Toughie 1341 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1341

Toughie No 1341 by Dada

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BD Rating - Difficulty * - Enjoyment ***

A quick, fun solve at the very gentlest end of the Toughie scale.


7a Vital thing having somewhere to go for a battle (8)
WATERLOO A substance that sustains life plus a convenience.


9a Game ending in defeat after upset (6)
PIQUET The last letter (ending) in the word DEFEAT follows a word meaning grievance or upset.

10a Two shockers, one mistake? (6)
BOOBOO A word one shouts to give someone a shock or fright, repeated.


11a Those appreciated for their beauty by wearing suits (4,4)
FINE ARTS A word for by or close to goes inside (wearing) a word for suits or matches (as  a verb).

12a Church community with classic tale, I suspect (14)
ECCLESIASTICAL The abbreviation of an international organisation (before it became a Union) plus an anagram of (suspect) CLASSIC TALE I.

15a Combination locks far from straight? (4)
PERM A mathematical term for an ordered combination of numbers, and a wavy hairstyle.


17a Still waiting for drug to lift spirits (5)
ELATE A verb meaning to delight or the lift the spirits (of) could be read as suggesting that a drug has not yet arrived. (Hmmm...)

19a Contact group (4)
RING To contact by phone, and a circle of people.

20a Numbness in legs -- also hands (4,3,7)
PINS AND NEEDLES A numbness (of the limbs, as suggested by the whole clue) is a charade of a word for legs, a synonym of also, and pointers on a dial that are a bit like hands on clock face.

23a Mirth -- girl encapsulating it (8)
HILARITY A girl's name (it could also be a boy's) goes round (encapsulating) IT from the clue.

25a Always stifling yawn when struggling in spite of everything (6)
ANYWAY Scots for always goes round (stifling) an anagram (when struggling) of YAWN.

27a Turn red screens indigo initially, quite colourful (6)
BLUISH To turn red in the face goes round (screens) the first letter (initially) of INDIGO.


28a Legendary hero getting cold in water, doing the backstroke? (8)
ACHILLES A word for cold (in two senses) inside a body of water written in reverse (doing the backstroke).


1d Saucy thing, April 31? (4)
MAYO Another way of writing the non-existent date between April 30 and May 1.

2d Somewhat overbalanced, it's said (6)
VERBAL The solution is hidden inside (somewhat) OVERBALANCED.

3d Almost explode in error (4)
GOOF All but the last letter (almost) of a (2,3) phrase meaning to explode.

4d Group about to attach organ (6)
SPINET ...a musical organ or harpsichord. A word for a group or collection around a verb meaning to attach or affix.

5d Panda, one of four in evidence of fight? (5,3)
SQUAD CAR One of four born together inside a mark left by a wound.


6d Steps taken to cut money -- it's an agent of evil (10)
PESTILENCE A form of steps goes inside (taken to cut) a small amount of money.


8d King in baggy lingerie, bottom only, in check (4-3)
LOOK-SEE KING in chess notation inside a word for baggy, then the last letter (bottom only) of LINGERIE.

13d Welsh town finds royal couple in lacy pants (10)
CAERPHILLY The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh respectively inside an anagram (pants) of LACY.

14d Bill pockets combat medal (5)
AWARD A bill or commercial notice goes around (pockets) combat or military conflict.

16d A segmented language? (8)
MANDARIN A language that is also the name of a segmented fruit.


18d Solution faced in last of apple trees (7)
EYEWASH A solution applied to part of the face is given by the last letter of APPLE followed by two types of tree.

21d Land in flames (6)
ALIGHT Double definition, meaning both to land (like a bird) and on fire.

22d Parent protecting some egg, not all, just hatched? (3-3)
DAY-OLD A familiar term for a particular parent goes round (protecting) part of an egg, without the last letter (not all).


24d You I see as OK (4)
YEAH The old plural form of you plus an exclamation meaning I see or I get it.

26d Belligerent god taking head from horses (4)
ARES Delete the first letter (taking head) from a word for horses of a certain sex.

Lots to enjoy here, especially 11a, 15a, and 13d. As with other of Dada's Tuesday puzzles, I am torn between enjoying his breezy cluing style and a sneaking feeling that some of the clues (like 17a, 23a, 26d) have been somewhat hurriedly set. Am I alone in this?

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

49 comments on “Toughie 1341

  1. Pleasant offering today, loved the royal couple in 13d and 22d worthy of a mention, thanks to Dada and to Toro in anticipation.

  2. Very enjoyable start to the Toughie week, even if not as tricky as the inside back pager. I too loved the royal couple in 13d. Thanks to Dada now and Toro later on.

  3. Enjoyed this quirky and very entertaining puzzle. First one in was 1d (saucy thing, april 31?) and I thought it best not to be too distracted by whatever strange mathematics are being used here. Last one in was 15a (combination locks..), just took me a while for the combination bit to click.

    I really liked 11a “by wearing suits” and 25a “always stifling yawn”.

    Wasn’t sure about 12a (church…) – should that be “of the church…”?

    Wonderful puzzle with just about every clue a pleasure, solid toughie material for me, many thanks Dada and looking forward to Toro’s review.

    1. Hi Dutch,
      1d is very popular in Holland, I understand you even mix it with peanut butter. Must keep you warm.

      1. You’re making my stomach churn again, Jean-luc. Peanuts are fine, plain or salted, but peanut butter is revolting (apologies to the devotees). As for mayo – yes please, but preferably in a jar labelled ‘Hellmans’. The ‘posh’ varieties are invariably somewhat tasteless, although you will no doubt tell me that you make wonderful mayo!

      1. Surely this is acting as a noun, it doesn’t describe the council rather it names it. I agree, it definitely should read of the church.

    2. I know that I’m being really dim here but I still don’t understand the extra two letters – well, mine anyway. I have a spare CI when the whole anagram has been used up!

      1. Don’t know how you’ve managed that, Kath! You need 3 lots of C and two of I to make the word and you’ve started off with ‘EC CLASSIC TALE I’.

  4. Great fun to start the Toughie week.

    10 and 20a made me smile along with 5d, ‘panda’…brilliant. 13d was the stand out clue for me, absolutely fantastic. Took me quite a while to see the royal couple.

    The SE corner held me up today along with 2d! I just didn’t see the hidden part.

    Many thanks to all.

  5. Really enjoyed today’s puzzle – a good start to the Toughie week. Thought 2d was well hidden and 26d threw me as I couldn’t get ‘Thor’ out of my head until 25 & 28a became clear. Clearly 13d is a favourite with all, me included, with that Eastend couple ‘er & Phil’ (Mitchell perhaps)

    Thanks to Dada and to Toro (for which I’m sure will be an excellent review)

    Btw – can anyone think of a way to entice ‘Big Boab’ back to the blog as he was the one who enticed me to ‘Dark side’ of the toughie due to his recommendations.

  6. Thanks to Dada for a good start of the toughie week.
    It’s a good thing I know more about Welsh cheeses than Welsh geography because 13d just popped in my mind from the parsing.
    7a was my first in and as usual I groaned a bit.
    The Greek god of War was a good clue. And so was the fresh egg.
    Thanks to Toro also and I shall revisit the blog later.

    1. I assume that you’ll be looking forward eagerly to the bicentennial celebrations of 7a in June? :D

  7. Are there more male Hilarys than female ones?

    I enjoyed the royal visit to Wales.

    (ps. Where is Mary? Surely. the internet thingy has reached Cymru by now?)

      1. I have to say I have met very few Hilarys over the years and all but one of them have been female. The only male Hilary co-incidentally had exactly the same name as me and we passed as ships in the night at a rather dodgy party in West Kensington in 1960s.
        I was coerced rather against my better judgement to try toughie and I have to say I was quite proud of myself getting about half of the answers before resorting to Toro’s help. Thanks to him and Dada – off to have a lie down.

  8. Thank-you to all the setters and solvers for the excellent entertainment and often much needed help that is provided through the DT & this most enjoyable site.

    I have been a secret viewer for a number of years – mostly because I was often several days behind, because I saved up the crosswords for when there was time at the weekends. My recent retirement from full time employ has allowed me to get up-to-date and as such I thought it high time I recorded my appreciation. I too loved the royal couple in 13d.

    Thanks again.

    1. A very warm welcome Mark – please do join the conversation from now on, it’s what this site is all about!

  9. Not as tricky as the back pager but it’ll do! Far far from easy at least for me.
    Satisfying to complete but little fun.

  10. Didn’t think it was that easy Toro! Took a while to get into it but then it fell into place readily enough, say 2-3*. I agree about a few hasty clues but some other setters are more serious offenders IMHO. I don’t think organ can be justified in 4d and solution faced is pushing it a bit [18d]. But I laughed at the thought of the lacy pants in 13d and also enjoyed 7a and 11a.

    Thanks to Dada [and to Toro for the blog]

    1. Thanks for the viewpoint Halcyon. I think you’re right – but what with Dada’s evident gifts as a setter it’s tempting to feel short-changed by the more run-of-the-mill clues.

  11. Definitely more challenging than the inside back pager so succumbed to a bit of Toro help to complete. Hear hear Halcyon re organ for 4d (Toro comment noted). I would suggest 15a is means of getting locks far from straight rather than the locks themselves. Thanks Dada and Toro.

  12. A bit more than 1* for me – l struggled to get on wavelength. Say 2*/3*, and 13d definitely my favourite clue. Thanks to Dada, and to Toro for the review.

  13. We started laughing with our first answer in, the battle in 7a, and then chuckled all the way through with the biggest guffaw brought out by 13d. Who needs excessive trickiness when a puzzle gives this much fun. Really enjoyed it.
    Thanks Dada and Toro.

  14. Struggled with wavelength on this one, which rather took away from the pleasure, although there were several clues I really liked – 20a,5&22d, with 13d in favourite spot. Probably 3*/2* for me.

    Thanks to Dada and also to Toro – particularly for the pics at 16&22d!

  15. Very proud of ourselves to have finished this Toughie (only our second proper attempt) all bar one – stupidly the hidden word in 2d. However, rather disappointed to find that it only rates *1 for difficulty. Onwards and upwards.

    1. See – as I said earlier on the inability to spot the hidden answers is clearly catching – I’m so sorry to everyone who’s caught this dreaded disease from me!

  16. Lots of conversation today! That’s good to see. I actually had finished with the puzzle before the sun was up this morning, but have had to buckle down to paid work ever since. When I say ‘finished with the puzzle’, I mean that I had given up on getting the last two…15A and 16D. Does anyone except the queen sport a 15A any more? 13D was far and away my favorite, but I also liked 11A, 18D and 1D, though not with French fries. Many thanks to Dada and Toro.

    1. . . . damn – hadn’t finished – how did that comment go so quickly? Nothing to do with me . . .
      Anyway, as I was saying when I was so rudely interrupted, it was more than 1* difficulty for me but I really enjoyed it.
      I did need the explanations for a couple – 11a (stupid), and the hands in 20a (stupid again). Oh dear!!
      My favourite by a mile was the 13d lacy pants – loved it. I also liked 20a and 3 and 5d.
      Thanks to Dada and to Toro.

      1. Got to love those lacy pants wrapped around Phil et al!

        But there is no way that we can ever blame you for failing to find those hidden words!

        1. Kath wouldn’t be Kath if she didn’t blame herself not only for failing to get a clue, but for others not doing so either!

  17. Thanks to Dada and Toro for the review and hints. An enjoyable puzzle, very entertaining. I managed about half, then got completely stuck. Needed 13 of Toro’s excellent hints to finish. It just as if the cryptic part of my brain switched off. Enjoyed what I was able to do. Favourite was 27a, was 5*/4* for me. I need much more practice with the Toughie.

  18. I had many chuckles whilst doing this puzzle. Loved 7a and 13d! Also greatly enjoyed 5d (and its fun illustration) and 16d (and also it’s beautiful picture). **** for enjoyment.

    I thought this more difficult than *. I needed four of Toro’s hints and three answers. I simply didn’t see 2d — most cunningly hidden! I had the answer to 11a but wasn’t sure how to parse it.

    Many thanks to Dada for a very entertaining puzzle. And many thanks to Toro for a most helpful and lucid review and for the lovely illustrations.

    1. Yes, I seem to have been very off in my difficulty assessment compared with the majority. For me it all went in quicker than most weeks.

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