Toughie 1629

Toughie No 1629 by Dada

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Thanks to Dada for brightening up a wet and gloomy day in North Devon with a very enjoyable puzzle. My main area of difficulty was the SE corner. There are no homophones or Spoonerisms to cause dissension today.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a Mutton confined to history? Second in line is beef (8)
PASTRAMI – insert a provider of mutton between an adjective meaning no longer current and the second letter of line.

5a Marsupial getting flap cut from behind (6)
WOMBAT – put together a flap or attachment and a verb to cut grass then reverse it all.

9a Amount lost in second act of plundering (8)
SPILLAGE – the abbreviation for second followed by an act of plundering.

10a Old British leader, a general on the wagon? (6)
ATTLEE – split 1,2,3 this could be an abstinent Confederate general.

11a Giving endless criticism after getting bitter in recession (7)
ELASTIC – an informal word for criticism without its last letter follows the reversal of another word for beer.

12a Pork pie made from tail of cow, and frog or kangaroo, perhaps? (7)
WHOPPER – the last letter of cow followed by what a frog or kangaroo could be cryptically.

13a Nonsense, the other half as a whole? (6,5)
DOUBLE DUTCH – two halves make a whole so we have to take a Cockney word for a man’s ‘other half’ and multiply it by two.

16a A disgrace to criticise onion (11)
RAPSCALLION – charade of an informal verb to criticise and a small onion.

21a Fair, engaging revolutionary figure — as such? (7)
MARXIST – a fair or place of trade contains the reversal of a cardinal number.

22a Kind to welcome one not having a certain faith (7)
GENTILE – an adjective meaning kind or tender contains the Roman numeral for one.

23a Spicy thing that will embarrass a footballer? (6)
NUTMEG – double definition, the second is not a reference to Iceland but a verb to pass the ball between an opponent’s legs.

24a Plant first of lupins, flower back in front! (8)
VALERIAN – insert the first letter of lupins and the reversal of a Yorkshire river into an abbreviation for the front or foremost part.

25a Yellow stuff, some corn gets to grow bigger (6)
EARWAX – charade of the seed-bearing part of a corn plant and a verb to become progressively larger.

26a Current to wear a warmer fleece in South American city (8)
ASUNCIÓN – the symbol for electric current is inserted into A, the body that gives us all warmth and a verb to fleece or defraud.

Down Clues

1d Bill of the future monarchy? (6)
POSTER – split this 4,2 and it’s a description of the monarchy after our current Queen.

2d Wind heading for Limoges south of windy Paris (6)
SPIRAL – the first letter of Limoges follows an anagram (windy) of PARIS.

3d Rare to bury dead, it’s told (7)
RELATED – an adjective meaning rare, as in a steak, contains an adjective meaning dead.

4d Perfect drug good, but all mice furious about it? (5,6)
MAGIC BULLET – the abbreviation for good has an anagram (furious) of BUT ALL MICE surrounding it. Although I knew this phrase I didn’t know that it meant a drug that can destroy malignant cells without having adverse side effects.

6d Undergraduate educators told off about university, audibly (3,4)
OUT LOUD – the abbreviation for a UK university which teaches mainly by correspondence and over the airwaves is followed by an anagram (off) of TOLD containing the single-letter abbreviation for university.

7d American bird, one resembling a coot? (8)
BALDPATE – double definition, the first a kind of wild duck also known as the American wigeon and the second a person who could be described as being as **** as a coot.

8d People divided by chief’s divine rule (8)
THEARCHY – a pronoun referring to people in general (especially those in authority) contains an adjective meaning chief or principal.

12d Fish with legs music to a cat’s ears? (7,4)
WALKING BASS – the cat here is a jazz fan and the answer (completely new to me, so thanks Chambers) is a **** part in 4-4 rhythm using a simple repetitive tune moving up and down the octave. Cryptically it could be a sea fish able to move on foot. I think that the question mark really belongs to the ‘fish with legs’ rather than to the definition.

14d All-male relationship as couple heartlessly broken up by sultanate (8)
BROMANCE – a word for a couple or pair without its middle letter contains a Middle Eastern sultanate.

15d A report doctored in support of old surgeon, perhaps? (8)
OPERATOR – an anagram (doctored) of A REPORT follows O(ld).

17d Bell, a monster (7)
CHIMERA – a cryptic definition of a bell (especially one in a clock) is followed by A.

18d Durable material requiring Indian staple, sharp (7)
NANKEEN – charade of a type of Indian bread and an adjective meaning sharp or honed.

19d Pedallin’ over top of incline, gear in little pieces (6)
BIKINI – a present participle meaning pedalling without its final G is followed by the top letter of incline. What a lovely definition!

20d Ivy League member against flag (6)
PENNON – the short name of the Ivy League university based in Philadelphia is followed by a preposition meaning against.

Making my podium today are 10a, 13a and 19d. Which are your medal contenders?


  1. crypticsue
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A lovely Goldilocks of a Toughie – lots to enjoy but my top favourite has to be 19d for the d’oh moment when I spotted the definition.

    Thanks to Dada – more like this one please – and to Gazza too. Your rain is on our horizon – I’m delighted to report that I’ve managed a whole outdoor event (the all staff annual barbecue) without being drowned – 3rd time lucky!

  2. dutch
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Felt like quadrants had step increases in difficulty in the order NW NE SW SE.

    got a bit stuck in SE and gave up without parsing 24a so many thanks Gazza for sorting that one out.

    Should have seen 19d earlier – great penny drop – you won’t believe all the other things I tried to put in

    Liked the name drop in 13a, though at first read the clue seemed like, well, the answer.

    I knew the music to a cat’s ears, but still took a while to see the answer.

    Good challenge – many thanks Dada, and thanks of course to Gazza

  3. halcyon
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Now that’s more like it. A proper [Paul] toughie from Dada. Although, yet again, the grid was awful, it was more than made up for by some lovely, inventive clueing.
    Particular favourites – 6d [my last in, failed to spot the anagram till the very end] 12d [terrific – don’t forget there’s a homophone here too Gazza] and 19d [nicely hidden swimwear].

    Many thanks to Dada and to Gazza for the blog.

    • Gazza
      Posted June 29, 2016 at 2:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

      A homophone in 12d? I can’t see one.

      • dutch
        Posted June 29, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

        the fish is pronounced differently – is that a heterophone?

        • Gazza
          Posted June 29, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Ah – I see what you (and Halcyon) mean now. I think it’s called a heteronym.

          • halcyon
            Posted June 29, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Yes, heteronym it is – an inverse homophone I should have said, indicated by the cat’s ears.

  4. Expat Chris
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The top half of the grid went in at a good lick then I slowed down considerably. The southwest was unraveled slowly and then I was left with the Southeast, which gave me no end of trouble. I missed two. I probably should have got 20D, but it still would not have parsed properly because in my experience the abbreviation for the Ivy League in question always has four letters, not three. I also missed out on 24A. I did work out 12D and didn’t much like it. Several favorites, including 16A (because I just love the word), 26A and 19D. Thanks Dada and Gazza.

    • Gazza
      Posted June 29, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

      In 20d the Ivy League university does have 4 letters – It’s PENN + ON.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted June 29, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Then I must be having a thicker than usual moment, because I don’t understand the “preposition meaning against” part of your hint. I thought you must mean “non”.

        • Physicist
          Posted June 29, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

          “He was leaning on/against the wall.”

        • Expat Chris
          Posted June 29, 2016 at 11:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Well, I bow to more nimble minds. Maybe one day I will learn to keep my head below the parapet.

  5. dave lawes
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Lovely , though wasted most of my time working out that william tell was not the answer to 13d. Fave was19d
    thanks to Dada and Gazza

  6. dave lawes
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I meant 12d – typical of my day !!

  7. Kath
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

    :phew: I know it’s a Toughie – I found it really difficult.
    I failed completely on 24a, even though I know it really well as we have masses in the garden, and couldn’t do 20d either.
    6d caused trouble too.
    16a and the footbally meaning of 23a came into my head so I must have met them both before.
    I’ve never heard of 14d.
    I liked 1 and 26a and 1 and 19d.
    With thanks to Dada and to Gazza for sorting out my problem answers for me.

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    BRB came handy for the second definition in 23a (spicy stuff) and the music term in 12d (fish with legs) and thought it funny to have the sea wolf here and the wolf whistle on the back page.
    Totally irrelevant as usual.
    Liked 13a (nonsense) and favourite is 22a (kind to welcome).
    Thanks to Dada and to Gazza for the review.

  9. Conrad Cork
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The dictionary definitions of walking bass are scarcely adequate. The term really refers to the style of longer notes in the bass line (one note to each beat) personified by Leroy Vinnegar in the mid fifties, where the bass line made sense in its own right. It superseded the previous short note approach where the bass line was fundamentally the arpeggio of the chord.

    Anyone baffled by this should seek out ‘Doxy’ by Shelley Manne, where Vinnegar opens the track with an unaccompanied walking bass line for a whole chorus. Peerless.

    • dutch
      Posted June 29, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

      In my brief attempt to play in 50’s style rock bands (not jazz), I remember being told “oh no, please don’t walk it” – I guess because you walk up, then down, then up again etc, some perceive it as boring for a rock tune… or perhaps it was me.

    • halcyon
      Posted June 29, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks CC – gorgeous!

  10. Sheffieldsy
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Gazza, thanks for that review and we agree with your ratings. We did ourselves no favours by bunging in clanger for 17d, but it didn’t last long as we untangled the SW corner. We couldn’t finish the SE corner without your hint for 24a, a plant new to us.

    Favourites were 12a and 26a. What a great surface 26a has.

    We close with thanks to Dada – most enjoyable.

    • Sheffieldsy
      Posted June 29, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

      In fact, many plants in crosswords are new to us. Neither of us is a keen gardener.

  11. ShropshireLad
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Definitely a crossword of 2 halves. The top went in without too much difficulty but the bottom certainly put up a fight – especially the SE corner. Anyway, managed to finish without any hints. Excellent clue constructs and surfaces throughout – I particularly enjoyed 1a and that will be my favourite of the day.

    Thanks to Dada for the fun and enjoyment and to Gazza for his usual super review.

  12. Jane
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Never got a proper toehold and came in to get Gazza’s help with only a handful of answers in place. Even then, it proved to be a struggle with at least five words/phrases I hadn’t come across previously.
    I did rather like 16a&1d – two of the ones I managed unaided.
    Thank goodness I enjoyed the Jay so much, otherwise I’d be feeling very downcast!

    Thanks to Dada and apologies for making such a poor attempt. Gratitude to Gazza for the much needed explanations.

  13. KiwiColin
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Much more of a challenge than we usually find Dada toughies. A few like the 24a river and 12d that needed investigoogling. Think I prefer Dada in the gentler more whimsical mood that we usually see here. I did get it all sorted in the end and lots of clever clues to enjoy.
    Thanks Dada and Gazza.

  14. Salty Dog
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 9:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Afraid I needed 6 hints to complete, mainly in the NE corner, so l must score this closer to 4* difficulty than 3*. Some splendid clues, though, and my favourite was 12a. Thanks to Dada and Gazza.

  15. Wolfson Bear
    Posted June 29, 2016 at 10:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My limited vocabulary made this one more than a three star difficulty – a total of 10 words that were new, strange or not well understood. I much prefer tricky clues for well known words.There were a few really nice clues – loved the yellow stuff one when it dawned. Definitely better than yesterday where the backpager was a bit more challenging in my opinion

    Many thanks to Gazza and Dada

  16. Verlaine
    Posted June 30, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Only just got onto this this morning, having been failed by the office printer yesterday, but I concur with all opinions that this was a splendid, challenging, whimsiful puzzle. Harder to find a bad clue in here than to choose a good one! I didn’t much like 7d I guess. 19d my favourite too for the beautiful definition. Thanks Dada and blogger.

  17. Posted June 30, 2016 at 10:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Found it hard and used quite a bit of help. Enjoyed. Very clever stuff in there. Can’t pick a favourite. Or use complete sentences, it seems. (Tired.)

    Many thanks to Dada and Gazza.

Leave a Reply, but please read the Comment Etiquette (under Contact on the menu) first, especially if you are asking a question

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *