Toughie 3194 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3194

Toughie No 3194 by Dada

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Toughie Difficulty ****Enjoyment ***

The first Wednesday Toughie of the New Year turned out to be exactly that, a proper Toughie – well I thought so anyway. As is usual with Dada clues, once solved they are always fairly straightforward to explain which is helpful as the sun is actually shining and I want to get out for a walk before the inevitable rain turns up again

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8a    Reportedly, footwear split! (4)
SHOO A instruction to go away (split) sounds like (reportedly) a piece of footwear

9a    Tree on mountain, for example, remains (3)
ASH A type of tree, of which mountain is an example, or some remains

10a    County welcoming a suit (6)
HEARTS An abbreviated county ‘welcoming’ A (from the clue)

11a    Gas supplied in secret, tanks sent over (6)
NATTER An informal verb meaning to talk a lot (gas) is hidden in reverse (sent over) in secRET TANks

12a    Engineer hearing about lead in long pipe (8)
NARGHILE An anagram (engineer) of HEARING ‘about’ L (the lead in Long)

13a    This when scone arrived he whipped up, jam finally added? (10,5)
DEVONSHIRE CREAM An anagram (whipped up) of SCONE HE ARRIVED, the final letter of jaM being added at the end, to produce the dairy product that, in Devon, goes on the scone before jam is finally added

15a    Prize belly on sailor (7)
JACKPOT A protuberant belly added to a sailor

17a    Lesser star in bubble? (7)
BLISTER If a major star is an A-Lister, what is a lesser star?

20a    Club requiring fresh players, one held by Yorkshire team, briefly (9,6)
NEWCASTLE UNITED A synonym for fresh, some players and a single thing (one) held by the name of a Yorkshire football club without its final letter (briefly)

23a    A personal best in undignified language? Exactly! (4-4)
SLAP-BANG A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for Personal Best inserted into some undignified language

25a    Explorer with trained hounds (6)
HUDSON An anagram (trained) of HOUNDS gives us the name of an explorer who may well have used trained hounds in his exploration of Canada and NE America to try and find the North East Passage

26a    Grapes, say, about right for meal (6)
BRUNCH Fruit such as grapes ‘fastened together’ put about R (right)

27a    Initially teeth wobbling, order a brace (3)
TWO The initial letters of Teeth Wobbling Order

28a    Bound, aged gentleman’s manacled (4)
EDGE The limit of something (bound) is found ‘manacled’ by agED GEntleman


1d    Piece of writing is coming apart, by the sound of it? (6)
PHRASE This short piece of writing sounds like part of a verb meaning coming apart

2d    Pole found profane expression in publication (8)
BOATHOOK A profane expression inserted into a publication

3d    So much was true, unfortunately, about a leader in Lenin — that was right under Stalin’s nose (6,9)
WALRUS MOUSTACHE An anagram (unfortunately) of SO MUCH WAS TRUE goes ‘about’ A (from the clue) and the ‘leader’ in Lenin

4d    Bash with sharp poke on leg? (7)
SHINDIG This lively party (bash) could if split 4,3 read as if it were a sharp poke on part of the leg

5d    Bit of fun in dance for old actor (7,8)
CHARLES LAUGHTON A bit of fun inserted into a lively dance which originated in the 1920s

6d    Understand article in newspaper that’s backed up (6)
GATHER A definite article inserted into a reversal (that’s backed up) of a newspaper

7d    Others as yet unmentioned dead, in need of resurrection? (2,2)
ET AL A synonym for dead reversed (in need of resurrection)

14d    Certainly the first person heard? (3)
AYE This word of agreement (certainly) sounds like the first person singular

16d    Very good one (3)
ACE An informal way of saying very good or one in dice, cards, dominoes etc

18d    Superficial sort breaking leak (4-4)
SKIN-DEEP A synonym for sort inserted into (breaking) a verb meaning to leak slowly

19d    Whitish blocks alongside Tommy’s home (7)
BLIGHTY Military slang (as used by a Tommy in the First World War) – an adjective meaning whitish or pale in colour inserted into a preposition meaning alongside

21d    Old criminal working in cloak (6)
CAPONE The usual two-letter ‘working’ inserted in a type of cloak

22d    Person sent up: I hate that — stop it! (6)
ENOUGH A reversal (sent up) of a single person and an expression of repugnance (I hate that)

24d    Bait in lake and river (4)
LURE The abbreviation for Lake and a river which seems to be the crossword setters’ ‘river of the month’ as it has appeared many times in clues in the last few weeks

27 comments on “Toughie 3194
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  1. An enjoyable Dada puzzle, which I would have enjoyed blogging on a Sunday, with solving helped by the four long ‘uns – ***/****

    Candidates for favourite – 17a, 3d, and 7d – and the winner is 7d.

    Thanks to Dada and CS.

  2. Dada showing his teeth a bit more than usual in this entertaining puzzle – thanks to him and CS.
    I am pleased to see that Dada is aware of the correct way to serve 13a.
    For my podium I selected 20a, 19d and 22d.

  3. Really enjoyed this and didn’t find it as hard as CS. It’s amazing that some I struggle with CS deflates me by giving a * whereas today I rate this as **. My only hold up was with 12a who is a new name to me. Get outside soon CS as here in east Anglia the rain has already arrived. Lovely morning though. Many thanks to Dada and to CS for unravelling 12a for me

  4. I am perplexed to report that I found this puzzle really quite straight forward, and I must say very enjoyable. Perplexed because I note from CS and the comments above that solvers far more able than I did not think it such a breeze – so I think I must draw on wave length and dumb luck to explain the inexplicable.
    I loved the use of resurrection in 7D which I have not seen before. 12a was a new word that I had to look up after I had put together the pieces (so not that easy then, eh…) and 16D I did not fill in for ages because I thought it too transparent.
    My favourites today included 5D and 3D, but 7D takes it just for the well contextualised reversal indicator.
    Thanks to the setter and to CrypticSue

    1. Indeed phanciful I found this surprisingly fabulous to solve ! So many fantastic clues and it’s not often I manage to finish a toughie! Although I was slightly horrified when at first I thought the clue implied the team I’m question was from Yorkshire until I parsed it again ! 🤣

  5. Difficult but doable with some real head scratchers but I was fortunate to get quite a few on first pass which helped. I hadn’t heard of 12a. Favourite was 20a. Thanks to Dada and CS.

  6. Unlike our esteemed blogger, this went in fairly quickly with only the pipe causing any consternation. To be different, I liked 3 and 5d the best.

    Many thanks to Dada and Sue.

  7. An absorbing challenge, but I was surprised to find on coming here that Dada is the setter: I usually enjoy his puzzles but not so much today, finding it somewhat sub-par for him. Last week I commented that “clueing an extremely obscure word as an anagram is like bowling the last ball of a match underarm to prevent the batsman from scoring” and so my real ire is reserved for 12a, wherein I felt Dada was not just bowling underarm but rolling the ball along the ground. Which does as much for the shine on the ball as this clue did for the shine on the puzzle. As for a pole being a 2d … hummmm. The 2d goes on the /end/ of a pole.

    COTD for me was the wonderfully witty 3d. A scone “decorated” as described in 13a, clever though the clue is, would taste so very wrong, what with the toppings being in the wrong order and not even using proper clotted cream, made west of the Tamar!

    Thank you to Dada and to CS

    1. That’s a really great analogy re using an anagram to clue an obscurity very few are likely to have heard of. Completely agree.

    2. MG. A boathook is (integrally) a long pole with a hook/spike at one end. So, the whole thing could quite correctly be called a “pole”.

      1. Not really, Jose, because while “the whole thing” can be used as a pole, a pole on its own cannot be used as “a boathook”. The synonym needs to work in both directions, I feel.

        1. I can see your point, MG, but I’ll just have one more go. A boathook is essentially/integrally a long pole with a hook/spike attached at one end and the whole item is called a “boathook”. It is therefore “essentially” a (type of) pole. In the context of a cryptic clue/answer “boathook” is an acceptable definition by example of a “pole”.

          Let’s call it draw …

  8. A great challenge today and I fall in with the “found it hard going but enjoyable” group. Thanks to setter and my COTD was 5D and puzzle was ****/**** for me.

  9. Like some other commenters, I found this much more straightforward than our blogger apparently has, a lovely feeling which I shall cherish as it’s unlikely to happen again!
    Just the pipe that caused consternation here, everything else slid in quite smoothly.
    Picks of the bunch were 20&23a plus 4&5d.

    Thanks to Dada for an excellent puzzle and to CS for the review and illustration of 12a.

  10. Nice puzzle, with 20a and 3d my top picks. I won’t debate the aptness of 13a with you Southerners, just bring em on, they taste as good regardless.
    Thanks to Dada and CS.

  11. I also found it a difficult Wednesday Toughie. I’m grateful to CS for enlightening me on 17A. I too hadn’t heard of 13A but managed to work it out from the anagram. I tend to agree with Mustafa G on this one. My favourites were 20A and 22D.
    Many thanks to CS and Dada for the challenge.

  12. Seem to recall our departed Toughie blogger recently declaring there wasn’t much difference between a Dada SPP & his Toughies. Well for me there certainly was here – never mind baring 🦷 more like fangs for me. Not an unaided finish either as last in 12a took 2 stabs to arrange the fodder correctly & I hit the online reveal mistakes facility (no need as it happened) three quarters of the way through when stalled. The solve would have a darn sight easier if I’d pegged the excellent long ‘uns a bit quicker but only the first Cap’t Bligh yielded quickly. My podium would be perm any 3 of those 4.
    Thanks to Dada & to Sue.
    Ps not finding his Graun puzzle any easier either.

  13. A Dada on a Wednesday … easy like Sunday Morning?

  14. Unusually I have had time to look at this before bedtime. And surprisingly it all fell into place quite nicely. The only fly in the ointment being 2d and I am not sure about the profanity in the tome. Is it something I should know? I am quite an innocent according to DD 2. Anyway, the picture confirmed my entry whether it was rude or not. Many thanks to Dada and CS – I shall now bask in a rosy glow.

      1. Doh! I am so stupid. I was looking at ATHO – how could I miss that? I put it down to worrying about the rat and the impending visit of the rat- man this morning. Thank you Sue.

  15. I quite often struggle with Toughies, but today I found myself solving rather quickly – maybe I have learned a thing or two from the Sunday prize puzzles, which I avidly look forward to each week. Whatever the reason, I really enjoyed this Dada offering – so many smiles along the way. With only two letters in, I guessed lucky with 5d and soon cracked the other three long clues. 12a was a new word learned. Too many ticks to name all my favourites, so 13 and 20a with 1 and 18d will have to represent them all. Thanks Dada, great entertainment and thanks too to CS.

  16. Very enjoyable and pleased to finish a Dada Toughie. Having parsed the clue, I did resort to electronic help on 12a.

  17. So many fabulous and enjoyable to parse clues! My favourite toughie in a while which I managed to complete with a bit of help as others found at 12a !
    Thank you to dada and cs !
    Dark day here in the land of the castles – off to play some 🎷🎷🎷

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