Toughie 1258 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1258

Toughie No 1258 by Dada

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BD Rating - Difficulty * - Enjoyment ***/****

More back-pager than Toughie, but nicely done.

Definitions are underlined. 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 Money deposited in bank in the last few days (8)
RECENTLY A monetary unit goes inside (deposited in) a verb meaning to bank or depend.

5a Tablet showing dirty film (6)
PLAQUE A commemorative stone is also the layer of grime that forms on your teeth.


9a Father paying a landlord for a tough job? (9)
PARENTING A short word for father plus a word for paying for accommodation as opposed to owning it.

11a Deliberate, putting nag's head in beef, say? (5)
MEANT The first letter (head) of Nag inside the kind of food that beef is an example of.

12a Inferior company hoarding pile (6)
CHEAPO The abbreviation for company goes round (hoarding) a pile or mound.

13a Fixer -- someone hanging salesman out to dry? (8)
REPAIRER The solution suggests someone who does to a sales agent what you more commonly do with wet clothes.

15a Bishop partial to a bottle of rum taking every piece in board game? (5,8)
TABLE FOOTBALL An anagram of (rum) the first letter of (partial) Bishop and A BOTTLE OF, followed by (taking) a word meaning every piece or the entirety of (something).


18a Tense Utopian vision? (6,7)
FUTURE PERFECT A grammatical tense suggests a dream of what life will be like one day.

22a A man tied in knots is living (8)
ANIMATED An anagram of (in knots) A MAN TIED.

23a Fashionable -- bound to be dance music (3-3)
HIP-HOP Fashionable or trendy plus to bound or skip.

26a Disputed region heading for trouble, I'm certain (5)
TIBET The first letter of (heading for) Trouble plus a short phrase meaning I'm certain or I'll wager.

27a Dropped underwear in language centre (4,5)
LEFT BRAIN Dropped or rejected, an item of underwear, and IN from the clue.

28a Anarchy from one of twelve on the border (6)
MAYHEM One of the twelve months goes before (on) a kind of stitched edge of cloth.

29a Cow pound on ridge (8)
BROWBEAT ... into submission. To pound or pummel goes after (on) a ridge of a hill or forehead.


1d Criticise a business centre for greed (8)
RAPACITY To criticise or knock, A from the clue, and the financial centre of the UK.

2d Witch left out of ring (5)
CIRCE ... an enchantress in Greek mythology. The shape of a ring minus Left.

3d Standing joke among lone characters in baseball team, say? (7)
NONUPLE ... or any other group of nine. A joke or play on words, reversed (standing), goes inside an anagram (characters) of LONE.

4d Cut of meat making stomach churn in cat? (4)
LOIN One of the big cats with its two inner letters toggled (making stomach churn).

6d Hit off a dance (7)
LAMBADA To hit or collide, a word for off or rotten, and A from the clue.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

7d Dance as exercise routine's ending (9)
QUADRILLE Another dance, another charade. A formal (Latin) word for as,  an exercise by repetition, and the last letter (ending) of routinE.

8d Total number, it never catches up (6)
ENTIRE A word which NUMBERITNEVER contains (catches) in reverse (up).

10d In fruit, swallow something hairy (5,3)
GREAT APE A fruit that grows in bunches goes round a word for to swallow or consume.

14d Bordello criminal? One's pressed for an answer (8)
DOORBELL An anagram of (criminal) BORDELLO.

16d Super to reel up some fish over brown, northern water (6,3)
BAFFIN BAY A reversal of (to reel up) a word for super or brill, a part of a fish, and the colour brown as applied to horse.

17d Squash that ant or fly! (4,2,2)
STEP ON IT A phrase meaning to fly or whizz sounds like a way to kill a crawling insect.

19d Little piggy keeps drink for a hot snack (7)
TOASTIE One of the little piggies who went to market goes round (keeps) an Italian wine, often sparkling.

20d The painter in front colours in the sky (7)
RAINBOW Customary crosswordese for painter, IN from the clue, and the front of a ship.


21d Pair of covers raised to reveal gong (3-3)
TAM-TAM A small floor or table covering, written twice in reverse (raised).

24d Lift bachelor's heart with prayer (5)
HEAVE The central letters (heart) of bacHElor and a Catholic prayer.

25d Wild tour without limits, miles away (4)
AFAR A wilderness expedition minus its outs letters (without limits).


Not many suspended pennies here, but plenty of nice surfaces.

2d, 3d and 21d were new to me but quickly gettable with checkers.

Over to you - please rate and comment on this puzzle below.

28 comments on “Toughie 1258

  1. A pleasant romp in the park, favourites were 15a and 19d thanks to Dada and to Toro for the review.

  2. Firstly can I say, what a very nice puzzle from Dada (4* entertainment) so thank you to him and Toro too..

    However (and I can hear you all saying here she goes again!) this isn’t even one of Mr Halpern’s more difficult puzzles – he is much more tricky in other places – so I’d barely give this 0.25* on the Toughie difficulty spectrum.

    The Toughie is supposed to be, according to the Telegraph Puzzles site:
    “Fiendish, diabolical, cruel –
    The Toughie is not like a normal cryptic crossword. It is the most fiendishly difficult daily puzzle emanating from Fleet Street. Conquering it is no mean feat. ……. “The Toughie will be a gladiatorial contest between solver and setter.” ”

    Well, I do all the daily cryptics and most days, including today, the Toughie is the easiest daily puzzle emanating from Fleet Street. It didn’t always used to be so – indeed if I hadn’t entered a particularly beastly Toughie clue into Google four years ago in May, I’d never have found this blog and completely transformed my [crosswording] life.

    To paraphrase an email I had from a friend this morning – wouldn’t it be nice if Toughies weren’t a distant memory.

    I just hope the hobnailed boots are stomping their way over the horizon towards the middle of Friday’s paper.

    Grump over – I suppose I’d better go back to doing the day job.

    1. “most days, including today, the Toughie is the easiest daily puzzle emanating from Fleet Street”

      I fully understand that the toughies might not be as tough as you would like, but to say they are easier than the back pager most days is a stretch. I reckon I finish 3 toughies per fortnight unaided and about 13 out of every 14 back pagers including Saturday/Sunday. Funnily enough the day I finish the lowest percentage of is Monday, which most people think is the easiest.

      Thanks to Dada and Toro

      1. I didn’t phrase that correctly, did I? What I meant is that compared to the other newspaper’s cryptic crosswords, the toughie is more often than not the easiest, and today, and on quite a lot of Tuesdays, it was easier than the back pager.

    2. I think the main problem here Sue is that the Telegraph hasn’t had anything to do with Fleet Street for many a year. Its registered address is Buckingham Palace Road and it is edited and (I believe) printed in Canada Square in the City. Sorry

      1. ..and the DT is owned by the somewhat sinister “Bewlay Brothers” who live on Thunderbird Island & allegedly pay less tax than I spend on beer

  3. I wish that I could be as eloquent as crypticsue but sadly I am not, I do however echo her sentiments in their entirety, this was a very nice and gentle crossword and nothing more, I am left a little disappointed overall. Thanks anyway to Dada for the crossword and to Toro for a lovely review.

  4. I agree with CS. For me, the Toughie is an exercise in trying to improve my solving skills and it’s disappointing when it doesn’t put up so much as a hint of a fight. Even 3D, new to me, was readily do-able, but I suppose that’s the mark of good clueing. I’d rather be stretched and fail, than not be stretched at all. I get the impression that we Telegraph solvers are somehow considered less able than those who do the Times or the Guardian.

    Anyway, thanks to Dada, and of course to Toro for the review.

  5. I’m afraid I’m in a minority here, but I thought the degree of difficulty was perfect for a Monday Toughie. Like the varying degrees of depth in a swimming pool, this is the shallow end. It encourages solvers to sample Toughies. If they’re all impossibly difficult, they’ll attract only a handful of solvers and what a waste that would be

    1. I’ll join you in being in the minority. I’m not quite so sure about the Monday Toughie bit.
      I agree that it’s quite nice to have a doable Toughie sometimes and that it encourages people to have a go – I’m one of them.

      1. Me too Kath, I only tend to have a go at the Toughie when one of the black-belt solvers on the back-pager blog recommends the Toughie as do-able. It was very enjoyable with only 3 and 21 needing confirmation. I would however expect a Toughie to be much tougher than this.

    2. When I first started attempting the Toughies, I was completely lost. Didn’t have a clue, you might say. I just kept on persevering and learning from this invaluable blog. The reviews, plus patience, determination, and a certain stubborn streak have helped me improve greatly.

  6. I enjoyed this very much and whether or not it’s difficult enough to be called a Toughie doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve done two crosswords today which is twice as many as I used to do and I reckon that’s one of the ways that I’ll get better at doing them.
    I got stuck for ages with 26a and 21d.
    2d was just plain wrong – in desperation I looked up witch in BRB – one of the definitions is a curve with a great big long mathematical equation so, even though I didn’t understand the ‘left out’ at least ‘curve’ fitted one bit of the clue – oh well – you win some etc.
    I liked 9 and 28a and 10 and 14d.
    With thanks to Dada and to Toro.

    1. I agree Kath. I thought todays was very straightforward, with everything going in on first pass. That’s certainly not always the case for me. I’m by no means an expert puzzler and its only recently I’ve started doing the DT (am a Times girl). It really does give a confidence boost to once in awhile to execute the Toughie with ease….albeit with a pencil and eraser ;-). 1d and 18&28a were my favourites. Thank you to Dada and Toro. Loved the pictorial representation of 5a. It did make me laugh.

  7. Thanks to Dada and to Toro for the review and hints. I knew that this must be an easy Toughie. I was 10 answers short before resorting to the hints. In the end I needed 3,and had to look 2 up. Lots of things I’d never heard of, especially 3d. Little pigs were a mystery, and I didn’t know Tibet was dispute d. Also never heard of 21d. Very enjoyable puzzle, and I learnt a lot. Also about what you call a brown horse. Was 4*/4* for me.

  8. I think this is what cross words should be, where almost every clue is a delight. I think 1a, 5a, 15a, 27a, 2d, 10d, 8d just to name a few, are poetry in a grid. I am happy for puzzles to be more difficult if they can maintain this sort of elegance and humour, but for me there is little joy in agonisingly piecing together a mechanical clue.

    Today for me this puzzle stands well above the back page in enjoyment, I am happy for it to appear as a toughie -For instance, I didn’t instantly recognise a bottle of rum as fodder and anagrind, so personally i think that is quite clever. I agree it is one of the easiest toughies, but it has much better quality than most back pagers. I would have been annoyed if today’s back page, for example, had appeared in its place.

    Brilliant Dada, please carry on, and thank you Toro

  9. We also did not find it very difficult but is was certainly a huge lot of fun. To us that is much more important than the difficulty level. So many great clues. Just reading through them again this morning restarts the chuckling.
    Thanks Dada and Toro

  10. “More back-pager than Toughie, but nicely done”

    Just about sums it up – thanks Dada, enjoyed it.

  11. A nice puzzle, at about 2*/3* level. I’d never heard of 3d (and have no idea how many there are in a baseball team) but apart from that there were no particular problems. My thanks to Dada, and to Toro for the review.

  12. Smashing puzzle that I enjoyed rather more than the offerings of both the the Times and the Guardian and indeed the Whitby Gazette .Cheers Dada for the smiles and Toro for the review .

  13. Certainly this was easy for a toughie and I would rate it little more difficult than the back page one.
    Over the years I have tried Times, FT, Guardia and Independent cross words. They vary in difficulty and I wouldn’t say they are more or less difficult on average than the DT. I expect the Toughie to v difficult. In the Guardian one compiler (Bunthorne) was always tricky. Some f the toughies I’ve tried are certainly much more difficult than any of these.

  14. There was plenty to chuckle over in this puzzle. I did enjoy it very much. Fave was 4d, followed by 5a, 18a and 7d, amongst others. A big thank-you to Dada.

    Some clues I found straightforward, others more tricky. I had two problems. Knowing nothing about baseball, I had to resort Google, and only then managed to work out the wordplay. I couldn’t parse 16d. Much appreciated the explanations of these. And I also much appreciated having this excellent review to check I had followed the wordplay of the rest correctly. Thank you very much, Toro.

  15. It was easier than most but as I could do it unaided I enjoyed it. Just one thing, though – what and where are the Monday Toughies mentioned above? Sh-Shoney.

  16. I thought this was an elegant, beautifully constructed puzzle that kept my interest until it was finished, which took me two sessions. The trouble with some Toughies is that the clues are so tortuous I am put off spending more than five minutes on them because, as has previously been observed, they are mere mechanical exercises with no joy in the solving. Here there were smiles galore, excellent surface readings requiring a decent general knowledge and a decent smattering of anagrams to get one started. So thank you Dada for the fun and Toro for the unneeded hints, which I enjoyed reading anyway. 4* difficulty, 6* (!) enjoyment. Loved it

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