Toughie 1225 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1225

Toughie No 1225 by Sparks


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

I found this Toughie to be comparatively easy but very entertaining.

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    Fall of rascal in lawsuit (7)
{CASCADE} – to get this waterfall put a three-letter rascal inside a lawsuit

5a    Little male that’s cold, consumed by hatred (7)
{MODICUM} – M(ale) followed by C(old) inside (consumed by) a word meaning hatred

9a    Classy car drives forward (5)
{ROLLS} – two definitions – a colloquial word for a particular make of classy car and a verb meaning drives forward, probably downhill!

10a    Working lad, done in, is a weed (9)
{DANDELION} – an anagram (working) of LAD DONE IN

11a    Identify secure digital connection (10)
{FINGERNAIL} – a verb meaning to identify followed by a verb meaning to secure gives the horny part on the upper surface of a “digit”

12a    Feel good harbouring this emotion? (4)
{GLEE} – hidden (harbouring) and reversed (about) inside the clue

14a    Fellow writer getting caught out by attitude that wasn’t planned (12)
{HAPPENSTANCE} – a fellow without his initial C (Caught out) followed by a writing implement and an attitude or posture

18a    Being obstinate, managed to stop extremely curt article being rewritten (12)
{RECALCITRANT} – a three-letter verb meaning managed inside (to stop) an anagram (being rewritten) of the outer letters (extremely) of C[ur]T with ARTICLE

21a    An island to ponder (4)
{MULL} – two definitions = a Scottish island and a verb meaning to ponder

22a    Perfect 3-D object filled by something local? (10)
{CONSUMMATE} – a 3-dimensional object around (filled by) a colloquial (local) word for something

25a    Fossil I behold with black, dull exterior (9)
{TRILOBITE} – this fossilised marine arthropod is derived by putting the I from the clue , a two-letter word meaning behold and B(lack) with an adjective meaning dull or banal on the outside (exterior)

26a    Time to stop glut, say (5)
{STATE} – T(ime) inside a verb meaning to glut

27a    Vacated dirty and filthy house? (7)
{DYNASTY} – D[irt]Y followed by an adjective meaning filthy

28a    Children will absorb clear forms of poetry (7)
{SONNETS} – some male children around an adjective meaning clear of all deductions


1d    Church holding a service in which wine may be served (6)
{CARAFE} – the Church of England around the A from the clue and the three-letter abbreviation for one of the armed services

2d    Initially going after single run, ultimately getting a bye (2,4)
{SO LONG} – the initial letter of G[oing] after an adjective meaning single and the final letter (ultimately) of [ru]N

3d    Article rebel was wrong to blame (10)
{ANSWERABLE} – the two-letter indefinite article followed by an anagram (wrong) of REBEL WAS gives an adjective meaning to blame or responsible

4d    Kennedy regularly against being aligned with the Observer? (3-2)
{END-ON} – the odd letters (regularly) of the first word in the clue followed by a preposition meaning against or adjacent to

5d    Note emblem held by North African dignitary (9)
{MONSIGNOR} – N(ote) and an emblem inside (held by) a member of the mixed Arab and Berber people of North Africa

6d    Act up just the same? (4)
{DEED} – this act is the same when reversed (up in a down clue)

7d    Discovered infant in hold — utterly horrifying (8)
{CHILLING} – an infant without its outer letters (dis-covered) inside a verb meaning to hold

8d    City brass without end, almost (8)
{MONTEREY} – some brass or cash around an end without the final letter M (almost)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

13d    His output may well have been flagging (10)
{STONEMASON} – a cryptic definition of someone who could construct a pavement from “flagging”

15d    Work rejected, I see, in terribly noisy, hazardous plant (6,3)
{POISON IVY} – the reversal (rejected) of the two-letter word for a musical work is followed by the I from the clue and the single-letter abbreviation of the Latin for see inside an anagram (terribly) of NOISY

ARVE Error: need id and provider

16d    Moved punctually given support of journalist (8)
{PROMPTED} – an adverb meaning punctually followed by (given support of in a down clue) the usual journalist

17d    Old maid, the first to be withdrawn following row (8)
{SCULLION} – the literal representation of “the first” (2,1) is reversed (withdrawn) and preceded by a verb meaning to row with a pair of oars

19d    Place for housing estate? (6)
{GARAGE} – a cryptic definition of where to keep a car

20d    Break  depression (6)
{RECESS} – two definitions – a break or interval and a depression or hollow

23d    Runs away from scraps — takes off (5)
{SHEDS} – drop (away) the R(uns) from some scraps so get a verb meaning takes off an out skin

24d    Polish finally warding off defeat (4)
{LOSS} – start with a word meaning polish or sheen and drop the initial letter G (the final letter of wardinG)

The new spoiler facility seems to have worked well this morning, so I’m trying it out again here.

14 comments on “Toughie 1225

  1. I finished NW rapidly and was feeling smug, then hit an embarrassingly long non-productive period. Gained some inroads to SW and with three checked letters managed to get a fossil that I’d decided earlier was hopeless, and proceeded with refound smugness. Rest of puzzle still took some time, I found it “comparatively easy” only when compared against some other Friday toughies. I didn’t get the city. Plenty of enjoyable aha moments, including 22a, 14a (a word I can’t say I’ve ever used), 23d and many more.

    Many thanks sparks and serendipity, also for songs I had’t heard in a while!

  2. Tackled this before the cryptic today. I came to grief on 12A and 23D…no excuse for missing either of them. Otherwise OK, and very enjoyable. Several I liked a lot…14A, 22A, 5D, and 19D. Thanks to Sparks, and to BD for the review.

  3. I really enjoyed this, particularly the ‘something local’ in 22a and the d’oh moment that was 19d.

    My only quibble (and I can hear some people going here she goes again) but it really wasn’t tough enough for the Friday slot. My clogs aren’t particularly clever but they are well worn and so relish the extra challenge that the Toughie puzzles are supposed to bring.

    Thanks to Sparks for the fun and BD for the explanations.

  4. Gentle for a Friday but thoroughly enjoyable, favourites were 7d 17d and 22a thanks to Sparks and to Big Dave for the comments.

  5. Yes, I found this easier but enjoyable. Being a Brummie , my favourite was 22 across!!

  6. I failed to get the 8d city, 23d and 12a!
    I needed a few explanations too.
    Think I’ve only tried a couple of Sparks crossword before – if I’m remembering right this was not as difficult as previous ones.
    I liked 11 and 14a and 19d.
    With thanks to Sparks and BD.

  7. On the slightly easier side for a Friday toughie [unlike his last offering] but good fun apart from 14a. I wish to protest about “fellow writer getting caught out” – so far as I am aware chap pen is not a common term for fellow writer – thus caught out refers to writer, not fellow. Grrrrrr…

    Loved 2d and 7d though!

    Thanks to Sparks and to BD.

  8. Nice end to a good week.

    Completed while sat getting filled with antibiotics at the hospital. Certainly softer than I expected from Sparks, but fun nonetheless.

  9. Enjoyable toughie but rather on the gentle side for a Friday, thanks to Sparks and BD.

  10. I liked this better than the back-pager, and thought some of the clues were very good (my favourite was 11a). On balance, l’d rate this at 3.5*\4*. My thanks go to Sparks, and to BD for the review.

  11. I am certainly becoming a Sparks fan like Dutch became far too confident after the NW in which I enjoyed 2d but then ground to a halt for a while ,favourite 17d .
    Thanks Sparks and BD .

  12. This is the first Sparks’ Toughie I’ve tried. What I could do I enjoyed very much.

    Like Dutch and Only fools, did well on the NW clues, which I parsed correctly. Then the troubles began! I needed the hint for 12a — I simply didn’t see it. It was so well hidden (and there was I thinking it a little unusual not find any hidden clues… Oh dearie me!). I needed an explanation for my answer to 7d, and I needed the answers to 22a, 26a, 23d, 13d (I got as far as signalman but couldn’t think of a word for someone who lays paving stones), and 19d — a brilliant clue!

    Many thanks to Sparks. Big thanks and appreciation to Big Dave for the invaluable explanations. I have learned a lot by going through them.

  13. I normally do the Times Crossword but my old mum buys the Telegraph and saves the Toughie’s for me. Always good fun to do and the setters have a lot of maverick ideas re word play.

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