Toughie 2108 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2108

Toughie No 2108 by Dada

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hi all.  We have today a frisky puzzle by a setter who is always entertaining and who manages to maintain an impressive output.  Everything slid in smoothly in the bottom, but I had trouble finishing off a stiff handful further up.  Once over, I couldn’t really see why the end part had occupied me for so long.

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.

As usual you may click on pictures to enlarge them.



1a    Creature with a tiny brain being brainwashed? (6)
INSECT:  A tiny creature (so with no “headroom” for a bigger-than-tiny brain) would, when split (2,4), be a member of a religious division

4a    Horror story by South German playwright (8)
SCHILLER:  A work of the horror genre goes next to (by) an abbreviation for South

9a    Heading for Chinese capital city, cross peak (6)
CLIMAX:  Concatenate the first letter of (heading for) Chinese, a South American capital city and a cross-shaped letter

10a   Isn’t area unrecognisable as well? (8)
ARTESIAN:  An anagram (… unrecognisable) of ISN’T AREA gives a type of well where water is conveyed to the surface by the natural pressure of the aquifer

11a   Match clothing philosopher’s put on back of cabinet (9)
TROUSSEAU:  An 18th-century Swiss philosopher appended to (put on) the last letter (back) of cabinet

13a   Approach  fish (5)
ANGLE:  Two definitions, the second being a verb to fish, not a type of fish

14a   Trivial change in America? (6-3-4)
NICKEL-AND-DIME:  Small change in the States

17a   Tree trunk blocking the sun, or otherwise (5,8)
HORSE CHESTNUT:  Trunk or torso inside (blocking) an anagram (… otherwise) of THE SUN OR

21a   I must interrupt holiday for further exam (5)
RESIT:  I goes into (must interrupt) a break

23a   Latest run in paper (9)
NEWSPRINT:  Very recent (3) plus run or race

24a   Pond primarily put in ground for freshwater animal (8)
TERRAPIN:  The first letter of pond (pond primarily) inserted into (put in) ground or landscape

25a   Urge two parties to crush one (6)
LIBIDO:  A political party and a party of the more fun kind are to wrap around (to crush) the Roman numeral one

26a   A number of marriages in later years (8)
NINETIES:  A charade of a cardinal number and some unions

27a   American corporation finally invested in wonderful time for payment (6)
USANCE:  American (2) followed by the insertion of the last letter (… finally) of corporation into (invested in) wonderful or super



1d    Trigger visible, we hear? (6)
INCITE:  Sounds like (we hear) in eyeshot (2,5)

2d    At sea, person with less time to find big fish in the main? (9)
SHIPOWNER:  An anagram (at sea) of PERSON WItH, the symbol for time having been removed (less time)

3d    Great book, volume featuring Indian drink (7)
CLASSIC:  A measure of volume containing (featuring) an Indian yoghurt drink

5d    Blade used to be lifted with letter to open? (8,3)
CIRCULAR SAW:  We start with (… to open) a letter sent to multiple recipients; the second word is a reversal of (… lifted) a word meaning used to be

6d    Mix in red with 2/3 of all the fifteen in green? (7)
IRELAND:  Make an anagram of (mix) IN RED with AL (2/3 of all)

7d    Tricky working without leader (5)
LYING:  Working steadily (PLYING) without the first letter (without leader)

8d    About to admit lapse with wine, plastered (8)
RENDERED:  About or concerning containing (to admit) lapse in the sense of expire.  Finish with some wine (Merlot or Malbec for example)

12d   Tremendous as a trumpeter? (11)
ELEPHANTINE:  The trumpeter is a pachyderm

15d   Feeling trendy, with it, during endless outing to dance (9)
INTUITION:  Trendy or fashionable, followed by IT from the clue inside (during) an anagram (… to dance) of OUTINg (endless outing)

16d   Female informer working for furniture maker (8)
SHERATON:  A charade of female (3), informer (3), and working (2)

18d   Remove spot on outside of twitcher’s hide (7)
EXTRACT:  “Spot on” goes outside the outer covering of twitcher (twitcher‘s hide)

19d   Linen family put in piles (7)
NAPKINS:  family inside (put in) piles, piles here being those raised surfaces on cloths

20d   Foil lining pans too generously (6)
STOOGE:  The end of the clue is surrounding (lining) the answer, which is a person

22d   Father and son’s last vamp (5)
SIREN:  Father plus the last letter of son (son’s last)


Thanks to Dada for the pleasing mental stimulation.  1a was an early candidate for favourite, but on solving I experienced a mild anti-9a.  9a, together with 25a came first for me, due to good wordplay and smooth surfaces.  I also enjoyed 8d.  What did it for you?


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.


10 comments on “Toughie 2108

  1. Dada is as entertaining as always. I didn’t know the ‘time for payment’ so had to check that what I’d come up was an actual word. I’ll donate my ticks to 2d, 6d and 18d.
    Thanks to the prolific Dada and to Kitty for the blog (and the amusing innuendo).

  2. Reasonably straightforward for a Toughie, and very enjoyable. 27a defeated me–a new word. 1a was my favourite with hon mentions to 1d, 9a, 25a and 15d

  3. I enjoyed this puzzle and must agree that the bottom half was easier than the top half. I, rather lazily, put in the visible fish in 13a which caused problems but then it was rather lazy for me to be sat down doing the crossword in the first place!

  4. Entertaining crossword, a bit difficult to get started, although I got 14 early on, which helped.

    Thanks Kitty for a good blog; ‘spot on’ grrr, I wondered how spot was the synonym. I also didn’t know the yoghurt drink and after a single Indian went in, I wondered what the young woman was doing there, doh!

    I found 27 was a bit of a nuisance… and didn’t know it. I liked the match clothing and the urge from two parties.

  5. Took a while to get a foothold and spent far too long over the parsing of 1a – stupid girl!
    Have to confess to needing the checkers in place to get the German playwright and I’m another who was unfamiliar with the time for payment.

    I enjoyed the solve and have a fair sprinkling of ticks on my page – 23&26a plus 1&8d all in contention for favourite.

    Thanks to Dada and to our Girl Tuesday for the remarkable restraint shown when it came to illustrations. I thought your preamble, in particular, was extremely well handled :wink:

  6. I found this a very enjoyable puzzle. Like some others, I found the bottom half more accessible that the top half. On the first read through I thought I may have to consign the puzzle to the recycling bin, but a friendly clue or two in the SW was all it took to get started, and once underway, the rest flowed – not exactly smoothly, but steadily – and more so once I had the four longer clues in the central part. For a while I tried very hard to make ‘Screamer’ work for 4a, and I spent a long time in the wrong part of the world looking for the capital city in 9a. Many thanks to Dada and Kitty.

  7. Tricky in places (e.g 6d, should there not be some allusion to a sport? …and isn’t 7d a bit of a stretched synonym, well it wasn’t obvious to me!) yet enough “easy ones” to help, so overall quite mild for a toughie. Sadly, perhaps, I even knew 27a from previous days in finance, but even then I think “deferred” is more generally used.

    As always, very satisfying when all came together in the end. Thanks to Dada. I agree with Kitty’s ratings and thank her for a stimulating blog.

  8. Like others I found the bottom section completed first although I had not come across 27a, so thanks Kitty for that. 11a made me smile. I put 17a in quite early on but still don’t really see how it works. Thank you Kitty and Dada I can now go to sleep!

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