Toughie 1361 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1361

Toughie No 1361 by Dada

Hints and tips by Toro

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

Dada or no Dada, three or four smart clues did not stop me finding this dull as dishwater, I'm afraid.

If you haven't yet, you must try Rookie Corner No. 49 by Beet, an exuberant and beautifully worked puzzle from a very gifted new setter.

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 Brainless beauty cut weight (4-4)
DUMB-BELL Brainless or silly plus a beautiful woman minus the last letter (cut).

5a Second bag concealing one work of art (6)
MOSAIC A second or jiffy plus a bag or pouch (which can be a body part) containing (concealing) the Roman numeral one.


10a Crucial moment as ace played? (5,2,2,6)
POINT OF NO RETURN A plausible description of an ace served in tennis.

11a Very different pacifier (7)
SOOTHER Very or highly plus a word meaning different.

12a Boy in libertine, some dish (7)
ROULADE A word for boy inside a French word for a debauched old man.

13a Raised ground always, one might suppose (1,4,3)
I DARE SAY Anagram (ground) of RAISED plus an archaic or Scots word for always.

15a Tree that's more mature (5)
ELDER Double definition, being both a tree and an adjective meaning senior.

18a Flat back squashing right cheek (5)
NERVE A reversal (back) of an adjective meaning smooth or flat around (squashing) R(ight).

20a Warm quality functions with sunshine, primarily (8)
COSINESS A trigonometric function in the plural, plus the first letter (primarily) of S(unshine).


23a Generous smear enthralling artist (7)
LIBERAL To smear or slander (or something legally close to it) around (enthralling) crosswordese for artist.

25a Impede first of generals punching chap, private (3,4)
BOG DOWN The first (letter) of G(enerals) inside (punching) a word for chap or person, plus an adjective meaning personal or private.

26a Game with very little chance of winning or not at all, one I try foolishly (8,7)
NATIONAL LOTTERY Anagram (foolishly) of NOT AT ALL ONE I TRY.  A semi-&lit (or semi-all-in-one) where the definition extends over the whole clue.


27a Bell for match (6)
RINGER A bell or similar is also a word for a match or spitting image.

28a Bird never heard in novel (4,4)
JANE EYRE A sounds-like (heard) of a gaudy bird of the crow family and an old or dialectal word for never.



1d Dismiss record within a specific measure (6)
DEPOSE A vinyl record format inside a measure (of medicine, for example).

2d Fraternity, we hear, that one's sent for? (4,5)
MAIL ORDER The solution sounds like a fraternity or club for men.

3d Kill, as more masculine? (7)
BUTCHER A word for masculine or mannish, often in the context of gay or lesbian relationships, in the comparative.


4d Serious criminal kept in jail, if erroneously (5)

6d Excessive employment ever so unlikely, university claimed (7)
OVERUSE Anagram (unlikely) of EVER SO into which U(niversity) is inserted (claimed).

7d A massage on a Caribbean island (5)
ARUBA The first A from the clue, massage as noun or verb, and the second A.

8d Capital in Antipodes under leadership of Britain -- is fallible without it? (8)
CANBERRA The first letter (capital) of (A)ntipodes goes beneath an alternative phrasing of is fallible, going round (without) the first letter (leadership) of B(ritain).  An &lit (or all-in-one clue) in which the whole clue is both definition and wordplay.

9d Wearer of glasses that's in possession of 'visibility', did you say? (4-4)
FOUR-EYES A sounds-like of what the word visibility contains...

14d Lashes welcomed by evil Italian (8)
SICILIAN Latin for eyelashes (and hair-like structures on some microorganisms) inside (welcomed by) an evil or vice.

16d Find somewhere to dance, surprisingly (9)
DISCOVERY A night club or other place for dancing plus a word meaning surprisingly or to a large extent.

17d Funny city in Nevada carrying river northward (3-5)
ONE-LINER A funny as a noun meaning a joke or gag. A city in Nevada goes round (carrying) a famous river, all in reverse (northward).

ARVE Error: need id and provider

19d A rebel of sorts seizing love, one embracing the stud? (3,4)
EAR LOBE Anagram (of sorts) of A REBEL goes round (seizing) love in tennis.

21d Item worn by women near item worn by men (7)
NIGHTIE Near or at hand plus an item of formal menswear.

22d Catalyst unknown in Yemen, sadly (6)
ENZYME An algebraic unknown inside an anagram (sadly) of YEMEN.

24d Stick sock on (5)
BATON To sock or hit plus ON from the clue.

25d Something light, a chunk lifted (5)
BALSA The A from the clue plus a chunk (of stone), all reversed (lifted).

I liked 10a, 26a, 8d, and (when I twigged) 9d.

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

20 comments on “Toughie 1361

  1. Whilst I appreciate that Dada possibly works under different constraints clue-wise than his much more entertaining alter egos who publish elsewhere, there are usually a few clues in a Dada Toughie that I circle as being ‘favourites’ .

    Today’s puzzle was disappointingly average and had it appeared on the back page where it would have fitted in very well – I would have thanked the Tuesday Mysteron for a early week-level back page puzzle as it was both very un-Dada-like and extremely straightforward. I know I am not alone in this view, indeed one of my very grumpy correspondents was muttering about prosecutions under the Trades Description Act.

    -1*/2* for me – thank you [and sorry] to Dada and thank you to Toro.

  2. I well remember the delight with which we all greeted the news that “Paul” had become a Toughie setter. Unfortunately, Dada, more often than not, has failed to live up to the high expectations. I thought today’s puzzle was particularly average.
    I agree with Toro’s recommendation that all who have not yet done so should turn to Beet’s brilliant Rookie Corner puzzle for a much more enjoyable experience.
    Thanks to Dada and to Toro for the review.

  3. The setter’s name does not show on the Crux download and I would not have guessed it in a month of Tuesdays. I am not a Toughie regular but I completed this in 2* back page time. Beet still holds the puzzle of the week award – even Ray T may struggle to wrest it from her.

  4. Pretty straightforward puzzle today with some very good surfaces that you would expect from Dada. However, it wasn’t one that required a lot of work and was a tad uninspiring. Thanks to Dada for the puzzle and to Toro for the review.

    I wholeheartedly agree with everyone else that the Rookie Corner puzzle No 49 is well worth doing (I always try my hand at clue writing competitions and would be a very happy bunny if my clues were 20% as good as Beet)

  5. Thanks Toro, I hadn’t fully parsed 8d (capital in Antipodes), though it was clear what the answer was. The flow still feels a bit awkward somehow.

    I agree this was mostly straightforward but I did like some of the clues, e.g. 14d (lashes welcomed..) and 20a (warm quality…). I also liked the all-in-one lottery (26a). I thought 9d (wearer of glasses) was a derogatory term, surprised to see it. Equally 1a could have had “speechless” rather than “brainless” if we were on a kindness mission (which we’re not, I guess).

    In 19d, thought “one embracing the stud” was an awkward and not particularly accurate definition (embracing?), with a world of options to choose from.

    Many thanks Dada and Toro

  6. Thanks everyone for your support. I’m very pleased you enjoyed my puzzle, I had lots of fun writing it and it’s nice to know that I’m not just amusing myself!

  7. I didn’t know who the setter was, and I don’t have high expectations of a Tuesday Toughie so I wasn’t disappointed with the difficulty level. I think less challenging Toughies are needed to encourage those new to them to have a go. Needed the review to parse 8D and 28A. I did like 10A. Thanks Dada and Toro.

  8. We always enjoy a Dada puzzle and this one was no exception. Certainly not one of the trickiest we have encountered but it kept us happily amused, with lots to smile about. 14d was our last one in and gets our vote for favourite.
    Thanks Dada and Toro.

  9. Oi Oi! Give us newbies a chance of personal glory! It may be a cinch for you long-term solvers but I was proud to have turned to this after a speedyish 27,751 and completed it unaided but, it took this rookie a long time. To me, it’s not a race or a slight on my ability if I can’t finish one in record time or, in fact, finish it at all. Don’t forget what they used to be called, “Crossword Puzzles”. They are just that, puzzles not judgements!

    1. You’ve changed your alias since your last comment, David. Both old and new should work from now on.

    2. No one said it was a race, in fact this blog discourages the advertising of solving times, but we do expect Toughies to live up to their boast of being “our most devious cryptic puzzle ever” and “the most fiendishly difficult daily puzzle on Fleet Street”.

    3. And the blogger gave it a middling score for difficulty and made no reference to toughness at all.

  10. OK, it was fairly gentle for hard-core Toughie fans, but not ridiculously so. I made it 2*/3* or so, and my vote for favouritism is split between 20a and 28a. Thanks to Dada and to Toro for the review.

  11. I did not find this particularly dull. My concern is that I found the bottom half far too easy for a toughie. The top half I found a touch harder but not sufficiently so to fill the time I had hoped to spend on it. I found the back-pager easier than usual so the two together amounted to a feeling of disappointment

  12. Thanks to Dada and to Toro for the review and hints. Put I dear say for 13a, which stopped me getting 3d. Needed the hints for 14d and 25a. Didn’t enjoy it at all. Was 3*/1* for me.

  13. As I said yesterday, I found this one very mild.
    But in all the years I have been solving crosswords, I never really took any notice of the different styles from the array of setters.
    Specially as some setters have different pseudos.
    Just finished the Saturday prize crossword of the Guardian which was set by Paul.
    What a difference indeed.
    Maybe he considers the Telegraph readers are not clever enough. We should ask him.
    Thanks anyway and to Toro for the review.

      1. Ah, I see what you mean, why is the toughie puzzle milder than the guardian, by the same compiler. Don’t know the answer, I don’t know if this is a general trend or not

        1. Hi Dutch.
          It’s Gazza’s comment which made me realise that Paul = Dada. I don’t know if you had a go at his prize crossword, but I found it rather good.

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