Toughie 2044 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2044

Toughie No 2044 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Kitty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Hello! — greetings as warm as the weather here in Surrey to you all.  Today’s second crossword is, for seasoned Toughiers at least (and please don’t lose heart if you are not one of them), entirely suitable for kitties and humans who are doing their best not to overheat: a cool refreshing breeze.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the buttons.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative — click only if you wish to reveal all.

I accidentally left today’s pictures in the sun and they have melted.  My apologies.  Check back in an hour or two for their cooler replacements!  Edit: now added.



1a    Fishy-looking cloud formation? (8)
MACKEREL:  Well a ******** sky is a sky with long parallel streaks of white cloud, but while I thought of the answer straight away I wasn’t entirely convinced and delayed entering it

9a    Sluggish island resident catches cold (8)
INACTIVE:  An abbreviation for island and an inhabitant contains (catches) the abbreviation for cold.  Clouds, and now cold.  So far this is a puzzle for our usual weather, not this aberration …

10a   Beg naughty child to leave learning (4)
LORE:  Beg or plead with (7) loses a word for a mischievous child

11a   Student’s university taken in by top grades at cooking (12)
POSTGRADUATE:  University contained within (taken in by) the letters of TOP GRADES AT rearranged (cooking)

13a   Wrongly try to exonerate a no-gooder, initially? This person might! (8)
ATTORNEY:  An anagram (wrongly) of TRY TO E A N, where those last three letters are the initial letters (… initially) of three words of the clue.  The definition refers to the wordplay part of the clue

15a   At home approve old colour (6)
INDIGO:  Our usual word meaning at home, an old word — though still very much current in crosswords — meaning to understand or approve (of) and the abbreviation for old

16a   Tiny amount for Hellenic character (4)
IOTA:  A double definition, the second being a Greek letter

17a   Sticky having primarily used brush in 24 hours (5)
DAUBY:  Initial letters (primarily) of used and of brush inside a 24 hour period.  I’m not used to the adjectival form of this word, but it was perfectly clear from the wordplay, so no sticky moment there

18a   Old orderly‘s regularly proud to accompany heartless lady (4)
RULY:  Alternate letters in (regularly) proud and outside letters of (heartless) lady.  This old word for orderly is an “orphaned negative,” mentioned in this article by Susie Dent which I enjoyed, not least because of some delightful “malaphors”

20a   Sailor providing force in charge (6)
TARIFF:  A charade of one of our usual mariners, a short conjunction meaning providing, and the physics symbol for force

21a   Twice converted those, not English, to be successful people (8)
HOTSHOTS:  THOSe is anagrammed (converted) twice in succession, without (not) E(nglish)

23a   Epic song Kelly plays after throwing out unknown instrument (12)
GLOCKENSPIEL:  After removing (throwing out) a letter used as a mathematical unknown, EPIC SONG KELLy is anagrammed (plays).  I find this instrument as enjoyable to say as to play

26a   Average chap conserves energy (4)
MEAN:  A guy contains (conserves) the physics symbol for energy

27a   Salesman, creative-sounding, makes witty retort? (8)
REPARTEE:  We start with our usual salesperson; the rest of the word sounds like creative, or affectedly aspiring to be

28a   One who cajoles cyclist to go round head of Dales (8)
WHEEDLER:  An informal word for a cyclist is to go round the first letter (head) of Dales



2d    Crackpot mostly red tomato lover (8)
AMORETTO:  An anagram of (crackpot) REd (mostly red) TOMATO

3d    Knight jumped, it’s said, over madman keen to help himself? (12)
KLEPTOMANIAC:  Put together an abbreviation for knight, four letters which sound like (it’s said) a word meaning jumped, the abbreviation for over, and a madman or lunatic

4d    Cause for debate (6)
REASON:  Two definitions: a motive or inducement and to debate or argue with using logic

5d    Heather‘s abbreviated language (4)
LING:  A language or jargon without the last letter (abbreviated)

6d    Jane’s disaster in film? (8)
CALAMITY:  The nickname of an American frontierswoman during Gold Rush days, immortalised in film among other things

7d    Excellent hairstyle for opera (4)
AIDA:  Our usual crosswordese excellent plus the abbreviated form of a haircut style that was popular during the 1950s.  With our usual hairstyle in mind, I admit that I at first thought this was a mistake, only realising that the mistake was all mine when I looked up the last two letters just in case, and with a “d’oh!” remembered this one.  You could say I had a bit of a hoo-ha with the do-da

8d    Service? Don’t stand on this (8)
CEREMONY:  A service or rite which completes the phrase “don’t stand on ********”

12d   Not impressed when ruled out by male editor (12)
UNDERWHELMED:  WHEN RULED anagrammed (out) next to (by) abbreviations for male and for editor.  Oh dear — I do hope there isn’t a story behind this clue!

14d   Some try out hiking in the period before getting old (5)
YOUTH:  The answer is lurking in some of the clue

16d   Whole numbers of greetings going astray — not good! (8)
INTEGERS:  An anagram (… going astray) of gREETINGS without (not) G(ood).  I learned this word as a kitten from reading and had the wrong pronunciation for many years until formal education caught up.  I was also a member of the “hyper bowl” club.  And how else would one pronounce “banal”?  It’s ok though: I avoided embarrassment by not having any friends never having cause to use these words in conversation

17d   Learner swamped by faults swerves (8)
DEFLECTS:  L(earner) in (swamped by) some faults or flaws

19d   Scholarly, you are, they say, banned from books (8)
LITERATE:  Letters which sound like (… they say) “you” and “are” removed from (banned from) writings

22d   Dessert for 16 (6)
TRIFLE:  Two definitions, the second being 16a

24d   Though not loud, rising hoax produces exclamation (4)
OOPS:  The reversal (rising) of hoax or parody missing the musical abbreviation for loud (though not loud).  This exclamation was popular long before “d’oh!” entered the lexicon

25d   Asymmetrical small garden in capital (4)
SKEW:  An abbreviation for small (mysteriously missing from Chambers but present elsewhere, and perfectly familiar from clothing labels) plus a botanical garden in southwest London


Thanks to Warbler.  I didn’t mark out any favourites, but my biggest laugh was at 12d.  Which were your hot picks?


These hints and tips are for anyone who might find them of use (and who doesn’t need help now and then?).  The asides and illustrations are to add a personal perspective and some colour.  The comments section is — or should be — for everyone.  Please do ask if you need anything clarified, have any suggestions as to how the blogs could be improved, or have anything else you’d like to say.


23 comments on “Toughie 2044

  1. Definitely at the easier end of the scale, even by Tuesday standards, but quite fun to solve. The top left corner held me up a little – took a while to think of 1 (which unlocked 2, 13 and 4, which were my last three).

    Thanks to Kitty and Warbler

  2. I thought that this was more enjoyable and less tough than today’s back pager – it did not cause any overheating in Winnipeg. At one time in the downs, I had a straight run of six read and writes. I definitely agree with Kitty’s * ratings.

    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 3d, and 7d (I had to laugh at the ‘hairstyle’) – and the winner is 3d.

    Thanks to Warbler and Kitty.

    P.S. Kitty – you are off by 100 in the top LH corner.

  3. I didn’t find this at all tough but it was certainly very enjoyable. Some nice words appeared along the way – 22a, 28a, 3d, 12d, and I see that one of our bloggers got a name check (although given the answer perhaps she would rather not have done so).

    Two questions, both involving an “a”:
    – In 13a is it considered OK to use “a … initially” to clue an “a”?
    – Shouldn’t 22d say “Dessert for 16a”?

    Many thanks to Warbler and to Kitty.

    1. I am sure that said blogger will be very stoic about her name check, after all, there’s no such thing as bad publicity!

  4. Very nice indeed .
    14d was very neatly hidden .I liked 21a and 1a and many others , but top marks for 3d .
    Thanks to Kitty and Warbler .

  5. 11a I’m sure that it said “students” not “student’s” at about 3:00 am.

    It now makes sense.

  6. All fairly straightforward but pleasant and suitable for the weather – we don’t want the little grey cells to overheat. Thanks to Warbler and Kitty.
    My favourite clue was 6d – wonder how that’ll be received in Anglesey.

  7. What fun to have the haircut in 7d. Reminds me of the wafts of Brylcreem that used to accompany my train journeys to school!

  8. I’m with Senf on this one, easier than today’s back-pager. In fact, I only came to look at it because I was stuck on the Quickie!!

    The only one that really held me up was 3d, I was trying to use N for Knight. I’ll also admit to using a few electrons to get the anagram at 23a.

    Many thanks to Warbler and Kitty.

  9. Late reporting in following a very enjoyable lunch out with a friend. No calamities to report beyond an extremely hot drive back along the A55!

    Learnt something new in the 1a cloud formation and have to confess that I sought verification of the unlikely sounding 17a.

    No particular favourite beyond a mention for the name check – as Senf said, any publicity is good publicity!

    Thanks to Warbler and to our Girl Tuesday for another splendid blog.

    PS Calamity certainly went in for a lot of hearty back-slapping – must give it a try at the next birthday bash!

  10. Just had time to do in * time before watching our Malvinas friends go out. Just a tad above back pager

  11. Very gentle. Thanks Kitty. My air conditioning, bought in december, perhaps helped me out

  12. Perfect for a hot afternoon and thanks to Kitty for the blog. I liked 7d for the hairstyle reminder and 23a because it’s such a great word. Last in was 6d.

  13. After meeting the shoveller in the other puzzle it was nice to meet a duck again in 7d.
    A slight delay in understanding the wordplay for 19d.
    Quite gentle and good fun.
    Thanks Warbler and Kitty

  14. All been said, don’t think though I’ve ever heard or would use the answer to 17a. Thanks Kitty and Warbler

  15. A rare occasion where the Toughie was (much) easier than the back pager, so a most definite * for difficulty. A little light relief, and a thankfully short solve when the laptop was conspiring with the already high background temperature to melt my lap.

  16. I did similar with 1a. I am more familiar with the fish being followed by sky and held off putting it in til checkers forced my initial thought in. NE needed most help from the hints. Thanks Kitty. 3d and 12d both faves here. Got the answer for 19d but unparsed until explained here. 17a puzzled me too as I always use it in the slapdash paint sense and not the sticky one.
    Thanks Warbler and Kitty too for cat pics as well as the hints.

  17. A rare occurrence for me to have a stab at the Toughie but I obviously chose the right day as, in company with most bloggers, I found this quite straightforward and only needed feline help with 18a and to confirm 17a. Thank you Warbler and Kitty.

  18. Thanks to Warbler and to Kitty for the review and hints. A Toughie at the easy end of the spectrum, but very enjoyable to solve. Last in was 6d, preceeded by 9a, the latter took me a while. Favourite was 21a. Was 1*/3.5* for me.

  19. Very late to this but yes, an enjoyable if not too challenging solve: a ‘floughie’.

    I think 21a for me today (or actually yesterday!) as HOTS plus HOTS is a very nice spot.

    Thank you both for a fun solve.

Comments are closed.