Toughie 1856 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1856

Toughie No 1856 by Dada

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hi Toughie-lovers.  Today Dada has brought us a fun puzzle with plenty of humour which I found a bit of a, well, toughie when solving but can’t really see why now.

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



1a    Date breaks up over comedian, a stinker! (6)
SEWAGE:  A verb to date surrounds (breaks up over) a joker

4a    Happy community going nowhere (8)
ECSTATIC:  A charade of the European Community and not moving

10a   Even bits of warthog added to stew a contentious issue (3,6)
HOT POTATO:  Take the even letters of warthog and append them to a stew

11a   Mean party hosts ending in opposition (5)
SNIDE:  A party or faction contains (hosts) the last letter of (ending in) opposition

12a   Exaggerate role in very particular period during month (7)
OVERACT:  V(ery) and a particular period of history inside (during) an abbreviated form of one of the months of the year

13a   Winning Conservative, honourable (7)
UPRIGHT:  Winning or ahead followed by the side of the political spectrum a Conservative sits on

14a   Relieved while in action, the first to leave (5)
EASED:  While (2) inside an action (4) without its first letter (the first to leave)

15a   Focus of social activity affected passion (8)
CAMPFIRE:  Affected or theatrical plus a great passion or ardour

18a   Vermin in a skirt, you might say, working for cabinetmaker (8)
SHERATON:  The skirt is an indication that this vermin might be female, making her a (3-3).  Follow with working (two letters) to get a furniture designer who started out making cabinets

20a   Sound heart in Paul, Christian for the most part? (5)
AUDIO:  The middle of (heart in) Paul and the surname of designer Christian minus the final letter (for the most part).  (Paul is Dada’s alter ego in the Guardian)

23a   Drink — bird needing one (7)
MARTINI:  Make this cocktail out of a bird in the swallow family – appropriately! – and the Roman numeral one

25a   French artist succeeded, making an entrance (7)
INGRESS:  A French artist useful in crosswords succeeded by S(ucceeded)

26a   A measure in progress (5)
AFOOT:  The A from the clue and a measure of distance

27a   Outfit with a tanga extremely ludicrous? Completely! (4,1,4)
TOUT À FAIT:  An anagram (ludicrous) of OUTFIT with A and the outer letters (extremely) of TangA

28a   Pastry  sales? (8)
TURNOVER:  Two definitions: a small pie or the total amount of money changing hands in a business

29a   Fly set to buzz around repeatedly (6)
TSETSE:  SET is anagrammed (to buzz around) twice (repeatedly)



1d    Ship that carries sherry (8)
SCHOONER:  A ship or a sherry glass

2d    Slow time entering manoeuvres before beginning to stop (7)
WITLESS:  Slow of mind.  T(ime) is inserted into (entering) some cunning manoeuvres or ruses before the first letter of (beginning to) stop

3d    Muck on smoother bird (9)
GOOSANDER:  some muck or slime (3) and (on, in a down clue) a tool used for smoothing

5d    Case of quite curious men or otherwise finding something to eat (6-8)
CROQUE-MONSIEUR:  An anagram (otherwise) of the outer letters of (case of) QuitE with CURIOUS MEN OR

6d    A shocker in Lolita — seriously? (5)
TASER:  This electric shocker is hidden in the clue

7d    After launch of Titanic, ship set off (7)
TRIGGER:  After the first letter of (launch of) Titanic goes a type of ship.  Set off as in initiate

8d    Coin box filled with treasure, ultimately (6)
CREATE:  A large box containing (filled with) the last letter (ultimately) of treasure.  Coin here is a verb

9d    Piece inspiring outsiders in Kent to contain this team (7,7)
PARTICK THISTLE:  A small (may even be subatomic!) piece containing (inspiring) the outer letters of (outsiders in) Kent, which in turn contain the THIS from the clue.  I didn’t know this team, which is a Scottish football club

16d   Signal far off in cross-Channel mix-up (9)
FRANGLAIS:  An anagram (off) of SIGNAL FAR.  Lovely definition!

17d   Something sweet I put inside message (8)
NOISETTE:  The sweet is nutty and its ingredients are as follows: I and set or place all inside a short memo

19d   Nurse pulling up underwear in time (7)
HARBOUR:  Nurse a grudge perhaps.  A piece of underwear reversed (up, in a down clue) inside a unit of time

21d   Shut down company to get things into shape? (3-4)
DIE-CAST:  Shut down or expire and a company, of actors perhaps.  To shape using a metal mould

22d   Rogue needing skill to communicate (6)
IMPART:  Join together a naughty creature and skill

24d   Penning memoir finally, enthusiastic about the first few words (5)
INTRO:  An informal word meaning enthusiastic about containing (penning) the final letter of memoir


Thanks to Dada for a puzzle which was fun to solve and even more so to blog.  I of course enjoyed the ones with the pleasing surfaces as well as the 16d cross-Channel mix up.  I liked the happy community of 4a and the birds (23a and 3d).  Honours today go to the 15a focus of social activity, not least because it reminded me of a fun day on a certain social media network yesterday.  Which put a smile on your face?



21 comments on “Toughie 1856

  1. I enjoyed this one, but found it pretty tough going in places. Some crunchy parsings and a few solutions that were familiar but only distantly. Having said that, there was no excuse for 26 being last in.

    Thanks to Kitty and Dada

  2. Dada is never less than entertaining and I enjoyed this one – thanks to him and to Kitty. Did I detect a bit of a French theme? As with beery hiker my last answer was 26a, accompanied by much self-flagellation.
    Top clues for me were 18a, 20a and 16d.

  3. For once guessed the setter (having been temporarily blindsided by the clue at 20 into thinking it might be Someone Else).

    Nice chewy start to the Toughie week. Thanks Dada and especially Kitty (loved the illustrations).

  4. I found this a very enjoyable, but challenging, puzzle, probably made more so by my not having heard of either of the long down clues, 5d and 9d. However, with some electronic help it all got sorted out and I was able to finish successfully. There were several chuckles and penny-dropping moments along the way – 16d providing both! Many thanks to Dada and Kitty.

  5. I never heard of the team and was also unfamiliar with that french phrase (27a ) so it was a bit too tough for me.
    Oh well, upwards and onwards.
    Thanks to Dada and Kitty.

  6. As is usual for me with a Dada puzzle, I was slow to start but rapidly picked up the pace.
    Fortunately, both the food item and the team were quite familiar – the latter due to my dear old Dad always listening to the results on the radio at the weekend whilst checking his coupon!
    I did need Kitty’s help with the parsing of 18a – umm, not too sure I liked that one.
    15a topped the leader board.

    Thanks to Dada and to our Girl Tuesday for another brilliantly illustrated blog – great pics and I loved the cartoons.

  7. Don’t often attempt the Toughie, so pleased to complete this in reasonable time. Had to check 11a as couldn’t parse it. Obvious now! 19d made surface made me smile, so favourite. Thanks to Dada and Kitty

  8. When I started this I thought I would get nowhere so was pleasantly surprised that, by persevering, I was only beaten by 2 clues.

    My favourite? 16d – especially the illustration!

  9. This seemed progress slowly, but got there in the end. Thank you kitty for the parsing of 14a, where I didn’t translate while, and 26a, where I didn’t think to include in in the definition.

    I liked 10a, 18a, 20a, 27a and more.

    Thank you dada for a great puzzle and kitty for the excellent blog

  10. Highly entertaining, enjoyable and satisfying. I am now over an hour late because I was so engrossed. 8d/11a last in
    Quite tough in places, in clever and amusing ways. Lots to like so hard to single out a fave.

    Many thanks to Dada for a Goldilocks puzzle, and to Kitty for the odd nudge. *** and a bit /**** and a quite a big bit.

  11. When we solved this the setter attribution was not on the website so we felt a little smug that we had correctly guessed who it was. We did need electronic help with 9d as neither of us (not surprisingly) had heard of this team. Plenty of clues to keep us smiling and happy during the solve.
    Thanks Dada and Kitty.

  12. Took a while to get 9a as I thought the outer letters of Kent were at the end of the first word/beginning of the next and that the whole thing finished with a synonym of contain. Who would have thought that contain was a containment indicator?
    Loved the theme of course (as Napoleon used to say) speaking frenglish fluently.
    Thanks to Dada and to Kitty for the wonderful review.

  13. Thanks to Dada and to Kitty for the review and hints. Way beyond my pay grade. Never heard of 27a & 5d, only did schoolboy French. Only managed 15 answers. When I looked at the hints, I found the wordplay baffling to say the least.

  14. Belated thanks for this one, both for hints and setter; 19d a lol moment. Rescued paper from a bin in Carcassonne, so the French answers were a bit of a gift. Next time, I’ll buy a new Telegraph!

    1. Welcome from me too.
      I don’t think I will see a hard copy of the Telegraph for a while.
      My newsagents rarely had a copy lately and last Saturday there were no papers whatsoever.
      I asked him what happened and he said he gave up on newspapers. Just selling postcards, magazines and National Lottery tickets.
      The shop is called Top Presse.
      I told him he could call it Stop Presse from now on.

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