Toughie 2099 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2099

Toughie No 2099 by proXimal

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

ProXimal likes synonyms that are not necessarily close or obvious, which I find challenging at times. But he gives us a nice variety of clever clueing – I still had a bit of parsing to do once I had filled the grid, and I’m still not sure about 7d.

As always, the definitions are underlined. The hints are intended to help you with the wordplay, but you can always reveal the answer by clicking on the SPOILER ALERT! buttons. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Supplying charity, working closely together (4,2,5)
HAND IN GLOVE: A 7-letter word that could mean supplying and a 4-letter word that could mean charity (I think)

9a    Ring for projector to screen government department reform (7)
REMODEL: A circular film holder that you put on a projector contains (to screen) the abbreviation for the government’s defence department

10a    Insurgency you reported within two minutes (6)
MUTINY: The letter which is a homophone (reported) of you goes between the abbreviation for minute and a word meaning minute (pronounced differently)

12a    Craft and impudence required to confront energy provider (7)
GALLEON: A word for impudence plus the name of an energy company

13a    Giveaway section on flier (7)
SPOILER: Two meanings, the second is an aerodynamic device fitted to an aircraft wing (or some cars)

14a    Figure to trust endlessly (5)
TORUS: TO from the clue then (t)RUS(t) from the clue without the outer letters (endlessly)

15a    Rising when American’s ready, embracing and moving (9)
ASCENDANT: A 2-letter word meaning when, then the lowest value American coin containing (embracing) an anagram (moving) of AND

17a    Soldiers returned attack, cutting noble fellow after a killing (9)
PROFITEER: A reversal (returned) of an abbreviation for soldiers plus an attack or convulsion to go inside (cutting) a noble

20a    Veg and game that’s encased in shellfish (5)
PEARL: A small round green vegetable and the abbreviation for the other kind of game with funny-shaped balls

22a    Issue developing from head waiter ignoring that man and wife or a maitre d’ ignoring male (7)
RADIATE: Two anagrams (developing from … or …) for the price of one – helps give you confidence that yes, it really is the word you are looking for. Remove HE (that man) and the abbreviation for wife from an anagram of (he)AD (w)AITER or remove the abbreviation for Male from A (m)AITRE D

24a    Slowly get into the flow, not covering most of Asian capital (4,3)
NOSE OUT: The flow here refers to traffic. NOT from the clue goes around (covering) the capital of South Korea without its last letter (most of)

25a    Forcibly remove guard for nothing in middle of duty (6)
UPROOT: Take a word meaning for, or in favour of, and the letter that looks like nothing or zero, and put them inside (guard … in …) the central two letters (middle) of duty

26a    Moneymaking invention (7)
COINAGE: Two meanings, the first literal, and the second often used when describing new phrases

27a    Mole with information given during meal about royal dynasty (11)
PLANTAGENET: An informal word for mole or spy, then a 3-letter word for information goes inside (during) the reversal (about) of another word for dinner


2d    Compared to maiden, men may be so alone (7)
AIDLESS: What is the word ‘men’ when compared to the word ‘maiden’?

3d    Trace source of beef in food outlet close to menagerie (9)
DELINEATE: A word for a type of animal from which we get beef goes between (in) a food shop and the last letter of (close to) menagerie

4d    Famous people: Newton and Watt, say, but not Jack (5)
NAMES: The physics abbreviation for Newton (unit of force), plus the first name of the Scottish engineer Watt but without the cards abbreviation for Jack

5d    Girls this disappointed could change to become strong-willed (3,4)
LET DOWN: An anagram (could change to become) of GIRLS plus the answer could give STRONG-WILLED

6d    Article found in digs of Roman plain (7)
VANILLA: A 2-letter indefinite article goes inside (found in) a 5-letter originally-Italian (Roman) word for a country house

7d    Brainbox fixing business dispute in bank (6,5)
BRIGHT SPARK: I’m not sure about this – I think it is placing (fixing … in) a word for concern or personal claim (as in that’s my business) plus a word meaning dispute or a friendly boxing match inside a 2-letter abbreviation for bank. Please let me know if you have a different idea.

8d    Disheartened slimmer sacked cheese deliverer, perhaps (6)
SMILER: An anagram (sacked) of SLI(m)MER without the central letter (disheartened)

11d    Dry area torched, that is start of several cruel deeds (11)
BRUTALITIES: A word for dry as used to describe champagnes, the abbreviation for Area, a verb meaning torched or set alight, the Latin abbreviation for that is and the first letter (start) of Several

16d    Pound invested in long-term European account (9)
CHRONICLE: The abbreviation for pound sterling goes in between (invested in) a word for long-term (as in diseases) and the abbreviation for European

18d    Dictionary one friend finds kind of complex (7)
OEDIPAL: The abbreviation for a well-known dictionary, the Roman numeral for one, and another word for friend

19d    First person on death row ain’t, oddly, American (7)
IDAHOAN: A first person pronoun sits above (on, in a down clue) and the odd letters (oddly) in ‘death row aint’

20d    Acted upon free ticket given without restriction (7)
PASSIVE: A 4-letter free ticket plus (g)IVE(n) from the clue without the outer letters (without restriction)

21d    Odour rising with liberal being without ethics (6)
AMORAL: The reversal (rising) of another word for odour and the abbreviation for Liberal

23d    Odd text rankled somewhat (5)
EXTRA: Hidden (… somewhat).

I think the compound anagram in 5d is my favourite today. 8d also made me smile(!), and I thought 19d was interesting – is there a story there? I also liked 2a with the two subtractive anagrams, clever to use both head waiter and a maitre d’. I thought some of the definitions were good, 17a 20a and 8d (cheese deliverer for cheese sayer), for instance. Which clues did you like?

18 comments on “Toughie 2099

  1. One member of my ‘crèche’ once said to another that ‘you know you are in trouble when the first clue Sue ‘gets’ is 23d’. Well I knew I was in trouble today because the first clue I solved was 18d and everything else went very slowly after that. I even invoked Gnome’s Law by enquiring whether it was just me, which helped a bit, but I still took a proper tough Friday Toughie time filling the grid and then sorting out the parsing.

    Thanks to Mr X for the battle and Mr D for the explanations.

  2. I got 1a straight away (mainly from the enumeration) which was a great help and I enjoyed the puzzle. Thanks to proXimal and Dutch.
    I parsed 7d in the same way as Dutch thinking that business means right in a sentence such as “You’ve got no business letting your cat make a mess in my garden”.
    The clues I liked best were 10a, 6d and 8d.

  3. What a treat and I can’t remember ever having awarded as many ticks as I did to 1a.

    Took me a long time to sort out the parsing of 17&25a plus 4d and I assumed that I’d missed something in 7d. If so, it would appear that both Dutch and CS missed it as well.
    I did need to check on the figure in 14a which put me in mind of our much-missed compiler/blogger and, unlike Dutch, I didn’t see the necessity for both subtractive anagrams in 22a – perhaps that’s a bit churlish.

    Along with the glorious 1a, I put 20a & 8d on the podium with an honourable mention for the extremely apt surface read of 12a.

    Many thanks to proXimal for the challenge and also to Dutch for the blog -although I’m not sure that I care for the 8d pic!

  4. Like others I loved this, and was an 8d from 1a onwards. I’d agree with Dutch’s difficulty rating but enjoyed it rather more, perhaps helped by having the luxury of solving at leisure. I did need our blogger to explain the function of “guard” in 25a. I’m not so keen on the form of definition in 20a, but hasten to add that that’s purely a personal taste thing as it’s clearly allowed. It did effectively misdirect me into trying to put a game inside a shellfish, doubtless the intention.

    Can’t pick a sensible number of favourites, so will leave it there. Many thanks proXimal and Dutch.

  5. Yep – I spent quite a while hunting for that elusive shellfish.

    I see that you have the black-out curtains drawn – does it aid concentration or just stop you from seeing all the housework that you haven’t quite got around to doing?!!

    1. Oops – that was meant to be a reply to Kitty but it disappeared into the ether and then re-materialised as a separate comment!

  6. Today I came as close as I have ever come to finishing a proXimal puzzle. The SW went in first followed by a long pause. I eventually came up with “Hand to mouth” for 1a (Taking ‘hand’ as a verb then the definition works plus hands and mouths are frequently working closely together). However, and inevitably, I couldn’t get the checkers to work and I had to resort to Dutch’s hint. Once on the right track I was able to finish the rest of the puzzle without any recourse to the hints. I admit the ‘real’ answer is very clever and works better than mine, but I can’t help feeling left disappointed. Please forgive me for not feeling as enthusiastic about it as other posters have been! As always, my thanks to all.

  7. I enjoyed this, being a temporary golf widower, I was left to my own devices for a long period, but J did help at the pub with the last couple of clues and some of the parsing. 7d was a bit of a mystery but we agreed with the consensus.
    Many thanks to proXimal Dutch.
    J: It was good to have him occupied for the day.

  8. Pretty mild for a proXimal. Have to agree with Jane re 22a – half of the clue is unnecessary, it serves no purpose. 10a was my favourite clue by far, very nice.

    Thanks to proXimal for an interesting puzzle and to Dutch for the illustrations, except for 8d, where again I can’t help but agree with Jane. Ugh!

  9. I rescued Friday’s Telegraph from the recycling bin. The previous owner had solved the Telegraph and quick crosswords and I managed to finish this. Ingenious cluing. Nice to know the booze hasn’t destroyed my brain yet. By the way, some travellers ripped my 85 year old father off for 5000 pounds for a bit of basic garden work. Please never do business at the door.

  10. Really struggled with this one. 7d was a bit hard to understand and 10a was very rewarding. Explanations really helped.

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