Toughie 2601 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2601

Toughie No 2601 by Dada

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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

I found this crossword a tad trickier than the usual Toughie Tuesday puzzles so I wasn’t surprised to see that Dada was responsible for setting it. I did find it very enjoyable to solve and also to review although a couple of answers needed extra thinking time to sort out.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        Butterfly down stalk (11)
SWALLOWTAIL: A verb meaning to down as in downing a pint of beer (in a pub, with your mates, talking rubbish, flirting with the bar staff, telling awful jokes, enjoying life) is followed by a slightly stretched synonym of the word stalk as in following somebody

7a        Call on farm before group arrival (7)
MOORING: A regular farmyard animal sound is followed by a group or cartel

8a        Bad back prodded by our hospital nurse (7)
NOURISH: Something bad, an offence against divinity, is reversed (back). The word OUR from the clue is placed inside. (prodded by). What you now have is followed by the abbreviation for hospital 

10a      Red, cardinal colour’s third from the right (5)
LENIN: A cardinal number is followed by the third letter of the word colour. What you have is now reversed (from the right)

11a      Yours truly is inspired by people after a film (9)
ANIMATION: A two-letter contraction of I am is placed between the letter A from the clue and a synonym for a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory

12a      Fresh — as hospital linen may be? (7)
FORWARD: Split 3,4 The answer describes the destination of the clean linen. I’m not sure who makes the beds but I dare not risk the Kath wrath by suggesting that it is the job of the nurses 

14a      It’s OK to crack   brick (4,3)
GOOD EGG: A sort of cryptic double definition of an item often eaten at breakfast

15a      Funny dog is out endlessly barking (7)
CURIOUS: A three-letter word for a dog is followed by an anagram (barking) of IS OUT minus its last letter

18a      Capital: money stolen by staff (7)
CAYENNE: Money spent in Japan is surrounded by a staff or rod possibly a piece of bamboo. The answer is the capital of French Guyana. Who divided Africa up and gave it away?

20a      Launch isn’t off: one opening (9)
INSTIGATE: An anagram (off) of ISNT is followed by the letter that looks like the number one and an opening. Possibly one that hangs on rusty hinges and leads into ones garden

21a      Food from ‘B’ onward? (5)
PASTA: The letters that run from B to Z can all be described as this in relation to the letter A. Not my favourite food but it takes all sorts to make a world

22a      Bat pinched all the spider’s legs, reportedly (7)
NICTATE: Two homophones required. One for a synonym of stolen and one for the number of legs a spider has. I have never seen this word before so I showed it to Saint Sharon who told me what it meant. Smartarse

23a      Snake — or rat? (7)
REPTILE: A double definition. The first is easy and obvious. The second is in the dictionary

24a      Young girl has been rude about boy at the back wearing hat (5-6)
TEENY BOPPER: An anagram (rude) of BEEN is placed around the final letter of the word boy. This is all surrounded by a tall hat. A golly bongs, what the heck is that all about sort of clue


1d        Piano preferably features for sound mixer? (7)
SPOONER: I’m open to offers on this hint but here is my best shot. Begin with the musical notation abbreviation for piano. Add a word meaning preferably or rather. Now reverse the first two letters you have to give the name of a gentleman who died in 1930 and is buried in the cemetery at Grasmere. We have all been to Grasmsere cemetery and looked at the grave of William and Mary Wordsworth. Who knew this fellow so beloved of crossword setters was buried there too?

2d        Unfamiliar, a claim on property (5)
ALIEN: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add a legal definition of a claim on a property owned by another until settlement of debt

3d        Labour lass raised snail (7)
LAGGARD: Find a word meaning tedious repetitive work or toil. Add a short term for a girl. Reverse the lot to find a person who makes slow progress and falls behind others

4d        Attractive habit of champions (7)
WINNING: A double definition. As easy as they come. Unless like me you over complicate it because it’s a Dada clue in a Toughie puzzle

5d        Laud radical, a politician, praising more than is deserved (9)
ADULATORY: Begin with an anagram (radical) of LAUD. Add the letter A from the clue and a right wing politician 

6d        Note, one is in church free from clerical doctrines (7)
LAICISE: Begin with one of the notes from the Doh Re Mi scale. (Not one of those mentioned). Add the letter that looks like the number one. Now place the word IS inside the abbreviation for the Church of England and add it to what you already have

7d        Crime in gang of men? (11)
MALEFACTION: A dissenting gang or group are preceded by the gender of men

9d        With garden gone to seed, he’s saved pineapple (4,7)
HAND GRENADE: An anagram (gone to seed) of GARDEN HE surround a word meaning with. As soon as I saw the word pineapple I considered this a shoe-in. But I couldn’t bring the answer to mind and needed to wait for checkers

13d      Glugging last drop of amaretto, I bet a man that’s sozzled can’t stand (9)
ABOMINATE: Anagram (that’s sozzled) of I BET A MAN which includes the letter O. The last letter of the word Amaretto

16d      Describing some stones, colour diminished (4-3)
ROSE CUT: A warm pink or light crimson colour is followed by a word meaning diminished or reduced in size

17d      Fly round state in subjugation (7)
SLAVERY: A word meaning to state or assert the case is surrounded by a word meaning fly, arch, weasley, or cunning

18d      Vale where heroic figure finally slaughtered (7)
CHEERIO: Anagram (slaughtered) of HEROIC and the final letter of the word figure. The Vale here is not a valley but a written or spoken farewell

19d      Worse bit of hardware, it’s a nightmare to set up (7)
NASTIER: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. As indicated by the words bit of. It is reversed as indicated by the words set up

21d      Appear when parent has surfaced? (3,2)
POP UP: Ones old man is followed by a word meaning surfaced as in risen from bed


19 comments on “Toughie 2601

  1. The same time as a Friday backpager so just right for a Tuesday toughie

    1d. You just need to put the p for piano inside the preferably, as indicated by the word features

    Thanks to Dada and the 14a aka Miffypops

    PS Jane might like to know that her favourite non-irish detective is in the FT today

  2. I enjoyed this a lot, especially the clever [near?] homophone at 22d, “been rude” at 24a and the nice surface and disguised definition at 13d.
    Thanks to Dada and to MP for the blog. BTW the underlining in 10a is at the wrong end. If you had said the man concerned was “from the right” you would probably have been shot!

  3. I thought this was great fun, and definitely at the tougher end of the setting spectrum. 1d was an excellent clue, so that became my favourite. 13d made me laugh and came close second. All in all a very rewarding and enjoyable solve.

    My thanks to Dada and MP.

  4. 1d, loved by setters, loathed by this solver.
    Found this very difficult and needed recourse to hints to complete.
    Thanks to Dada.
    Thanks to MP for clear explanations.

  5. I don’t know who gave French Guyana to the French, but I don’t think they floated it across the Atlantic first.

  6. Oh dear. I’m afraid I really didn’t enjoy this, and it went into the electronic bin fairly early on. For starters, I didn’t know the butterfly in 1a and 1d made no sense to me whatever. I’m not sure I can easily associate 3d with snail, and so I was behind the eight ball very early on. Of the few I got there were some very clever clues, but I’m afraid this was a train wreck for me. Thanks anyway to Dada, whose puzzles I can usually do, and to Miffypops.

  7. I found this time consuming and much harder than recent Tuesday offerings.
    Having got stuck in my head with Glencoe (really?) for 18d, when the answer dawned it was a delight.
    I need to learn more obscure capital cities as they seem to be becoming more frequently required in DT puzzles.
    Thanks to Dada for the struggle and to MP for some parsing assistance.

  8. Slow going in places but got there. 22a was new to me so I had to look it up. I was also surprised by the second defn in 23a.

    21a raised a smile as did 1d which goes against the grain as I usually hate clues that mention him.

    Thanks to Dada & MP.

  9. I too found this puzzle to be more difficult than the usual Tuesday Toughie but nevertheless enjoyable, I was held up by the NE quadrant and it did not help by my putting Winsome for attractive in 4d, which seemed to fit quite well !
    Eventually cracked 14a and everything fell into place.
    6d was a new word but happily a well constructed charade.
    Thanks to Dada and MPs parsing for 10a.

  10. I’m in the “I found this difficult but I don’t care now because I got there” camp this afternoon. Never heard of 6d, 22a or the meaning of vale in that sense in 18d, but I have now. Favourite was 1d which I parsed the same as CS. Thanks to Dada and MP.

    1. Vale is 2nd person singular, you’ve probably heard of Valete, which is plural version (Latin)

  11. Quite a bit of head-scratching for us but eventually it all came together with all the usual chuckles that we can almost guarantee from this setter.
    Thanks Dada and MP.

  12. Took two long sittings, but got there in the end. Lots of bung-ins and needed MP’s help to parse a few. All good brain exercise, so thanks everyone.

  13. My earlier comment seems to have disappeared. But as I said, to myself if to no one else, I really enjoyed today’s tougher-than-usual Tuesday Toughie. Although I came up two short (the ‘bat’ and the ‘stones’ got me), I do very much enjoy Dada’s sleight-of-hand playfulness and his sense of humour. Top choices: 18d, 10a, and 18a. Thanks to MP and to Dada.

  14. Well this one has certainly kept me well & truly entertained throughout the evening – grind out half a dozen, give the brain a breather & return etc. Got there in the end but needed to hit the reveal mistakes function a couple of times to check progress & to reveal the 1a&d checker. Didn’t know the butterfly & only got the wordplay with the help of the S. 1d was last to fall & that took some time to twig. Pleased to have managed both 6d & 22a from the wordplay not having been 100% sure of their meaning. Lots of lovely clues & like Robert I liked 18a&d along with a couple of the easier ones 12&21a.
    Thanks Dada & in advance to MP – will read your review later.

  15. Much harder than usual for a Tuesday for me, gave up with NW corner til this morning. Suddenly saw 7d, and the rest fell into place.
    Thanks to Dada for a great puzzle, and to MP for the hints which I was expecting to need big time

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