Toughie No 3173 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 3173

Toughie No 3173 by Dada

Hints and tips by StephenL

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BD Rating – Difficulty * – Enjoyment ****

Hello from a very mild and bright South Devon coast.

Tuesday regular Dada gets this week’s exercise in lateral thinking underway with a very entertaining puzzle that could quite easily have been in his Sunday Prize puzzle folder.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a One’s avian pastime (5)
HOBBY: Double definition, the less obvious being a bird.

4a Feeling irritated, heading off in minute (5)
ITCHY: Remove the first letter from a synonym of minute in the sense of tiny.

10a Shown, old Scot in action (8)
DEPICTED: An insertion (in) of an old tribal Scot in a synonym of action or activity.

11a In label on back for all to see: this food is sweet (6)
NOUGAT: An insertion of U (for all to see) into a reversal of a label and ON from the clue.

12a Case of niece that was close relative (6)
NEPHEW: The outer letters of NiecE and an exclamation expressing relief (that was close) lol.

13a Artist daubed only in crimson and scarlet? (8)
REYNOLDS: An insertion of an anagram (daubed…innovative indicator!) of ONLY into the plural of a colour of which crimson and scarlet are examples. Very smart.

14a Better put on boring headgear (4,3)
FLAT CAP: A synonym of better as a verb follows one of boring or uneventful. Very neat.

16a Start with group of has-beens? (6)
OUTSET: The solution, a synonym of start, if split 3,3 could whimsically describe a group of has-beens.

17a Look, it can fly! (6)
GANDER: Double definition, the first an informal word for look as a noun.

19a Fault reversed, throws away scraps (7)
GUBBINS: A reversal of a fault (in a PC maybe) and a synonym of throws away or disposes of. Quaint word.

21a Kea flying east into area — similar bird? (8)
PARAKEET: An insertion of an anagram (flying) of KEA plus the abbreviation for East into a synonym of area or region.

22a Formal accessory, hat ultimately nabbed by pop icon (3,3)
BOW TIE: An insertion (nabbed by) of the final letter of haT into one of the all-time greats in the pop world. Spoilt for choice with the music selection today but this just shows the style and elegance of the man.

23a Leader of investigation probing sign outside rented accommodation — something to go on? (6)
TOILET: An insertion (nabbed by) of the initial letter of Investigation into the words on a sign showing it’s available for rent.

24a Certainly not retreating, hit out (2,6)
ON STRIKE: A reversal of NO (certainly not) plus a synonym of hit as a verb. Succinct and clever.

25a Part of plane, perhaps part of jumbo (5)
TRUNK: Double definition, neither of which has anything to do with an aircraft as the setter would like us to think. Very smart indeed. Note carefully the underlining as the “perhaps” refers to the first definition.

26a Love embraced by dunderhead or eejit (5)
ADORE: Hidden (embraced by).


2d Ego consumed, on reflection, by trifles: enough! (7)
ONESELF: An excellent reverse lurker (consumed on reflection)

3d A lighter brandy drunk at breakfast time? (6,3,5)
BRIGHT AND EARLY: Anagram (drunk) of the preceding three words. The solution refers to breakfast as a time rather than a meal. The time I solved this!

5d Effect of current broadcast pitied, report initially withheld (4,3)
TIDE RIP: Anagram (broadcast) of PITIED plus the initial letter of Report.

6d Block of cells where darling joins groom (9)
HONEYCOMB: Put together a term of endearment for ones partner maybe and a synonym of groom (one’s hair) as a verb.

7d Product finally entering plant, put away (4)
STOW: An insertion (entering) of the final letter of producT into a synonym of plant as a verb. The weakest clue for me particularly as we’ve had “ultimately” as well as “finally” to clue the last letter.

8d Mind-blowing where UFOs come from? (3,2,4,5)
OUT OF THIS WORLD: Double/cryptic definition.

9d Deal with composer in audition (6)
HANDLE: A homophone (in audition) of a composer perhaps best known for his oratorio Messiah.

15d Person transporting load around small enclosure saw employer? (9)
CARPENTER: An informal word for someone carrying a heavy load placed around a small enclosure (for animals). Brilliant and worth the admission fee alone.

18d Australian held up by a bloke, huge woman (6)
AMAZON: An insertion of a reversal of an informal Australian into A from the clue and an adult male. Not sure this works as the informal “Australian” refers to the country not someone from it. The BRB refers to Australia “(also adjective)”so I guess it can be just about justified. Not keen on this one.

19d Acquire blues record (3,4)
GET DOWN: A double/cryptic definition in which blues refers to depression rather than music. Very clever.

20d Difficult question for bad egg, say? (7)
STINKER: How one could describe a bad egg (think nose)

22d Sculpture beyond repair? (4)
BUST: Another double/mildly cryptic definition, one a noun, the other an adjective.

Standout favourite for me was the excellent 15d followed by 25a. I’ll go for 13a to make up the podium.  Which ones were your top picks for Tuesday?

21 comments on “Toughie No 3173
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  1. Excellent fare for this sunny Tuesday. No weaknesses and some stand-out clues of which12a, 13a &20d were my clues of the day . Thanks to StephenL and the setter . The illustration for 15d reminds me of the Ladybird books of my boyhood 70 odd years ago.

  2. Unlike our blogger, I found this somewhat more challenging than one of Dada’s Sunday Prize Puzzles. But, that may be because I had to solve all of this puzzle compared to solving only half of a Sunday puzzle – 2.5*/3.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 14a, 22a, 6d, and 15d – and the winner is 10a.

    Thanks to Dada and Stephen.

  3. This was a very enjoyable not-too-tough Toughie to start the week.

    24a is an interesting clue. In cricketing terms, the answer to 24a means you are “in”. But, in picketing terms, it means you are “out”!

    Two small niggles: the Australian in 18d; and the use of “withheld” in 5d. I assume the intention in 5d is that it is indicating the R of report is “held” within the anagram of “pitied”, but I don’t think that is the same as “withheld”. However, if the intention is that the R is part of the fodder, then “withheld” is surface padding.

    I had a lot of ticks, with 25a my favourite and 13a running it close.

    Many thanks to Dada and to SL.

  4. A very gentle start to the toughie week. No stand-out favourite for me, but enjoyable enough.

    Thanks to Dada and to StephenL; 1*/3*

  5. Good fun – thanks to Dada and SL.
    I had to check with the BRB that withheld (5d) works as a containment indicator.
    My Tuesday top picks were 14a, 24a and 15d.

    1. Gazza, I looked up withheld in the BRB, and came to the conclusion that none of the meanings indicated containment except perhaps the obsolete “to keep in bondage”. The closest non-obsolete meaning is “to keep back” but for me that is rather different from “to keep”.

      1. One of the meanings in the BRB is ‘to restrain’ which is a containment indicator according to The Chambers Crossword Dictionary.

    1. I think that ‘report initially withheld’ indicates the initial letter in the word indicated is needed in the answer.
      Hope this doesn’t put me on the naughty step.

  6. Only hold up for me was 5d – only familiar with the two words in reverse order so had to check that one. 20d made me squirm – cracked an egg the other day in which the yolk was completely black and the smell was ghastly- reminded me of sewage. Still can’t face a lunchtime omelette!
    Podium places here allotted to 1&10a plus 8d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Stephen for the review.

  7. Pretty straightforward I thought even for a Tuesday Toughie with the clever 25a taking top spot. Leaving aside the oddity that was 5d, this was fun while it lasted, and pleasantly entertaining.

    Thanks to Dada and SL.

  8. Light and breezy with no major hold-ups helped by the two long down clues going straight in. Didn’t know the artist but very fairly clued. Favourite was 17a. Thanks to Dada and SL.

  9. Probably made far harder work of that than I ought to have (I’m blaming post long walk fatigue) but still reckon it a fair bit trickier than the usual Sunday difficulty level. Had to check 5d post solve having never come across the two words in that order & as for the wordplay can’t honestly say I bothered myself over the withheld bit. All very enjoyable & though no standout fav still plenty of ticks.
    Thanks to D & the other S

  10. Regarding Senf’s comment in 2, I can see why he may have found it tougher than the Sunday’s that he does. For me, it was on par with the easier end of his spectrum and was no more difficult than this past Sunday’s puzzle.
    Thoroughly enjoyed it,

    1.5*/4* for me

    Favorites included 12a, 17a, 23a, 8d &18d — with three of those being my last three in and thought they were great. Winner today is 23a and 17a/18d the runners up. All great clues.

    Thanks to Dada & SL for hints/blog

  11. I found this considerably more difficult than 1*, but finished it nevertheless.

    Like others I had only come across 5d with words reversed and similarly 18d was last in.

    Thanks to Dada and Stephen.

  12. I found this considerably more difficult than 1*, but finished it nevertheless.

    Like others I had only come across 5d with words reversed and similarly 18d was last in.

    Thanks to Dada and StephenL.

  13. I found this harder than it sounded like it might be from the review and early comments, needing a few hints to confirm/reject my half-baked guesses.

    Lots of clues to love, including 12a’s close relative, 24a’s out, 19d’s record, and 20d’s bad egg, with my favourite being 15d’s saw employer. Thank you to Dada.

    I didn’t know the artist (still don’t, come to think of it), so just put in a surname that fitted the wordplay and hoped for the best. Nor did I know the 1a bird ­— once I had the crossing letters, it was a toss-up between ‘hobby’ (which obviously is a pastime) being a type of bird or ‘booby’ (which I did know was a bird) somehow also being a pastime! And in 11a I spent some time with the backwards tag at the wrong end, trying to get ‘gateau’ to fit (it didn’t). Thank you to Stephen for unsticking me.

  14. Only just back in and already a day late.
    Would never have guessed this was Dada’s work.
    Made slow progress but got there eventually.
    As Jane and others, I also thought that 5d was the other way around.
    Thanks to Dada for the fun and to StephenL for the review.

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