, A MAgpie

2d    Shape is a round, square figure! (8)
{DINOSAUR} An anagram (shape) of IS A ROUND = someone who’s square (not up-to-date)

3d    American flier looks to circle smooth landing area (5,3,7)
{STARS AND STRIPES} something that is displayed in the air in America = ‘looks’ round ‘to smooth’ and a landing area for aircraft

4d    Rest amid change competing for Oxford, say? (7)
{VARSITY} ‘to rest’ inside ‘to change’ = an adjective relating to university sport

5d    Female author, so automatically blasted (6,3,6)
{LOUISA MAY ALCOTT} The surname of the author of Little Women is an anagram (blasted) of SO AUTOMATICALLY

6d    Fred Astaire’s tap — push it to the audience (6)
{FAUCET} The American word for a tap is a homophone of ‘push it’

7d    Too rich to scratch bottom! (4)
{PLUS} Remove the last letter from a word meaning ‘rich’ or ‘luxurious’. I’m not all together happy with this one. Chambers gives ‘too’ only as an adverb and the answer as just about everything but an adverb (i.e. preposition, adjective, conjunction, noun and verb). Therefore can the two words be synonymous? Or have I missed something?

14d    Extract from yodeller that’s often sung (3)
{ODE} Hidden in yODEller

16d    Where one goes for the game (3)
{LOO} 2 meanings: Where one goes (urinates)/a card game

18d    Mutiny the issue under head of state (8)
{SEDITION} An issue (e.g. of a book) goes after S (first letter of state)

19d    Cut off from island, therefore dead (7)
{ISOLATE} I (island) + therefore + dead

21d    Discernment shown by jammy ladies with those riding scooters uphill (6)
{WISDOM} The abbreviation for the organisation associated with ladies making jam + a reversal of members of a teenage faction that rode motor scooters

22d    Harry‘s old record player (6)
{NEEDLE} 2 meanings: to harry/part of a gramophone directly involved in playing records

24d    Island where an attention seeker’s brought up (4)
{IONA} A Scottish island = a reversal of AN ** where ** is an interjection used to attract attention

It just about about in the *** difficulty zone

10 comments on “Toughie 1116

  1. Very gentle fare but most enjoyable, favourites were 2d 6d and 21d thanks to Dada and to Bufo for the comments.

  2. Very straightforward for a toughie but I did enjoy myself – I’d go so far as to say it is the most enjoyable of Mr Halpern’s cryptic offerings week – if only he could up the Telegraph difficulty level to that expected of a Toughie.

    Thanks to Dada and Bufo.

  3. I certainly didn’t find it that straightforward.
    As always with Toughies I was defeated by a couple – 4 and 7d today.
    I liked 10 and 13a and 5 and 6d. My favourite was 23a.
    With thanks to Dada and bufo.

  4. Had to stare at 7d (last one in) for a while ,but other than that extremely enjoyable .
    Thanks Bufo and of course Dada

  5. Managed to solve Dada (without too much difficulty) … failed to solve Paul in the Guardian (with much difficulty).


  6. Exactly the right difficulty for us. Had us working (and laughing) very hard but did not take much more than the time we like to commit to doing puzzles. We love his way of disguising the definitions.
    Thanks Dada and Bufo.

  7. Didn’t like this at all. Thought ‘Fred Astaire’ to imply ‘American’ was especially weak and 7d. was as poor a clue as I can recall. Thanks to Bufo for some excellent comments.

  8. I’m with Kath on this one. Found it a bit of a struggle, not helped by total failure to spot the anagrams at 17a [no excuses here] and 2d [very well disguised what!]. Loved 23d.

    Thanks to Dada and Bufo.

  9. I’m with Kath and Halcyon on this. It has taken me ages, but I enjoyed every bit of it! I was frustrated not to be able to complete it without help. I needed the answers for 10a (and I really should have got this!), and also for 15a, 3d, 7d and 16d. Otherwise I was on the right track.
    Many thanks to Dada for a most entertaining crossword. And many thanks to Bufo for an excellent review.

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