Toughie 1645

Toughie No 1645 by Dada

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Dada is never less than entertaining and this one produced a lot of smiles without falling into the uber-arduous category.

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

Across Clues

7a Heavy metal lead singer (7)
MERCURY – double definition, the second being the surname of a flamboyant lead singer.

8a Flier referring to cheese (7)
STILTON – a long-legged bird followed by a preposition meaning ‘referring to’.

10a Cream in cooking vessel around which a finger whipped! (10)
FRANGIPANE – this is a word that I vaguely knew as something edible without knowing exactly what it was. A cooking vessel has an anagram (whipped) of A FINGER placed round it.

11a Thus a republican’s cry? (4)
ERGO – split 2,2 this could be the demand of a republican (with a lower-case r).

12a Seafood dish as mum would make, in cooking really inspirational starters (8)
CALAMARI – ‘as mum would make’ (1,2,2) goes inside the starting letters of three words from the clue.

14a Low and bolshy, tied up (6)
MOORED – charade of a verb to low and a person of bolshy or left-wing views.

15a Kind that’s on plane in container (11)
CONSIDERATE – insert ON and a plane or surface into a container or packing case.

19a Driven thing always in employment (6)
CAREER – charade of what one may drive and a poetic word for always.

20a Order holy, sent in secret (2,3,3)
ON THE SLY – an anagram (order) of HOLY SENT.

22a Agent after drug dealers seeking end of production line (4)
NARC – I take this to be a semi-all-in-one with the answer being an informal North American word for a law enforcement officer targeting drug dealers. The end letter of production is followed by a line or curve.

23a Game of nerve thrills partner? One family’s into it (10)
SPILLIKINS – the word that’s paired with ‘thrills’ to make a phrase meaning excitement and exhilaration goes round the Roman numeral for one and a term for family.

25a Spectacular performance a poke in the eye, possibly? (7)
BLINDER – two meanings, the second a cryptic definition of what a poke in the eye might turn out to be in unfortunate circumstances.

26a Delivery, one posted at the door of a club (7)
BOUNCER – another double definition, the first a type of delivery from a fast bowler.

Down Clues

1d Unverified information present, as cryptically suggested? (7)
HEARSAY – split 4,3 and it could be how a homophone for ‘present’ might be cryptically clued.

2d Darling, I’m a fraudster! (4)
ICON – split 1,3 this could be an admission of fraud.

3d Constables etc standing to arrest boor in carriage (6)
TROIKA – reverse what Constables (or Turners) might be and insert a boor or uncouth person.

4d Pot about right for flower? (8)
STREAMER – a cooking vessel containing R(ight) could be, cryptically, something that flows.

5d Fly low with courage (10)
BLUEBOTTLE – an adjective meaning low or depressed followed by an informal word for courage.

6d Father without eye searched for information (7)
GOOGLED – what the father is in the Christian trinity contains a verb to eye lasciviously.

9d As is Cain, a maniac? (11)
PALINDROMIC – how you might describe the last three words of the clue when reading them in different ways.

13d Awfully late, second child (10)
ADOLESCENT – an anagram (awfully) of LATE SECOND.

16d Upset, seeing those on a trolley wheeled round? (8)
STRESSED – a reversal of what you may be tempted to order from a waiter’s trolley.

17d Qualified assistant’s parting message (7)
CAPABLE – the abbreviation for a personal assistant is inserted into an old type of message.

18d Slight suspicion initially over bank (7)
SLENDER – the initial letter of suspicion is followed by cryptic description of a bank or financial institution.

21d Pull over everyone fat (6)
TALLOW – a verb to pull or drag contains a word for everyone.

24d Man in black or white? In black in general (4)
KING – we finish with our only lurker.

Lots to like including 7a, 12a, 1d and 9d but I’ll nominate 23a as my favourite. Which one(s) fired your imagination?


  1. dutch
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Lucky to see 9d straight away, else might have struggled to find a way in! Last was SW – in the end, 16d, 17d and 19a were a bit anticlimactic.

    I liked 6d (father without eye searched..), 10a (cream in cooking vessel..), 11a (a republican’s cry), 20a (orders holy…) as well as 22a &23a.

    I didn’t see 22a as a semi all in one, I was happy with the 1st 4 words being the definition (which took a while to spot). Maybe I’m missing just how the extended definition works, and ‘seeking’ did seem unusual as a link word.

    Many thanks Dada and Gazza

    • Gazza
      Posted July 27, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I was in two minds about 22a but I think it works as a semi-all-in-one, describing an agent trying to shut down a drugs pipeline. Like you, I didn’t like ‘seeking’ as just a link word.

  2. andy
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m still trying to see a Nina, else why use a grid with 18 clues unchecked starter? Liked 6d and 11a. Thanks Dada and Gazza

    • stanXYZ
      Posted July 27, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Maybe, that’s why I found it more difficult than it actually was?

      Thanks to the Grid-Meister for a good excuse!

  3. Rabbit Dave
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t often venture into Toughie territory, but I really enjoyed this one today. Three quarters proved to be a steady solve, but I found the SW corner very tough. The one negative for me is that it’s a pity that such an unpleasant Americanism was included as the answer for 22a, which contributed to my delay in that corner. I was also slowed down there by having a fixation that 17d must begin with PA.

    The flier in 8a was a new to me. I can’t see any connection between “darling” and the answer to 2d and I was unable to find any correlation between the two in my BRB.

    Lots of good stuff here with 7a my favourite (even if Miffypops doesn’t like his music).

    Many thanks to Dada and to Gazza.

    • Gazza
      Posted July 27, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think darling in 2d is being used as a favourite or idol, i.e. someone venerated such as a ‘darling of the media’.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted July 27, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Gazza. I’m sure you’re right, but I am not too keen about it.

    • Jane
      Posted July 27, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I was going for Wendy Darling being considered as the epitome of motherhood!

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted July 27, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

        or perhaps Alistair Darling?

        • Gazza
          Posted July 27, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

          … or possibly Grace Darling, the epitome of heroism.

    • Miffypops
      Posted July 27, 2016 at 11:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I would not call it music but I was there when that video was recorded.

  4. crypticsue
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I did check whether it was just me having a hectic start to the day, but received confirmation that I wasn’t alone in finding this a proper Toughie, so thank you to Dada for the toughie and Gazza for the review. 3.75*/4* for me.

  5. Jane
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Needed Gazza’s help to get to grips with 11a and also spent quite a while looking for a one-eyed god but managed the rest more easily than expected.
    Like RD – I tried hard to get PA involved in 17d.

    Particularly liked 7&12a plus 16d. Laurel wreath goes to 23a – we used to have a much-loved white cat who went by that name, despite actually being called Willow.
    Thanks to Dada for the challenge and many thanks to Gazza for the help with 11a and for the super cartoons.

  6. Una
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I loved the north-east corner, moored, googled and bluebottle, and bouncer made me smile. I found the west side very hard but enjoyable.
    Thanks to Gazza for super clear hints and to Dada.

  7. jean-luc cheval
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Steady solve only held up by putting the wrong ending in 9d (semordnilap) which made 23a a bit more difficult to get. Though it was spelt with one L only.
    Loved 16d. Pictured Victoria Wood saying: Is it on the trolley? Can you point at it?
    Almost put Stunner in 25a.
    Thanks to Dada and to Gazza. The black cherry clafoutis in 10a made me hungry. Time for an afternoon snack.

  8. LetterboxRoy
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Quite hard work for me. Had to hint/guess n check 22a & 23a and I’m not keen of the definition of 2d.
    Thought these clues were very well-crafted and enjoyable, apart from those three.

    Faves are 11a & 15a, so a well-earned ***/**** from me.

    Thanks to all who contribute.

  9. pommers
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 4:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I spotted another one of those “apposite anagrams”this morning when solving 20a. ON THE SLY is an anagram of HONESTLY – there’s got to be a clue in that :grin:

    Great puzzle much enjoyed so I’d agree with Gazza’s ratings and thanks to him and Dada.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted July 27, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Well spotted – my favourite anagram oddity is ‘eleven plus two’ & ‘twelve plus one’.

  10. Posted July 27, 2016 at 5:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well I found this pretty tough. Probably payback from the Toughie universe for giving out the 1* yesterday! I cheated quite a bit, but I won’t document it all if you don’t mind. I found the top harder than the bottom.

    I liked lots, including 1d and 6d, but 5d is my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and Gazza. The illustration for 13d amused me. I’m a couple of decades from being that young, but it still has rather a resonance.

  11. Kath
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 5:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This has taken me ages – so long that no-one would mind if I said just how long but I won’t.
    I didn’t get the 25a spectacular performance – never heard of it – and neither did I get 17d having decided that it had to begin with PA. Oh well, that’s not too bad for me.
    I put in 2d straight away but only very lightly so that I could rub it out if necessary.
    6d took a long time which is really silly considering how often I depend on the knowledgeable Mr Google to dig me out of holes.
    I liked 11 and 26a and 3d – If my Dad saw someone he would have called an oik he used to say, “You put your foot on it while I fetch a stick” – my favourite was 12a.
    With thanks to Dada for the crossword and to Gazza for sorting out my problems and for the cartoons.

    • Gazza
      Posted July 27, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Have you never heard anyone saying “He’s playing a blinder!”?

      • LetterboxRoy
        Posted July 27, 2016 at 7:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I remember it became popular in club culture in the 80’s, ‘blinding’ being awesome or cool. This was soon superseded by ‘wicked’, ‘bad’, ‘sick’ and now ‘dope’ – thanks to Mr Will. I. Am. (…the most ridiculous name since Prince’s T.A.F.K.A.P.)

      • Kath
        Posted July 27, 2016 at 10:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

        No – I haven’t – oh dear! :sad:

  12. Sheffieldsy
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 6:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    3.5*/3* for us and needed some help to complete it (thanks to Gazza who must have a brain the size of a planet).

    Got 2d but didn’t like it. Wanted to put stonker in for 25a but couldn’t convince Mrs Sheffieldsy. Liked 10a, 12a, 16d (great penny-drop moment there) and 11a. Favourite was 24d. Gazza, we agree about 22a being a semi all-in-one, but it didn’t really flow for us, so meh.

    Thanks to Gazza and Dada.

  13. 2Kiwis
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 7:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Not a quick solve for us and. as we expect from Dada, lots of laughs all the way through. Sorting out the parsing for 11a gave us the biggest guffaw of the lot.
    Thanks Dada and Gazza.

  14. Gazza
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 9:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Firefly tomorrow.

  15. Expat Chris
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 9:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    If I had not misspelled 1D (my first in) as heresay I might have had a chance at solving 10A which might have helped with 8A and 4D. I also missed out on 7A. Oh, well. I did enjoy the puzzle, though solving was a bit of a slow process. 11A, 3D, 5D and 6D top my list. Thanks Dada and Gazza.

  16. Salty Dog
    Posted July 27, 2016 at 11:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Just into 3* time but I needed 3 hints to complete. I liked 5d. Thanks to Dada and Gazza.

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