Toughie 2120 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2120

Toughie No 2120 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***


Welcome.  It’s been a while since we’ve had a Toughie from our editor, and this is a most welcome return indeed.  I found it rather Toughier than I was expecting, and will be interested to see how you found it.

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 or uncover hidden extras.



1a    Indication of vaping in part of garden? (5,6)
CRAZY PAVING:  Ooh, an inverted clue to start us off.  The answer, a possible garden feature, is a cryptic clue for (indication of) “vaping”: an anagram indicator followed by an anagram of VAPING

9a    Swimmer in port alone (5,4)
DOVER SOLE:  A charade of an English port and another word for alone

10a   Advertise footwear with small promotion (5)
BOOST:  Some high footwear with the S moved further to the front of the word (with small promotion)

11a   Shout that hurts juvenile (6)
CALLOW:  Put together a yell and an expression of pain

12a   Record heartless material for one of Paul's pen pals (8)
EPHESIAN:  Two letters which stand for a type of record, then a coarse fabric without its middle letter (heartless)

13a   Note something sticky in blockage (3,3)
LOG JAM:  A note or record of events and a sticky conserve

15a   Mike with bogey at first in golf course facing east? Blow it! (8)
TROMBONE:  The thing we’re instructed to blow is a brass instrument.  We need to insert the letter denoted by Mike in the NATO alphabet and the first letter of bogey (bogey at first) in a Scottish golf course.  This is all followed by (facing) E(ast)

18a   Freeloader about to fall under executioner maybe (6-2)
HANGER-ON:  One who may be inflicting death by the noose, and then a two-letter preposition meaning about or concerning.  The about would be under the executioner in a down answer, but this an across clue so I’m not convinced I have this right

19a   Nick eco-friendly car, not posh, working (6)
PRISON:  A make of hybrid car without the letter that can denote posh, then working (2)

21a   Large  sweet (4-4)
ROLY-POLY:  Two definitions: podgy, or a pudding

23a   Sunbeam possibly beginning to trouble student in flying boat (6)
TALBOT:  The first letter of (beginning to) trouble followed by the abbreviation for learner inside an anagram (flying) of BOAT.  I had to look up the only plausible possibility to understand what it had to do with sunbeams

26a   Nice at first to wear ancient clothing somewhere friendly (5)
TONGA:  The initial letter (… at first) of Nice goes inside (to wear) the outer garment of an ancient Roman citizen.  The Friendly Islands

27a   Safe blown in explosion? That's dangerous (9)
WOLFSBANE:  An anagram (… in explosion) of SAFE BLOWN

28a   More men wept about being given responsibility (11)
EMPOWERMENT:  An anagram (… about) of MORE MEN WEPT



1d    Something fishy and not quite legal about supplement (7)
CODICIL:  A fish (which would certainly be fishy!) and most of (not quite) a word meaning legal, reversed (about).  A supplement to a will

2d    Ombudsman vilifies housing block (5)
ANVIL:  The first words of the clue are containing (housing) this iron block

3d    Long drink in bloke's garden, perhaps miles away (4,2,3)
YARD OF ALE:  The bloke’s garden perhaps could be: garden (4) belonging to (2) bloke (4).  Without the M (miles away), we have our “long” drink

4d    Soon  unknown (4)
ANON:  Two definitions; in the second case the answer is an abbreviation for a word meaning without a name

5d    Windows once seen in entire building? That's amateur (8)
INEXPERT:  An old Windows operating system is seen in an anagram (… building) of ENTIRE

6d    Cast seen with this actor could be Bengalese (5)
GABLE:  An anagram (cast) of SEEN with the answer could be BENGALESE.  Which means that the actor we are looking for is an anagram of BEnGALese

7d    Passionate and twisted, loves net night clothes (7)
INTENSE:  The clue contains (clothes) the answer in reverse (twisted)

8d    Mask Home Counties uprising -- spotted, they might fall (8)
DOMINOES:  A mask covering the upper half of the face, then the home counties area of the country written upwards (uprising, in a down clue)

14d   Drink gallons where smashed member might be (3,5)
GIN SLING:  An abbreviation for gallons, plus where a broken limb might be (2,5)

16d   Germans cooked the Queen's goose (9)
MERGANSER:  GERMANS anagrammed (cooked) followed by two letters which stand for our queen.  Is it a duck?  Is it a goose?  I don’t know, but it looks cute

17d   Almost achieve backing to pen old Western sequel (6-2)
FOLLOW-UP:  Most of a (4,3) phrase meaning to carry through successfully, reversed (backing), and containing (to pen) abbreviations for old and for Western

18d   Naval man in house share that's curtailed (7)
HORATIO:  An abbreviation for house plus a share or allowance without its last letter (that’s curtailed)

20d   Want to move? Set out to find lender (7)
NATWEST:  Successive anagrams of WANT (to move) and SET (out) give us a high street bank

22d   Quiet having lost at venue (5)
PLACE:  A verb to quiet or appease loses “at”

24d   What might cut  a dashing figure? (5)
BLADE:  Two definitions, the second archaic

25d   Spot fine -- something legal? (4)
FLAW:  The abbreviation for fine followed by what legal stuff is concerned with


Thanks to Samuel.  My favourites today were 1a, 3d, 7d and 14d.  Which did you enjoy?


These hints and tips are for anyone who might find them of use.  The asides and illustrations are to add a personal perspective and some colour.  The comments section is 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.


24 comments on “Toughie 2120

  1. All pretty straightforward in retrospect, but some of these took a while to tease out, and others needed a bit of GK. No excuses for 7d being last in though. 1a was probably my favourite…

    Thanks to Kitty and Samuel

  2. As Kitty says, it’s been a long time since we had a Samuel Toughie. Presumably Mr Lancaster has been busy with other matters, but I can’t think what …

    I found this genuinely tough but very enjoyable as everything came slowly together.

    I was hoping for enlightenment about 18a from the review and the use of “under” in an across clue, but it seems that Kitty is in the same boat as me.

    The word for mask in 8d was a new meaning for me.

    3d was my favourite with 1a in second place

    Many thanks to Samuel and to Kitty.

  3. Rap on the knuckles for Mr Ed – 16d is definitely a duck. It does bear a striking resemblance to another bird that almost has ‘goose’ in its name but that one’s also a duck!

    Nevertheless, a most enjoyable puzzle and a welcome return of Samuel.

    1a took the favourite spot here.

    Thanks to Samuel and to our Girl Tuesday – loved the extra pic for 21a! Rather thought you might have to do a bit of digging for 23a – some of us remember it well………

  4. I found this typically Tuesdayish but I came to it well warmed up after a stiffish test in the Times and breezed through.
    I’m glad our resident ornithologist agrees with me about the duck. You know what they say – if it quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck…

  5. A fun puzzle – thanks to Samuel and Kitty.
    Like Kitty I had significant doubts about 18a.
    It’s easy to get one’s birds mixed up in 16d since ‘anser’ is the Latin for goose and ‘Gans’ is the German for goose.
    I am old enough to remember the rather poor 23a car model so had no trouble with that one.
    I liked 1a, 3d and 17d.

  6. Thank you so much for this delightful, civilized, and stimulating corner. I discovered Big Dave by chance and am so pleased to find like-minded people . The joy of finding the clue I left till last was the same for someone else. is great, Valeriana

  7. Thanks as always Kitty.

    I just wonder whether the Sunbeam Talbot at 23 across wasn’t intended by Samuel to be the (to me) rather beautiful 1948 Sunbeam Talbot Ten Sports Tourer, rather than any latter day apology for a car.

    Google for it if you are interested.

    1. Proper vintage Sunbeams were magnificent cars. Sunbeam Talbots, created after Rootes took over Sunbeam in 1935, were sadly just tarted-up Hillmans.

      1. Rick, we must have crossed as my answer to Conrad Cork was written before seeing your comment. I hear what you say up to a point with regard to the Rapier but you can’t really call the Alpine and Tiger a tarted up Hillman. But also, I loved the shape of the Rapier much more than any Hillman.

        1. I was referring to the Sunbeam Talbots of the immediate pre and post-war period. Rootes did not use the name after 1954. After that date it was just Sunbeam and used to denote sportier models much as BMC did with MG.
          The original (and separate) Sunbeam and Talbot companies made some of the finest cars of the 1920s, the equal of Rolls Royce, Lagonda and Bentley. Neither alas survived the depression years and both were snapped up by Billy Rootes for his burgeoning empire.

          PS the Sunbeam Tiger was indeed a great car but only because Carroll Shelby put a massive Ford V8 into the hopelessly weedy Alpine!

    2. I sicerely hope so. From the sublime days of the Talbot, Rapier, Alpine and Tiger to the ridiculous passing from pillar to post of an illustrious marque between Chrysler and Peugeot, it would indeed be a great shame if the model illustrated by the above link is what we remember the name Sunbeam by. Although there was quite a nice Sunbeam Lotus version of it in Two tone black and silver. I only had the dubious pleasure of owning a 1300cc version in bright orange.

  8. I enjoyed this very much. The word play, while not always easy, had a feeling of accessibility about it that, for me, added to the enjoyment. However, there was a fair bit of local knowledge required for this. Fortunately I knew of the port in 9a and even the golf course in 15a, but not the Sunbeam in 23a, nor the lender in 20d. Fortunately, the word play in that latter two cases was very kind and I was able to get them without too much trouble. Many thanks to Samuel and Kitty.

  9. I do like a Samuel treat and this was no exception. I think my favourite is 1a, but there’s plenty to choose from.

    Many thanks to CL and to Kitty.

  10. Would like to change 5d from Windows once to Windows still as XP is still my operating system on my mainframe. Even if the pop up message keeps telling me that there is no update available since mid 2014.
    Firefox is another one warning me that they are the last to take XP in charge but not for very long.
    Might wake up one morning with no connection to the outside world but in the meantime it did help me checking some of my answers.
    The goose in 16d, the plant in 27a, the mask in 8d and the answer to 12a, which I thought could be Eptexile at one point, needed internet.
    In 11a that’s exactly what I did. Yell went straight in thinking that yellow could be juvenile.
    After corrections, everything went smoothly.
    Thanks to Samuel and to Kitty.

  11. The first Toughie I’ve had a chance to solve in a few weeks, and a fairly gentle, enjoyable welcome back it was too. An obviously incorrect YELLOW in the NW corner (who needs to bother with the definition?) caused some issues which were thankfully resolved pretty sharpish. Elsewhere progress was steady if not particularly quick. Last in 19ac, last to be understood 1ac.

  12. I left 8d and 20d until this afternoon, but still couldn’t get them.

    Also had “Yellow” briefly.

    Favourites were 1a, 3d,12a, 21a.

    Thanks to Kitty and Samuel.

  13. Got to this eventually, ending up struggling a bit in ne.
    1a put me on pangram alert, which I was beginning to think justifiable with the x,v, w and j appearing soon after, but I seem to have misplaced a K!

    16d made me laugh,mans I kicked myself for taking long over 20d.

    Many thanks Samuel and Kitty for the Scottish golf course which I didnt look up.

  14. It’s Friday – and I have just finished it unaided. It was a bit of a struggle but extremely satisfying. Epistlers in 13a did not help of course.

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