Toughie 1481 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1481

Toughie No 1481 by Dada

Hints and tips by Toro

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

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

A fairly middle-of-the-road sort of Tuesday puzzle with one or two lighthearted touches.

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 Indisciplined pair sacked, soldiers lined up for the treatment? (4,6)


6a Grass skirt ending in skip (4)
HEMP A skirt or edge + (ski)P.

9a Area of exotic life in which data on artist then lay (10)
RAINFOREST Artist in crosswordese + data or gen + to lay or place.

10a Pole that's extra short (4)
SPAR Extra or superfluous, minus the final letter.

12a Dog perhaps catching cold, popular setter (6)
PECTIN What a domestic dog is an example of, around C(old), then popular or fashionable.

13a Stolen, rubbish item of clothing (3,5)
HOT PANTS Stolen or off the back of a lorry + recent-ish slang for rubbish or poor quality.

15a In Britain, sixteen cannot see with fog drifting (3,2,7)

18a Laugh about eating something sprayed from a can (7,5)
SHAVING CREAM A laugh or hoot around a multipurpose word that can mean eating.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

21a River altered when high -- that's alarming (3,5)
RED ALERT R(iver) + anagram of ALTERED.

22a Following a decline, not getting close, it is accomplished (6)
ADROIT A + a decline or fall minus the last letter + IT.

24a Margaret's shed painters initially daubed in yellow and white? (4)
EGGY One of many shortened forms of the name Margaret minus P(ainters).

25a Something crystallised, fake gem wrapped in nettle, perhaps? (4,6)
STEM GINGER Anagram of GEM inside the type of nettle that inflicts a painful rash.

26a Bijou joint in Bangkok, did you say? (4)
TINY Soundalike of a joint of the leg originating from Thailand.

ARVE Error: need id and provider


27a Crew packed in cloth between edges of fragile goods (10)
FREIGHTAGE A Russian doll clue: a rowing crew inside a cloth or piece of material, all inside F(ragil)E.


1d Mark earned, primarily stuff and nonsense (6)
STRIPE S(tuff) + nonsense or codswallop.

2d Nail left in piece of cake (6)
CLINCH L(eft) inside a piece of cake or doddle.

3d Old runner on the track struggling for breath, close to admitting suffering (7,5)
PUFFING BILLY Panting or wheezing + a preposition meaning close to around a word meaning ailing or suffering.


4d Red, like gold dust? (4)
RARE Double definition, the red referring to a lightly-cooked steak.

5d Throw wall bracket into mud (10)
DISCONCERT A wall bracket inside mud or filth (or simply soil, if you're American).

7d One developing as former Chinese native, we hear (8)
EXPANDER Prefix meaning former + soundalike of an animal indigenous to China.


8d Flea, perhaps -- where might you find one trained to jump? (8)
PARASITE Split (4,4), the solution might suggest a location of airborne infantry.

11d Golf tournament and course offering snack (4,8)
OPEN SANDWICH A prestigious type of golf tournament + a golf course in Kent.

14d Porter, perhaps, bending strong wire (10)


16d Litter I see with runt that's piggish! (8)
ESURIENT Anagram of I SEE and RUNT.

17d Top dog (8)
CARDIGAN A garment often worn by the late Val Doonican, and a type of Welsh corgi.


19d Earliest pieces of Latin origin generating glances in art gallery (6)
LOGGIA L(atin) O(rigin) G(enerating) G(lances) I(n) A(rt).

20d Go without post, collecting letter finally (6)
STARVE A wooden rod around (lette)R.

23d One who's taken a seat between two Zulus (4)
IMPI Holder of a parliamentary seat inside two in Roman numerals.


I quite enjoyed this, but looking back over the clues none stands out - apart perhaps from the groanworthy 26a. 16d was utterly new to me, and despite it obviously being an anagram I needed all the checkers before I could venture a guess. What did you think?

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

43 comments on “Toughie 1481

  1. A nice Tuesday Softie with the odd glimpse of ‘Paul’ lurking within. I did know 16d and quite enjoyed the groan at 26a.

    Thanks to Dada and Toro.

  2. No wonder I couldn’t explain my answer for 3d. I had “puffing gills”. Last letter of admitting ( close to) and ills for suffering.
    Top half took much longer to get into.
    Learned a new synonym for cinch.
    7d made me laugh and so did the other homophone in 26a.
    27a could also be a ” sounds like” but a bit too rude maybe.
    Thanks to Dada for the fun and to Toro for the review.

    1. Hi JL – struggling to get to your ‘sounds like’ for 27a. Perhaps I’ve led a sheltered life?!!

        1. Well – that is a new one! Not quite sure when I could slip it into a conversation but I’ll store it away for future reference.

        2. I’ll have to store that one away – though when I could use it, I have no idea. Thanks JL.

    2. J-L, I also thought that 27a could be that ‘sound alike’. And yes, I did know what it meant.

  3. Took me much longer than it should have, I didn’t seem to be able to get into the top half, but once I did get in the rest followed fairly rapidly. Clues I ticked as particularly nice are 6a (grass skirt), 15a (In Britain…, nice definition), 24a (Margaret – again, nice definition and painting theme), 25a (I liked the crystallised / gem combo), 26a (bijou joint….great clue, raised a smile), 14a (Porter, perhaps…. had me going down the beer route).

    There were 4 new words or meanings for me (5d, 16d, 17d, 23d).

    Nice to see “on” mean “coming after” (9a) after the back pager

    many thanks Dada and Toro

  4. Really enjoyed this one which was pushed well into 3+* time owing to not knowing the word at 16d and being apparently one of the few who hasn’t experienced the 26a ‘groan’ before today. 4* for enjoyment. MP’s assertion that doing the Quickies aids solving was proved quite correct when I slotted 23d in quite easily! List for the podium includes 13a plus 2&3d – favourite slot for 8d.

    Thanks to Dada and also to Toro – the clip at 18a wouldn’t play (I wonder which one you chose?) and I thought perhaps the underlining of the definition of 22a needed extending to include ‘is’. Lovely pic of a 7d!

    1. Toro’s original YouTube clip could not be embedded so I have replaced it with a slightly shorter version of the same clip, and I’ve extended the underline on 22a.

      1. I’m puzzled – the IS is just a link word to the definition, which is “accomplished”. Mind if I revert it?

          1. Apologies, BD & Toro – I take your point. I think that the ‘is’ coming directly after ‘it’ threw the surface read a little. Thanks for your patience.

  5. Thanks to Dada and Toro. I quite enjoyed what I could do, but I just can’t get on this setter’s wavelength. Needed 12 hints to finish.Another new word in 27a. Had never heard of 17d as a dog. A new word in 16d. Didn’t know 25a was crystallised. Favourite was 13a. Was 5*/2* for me.

  6. ***/*** for me, needed to look up 5d, as I didn’t know the wall bracket. Thanks for the hints.

  7. Sluggish start, but the pace picked up. I did know the wall bracket in 5D and the dog in 17D (my son has a Pembroke), but fell down on 24A. Still don’t see what “daubed’ has to do with it. 16D was a new word. Tops for me were 12A, 3d and 16D. Thanks to Dada and Toro.

  8. Not a bad way to start off the toughie week, with some really good clues and a bit of humour. A couple of ‘iffy’ ones that took a stretch of the imagination (7d & 18a) but no real complaints. I’ll have to go with the groaner at 26a as my favourite – even though it took me several moments before the penny dropped.

    Thanks to Dada for the puzzle and Toro for the review.

  9. Well I struggled with this. 3 and 16d were new. Although 3d sort of seems familiar. Glad I stuck at it as there was plenty that made me smile. 7 & 8d, 26a.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Toro for blogging. Good stuff.

  10. Phew – not a soft reintroduction for me after 3 weeks away from toughies and severe jet-lag. This took ages to get started and finally yielded only reluctantly. I too groaned at 26, even though the indicator seems to admit that the homophone may be dodgy – and had only vaguely heard of 16d without knowing what it meant. Liked 24a, 7d and 23d.

    Thanks to Dada and Toro

  11. This started off quite smoothly, but the last few took a bit more work.

    I managed to dredge up 3d from the deepest dark recesses of my memory. Had to check the existence of 16d and the 5d bracket, but they were not hard to work out. Oh – and also the second meaning of 17d.

    I did enjoy the “aha” at 26a but stupidly missed the parsing of 24a which was a bung-in.

    I’m with Jane in that it’s down to doing the quickies that 23d went in easily (or easilyish in my case).

    Thanks to Dada and Toro.

  12. We had problems in the SW corner. We worked out 16d with electronic help but the dog part of 17d had us stumped and neither BRB or Mrs B could help us with that one. Plenty to enjoy with the usual generous ration of smiles and chuckles from this setter.
    Thanks Dada and Toro.

    1. Agree with you over the SW corner, 2Ks. I didn’t know 16d which made me slow to get 24&26a. As for 17d – I did know it, because as a child I had a Pembroke Corgi, but they are both TYPES of Corgi. A 17d does not exist as a breed, so the clue was rather ‘iffy’. Perhaps Dada should at least have used a question mark.

  13. SW corner hard for me too. Had “mandarin” for 17d and so “ecru” for 24a. Didn’t like either clue at all.
    My favourite was 8d which made me laugh out loud. Thank you to Dada and Toro.

  14. Quite a nice puzzle though not too testing. It sounds like the “Bijou Joint” has done the rounds before but today was my first exposure so it made me laugh when the penny dropped. The type of corgi needed dredging up from the mental depths as I think I have bumped into the dog before in crosswordland before but not in real life. Thanks to setter and blogger (seems his hot pants picture got corrupted?)

    I usually find Petitjean harder than most others so tomorrow may be another story

      1. I have got into the habit of tackling the Toughie before the back pager, so there might not be time left for Jay!

        1. It’s something that I’m just beginning to do. Although why I never did this before is beyond me. As Petitjean may be tomorrow.

          There’s always time for Jay.

          1. You’re both very brave. I need the back-pager to warm up the old grey matter before I can tackle the tough guys. To be honest, PJ back-pagers can be a bit testing at times!

        2. Me too. I do the Toughie on my own over the morning cuppa (or several cuppas if it’s a real Toughie) and then the back page over lunch with pommette. Actually it’s her wot does the puzzle while I does the eating but she lets me get the odd one when she gets a bit stuck. (I also have a look at the Grauniad most days and print out a few FT’s if I like the setter – Neo today so I won’t waste the ink).

  15. I always find this Toughie setter difficult and it takes me for ever to get onto the right wave-length – today it took even longer than usual.
    I missed the 1a anagram for far too long and also the 21a anagram.
    I’ve never heard of 16d.
    I did, eventually, finish it, apart from 24a (there’s always at least one I can’t do in every Toughie) and enjoyed it very much.
    Top clues for me were 18a and 8d. Favourite was either 13 or 26a.
    With thanks to Dada and to Toro.

  16. Held up in the SW corner (didn’t spot 26a at all) so 3*/3* for me. 13a brought back memories of a certain stunning young lady in 1971, which distracted me for a while, so gets my vote as favourite clue. Thanks to Dada for the reminder of that all too stirring sight, and to Toro for the review.

  17. Only disappointment for me 17d in an otherwise really entertaining puzzle from which 26a brought the biggest smile although it took ages but then most things do these days .
    Lovely ,thanks Dada and Toro too .

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