Toughie 1761

Toughie No 1761 by Dada

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

This is a very enjoyable puzzle from Dada – as usual the tricky bit with many of his clues is to isolate the definition.

I didn’t notice it so much when solving the puzzle but writing the hints brought home to me how many of the clues involve an insertion/container construct – exactly half of the 28.

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

Across Clues

1a Dessert wine more ground-breaking? (10)
AFTERSHOCK – charade of another word for dessert or pudding and a type of white wine.

6a Majestic, the picture frames (4)
EPIC – hidden.

9a Tremendous obsession working for breaks (10)
THUNDERING – a preposition meaning ‘working for’ or ‘subservient to’ goes inside (breaks) an obsession or fixation.

10a Bottling last of liquor, stop for a little drink (4)
DRAM – a verb to stop or block contains the last letter of liquor.

12a Drug passing through elderly relative, a bit lost (6)
VIAGRA – bring together a preposition meaning ‘passing through’ and an elderly relative without her last letter. I do like ‘a bit lost’.

13a Front houses in use after development, neighbour miles away? (8)
VENUSIAN – a word for front or spearhead contains an anagram (after development) of IN USE.

15a Some time to take in every city in Florida (7,5)
DAYTONA BEACH – concatenate a period of time, TO, a verb to take in or arrest and a synonym for every.

18a Cleaner, more slender cakes good — as this one? (6,6)
SPONGE FINGER – something used for cleaning is followed by a comparative meaning more slender containing the abbreviation for good.

21a Guide‘s diamonds pocketed by old woman (8)
CICERONE – an informal word for diamonds is contained inside a derogatory word for an old woman. This term for a tourist guide is based on the name of a Roman statesman famed for his eloquence.

22a Something sparkling around high dome (6)
CUPOLA – a sparkling beverage contains an adverb meaning high.

24a Noise from a pen unable to write? (4)
OINK – split the answer 1,3 to get the reason for being unable to write.

25a Fail to find something natural in fish, long and thin (4,1,5)
DRAW A BLANK – an adjective meaning natural or unrefined goes inside a small flatfish, then we finish with an adjective meaning long and thin.

26a That’s right, sucker! (4)
TICK – double definition, the first a mark indicating correctness.

27a Possibly a nude model ne’er disheartened with cold feet (10)
CENTREFOLD – an anagram (model) of N[e’e]R and COLD FEET.

Down Clues

1d Rice production up, keeping Cambodia’s capital busy (6)
ACTIVE – reverse a production (a co-production really) of (Sir Tim) Rice containing the capital letter of Cambodia.

2d Nuclear bomber, spirit captured in bronze (6)
TRUMAN – insert an alcoholic spirit into a verb to bronze to get the name of the only US President (so far!) to order the use of a nuclear bomb.

3d Qualification wasted, becoming writer (5,7)
RIDER HAGGARD – charade of a qualification or proviso added to an official document and an adjective meaning wasted or gaunt.

4d Reported shock for a boxer (4)
HARE – this is a boxer (during the mating season) that sounds like a shock or thatch.

5d About a hundred previously, unknown number in gang (10)
CONCERNING – string together the Roman numeral for a hundred and an adverb meaning previously then insert the letter used for an unknown number into a gang or circle.

7d Underground trains diverted south of US state (8)
PARTISAN – an anagram (diverted) of TRAINS follows the two-letter code for a US state.

8d Happen to secure farm without roof, as plainsman (8)
COMANCHE – a verb to happen or turn out contains a large farm without its top letter.

11d Confusion, the unreliable project of an astronomer? (6-6)
HUBBLE-BUBBLE – this could be a dodgy scheme associated with the most famous US astronomer.

14d Tender love finally, after county gaols control uprising (5,5)
STAFF NURSE – the final letter of love follows the short name of an English county containing the reversal of a verb to control.

16d Mentally intimidate leader in pack, with youths beginning to clear off (5,3)
PSYCH OUT – the leading letter of pack precedes an anagram (off) of YOUTHS and C[lear].

17d Chevron atop roughly conical explosive (8)
VOLCANIC – the chevron-shaped letter is followed by an anagram (roughly) of CONICAL.

19d One touring a cold country (6)
MONACO – a prefix meaning one or single contains A and C(old).

20d Spy chief begged to be in disguise (6)
MASKED – the letter that identifies a fictional spy chief and a verb meaning begged.

23d Heads of senior Whigs and Tories hit sharply (4)
SWAT – the heads of four consecutive words.

12a, 1d and 2d all pleased a lot but my favourite is 1a. Which one(s) made you smile?

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21 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable indeed – and on the Toughie spectrum too.

    Hard to pick a favourite so I won’t – I’ll just say thank you to Dada and Gazza

  2. jane
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Not an easy solve for me, but well worth the effort it took.
    I wasn’t overly keen on 18a and 13a would also have got the thumbs down had it not been for Gazza’s brilliant picture!
    I did need to look up the guide and check on the bomber – just my lack of knowledge.

    Top three for me were 24a plus 1&11d. Think 11d takes the laurels – it really made me laugh.

    Thanks to Dada and to Gazza for an excellent blog.

  3. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    On the right wavelength with Dada and needed google to check a few of my parsing. In 4d I thought it was that boxer from Dewsbury. Didn’t think about the animal.
    3d was new to me and so was the word in 21a.
    Thought the def in 7d was a bit strange.
    11d made me laugh.
    Favourite 24a.
    Thanks to Dada and to Gazza.

    • Gazza
      Posted February 15, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      That boxer from Dewsbury?? Who he (or she)?

      • jane
        Posted February 15, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        He’s the one I found as well! James ‘Roberttown rocket’ Hare.

        • jean-luc cheval
          Posted February 15, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          Yes. That’s the one. What would you expect after a President and a writer? Had to be someone again.

          • Gazza
            Posted February 15, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

            I’ve never heard of him. I suppose it’s just conceivable that he’s what Dada was thinking of, but somehow I doubt it.

            • jean-luc cheval
              Posted February 15, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

              I think you’re right.
              Never knew rabbits behaved like kangaroos.
              Soon they are going to tell us that we Humans are a bit like animals. Really!

      • KiwiColin
        Posted February 15, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        I found the same one. I thought I remembered the animal being so described but when I could not find it in BRB I Googled and found James.

  4. LetterboxRoy
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Crawled through this – some good clues, but I just couldn’t get on board with it. I’ll put it down to am/fm and leave it at that.
    Many thanks to Dada and to Gazza for doing the crossword for me. :smile:

  5. Kath
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    I give in – I found this really difficult and never did get the first bit of 15a or 5d – oh well, I enjoyed it and got further than I ever have before with a Dada Toughie.
    I thought the right side was much tougher than the left and agree with Gazza that a lot of the difficulty is in spotting the definition – for me that’s probably true of most Toughies.
    Having asked Mr Google about 4d the ‘rabbitty fast moving one’ didn’t occur to me.
    I liked 12 and 21a and 3d. I think my favourite was 1d.
    With thanks to Dada for the crossword and to Gazza for getting me out of trouble and for the pics.

  6. KiwiColin
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    A thoroughly enjoyable slow steady solve. A matter of reading the clues over and over to try and spot the disguised definitions. Really good fun.
    Thanks Dada and Gazza.

  7. Sheffieldsy
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    This was really good fun. We did it in the pub, had to divert to the back pager, then returned to it with more success (or looser due to alcohol, who knows?). Overall we thought it was worth 3*/4*.

    Quite a few clues vying for favourite: 1d, 2d and 5d with 5d probably just edging it.

    21a was a new word for us.

    On a slightly less upbeat note, we did not like ground-breaking as a synonym for aftershock. Having been caught in November’s earthquake in New Zealand, it would have to be one hell of an aftershock to cause that level of damage.

    Thanks to Gazza and Dada.

  8. Salty Dog
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    I’d have to accord this 4* status for difficulty – I always struggle with a Dada – but loved the clever, off-beat cluing. 24a is a perfect example, and gets my vote for top clue. Thanks to Dada, and Gazza for getting me across the line.

  9. Simon Dilloway
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Very helpful thanks. However, as a pedant, 20 down hint, C is actually the real head of SIS, after the first one, Mansfield Cumming, the fictional one is M.

    • Gazza
      Posted February 15, 2017 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Simon.
      It’s the M (i.e. the fictional one) that’s needed in the answer.

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:04 am | Permalink

      Hello Simon. I rarely comment on this side but I think this is a perfect clue with a perfect solution and a perfect hint. Perfect

  10. JB
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    I really do not see how a 14d is “tender”? Usually such ladies are anything but!

    • Kath
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      :sad:

  11. Jarman Island
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Am a day behind due to other things getting in the way yesterday. However, Dada has let me catch up without too much bother, bless him. Lovely puzzle though with lots to enjoy.

    Favourites 1a, ,13,1d and 2.

    Thanks muchly to Dada and Gazza!

  12. Posted February 17, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    I found this quite friendly at first but it soon showed its teeth. Some really great stuff, well worth the tussle (I’ll admit I did end up resorting to a little electronic help).

    Many thanks to Dada and to Gazza for the explanations and chortlesome illustrations. Roger Moore indeed!