Toughie 1544 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1544

Toughie No 1544 by Dada

Hints and tips by Toro

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment **

An oddly Giovanni-like offering from Dada today, but with a rather rushed feel about it. This week’s Rookie Corner puzzle by Maize is much more polished and satisfying and I urge you to do it if you haven’t already.

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.


7a Paper in binder likely to get torn? (7)
FRAGILE Pejorative term for a newspaper in a file or folder

8a Second merchant requiring slight reduction in wine (7)
MOSELLE A second or tick + merchant or vendor minus the last letter

10a Rhubarb a smidgen less hairy? (10)
BALDERDASH Less hairy (or more hairless) + a smidgen or drop

11a Listener puzzle’s ultimate sport that’s going downhill fast (4)
LUGE Colloquial term for the listening organ + (puzzl)E


12a Thick piece of meat I put in flat, perhaps (8)
NOISETTE I from the clue + put or place, all inside what a flat (like a sharp) is an example of

14a Winning — shame arrogant (6)
UPPITY Winning or in the lead + shame or regrettable situation

15a Box in the country with new range for cooking ingredient (4,7)
MALT VINEGAR The box one watches inside an African country, then anagram of RANGE


19a A meaty gun? (6)
BANGER A meaty food item that could be construed as meaning a gun

20a Protestant reformation of Henry originally neutral? (8)
LUTHERAN Anagram of H(enry) NEUTRAL

22a Light entertainment here (4)
FAIR Light (of hair or skin) and a place of entertainment or amusements

23a Delivery-based methodology strict, so be prepared (10)

25a European hostel’s probing search (7)
FINNISH A hostel or tavern inside to search or cast about

26a Determined soldier behind the embodiment of God’s creation (7)
ADAMANT A six-legged soldier after the first human in the Genesis myth



1d Initially tame excuse for offence (7)
TREASON T(ame) + an excuse or justification

2d Minced oath coming up in propaganda, generally (4)

3d County cricket finally demanding blood (6)
CLARET An Irish county + (cricke)T

4d Steamy environment, with underwear inspiring you (8)
HOTHOUSE Ladies’ legwear around archaic you

5d Instrument on top of it, hard to break glass transparent material (10)
CELLOPHANE Musical instrument, then H(ard) inside a sheet of glass

6d Get home in the Blitz via carrying torch (7)
BLIGHTY Via or through around a torch or other source of illumination


9d Happen to beat Israeli team (11)

13d Belt out to secure tail of dog that’s walking with some confidence (10)
SWAGGERING To belt out or perform a song around a punning description of a dog’s tail

16d Design too brash one’s felt with a tassel (8)


17d Champion, boy in agony (7)
PALADIN Boy or youth inside agony or physical discomfort

18d Old French province where rabbit’s kept under anaesthetic (7)
GASCONY A type of anaesthetic + an old word for an adult rabbit

21d Temperature’s weak of the upper crust (6)
TWEEDY T(emperature) + weak or puny

24d Poet and mystic in spirit, I? (4)
RUMI An alcoholic spirit + I from the clue


11a and 24d stood out for me. Not too much else did.

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

21 comments on “Toughie 1544

  1. Thanks Toro

    I enjoyed probing search (25a), light entertainment (22a), one’s felt with a tassle (16d), and hard to break glass (5d) – (but not the “on top of it” bit). Wasn’t too keen on the meaty gun. I should have recognised the poet & mystic earlier (24d), and I need to brush up on my Irish counties (3d).

    Many thanks Dada

  2. I liked it. Well, except for 19A, which was a groaner. My favorites are 23A, 6D and 13D, but 6D gets the top spot because its such a lovely word that one doesn’t hear these days. Thanks Dada, and thanks to Toro for the review.

  3. A lot more enjoyable than the back pager but still very workman like I thought. Never mind, it’s only Tuesday. With the new ‘Dad’s Army’ film being on general release in a few days, 6d is obviously meant to get us in the right mood. There were a few other clues that tickled my fancy but the biggest smile came with 11a – so that’s my favourite of the day.

    Thanks to Dada for the puzzle and to Toro for his usual succinct review.

    Btw – was a pleasure meeting up with you on Saturday. I think it’s safe to say that a good time was had by all.

      1. In the words of Mr Schwarzenegger, in Terminator 2 Rise of the Machines – ‘I have detailed files’ :cool:

  4. It all went in very tidily , until I came to the north east part, but that capitulated eventually.
    10a was my first in and quite amusing , I think, and 23 a made me smile when I worked out the anagram.5d is my favourite, although I kept following false leads .
    All in all, very enjoyable.Thanks to Dada and Toro.

  5. 19a planted an ear-worm with me that I have been replaying ever since. It starts of with the line “Didn’t we have a lovely time the day we went………..” Nothing at all to do with either the clue or the answer but there it is. 12a took much longer to parse than it should have. Dada always seems to keep us smiling and this was no exception. Not too taxing and good fun.
    Thanks Dada and Toro.

      1. I don’t know Jane , when driving from Holyhead to London , I just love that stretch of road , along the North Wales coast . Very pretty, but then I’m not stopping.

        1. Hi Una,
          Yes – the road is very pretty (when it’s not flooded!) but I wouldn’t suggest that you make a detour into town!
          Next time you’re making the journey, please do let me know and we could perhaps meet up for lunch/coffee? I’m only some 10mns. from the Menai Bridge and would love to see you.

  6. I’m with you, Toro – the Rookie puzzle from Maize had far more about it.
    A couple of new words for me at 16&24d and a smile evoked by 10&14a plus 4&13d but nothing to mark this as a memorable Toughie.
    Can someone explain to me why ‘minced’ is necessary in 2d – I’m obviously missing something.

    Apologies to Dada and many thanks to Toro for the review. Don’t worry about the haze surrounding Saturday night – unless, of course, you were led astray by your compatriot after I deposited you both on the relevant floor of the hotel at stupid o’clock? :unsure:

    1. A minced oath is a euphemistic expression formed by misspelling, mispronouncing, or replacing a part of a profane, blasphemous, or taboo term to reduce the original term’s objectionable characteristics. (Thanks to Wikipedia)
      Egad is a corruption of Oh God.

      1. Thank you, yet again, Gazza – I knew you’d come to the rescue. I was simply thinking that I hadn’t had to ‘mince’ anything, just find the reversed ‘hidden’.

  7. I originally put down “uppish” for 14a, so the NE corner didn’t work until I spotted my error. This took me a couple of minutes into 3* time, so 3*/3.5*. I have ticks against 23a, 18d and 13d (easy for me, with two very waggy springers!), but my favourite was 6d. Thanks to Dada, and Toro.

  8. Finally arrived and managed to finish the toughie with a bit of help as I couldn’t see what sort of vinegar to look for in 15a. Only rice and wine came to mind and the anagram in 16d was just impossible for me to unravel.
    So needed the hints for these two and for the meaty gun in 19a.
    Have to admit that I laughed out loud when solving 10a. Fabulous clue.
    A very strange coincidence in 6d as I went to visit friends in Covent garden and we were reminiscing on the nightclub in Great Queen Street called “The Blitz” which used to belong to my business partner Brendan and Chris Corbyn in 1979/1980.
    23a tip top. Another good laugh.
    Thanks to Dada and to our proletarian sweet and sour shrimp eater.

  9. Quite liked 10a, 15a and 21d and was pleased, at least, to have finished without help. Thanks to all 3*/3*

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