Toughie No 3181 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 3181

Toughie No 3181 by Dada

Hints and tips by StephenL

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone from a very showery South Devon coast.

Tuesday stalwart Dada gets the ball rolling this week with a clever and quirky puzzle that I enjoyed solving

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Tasteless shirt cut off by Georgia (6)
GARISH: The state abbreviation for Georgia plus an anagram (off) of SHIRt (cut)

4a Search all over the place for horse (6)
CHASER: Anagram (all over the place) of SEARCH

8a Weapon orbiting planet, perhaps? (8)
REVOLVER: Double definition, one a hand-held weapon the other a definition by example.  It’s also the name of a rather (in my opinion) overrated Beatles album. That’s not to say it doesn’t contain great songs. Here’s one of them, apparently one of Lennon’s favourite McCartney songs …he was famously reticent to praise the work of his fellow songwriter, being somewhat competitive and jealous but did compliment this, deservedly so.

10a Food also coming into view: no thanks (6)
VIANDS: An insertion of a synonym of also into one of view once “ta” has been removed from its back (no thanks). This solution is listed as archaic in some thesauruses but very clever.

11a Dark where US “Derby” run? (4)
INKY: If we split the solution 2,2 we have a preposition indicating location plus the state abbreviation for Kentucky.

12a Drink left, yours truly is taking a bow? (10)
LIMONCELLO: A charade of the abbreviation for Left, a contracted I AM (yours truly), a preposition that could mean playing and a stringed instrument.

13a Fairly doubled up? That’s too cute (6-6)
PRETTY-PRETTY: Repeat a synonym (doubled up) of fairly or quite. The solution means overly or ostentatiously cute.

16a Where arm found hidden (2,4,6)
UP ONE’S SLEEVE: Double/cryptic definition one literal the other idiomatic.

20a Boss after Penny, reptile (10)
COPPERHEAD: A way of referring to a penny in a monetary sense plus a synonym of boss or manager maybe.

21a Beat, not beet? (4)
CANE: A punishment that used to be given to recalcitrant schoolchildren by often sadistic headmasters is also a type of sugar that comes from a different plant to beet.

22a Instrument found by son of wind player? (3-3)
TOM-TOM: This is a reference to the nursery rhyme, the wind player being a piper.

23a Italian collar, I see, is turned over (8)
SICILIAN: A synonym of collar as a verb plus I from the clue, the letter C (the synonym is in Chambers) plus IS from the clue all reversed (turned over)

24a Royal supremacy stymied, by the sound of it? (6)
THRONE: A homophone (by the sound of it) of stymied or hindered, thwarted maybe.

25a Country governed in capital city, dispensing with dull routine (6)
BRUNEI: An insertion of a synonym of governed into the capital of Lebanon once a synonym of dull routine has been removed from its back (dispensing with). Very smart.


1d Horse carrying Frenchman northward leaves, say? (8)
GREENERY: An insertion of a reversal (northward) of crosswordland’s favourite Frenchman (I think it’s a bit dated now) into a type of horse named after its colour.

2d Large order collected by little boy (5)
ROOMY: The abbreviation of an honour conferred by the sovereign into a male given name.

3d Cabbage wraps last of mince and large sausage (7)
SAVELOY: A type of cabbage contains (wraps) the final letter of mincE and the abbreviation for Large.

5d Collection of books in support of refuge for pauper (4-3)
HAVE-NOT The abbreviation for some biblical books placed below (in support) a refuge or sanctuary.

6d Flat replacement in corporation? (5,4)
SPARE TYRE: The flat replacement (new cars don’t actually come with them these days) for a wheel is also a reference to an oversize corporation. Bit of a chestnut.

7d Sift through puzzle (6)
RIDDLE: Double definition.

9d Cruel son after scrap, Welshman has claimed (11)
REMORSELESS: An insertion of a scrap in the sense of small amount into a stereotypical Welsh name (has claimed) all followed by the abbreviation for Son.

14d Musician back in concert, odd chap (9)
TRUMPETER: The final letter (back in) of concerT, a synonym of odd and a male given name. Think Louis Armstrong.

15d Charmer in Swede, one after girl (8)
SVENGALI: A typical Swedish name (another!) an informal girl and the letter that looks like the number one.

17d Boaters are on, some oddly off (7)
OARSMEN: The boaters here are not hats but people in boats. Anagram (off) of ARE ON plus SoMe. Very clever.

18d Motorbike carriage was competitive, and is on the up (7)
SIDECAR: This seldom seen form of transport (I can’t think of anything more uncomfortable) is a synonym of a verb meaning was competitive (see the illustration) and IS from the clue reversed (on the up in a down clue). Insanity. My repetition radar bleeped a little here.

19d Shocker in short, also (2,4)
TO BOOT: An insertion of an exclamation said suddenly to surprise or shock someone into a short in a drinks sense.

21d Mark water extractor (5)
COLON: Double definition, one grammatical the other a reference to a body part, one of it’s functions being to absorb water.

Thanks Dada. Standouts for me were 10&25a plus 5&17d. Which were your highlights?

23 comments on “Toughie No 3181
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  1. For me, etc, a reminder of Dada’s first Sunday puzzle just over 5 years ago! Perhaps more challenging than one would expect for the first Toughie of the week – 4*/3.5*

    Never heard of the 11a drink but it was fairly clued and a slight groan for 12a after the penny dropped.

    Candidates for favourite – 23a, 1d, 15d, and 21d – and the winner is 23a.

    Thanks to Dada and StephenL.

  2. Gentle but entertaining. 12a, 21a and 25a made my podium. I was too lazy to investigate the parsing of 22a.

    Thanks to Dada and Stephen.

  3. I thought that this was the best Dada puzzle we’ve had for some time. Thanks to him and SL.
    Highlights for me were 11a, 12a, 21a, 6d and 19d.

  4. I think clever & quirky sums this one up very nicely. I breezed through it much more quickly than usual until coming to a full stop with 15d&25a remaining. Impatience/irritation got the better of me & I revealed the checker, promptly got ‘em both instantly (though not the capital city/rut deletion parsing) & was then even more irritated that I hadn’t been a little more patient. Lots to like here with the biggest ticks for 10,11,22&25a + 19d.
    Thanks to D & the other S – gotta disagree about Revolver. It’s always been my fav even before current thinking which seems to now have it above Sgt Pepper. Am just listening to Now Then: The Very Best of Richard Hawley whose music I’m not really familiar with & really enjoying it.
    Ps Have had a 20a join me on the tee in S Carolina.

    1. Maybe I’m being a touch harsh, I certainly prefer it to Sergeant Pepper too. I think McCartney’s songs are great on it, Lennon’s not so much but on balance it’s hard to think of a better Beatles album. The White Album maybe would have been had they condensed it down to a single album but they didn’t.
      Was going to put a picture up of a 20a but decided it may freak some people out.

  5. I am in agreement with Senf, I found that tough for Tuesday My first pass got nothing to enter and although I eventually got a toe hold in the South none came easy I stumbled on25a unparsed and got the flag waving lady so thought nothing more of it but looking at the hint that was a tricky one indeed
    Thanks to Dada and Stephen L
    (Just watching Mark Goodliffe strolling through another Countdown)

  6. A lot of very good and clever clues making picking a favourite nearly as hard as the crossword. Not that I did very well on my first pass through getting only four. Anyway I’ll go with 5d as favourite. Thanks to Dada and SL.

  7. I thought this was a very nicely clued and most enjoyable puzzle, albeit not particularly tough. This setter certainly has a good range of difficulties in his armoury. 22 and 23a were my co-favourites.

    Thanks to Dada and SL.

  8. This was definitely harder than Dada’s Sunday cryptic this week and presented some challenges. 10a was unknown to me, but figured it out with cross check letters.

    3.5*/3.5* for me.

    Favourites include 8a, 16a, 20a, 6d, 19d & 21d — with winner 21d

    Thanks to Dada & StephenL for blog/hints

  9. Well this was my first attempt at a toughie but thought I would give it a go as I had a bit of time on my hands.
    I did get through it eventually, sometimes quite smoothly, sometimes rather less so. I needed a fair bit of help from StephenL (thank you) for the parsing where it was not clear to me. Frustratingly some of the troubling parses were actually straight forward such as 19d, others were not, 25a I would never have parsed without help.
    That’s one toughie done, but I think I might wait til next Tuesday before trying my hand again…
    Thanks to the setter as well as StephenL

    1. Congratulations on completing your debut Toughie Phanciful. Keep going with them as they generally become easier the more you do. I’d have a go at tomorrow’s as Silvanus generally sets accessible Toughies (as does Thursday’s setter Beam).

    2. As Stephen says the next 2 days definitely worth a stab if you got through this one. Well done – we need a few more people posting comments – I feel a bit sorry when Stephen, Sue & Gazza get so few for their efforts. Dutch knows to expect few as Friday is strictly for the A team & the Sunday Toughie is sadly not accessible to all despite John’s requests to get it included in the digital edition.

  10. A most enjoyable solve for us with the hardest clues in the lower portion of the puzzle. Lots of smiles and chuckles as enlightenment dawned.
    Thanks Dada and SL.

  11. Quite a lot more challenging than the usual Tuesday Toughie, but very satisfying to complete. Still don’t understand why Roy is a little boy, though – to me it’s just a standard male name, with no inherent age range implied.

    Many thanks to Dada and Stephen

  12. Completed with a bit of assistance, thank you Stephen, in the small hours. I’d have posted then but I didn’t want to wake everyone up.

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