Toughie 1325 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1325

Toughie No 1325 by Dada

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

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

A snappy and entertaining puzzle from Dada. The third star for difficulty is due to a bit of a struggle I had with the top left corner - unable to get 1,2 or 3d, I was left with only two checkers for the cheeky 10a, and it was only when the penny dropped that the rest fell in. A bit more on that clue at the bottom of the review.


7a Disgust voiced in illegal seizure of power -- then pay! (5,2)
COUGH UP An expression of disgust goes inside a word for the overthrow of a government.

8a Instrument containing ring, topping item of jewellery (7)
CORONET A brass musical instrument goes round the ring-like letter of the alphabet.

10a Boo! (5,5)
SHORT STORY No definition. Read the clue as a word for a novel minus its last letter, and the solution is how a cryptic setter might indicate this.

11a Port God knocked back (4)
SUEZ A Greek god in reverse (knocked back).

12a How lightning appears quickly? (2,1,5)
IN A FLASH A phrase meaning suddenly or instantly suggests the way lightning strikes.


14a Ideal place to see posh bush trimming, lines snipped off (6)
UTOPIA The letter denoting posh or upper class (if only in crosswords these days) followed by a word for the art of hedge trimming after removing the abbreviation for railway (lines snipped off).

15a Moment past or lost for dinosaur (11)
TRICERATOPS A word for a moment or brief instant followed by an anagram of (lost) PAST OR.

19a Maoist revolutionary philosophy in China (6)
TAOISM An anagram of (revolutionary) MAOIST.


20a Tree by river in Germany (8)
TAMARIND A river in SW England, IN from the clue, and the IVR code for Germany.

22a Positive left among the vile stuff (4)
PLUS The abbreviation for left inside the yucky gunk that forms at the site of an infection.

23a Orgies a tad unlikely, thank God (3,7)
DEO GRATIAS An anagram of (unlikely) ORGIES A TAD.

25a Study of language that's relative, loosely speaking? (7)
GRAMMAR A rough homophone of (loosely speaking) a female relative.

26a Dictate two letters, hot stuff (7)
CAYENNE The answer sounds like (dictate) two letters of the alphabet pronounced in succession.



1d Duck wasting away in the drink (7)
NOTHING A word for lean or wasting away inside a kind of beer.

2d Scale up as setter (4)
AGAR A series of melodic notes in Indian music (new to me), reversed (up) to give a gelatinous substance.


3d Country one's attacking in report? (6)
RUSSIA The solution sounds like (in report) someone launching a physical attack.

4d Bits you'd adjusted in tight outfit (8)
BODYSUIT An anagram of (adjusted) BITS YOU'D.

5d Gag for a sweet? (10)
GOBSTOPPER A children's sugary sweet that could be the description of a gag used to stop someone from speaking.


6d The first book group (7)
GENESIS The first book of the Old Testament and the name of a rock group.

9d The bounder heading for imprisonment, something beneficial about it, dammit! (11)
BOTHERATION THE from the clue, a bounder or cad and the first letter of (heading for) imprisonment, all going inside an asset or benefit.

13d Musical direction from Orff, or not? (10)
FORTISSIMO Remove the OR from ORFF (or not) to get the abbreviation denoting this musical instruction.

16d Central figure supporting company, a cracker! (8)
COMEDIAN One who cracks jokes. The abbreviation for company followed by a statistical measure given by the middle value in a ranked series of numbers.

17d Batter's rising with fat duck (7)
MALLARD A verb meaning to batter or hit, reversed (rising) and followed by a type of rendered animal fat.

18d Not prudent, might you say? That's very strange (7)
UNCANNY A word for prudent or shrewd with a negative prefix attached.

21d Grass that may be pulled up? (6)
MARRAM A type of coastal grass that is a palindrome (that may be pulled up).


24d Come down, or join up (4)
TEEM of heavy rain. A verb meaning to join or intersect, reversed (up).

So what did you think of 10a? I tend to grimace when clues like GEGS (9,4) or HIJKLMNO (5) are upheld as classics of the cryptic genre, when they are really just second-rate Dingbats with no definition and none of the ingenuity of a good cryptic clue that plays by the rules. But there was a chuckle as well as a groan when I got this one, and I suppose that's the real test of a clue's worth.

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

21 comments on “Toughie 1325

  1. Very enjoyable thank you Dada – and edging into Toughie time because of the age it took me to get 2/d10a – I smiled more than groaned.

    Thanks to Toro too.

  2. I enjoyed this one, favourites were 1d 10a and 13d thanks to Dada and to Toro for the comments.

  3. That was fun! I didn’t get 2d and 10a, I had seen book but was still trying to fit in ghost story which wasn’t very satisfactory, so thanks toro for the hints.

    Thanks Dada for a very entertaining puzzle

  4. Excellent start to the Toughie week, so thanks to Dada for the puzzle and Toro for confirming my answers. Living in Shropshire, the penny must have been heard to clunk at John O’Groats when I finally got 10a. Brilliant clue

  5. Yep – a second-rate Dingbat with no definition and none of the ingenuity of a good cryptic clue. I must be in a grumpy mood as I thought the whole thing was dull. Why do all his good puzzles go elsewhere?

    Thanks to Dada and Toro.

  6. Thanks to Dada and Toro for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one a lot, managed to get into it, but needed 6 hints to finish. Needless to say I didn’t get 1,2d&10a. Favourite was 10a. Was annoyed that I forgot 21d. Was 4*/3* for me.

  7. We went through all sorts of variations for 10a before the penny dropped. The first one was ‘scary sound’ when we just had the R and second O to play with, and then several other variations were tried. However it all went together very smoothly and quite quickly for us with lots and lots of chuckles along the way.
    Thanks Dada and Toro.

  8. I have followed the blog since retiring recently and having more time for the DT puzzles. That is an entertainment in itself. Should BD and Giovanni sort their diferences out as follows;
    “Sounds like shortened letters at sunrise will solve this problem.?”

    Personally I cannot see the problem with one spoonerism in a puzzle. Or indeed, with an obscure word if the clue indicates it might exist. Google then comes into play and you learn something new.

    As for today, I found the task enjoyable and rewarding. For some reason I saw 10a immediately, then got stuck totally with 26a until Iread the hint. Ihad not seen this “dictate” reasoning before.

    Many thanks to Dada and Toro.

  9. I needed a couple of Toro’s hints, but managed the rest, so pleased with that. Much more enjoyable than today’s back page puzzle.

  10. Quite pleased with myself asI completed about half of the puzzle – quite a feat for me as normally I can only do a few clues. Did not get 10a but what a brilliant clue! Ashamed for not getting 23a as when I was a little girl in France, the mass was all in Latin as my missal was too… Dare not give it a difficulty rating apart from ‘half-doable’! 4* for enjoyment. Many thanks to Dada and Toro.

  11. OK, I admit it. Having got all but one of the checking letters, I put in ghost story for 10A, which of course made 2D impossible. I also came up short on 21D and needed the review to understand 13D. I did enjoy this and found lots to like, in particular 20 and 26A and 1 and 18D. Thanks to Dada and to Toro for the review.

  12. Don’t ask for the moon. Why did I write down motheration for 9d, I will never know. Unless the moon is beneficial in itself.
    15a gave me the most trouble as the ending I was looking for could not possibly be “s”.
    20a was a bit of a guess and thanks to Toro it proved to be right and had to reveal 21d which I could not parse.
    5d is favourite today. It came to me straight away as I remember my daughter Charlie always wanting to buy some when in Brighton. And it was an easy clue like 12a. Come to think of it, a 14 years old would have got these.
    Enough said. Start to sound grumpy and don’t want to be in that club.
    So it’s thanks to dada and to Toro again.

  13. I managed to fill the grid fairly easily – and get them right but without a proper explanation for the Boo! clue or the “loosely speaking” one. I did think of the homophone explanation at the time but thought it was too poor to be possible! When I googled Boo, Wikipedia said it (strictly “The Boo”) is a book series involving short stories (never heard of them) so I assumed that was the explanation and gave it no more thought. There have been plenty of toughie clues involving works of literature I have never heard of so I assumed this was another – literature is not a strong point of mine.

    I was a bit surprised when I read the blog comments. I found it (otherwise) significantly easier than 3* – I am certainly not a toughie expert and usually find them far more difficult than the reviewer and regular contributors. So reading the blog has cheered me up – once in a while a crossword comes along that is on my wavelength. There is still hope. And I think tomorrow’s toughie is a RayT which is welcome news to me. Thanks to reviewer and setter and his grammar

  14. As an occasional Toughie visitor, I enjoyed a bit of a tussle with this puzzle. Strangely it was the SE corner that defeated me and I was fine with the NW.
    I rather liked 10a when the penny dropped, and there were several chuckles along the way but 14a made me laugh out loud on the train!

    Thanks to Dada and also Toro for helping me to completion with a couple of hints.

  15. I really enjoyed this but although I generally struggle on toughies I found it quite easy. I finished with no help so it was easier than todays 27697. I did need confirmation on 10a and 2&3d. I don’t think 3d really works but perhaps I’m missing something. I’m off to Aus shortly and I have kept back a number of toughies to occupy me en route.

  16. I enjoyed this a good deal, and had a great many chuckles. I particularly liked 5d, 9d, 16d, and 25a. Oh, like Owdoo, I also had a laugh at 14a.

    Like others, though, I thought 10a was ‘Ghost Story’ so I couldn’t get 2d. I also needed the answers for 1d, 20a, 18d and 21d.

    Appreciation to Dada for the enjoyable Toughie and to Toro for explaining those clues I couldn’t do.

Comments are closed.