Toughie 1421 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1421

Toughie No 1421 by Dada

Hints and tips by Toro

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

I wasn't too taken with this puzzle at first but perked up at some of the clues in the bottom half.

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 We hear parental guidance for a wild boxer to be very scary! (4-7)
HAIR-RAISING A soundalike of bringing up an animal that boxes with its rivals in spring

9a A let-down in schoolboy humour? (7,7)
WHOOPEE CUSHION Cryptic definition of a joke shop item that is a kind of balloon.

11a All must conclude, menu found to contain noodles (4)
UDON Final letters (all must conclude) of each word in MENU FOUND TO CONTAIN.

12a Land in water has a tenant (5)
ISLET A synonym for has a rental tenant.

13a Plate to identify, half missing (4)
DISC First half of a verb meaning to identify or reveal.

16a Start to finish in race proving difficult for one with a will (8)
TESTATOR Anagram of START TO (rac)E.

17a Calling nurse, ringing phone at last (6)
CAREER A nurse or helper around (phon)E.

19a Flowers -- one comes up (6)
IRISES Roman numeral one + comes up.

20a Extraordinary brain seen in it, pickled (8)

22a Dance spins bringing lascivious look (4)
LEER A kind of dance in reverse.

23a Police corruption (5)
FILTH Corruption or pollution is also a slang word for the police.

24a Beer ticket returned (4)
PILS A ticket or small piece of paper, reversed.

27a Puzzle setter built this arch across island in stone (6,8)
AGATHA CHRISTIE Anagram of THIS ARCH around I(sland), all inserted into an ornamental stone.

28a Orbiting Mars initially, I came in the new Tardis, perhaps? (4,7)
TIME MACHINE Anagram of I CAME IN THE around M(ars).


2d Collection of poetry remains sharp -- or idle rubbish? (1,10,3)
A SHROPSHIRE LAD Remains of a fire + anagram of SHARP OR IDLE.

3d Unit of land area opening up (4)
ROOD An opening or aperture in a building, reversed.

4d Dislike making a reading (8)
AVERSION A + a reading or interpretation.

5d Gull in vacuum cleaner? (6)
SUCKER A gull (or gullible person) could be a vacuum cleaner.

6d Feature -- part of face so neatly turned up (4)
NOSE Reversed and hidden in FACESONEATLY.

7d Rare copy -- issu? (7,7)
LIMITED EDITION The solution looks like a cryptic instruction to remove the final letter from ISSU(e).

8d Chairman and son in conflict, one seemingly from another era? (11)

10d Press gathering American material on one children's book (4,7)
JUST WILLIAM To press, stuff or wedge goes round American + a material + Roman numeral one.

14d Lift splendid drink (5)
LAGER Splendid or majestic, in reverse.

15d Bloom has life during hours of sunlight (5)
DAISY Lives or has life inside the opposite of night.

18d Bug in flower coming up under table (8)
LISTERIA A table or register of information followed by a river in reverse.

21d Yellow line in capital, first of limos getting clamped by old witch (6)
CIRCLE ...a reference to part of the London Underground system. L(imos) inside a goddess of magic in Greek myth.

25d Talk about no-win situation for Asian national! (4)
THAI Soundalike of a drawn outcome in sport.

26d Polish-American writer entering drama school (4)

20a made me laugh. I also liked 28a, 21d and 25d.

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

23 comments on “Toughie 1421

  1. Got myself into a mess at the bottom. For 27a (puzzle setter) I had ACROSTIC with the last three checkers in place for the second word, and spent ages trying to find the first word. Found my error when I thought ORACLE worked nicely for Yellow (OR) line in capital AC(L)E (21d), which was wrong but gave me the right answer for 27a. Only when I got 23a (police corruption) did I finally get the definition for 21a – in hindsight, all should have been much smoother. I also found a boxer called Hare (1a), but not sure if he’s wild, so I assumed we were talking the furry kind.

    20a (extraordinary brain) conjured up a graphic image of some lab full of formaldehyde jars with various body parts. Just saw 7d (the answer) elsewhere within the last few days, not sure if it was DT.

    favourite has to be 27a for the massive misdirect I suffered.

    Many thanks Dada and Toro for the review

  2. I started off fairly well with the top half and naively thought I might fly through this.

    The bottom RHS just would not yield. 20a I am not…though I did finish.

    21d, complete guess. 18d, put in ‘bacteria’ at first and it took me awhile to spot the anagram in 20a.

    Favourite clue is the brilliant 28a.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Toro for the much needed blog.

  3. For the life of me, I couldn’t see 27A. I worked hard at trying to make Arachne fit somehow. But I did manage the rest of the puzzle so I’m happy about that. Have to say I really, really disliked 23A . My children would have been grounded for life if that term for the police had ever come out of either mouth. 2D was the runaway favorite. Thank you Dada (despite 23A) and thanks Toro for he review.

      1. I was so happy to finish the crossword that it slipped through how inappropriate that clue is. Not acceptable.

    1. I am sure it is in the BRB. It is not nice but it is a term I am aware of although very old, possibly seventies or eighties. As a double definition there must have been other words that could have been used.Or other words that fit with the checkers. Either way it was my second to last in.

  4. It is not often I arrive here as a fully paid up tufty club member but I am here today and rightfully so.

    Saint Sharon has been busy cooking for 56 people today so there has been little else for me to do but tackle the toughie

    I liked it all the way through and back again as I went through the clues to fully understand the bungitins

    Thanks to Dada for the brain exercise and thanks to Toro for blogging it. Thanks to everybody here.

  5. Just got back from moving our Shopkeeper ‘s Association office. Been chucked out by the new mayor. Politics hey!
    Very bad idea in this heat.
    Didn’t realise today’s was Dada. I’m in the middle of his crossword in todays guardian.
    First reading didn’t yield much and I was scared to face some difficult answers but eventually everything unfolded from the bottom to the top.
    9a and 5d being the two clues that slowed me down to a complete stop until the penny dropped.
    Thanks to Dada and to Toro for the review.

  6. Really enjoyed this Toughie. 9a gave me a bit of a giggle and only 1 hiccup – 14d. Why? I have no idea, but I did get there in the end DOH! Many thanks to Dada for the workout and Toro for your hint for 14d.

  7. I enjoyed this but certainly found it quite difficult.
    I didn’t get 27a – well, I did for a while until 21d made my answer look a bit unlikely – by that I mean wrong.
    Like dutch I’d decided that the second word had to be acrostic – I even asked Mr Google and he very kindly found “Apache acrostic” which even fitted with my first word – oh dear!
    5d also caused problems until I finally got 1a which was one of my last answers.
    I liked 9 and 20a (even though it took me an age to see the anagram) and 8d. My favourite was 2d, even though that also took ages.
    With thanks to Dada and to Toro for the much needed hints.

  8. All ok except 27across I was convinced that dada(setter)was in the mix but finally the penny dropped.. I thought the link was a bit vague for me

  9. This one went together remarkably smoothly for us. Even 21d, which had the potential for being a stumbling block for us, went straight in, thanks to our recent visit to UK. The connection between wild boxer and the animal in 1a also took a bit of thinking about. Plenty in there to keep us smiling and chuckling.
    Thanks Dada and Toro.

    1. I don’t think it is rivals 2ks. I think it is the doe fighting off the young bucks and saying “maybe next year bucko, you are too young for me”

  10. Another great puzzle!…simply because we finished it in a decent time for a ‘tuffy’.

    Entertaining and solvable clues, so thanks to Toro and Dada….***/****

  11. I had to check 23a. Seemed evident from the two letters I had but I couldn’t believe it. The UK has changed a lot since I used to live there last century.

  12. An enjoyable enough puzzle to start off the Toughie week. Needless to say – my favourite clue was 2d – for obvious reasons, but there were several others clues in the running. That said, like others, I was surprised that 23a got past the Crossword Editor – not something one would expect to see in the Telegraph or any other quality broadsheet.

    Thanks to Dada for the mention in 2d and the puzzle (with the possible exception of 23a) and Toro for the review.

    I might try to construct a blogger related crossword for Rookie Corner, or has that been done before?

    1. Please do. I will not have time to solve it but will be be full of admiration.

  13. Thanks to Dada and to Toro for the review and hints. Enjoyed what I could do, but too tough for me. Needed 10 hints to finish. Favourite was 5d. Before Capt Beefheart made it big, he was a vacuum cleaner salesman, and when one potential customer opened his door, the Captain said, “Sir, these vacuum cleaners suck.”

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