Toughie 1792 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1792

Toughie No 1792 by Dada

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hello hintseekers!  Top of the morning/afternoon/evening/night [delete as applicable] to you!  To bring you this puzzle, this setter has taken time off training for the London Marathon, during which he will compile an entire crossword on the run, as it were …  Yes, you read that correctly.  More details here, towards the bottom of the article.

Today’s Tuesday Toughie from top tier Dada tickled me not a little.  I’d encourage solvers who can manage the regular crossword to try this – I think it should prove readily penetrable, with some generous clues providing stepping stones towards the more Toughie-level ones.  Do have a go and tell me if I’m wrong.

The definitions are underlined in the clues below, and you’ll find the answers inside the [If you need to be told any of the rest of this bit I’d be surprised, but it would not be the first time I have been surprised…] buttons.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative – click only if you wish to reveal all.  If you do not want to read hints before solving the puzzle, then solve the puzzle before reading the hints.  Pictures may also indicate the answers (though I try not to have the answer written in plain sight), and hovering above them with a mouse will almost always reveal them.  Although commenters generally follow good practice and avoid outright spoilers early in the day, read comments too at your own risk.



7a    Part of a horse shrivels (7)
WITHERS:  A nice friendly double definition to start us off.  The ridge between the shoulder blades of a horse (according to Chambers, anyway. Other sources extend it to any animal, typically a quadruped)

8a    Constant reprobate in dugout (7)
PIROGUE:  A mathematical constant (the one celebrated by some on the 14th of March) is followed by a scoundrel

10a   Responsible for some music? Shut up! (6,4)
BEHIND BARS:  The answer could mean the architect of some measures of music, or doing time in prison

11a   Capital in chaos, London (4)
OSLO:  This capital city is not in London but lurking in the last two words of the clue.

12a   Reject far worse after renovation (8)
FORSWEAR:  An anagram (after renovation) of FAR WORSE

14a   Expose enemy that’s hidden regularly while in Britain (6)
UNMASK:  Take every other letter (that’s hidden regularly) of enemy and a short conjunction meaning while and import them into a country of which Britain is a subset.  This is the subject of the second entry in Big Dave’s Pedant’s Guide to Crosswords

15a   Particular count is up around about fifty-one (11)
PUNCTILIOUS:  An anagram (around) of COUNT IS UP goes about fifty-one in Roman

19a   An errand to avoid the conclusion one’s stuck in bed (6)
ANCHOR:  AN from the clue and a routine task minus the end letter (to avoid the conclusion).  The bed is not one you would find in your home, and the answer would only be stuck in it when in use.  The surface amused me because on days I’m not dragged up by external obligations, I do have a habit of finding something to do just to indicate to other members of the household that I am in fact out of bed and not snoozing all morning

20a   Britain’s premier trendsetting resort (8)
BRIGHTON:  The first letter (premier) of Britain and an unfashionable, out of date term for fashionably up to date (5,2).  This city holds many memories for me as I studied physics and maths (and a few other things) there in the early years of this century.  Where does the time go?  Physics has as yet no sensible answer to that question.  This pic was snapped on a more recent visit:

22a   Small group turn it on at regular intervals (4)
TRIO:  Alternate letters (at regular intervals) of three words of the clue.  The group is small, but too many to tango

23a   Old ship in current predicament with foreign sea (10)
WINDJAMMER:  A current of air, a tricky situation and a word for sea across the channel (not so foreign for our Jean-Luc)

25a   Play taken from old scripture with eternal punishment ending in inferno (7)
OTHELLO:  Take two letters for some books of the Bible together with some eternal punishment much talked about in the final book of those scriptures.  Finally add the final letter of (ending in) inferno

26a   Continue hiding love for soldier (7)
DRAGOON:  Continue interminably (4,2) contains the letter symbolising love in tennis



1d    Implement put in say under wood — that’s 17 Down? (7)
FIREDOG:  Implement (2), here a verb, inside two letters signifying for example (say) all under some wood from a coniferous tree.  Splitting the answer to 17d (2,5) completes the description.  A very clever clue.  The one pictured below objects to this word and asks politely that you call her an andiron

2d    National fixture announced (4)
THAI:  A homophone of a sporting fixture is an Asian national.  I’m hungry (situation normal) so this made me think of food.  I’ll just pop a punning restaurant under a spoiler box for you …

I hope this establishment doesn't go under ...


3d    Connection good in union member (6)
BRIDGE:  G(ood) inside one of a pair making their romantic union contractual

4d    Meal’s starter needs some sugar, I state (8)
MISSOURI:  The first letter (starter) of Meal is followed by an indication (2,4) that something might need more sugar to make it palatable (not that adding sugar would help if the substance is, say, milk).  Finally there is the I from the clue to bring us to a US state

5d    Test Tom with hour on diversion, one going on and on (10)
MOTORMOUTH:  A car test and an anagram (on diversion) of TOM with HOUR

6d    Blade made a maiden bleed? (7)
CUTLASS:  Split the answer (3,4) to change its meaning to injure a girl

9d    Something sharp, number for identification in musical turn (7,4)
HAIRPIN BEND:  The four digit number used by banks to verify the owner of a card is inside a musical and a turn (of which the answer as a whole is an example, which for me makes the clue a smidge less satisfying)

13d   USA OK with other free nation (5,5)
SOUTH KOREA:  An anagram (free) of USA OK with OTHER

16d   Ugly thing afoot, partition in English county (8)
CORNWALL:  Bring together a hard growth on the foot and an erection of brick, stone etc., for security or to enclose a space.  I smiled at the ugly thing afoot

17d   Pants tearing, one won’t appreciate it? (7)
INGRATE:  An anagram (pants, an indicator popular with the cheekier setters like Dada) of TEARING

18d   Doldrums, good time to quaff claret (7)
BOREDOM:  This good time has swallowed the category of wine to which claret belongs

21d   Harm in hearing people? (6)
INJURY:  IN from the clue and some people present at a court hearing.  I liked the hearing people

24d   Fools set upon son (4)
MUGS:  Attack and the abbreviation for son


Ta to Dada.  I would happily stand by any of the following as my favourite, and see no reason to choose between them: 10a, 19a, 20a, 25a and 1d.  If we forgive 14a, today’s puzzle ticked my boxes almost to a T.  Which earned your ticks?  Ta-ta!


20 comments on “Toughie 1792

  1. Excellent entertainment, thank you Dada and good luck with the marathon crossword (and the marathon running come to that)

  2. Very entertaining puzzle from Dada – thanks to him and Kitty. Lots to like but I’ll award my smartest tick to 21d.
    Good luck to Dada in the marathon – I hope he doesn’t suffer from any ugly things afoot.

  3. Jolly good.
    But over a bit too soon.
    Loved descriptions like “needs some sugar” in 4d, “responsible for some music” in 10a and “ugly thing afoot” in 16d.
    Thanks to Dada and to Kitty.

  4. Thoroughly engaging and enjoyable, even if 8a did defeat me. Lots to like, as JL has pointed out, plus ‘hearing people’.

    I vaguely remember 20a was one of the first cryptic clues I ever solved many, many moons ago.
    26a amused me – (without the extra ‘o’) chess has an opening called the Sicilian ******, because the theory ****s ** . (RD may smile with me…). Lots to like but I’ll only pick out 10a, to keep Kath happy.

    Good stuff, Dada, thank you – thanks also to Kitty for an entertaining review. Have fun tomorrow!

  5. I found this pretty straightforward – maybe my brain works better later in the afternoon or maybe I have just done too much of Dada in his other guises. All quite entertaining.

    Thanks to Kitty and Dada

  6. I very much enjoyed this. I was rather pleased with my answer of LINOCUT for 8 ac. (LINOCUT = dugout, made up from IN from the clue and C for constant both inside LOUT = rogue). However, Kitty’s solution is much neater and more convincing! I would appreciate it if some kind person could help me understand in what context ‘pants’ can be taken as an anagram indicator (needless to say that 17d defeated me).

    1. Hi Tony. I’m always interested to hear people’s alternative takes on clues – thanks. :)

      Some people think pants is a bit of a pants anagram indicator, but in its slangy sense of rubbish or dreadful it’s pretty widely accepted – including in The Times. See Anax’s article about anagrams here.

        1. No, Kath – I’m sorry for pipping you!

          Out comments are hardly duplicates anyway – and I love your quote. :)

    2. Pants is, or certainly was, teenage slang for nonsense, (anagram indicator) or worthless or rubbishy. Hence, “Mummy, I need some new bras – all mine are pants”.

      1. Thank you both. I wasn’t aware of the slang meaning and I appreciate your responses – and I liked the example, Kath!

  7. Just realised that my comment got lost somewhere in the ether so here we go again:-

    I’m always a little reluctant when it comes to Dada puzzles, simply because I have an aversion to that particular pseudonym. Absolutely ridiculous, particularly as I usually find them thoroughly enjoyable. This one was no exception and he led me down a couple of blind alleys – with checkers in place I really wanted the second word in 9d to be ‘band’ and I convinced myself that ‘sure’ had to have a place in 13d. However, I did remember the dugout at 8a – goodness knows how!
    Love the sound of the answer at 15a although I can’t claim that it’s a word I use on any regular basis and my podium places went to 10,20&25a plus 9d.

    Thanks to Dada and to our ice-cream licking Girl Tuesday. The 3d you pictured looks terrifying – don’t think I’d be volunteering to drive over it!

  8. All the fun that we expect to find in a Dada puzzle was there in abundance once again. 8a was our last one to get sorted as we initially thought that an anagram of ‘dug’ was going to be part of the answer.
    Thanks Dada and Kitty.

  9. I can’t usually do Dada crosswords so almost ran away from it very fast (everything is comparative, Kitty) but decided to give it a go.
    I got off to a good start but then ground to a halt and almost gave up but after a short break in the garden came back to it.
    Finally finished it apart from needing the hint to explain what was obviously the answer to 4d – ‘is sour’ – :roll:
    Very good fun I’d say as a newbie to Dada puzzles.
    I liked 10 and 23a and my favourite was 21d.
    With thanks to Dada and to Kitty.

  10. A suitably testing Toughie for this stage of the week: 3*/4*. 5d took me a while to spot, and raised a rueful smile when I did, so gets my vote for best clue. Thanks to Dada, and Kitty.

  11. I made very heavy weather of this but every time I finally saw the light on a clue I thought, “How could I not have seen that before!” 19A and 21D are just two examples of my denseness. I still ended up with three unsolved. Couldn’t get past second bass for 10A which made 2D impossible, and 8A was just beyond me. Thanks, Dada. I did enjoy it despite my brain fog. and thanks to Kitty for another entertaining blog.

  12. I didn’t find this too hard, but enjoyed it mostly due to the dusting of wit that Dada always brings to proceedings. Thanks to both him and Kitty, and I look forward to a truly Pheidippidean crossword!

    1dn was my last one in, perhaps because too much exposure to Kitty blogs may be turning me into a cat person.

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