Toughie 1677 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1677

Toughie No 1677 by Dada

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I tackled this with a heavy heart having learnt the sad news about Brad and Angie. How can they possibly survive apart, having a mere $400 million between them? … and who cares?

The puzzle is enjoyable enough but a bit lacking in oomph when compared to what we know Paul/Dada is capable of. I do feel that we get a bit short-changed in the Telegraph sometimes.

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

Across Clues

1a Sombre and depressed, evidently hurt (5-3-4)
BLACK-AND-BLUE – synonyms for dark-coloured and melancholy.

9a Italian food with no topping sent back by friend in impressive piles (7)
PALAZZI – a type of Italian food without its first letter is reversed and follows a friend. Googling ‘impressive piles’ produced the sort of images which put me off my lunch.

10a Terrible blow having ruined a fleece (7)
TORNADO – string together a past participle meaning ruined or in tatters, A and a verb to fleece or swindle.

11a High time for a palindrome? (4)
NOON – the palindromic time that may be preceded by ‘high’.

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12a Resolute porter (5)
STOUT – double definition, porter being an alcoholic drink.

13a Member marks being admitted to party (4)
LIMB – put the abbreviation for marks (the pre-Euro German currency) into the short name of a political party.

16a Ringed article on lunar broadcast (7)
ANNULAR – one form of our indefinite article followed by an anagram (broadcast) of LUNAR. Dada is one of the setters who doesn’t stick to the convention that A on B in an across clue gives BA.

17a Give us a call, as basis of communication? (7)
PHONEME – split the answer 5,2 and it means ‘give us a call’.

18a Rubbish binding plain silk (7)
TABARET – rubbish or shabby articles contain an adjective meaning plain or unadorned. I didn’t know this word for a type of silk fabric used in upholstery.

21a A warmer colour recalled in many parts (7)
ASUNDER – join together A, the yellow thing that warms us (sometimes) and the reversal of a primary colour.

23a Runner, star running the wrong way (4)
AVON – reverse the word for a type of star that increases in brightness for a period.

24a Canine has to be extracted after much wailing and screaming, perhaps? (5)
DINGO – a verb meaning to be extracted (as in “I’m afraid this rotten tooth will have to **”) follows a word for a lot of unpleasant noise.

25a Legs cut after falling over (4)
PINS – reverse a verb to cut.

28a Overhead cover protecting us behind old drain (7)
EXHAUST – what may provide cover for one’s head contains US and that all follows a prefix meaning old or previous.

29a Loveless English city ending in catastrophe, as something tough faced? (7)
BRISTLE – remove the letter that resembles love from the English city through which 23a flows and append the final letter of catastrophe .

30a Moneyed Londoner has gone off with Arsenal striker in the end (6,6)
SLOANE RANGER – this is an informal term for a trendy and independent young woman living in central London during the week (it’s a pun on the name of a square in Kensington and a masked Western hero). Make an anagram (off) of GONE and ARSENAL then finish with the last letter of striker.

Down Clues

1d Swell, everything gift-wrapped? (7)
BALLOON – a word for everything is wrapped inside a gift or favour.

2d Report includes cutting tool (4)
ADZE – homophone of a verb meaning includes or appends.

3d Wool-worker‘s right to support little ball of fur with end raised (7)
KNITTER – an abbreviation for right follows a purry little ball of fur with its last letter moved a few places up. No prizes for guessing that this will be a certain blogger’s favourite.

4d Call from card player, a great deal turning up before cut (2-5)
NO-TRUMP – reverse an informal word for a large amount and add a cut of meat. I’m surprised that there’s no mention of its being a plea from Democrats!

5d Time swift, maybe? (4)
BIRD – double definition, the time is being spent at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

6d Nail hammered into diminutive instrument, clashing? (7)
UNALIKE – put an anagram (hammered) of NAIL inside the abbreviation of a stringed instrument.

7d Animal seen, a tiny trap set (5,8)
SPINY ANTEATER – an anagram (set) of SEEN A TINY TRAP.

8d Cheated with two exes? (6-7)
DOUBLE-CROSSED – cryptically this could mean marked with two instances of the letter X. This exam answer did make me laugh!

14d Blaze of light bent, by the sound of it? (5)
FLARE – homophone of a word for a bent or knack.

15d Meeting supporting word of deliberation (5)
FORUM – charade of a preposition meaning supporting or backing and a word giving a speaker time to deliberate on what to say next.

19d Relative on the prowl finally finding house of ill repute (7)
BROTHEL – start with the short form of a male relative and add THE and the final letter of prowl.

20d Something sharp, not that soft, will soothe, given recent conclusions (7)
THISTLE – the opposite (not) of ‘that’ is followed by the concluding letters from three words in the clue. ‘Recent’ seems to be there just to improve the surface.

21d Symbolic operations, one leaving country smuggling booze, primarily (7)
ALGEBRA – remove the Roman numeral for one from a North African country and smuggle in the primary letter of booze.

22d Vagrant wrapping newspaper in towel (7)
DRIFTER – insert the abbreviation for the pink daily into something that removes moisture.

26d A foolish person with no pet lifted cat (4)
PUMA – A is followed by a slang term for a foolish person without the ‘pet’. What remains has to be reversed (lifted).

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27d One man — four in pack, in general (4)
KING – this is rather clever. The definition is one of the men on a chessboard. There are indeed four in a pack (of cards) but the ‘four’ here refers to the four letters lurking in the clue.

I enjoyed 11a, 24a and 26d but my favourite is 27d. Which one(s) featured on your shortlist?

15 comments on “Toughie 1677

  1. Me too Gazza, me too – I hate to hear bad news. Indeed, how will they manage?

    Anyway, now to real things in real life. This is definitely Dada at the easier end of his difficulty level – I had to look again to see if I’d read the name correctly. Never mind though it was a very enjoyable puzzle but over too quickly. Nice to see you getting in with the ‘Brownie points’ at 3d – I thought of the same person when I solved the clue. Do 30a’s still exist?

    Thanks to Dada for the enjoyment of the puzzle and to Gazza for his review.

    RFU citing board 1. C. Ashton didn’t :cool:

  2. I take your point about Paul being tougher than Dada Gazza, but this one seemed a bit more fun and a bit more inventive than usual. I really liked the wordy, but effective 24d; 8d is neat [and I’m surprised never to have seen it before] and 26d also made me smile. I’m not convinced by 20d either, it seems a bit of an opportunity missed, but that’s my only gripe in a fun puzzle.

    Thanks for the blog, particularly the fall-about illustration to 8d! – and thanks to Dada for the puzzle.

  3. Very nice, many thanks Dada

    Favourite was 8d (cheated with two exes). Also like 17a (give us a call), 24a (canine, my last one in), 30d (arsenal striker), 3d (little ball of fur), 20d (parsing), 27d and more.

    Thanks Gazza for the parsing of 19d – I had missed the ‘the’ and was wondering what had happened to the relative’s 2nd R.

    ps I took recent (20d) as suggesting the most recent words in the clue, though it would not appear to be needed

    • I thought similarly about ‘recent’ in 20d but I don’t think it works because the most recent word prior to the ‘recent’ is ‘given’.

  4. At last, some humour! There have been quite a few stodgy, dull puzzles with nary a smile. Thanks, Dada, for relieving the gloom. 8d with the two exes was my favourite, too

  5. I had very limited time for solving so was glad that Dada was more gentle than normal. Still as enjoyable as ever. If Angelina’s available I could do with someone to help me with the crossword. Thanks Dada and Gazza.

  6. Romped through this until I ground to a halt in the SE corner. Part of the problem was that I was convinced the canine in 24, extracted with wailing and screaming, had to be “tooth”. Well…seemed OK to me!
    8d was clever and I do realise that googling 9a could put Gazza off his lunch. Poor man!
    Thanks Dada and Gazza.

  7. I agree with you, Gazza, about your reaction to the terrible news – :roll:
    This is the second day running that I’ve been smug about finishing the Toughie and it’s the second day running that it’s had 2* difficulty. Oh well . . .
    All good fun anyway although not that simple for me.
    I didn’t know the 18a upholstery fabric – in a house full of coffee/red wine drinkers, not to mention dogs and cats I think it’s unlikely to be used here.
    I have met 17a before in crosswords but had forgotten it.
    I liked 1 and 24a and 3 and 8d My favourite was 26d.
    Thanks to Dada and to Gazza, especially for the pics for 3 and 8d.

  8. Whatever happens to Brad and Angelina, Chateau Miraval will still produce some great wines.
    No problems whatsoever with this offering from Dada and managed to parse correctly the two I wasn’t sure about in 20d and 24a.
    Didn’t know that the Avon crossed Bristol. I thought it was in Somerset. Mind you perhaps Bristol is in Somerset. I’ll have to check that after posting.
    Anyway. I’ve always liked Dada.
    Thanks to him and to Gazza for the review.

  9. I had a bit of a hold up with 24a. I saw canine and had the G for the fourth letter so was looking to see how corgi would work, never thinking that a second Aussie animal would have found its way into the grid. Good fun as ever and a level of difficulty that suited me fine for a solo Wednesday.
    Thanks Dada and Gazza.

  10. We plugged away at this in the Brickmakers, and left there for the Bull & Bladder with just 24a outstanding. As soon as G tasted his Bathams it was done. Thanks to Dada and to Gazza – we agree with your rating and comment on redundant words.

  11. Enjoyed this one but have to confess to a fair amount of ‘looking-up’ and to needing Gazza’s help with some bits of parsing.
    Needed to check that 12a is indeed ‘porter’, that 17a is a real word and also the meaning of 16a.
    18a was a totally new word for me.
    Hadn’t gone far enough with the parsing of 4d, forgot the required meaning of ‘bent’ and with 20d had got so fixated with ‘thistledown’ being soft I tried all ways round to make the word play agree with me!
    Another crowded podium today with 1a plus 3,5,8,15&21d jostling for position. 8d takes pole position for illustration with 3d coming a close second.

    Many thanks to Dada for some great clues and to Gazza for setting me straight, as always.

  12. I really enjoyed this. It all went in smoothly, though I wasn’t familiar with 18a.

    27d was indeed very clever, but 1a chimed more with me today. 26d is also very me. Also liked the definition of 10a, 1d and yes, 3d. 8d raised two smiles: one at the surface and another at the solution. There were lots of other nice touches too.

    Thanks to Dada and to Gazza – especially for the 3d pic :).

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