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Toughie 2100

Toughie No 2100 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hi everyone.  I didn’t find this puzzle quite as straightforward as I feared when 1a went straight in: there were quite a few anagrams to slow me down.  (I am this at anagrams.)

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.



1a    Tree that’s in but not posh (6)
POPLAR:  In or trendy without (but not) our usual letter which can denote posh

4a    Peruse missing article by leading tabloid (3-3)
RED-TOP:  A four-letter word meaning to peruse is missing the indefinite article and followed by leading or in first position

8a    Drive quietly to face aunt every now and then (3)
PUT:  The musical abbreviation for quietly and then (to face) regular letters (… every now and then) of aunt.  A variant spelling of a four-letter verb to throw a stone or weight, or a noun, the throw itself

10a   One who approves increase in advertising (7)
PRAISER:  An increase is found inside a two-letter abbreviation for some advertising activity

11a   Fruit puddings for rebels (7)
HIPPIES:  The fruit of a rose plus some filled pastries.  The peace-and-love kind of rebels

12a   Roots of north-eastern earnings per share (5)
NEEPS:   Initial letters of (roots of) five words of the clue (if the hyphenated words are counted individually).  With all the clue involved in the wordplay, but only one word being the definition this is not the usual kind of semi-&lit.  To me, it’s a word doing verboten double duty, plain and simple, but I would be interested to hear your opinions about it and am open to persuasion  Abbreviations for North-eastern and for earnings per share.  So simple now it’s been pointed out!  My thanks to Rick for the correction

13a   Criminal importers making faulty declaration (9)
MISREPORT:  An anagram (criminal) of IMPORTERS

14a   Keeping playing Cupid astonished all but the final couple (13)
CUSTODIANSHIP:  An anagram (playing) of CUPID ASTONISHed without the last two letters (all but the final couple)

17a   Corporal sects destroyed episcopal symbol (8,5)
PECTORAL CROSS:  An anagram (… destroyed) of CORPORAL SECTS

22a   One of seven on board being vipers met at sea (9)
SEPTEMVIR:  An anagram (… at sea) of VIPERS MET

23a   Finished ace food (5)
PASTA:  Finished or over and then the playing cards abbreviation for ace

24a   Hopelessness of the French couple (7)
DESPAIR:  French for “of the” plus a twosome

25a   Relatives born with expressions of relief (7)
NEPHEWS:  Born (of a man) and the (presumed) plural of an exclamation of relief

26a   Hang around when wife leaves small island (3)
AIT:  Linger or hang around with W(ife) removed (when wife leaves)

27a   Fish is stuffed with cooked 14s? On the contrary (6)
PISCES:  IS from the clue inside (stuffed withon the contrary) an anagram (cooked) of the plural of the answer to 14d

28a   Shows hole in US trousers (6)
PANTOS:  The hole-shaped letter inside the North American word for trousers.  The definition?  It’s behind you.  Oh no it isn’t …



1d    Very warm spot in the middle of Margate (6)
PIPING:  Link together a spot on dice cards or dominoes, IN from the clue, and the central letter of (the middle of) Margate

2d    Table displaying most of dish and water for Nancy (7)
PLATEAU:  Most of a dish (a dish for food, not a dish of food) and the French word for water which is used in English in various combinations

3d    Recesses in Parliament seen initially during mass uprising? (5)
APSES:  First letters (… initially) of two words of the clue inside (during) the reversal (uprising) of a great mass or expanse

5d    Crowd replacing centre of Exeter, one might announce (9)
EXPRESSER:  Replacing the two middle letters (centre) of Exeter is a word meaning crowd or crush

6d    Journey with boiling oil for capital (7)
TRIPOLI:  A journey and an anagram (boiling) of OIL take us to the capital of Libya

7d    Old coin collection covered in something green (6)
PESETA:  A collection contained within (covered in) a small green vegetable

8d    I’ve armed prior rioting for former dictator (5,2,6)
PRIMO DE RIVERA:  An anagram (… rioting) of I’VE ARMED PRIOR.  How well do you know your dictators?  This one was Prime minister of Spain during its Restoration era

9d    What’s hard to read in details of contract? (3,5,5)
THE SMALL PRINT:  This could be a double definition, the first being a literal one, but the whole clue also functions as a definition.  I’ve just underlined the dictionary definition

14d   In concept it’s edible (3)
CEP:  In the second word of the clue lies our edible mushroom

15d   Petite gal dancing in sheet with name on (5,4)
TITLE PAGE:  An anagram (… dancing) of PETITE GAL

16d   Encourage to ignore husband’s discharge (3)
PUS:  A word meaning encourage or urge missing (to ignore) H(usband)

18d   Displays former attitudes (7)
EXPOSES:  Our usual prefix meaning former and the kind of attitudes a model might strike

19d   Have an inkling of 16 being converted in sect (7)
SUSPECT:  An anagram (… being converted) of the answer to 16d goes inside the last word of the clue

20d   Exhausted? Employ duplicate (4-2)
USED-UP:  Employ and then the three-letter abbreviation of duplicate

21d   Oversights left 3 behind (6)
LAPSES:  L(eft) followed by the answer to 3d (3 behind)

23d   Go suddenly with secretary to find the old man in America (5)
POPPA:  To burst, or to go somewhere quickly, plus the two-letter abbreviation for a secretary to an individual


Thanks to MynoT.  28a and 1d made my shortlist, but my favourites today are 24a and 20d.  What did you think?


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.


35 comments on “Toughie 2100

  1. Kitty I think 12a is not an initial letter clue but two abbreviations – North East followed by EPS for earnings per share.
    Not entirely straightforward. I didn’t know the Spaniard and I am not a fan of foreign words and names clued as anagrams.

    1. I’m with Kitty that 12a is initial letters indicated by ‘Roots’ and I liked that ‘Roots’ is doing double duty.

        1. I’m with you on that one Senf. Whatever MynoT had in mind, it was still a very pleasant solve to start the Toughie week. Needed Mr Google for 8 down, otherwise pretty much plain sailing. Thanks to MynoT & Kitty

        2. NE & EPS are recognised abbreviations in their own right, just a coincidence that the definition could be construed as a first letter indicator.

          1. I have to come clean and confess that when I first solved 12 across, I totally missed both abbreviations. Having connected roots and the north-east, plus the three checking letters already in place, I felt it couldn’t possibly be anything other word. 😁

  2. Found this one quite educational – 17, 22 and 8d were all new to me, but all fairly clued and easy enough to look up once a few crossers were in place. Not the easiest Tuesday puzzle but nothing too difficult either.

    Thanks to Kitty and MynoT

  3. Very enjoyable, reasonably straightforward, except for having to electronically look up the individual in 8d, and completed at a gallop – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 25a, 2d, and 9d – and the winner is 25a.

    Thanks to MynoT and Kitty.

  4. I just about remembered 8d, helped considerably by the enumeration, but I’ve never heard of 22a which required the assistance of Mr Google.
    Isn’t 5d a horrible word – would anyone actually say or write it?
    My favourite clue was 28a for the amusing surface. Thanks to MynoT for the puzzle and to Kitty for the review.

  5. Apart from bunging in TABLEAU for 2d (sort of works) and needing google to correct my spelling of the Spanish gentleman, this went fairly smoothly.

    Favourite was 15d. Took me surprisingly long to see 14d, even looking for a hidden

    Many thanks Kitty and thanks MynoT

  6. I found this enjoyable and it was not too tough for me. I didn’t count the anagrams but there seemed to be quite a lot which helped me a lot and I remembered coming across 22a in the dim and distant past.

    I can’t equate “put” (or “putt”) with “drive” in 8a but I concede it is in the BRB.

    Lots to like here and my joint favourites were 28a & 1d.

    Many thanks to MynoT and to Kitty.

  7. NEEPS was definitely fun! I felt initially (as it were) it was first letters of all the elements, but with north-eastern hyphenated I began to have doubts. My only problem with the TRUE parsing (two cryptic elements) is that the second of these is hardly well-known.

    I had no other qualms apart from SEPTEMVIR, which to me is an anagram of a recondite word.

    Thanks to Kitty (ha ha ‘this’) and MynoT for a nice puzzle.

  8. I was in Kitty’s camp where 12a was concerned – mainly because I’ve never heard of EPS! Other things I had to look up were the Spaniard, the vipers in 22a and that particular spelling of the small island. However, all of those were very fairly clued so it wasn’t difficult to work out the answers and then do a quick check.

    Top two for me were 11a & 9d.

    Thanks to MynoT and to our Girl Tuesday for another fine blog – loved the seal of approval!

  9. Gentle Tuesday fare. All dropped smoothly.
    Except did nt know 17+ 22a which the anagrams forced them to be what they were
    Thanks to M & K

  10. There were a couple of pieces of knowledge that we needed to check, the new word to us for 22a and the Spanish dictator but in each case we had correctly worked out what we were looking for. When we were solving we failed to notice the possibility of an initial letter option for the wordplay in 12a. Really rather clever now it is pointed out, wonder if the setter intended this.
    Pleasant solve that we enjoyed.
    Thanks MynoT and Kitty.

  11. I have the week off work today so as I am mainly taking it easy with minimal driving and only light DIY to fit in I have had greater access to the dead tree part of my subscription. Therefore a trip to toughie land ensued. I followed Miffypops maxim of any means is fair game and managed most of this with Mr googles help. I really wanted the dictator to have a B in there but I would never have learned about the Roman Politician.
    Unlike Kitty 1a didn’t reveal itself ’til the end mainly because like Dutch I had Tableau for awhile. I wondered what Nancy was doing there until I realised it was an indicator of how a resident of Nancy would say water.
    Loved 12a and prefer the two abbreviations to give a root veg rather than roots as an initial letter indicator. (wouldn’t roots be a last letter indicator?) I was so hoping that tatties or Haggis would make an appearance.
    Thanks MynoT and Kitty.

    1. Our BRB has one meaning of root as “the source, cause, basis, foundation or occasion of anything”. To us the inclusion of “source” indicates initial letters if the clue is, indeed, intended to be read that way. We’d give MynoT the benefit of the doubt and call it a clever initial letter clue cum &lit.

  12. I’m with Rick on 12a.

    I had to google the Spanish guy after playing with the letters for a while. For some reason, I had most difficulty with 1d…..!!

    Thanks to MynoT and Kitty.

  13. Quite ridiculous. I romped through this but have ground to a early halt with the back page. I’m going to have to give in and read the hints. Must be a wavelength thing.

  14. I too found it relatively easy and only had to look up 22a. I thought 12am’s was clever and it wasn’t until I read Kitty’s hints that I realised they were the first letters of the sentence so it was doubly clever. I absolutely agree that 5d is an ugly word which I have never heard used. Thanks to MynoT. and Kitty.

  15. We found this easier than many back pagers, which is a shame because Toughie should last longer. */** then.

    Our favourite was 25a and we agree that 5d is a truly ghastly word. It should be banned.

    Thanks to MynoT and Kitty.

  16. Thanks to MynoT and to Kitty for the review and hints. I managed to finish this, so it must be quite an easy Toughie. A new word in 22a. Needed all the checkers to eventually get 8d. Managed to get 3d after looking at 21d, but needed the hints to parse it. Last in was 1d. Favourite was 11a. The anagrams helped me to get a foothold. Was 2*/4* for me.

  17. Are we discussing the same puzzle here? Every answer contains the letter p except 26ac. A three- letter word that begins with an A ends with a T and would accommodate a P to make APT thus making every answer include the letter P. Very clever. Why is 26 ac beyond the remit?

  18. I made an initial comment on this yesterday – I shot my arrow into the air; it fell to earth I know not where!

    An unusually kind Toughie, helped by, perhaps, too many anagrams. I can swing either way on the 12a controversy. I, too, thought 5d was an ugly word and should be consigned to the dustbin. I didn’t spot the incidence of the p’s. I wonder why MynoT didn’t do the obvious with 26a unless he was trying to trap us into bunging in ‘apt’. Nice if he would enlighten us on that and 12a. But thanks for an enjoyable puzzle.

    1. 5d? I might have been another expresser of that opinion, except that I can’t say it really bothers me.

      Didn’t think there was any remaining controversy on 12a. For an all-in-one, or even a semi, the whole clue has to function as the definition. This one doesn’t, so the fact that the definition is also an initial letters indicator is either a coincidence or cunning misdirection. Well played, setter!

      As for 26a, my bet would be editorial intervention to replace the clue for some reason or another. At least we who didn’t notice the Ps can console ourselves that we are in esteemed company. :)

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