Toughie 1226 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1226

Toughie No 1226 by Dada

Double Trouble

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

I’m not sure what has happened to Toro today so I have put this review together somewhat hastily.

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    Round, soft, shapeless mass (5)
{PLUMP} – the musical notation for soft followed by a shapeless mass

4a    Character excellent in hearing, this impairing vision? (3-6)
{PEA-SOUPER} – what sounds like (in hearing) a character or letter of the alphabet and an adjective meaning excellent

9a    Stories written on this modern race (9)
{NEWSPRINT} – an adjective meaning modern followed by a race

10a    More old pictures recalled (5)
{EXTRA} – a two-letter prefix meaning old or former followed by the reversal (recalled) of some pictures

11a    Exhausting, when outside in a storm (7)
{TEDIOUS} – an anagram (in a storm) of OUTSIDE

12a    Notice loud clothes, being dark and mysterious (7)
{SHADOWY} – a two-letter notice inside (,,, clothes) an adjective meaning loud or flamboyant

13a    Those known as vegetables (6)
{ONIONS} – if you know these you are very knowledgeable

15a    Inoffensive home front, incapable of attacking? (8)
{HARMLESS} – the initial letter (front) of H[ome] followed by an adjective meaning having no means to defend oneself

18a    Bouncer‘s firm punching outrageous, then the fight ends (8)
{RICOCHET} – the two-letter abbreviation for a firm inside an adjective meaning outrageous or ridiculous and followed by the final letters (ends) of two words in the clue

20a    Plant fool among those working in intelligence (6)
{CASSIA} – a three-letter fool inside the US Intelligence agency

23a    Something bright in something dark yellow (7)
{MUSTARD} – something bright that is seen in the sky inside something dark back down on earth

24a    Missile  controversy (7)
{QUARREL} – two definitions – a square-headed arrow and a controversy or argument

26a    Device for turning  nut (5)
{CRANK} – another pair of definitions – a device for turning, say, an engine in order to get it started and a nut or eccentric person

27a    Explain why railway customers dissatisfied, one getting lost? (9)
{TRANSLATE} – a reason why railway customers could be dissatisfied (6,4) from which the I (one) is dropped (lost)

28a    Lock exit for president? (9)
{WATERGATE} – split as (5,4) this is a lock or enclosure on a canal, capitalised it was the scandal that led to the downfall of a US president

29a    Stop some trade, terminated (5)
{DETER} – hidden (some) inside the clue


1d    Turn on to drink Irish drink (5,4)
{PINOT NOIR} – the reversal of ON, TO and a small drink followed by IR(ish) gives a wine made from a particular variety of grape

2d    Single from Upper Norwood was extremely dear, initially (5)
{UNWED} – the initial letters or five words in the clue

3d    Fizzy drink and cheesy stuff for snack (7)
{POPCORN} – a three-letter fizzy drink followed by some cheesy, old-fashioned or hackneyed gives a snack for which, if purchased at a cinema, one needs to take out a mortgage

4d    Particular girl having lost head, breaking nose (6)
{PRISSY} – this adjective meaning particular or strait-laced is derived by putting a young girl without (lost) her initial letter (head) inside (breaking) a verb meaning to nose or intrude

5d    Area isn’t for development as well (8)
{ARTESIAN} – an anagram (for development) of AREA ISN’T

6d    How to bowl — very unusual spins in order (7)
{OVERARM} – V(ery) and the reversal (spins) of an adjective meaning unusual inside the Order of Merit

7d    Transpose letters for female supporter? (9)
{PATRONESS} – an anagram (letters) of TRANSPOSE

8d    Fit to study psychology in the end (5)
{READY} – a verb meaning to study, particularly when at university, followed by the final letter (in the end) of [psycholog]Y

14d    Constant sent in as variable divided by constant (9)
{INCESSANT} – an anagram (variable) of SENT IN AS around (divided by) C(onstant)

16d    A half  a frippery (5,4)
{SMALL BEER} – two definitions – half a pint of ale and a frippery or something unimportant

17d    Death kept in check, that’s appreciated in feud (8)
{VENDETTA} – a three-letter word meaning death or destruction inside a three-letter verb meaning to check and followed by a short word meaning “that’s appreciated”

19d    Person who solves a beauty? (7)
{CRACKER} – two definitions – a person who solves puzzles or breaks codes and a beauty or stunner

21d    Same sad set assembled (7)
{AMASSED} – an anagram (set) of SAME SAD

22d    Honest, old-fashioned figure (6)
{SQUARE} – two definitions – the second being a person considered to be old-fashioned or boringly conventional in attitude or behaviour

ARVE Error: need id and provider

23d    Master bird call, as a parrot (5)
{MACAW} – the letters afforded a Master of Arts followed by a bird call

25d    Brown  pan (5)
{ROAST} – our final pair of definitions – a term used in cookery for turning something brown and a verb meaning to pan or criticise

More than a fair share of definitions today!

21 comments on “Toughie 1226

  1. A few D’oh moments when what should not have been that difficult ( 26A, 19D, 22D and 24A) finally became clear. Also it took me ages to parse 1D completely after I had the answer. I did like 18A, 27A, 28A and 17D in particular. Thanks to Dada and to BD for the review and stepping into the breach.

  2. Only my second Toughie completed without recourse to hints here so quite amused by the 3* rating, especially as the previous one was Warbler’s a couple of weeks ago which was greeted here with epic disdain in terms of its suitability as a Toughie (which actually left me feeling somewhat deflated after the glee of the final clue). 3d was last in this time and I literally shouted the answer (in the street) just like Dan Aykroyd in Grosse Pointe Blank, which was embarrassing. Incidentally I’m seeing the answers in plain text, not concealed. Thanks for all the help over the last few years btw, first found you in 2010 but am not a habitual commenter. :)

  3. Thanks to BD for the excellent review and Dada for the grey matter exercise (a gentle start to the week).

    Btw BD – all the answers are in full view

  4. Good fun. **/*** for me. Liked the misdirection (for me at least) for the anagram indicators in 7d and, at least for a while, in 11a. Seems we are still on a run of comparatively “easy” Tuesday puzzles. Many thanks Dada and to BD for the hints which I didn’t need today.

    I presume you will conceal the answers, if you have not already done so!

    Lovely day here today in the West Indies – much needed downpours of rain. We hope it lasts for a while!!

  5. Thank you, Dada, for this entertaining and – to me at least – quite demanding puzzle. I took quite a while to fill the grid, with plenty of those “doh!!” moments (like 2d and 15a) so l must grade it at 3.5*/4*. 28a (yet another “doh!!”) was my favourite. Thanks to BD for the review too.

  6. took a long tome to do today’s toughie, my 9-year old daughter has started school holidays and kept stealing the telegraph to do the sudokus (and then not finishing them – sigh). anyway got there eventually. I liked 12a and 23a, as well as the misleading anagrams 11a and 7d. I didn’t like 27a very much but was happy enough with the rest – many thanks Dada for those enjoyable pieces of the day when i could retrieve my paper, and thanks big dave for the review

  7. Thank you Dada for a lovely start to the Toughie week. I just about finished it without help. 20a was my first in although I’ve no idea how I knew that word. One of the pleasures of doing crosswords! 25d was my last in and my least favourite. I enjoyed the rest particularly the misdirection in 7d and 11a. Thank you BD for the review and the help to parse 17d for which I knew I had the answer but not why.

  8. Certainly tough enough for my sun baked brain this evening. One of those that came together in spurts with extended head scratching in between. Thanks for the hints.
    BTW I loved 27a!


    Yikes – sorry! I took my son on an overnight trip to Alton Towers and clean forgot my Tuesday duties until getting in a while ago. Thanks BD for stepping in!

  10. had a pretty good run at managing the Toughies this one put me firmly back where I belong which is clearly on the back page.
    I finished most of the bottom half but didn’t do much apart from that – loads of gaps in the top bit.
    Oh well – tomorrow is another day.
    With thanks to Dada and to BD for stepping in to the gap – I’d have been totally lost without the hints for several, and, in some cases, the answers too.

  11. Thanks to Dada and to Big Dave for the review and hints. I’m glad I had a go, but most of it was too difficult for me. Needed to look up 6,and needed 5 hints to finish. Four of the ones I couldn’t get were all double definitions. Favourite was 23a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  12. What a lovely puzzle ,enjoyable from start to finish if I had to pick a favourite it would be 24 a .Thanks Dada and BD

  13. This was my first Dada and I really struggled. Having solved nine clues I thought I might stand a chance but needed a lot of help from BD. I’ll have to persevere with the toughies a bit longer.

  14. Finished this today after taking one of our visitors to Nice airport to go back home to NYC.

    Faves : 4a, 24a, 28a, 1d, 16d & 23d.

  15. Friday am and just finished 1226. Thought 4a was excellent (penultimate to be solved) and arrived at correct answer for 4d by a totally different (wrong?) process! Does this count, therefore, as a correct solution?

  16. Only 4 weeks behind…..but for anyone who looks – I do wonder if the setters do – I thought this was an excellent puzzle. Not a duff clue in the whole thing. Thanks to Dada and BD, whose hints I didn’t need today but I always read to check myself.

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