Toughie 1734 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1734

Toughie No 1734 by Dada

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I think that too much food and too much beer (if that’s possible) must have taken their toll because I struggled with some of this. For me it was a puzzle of two halves separated by the NE-SW diagonal. Most of the area below this diagonal was filled without too many problems. The rest took me ages mainly because there were several clues that I was trying to parse in completely the wrong way. I got there in the end and there was much that I liked in the puzzle. I thought it was as good a Toughie as Dada has produced so far and a nice way to end my Toughie year.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Arrangement of piping hot cakes turned rotten (11)
SCAFFOLDING: An arrangement of piping (metal tubes) put round buildings for workmen to stand on = ‘hot (like water that can cause injury)’ round (caking) a reversal of ‘rotten’

9a    Like subordinate, in pieces (7)
ASUNDER: ‘Like’ (2) + ‘subordinate’ (5)

10a    A wind-up over locks in closure of ancient city (6)
TURBAN: A long sash wound round the hair (locks) = the last letter (closure) of ancient + an adjective meaning ‘city’. This was the last one in

12a    In broadcast, grand chamber appearing insincere (7)
SHALLOW: ‘To broadcast’ round a grand chamber. I was looking for a homophone for ages

13a    Payment rejected, Italian friend doesn’t want company that’s folding (7)
ORIGAMI: A reversal of a social security payment + the Italian word for ‘friend’ = the art of folding paper

14a    Government officials taking to authoritarianism, all leaders have to (5)
GOTTA: The first letters (leaders) of the first five words of the clue

15a    Research body that’s weak, shade limited by double dose of potassium (5,4)d
THINK TANK: ‘Weak’ + a shade of brown inside KK (a double dose of potassium)

17a    Masterly publication is virtually unlikely to accept minimum of responsibility (9)
MAGISTRAL: A periodical publication + IS + ‘virtually unlikely’ with the last letter removed round the first letter (minimum) of responsibility

20a    He painted blue lines (5)
LOWRY: The surname of a 20th-century English artist = ‘blue’ or ‘dejected’ + a 2-letter abbreviation denoting ‘lines’

22a    Sluggish originally, field outside left in team (7)
ARSENAL: The first letter of Sluggish inside a field of combat + L (left) = a soccer team that shouldn’t be mentioned in Big Dave’s presence

24a    Reminder, notion oddly beyond the setter, myself (7)
MEMENTO: The odd letters of ‘notion’ follow ‘the setter’ and ‘myself’

25a    Pub name on wine container on the counter (6)
TAVERN: A reversal (on the counter of N (name), ‘on’ (2) and a container (3) that could contain wine

26a    Plant with a deficit in aphids, perhaps? (7)
BUGLOSS: A plant of the borage family (so the red book tells me) = an insect such as an aphid + a deficit

27a    Hot spread so rare with serving of food that’s hot (11)
HORSERADISH: H (hot) + an anagram (spread) of SO RARE + a serving of food = a pungent root used in the preparation of a sharp-tasting condiment


2d    Black dresses evidently designed primarily for French character (7)
CEDILLA: The first name of the singer Ms Black round the first letters of Evidently Designed = a mark placed beneath a French letter (no, not that kind of French letter!)

3d    Strong liquor, whiskey drunk by one downing tree? (9)
FIREWATER: W (whiskey) inside a conifer tree and someone who downs food

4d    Better off complete (5)
OUTDO: ‘To better’ = ‘off’ + ‘to complete’

5d    Crane cardinal lifted over pile (7)
DERRICK: A reversal of the colour cardinal + a pile (possibly of hay)

6d    A musical pattern, in rising, falls (7)
NIAGARA: A reversal (in rising) of A, a rhythmic or melodic pattern, and IN = possibly the most famous waterfalls in the world

7d    Pig rump captivating Australia, a beauty! (7,4)
SAUSAGE MEAT: The rump (buttocks) round an abbreviation for Australia, A and beauty = something edible that may be prepared from bits of pig

8d    Britain standing to remain a monarchy (6)
KUWAIT: A reversal of an alternative to Britain + ‘to remain’ = a monarchy near the Persian Gulf

11d    Useless audio equipment on vital computer accessory (6,5)
MICKEY MOUSE: Audio equipment (3) + vital (3) + a computer accessory (5) = a term derived from an animated character

16d    I attack a very good capital city (9)
ISLAMABAD: I + ‘to attack’ + A + ‘very good’ = an Asian capital city

18d    Brutal force has to work, a pest breaking and entering (7)
GESTAPO: ‘To work’ (2) round an anagram (breaking) of A PEST

19d    Shadow’s emerging, except if — this? (7)
SUNLESS: The first letter (emerging) of Shadow + ‘except’. The whole clue provides the definition

20d    French city cat is situated on the outskirts (7)
LIMOGES: A slang term for a cat inside ‘is situated’

21d    Fancy touching, being shameless (6)
WANTON: ‘To fancy’ (4) + ‘touching’ (2)

23d    Somewhat antisocial, one reclusive? (5)
LONER: The answer is hidden in the clue. The whole clue provides the definition

I’ll be with you again next year. Have a good one.

17 comments on “Toughie 1734

  1. Boy that was hard, I was very relieved to see it awarded 4 stars for difficulty.
    I never quite solved 10a and 18d . Still very enjoyable.
    COTD is 11a.
    Thanks to Bufo and Dada.

  2. Not sure of the time taken because I was solving this while keeping an eye on one pot with red Thai turkey curry simmering away and another with potato and leek soup cooking away – I’m having quite a multi-tasking day

    I agree with Bufo’s enjoyment ratings and his statement that this is the best Dada Toughie so far, with glimpses of the real Mr Halpern throughout. Hard to pick just one favourite but I’ll plump for the d’oh moment when I realised which Black was required in 2d.

    Thanks to Dada for an excellent Toughie, to Bufo for the explanations and Happy New Year to both of you.

  3. On hols, so time for the back page cryptic and the toughie for a change ,Like Bufo a tale of two halves basically split East/ West- with west holding me up !
    For me the bad and very good in 16d was just confusing-I must have missed the point.
    Was pleasantly surprised on the rating, liked 1a and 2d and Arsenal the last in.
    Thanks to all.

  4. A brilliant Toughie from Dada with some very cleverly disguised definitions.

    But … 8d … According to BD’s “The Pedant’s Guide to Crosswords” –

    GB/UK – Great Britain is not the United Kingdom, nor vice versa, but Great Britain is part of the United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland).

    Favourite: 11d

  5. Agree entirely Bufo [is Dada becoming the real Paul?] and the excellently misleading 10a was also my last in, having spent a good while thinking along the lines of a wind [boreas] and then a City [Durban]. Other favourites were 1a [piping hot cakes] 1d [black dresses] and 18d [breaking and entering].

    Many thanks for the blog and to Dada for a fine puzzle.

  6. That’s two puzzles today deserving the adjective excellent in our opinion. 1a was our last in and needed all the checkers to point us to the correct definition. With 10a we had the answer from definition but struggled to get past Ur as the ancient city until we gave it a second look. Really appreciated all the smiles and chuckles it gave us.
    Thanks Dada and Bufo.

  7. Being accustomed as I am to the setter who is, incidentally, my favourite favourite, I surfed through this crossword like a Tahitian on a paddle boat. This ocean of clues had the smooth surface one expects and no real effort was needed to progress.
    Thanks to Dada for all the fun you provided me this year and for the clue that made me laugh the most : L’ogre by Parisian solver? It’s panned! (6,4).
    Thanks to Bufo for all this year’s reviews.
    Happy new year to you both.

      1. Absolument. Toilet roll. That made me laugh so much.
        I was going to comment on the Guardian blog that day to wish everyone a lovely Christmas and New Year but there was such an uproar about another one of his clues that I didn’t bother.

  8. Can somebody please explain why “very good” is bad in 16d?
    Enjoyed this with a bit of a struggle but needed Bufo’s help with a couple of the parsings.
    Thanks to Dada and Bufo’s.

    1. I think it refers to American slang – think the late Micheal Jackson. A bit like ‘wicked’ meaning great.

  9. That was probably the most enjoyable hard work I’ve ever done. Didn’t know 17 or 26. I do now. COTD 19d. I knew 16d had to be, but couldn’t work it out – I bunged it in anyway. 11d a close second place with 1a third.

    Many thanks to all as ever.

  10. Arrived at the same dividing line as Bufo and managed very little above it!
    Rather out of my league I fear but I enjoyed the ones I could do.
    Top slots going to 8&11d.

    Thanks to Dada and also to Bufo for explaining the ones I gave up on. A very happy new year to both of you.

  11. Phew. Picked up and put down all day but I got there in the end, all but 10A. Parsing of some took the devil of a time! Didn’t like the slangy 14A at all, but that’s a small grumble. Too overwhelmed at even completing it (almost) to fix on a favorite, though 26A and 11D did make me smile. Thank you Dada and Bufo.

  12. I completed about 50% of this puzzle and have worked through the rest using Bufo’s explanations. Although I did actually fill in ‘ISLAMABAD’ for 16d, I cannot accept that ‘very good’ leads to ‘BAD’. I thought there would be an apology from the crossword editor for the omission of ‘not’.

    I particularly look out for Dada’s puzzles ever since I went on his Guardian Masterclass on setting crosswords. Great fun – not that he gave away many of his secrets!

    1. Welcome to the blog, Jeff.
      Under ‘bad’ Chambers has ‘good, attractive (slang, originally US)’.

Comments are closed.