Toughie 1772 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1772

Toughie No 1772 by Dada

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hi all.  Tuesday has come again, bringing with it a fun Toughie from Mr Halpern which caused me less trouble than the back page.  After an unfocused start I raced through this, but unusually for me left many loose ends to sort out later (normally I like to “tidy up” as I go along – oh, how I wish I were like that in real life!).  I came back to do the untangling, expecting some difficulty there, but the parsing comb ran unimpeded through the silky strands of wordplay.  Lots of insertions, reversals and taking bits of words, and lots of enjoyment too.

The definitions are underlined in the clues below, and you’ll find the answers inside the boxes.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative – click only if you wish to reveal all.

Do leave a comment telling us how you found it and what you thought.



1a     Sailor binding feet by tight security strap (6,4)
SAFETY BELT:  A four letter sailor outside (binding) an anagram (tight, in the drunken sense) of FEET BY

6a     Back and front of green, green jumper (4)
FROG:  Back or away, only used as part of a three word phrase, and the first letter of green

9a     Put on finger, ring initially removed before adjustment (5)
FEIGN:  Given the FINGEr from the clue, we want to remove the first bit of Ring before making an adjustment to the order of the letters

10a    Prior to operation, soldier inspired by revolutionary singer (9)
CHANTEUSE:  Before an operation or application, a soldier insect is inside (inspired by) our usual revolutionary (who has been busy today, already having appeared elsewhere).  I haven’t had time to seek out a suitable video for this one, but will take requests below

12a    Tester of ideas, yawning? (8,5)
SOUNDING BOARD:  This is a reverse homophone which is straightforward to explain but less so to hint usefully.  The second word of the clue is to the ear uninterested or tired, while the first provides the indicator

14a    Comment on queen entertaining King Edward perhaps, sides having split! (8)
ANNOTATE:  Add notes to: The last Stuart monarch containing (entertaining) a spud (King Edward perhaps) without its leftmost or rightmost parts (sides having split)

15a    Sucker finds fault after getting the sack (6)
BEDBUG:  A fault or glitch comes after the type of sack you hit at the end of the day.  Sleep tight!

17a    Conservative of vision, producing liturgical language (6)
COPTIC:  C(onservative) followed by “of vision”

19a    Horse transporting Chinese from the East, as settler (8)
COLONIST:  A young horse carrying a reversal (from the East) of a prefix denoting Chinese

21a    Downing measure of lager, she requires courage for drinking game (4-3-6)
SPIN-THE-BOTTLE:  She from the clue taking in (downing) a measure of beer (many crossworders prefer real ale, but your Kitty generally chooses lager when not wining) followed by a slang term for courage (which may be Dutch)

24a    Driving a posh car, those paying attention behind (2,7)
IN ARREARS:  If you are driving a car you would be xx it.  Add to this the A from the clue and the abbreviation for a Roller and finally the parts of your body which you prick up to pay attention to the sounds around you

25a    Turn away from prayer by heart in Chartres (5)
AVERT:  The shortened name of a prayer and the central two letters (heart) in the last word of the clue

26a    Plays, unknown number accommodated by cast, abridged (4)
TOYS:  Plays here is a verb.  Insert a mathematical unknown into cast or throw, abridged by taking off its end

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

27a    Steps taken to conceal hammer, hand-held device (10)
FLASHLIGHT:  A set of steps containing hammer or beat.  The device provides illumination



1d     Like down clues, no stiff test by all conclusions (4)
SOFT:  Take the conclusions of four of the words of the clue.  Nifty definition

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

2d     Day on passing ship, a thrill (7)
FRISSON:  A short form of a day of the week, then ON from the clue after our usual two letter ship

3d     Stuttering woe exacerbated, something difficult to say (6-7)
TONGUE-TWISTER:  An anagram (exacerbated) of STUTTERING WOE

I’m not the pheasant plucker,
I’m the pheasant plucker’s son,
and I’ll be plucking pheasants
‘til the pheasant plucker comes.

4d     In retrospect, validate second meeting (4-4)
BACK-DATE:  Second or endorse plus a (possibly romantic) meeting

5d     Pick up liver originally, then bring home the bacon? (5)
LEARN:  Liver’s first letter (originally) and “bring home the bacon”

7d     Centre parting starts to really annoy Richard Burton? Nonsense! (7)
RHUBARB:  A three letter centre or focal point inside (parting) the initials of (starts to) the remaining words of the wordplay

8d     Pig comes up to sandwiches daintily at first, guy flummoxed (6,4)
GREEDY GUTS:  Meets or acknowledges contains (sandwiches) the first of daintily together with an anagram (flummoxed) of GUY

11d    Propose to pay before party game (5,8)
TABLE FOOTBALL:  A charade of put forward (a motion perhaps), pay (of a bill) and a (usually formal) dance party

  ARVE Error: need id and provider

13d    Relative in new car isn’t someone constantly checking the mirror (10)
NARCISSIST:  A short sibling (abbreviated; we have been given no indication of her height) inside an anagram (new) of CAR ISN’T

16d    Giant deficit in semolina halved (8)
COLOSSUS:  A financial deficit (4) inside half of some hard wheat semolina

18d    Church office quick to seal off border (7)
PRIMACY:  Quick or speedy contains (to seal off) an edge or lip

20d    One cold diver rises, finding hazard in the water (7)
ICEBERG:  The Roman one and the abbreviation for cold, after which a feathered diver is reversed.  I’ll illustrate the diver for the birders

22d    Written up in Swahili, a message – one sent digitally (5)
EMAIL:  We’re in reverse again (written up, in a down clue), this time looking for a lurker within.  How funny that this should appear on the day Mr K asked for a Swahili translation.  Digitally here does not have its common-in-crosswordland finger-based meaning, but I did smile at some of the messages which can be conveyed thus

23d    Ignore the change in central parts of Boston and Exeter (4)
STET:  Middle pairs of letters (central parts) of the places given


Thanks to Dada for the cruciverbal party with the 26a and games.  Which clue(s) got you in a spin?

I’ll see you next week, assuming I’ve survived running a little further and a little faster than I usually do.  [I have reached the minimum fundraising target and don’t want to use this space to solicit donations, so all I will add here is click on my Gravatar if you want to know more]


20 comments on “Toughie 1772

  1. Very enjoyable thank you Dada. I’ve marked several clues for ‘special attention’ including 12a 24a, 1d and 7d but I can’t make up my mind which one takes top spot

  2. I really enjoyed this Toughie – not too difficult at all – but a lot of fun. I did begin to think that it was getting to be a bit ‘samey’ (initialisation, end letters etc) but it did not detract from the enjoyment. It must have been a pleasure to blog. I really can’t single out one clue that beats all others so I will keep shtoom and not incur the ‘Wrath of Kath’.

    Thanks to Dada for the fun and enjoyment and to one of the ‘K’s for her review – I’ll go and read it now :)

  3. Agree that this was mostly fairly straightforward, but all quite enjoyable. Liked 12.

    Thanks to Kitty and Dada

  4. I thought that this was possibly the gentlest Dada we’ve ever had but very enjoyable nonetheless. Thanks to him and to Kitty for the review.
    12a, 1d and 13d were in the frame for top honours but I can’t decide which one gets the gold.

  5. Enjoyed this, particularly liked 1a and 1d, a great start. Then when they clicked I loved 6a, 12a and 13d.

    Superb write-up Kitty, thanks for the namecheck in 21a and the parsing of 19a which I missed. I also missed the correct parsing for 7d but that’s because I can’t read initials.

    and many thanks Dada

  6. The definition in 1d could have been “like these” which reflects the mood of this crossword.
    Very enjoyable nonetheless.
    Big laugh at 7d.
    Favourite 2d.
    Thanks to Dada and to Kitty for the great review.

  7. Not too tricky for a toughie. I could not see why 1ac was what it was at all so thanks to Kitty for explaining the blooming obvious. I could kick myself for missing the anagram therefore Ce Qu’il Fallait Démontrer.

    There does appear to be a concatcatcatcatctacatenation of pussy pics. It must be Tuesday.

  8. Very engaging and enjoyable. Only 10a was a mystery to me. A lot of good clues, but 12a wins by a length.
    Many thanks to Dada for a fine puzzle and to Kitty for confirming 10a.

  9. Lots of fun as we always know we are going to get from a Dada puzzle. I took a little while to pick the semolina in 16d but eventually twigged it. It all went together smoothly with lots of smiles and chuckles along the way.
    Thanks Dada and Kitty.

  10. Add me to the “lots of fun” list. I really enjoyed it and ticked 6A, 12A, 2D (because I love the word), 7D and 8D. thanks Dada and Kitty.

  11. That has to be the most enjoyable puzzle I can remember seeing from Dada.
    Plenty to smile about with 12a&1d vying for the top slot.

    Many thanks to Dada and to our Girl Tuesday and her playful kitty cats. The 6a took me by surprise when he first appeared!
    Wonderful underwater shot of the diver.

  12. Gentle for a Toughie, but really good fun, we thought, and meriting 2*/4* from us.

    We did like 12a (not seen one quite like this before, but eminently solvable), but our favourite was 26a – the clue reeks of theatrical references, yet precisely none of the clue is actually about the theatre. Lovely.

    Thanks to Kitty and to Dada.

  13. All very enjoyable and not at all chewy, my only small hold up was self inflicted having misbiffed 19a with an al at the end.More haste less speed! 7d gets my vote. Thanks to D and K

  14. Thanks to Dada and to Kitty for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, my first toughie completion for ages. I knew that it would be an easy one. Needed the hints to parse 19&25a. I liked 16d, but my favourite was 8d. Last in was 6a. Was 2*/3* for me.

  15. What a great crossword – I loved it – the first time I’ve finished a Dada but lots more than */** for difficulty for me. Rats. :sad:
    So many clues that made me laugh and probably about the same number that caused trouble.
    Too many contenders for favourite so, to stick to my self-imposed limit of one, it could be 1, 12 or 21a or 1, 7 or 8d.
    With thanks for such a good fun crossword to Dada and thanks for the hints and the usual clutter of cats to Kitty.

  16. I really enjoyed this from start to finish. Nicely challenging but not too tough.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Kitty. I loved the pictures but, needless to say, the one accompanying 22d particularly appealed.

  17. I found the one on the back page a pussycat. This was reasonably tame but much more enjoyable.Thank you Kitty and Dada.

  18. Well, that was fun – and plenty hard enough for me, thank you. Well done and thanks to Dada, and to Kitty.

  19. What fun! 2*/4* for my money, and I had little approving ticks against 12a, 24a and 16d. Oh, I forgot 7d. Many thanks to Dada, and to Kitty.

  20. An enjoyable Toughie that took only a little longer than the back pager. 12ac and 8d held me up for a bit at the end, I suspect more because I’d run out of steam than anything else. Stamina is lacking this time of night.

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