Toughie 1725

Toughie No 1725 by Dada

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Everything was going swimmingly until I hit the last couple of clues in the NW corner where I was totally foxed by 2d and 3d. I eventually tracked the problem down to having written ‘below’ in for 1a right at the start (it seemed to work at the time when I thought the wordplay was ‘part (divide) front with the middle two letters of fell’). I wonder whether this was a deliberate misdirection by Dada – if so it certainly caught me out.

Thanks to Dada for the fun.

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

Across Clues

1a Lower part in front fell in the middle (5)
BOWEL – front for a sailor followed by the middle letters of ‘fell’.

4a At the start of a race, the odds double for dog (8)
SPRINGER – the abbreviation for the betting odds at the start of a race followed by a double or spitting image.

10a Cunning spiking little drink (7)
MARTINI – insert a synonym for cunning into an adjective meaning little.

11a Old can opener beyond contemporary (7)
NEWGATE – this is the name of a notorious old London prison. Something that opens to allow one to enter or exit follows an adjective meaning contemporary or modern.

12a Club with formidable fringes? (4)
IRON – symbolised by the outer letters (fringes) of formidable.

13a Fit Felixstowe and Southampton, say, the wrong way round (5)
STROP – fit here is a noun, sometimes preceded by ‘hissy’. Reverse what the two places are examples of.

14a Backs in Cambridge extra parlous with westerly — that’s a breeze (4)
EASY – the last letters of four words from the clue.

17a Go for the brown and beat all (4,3,7)
TAKE THE BISCUIT – this could mean to select a pale brown colour.

19a Never finished, boy toying with me and daddy (4,2,4,4)
OVER MY DEAD BODY – start with an adverb meaning finished and add an anagram (toying) of BOY ME DADDY.

22a Strike, something afoot? (4)
SOCK – double definition, the first a verb to strike or thump.

23a Fly, one tucked into bed (5)
PILOT – tuck the Roman numeral for one into an earthy bed.

24a Platform exists behind attorney (4)
DAIS – a verb meaning exists follows the US abbreviation for attorney.

27a Red mullet’s tail taken by rodent that has teeth (7)
RATCHET – our favourite South American ‘red’ and the tail letter of mullet follow a rodent.

28a Very wet grass around tree (7)
SOAKING – a verb to grass or betray contains a type of tree.

29a More than one wave greets us when at sea (8)
GESTURES – an anagram (when at sea) of GREETS US.

30a Impressionist article housed by art museum (5)
MANET – an indefinite article goes inside the colloquial name for a large art museum in New York City.

Down Clues

1d Meet vagrant on horse (4,4)
BUMP INTO – a vagrant followed by a piebald horse.

2d Magician — one securing the action? (7)
WARLOCK – split as 3,4 this could be something that secures military action. Even with the question mark this seems weak.

3d Hide talent, leadership unseen (4)
LAIR – a word meaning talent or knack without its leading letter.

5d Pooterish man and me to perform role for two (9,5)
PANTOMIME HORSE – an anagram (to perform) of POOTERISH MAN and ME.

6d I cry when in pain, a state (4)
IOWA – string together I, a cry of someone in pain and A. This answer must feature heavily in Mr Kitty’s database.

7d Paraguayan money in a carpet rolled up, touring capital in Asuncion (7)
GUARANI – this is not a currency I was familiar with but the wordplay is straightforward. Bring together IN A and a carpet, reverse it all and insert the capital letter of Asuncion.

8d Thin solution, less mass (5)
REEDY – a solution or cure without the abbreviation for mass.

9d Gradually turned on, hit coming up on telly, it is broadcast (6,2,6)
LITTLE BY LITTLE – start with a verb meaning ‘turned on’ (a gas fire, say), reverse a verb to hit or clout and finish with an anagram (is broadcast) of TELLY IT.

15d * mark ultimately grim (5)
STARK – a word used to describe the sign in the clue followed by the ultimate letter of mark.

16d Compound said to define ‘carbolic’ for a start — one of these? (5)
ACIDS – an anagram (compound) of SAID contains (to define, in the sense of circumscribe) the starting letter of carbolic.

18d Figure capturing certain vision (8)
EYESIGHT – a cardinal number contains a response meaning certain (?). I’m struggling to find an example of how this word means certain – it certainly can mean certainly, but certain?

20d A jazz player in short underwear leaves (7)
VACATES – A and an informal word for a jazz player go inside an item of underwear without its final letter.

21d It’s suggested untaxed individual working — would you stand for it? (7)
OVATION – what looks like a rate of tax (1,3), e.g. on books in the UK, is followed by what resembles the number meaning individual or solitary and an adverb meaning working.

22d Baby son on show (5)
SPROG – S(on) followed by an informal word for a show.

25d M U (4)
THOU – nothing to do with either Man Utd. or Mothers’ Union – this is a double definition, the first being an informal word for the value of M in Roman numerals.

26d Wood in hand (4)
PALM – two meanings, the first being the wood from a tropical tree.

I liked 27a, 5d and 25d but my favourite clue today is 11a. Which one(s) cracked you up?

17 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Entertaining and trickier than some Dada Toughies I’ve met in the past. My favourite, for the loud clanging d’oh moment, is 25d

    Thanks to Dada and Gazza too

  2. dutch
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    OK, Asuncion is the capital of Paraguay but “touring capital in Asuncion” makes for a strange surface reading (even if it means money)

    I missed the M meaning in 25d.

    Agree with 18d, can only get there indirectly via sure

    I quite liked 1d, and also 5d

    Many thanks Dada and Gazza

  3. Jane
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Certainly seemed to be a fair sprinkling of the vernacular in this one – I wondered whether it would all translate to our overseas solvers.
    Very much enjoyed the solve but, like Gazza, had question marks by 2&18d. I also needed help with the parsing of 12a (how did I miss that!) and 25d.
    The currency was new to me.

    Top three in my book were 4&27a plus 1d.

    Thanks to Dada and our knight in shining armour – loved the pics at 4,17&19a!

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted December 14, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Actually the vernacular was not a problem for us in this one Jane. In some ways it might have helped us as we did not even consider Manchester United for 25d, but still took us a long time.

  4. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    We are convinced that Gazza must have been watching over our shoulders as we were solving 1a and that is why he copied what we had confidently written in. It was only when 2d and 3d would not work that we questioned it, Our last two to sort out were 25d and 12a where, although we were certain of the answer, it took ages of frustration until we could see how it worked. So obvious now. Pesky is the adjective that comes to mind for these two short answers.
    We always look forward to and enjoy Dada’s puzzles and once again we were not disappointed.
    Thanks Dada and Gazza

  5. Una
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Pretty tricky . 4a was one of the last in , even though we had one once, a working type English Springer, a grand daughter of the King of Norway’s dog.
    I liked 1d, 17a and 19a as well as 9d.
    Thanks Dada and Gazza.

  6. Kath
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Like everyone else so far I enjoyed doing this one – it’s taken me a very long time.
    Like Jane I got into a pickle with 12a and 25d and I’m now wondering how I missed 12a but know I’d never have sorted out 25d for myself.
    I also needed the hints to understand 1a and 9d but I don’t have any excuses for those.
    I liked 4 and 19a and 5 and 9d – I also liked all the pics except the prison which looks really spooky. :sad: My favourite was either 1 or 22d.
    Thanks to Dada and to Gazza.

  7. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    For my part, everything went swimmingly well until 25d.
    Full stop, zilch, nothing. Two checkers weren’t enough.
    Thanks to Gazza for his much needed wisdom yet again.
    Favourite 5d as it reminded me of my first appearance on stage. I was the back end in a spoof of Stepping Out one Christmas.
    Tap Dancing in this position and with that costume is worth trying I assure you.
    Thanks to Dada who’s name is well suited for the part too.

  8. Posted December 14, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    A quick hello to all being as we’ve finished at a respectable hour today. Fortunately G got 3D so we weren’t in the misled contingent for 1a although J got obsessed with bovine business. Did get confused by 4a as usually ‘odds’ suffices and we were also very dim in the chemical symbol department. So no problem at all with Dada and thanks to Gazza.

    G: I recommend beer, the hopper the better 🍺

  9. Posted December 14, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Looks like a good crossword, but sadly I’m still on one a day when it comes to grid-filling. Tomorrow will be busier, and though Friday is clear on paper I may want to devote it to frolicking about (plodding) in the fresh air. There’s also some more mice pies to be made. I hope soon to resume my usual level of chatter.

    Anyway, just wanted to pop in here, with apologies to Dada, to thank Gazza for the review and compliment him on the fine set of pictures. I did like 19a. I would like my epitaph to read, “I’m fine” (and if I have any say in the matter, will try to make those my last words too).

  10. Mr Kitty
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    6d comes up less frequently than I thought. In the eight years that the Toughie has been running, 6d has been seen only four times before today. That puts it in 1656th place on the list of Toughie repeats. The four appearances are:
    Tue 16 Mar 10 TOUGHIE 319 Cephas “Resistance three times leaving belligerent warrior state (4)”
    Tue 14 Sep 10 TOUGHIE 423 Messinae “State in area beyond Isle of Wight (4)”
    Fri 20 Feb 15 TOUGHIE 1348 Notabilis “State engaged in biowarfare (4)”
    Fri 17 Apr 15 TOUGHIE 1380 Elgar “Independence: it hurt one US state (4)”

    That Elgar creation is certainly deserving of the Toughie label.

    Over on the back page, 6d is in 2617th place with 11 appearances since 2001.

    I haven’t done the crossword so I can’t comment on it, but I did enjoy reading the blog and I smiled at the illustrations. So thanks, Gazza

  11. Jon_S
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    It took me a while to get used to Dada’s style, though I don’t know why as I’ve solved his puzzles pretty regularly elsewhere. From then on it was a matter of moving up from the SW corner, with a couple it must be said going in on a bit of a wing and a prayer. 17ac was a bit of a stretch, but everything else seemed fair, if a little mind-bending at times.

  12. Heno
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Dada and to Gazza for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but I was stymied by quite a few, especially 25d, which I would never have got in a million years. I had bowed for 1a, which stopped me getting 3d. Also needed the hints for 23d. Favourite was 1d, which made me laugh. Was 4*/4* for me.

  13. Expat Chris
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Funny how things go. I was having the worst time with the bottom half of this and put it aside yesterday afternoon, Then I was having trouble sleeping last night so got up to make a cup of tea, picked up the puzzle, and the missing answers fell into place one after the other. I did get the wrong painter for 30A. I thought the gallery was TM for Tate Modern so figured the article must be one for individual. I’m much more familiar with the NYC museum being known by the MOMA acronym. I had the right answer for 25D but failed on the parsing. Thanks Dada and Gazza!

  14. devartly
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I got 25 d from the M, but I don’t get the U. I suppose it could be a usage from txt speak but my old BRB dosn’t list that meaning. Am I just being thick?

    • Gazza
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      You’ve made a minor change to your previously-used aliases so this comment needed moderation.
      The U=you/thou is not in the latest version of the BRB either but it does crop up from time to time as a textspeak usage.

      • devartly
        Posted December 15, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Gazza, apologies for the flaky aliases, as I post infrequently I keep forgetting who I am. This time I have written it down and saved it in a word doc, so I hope not to cause you any further admin grief. Gr8 to know my thinking was deemed correct. I will add my limited txt speak knowledge into my solving logic for future use.
        LOL.