Toughie 1580

Toughie No 1580 by Dada

Hints and tips by ShropshireLad

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **/***Enjoyment ***

Good Afternoon from your stand in ‘Hinty Person’ here in sunny Shropshire. I’m really not quite sure what to say about this ‘Toughie’ from Dada, I think it may split opinions. I started off in the South and gradually worked my way up, with the NW my last section to be filled in. There are some really good surfaces and clue constructs but a few have left me ‘dithering’ in the DD/Cryptic/&lit area. That’s OK if I’m just solving the puzzle because I know in my head what I mean – but it does leave me in a quandary when writing a review. Anyway, make of it what you will.

The definitions are underlined and if my hints don’t help you to reach the correct answer – you can always press on the grey ‘Click here! Button.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Tool — one wasn’t for grinding (5,3)
TENON SAW: An anagram (for grinding) of ONE WASN’T. Go on, how many thought (like me) of some kind of axe on the first read through?

9a    Pie with no filling consumed by stern, grim figure? (6)
REAPER: Take the word ‘pie’ and remove the middle letter (with no filling). That is now inserted into (consumed) by a 4 letter word for ‘stern’. We are not looking for ‘stern’ as in ‘grim’.

10a    Travel  proposal (6)
MOTION: Double definition, the latter being a ‘proposal’ put the committee.

11a    Decade passed by stuck in relationships (8)
TWENTIES: A synonym for ‘passed by’, inserted (stuck in) another 4 letter word for ‘relationships’.

12a    Wind echoes upon secreting one — which person sat on it? (7,7)
WHOOPEE CUSHION: Where do I start? The whole clue could be construed to be cryptic/&lit but with wordplay from an anagram (wind) of ECHOES UPON and I (secreting one). Then take a synonym for ‘which person’ before (sat on it) the anagram material. I going to stop right there before my head explodes!

15a    Bound  to miss out (4)
SKIP: Double definition, the first being a form of exercise you would do with a rope.

17a    Catty remark, contrary point that was painful! (5)
MIAOW: Reverse (contrary) a 3 letter word for ‘point’ and a 2 letter exclamation you could use for being in pain.

19a    Nut that may turn? (4)
KOOK: A nice little palindrome here (that may turn) of an oddball (nut).

20a    National Park hikes as orderly when rambling? (9,5)
YORKSHIRE DALES: An anagram (when rambling) of HIKES AS ORDERLY.

23a    Delicate service returned, netted by energetic type (8)
GOSSAMER: A type of religious service reversed (returned) contained in (netted by) a term for an energetic type.

25a    Swimmer after coral stripping away odd bits — that’s stupid (6)
OAFISH: The generic term for brill, bass, salmon etc. follows (after) the word ‘coral’ minus (stripping away) it’s odd letters.

27a    Queen trendy, wearing flash fabric (6)
MERINO: The 2 letter abbreviation for our current Queen and then a term for ‘trendy are contained (wearing) an abbreviation of a word for a short space of time ‘flash.’

28a    Black is in fashion in dump (8)
JETTISON: Take a type of ‘black’ colour. Then insert (in) the ‘is’ from the clue into a 3 letter word for ‘fashion’. I can’t recall ever coming across this term for ‘fashion’, but it’s right there in the BRB in its second definition.


1d    Covered in glaze, roast duck (4)
ZERO: A lurker.

2d    Charming thing drinhking sweet vermouth, rum, sugar, lime, mint and soda! (6)
MOJITO: This is also is making my head hurt. The answer we are looking for is a cocktail which is made from the set of ingredients – hence the ‘it’. The ‘charming thing’ is a ‘magic spell or a charm’. That contains (drinking) the ‘it’. If you’re none the wiser, that’s OK. I’m not either. [An old crossword favourite that I ought to add to the Usual Suspects – It is short for Italian Vermouth, as in “Gin & It”; French Vermouth gives “Gin & French”. BD]

3d    Hoist drags bone up (4)
SWOT: Reverse (hoist) a term for ‘drags’ ie ‘by a tractor.

4d    Synopses, pants! (6)
BRIEFS: Double definition, the latter being a term for underpants.

5d    Smooth digesting key, it does cows good (4,4)
SALT LICK: Take a synonym for ‘smooth’ (as in a ????? operation) to contain (digesting) a type of ‘key’ found on a keyboard.

6d    About right, figure carried a large surge (6,4)
SEVERN BORE: The abbreviation for ‘right’ contained (about) by a number (figure) and a verb for ‘carried’. This one was a bit of a ‘gimmie’ for me considering my geographical location.

8d    Shaft setter and supporter (7)
SUNBEAM: A star that sets on our planet (setter) and a type of support (seen exposed in barn conversions etc.).

13d    Activity of party, perhaps, importing essential fuel to Scottish island (5,5)
HOKEY COKEY: An island in the Orkneys (Scottish Island) contains (importing) a synonym for ‘essential’ and a type of fuel.

14d    Fur on head of indigenous American mammal (5)
COATI: What ‘fur’ could be described as on an animal and the head of (I)digenous. This little chap is becoming quite a regular in crosswordland.

16d    Fancy parodist somewhere in Egypt (4,4)
PORT SAID: An anagram (fancy) of PARODIST.

18d    Eradicate a little suspicion in the audience? (4,3)
WEED OUT: Little (in Scottish) followed by a homophone (in the audience) of suspicion. I can imagine hearing Private Frazer (John Laurie) say this.

21d    Wind is up, low over capital of Morocco (6)
SIMOOM: ‘Is’ from the clue reversed (up – reversal indicator in a ‘down’ clue) and noise from a cow (low) followed by (over) the capital of (M)orocco. Haven’t seen this wind in a clue for some time.

22d    Relationship  that’s a concern? (6)
AFFAIR: Double definition. The former being a type of clandestine fling.

24d    Asian leader that’s not quite shut up! (4)
RAJA: ‘When is a door not a door’? When it’s not quite shut – reversed (up – reversal indicator in a ‘down’ clue). A bit of Déjà vu there.

26d    Here, flakes ultimately present? (4)
SNOW: Take the end letter (ultimately) of ‘flakes’ and an adjective for ‘present’. The whole clue provides the definition.

I am now going to lie down in a darkened room with a cool towel over my ‘sweated brow’ – I will never blog a Dada again. I enjoyed it but try reviewing it. Thanks to Gazza for the help.

Let us know what clue(s) made you smile.


  1. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was a super crossword.
    Still laughing 😆 at the very clever 12a and loved 2d.
    Liked also the “catty remark” in 17a and the surface in 9a (grim figure).
    Thanks to Dada and to SL for the review.

  2. Shropshirelad
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    There you go – confused myself over 2d. Note to self – must try harder.

    Thanks for the enlightenment BD :)

  3. pommers
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one. Liked the catty remark and the rum cocktail but fav has to be the splendid 12a :-)

    ***/**** from me.

    Thanks to Dada and SL

  4. Gazza
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Dada for a fun puzzle and to SL for the review. Favourite clue has to be the superb 12a. Was I the only one to be tempted by knob for 19a before second thoughts prevailed?

    • Hanni
      Posted April 5, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      No. I really wanted knob too.

      • JB
        Posted April 5, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        Surely it should be “knob”? It’s slang for “nut” or “head” and it turns!

        • pommers
          Posted April 5, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          Never come across knob as slang for head but it is a slang term for another part of the (male) body :-)

    • Jane
      Posted April 5, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      I wanted knob, put it in and left it in! Seemed like a much better answer.

      • Kitty
        Posted April 5, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        It seemed a bit much, but I put it in when Mr K suggested it – it did fit after all.

        • Dutch
          Posted April 5, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink


          • Kitty
            Posted April 5, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

            I was going to say when he came up with it … but the five minute window had passed. Grr.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted April 5, 2016 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      Right (in my very best Joyce Grenfell voice), this nonsense has to cease young Gazza – yes you. Do stop playing with that thing and pay attention, there’s a good boy. The same goes for you young pommers – you never know where that might lead. Girls, girls – GIRLS – at last I’ve got your attention. What was that Hannah? You want to sharpen who’s pencil? Why dear girl? No – I’m sure there’s quite enough lead to be seen. Kitty and Jane – do stop giggling there……….. no, it’s a palindrome.

      • Hanni
        Posted April 5, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        I used to read “George Don’t do That” to my sister. She can read by the way.

        Leave my pencils out of this innuendo! They are lovely.

      • Jane
        Posted April 5, 2016 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        To be honest, SL, I think you were the only one who read anything naughty into Gazza’s comment and the subsequent replies from Hanni and myself. However, Kitty seems to have followed your drift…………..!

        • Kitty
          Posted April 5, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

          You have a high opinion of your fellow commenters, Jane. I imagined that we were all coming from the same place.

          • Jane
            Posted April 5, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

            Always think highly of everyone, Kitty. Which is another way of saying that the innuendo completely passed me by until I spotted your comment.
            I’ll just go and sit in the goody-two-shoes corner………!

            • Kitty
              Posted April 5, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

              That’s because you are lovely, Jane. Don’t sit in the goody-two-shoes corner – you’ll have much more fun with the rest of us in the naughty corner.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted April 5, 2016 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        Excellent. Only caught up with what has been going on.
        You lot are a real bonk 😎.

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted April 5, 2016 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

          I have no idea what you’re on about J-L : whistling thingy:

  5. Hanni
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Stupid pretend pangram. After missing such an obvious one the other day I am hyper-vigilant about them now. So when 1d went I thought we might be on for one and started looking for other unusual letters. Never happened.

    However that didn’t stop me enjoying a really good puzzle. I’ve just realised I never did parse 2d correctly and I absently pencilled in ‘tied’ for 15a on first pass. God knows why?

    The rest went in OK, just needed to look up 21d but it was very fairly clued. I’m sure I’ve come across it before.

    12a made me smile but now I understand it more 2d gets the favourite award.

    Many thanks to Dada for a great puzzle and to SL for an excellent blog. Glad to see the surfers back for 6d.

  6. Kath
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    I loved it.
    I failed on 15a (I had jump) and, because of that, also failed on 13d and anyway thought I was hunting for a Scottish Island – oh dear!
    Couldn’t do 5d either – that blasted ‘key’ and the other one at the bottom of the keyboard gets me every time – and couldn’t get 19a.
    I agree with everyone about 12a but I also liked 17a and 2d. My favourite was 18d.
    With thanks to Dada for an excellent crossword and to SL for an equally excellent review.
    Back to the garden . . .

    • Kitty
      Posted April 5, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      You weren’t the only one with an alternative 15a, Kath. I wonder how many of us are in that club.

    • Expat Chris
      Posted April 5, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Me too on 15A! And because of that, I tried Housy Housy for 13D until i got 27A.

      • Jane
        Posted April 5, 2016 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        Yep – Housy Housy here as well!

  7. Kitty
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I very much enjoyed this. Printed it off last night and did about half before sleep came and took me. So unusually I was solving in a backwards order this morning (which I was inclined to blame for the difficulty I had over on the other side). No problems until the last three (well, four, it turned out) at which point I enlisted help.

    I so wanted MILK as the second word of 5d that I was blind to the correct answer until it was actually staring me in the face. I speak no word of a lie when I tell you that Mr K offered up the wrong answer for 19a … I needed to search out some words before I found the right nut. As for 13d, I was at a total loss and had to use SL’s excellent hint there. It transpired I’d entered the wrong thing for 15a – I had “leap.”

    Other than those sticky points at the end, it was hard in all the right ways: manageable but satisfying.

    I needed the blog too to completely sort out 2d, and 21d was new to me, although not a problem to get. Favourites? I liked the anagram indicator in 7a and the definitions of 7a, 3d and 8d. Cleverest clue was 12a and my favourite answer was 5d.

    Many thanks to Dada and ShropshireLad. Excellent stuff from both.

  8. halcyon
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Not knowing how to spell it properly I wanted to fit Mukle Fluga into 13d once I had the K from 15a. Serves me right. Apart from that – pretty straightforward and good fun [especially 12a]. I also liked 3d [bone up] and 24d [shut up]. I’m in the knob camp for 19a – it fits as well as the other option.
    Re 2d – I hope we will not all be expected to bone up on mixology [horrible word] in order solve more Dada clues. ……actually, come to think of it there are all those bilious coloured tinctures at the back of the booze cupboard!

    Many thanks to Dada and to SL for a fine blog.

  9. Jane
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    OK – don’t mind being in the minority. This wasn’t one of my favourite puzzles – possibly I struggled for the wavelength?
    Anyway, there were some good ones – 9&17a plus 2d get my votes.
    Wondered whether there was a nod to Mr. T in 8d.
    Still think 19a should have been ‘knob’.

    Thanks to Dada and many thanks to SL for the great blog. I needed your help with the parsing of 12a and also 28a – I didn’t know that word for fashion either so, no matter which way I tried to work it out, I finished up with a random ‘T’.

    • pommers
      Posted April 5, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Remember TON for fashion as it’s a bit of a regular.

  10. stanXYZ
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Nice stuff from Dada.

    12a – my favourite. I tried and tried to parse it but failed – so thanks for the explanation SL.

    19a – I also pencilled in bonk knob.

    Thanks to all.

  11. Sh-Shoney
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable but I didn’t get 2d, and I’m not sure I understand the explanation! Didn’t help putting LEAP instead of SKIP for 15a either. In 28a TON for fashion was new to me. Thought 8d & 21d were excellent. Many thanks to all concerned. Sh-Shoney.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted April 5, 2016 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      To clarify Sh-Shoney – I was thinking way too far out of the box in trying to parse the clue, so my initial hint is wrong – well partially – no, wrong.

      The definition is a cocktail made from ‘rum, sugar, lime and soda’ from the clue.

      The word play is ‘charming thing’ (Mojo), ‘drinking’ (containing) what ‘sweet vermouth’ is known as (it) – see BD’s comment on the clue.

      Sorry to have misled you or any others.

  12. crypticsue
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I loved it too, especially 12a. And no, I didn’t think AXE for 1a because the correct tool is currently “setters’ implement of the month”, unless of course you are gardeniing when they seem quite fond of a hoe at the moment.

    Thanks to Dada for a good start to the Toughie week and to SL for the hinty bits.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted April 5, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Hi CS – I do hope ‘hoe’ is not a homophone of something which appeared recently in a puzzle by Snape.

      • Jane
        Posted April 5, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        See – there you go again! What are you drinking?

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted April 5, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

          A rather splendid ‘The Ned Waihopai River Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Marlborough’ from Majestic actually.

          • Kitty
            Posted April 5, 2016 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

            I’ll drink (to) that. :)

          • 2Kiwis
            Posted April 5, 2016 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

            We drove through that area a few days ago on our way home.

            • Shropshirelad
              Posted April 5, 2016 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

              Hi 2K’s – purely out of interest, is that particular wine sold in NZ and if it is what’s the cost?

              BTW – Do you think the referendum outcome on a the NZ flag reflected what your fellow nationals thought. I must say, it was lovely to see your country retain it’s current flag.

              • KiwiColin
                Posted April 5, 2016 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

                Hi SL, I do not know that particular wine but a quick on-line search shows that it is available here. The price quoted was NZ$18.00 per bottle which roughly converts to about 9 pounds in your money.

                On the flag thing. I did comment at the time. We are disappointed with the result. Most Kiwis are in favour of a change because of confusion with the Australian one and it is anachronistic to think of us still being a dependent colony. However because many people were unhappy about the way the poll was conducted and mixed feelings about the alternative design, the result opted for no change. A great pity in our opinion.

                • Shropshirelad
                  Posted April 5, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

                  We seem to be getting a better deal here on that particular wine back here in the UK. So thanks for the info.

                  I’m sorry to hear the majority of your fellow Kiwi’s were disappointed in the referendum and how it was handled. In the UK – we’ve been there – done it, and are about to undergo it again. I despair.

                  • Miffypops
                    Posted April 5, 2016 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

                    We are losing interest in the Union Flag in favour of the simple cross of St George. If the rest want devolution we don’t want them on our flag

  13. Miffypops
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Solved after much too much effort. The salt wash led to head which led to the bore starting life out as a wave but the joke shop sorted all of that out. Thanks to Mr SL for the correct underlining to 3D which I was struggling to understand. Crib night tonight. My team are reigning champions but are floundering near the bottom of the table this year. I suspect the same will happen to Leicester next season.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted April 5, 2016 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      Best of luck with the crib dear old Miffypops. Is that the ‘Tigers’ or the ‘Foxes’?

      • Miffypops
        Posted April 5, 2016 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        I was referring to the girls Jim

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted April 5, 2016 at 8:48 pm | Permalink


  14. 2Kiwis
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Excellent fun as we have come to expect every time from Dada. We were quite satisfied that we had the right answer when we put ‘knob’ into 19a that we did not ever question it, though on seeing the correct answer here, must agree that it is a better one. Felt pleased with ourselves that we got 20a without using references, despite starting off with ‘Lakes’ as a possibility for the second word. Really enjoyed it all.
    Thanks Dada and SL.

  15. Sheffieldsy
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    A solo effort today because Mrs Sheffieldsy and I are temporarily apart due to parental medical problems (reuniting tomorrow). Yet again an ill-advised entry led to later grief, as I had put in ‘SHORTS’ for 4d. I was unable to self-correct and had to fall back on ShropshireLad’s excellent blog to readjust.

    A host of lovely clues, with all my favourites bring across clues: 12, 23, 27 & 28. Pride of place for somewhat schoolboy reasons goes to 12a.

    Thanks to Dada for a great puzzle.

    • Sheffieldsy
      Posted April 5, 2016 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Oh, and ***/*** imho.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted April 5, 2016 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      I do hope that your ‘parental medical problems’ improve. I’m also glad my hints helped you on your ‘solo’ solve. Well done.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted April 5, 2016 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      I did pencil in SHORTS also at first and even went further with HARPED in 9a until I had to backtrack.

  16. Jon_S
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Well, it does say that it’s the Toughie. My head hurt by the end of it, not helped by the almost pangram which had me hunting for letters that wouldn’t be there.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted April 5, 2016 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Jon_S, I was also looking for a pangram. There seems to be have been quite a few ‘nearly’ pangram puzzles- I reckon they’re playing with us.

  17. Expat Chris
    Posted April 6, 2016 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    It appears I was not alone in having jump for 15A and Housy Housy for 13D initially. I feel better now, though because of 15A I couldn’t solve 13D once I had 27A. An alternative to the correct answer for 19A never occurred to me, not that my mind doesn’t entertain more raunchy alternatives at times (you’d be surprised how low I can sink!) but because I was lost in the 60’s and 77 Sunset Strip. Favorite, along with others commenters, was the super 12A, but 9A also raised a smile.Thanks Dada and SL.

  18. Heno
    Posted April 6, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Dada and to Shropshire Lad for the review and hints. A load of fun, great stuff. Some very funny clues. Needed 6 hints to finish. Had calf milk for 5d,and leap for 15a. Couldn’t get 17a,2,8,14d. Favourite was 12a. Thought 2d was a very good clue. Was 3*/4* for me. Great entertainment.