Toughie 2789 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2789

Toughie 2789 by Dada

Hints and tips by StephenL

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone from a leaden skies South Devon. Never mind, it’s dry and relatively mild, and Dada has given us a fun and quite accessible puzzle to start the Toughie week

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        All good, by the sound of it (6)
WHOLLY:  A homophone (by the sound of it) of a synonym of good or sacred

4a        Man, for example, apprehended by coppers, only (6)
PERSON:  Hidden in the clue (apprehended by)

8a        Faculty certainly entertained by cardinal (8)
EYESIGHT:  This faculty is obtained by placing an affirmative response (certainly) within (entertained by) a cardinal number

10a      One supposedly can’t choose goods in cart (6)

BEGGAR:  Two abbreviations for Good go inside a synonym of cart as a verb to give someone we’re often told “can’t be a chooser”

11a      In essence, a strong point (4)
EAST: Hidden in the clue

12a      Agents fail to spot sign on back of cape (10)

EMISSARIES:  A verb meaning “fail to spot” and a sign of the zodiac are tacked onto the final (back of) letter of the word cape

13a      King for example earns plenty, I suspect (6,6)

TENNIS PLAYER:  The king here is not a member of the royal family or a piece on a chess board, nor even a male. Anagram (suspect) of the preceding three words.

16a      Get every one, after some time, to city in Florida (7,5)
DAYTONA BEACH: Start with a period of time and TO from the clue. Add an informal synonym of get or catch and then a word meaning every one or both

20a      Composer, one carrying fuel to the audience? (4,6)
COLE PORTER: My last one in and a real smile inducer. This songwriter’s first name is a homophone (to the audience) of a combustible black rock long used for fuel. Add someone who may carry things.

21a      Awful leaders of dictatorships, in Roman emperors (4)
DIRE:  Initial letters (leaders of) the following four words. Here’s Mr Knopfler.

22a      Forsake colour (6)

MAROON:  Double definition, the less obvious one a verb meaning to strand

23a      Marine animal consuming rubbish is an edible mollusc (3,5)

SEA SNAIL:  A cute marine mammal goes around (consumes) an anagram (rubbish) of IS AN

24a      Middle of speech by beau, sweet (6)
TOFFEE:  The middle two letters of spEEch are tacked onto (by) an informal synonym of beau or upper class person

25a      Chunky mole holding in stomach (6)
STUMPY:  The usual mole (not the animal) goes around (holding in) an informal word for one’s stomach


1d        Gadabout, much more honest in conversation? (8)
WAYFARER:  If we split the solution 3-5 we have a word that can mean much more and a homophone of a synonym of more honest or equitable

2d        Start — as film actor may appear? (5)
ONSET:  Split the solution 2-3 to give a place where an actor may work

3d        Cricket side supposedly gone to get drunk? (7)
LEGLESS: One of the two sides in cricket followed by a word that can mean gone in the sense of lacking


5d        Mission ending in failure, swimmer stuck in well! (7)
EMBASSY:  One of crosswordland’s favourite fish is surrounded (stuck in) a synonym of well as an exclamation. The result is tacked on to the final letter of the word failurE

6d        As may be gum in fur that’s loosened with grease (5-4)
SUGAR FREE:  Anagram (that’s loosened) of FUR + GREASE

7d        Put in order, men finally put away (6)
NEATEN:  Final letter (again!) of meN plus a synonym of put away in the sense of consumed

9d        Fresh T-shirt on, collecting grotty little bits (11)
TRILLIONTHS:  An anagram (fresh) of T SHIRT ON goes around (collecting) a synonym of grotty in the sense of unwell

14d      Fell asleep, having bowed out (6,3)
NODDED OFF:  A synonym of bowed (one’s head) and a word meaning out in the sense of absent

15d      Want to put mark on urban development (8)

SCARCITY:  Want here is a noun. A mark or blemish goes on a large urban development.

17d      Article penned by solver: end translated in African capital (7)
YAOUNDE: A new one to me but sympathetically clued. The indefinite article is placed inside (penned by) the second person pronoun (solver) and the result is followed by an anagram (translated) of END

18d      Alongside a river, monster eats (7)
ABREAST:  A  from the clue is followed by a synonym of a monster which goes around (eats) the abbreviation for River

19d      Swan has key element (6)
COBALT:  A male swan is followed by a key on a keyboard

21d      Material extracted from below (5)
DENIM: A synonym of extracted is reversed (from below)

My ticks go to 10,13 & 20 across, which ones floated your boat?


33 comments on “Toughie 2789

  1. All over in ** time. Not really a Toughie, even for a Tuesday. I was unable to parse 18d, though.

    Thanks to Dada and StephenL

  2. As I said in my P.S. in my comment on the back pager, I am very pleased that this Dada Toughie didn’t find its way into the Sunday envelope. As usual, I solved without looking up the name of the setter. Perhaps I should have done in this case as being able to get into ‘Dada mode’ might have helped. 3.5*/3*.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 10a and 12a – and the winner is 12a.

    Thanks to Dada and StephenL.

      1. I always like to solve, at least the first Toughie of the week, ‘blind’ which is easy to do as the setter is not shown on the on-line puzzle and I avoid looking at BD’s list on the RH side of the home page. Then, while solving/on completion I try to guess the setter.

        I might start having second thoughts about this practice!

    1. It really has to be a mind set thing, Senf. I struggled for far longer than I really wanted to with Sunday’s Dada puzzle, but this was done and dusted in, well very quickly indeed time. A nice Toughie to begin the week.

    2. As Dada regular defeats me on Sundays, I would have been quite happy for this to show up there ☺️.

  3. Dada in gentle mode, but nonetheless enjoyable.
    I too initially thought that the monster was an anagrind and maybe there was a river abr…..but the beast eventually made sense out of it.
    My (lack of) knowledge of African capitals slowed me up.
    Thanks for the blog which unusually wasn’t needed .

  4. This seemed tougher when solving it than it probably was as I finished in a time on the cusp between a Friday backpager and what a Tuesday Toughie should be

    Thanks to Dada and StephenL

  5. I agree that this was a gentle Toughie, even for a Tuesday, but Dada is never less than very entertaining. Thanks to him and to StephenL.
    It was quite a coincidence that the 17d capital cropped up just after I’d been reading about the tragedy at the football stadium there.
    My ticks went to 1a, 3d and 14d.

    1. For those who don’t get the Puzzles Newsletter there’s going to be a new Prize Toughie crossword on Sundays from next weekend.

    2. Interesting coincidence. My knowledge of 17d comes from my close friendship with an African scholar, who still teaches in the History Department at my college, and who visits Cameroon annually.

  6. My thanks to Dada for an entertaining and enjoyable solve. 12 and 13a were my two favourites from a good mixture of clues. It took me a few goes before I got the vowels in the right order in 17d. Thanks too to SL for his review.

  7. Dada at his Dada-est, and that’s saying something. Totally entertaining throughout, with 9d, my LOI, my COTD just because it took forever for the PDM. My heart tells me that 20a (“Wunderbar!”), 10a, & 12a (and most of the other across clues) are actually superior to 9d, but its cruciverbal rarity gives it the edge. I did know the capital, amazingly. Thanks to StephenL for the review and to Dada.

  8. A light start to the toughie week from our setter, nothing obscure and a steady solve with a hold up in the NE sector,last in was 10 across ,not sure of the abbreviation G for goods-not in my old Chambers, I originally thought of ‘pickers ‘for non choosers, which did not help.
    Liked 20a and 19d, can’t quibble with SL’s **/****

  9. A very enjoyable floughie. Plenty of ticks, my pick of the bunch was 13a. Did need to check my construction for 17d. Thanks to Dada and SL.

  10. That was great fun. Just right for me for a Tuesday Toughie.

    I was delighted to see a video of Dire Straits to illustrate 21a. I was watching it for 2 minutes before I noticed that I had the sound muted on my computer so I felt I had to watch it again.

    I’ll go along with SL’s top three: 10a, 13a & 20a and add 3d for good measure.

    Many thanks to Dada and to SL.

  11. A sparkling gem of a puzzle, 20a a stroke of brilliance. Great end to a puzzling marathon, 1* time for this one, barely within 1* time for the cryptic, and a new PB for me for the quickie. Thanks Dada, and I will now go up and read SL’s hints to make sure I haven’t missed any other pearls of wisdom.

  12. What a fun Tuesday Toughie – just right for me. Spotted 20a straightaway and laughed gleefully. Despite stiff competition from the likes of 10,12&13a it remained firmly at the top of the leader-board throughout.

    Thanks to Dada and to Stephen for the review – you’re doing a brilliant job of this blogging business! Really enjoyed the Mark Knopfler clip with the amazing city skaters.

    1. Thanks Jane. Pleased you liked the video, I actually chose it primarily for the music…honestly!

  13. Certainly didn’t find this as much of a floughie as others did but it was very accessible. Having not read the awful news beforehand the Cameroon capital was unknown to me but the wordplay was clear. Last in, 9d, extended my solve time by about 30% & I see there was the similar befuddlement over the pond in Charleston. Thought it a boss puzzle (sorry couldn’t resist) with ticks for 8,10,16&20a along with 1d & best of all 3d – it’s what we did when we got thumped at cricket which was more often than not.
    Thanks to Dada & Stephen for another excellent review – lost a small bet that you’d post a clip of someone singing (Eve Cassidy my favourite cover) Wayfaring Stranger for 1d. Enjoyed the Dire Straits clip & RD’s comment became clear.

  14. A very enjoyable, accessible puzzle. Completed fairly quickly with no need to look anything up. Good for easing us in to the week!
    Glad to hear about the new Toughie on Sunday.

  15. As Senf, I wasn’t aware who the setter was and found it very accessible for a toughie.
    Dada can be so versatile. He was probably asked to produce a light Tuesday toughie and Bingo, here’s the little jewel.
    Always a pleasure.
    Today’s ticks go to 1d and 13a.
    Thanks to Dada and to StephenL for the review

  16. We always find Dada puzzles a joy to solve and so it was with this one. 17d new to us but we got it all from wordplay and then Google checked.
    All good fun.
    Thanks Dada and SL.

  17. Easy … like Sunday morning?

    1. Thank you, Franco. Great group, lovely song – Sunday mornings are certainly far easier since the girls left home and Dada is indeed sometimes in gentle mode!

  18. Having seen the comments on the cryptic today, that this Toughie was a gentle Dada, I decided to give it a go. Very much enjoyed, with the only real stumbler being that I couldn’t make head nor tail of the African city. Rest was right up my street. COTD was 20a, although it was a while before penny dropped. Thanks to Dada and StephenL.

  19. Found this puzzle a little on the tougher side of Dada’s offerings, but not in a quirky way here. Some challenging clues to work out parsing for correctness today but all very accessible.
    3.5*/4* for me overall.
    NW was the last are in as I struggled here. Favourites include 8a, 20a, 25a & 5d with winner 20a
    17a was not a city I knew , but easy enough to figure out.

    Thanks to Dada and StephenL

  20. I meant to pop in to comment, but life intervened in the form of a conversation with a gas provider (not Mr Putin,well, not directly at any rate) as it can these days. But here I am to say thanks to StephenL and Dada. Nice blog and a very gentle Toughie.

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