Toughie 1981 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1981

Toughie No 1981 by Dada

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

We can always rely on Dada for an entertaining puzzle and this one is entertaining and not too demanding.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a A number hugging tree, dull yes? (11)
AFFIRMATIVE: A and a cardinal number contain an evergreen tree and an adjective meaning dull.

9a Life’s work for one? (14)
AUTOBIOGRAPHER: cryptic definition of one producing a work describing (and usually ‘bigging up’) what he or she’s done in life. Some titles are more honest than others.

11a European city not seldom, regularly seen (4)
OSLO: regular letters from two words in the clue.

12a One processes whisky to this day (5)
STILL: double definition, the second an adverb meaning ‘up to and including the present time’.

13a Ungulate dropping back in style (4)
ELAN: an African hoofed animal without its final letter.

16a Schubert played for purveyors of the flesh (8)
BUTCHERS: an anagram (played) of SCHUBERT.

17a Infant finally cradled by inexperienced mother (6)
NATIVE: put the final letter of infant inside an adjective meaning inexperienced or unsophisticated. Mother here is an adjective.

19a One after kiss for team? (6)
ELEVEN: the answer can be represented by the Roman numeral for one after the letter used to mean a kiss.

20a Second, not first number that is unmelodic (8)
MONOTONE: string together a short word for a second or tick, NOT and the first cardinal number.

22a Grass skirts of women on half of lads (4)
LAWN: append the outer letters of women to half of the word ‘lads’.

23a Sign one is overwhelmed by God (5)
ARIES: the Roman numeral for one is contained inside the Greek god of war.

24a What inspires confidence at first, love for beautiful nymph (4)
ECHO: an interjection requesting a repetition of something said (What?) contains the first letter of confidence. Finish with the letter resembling love or zero.

27a River top, stream beaten usually (3,3,4,4)
FOR THE MOST PART: start with a Scottish river and add an anagram (beaten) of TOP STREAM.

28a Bloomer on ship getting delivery grounded? (5-6)
DAISY-CUTTER: what we have here is a crickety term for a delivery that keeps very low to the ground. Stick together a common type of flower and a small vessel with one mast.

Down Clues

2d Cross about our tenant, wife gives curse (4-6,4)
FOUR-LETTER WORD: a verb to cross (a river, say) contains OUR, a term for a tenant(?) and the abbreviation for wife. The term used here for a tenant usually means the tenant’s landlord and I can’t really see how it means tenant.

3d Extreme characters in fine club (4)
IRON: treat the letters at the extremes of the word ‘fine’ as a chemical symbol.

4d Water spoiled suit with further clothing (8)
MOISTURE: an anagram (spoiled) of SUIT is contained inside an adverb meaning further or ‘to a greater degree’.

5d Fastener caught up on broken leg (6)
TOGGLE: reverse a verb meaning caught (an illness, say) and follow that with an anagram (broken) of LEG.

6d Bottle important, having lost heart (4)
VIAL: an adjective meaning very important without its central letter.

7d Hot dish cold, hero getting stick about flavour, ultimately (6,3,5)
CHILLI CON CARNE: knit together a word for a feverish cold, a synonym for hero or someone greatly admired and a stick containing the ultimate letter of flavour.

8d Primate overcoming slender attacker drinking knockout tea (6,5)
ORANGE PEKOE: start with a tree-dwelling primate of South-East Asia and add a slender sharp-pointed attacking weapon containing the abbreviation for knockout.

10d Truth hard to believe, spit over cliff (6,5)
DOUBLE BLUFF: a spit or lookalike followed by a word for a steep cliff.

14d Nerve — one of two on face (5)
CHEEK: this could be lip but it’s another feature of which you have two on your face.

15d Painter of popes, a degree blue (5)
BACON: this is the Irish-born British artist (Francis Bacon) who produced various grotesque variations on Velásquez’s painting of Pope Innocent X. Start with an Arts Degree and add an abbreviation for the political party associated with the colour blue. Here’s a detail from the magnificent Velásquez portrait and one of this painter’s efforts – you can probably guess which one I like.

18d Pro has messed up since, on scientific investigation (8)
FORENSIC: a preposition meaning ‘pro’ (as opposed to ‘anti’) followed by an anagram (messed up) of SINCE.

21d Cake remains? Good Lord! (6)
CRUMBS: double definition, the second an exclamation often used by Billy Bunter.

25d Stop question, then answer (4)
WHOA: a 3-letter question followed by an abbreviation for answer.

26d Spring, time for quarrel (4)
SPAT: a mineral spring and the abbreviation for time.

The clues I liked best were 24a, 3d and 5d. Which one(s) rang your bell?

25 comments on “Toughie 1981

  1. Very entertaining, if on the very Floughie side, even allowing for my dense moment as to why the solution for 3d was what it was. I agree about the ‘tenant’ in 2d not being the right word

    Thanks to Dada for the short-lived fun and to Gazza for the explanations

  2. Agree comments about “letter” -not that it casused any delay. I did like 20a, 27a and 8d

  3. Nice one. 15d foxed me, even though I’d half parsed it. 2d poorly clued, but as Ash noted it didn’t make any difference. My favourite 8d.
    Thanks to Gazza for sorting 15d for me and to the setter for the puzzle

  4. Most answers went in more readily than did yesterday’s, but I got stuck on the last couple. Became impatient and used an electronic spade to dig myself free.

    Not a problem because it was all very enjoyable. I wondered briefly about the landlord/tenant entanglement but decided not to worry my furry little head about it and let Gazza enlighten me instead.

    Thanks to Dada and Gazza.

  5. Took me a while to see beyond ‘C’ for cold in 7d and to recall the ‘inspires’ part of 24a. As for 28a – all I can say is that RD hasn’t taught me that one so I had to ask Mr Google about it!
    Needed Gazza’s help to parse 19a although something tells me that we may have seen a similar construction on a previous occasion.

    Thanks to Dada and to Gazza for the blog – the zebra-hurdling race looks interesting!

    1. Oops, sorry about that, Jane. It never occurred to me that term might crop up.

  6. 3d and 7d were my last to parse fully. 2dn I also can’t see how a letter can be a tenant. Thanks to Dada and Gazza

  7. Good fun from Dada and not very difficult. I’m with the ‘tenant’ group on 2d – even something like ‘message’ would have done. 3d was my last one in as I couldn’t for the life of me parse the answer. Leave alone and have a cup of coffee – and dahdah! – the penny finally drops (see what I did there :smile: )

    Again, thanks to Dada and to Gazza for his excellent review.

  8. I very much enjoyed this, although for me is was far from straightforward. The right hand edge was the last and slowest to fall, partly because I initially poked myself in the eye by ending 9a in ‘ic’. It took me a VERY long time to track down the painter in 15d. Many thanks to Dada and Gazza.

  9. A very enjoyable Toughie completed at a fast canter before lights out last night – **/****.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 28a and 2d – and the winner is 2d.

    Thanks to Dada and Gazza.

  10. I did most of this without too much trouble but came to grief a bit with a few of the ‘yes, OK, but whys’.
    I didn’t know that I knew/had heard of 28a but I obviously had.
    My favourite was 22a because of the image conjured up.
    Thanks to Dada for the crossword and to Gazza for sorting out my problems.

  11. It was 27a very enjoyable and doable. I didn’t get the tea or the crickety term.
    My favourite is 21d.
    Thanks to Dada and Gazza.

  12. Gazza is spot on when he says that this was entertaining but not too demanding, although I was flummoxed by a couple and needed the review for enlightenment. As an ex-chemist I am ashamed to confess that I couldn’t parse 3d; and I have never heard of the very bizarre sounding 8d nor did I realise you could have the primate without its utan.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Gazza.

  13. Being off sick allowed time to tackle this… got all above the diagonal line fairly easily, but almost none under it, even after extensive e-help. Having an -ic ending on 9a rather the -er didn’t help with 8d, but I very much doubt I would have got it anyway, although I had the definition correctly underlined in the clue! Must remember that obscure African animal that keeps making an appearance!

  14. 15d was our stumbling block. We got the right artist and did a Google check but could not manage to get the connection between BLUE and CON until we looked here this morning. Should have worked on that a bit more.
    All the usual good fun from Dada with lots of clever witty clues.
    Thanks Dada and Gazza.

  15. Thanks to Dada and to Gazza for the review and hints. Managed to get into it, but still needed six hints to finish.

  16. Did try to make life difficult for myself in 10d.
    Thought Hard to believe was Doubtful but split and over so the first word started with Doub and the second one ended in luft. A Double Cluft maybe?
    Sometimes I make toughies tougher than they real are.
    Thanks to Dada and to Gazza for the review

  17. The online version did not have an apostrophe in lifes which annoyed me no end (sorry, I’m like that, I’m sure many of you are too). No fault of setter, I imagine.

    I played solve the puzzle and guess the setter and failed. Anyway, all done before the school run.

    I liked 19a, 16a, 24a.

    I’d never heard of the cricket term, and I got the ending for 9a wrong to begin with, silly really.

    Many thanks dada and thanks gazza for a few enlightenments

  18. About ** difficulty for a Toughie, with much difficulty at the close on 15d (oh, that blue!) and 8d which I had to look up (is that really a tea? Yes it is…) Fun throughout as always with Dada.

  19. Re 15d Gazza. Which one do you like. Velazquez is perfect. Bacon asks questions. Like Cezanne did. Ars Longa Vita Brevis.

  20. The ubiquitious crossword ungulate appears in 13A I see.
    Thanks for the hints, which were appeciated.

Comments are closed.