Toughie 1210 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1210

Toughie No 1210 by Dada

Hints and tips by Toro

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***/****

A very gentle puzzle, nicely clued with pleasing surfaces and a good few smiles.

Definitions are underlined. Highlight between the braces {LIKE THIS} to reveal the answer to each clue. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought and add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Core penetrated by something that flies a short distance (10)
{CENTIMETRE} – A word for core or middle goes round (penetrated by) something that proverbially flies like an arrow.

6a    Ladle nearly tipped over — how careless! (4)
{OOPS} – A ladle-like utensil minus its last letter (nearly) and reversed (tipped over).

9a    Relish blast off, though not very loud (5)
{GUSTO} – … in the sense of enthusiasm or evident enjoyment. A blast (of wind) is followed by OFF from the clue minus (though not) the musical abbreviation for very loud.

10a    One’s country houses, for the nation (9)
{INDONESIA} – The name of a country contains (houses) ONES from the clue, to yield the name of another country.

12a    I’m surprised a soldier who jumps back is brave (7)
{ARAPAHO} – … a Native American tribe or one of its members. An expression of mild surprise, A from the clue and a kind of soldier who performs jumps, all put in reverse (back). (Thank you Myops for correcting an earlier misreading of this clue.)

13a    Articulate barbarian, self-declared genius? (5)
{WILDE} – … an allusion to a quote (apparently apocryphal) by the great Irish wit to a US customs official. A homophone (articulate) of an adjective for barbarian or savage.

15a    Close relation in dark clothing? (7)
{NIGHTIE} – … or what might be worn when in the hours of darkness. A charade of a word for close or near and a word for relation or bond.

17a    Communist with word of disapproval invading old city (7)
{TROTSKY} – A tutting exclamation goes inside (invading) an ancient city famous in Homeric legend.

19a    Strip for a pittance (7)
{PEANUTS} – A double definition, being both a long-running comic strip and a word for a paltry sum of money.


21a    Drink blood of a Frenchman — upsetting character (7)
{SANGRIA} – The French word (of a Frenchman) for blood plus a reversal (upsetting) of a word for character or manner. (Unusual to see ‘upsetting’ indicating a reversal in an across clue.)

22a    Polish Sikh erasing edges as cubist? (5)
{RUBIK} – A verb meaning to polish or buff plus the middle letters (erasing edges) of sIKh.


24a    Assumed haughtiness in flier (7)
{AIRSHIP} – A charade of a word for an affected or condescending manner and a dated word for in, trendy or cool.

27a    As a rule, a demonstration of heredity? (9)
{GENERALLY} – If split (4,5), the solution could be read as a mass march having something to do with DNA.

28a    Adjust temperature, likely to drop? (5)
{TWEAK} – The one-letter abbreviation for temperature plus an adjective meaning lacking physical strength.

29a    Prize-giver losing heart for the present time (4)
{NOEL} – … which is actually six months in the past or future! Remove the middle letter (losing heart) from the benefactor in whose name a world-famous clutch of annual prizes is bestowed.

30a    Sister lied about being pure (10)
{STERILISED} – An anagram (about) of SISTER LIED.


1d    American behind bars in prison (4)
{CAGE} – The surname of a US composer (d. 1992) – the author of bars of music – is also a prison or cell.

2d    Love encapsulated by a lasting sort of sentimentality (9)
{NOSTALGIA} – An anagram (sort) of A LASTING into which is inserted (encapsulated) the letter denoted by love.

3d    Old F1 circuit some limo lapped (5)
{IMOLA} – The solution is hidden within (some) lIMO LApped.

4d    Remove hair from dish, hiding one under bottom of serviette (7)
{EPILATE} – The last letter (bottom) of serviettE followed a word for dish or platter after inserting (hiding) the Roman numeral one.

5d    Finally gone, decorate extraordinarily old soldier (7)
{REDCOAT} – An anagram (extraordinarily) of DECORATE after removing the last letter (finally gone).


7d    Flower girl’s ultimate flapper (5)
{OUSEL} – … an old word for a blackbird, which survives in the vernacular name of a related species of thrush. The name of an English river (flower) followed by the last letter (ultimate) of girL.

8d    Daughter tucked in to wings of turkey carcase, mistaken for chicken (7-3)
{SCAREDY-CAT} – An anagram (mistaken) of the outer letters (wings of) TurkeY plus CARCASE, into which the one-letter abbreviation for daughter is inserted (tucked).

11d    Loose women working, a heavenly vision (3,4)
{NEW MOON} – An anagram (loose) of WOMEN plus a word for working as opposed to switched off.


14d    Plant that’s the same has to remain dull? (10)
{SNAPDRAGON} – An exclamation meaning ‘that’s the same’ (as in the children’s card game) is followed by a phrase meaning to seem tedious and never-ending.

16d    Time — then rugby player, you might say, gets one for the road? (7)
{TRUCKER} – The one-letter abbreviation for time followed by someone who participates in a scramble for the ball in rugby.

18d    As some bras small, unable to catch? (9)
{STRAPLESS} – The one-letter abbreviation for small followed by what could be taken as a word meaning lacking the equipment with which to catch an animal.

20d    Sinful evidence of very minor injury? (7)
{SCARLET} – The solution could be taken as a word for a small healed wound.

21d    One talking about publicity, fine stuff coming from it (7)
{SPRAYER} – A word for someone who utters pronouncements goes around (about) a two-letter abbreviation for publicity.

23d    ‘Head‘ approximately defined by ‘skull’, perhaps? (5)
{BONCE} – The one-letter abbreviation for approximately or about goes inside (defined by) a type of body part of which the skull is an example.

25d    Books into Hades, not quite The Ritz perhaps? (5)
{HOTEL} – An abbreviation of certain books of the Bible goes inside (into) a word for Hades minus its final letter (not quite).

26d    Slide — little ones last to the top (4)
{SKID} – A word for children with its final letter moved to the front (last to the top).


25d was the pick of a good bunch for me. Over to you…

18 comments on “Toughie 1210

  1. It might have been gone in the blink of an eye but I did enjoy this “Toughie” as there were several clues which were more like the Mr Halpern we find in other places. Thanks to Dada for the fun and Toro for the explanations.

  2. A fun solve with some nice clues, especially 12a [despite the “who”], 15a, 27a and 14d; but 24a doesn’t really work for me.

    Thanks to Dada and Toro.

    1. Thanks for the post and the nominations Halcyon. May I ask what bothered you about 24a?

      1. Presumptuous of me to nick your question to Halcyon, but I missed the 3 letter reference to ‘in’ at first although the answer couldn’t have been anything else.

        1. It is deceptive – I seem to remember doing something very similar in a clue in my first NTSPP.

      2. I was OK with the definition and with haughtiness = AIRS but couldn’t see assumed = HIP, or how the 2 elements of the wordplay worked together.

        But now, having read the rest of the comments, I see how it works. I just wasn’t clear that AIRS = assumed haughtiness and that HIP = in. I now bow to Dada’s deviousness!

  3. I was defeated by the 12a Indian but otherwise I agree that it wasn’t too tricky.
    I liked 19a and 8 and 18d.
    With thanks to Dada and Toro.

  4. Ditto most of the above, pleasant and not very taxing, thanks to Dada and to Toro for a very amusing pictorial review.

  5. Totally lost in SW corner 27a for me was some kind of coronation so that nothing around it made sense. Thanks for all the help.

  6. I really enjoyed this and pleased that I only needed a little help. I liked 1a and 22a. My favourite was 27a although I got it completely wrong to begin with – thank you Toro for sorting me out on that one – it then made SW much easier to finish.

  7. Unlike everyone else it seems we found this one quite tricky. We had actually done the Paul prize puzzle from the Guardian the previous day in about half the time this one took us. All very strange. Needed a bit of help with the tribe in 12a, but were looking on the correct lists. Good fun clues as we always expect from this setter.
    Thanks Dada and Toro.

  8. Only time today for the cryptic, what with physical therapy and work, so avoiding looking at the hints. I hope I can get stuck in this evening.

  9. Thoroughly entertaining from start to finish , favourite 12a but as Toro says in his excellent review one among many .Thanks Dada and keep them coming .

  10. I just could not get into this. It took ages, and I was still left with 14D and 9A unsolved. Also I didn’t understand why 1D, 23D and 27A were what they obviously were. Toro’s review cleared everything up and now I’m wondering why I found it so hard. Thanks to both.

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