Toughie 2118 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2118

Toughie No 2118 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

There was nothing too arduous today and there were plenty of anagrams to aid progress.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Pad used by man or woman of the cloth to set down points for use later (10)
PINCUSHION: A cryptic definition for a pad in which somebody who sews (a man or woman of the cloth) sticks pointed objects

6a    Reflected pointlessly, emu versus duck egg? (4)
OVUM: A reversal of EMU minus the letter E (a point), V (versus) and O (duck),

10a    What’s said to lie beneath e.g. primrose path (5)
ROUTE: A homophone of that part of a plant that is beneath the surface of the ground

11a    Old flier rose up acrobatically, with art (9)
PTEROSAUR: An anagram acrobatically) of ROSE UP ART gives a prehistoric flying creature

12a    Dubious bacteria’s getting caught inside (7)
SCEPTIC: ‘Infected with bacteria’ round C (caught)

13a    Having a tot around end of meal and going off (7)
ADDLING: ‘Totalling (or having a tot)’ round the last letter of MEAL

14a    I must talk and sing, scratching head, dancing with several balls in the air? (12)
MULTITASKING: An anagram (dancing) of I MUST TALK ING (i.e. SING with the first letter removed)

18a    Preheat ham, processed, and put it in bowl (12)
AMPHITHEATRE: IT in an anagram (processed) of PREHEAT HAM

21a    Ad rejected by state corrupted file (4,3)
DATA SET: A reversal of AD + an anagram (corrupted) of STATE

23a    Papers following return of Middle East ruler (7)
EMPRESS: A reversal of ME (Middle East) + the newspaper industry

24a    Coat of metal obtained from excavation in meandering rivers (9)
VERDIGRIS: An encrustation formed on copper = an excavation in an anagram (meandering) of RIVERS

25a    After losing face, North Korean leader’s greeting is ‘Go away!’ (5)
IMSHI: The first part of the name of the North Korean leader with the first letter removed + the possessive ‘S + a greeting

26a    Lead among singers brought in controls backing band (4)
SASH: The first letter of SINGERS inside a reversal of ‘controls’

27a    Performing thus could be apt? (3-7)
TAP-DANCING: The first part is an anagram of APT and the second part is an anagram indicator


1d    Study nation’s energy (6)
PERUSE: A South American nation + the possessive ‘S + E (energy)

2d    Illness marijuana use alleviates to some extent? (6)
NAUSEA: Hidden in MARIJUANA USE ALLEVIATES. A topical clue. Is Micawber practising for his end-of-year puzzle

3d    Lukewarm sauce in tins getting drunk around day four or five (14)
UNENTHUSIASTIC: An anagram (getting drunk) of SAUCE IN TINS round the abbreviated form of a day of the week (the fourth day if you count from Monday or the fifth day if you count from Sunday)

4d    Ingredient of beer and whisky that’s child’s play (9)
HOPSCOTCH: An ingredient of beer + whisky from northern Britain

5d    Character at last turned a stone over (5)
OMEGA: The last letter of a particular alphabet is a reversal of A, a precious stone and O (over)

7d    Russian viral ad I’m sorry alienates America (8)
VLADIMIR: A Russian man’s name is an anagram (sorry) of VIRAL AD IM without a letter A (America)

8d    Tense silence during increased security (8)
MORTGAGE: T (tense) and ‘silence’ inside ‘increased’

9d    Patient perhaps getting list of tasks (3,11)
JOB DESCRIPTION: The first word is a biblical figure noted for his patience and so the whole answer could lead you to ‘patient’

15d    Got across point in lift, introducing poem (9)
TRAVERSED: A reversal (in lift) of a pointed object round a poem

16d    Clubs overcome by disorder in French archipelago (8)
MALDIVES: A French word for a disorder + disreputable clubs or bars = an archipelago in the Indian Ocean

17d    Newcomers having successes with pastries (8)
UPSTARTS: Successes + filled open pastry cases

19d    Sharks’ rivals halfway through kill — one moves rapidly on water (3,3)
JET-SKI: The rivals of the Sharks in West Side Story + the first half of KILL

20d    Moving back and forth, like flapper (6)
ASWING: ‘Like’ + something that flaps

22d    Land turtle missing leg (5)
TERRA: An 8-letter word for a turtle minus the last three letters (another word for a leg)

Enjoyable but not very taxing.


15 comments on “Toughie 2118

  1. Pleasant enough but very fluffy. I didn’t know the identity of the setter when solving and Micawber would certainly not have been my immediate choice. It seemed to lack his usual wit and sparkle for me.

  2. Like Chris, I absolutely loved this one. Proof, yet again, that a touch of humour triumphs every time.
    I did have a bit of a battle with the dinosaur along the way but the whole puzzle was a delight from start to finish.

    Fight for podium places involving 1,14,25&27a plus 4,9&19d.

    Thank you so much, Micawber, and thanks to Bufo for confirming my parsing.

  3. I agree – great fun. My mild battles were with metal coats and going away, but the checkers and word play came to the rescue. I think 9d was my favourite. Many thanks to Micawber and Bufo.

  4. Very enjoyable indeed. My printout is covered with a rash of ticks including 14a, 25a, 8d and 9d.
    Many thanks to Micawber and Bufo.

  5. Not taxing, but a fine example of a puzzle that is enjoyable nevertheless. Fine by me.

    Thanks Micawber and Bufo.

  6. Can I ask what an ‘anagram indicator’ is? 27a second word. New to the Toughie and finished it yesterday but hopeless today. Seems to be a different mindset to the main puzzle so struggling a bit!

    1. An anagram indicator is a word than indicates, cryptically, that certain other words ( usually called the fodder) are to be rearranged to get the answer. For example, in 18a the indicator is “processed” and the fodder is “preheat ham”. 27a is a variation of this, a sort of reverse anagram where the indicator is included in the answer

    2. If a clue has an anagram, then it needs another word to indicate that the letters are jumbled (e.g. MIXED notes for stone) – this is the anagram indicator. That is true in all cryptics. In 27a, this is a special case where the ANSWER consists of a word plus an anagram indicator. Hence in the answer, TAP + the anagram indicator DANCING “could be APT” as described in the clue. Does that help?

  7. It is very unusual for us to have an anagram as one of the last clues to get sorted but that was the case here. It was 3d and we needed all the checkers except the first letter before we saw it. Think it might have been because we were not sure what letters ‘day four or five’ was giving us or maybe just us being out of practice.The answer to 25a was new to us but we got it from the wordplay.
    Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.
    Thanks Micawber and Bufo.

  8. Agree this was not too taxing – we’ll save ourselves until tomorrow and see what Friday’s offering brings.
    Like the rest I enjoyed this especially, as a sewer myself, 1a

  9. A very pleasant solve indeed, taking appreciably less time than did the others this week. 25a was new to me but not hard to deduce.

    My favourites include 14a and 8d.

    Thanks to Micawber and Bufo.

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