Toughie 1290 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1290

Toughie No 1290 by Dada

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BD Rating - Difficulty *** - Enjoyment **

An unusually lacklustre puzzle by Dada's standards that left me wishing I'd stayed in Africa. Reading this review, you might wish I had too.

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.


8a Englishman abroad sticks around in band (9)
SASSENACH A word for walking sticks, reversed (around) and inserted into a word for a waistband.

10a Proletariat somewhat revolutionary, incensed (5)
IRATE Part of (somewhat) the word PROLETARIAT, put in reverse (revolutionary).

11a Some names are so ambiguous (6-9)
DOUBLE-BARRELLED A word describing a compound surname also means ambiguous or back-handed.

12a Huge success from 8am, perhaps? (7)
MEGAHIT An anagram of (perhaps) EIGHT AM.

13a You should invest a quid, not penny, as capital (7)
YAOUNDE The old plural form of you goes round (should invest) A from the clue and the monetary amount for which quid is slang, after dropping P (not penny).

15a A lying business associate? (8,7)
SLEEPING PARTNER A type of business associate who sounds as though he/she is horizontal.


19a Close around Taurus, not entirely cloudy (7)
NEBULAR An adjective meaning close goes around the animal represented by Taurus minus its last letter (not entirely).


22a Mutt grasps even parts of 'fetch' as 'fetch!' (7)
RECOVER A dog's name goes round (grasps) the even-numbered letters (even parts) of FETCH.

24a Please accept two breeds of setter? (4,2,4,2,3)
LOVE ME LOVE MY DOG A pet-owner's stipulation to a prospective partner, if made by Dada, involves a well-worn pun on the word setter.

26a Red Square leftist leader, lying back (5)
LENIN The square of three plus the first letter (leader) of Leftist, all reversed (lying back), gives the name of a famous Communist (Red). A nice clue because the whole phrase can be read as an alternative definition, referring to his resting place in a mausoleum in Moscow's Red Square. (Thanks to Gazza for pointing out what I had missed.)


27a Only men leading French city in foul state (9)
STAGNANCY A synonym for men-only followed by a French city.


1d Worn tutu -- it's the thread, every one concludes (4)
USED Each last letter of (every one concludes) TUTU ITS THE THREAD.

2d Prime minister outlining Liberal minister's responsibility (6)
HEALTH The surname of a former PM goes round (outlining) Liberal to give a ministerial portfolio.

3d Burma transported brown, Asian fruit (8)
RAMBUTAN An anagram of (transported) BURMA plus a shade of brown.

4d Go empty, eating inedible part of ox is difficult (6)
THORNY The outer letters of (empty) a word for a go or attempt go around (eating) a part of an ox's anatomy that is not eaten.


5d Safety barrier for housing I construct again (4,4)
FIRE DOOR FOR from the clue goes round (housing) I from the clue and a word meaning to make or construct again.

6d Fish both ways in sea (6)
MARLIN The two directions Right and Left inside a poetic word for sea.

7d Something to carry out that may rise (4)
DEED A word for an action or thing carried out that is a palindrome (may rise).

9d Hide small human in children's books (7)
SMUGGLE The abbreviation for Small and the term for an ordinary human being in the Harry Potter series.


12d Builder of a family unit? (5)
MASON In this case, a family consisting of a female parent and a male child.

14d Head off horror howler (5)
ERROR A word for horror minus its first letter (head off).

16d Payment after separation -- intend to keep one pound in twenty-five sterling (8)
PALIMONY A verb meaning to intend goes round (to keep) the letter symbol for a pound sterling, all of which goes inside a slang term for 25 of the same.

17d National sport gets through in jail (8)
PERUVIAN The acronym for a sport plus a synonym of through or by way of, all going inside a shortened US word for jail.

18d Statesman has nothing venerable to be written about (7)
NEVADAN ... someone from a particular US state. A foreign-language word for nothing used in colloquial American English, plus the abbreviation of Venerable, all written in reverse (about).

20d Jersey, perhaps, six in off-white (6)
BOVINE The number six in Roman numerals inside an off-white shade of colour.


21d Enjoy something saucy (6)
RELISH A verb meaning to delight in or enjoy is also a type of condiment.

23d Stick money about me (6)
CEMENT A small unit of currency around ME from the clue.

24d French composer's short respite (4)
LULL If you're stumped for a four-letter word for pause or respite, don't worry: all you need to do is to remove the last letter ('s short) from the surname of an Italian-born French composer, instrumentalist, and dancer (1632-1687).

25d Asian state accommodating unknown artist (4)
GOYA A federal state of an Asian country goes round (accommodating) a symbol for a variable or unknown in algebra.


8a and (once Gazza pointed out the wordplay) 26a were my favourites today.

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

19 comments on “Toughie 1290

  1. Disappointing start to the Toughie week. I wondered whether if this had been on the back page, we’d have actually guessed who the setter was as there is very little of the usual Dada/Halpern about this lacklustre crossword. I did like 24a.

    1. I didn’t look up the setter until after solving the puzzle and was very surprised to find it was a Dada.

  2. Had a bit of spare time after the back page so toughie it was. Found it a bit of a grind , bottom half went in fairly easily but top half took much longer, thought it would be about a *** , 24a was my favourite too, Thought 12a was simply a word for huge followed by a word for success-thanks Toro for the after eight.

  3. I finished a Dada without hints…even 13A! I’m happy. I understand the disappointment from the Big Guns, though it is only Tuesday and I wasn’t expecting anything too dreadful. 18D was my last one in and I was shamefully slow to spot the type of statesman. I l liked 24A and 5D. Thanks Dada and Toro.

  4. Not too hard and immensely enjoyable, I thought. I like the misleading definitions in 17d and 18d (national & statesman). I enjoyed the 8am clue. I very much like the two breeds of setter (24a). I enjoyed the wordplay in 4d (inedible part of ox) and 6d (fish both ways). I enjoyed the leftist leader (26a), though for some reason i wasn’t getting it all to lie back properly – it all looks perfectly obvious now, not sure what the problem was. Last one in was the capital in 13a, even with the checking letters including the first Y, I still needed the wordplay to finish this since I had forgotten this capital.

    Lovely, many thanks Dada for the elegant surfaces and Toro for review. Can’t be easy being back from Africa, welcome.

  5. Got stuck on the obscure capital of Cameroon and did not realise 18d just referred to a US state and was not a foreign synonym for “Statesman” . Took a long while for that particular penny to drop. Oh well, better luck tomorrow!

  6. The capital in 12a was unknown to us and needed a quick Google check. We did wonder whether 12a would be criticised as being an indirect anagram but it seems to have been found acceptable. We found a lot to chuckle about and particularly enjoyed 9d.
    Thanks Dada and Toro.

  7. Managed to get twelve in without help (most of the long ones, so it appeared as though I was doing really well!) but then came up against the brick wall. Almost finished, courtesy of Toro’s hints, but that still left two or three that I would never have parsed in the proverbial million years. I can only hope that, for most folk, 13a came via checking letters and 26a was a bung it in and parse it later!

    Many thanks to Dada and to Toro for the invaluable assistance. I’m left trying to decide whether you have difficulty distinguishing one bovine from another or whether the pictorial references were a reflection on what you thought of the clues!

    1. We suspect that the pen name of the blogger might also have some influence in the choice of pics.

      1. I did think that was a possibility but………… there seems to be a dearth of ‘dangly bits’.

    2. According its source, the image is of a Jersey bull, but given the inconclusive camera angle I thought it was fair to use it as both bull (19a) and ox (4d), as well as Jersey (18d).

      I’d hate to think, Jane, that you’re accusing me of indiscriminately littering this blog with bullocks.

  8. Cap doffed to Toro and Gazza re 26a, I parsed it about an hour ago having stared at it on and off since 07:00, D’oh.

  9. Time permitting, I’m trying the toughie more often these days. Enjoyed this one, and I knew the capital at 13a, but found the top half trickier and needed a couple of hints for 9d and 4d to finish.
    Thanks to both Dada and Toro.

  10. Finished without hints -thanks BD for rating it 3* as I’ve never managed more than a 2* before. That said I did need some clarification on a couple of the answers eg24d &26a. I still don’t fully understand where 17d comes from- what it the US jail? Forget it penny’s just dropped!

  11. Just finished yesterday’s offering. After a very poor start I managed steady progress but 9d was beyond me and still is even after reading the blog! Also, 12a needed some thought but I was so sure I’d got it right (I had) that I persevered and put my answer in anyway. Can’t find the word in any of my reference books though, including the BRB. A good***/*** I thought. Sh-Shoney.

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