Toughie No 3141 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 3141

Toughie No 3141 by Dada

Hints and Tips by StephenL

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

Hello everyone from a blue skies South Devon coast

Dada kicks off the week on this side of the house with a fun and friendly puzzle. Apart from being briefly held up in the South East this flowed very nicely for me.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a Affordable cuisine, anything but escargots? (4,4)
FAST FOOD: Cryptic definition based upon the slow pace of an escargot. I’m not really sure the definition and solution here are the same thing.

5a Old boy in schmuck of little worth to Americans (3-3)
TWO-BIT: An insertion of the abbreviation for Old Boy into a synonym of schmuck or clown (or similar uncomplimentary descriptions). The term is American is origin as the setter has indicated but is widely known here

9a Toast in dishes cut twice (4-4)
CHIN-CHIN: Remove the final letter from something a dish could be made from twice over.

10a Not just with brown or red hair, it seems? (6)
UNFAIR: Cryptic definition based on neither brown nor red hair being of a light colour.

12a Fancy trousers say, something handed down (6)
LEGACY: A synonym of fancy in the sense of patterned or ornate (particularly of material) is placed around (trousers) the abbreviated “for example”.

13a Snobs are out for member of the nobility (8)
BARONESS: Anagram (out) of the preceding two words.

15a Insect has noxious innards, to be honest (7)
FRANKLY: An insertion of a synonym of noxious or smelly into an annoying insect.

16a Number eight unexceptional, to some extent (4)
TUNE: Hidden (to some extent). Here’s another example of the genius of Damon Albarn, this time in his Gorillaz guise. I love this.

20a Destruction, one having broken ladder (4)
RUIN: An insertion (having broken) of the letter representing one into something of which a ladder could be.

21a Copper coated in bright metal (7)
MERCURY: Another insertion (coated in), this time of the chemical symbol of copper into a synonym of bright or jovial.

25a When swimming, notices a person on the water (8)
CANOEIST: A nicely concealed anagram (when swimming) of the following two words.

26a Attack from above, faster when flying (6)
STRAFE: Another anagram, with an indicator (when flying) similar to the one above. The fodder is FASTER.

28a Improve vehicle (4-2)
PICK-UP: Double definition

29a Spirit contains coloured liquidation,  I suppose (8)
METHINKS: Place an abbreviated spirit or solvent around a coloured liquid used for writing or printing. My last one in.

30a Almost unrivalled ancient city (6)
THEBES: Split 3,3 we have a phrase that means unrivalled without (almost) its last letter.

31a Grandfather clock? (3-5)
OLD TIMER: Double/Cryptic definition based upon the supposedly advanced years of a grandfather.


1d Too easy, finding account in dossier (6)
FACILE: Place the abbreviation for account inside a dossier or casebook.

2d Meanas are nettles? (6)
STINGY: Double definition, one informal.

3d Confront character in king, say (4,4)
FACE CARD: A synonym of confront or stand opposite plus one of a character typically comical or eccentric. Say indicates a definition by example.

4d God up in heaven, I’d observed (4)
ODIN: Hidden and reversed as indicated by up in.

6d Shameless desire, performing (6)
WANTON: A synonym of desire as a verb plus an adverb meaning performing or in operation.

7d Battered book finished off (6,2)
BEATEN UP: The single-letter abbreviation for Book and a phrase meaning finished off when applied to a meal.

8d After little time, butcher has herd slaughtered (8)
THRASHED: The abbreviation for or first letter of Time plus an anagram (butcher) of HAS HERD. Not the most pleasant surface read.

11d Wizard device guaranteeing security in conflict? (7)
WARLOCK: If we split the solution 3,4 we have whimsically a description of the surface read after the definition.

14d Strong in future, say (7)
INTENSE: In from the clue and something of which future is an example grammatically.

16d Ludicrous joke on corporation (8)
CRACKPOT: A joke or gag plus a synonym of corporation or tummy. Lol, probably my favourite.

18d Top nail clean off (8)
PINNACLE: A synonym of nail as a verb or a noun and an anagram (off) of CLEAN

19d Note, use of needles has inspired tattooists, primarily (8)
CROTCHET: Insert the initial letter of Tattooist into a rather gentile craft that uses needles

22d Flood takes transport into river (6)
DELUGE: A crosswordland favourite river is placed around (takes) a synonym of transport or carry as a verb.

23d Vessel in which mother keeps a gun, unloaded (6)
MAGNUM: An abbreviated mother around (keeps) A from the clue and the outer letters of GuN (unloaded). Very smart.

24d Stunning device packed with energy in puzzle (6)
TEASER: Place a gun designed to stun rather than kill around the abbreviation for Energy

27d Rock ‘n’ roll (4)
REEL: A very good double definition, one a verb, the other usually a noun.

Thanks Dada. My winners 29a plus 16&23d. Which ones appealed to you?









23 comments on “Toughie No 3141
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  1. It is not unusual (cue Tom Jones?) for me to have considerable problems with a Dada Toughie two days after a Sunday Prize Puzzle but not today. I would have enjoyed blogging this one on a Sunday but, then, I would only have to solve half the clues. **/****

    Candidates for favourite – 30a, 18d, and 22d – and the winner is 30a (almost simply cue Tina Turner?).

    Thanks to Dada and StephenL.

  2. Dada is as enjoyable as ever but pretty gentle for a Toughie (I don’t think there would have been too many complaints if this had appeared as one of his Sunday prize puzzles). Thanks to Dada and to SL.
    I have lots of ticks including 12a, 15a, 29a, 30a and 7d.

  3. Top half fairly flew in slowed down in the bottom half but stuck at it and finished in, for me, a fairly quick time. Really enjoyable. Favourite was 30a my LOI. Thanks to Dada and SL.

  4. I wonder how many people tackle the Toughie? I ask only because I read that 30,000 view the daily blog. The backpager gets countless comments but here – just a half-dozen (so far).
    An enjoyable puzzle. A good example of clever Toughie clueing is 14d – “Strong in future, say”.. Subtle, but obvious when you know the answer!
    Thank you to all.

    1. I think that the Toughie blog not appearing until 2pm may not help, but possibly the biggest factor is simply the name, “Toughie”, which clearly puts off many of the backpage-only commenters. After all, very often four of the five Toughies would be no more than a challenging mid-week or at most Friday backpager, and well worth the effort if only people would give them a go!

      Even if there are 30,000+ views of the daily backpage blog, do bear in mind there are often fewer than 100 posts about the puzzle, and very often a quarter or more of those posts are chatty responses with nothing to do with the puzzle – and long may that be the case, it makes the site what it is!

      It would certainly be interesting to know how many views there are of the Toughie blogs, but however much smaller the number of Toughie solvers, the DT must believe it is worthwhile publishing the puzzles.

  5. Thanks for the recommendation Stephen. I enjoyed this throughout and found it less difficult than some of Dada’s Sunday offerings. No real favourite – I loved it all. Thank you.

  6. Our setter definitely using the soft pedal today, which was fine by me, although I didn’t agree with his definition of 1a!
    My favourite was 29a and I also ticked 15&30a plus 23d, which reminded me of the Roald Dahl tale of Little Red Riding Hood.

    Thanks to Dada and also to Stephen for the review.

  7. Really enjoyable puzzle, and even if as others have said it could as well grace a Sunday backpage, it was nice to start the Toughie week with something that required a bit more thinking, was so cleverly clued, and so satisfying to finish.

    Too many ticks to select any in particular.

    Many thanks to Dada and Stephen

  8. Enjoyed this Dada Toughie today. A few sticking points but it all fell into place in the end.

    1.5*/4* for me

    Favourites included 1a, 16a, 29a, 31a, 3d & 24d — with winner 31a

    Thanks to Dada & StephenL for hints/blog

  9. As usual it was the final pesky 4 letter 27d that made it a DNF for me. For the rest it was most enjoyable with the simple 10a my COTD

  10. This took me a while to get started but after that all flowed sweetly.

    Didn’t spot though that 25a is an anagram!!

    So that’s my COTD.

    Thanks to StephenL for the blog and Dada for the puzzle.

  11. I, too, found the bottom harder than the top, but overall just right for Tuesday. Favourite clues were 12a [fancy trousers] and 23d.
    Thanks to Dada and Stephen.

  12. 29a was our last in a took a bit of extra thought in what was a very enjoyable solve for us.
    Thanks Dada and SL.

  13. I agree, a Tad Tougher in the south but 29a was my favourite today as “the lady doth protest too much, 29a “rolls off the tongue of Queen Gertrude in Hamlet in a very mellifluous manner
    Thanks to Dada and Stephen whose hints helped me over the line today

  14. Only my second toughie as the previous one, several months ago, took me 4 days to finish (unaided) and fried my brain for at least a week !,
    I read a comment on the main puzzle today saying that the toughie was on the gentle side so thought I would have a go. Finished it in quite a bit less time than I took on the main puzzle. I found the same as most of you, the top more or less went straight in and i ended up with a couple in the SW that stumped me for a while.
    I won’t leave it so long before I have another go, as usually i just do 3 or 4 of the cryptics each week,

  15. I decided to have a go today and I’m glad that I did. It’s strange really as I don’t consider myself to be a really good cryptic crosswords person but I am so pleased that I had a go at the toughie having completed the cryptic in the early hours. Obviously I needed a helping hand with some extra hints so thanks to SL for that. Also thanks to the setter Dada.

  16. What a shame more didn’t heed Stephen’s advice & have a stab at this light delight. Perfect for a quick heavy eyelids half asleep/totally knackered pre lights out solve. 15a 29a it wasn’t too much of a 24d taking marginally less time than AP’s back-pager but it was very enjoyable indeed. 30a my fav too.
    Thanks to D & the other S

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