Toughie 1519

Toughie No 1519 by Dada

Hints and tips by Bufo

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A pleasant puzzle from Dada. I did the left-hand side very quickly but then slowed down. I’m not sure why because there was nothing particularly obscure

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    Blooming area, wild gorse and forest (4,6)
ROSE GARDEN: An anagram (wild) of GORSE + a forest in the Midlands, the setting for As You Like It

6a    Islamic chief held back by Montessori method (4)
EMIR: Hidden in reverse in MontessoRI MEthod

9a    Japanese city is recalled thus by this other name (5)
OSAKA: A reversal of ‘thus’ + an abbreviation used to indicate an alias

10a    Skip has reportedly reeled in a beauty (4,5)
MISS WORLD: ‘To skip’ + a homophone of ‘reeled’ = the winner of a major international beauty pageant.

12a    Taking this stance, one’s balanced solution is to set about party leader (5,8)
LOTUS POSITION: An anagram (set) of SOLUTION IS TO round P (party member). I can’t say that I’m keen on ‘set’ as an anagram indicator

14a    Gas meter finally found between egg and melon (8)
NITROGEN: The most abundant gas in the atmosphere = R (last letter of meteR) between an egg and a kind of melon

15a    Referring to sound image, hospital working to jam it (6)
PHONIC: An abbreviated for of a word meaning ‘image’ goes round H (hospital) and ‘working’

17a    Find little girl on the radio? (6)
LOCATE: Homophones of ‘little (not tall)’ and a girl’s name (e.g. the Duchess of Cambridge)

19a    Shout is in the direction of nymph (8)
CALLISTO: ‘Shout’ + IS + ‘in the direction of’ = a nymph in Greek mythology

22a    An item to digest, hot air coming from Brussels? (7,6)
BELGIAN WAFFLE: The nationality of something originating in Brussels + ‘hot air’

24a    Orange, brown and kind of green, I gathered (9)
TANGERINE: ‘Brown’ + an anagram (kind of) of GREEN round I

25a    Speed past back of Ferrari, shaking one’s fist? (5)
IRATE: ‘Speed’ follows I (last letter of FerrarI) to give ‘angry’

26a    Go round both sides and look over to break in (4)
ROLL: The abbreviations for ‘right’ and ‘left’ round a reversal of ‘Look!’

27a    Spreading of large moss smothers last of valerian, fragrant plant (5,5)
LEMON GRASS: An anagram (spreading) of LARGE MOSS round N (last letter of valeriaN)


1d    Blast the public disorder! (4)
RIOT: 2 meanings: blast (wildly enjoyable occasion)/public disorder

2d    Hole round the black stuff is bright at night (7)
STARLIT: A long thin hole round a black viscous substance

3d    Negotiator is dithering about sign-off in contract, the old plodder (5,8)
GIANT TORTOISE: An anagram (dithering) of NEGOTIATOR IS round the last letter (sign-off) of contract = a large, slow-moving creature from the Galapagos Islands

4d    Copy a record in secret, same record turned over (8)
REMASTER: Hidden in reverse in secrET SAME Record

5d    School touring American station (6)
EUSTON: A famous public school round ‘American’ = a London terminus

7d    Bird eating a strange creature (7)
MARTIAN: A bird similar to a swallow round A = an imagined inhabitant of another world

8d    Free choice primarily in grip, on cracking whip (6,4)
RIDING CROP: ‘To free’ + C (first letter of Choice) in an anagram (cracking) of GRIP ON = a whip used by a horseman or horsewoman

11d    It’s a sport but cryptically perhaps not? (13)
WEIGHTLIFTING: An Olympic strength sport. If the answer were the cryptic part of a clue it could give NOT by reversing TON

13d    Nipper, a flea in one’s sock? (5,5)
ANKLE BITER: A slang word for a child could also be applied to a flea that attacks part of the lower leg

16d    Dutchman’s definitely going to old country, up for something hot (8)
JALAPENO: The Dutch word for ‘yes (definitely)’ + a reversal of O (old) and an Asian country = an especially hot type of capsicum pepper. This is the second time in a few weeks that HABANERO could also have fitted the checked letters

18d    Soldier with pass left after lunchtime (7)
COLONEL: A mountain pass + L after the hour at which you take lunch. My lunch is usually just before this time while I watch the business end of Bargain Hunt

20d    Scorer a cheeky couple up, having nicked 1,000 (7)
SMETANA: A Czech composer (one who scores) = a reversal of A and a word for the buttocks (a cheeky couple) round M (1000). This word for the buttocks came up a few weeks ago and I was surprised how many people hadn’t heard of it

21d    Spark visible, did you say? (6)
INCITE: ‘To spark’ = a homophone of ‘visible’ (2,5)

23d    Information covering all points? (4)
NEWS: An old chestnut. The answer is made up of all four cardinal points of the compass

The kitchen should be finished today, thank goodness!


  1. dutch
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Agree with the ratings, got onto a few wrong tracks but that is my fault (or rather, I succumbed to the setter’s excellent deception). Loved the homophone in 10a. Quite liked 26a (go round both sides) – simple, but you still had to put it together right. Liked 4d as well (same record turned over). I remember the buttocks (20d) from a few weeks ago, I was one who hadn’t heard of them, so just goes to show how useful such new knowledge can be.

    And I liked “up for” in the dutchman clue (16d)

    Many thanks Bufo for the parsing of 11d, which had escaped me (or rather, which was one of the excellent deceptions) and may thanks Dada for a most enjoyable puzzle

  2. Werm
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was actually easier than the back pager. The last three there took me ages and meant it took twice as long as this toughie. 11d really brought a smile to my face. Thanks to Dada and to Bufo for the review.

  3. Expat Chris
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    The answer to 20D popped into my head once the checking letters were in place. Right answer, wrong career. I was thinking footballer and yes, there is one of that name! Of course, I had not remembered the buttocks word, so I was not able to parse the clue. So much to like here, but I’ll stick with my short list of 1A, 10A, 12A, 1D, and 13D. Thanks Dada and Bufo.

  4. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    We ended up with a couple of errors. We had the spelling wrong in 16d and then put coffee for the second word of 22a. Pure carelessness. Lots of fun as ever from Dada and much enjoyed.
    Thanks Dada and Bufo.

  5. Salty Dog
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    So much joy in this one for me! How did Dada know the name of my boat? Still, it saves me the trouble of looking for another favourite – 19a it is. 2*/4* overall. Many thanks to Dada, and to Bufo.

  6. Gazza
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Notabilis tomorrow.

  7. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Only had a chance to look at the toughie and glad I did.
    Very much enjoyed the solve and had my memory drive on full power.
    The melon ? came from the depth of the said memory and so did the nymph which I always confuse with either calliope or calypso.
    The old plodder in 3d brought a smile.
    9a wins my vote for the best surface and 11d favourite favourite.
    Thanks to Dada and to Bufo for the review.

  8. Jane
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I know it doesn’t affect any of you super-solvers but I do find that the actual pseudonyms of Toughie setters has a huge bearing on how I view their puzzles. Beam, Excalibur and Warbler are all ‘nice’ words, so I approach their puzzles quite happily – even though I may struggle with them in reality at times. On the other hand ‘Dada’ puts me in mind of a character in a horror movie (don’t know whether there actually is one with such a name) so I am defeated before I start. Rather like Brian with Mr. T back-pagers!

    In the event, I found this one quite ‘doable’ in the main and certainly very enjoyable. There were a few things I didn’t know:- the composer for one, the fact that 19a is a nymph (I only knew it as one of the moons of Jupiter), the definition of 13d (I always think of dogs – particularly corgis!) and that 4d is an actual word – I expected it to be ‘re-master’. I also needed Bufo’s assistance to parse 11d.

    I particularly liked 9a & 3d but my winner by a country mile is 22a – still laughing!

    Thanks to Dada and also to Bufo for a splendid review. If you’re still around, I think there are a couple of slips in the hints – 5d answer is given as just the name of the school and the enumeration for 21d should be 6 not 2,5 – I suspect you were thinking of the ‘what you say’!

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jane,
      Dada in French is a nice way of saying my name.
      It’s the equivalent of your GG and it’s also another meaning of hobby.
      This might help stopping you being scared of the setter.

      • Jane
        Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        Hi JL, I’ve just recalled the association I have with ‘Dada’ – Idi Amin. That explains a lot!
        Some people this side of the channel also use Dada to a young child as a name for their father and likewise Mama for mother. I hate either word and always used Daddy and Mummy with my girls – I suppose it’s just personal preference. Yes, we also have GeeGee for a horse along with ChuffChuff for a train!
        I’ve discovered since moving here that the Welsh refer to their mothers as ‘Mam’ with a short ‘a’ sound – I was brought up to understand that only very ‘common’ people would ever say that! Amazing how often our perception of folk is dictated by our upbringing.

        • Expat Chris
          Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

          I associate Dada with a bizarre Art & Literary movement of the early 20th century. With all of these explanations, now I’m wondering how Dada chose that as a pseudonym!

          • Jane
            Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

            Just asked Mr. Google. One of the answers he gave in an interview is that it was in honour of his late father. So now we know he wasn’t in the ‘Daddy’ camp!

    • Expat Chris
      Posted December 17, 2015 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      I think the (2,5) in 21D is an extra clarification… if you say the homophone for ‘visible’ out loud, it’s two words of 2 and 5 letters respectively.

      • Jane
        Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        Just my stupidity, Chris. I only noticed the 2,5 (which I knew was the homophone) and not the fact that Bufo had given the correct enumeration alongside the hint. Must remember to ‘engage brain before opening mouth’………!

    • Posted December 17, 2015 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      5d now sorted – thanks

  9. Shropshirelad
    Posted December 17, 2015 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    V. late on parade today. I do like a good Dada toughies and this was no exception – but I found today’s back pager was a tad more difficult. Composers (musical) seem to be the flavour of the month and although I’m not complaining, it does seem to me that some GK of the subject is required. 14a taught me a couple of new words and I thought 4d was a corker of a lurker (btw Bufo – you haven’t highlighted the last ‘r’ in the hint).

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