Toughie 1872 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1872

Toughie No 1872 by Dada

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hi all.  I found this a wonderfully fun-packed puzzle and hope you did too.

I’ve often found this setter’s crosswords a little trickier than do the bulk of the commentariat, but if that’s the case today then there’ll be complaints, because this gave me less trouble than most back page offerings.  Therefore I’ve been unable to give more than 1* for difficulty – but this is on the Toughie scale, and Toughies take some tuning into – so if you have come here from the regular cryptic and found it hard, please do not feel disheartened.  I have a few things to say about ratings (with graphs – yay!) but will save that for another time.  I think they should definitely be taken with a pinch of salt – or, if you have high blood pressure, avoided entirely!

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    Maiden out to grab a nap, easily obtained (1,4,1,5)
A DIME A DOZEN:  An anagram (out) of MAIDEN containing (to grab) A (from the clue) and a light sleep.  Two a penny, or thereabouts.  I wish that naps were easily obtained!

9a    Sprawling flat on rug, vicar one over the eight, perhaps? (6,8)
VULGAR FRACTION:  An anagram (sprawling) of FLAT ON RUG VICAR.  The definition should be read literally rather than idiomatically. The surface does paint rather a picture

11a   Sole yet to be filleted has head removed, fifty caught (4)
ONLY:  An adjective describing something prior to being filleted without the first letter (has head removed), with the Roman numeral for fifty inserted (caught)

12a   Something for breakfast, perfectly round crumpets, ultimately (5)
TOAST:  Perfectly (2,1,1) around the last letter (ultimately) of crumpets

13a   Motivation in team dropping back (4)
SPUR:  The shortened name of a football team shortened even further by having its last letter removed (dropping back).  The motivation might be for human or horse

16a   One’s likely to forget in the morning, since a drunk (8)
AMNESIAC:  Follow the two-letter abbreviation for in the morning with an anagram (drunk) of SINCE A.  Nice surface, though I don’t recall ever experiencing this

17a   Englishmen abroad for ball (6)
POMPOM:  Take an Antipodean slang term for an English person; there are more than one of these, so repeat the word to obtain a fluffy ball

19a   Waiter hoping for a nibble left in indignation (6)
ANGLER:  Insert L(eft) into extreme indignation or ire.  I love the definition here

20a   Cow OK in marsh (8)
FRIGHTEN:  This cow does not say moo: she is a verb.  Ok or fine inside low marshland.  Simple but beautiful

22a   Plot is reversed by heartless tale (4)
SITE:  The second word of the clue is reversed and after that comes the outer letters (heartless) of tale

23a   Line character recited (5)
QUEUE:  Form a letter of the alphabet: said aloud (recited) it sounds like the answer

24a   Filth from backfiring food processors? (4)
SMUT:  The food processors are parts of the digestive system, and we need to take an informal word for them, reversed (backfiring).  The type of filth this setter is known for, especially in the more liberal publications

27a   Surrender the spirit to pop one’s clogs (4,2,3,5)
GIVE UP THE GHOST:  The answer can be taken literally as surrender (4,2) the spirit (5), which must surely be where the phrase comes from.  Pop one’s clogs or kick the bucket.  (Does anyone know the origin of those? I have run out of time to investigate myself)

28a   A moist plant? (4-2-1-4)
LOVE-IN-A-MIST:  Ah, moist.  A word many have no love for.  Consequently I use it wherever possible.  This flowering plant has a name which can produce “a moist” when interpreted cryptically as the tennis score of zero inside some fine atmospheric moisture, after the A from the clue.  (It also apparently goes by the names of ragged lady and devil in the bush)



2d    Even big deal out for negotiation, one is not doing nothing? (6,8)
DOUBLE NEGATIVE:  I’m not doing no hint for this one.  An anagram (for negotiation) of EVEN BIG DEAL OUT.  Some people think these are a no-no

3d    Some pachyderm, e.g. African jumbo (4)
MEGA:  This adjective which might well be applied to a pachyderm is lurking in the clue, indicated by someI’ve chosen a pink one here, as it seems to fit with today’s theme …

4d    Flier from nation supporting war, I suspect (8)
AIRWOMAN:  This is not a winged flier but a human.  An Arab nation preceded by (supporting, in a down clue) an anagram (suspect) of WAR I

5d    Stampede over grass (6)
ONRUSH:  A charade of over/about and a grasslike plant

6d    Upper limits of English test cricket, huge score (4)
ETCH:  The first letters of (upper limits of) four words of the clue 

7d    Funky river vessel tickles giants of the Zambezi, say? (14)
HIPPOPOTAMUSES:  A multi-part charade now.  Join together funky (3), crosswordland’s favourite Italian river (2) a container (3) and tickles (verb)

8d    Natural to seal off Channel Islands, maintaining border charge (11)
INCRIMINATE:  Russian Dolls time.  Natural or inherent containing (to seal off) the abbreviation for the Channel Islands, in turn containing (maintaining) a border or edge

10d   Religious testament entering space program parlance? Zilch! (3,1,7)
NOT A SAUSAGE:  Part of the Bible (2) inside (entering) a space agency, and by extension its space program, followed by parlance or manner of speaking

14d   Small piece of land has a tenant (5)
ISLET:  This, if split (2,3), would mean has a tenant

15d   Captive shot in African republic (5)
CONGO:  A prison inmate and a shot or try

18d   In Germany, miss final and rue being sent off (8)
FRAULEIN:  An anagram (being sent off) of FINAL and RUE

21d   Power punches an attractive thing in knockout match (3-3)
CUP-TIE:  Power is put inside (punches) someone (or, I suppose, something) appealing

25d   Embrace nothing as French author (4)
HUGO:  Embrace plus the letter that looks like a zero

26d   A margin that’s said to attract attention (4)
AHEM:  *Clears throat*  If I may have your attention please, take the A from the clue and add a border, especially the sewn edge of a piece of cloth


That wraps up today’s Toughie fun.  Thanks to Dada for the crossword party.  I smiled at 9a, 12a gave me an appetite, I liked the 19a waiter hoping for a nibble, and I did not dislike 2d.  Which had you dancing on the tables?




24 comments on “Toughie 1872

  1. All pretty straightforward, but entertaining so no complaints. 7 was my favourite, 23 last in. I’d seen the 28 device before, but it wasn’t a Paul.

    Thanks to Kitty and Dada

  2. I can’t get no satisfaction from omitting to say that this one was great fun – thanks to Dada and Kitty. My shortlist in the favourites stakes consists of 9a (for the excellent surface), 17a, 28a and 7d.

  3. I read 28a to be the letter O for love being in mist therefore giving moist. Maybe that’s what you meant in your hint.
    Lots to like as usual when Dada sets a crossword.
    Thanks to him and to Kitty for the review.

  4. I often run a mile from Dada’s Toughies as they’re usually completely beyond me but I loved this so thanks to others for recommending it in ‘the other place’.
    My last answer was 23a and 8d wasn’t far ahead of that.
    I liked 9 and 20a and 2 and 7d. 24a made me laugh and I think that 28a was my favourite.
    Thanks to Dada and to Kitty.

  5. Not at all tough, although I did need quite a bit of cogitation for a couple on the RHS, but huge fun from start to finish with a lot of clever and humorous clues.

    2d reminded me of the teacher telling his class that in English a 2d makes a positive statement whereas in other languages, e.g. Russian, it makes the negative more emphatic. He went on to say there are no languages where a double positive makes a negative, to which one of his pupils replied “yeah right”.

    28a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Kitty.

  6. Well – it would have been easy had I not spent a ridiculous amount of time staring vacantly at the obvious answers for 11&12a without a clue as to the parsing. I tried filleting ‘sole’ and ‘yet’ to no avail and wondered what on earth a ‘toat’ was.
    Sometimes even I despair of me!

    So much to enjoy in this one – I liked the two probable chestnuts at 14&26d, enjoyed the OK cow and the hungry waiter but saved top marks for 9a.

    Many thanks to Dada and to our Girl Tuesday – particularly for the photo of 10d, I’ve often wondered what one looked like.

      1. Kitty, the photorealistic drawing doesn’t appear on my iPhone, iPad or iMac, so I suspect it’s something that Apple’s Safari browser can’t handle or render properly. I’d also guess that Jean-Luc has an iPhone.

        Thanks anyway for the review and, yes, it was at the easy end of the spectrum but very enjoyable nonetheless.

  7. It’s invariably the same on the rare occasions I make a foray into Toughie territory. The way solutions fell into place was almost too good to be true but then my balloon burst on reading Kitty’s comment that it gave her less trouble than most back-page offerings! Never mind I enjoyed it whilst it lasted. 12a caused a lol moment and I admire your artistic creativity Kitty.

  8. Although not overly tough we enjoyed the elegance of the clues and find it difficult to pick out favourites.
    G had to explain the illustration for 10d as I’d not thought to look at the clue/answer.
    Thanks Dada and Kitty.

  9. Completed in a typical back-page time, so I have to agree with Kitty that this is at the easier end of the Toughie spectrum. But while the challenge may have been below average, the enjoyment certainly wasn’t. Big ticks (or checks) for 9a, 12a, 19a, 20a, 23a, 24a, 2d, 7d, 10d, and 26d. My favourite is 19a for the wonderfully clever definition. I liked the illustration for 10d. Many thanks to setter and hinter.

  10. Once again the expression “Goodie it’s a Dada” was fully justified. Smiles and chuckles all the way through. Interesting grid with two almost independent halves divided diagonally. Excellent fun.
    Thanks Dada and Kitty.

  11. Not at all easy for me. 8d had me beaten and whilst I had the answer to 10d I had no idea why, likewise 12a. Still, very much enjoyed.

    1. I understand the orange thing now.
      Couldn(t click on the wee picture on my mobile.
      Great picture.

  12. 2*/4* for my money. 12a was good, but 10d an absolute cracker. Thanks to Dada and Kitty.

  13. Tried this having read the summary at the beginning of the blog-glad I did-very enjoyable.

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