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Toughie 1916

Toughie No 1916 by Dada

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


A big warm hello to you all.  We have a Dada puzzle in today’s Toughie slot, and it’s everything I’ve come to expect from him.  A little trickier than the Toughies we often start the week with, but repaying the extra thought with extra smiles.

The definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the buttons.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative — click only if you wish to reveal all.

As usual, you may click on pictures to enlarge them or uncover hidden extras.



1a    Meal with crowd freely guzzling cold and hot soup (4,7)
CLAM CHOWDER:  Our starter is a fishy soup made from a word soup: an anagram (freely) of MEAL with CROWD containing (guzzling) abbreviations for cold and hot

9a    Eleven  arms here (7)
ARSENAL:  A double definition.  The eleven is a sporting team and the arms are weapons

10a   Miss Peron gives back wraps (6)
IGNORE:  (Hands up all who wanted EVA in the wordplay.)  Peron is just fodder (along with the following word) for a backwards lurker — this pair of words contains (wraps) in reverse (back) the answer

12a   Thus unable to show film list (4,3)
REEL OFF:  To list in rapid succession.  The answer might also imply that a film is spoilt or unavailable

13a   Skill recalled lagging long pipe (7)
TRACHEA:  Skill or aptitude (3) backwards (recalled) containing (lagging, in the sense of covering) long or yearn.  I got very tangled up in parsing by trying to make the wordplay work with the skill all at the beginning of the answer

14a   Secreted in hideaway, second wizard (5)
DEMON:  Inside (secreted in) a retreat or study is a short word for a tick or sec.  Wizard as in an expert or genius

15a   Band artist added to golden casket (9)
ORCHESTRA:  A Royal Academician comes after (is added to) the heraldic term for gold and a large box

17a   Painting in red almost surreal (3,6)
OLD MASTER:  An anagram (surreal) of RED ALMOST

20a   Old character I see about record (5)
ALPHA:  An interjection meaning I see! or Eureka! around (about) a type of music record

22a   Children’s author  pitching up (7)
LOFTING:  Two definitions: the creator of Dr Dolittle, and tossing up in the air.  I’ll admit I had to check the author

24a   Dance pose with ten spins (3-4)
ONE-STEP:  POSE, together with TEN, is anagrammed (spins)

25a   Transport taken from A&E stretched out? (6)
TANDEM:  A sneaky lurker.  This vehicle is hidden in, and so can be taken from, A&E as written out in full (stretched out) (accidenT AND EMergency)

26a   Capital has to be invested, lacking infrastructure primarily, and certainly abroad (7)
TBILISI:  The initial letters (primarily) of five words of the clue and then the Spanish word for yes

27a   Tense after green snakes set off for location of zoo (7,4)
REGENTS PARK:  T(ense) after GREEN is anagrammed (snakes), then a verb to set off or trigger.  The zoo is London Zoo



2d    Zero travelling up: zero leaving English city (7)
LINCOLN:  The reversal (travelling up, in a down clue) of a word meaning zero followed by the name of the punctuation mark in the clue missing the letter which can stand for zero (COLoN).  This sent me a bit dotty not spotting the dotty bit!

3d    Slow vehicle needs to exploit spare cash (4,5)
MILK FLOAT:  Not a vehicle you see so often these days.  A charade of a word meaning to exploit to full advantage and some money in hand, for use in a shop for example

4d    I put on clothes in lift (5)
HOIST:  We need a word for put on, as in hold (a party or function); it contains (clothes) the I from the clue

5d    Hopeful to swipe pale dresses (7)
WANNABE:  The hopeful is a noun, and pale is a verb.  Pale or decline contains (dresses) a word meaning to swipe or nick.  I take no responsibility and make no apologies for the video: the answer compels me to include it

6d    Wild horse at catching distance? (7)
EARSHOT:  An anagram (wild) of HORSE AT.  Aural catching distance

7d    Party sketch in which Gran is discovered, cross (11)
LABRADOODLE:  A political party (not Con: one of the others) and a casually done drawing, in between which we have the inner letters (dis-covered) of Gran

8d    Respect Eton’s principal seconds before lash (6)
ESTEEM:  Eton’s first letter (principal) and S(econds) before lash, as rain might lash down

11d   Mad with power, books retro fare (6,5)
BANANA SPLIT:  A charade of mad (7), the physics symbol for power, and a shortened word for books and writings in general

16d   Incentive better for Lucille Ball, perhaps? (6-3)
CARROT-TOP:  Join together an incentive (a nicer one than a stick) and to better or beat.  Click on the image for a more obvious pictorial hint

18d   Collapse three notes together? (7)
DEFLATE:  Three consecutive notes of the chromatic scale, spelled out.  (D, E flat, E.)  I was only seeing the white notes for a while and consequently baffled by the last four letters of the answer.  Grr!

19d   Greek princess in song, bottom raised (7)
ARIADNE:  The daughter of King Minos in Greek mythology is formed of our usual operatic song and then the bottom or last bit, reversed (raised, in a down clue)

20d   Studio worried, pursued by heartless convict (7)
ATELIER:  Worried (3) plus somebody serving a long sentence missing the middle letter (heartless)

21d   With light touch, nothing is jargon (6)
PATOIS:  Connect together a gentle tap, the letter signifying zero, and the penultimate word of the clue

23d   Draw round peaks in Andean mountain range (5)
GAMUT:  Draw as in disembowel outside (round) the first letters of (peaks in) Andean mountain


Thanks to Dada for the enjoyable diversion.  I thought 25a and 2d excellent, but my favourite is 18d.  Which would you sing about?


Sincere thanks to everyone for your well-wishes yesterday and today.  I’ll pass on the offline ones and Dad will see the others, as he’s one of our readers.  He came through the op well and was immediately complaining of being ravenous.  As those who know of the Kitty family’s legendary appetite will appreciate, this is situation normal, so things are looking much more optimistic.  Thank you again.


32 comments on “Toughie 1916

  1. I thought I would dip my toe in the Toughie – and, ow, it hurt!

    I thought the author at 22d was the one that wrote ‘the sequence of five novels collectively called Children of Violence,’ although the pitching up didn’t really parse. That left me with a certain word at 18d associated with music cryptically but also that can be applied to kettles, doh! Thanks Kitty for explaining all.

    Good challenge, even if I failed on two. I think I’ve seen a similar clue for 15a before.

  2. That was fun. Didn’t know 22a or 19d and couldn’t work them out. 25a plain defeated me too. Don’t know who Ms Ball is, but I guessed the idea for 16d.
    The 7d penny-drop was satisfying, 20a a lovely variation of a chestnut but stand out fave has to be 2d.

    Many thanks to Dada for the workout and Kitty for the elucidation – glad to hear all is well. **** / ***** for me.

  3. A lovely puzzle from Dada. 18d took me ages as there seemed to be far too many notes to choose from in the answer. I also had a problem associating 16d with Lucille Ball as I only remember seeing her in black and white. I don’t know why the 11d fare is ‘retro’ – don’t children eat it nowadays? If not they don’t know what they’re missing.
    I liked 19d (for the picture it painted), 25a and 7d. My favourite (for the brilliant definition) was 6d. Thanks to Dada and Kitty (and best wishes to Kitty’s dad for a swift recovery).

    1. Having got the answer for 18d, I asked Mrs RD what colour Lucille Ball’s hair was and she said exactly that, that she had no idea as she had only ever seen her in black and white!

    2. We only had B&W as well but her picture appeared in many magazines. I certainly knew that she belonged to the 16d brigade.

            1. Oh of course – I missed the vital word ‘read’ in Gazza’s comment. I was thinking more along the lines of the magazines teenage boys LOOK at. Silly me…………

  4. I finished it but some of my answers were bung ins. They turned out to be correct but I needed your help with the parsing.
    Hope your father continues to make good progress.

  5. I found three quarters of this enjoyably tough but the SW corner put up a very big fight. Kitty has echoed several of my comments:

    10a – I spent a long time trying to get Eva to fit.
    22a – I needed to check that my answer was an author.
    18d – Even though the answer was clear, I too was mystified by the wordplay and needed Kitty’s explanation why the parsing was not D+E+F LATE

    With hindsight, 18d is my favourite closely followed by 25a.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Kitty.

    P.S. Great to have you back, Kitty, and good to hear that your Dad’s op went well.

  6. Filled this all in, but needed hints to justify 2d (very clever, maybe I need new specs) and 18d, again very clever. 7d favourite along with the two that puzzled me. Thanks guys.

  7. Thanks for taking the time out to do this Kitty. Glad to hear things have progressed well. Another great puzzle from Dada which stretch my abilities somewhat. Thanks for explaining why my answers were correct. Thanks to Dada for setting this excellent puzzle. By the way Kitty, there is no need to apologise for any musical clip. Yours raised my spirits, had me laughing and singing along. It was of its time and its time was good.Girl Power.

  8. I found this one pretty tricky, particularly cold solving the first few, but then with Dada/Paul wavelength is everything and on a good day everything clicks. Got there in the end but didn’t parse everything – as always the challenge was entertaining.

    Thanks to Kitty and Dada

  9. This is one of those crosswords where I needed to read the review very carefully! I had the correct answers, but the parsing of 25A, 26A, and 18D got the better of me. I did sort out 10A myself though, and I did know Ms. Ball’s hair color.7D is my favorite, and I also liked 6D and 23D. Thanks Dada and Kitty.

  10. Got off to a slow start but then found Dada’s wavelength. Despite that, I was convinced that Eva would be involved with 10a until the checkers proved otherwise and I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know the author and also had to look up the spelling of 26a. Must check out how the latter is pronounced.
    Like Kitty, I struggled to parse 2&18d. Unlike Kitty, I didn’t quite manage to sort them out by myself!

    Tops for me were 25a plus 3d with – rather grudgingly – a mention for 18d.

    Thanks to Dada and to our Girl Tuesday, who must be feeling much happier now that her Dad has come safely through his op. As MP said, please don’t apologise for the 5d clip – it was fun!

  11. Kitty, as you know, I don’t do the toughie, but I just wanted to say I’m so very glad your Dad has had his op and is now feeling much better. That was really bad luck, it’s wonderful that modern medicine can repair it. Three cheers for your Dad!

    1. Thanks, Merusa, and thanks everyone else. I’m outside the hospital now, having just delivered lots of kind messages to the patient as well as Mick Twister’s latest book. (That last was meant for Christmas, but when it arrived today it was just too perfect timing.)

      1. Funny, funny girl! Whatever does the trick for your Dad, he needs all the cheers he can get. I think girls and their Dads have a special bond, I wish I had mine still!

  12. I thought this was a wonderful puzzle. I did finish, but I was lucky to do so in that there were three or four, mostly in the SW corner that I got solely on the basis of the definition, and I needed Kitty’s wonderful review to realize how clever the word play was (18d for instance). For me this was more than *** in difficulty, but worth every minute of it! Many thanks to Dada and Kitty.

  13. Don’t usually get beaten by Dada.
    Even managed his alphabetical in the Guardian the other day.
    But today was a different story.
    Failed on 22a and 18d and put the wrong answer in 16d. Wrote carbon tip thinking the definition was ball,perhaps but couldn’t parse it.
    I do Love Lucy but only saw her in b&w too.
    Thanks to Dada and to Kitty for the review.

  14. We finished but it took some doing. ****/**** for us.

    We wouldn’t disagree with your pick of the crop, Kitty, except to say we felt 25a a little underhand. A hidden word that isn’t even visible? Pah!

    Thanks to Kitty and Dada.

  15. Dada once again earned more than his fair share of smiles, chuckles and guffaws. A slight delay with 26a when, from having the first and last letters, we tried to justify TRIPOLI for the answer. It took a while to notice the punctuation in 2d and that so that one one is also on the long list of really good clues here.
    Thanks Dada and Kitty. We are so pleased to her your dad is on the mend, all the best to you both.

    1. I too needed help to understand the second part of 2d. Great clue but who would have thought of that? Not me

  16. A smashing puzzle, but l confess to needing 4 hints, so ****/**** for my money. My favourite – which l wouldn’t have got without a hint for 25a – was 18d. Many thanks to Dada and Kitty.

  17. A definite **** for difficulty – well, it is called the Toughie, though I don’t usually find them to be quite this tough this end of the week. Engaging and enjoyable throughout, this was a puzzle solved in fits and starts – ages staring and staring and not getting anything, and then a bunch of clues one after the other. Last in the unlikely looking 26ac.

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