Toughie 2036 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2036

Toughie No 2036 by Dada

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hi all.  Another Tuesday and another Dada Toughie to enjoy.  It’s difficult for me to rate this one, as all was going smoothly until I became inexplicably stuck on a couple of interlinking pairs of clues which refused to budge, but fell readily enough after a bit of shut-eye.  And there is one that I utterly failed to understand (10a) — thanks to Gazza for enlightening me there.  I’m pretty sure I was enjoying it too, but by the end my interest had waned.  This did not really feel like a Dada to me, but maybe it’s me that isn’t quite myself.  Maybe I’m just a grumpy old man today.  Please do litter the comments with positives to make up for it!

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.



7a    Delight in Romeo of the East End? (4,4)
BOWL OVER:  Delight is a verb here.  Split (3,5) this would mean a ladies man from part of London’s East End

9a    A leading actor once, Ashcroft originally inspired by Shakespearean character (6)
REAGAN:  The first letter (… originally) of Ashcroft inside (inspired by) one of King Lear’s daughters

10a   Vile person, identity to chew over (6)
TOERAG:  An identification or label containing (to chew) a poetic form of over.  I had to chew over the parsing of this one, and still didn’t manage to swallow it – thanks to Gazza

11a   Do check trouble in joint (8)
DOVETAIL:  A charade of the first word of the clue as written and synonyms of the next two

12a   Engaged in adultery, learnt to work out a system domestically? (7,7)
CENTRAL HEATING:  Inside (engaged in) infidelity is an anagram (to work out) of LEARNT

15a   Land located in Angola, ostensibly (4)
LAOS:  This country in Mainland Southeast Asia is contained in the last words of the clue

17a   Hot finally, oven grill (5)
TOAST:  The last letter (… finally) of hot and an oven

19a   Energy of slip (4)
GOOF:  Put together energy or zip and a word in the clue

20a   Sanctioned  walk (14)
CONSTITUTIONAL:  Double definition: conforming to the law; a walk taken for health reasons

23a   Loud, wild sound (8)
FLAWLESS:  Ok: loud as a musical indication and wild or anarchic

25a   Batter, England’s opener idly wandering across back of crease (6)
EYELID:  Don’t worry, cricketphobes, you may safely ignore the surface here.  The answer is something which might bat, but it’s found on the face not the field.  Take England’s first letter (opener), and add IDLY anagrammed (wandering) and surrounding (across) the last letter (back of) crease

27a   Device once binding hands and feet, feet ultimately suitably attired? (6)
STOCKS:  The final letter (… ultimately) of feet inside something which feet are often kept inside, so that they are suitably attired

28a   Vacancies filled by unreliable boy, mischievous type (8)
SLYBOOTS:  Vacancies containing (filled by) an anagram (unreliable) of BOY



1d    Land earmarked for withdrawal? (4)
TOGO:  This West African country split (2,2) would be an indication that something is destined for elsewhere (perhaps takeaway food or drink)

2d    Minor bloomer, newspaper featuring old knowledge (6)
FLORET:  The pink organ in which today’s setter appears under the pseudonym Mudd containing (featuring) some traditional learning

3d    Standard run up (4)
TRAD:  A shortened form of a jazz style or standard is a verb to move rapidly written reversed (up, in a down clue)

4d    Short journey through irrelevant details (6)
TRIVIA:  Not quite all of (short) a journey and a word meaning through or by way of

5d    Old piece, item hard to make out? (8)
FARTHING:  Split (3,5) this would be a distant entity

6d    Bad skin? Go for treatment with a soothing compound (6,4)
BAKING SODA:  An anagram (for treatment) of BAD SKIN GO, with the A from the clue appended

8d    Tax squeezing relative, unsettled (7)
VAGRANT:  A tax containing (squeezing) a female relative

13d   Weaken metal and cause to fracture (10)
EMASCULATE:  METAL and CAUSE are anagrammed (to fracture)

14d   Courage in member of pack? (5)
HEART:  Two definitions, the second referring to a pack of playing cards

16d   Course  it’s a snack (8)
SANDWICH:  Another doubler: a type of educational course, or some food

18d   Accommodating animal, roofless sty — not stable (7)
TOTTERY:  Containing (accommodating) an aquatic mammal is sty without its first letter (roofless

21d   Fly, oddly tasted twice (6)
TSETSE:  The odd letters of tasted, twice

22d   Superior to nitrogen, gold I state (6)
OREGON:  Above (superior to, in a down clue) the chemical symbol of nitrogen is the heraldic word for gold and the I or self

24d   Thus, very unremarkable (2-2)
SO-SO:  Put together a word which can mean thus and the same word, now clued by another of its meanings: very

26d   A little bit after theta? (4)
IOTA:  This little bit is found just after theta in the Greek alphabet


Thanks to Dada.  While I thought 25a clever, my favourites are 7a and 4d, together with the feet suitably attired in 27a.  Which tickled your toes?


These hints and tips are for anyone who might find them of use (and who doesn’t need help now and then?).  The asides and illustrations are to add a personal perspective and some colour.  The comments section is — or should be — for everyone.  Please do ask if you need anything clarified, have any suggestions as to how the blogs could be improved, or have anything else you’d like to say.


16 comments on “Toughie 2036

  1. Kitty, you have already preempted my two intended comments: The failure to parse10a and that it did not feel like a Dada. I thought the whole puzzle with the exception of the excellent 11a, was very 24down. Thanks to you and Gazza for the parsing of 10a and of course to Paul oops Dada!

  2. For some reason I found this a real struggle – most of the bottom half went in smoothly enough and in retrospect there is nothing too complicated once you read them the right way, so I am not sure why. 12a was my favourite.

    Thanks to Kitty and Dada

  3. Dada, in all his manifestations, can’t fail to be enjoyable – thanks to him and to Kitty. I finished this one in the NW corner which held me up longer than the rest put together. I thought of course (16d) being the golf course in Kent but, having read the hint, the educational meaning is better.
    The clues I liked best were 9a, 25a and 27a.

  4. I too struggled. The engine needed oil, either mine or Dada’s.

    25A my pick due to the nicely misleading definition, good one!

  5. I found the top half tricky partly because, like Kitty, I couldn’t parse 10a and also because I never thought of 9a as ever being a “leading actor”. President perhaps – and, of course, that does require acting skills!
    Favourite? 12a

  6. Thoroughly enjoyable, enhanced by the clip at 5d which had me laughing all over again.

    Thanks for a real treat Dada, and to Kitty for the laugh.

  7. I found this decidedly tricky, and went in from the bottom up. In the end I was defeated by the trio in the NW corner (1d, 7a and 10a). In retrospect I should have been able to get 1d, but I am not surprised I didn’t get either of the two, and without either checker, 1d didn’t stand a chance (there’s a lot of land after all). I did get 10a, but I needed all of the checkers to tumble to the leading actor. I did enjoy this, but the NW did more than take the edge off the pleasure for me.

  8. I enjoyed this one but found that I had to get a toehold in each corner and then fill in around it. Like Kitty, I failed on the parsing of 10a, despite having written in the correct answer and – like Gazza – the NE was the last to fall.

    Think my favourite was the East End Romeo followed by the descriptive 28a.

    Thanks to Dada and to our Girl Tuesday for another great blog – loved the clever 12a kitties, the milk fight and the little chick in his foot warmers!

    PS I was on the golf course for the alternative definition of 16d.

  9. Parsing 10a was the very last act in solving this one. Not a speedy solve for us and we found that were jumping all over the grid looking for toeholds instead of systematically working through it. Lots of penny-drop moments that kept us happy and chuckling all the way through.
    Thanks Dada and Kitty.

  10. Much of this went in pretty quickly, but then I ground to a halt in the NW corner. 7ac I think I’ve seen before and couldn’t get it then either, and couldn’t parse 10ac so thanks for the blog / comments above. :-) The definition at 25ac raised a smile.

  11. The actor and the old piece were my downfall.
    The rest went rather smoothly.
    Thanks to Dada and to Kitty.

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