Toughie 2729 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2729

Toughie No 2729 by Dada

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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Chris M rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Good afternoon. Today’s puzzle from Dada sits on the gentlest side of the Toughie remit. It will all reveal itself with perseverance and the acceptance that checking letters are your friends. Like your friends they sometimes stay away for too long which makes them more welcome when they do appear. Happy solving

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Standard features with military badge (5,3,7)
STARS AND STRIPES:  The standard here is a flag. The wordplay is a three part charade. 1 Features or appears in a film. In a lead role maybe  2 A word meaning with. 3  Chevrons on a uniform denoting military rank

9a        Salute, installing leader of government in nautical post (7)
TOPMAST:    A call to a gathering of people to raise their glasses and drink together in honour of a person or thing surrounds the abbreviation for the leader of the British government

10a      Red mullet’s tail by itself, cooked (7)
LEFTIST: The final letter of the word mullet sits after an anagram (cooked) of ITSELF

11a      Endless cricket initially boring as tennis, surprisingly (9)
INCESSANT: Anagram (surprisingly) of AS TENNIS which also includes the initial letter of the word cricket

12a      Listening to children, give up (4)
CEDE:  A homophone (listening to) based upon ones issue (children) being ones seed

13a      Rounding first of defenders, briefly follow winger (6)
GODWIT:  A term split 2,4 meaning to follow has its last letter removed and what is left surrounds the first letter of the word defenders to lead us to a bird which makes a legendary migratory journey each year from the Arctic circle to the Southern Hemisphere. Much beloved by our bloggers in New Zealand. However according to the feature on page 61 of my online Daily Telegraph VOTERS in New Zealand’s “Bird of the Year” competition have been left confused after organisers chose to shortlist a bat for the award

15a      Certain island behind fraud (8)
CONCRETE:  The largest Greek island sits behind a swindle or fraud

18a      Noticeable  beating (8)
STRIKING: A double definition both obvious but obviously more obvious with more checkers

19a      Pester hearty on tour of ship (6)
HASSLE:  A word meaning strong and healthy sits astride the abbreviation for a steamship

22a      Minute  arachnid (4)
TICK:   Double definition. The arachnid here is often mistaken for an insect. If you find this bulls eye sore about your person it is probably a bite from one of these insects and requires immediate medical attention

23a      Brothers over six feet? Too much to ask (4,5)
TALL ORDER: A difficult task might be undertaken by a lofty bunch of monks belonging to the same monastery. In her cups my late mother in law suggested a trip to see The Nasturtium Monks at Hartland Abbey

26a      Perfect, best boy behind you, finally (7)
UTOPIAN: A three part charade. 1 The final letter of the word you  2 A word meaning best  3 A boys name. There are a lot of boys names to choose from but only one fits with the letters you already have. Thank you to Smilers for pointing out the blindingly obvious

27a      Firmly established capitals of Togo, Eritrea and Djibouti found on map (7)
PLANTED:  A map or chart is followed by the initial letters of three of the words in the clue

28a      Party nominators toyed with desperate choice (3,4,2,1,5)
ANY PORT IN A STORM:  An easy anagram (toyed with) of PARTY NOMINATORS


1d        Crossword writer’s work  background (7)
SETTINGS :  A double definition the first being what our setters do so well. Here is how to solve what they produce. Who knew it was so easy?

2d        Jelly, equally still (5)
ASPIC: This savoury jelly is made from a  two letter term meaning equally and a three letter abbreviated word describing a still photograph or picture

3d        Bond following hit comedy (9)
SLAPSTICK: A verb meaning to bond as an adhesive might follows another verb meaning to hit with the palm of the hand

4d        OK taking touch before heavy weight lifted (3,3)
NOT BAD:  Two reversed words make up your solution here. One meaning to touch lightly (maybe with an absorbent material) and the second being twenty hundredweight

5d        Therefore, one in airport has found way out (8)
SOLUTION:  Begin with a two letter word meaning therefore. Add an airport 28 miles north of Central London and insert the Roman numeral for one

6d        Collar uneven, by the sound of it? (4)
RUFF:  A dress collar is a homophone (by the sound of it) of a word synonymous with uneven

7d        Very rare   comic (9)
PRICELESS:  A double definition. The first probably being the most accessible

8d        Drunk has arrived — ha! (2,5)
SO THERE: Split 3,4 a drunk is followed by a word meaning present

14d      Minister plugging domestic work record (9)
DIRECTORY: A minister of the cloth is surrounded by work done by oneself, not a professional

16d      Lower a rail so diverted underneath church (9)
CHAROLAIS: An abbreviation of church is followed by an anagram (diverted) of A RAIL SO. To low is also to moo

17d      Natural reaction isn’t unusual in case of cat (8)
INSTINCT: An anagram (unusual) of ISNT is followed by the word in (from the clue) and the outer letters of the word cat

18d      Fruit   pots from China (7)
SATSUMA: This type of orange is also a type of pottery from China or more commonly Japan

20d      Rank deal: more cut off (7)
EARLDOM: An anagram (off) of the words DEAL and most (cut) of the word MORE

21d      Don: boy biting cheek (4,2)
SLIP ON:  A male relative surrounds a word meaning insolent or impertinent talk

24d      The same ludicrous papers sent over (5)
DITTO:  The initial letters of a common three word term meaning ludicrous are followed by the abbreviation for one’s identification papers. The whole thing is reversed as indicated by the words sent over

25d      Material on floor in prison I levered up (4)
LINO:  The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word in. It is reversed as indicated by the words turned up

A question for the ladies

Q. Why are men like Lino?

A. Because if you lay them properly you can walk all over them for years


35 comments on “Toughie 2729

  1. I think Dada must have been in a very kind mood when he set the particular batch of Telegraph puzzles that we are currently enjoying. This one would have fitted very nicely on a mid week back page. My favourite has to be 13a as it made me think of the 2Ks on their walks

    Thanks to Dada and MP

  2. Yes, a gentle but very enjoyable challenge from Dada, with precise clueing, smooth surfaces, and liberal doses of wit and humour. Hon. Mentions to 23a, 8d and 16d, with my COTD – by a short whisker – to 5d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to MP.

  3. I wasn’t familiar with the pottery but the answer was inevitable.
    Does BD really rate this *** for difficulty?
    Very gentle but well clued, thanks to Dada and MP.

    1. The standard template for a BD blog post comes with the difficulty and enjoyment ratings as shown above. Miffypops doesn’t change them but you can always tell how difficult he found a puzzle by what he says about it in the prologue

  4. I didn’t find this as easy as everybody seems to’ve done: I got about halfway then got stuck and had to wait for Miffypops’s 2 o’clock tips, which I used selectively to get a few more checkers for completing the rest.

    Thank you to setter and tipster. My favourite was either 8d (“ha!”) or 24d’s ludicrous papers.

    For 26a, instead of part 1 of Miffypops’s charade, I think it should be parts 2 and 3 all following (“behind”) the final letter of ‘you’.

  5. Completed in the middle of the night. Having crashed out at 10pm I predictably awoke at an ungodly hour so it was Tuesday’s puzzles to the rescue. All plain sailing until a last in 16d where I vaguely recalled the cattle breed but it was heads or tails in which order to place the R&L. I got it right at the 2nd attempt & the all correct notification duly obliged. No other parsing issues though I had to check on the Chinese pots. 5d was my pick of the bunch.
    Thanks to Dada & Miffs – had to press reveal for the punchline

  6. Dada in a very giving vein today and I was quite happily in a very receptive one. 3d and 5d in a tossup for podium, just behind 16d, my COTD and LOI. Thanks to MP and Dada.

  7. Although I got 13a, I still cannot parse it.
    Have you noticed how the 16d seem to have disappeared from our fields?
    COTD 23a.

    1. It’s go with, (briefly follow), minus the letter h and all wrapped around the letter d.

  8. A most enjoyable if rather short romp through crosswordland this morning. Coupled with the backpager, these were two of the more straightforward puzzles to appear on the same day for some time. 23a was my top clue, and the illustration at post #3 is quite superb.

    My thanks to Dada and MP.

  9. Enjoyed the challenge while it lasted. Excellent clues and hard to pick a favourite but I’ll plump
    for 18d – I love the edible version and now know there is another meaning I wasn’t aware of before. Thanks to Dada and to MP – especially for the laughs!

    1. When Saint Sharon’s father died we inherited his Suzuki Alto, the smallest car we have ever known. It is known as ‘The Roller Skate’ or The Suzuki Satsuma. I rarely drive it and if I do I wear a floppy hat and dark sunglasses

  10. Once saw it was Dada I feared the worst but that proved to be unfounded. Favourite was 23a, very droll. Thanks to Dada and MP.

  11. Sitting in the hairdressers salon I had the inspiration to look at the Toughie, and was so pleased to have finished it (but not while in the hairdressers, I was not there that long) only about the second or third toughie ever completed, but I see that it is considered an easy offering from Dada. Thank you Dada anyway for the brain exercise which I enjoyed along with the determination to finish. Had to have e-help for 13a which I had never heard of, and had two inspirations from Mr. Th. Thanks to MP for the unused hints which I will now read.
    On to the backpager later on with my bedtime cup of tea.

  12. Very enjoyable indeed, though it took me longer than it really should have. One of those days I guess.
    I thought the double definitions were top drawer but podium places for me were 23a plus 7&4d.
    Many thanks to Dada and to MP for the top notch entertainment.

  13. Well I have finally finished this unaided and am pretty peed off at the change of difficulty at #3 above. Just because one person found this easy peasy doesn’t mean the rest of us did. In fact I am pretty disheartened to say the least. So thanks a bunch guys.

      1. Put it down to my shingles jab this afternoon, added to flu jab on Friday, I feel like a pin cushion and rather grumpy. Not your fault MP.!

  14. Second consecutive unaided Tuesday “Toughie” solve.
    * or not, as they say you can only beat what is in front of you. I realise that it is the puzzle being easier rather than my ability improving. However it gave me pleasure rather than the feeling I had been beaten about the head with a wet fish which is what I get looking at the Toughie on Thursdays or Fridays.
    COTD all of them, as I could solve it!
    So thanks to Dada for the benevolence and MP for the amusing review.

  15. Obviously our favourite has to be 13a.
    Always good fun solving a Dada puzzle.
    Thanks Dada and MP.

  16. Good point made about the 22a bite Miffypops. Go to the doctor immediately and get some antibiotics. Lyme’s Disease is a really nasty thing but responds well to early treatment.

  17. That was so much welcome fun particularly after the rather lacklustre Cryptic and Quickie. Thank you Dada for being unusually workable and also MP for being on hand with hints in case of need.

  18. I too found this tougher than I had thought it was going to be from the initial comments. ***/****
    Clues to like 9a, 23a, 5d, 8d & 17d with winner 5d
    16d a new word for me and I also had the wrong answer for a long time in 22a, but it worked as an acceptable answer for the clue … ‘mite’

    Thanks to Dada and MP

  19. Pleasant solve though didn’t realise 22a was an arachnid. Also had forgotten 13a so my GK lacking in this. Favourite was 23a!

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