Toughie 2124 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2124

Toughie No 2124 by Warbler

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***


Hello!  We haven’t seen Warbler since the beginning of September, and it’s very nice to see her back.  I found this mostly of back page difficulty, but was held up at the end by a couple.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the THE ANSWERS 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    Ancient hero or bully? (6)
HECTOR:  Two definitions.  The first is a Trojan warrior of ancient Greek and Roman mythology, while the second is a verb (usually, although I just checked in Chambers and the answer is there as a noun too)

5a    Breeze-block providing ventilation (3-5)
AIR-BRICK:  The first part of the answer can mean a light breeze, while the second is a building block

9a    Dwelling is rented out (8)
RESIDENT:  An anagram (… out) of IS RENTED

10a   Gluttony may be so fatal (6)
DEADLY:  Gluttony is a sin of this type

11a   Dirk's heel (8)
STILETTO:  This narrow-bladed dagger gives its name to a type of heel

12a   Shuffle folio papers and secure (6)
FIDGET:  Put together abbreviations for folio and for identification papers and a verb meaning secure or obtain

13a   Sailor shows disapproval with hard hat (8)
TARBOOSH:  A charade of one of our usual words for a sailor, shows disapproval in a vocal manner (4), and the pencil abbreviation for hard

15a   Writing materials in Kansas (4)
INKS:  Take the third word from the clue and add an abbreviation for Kansas

17a   Swelling found in misty eye (4)
STYE:  The answer is hidden in (found in) the clue

19a   Heads of Durham University in new demand for material to go in book (8)
ADDENDUM:  The initial letters of (heads of) Durham and University go in an anagram of (new) DEMAND

20a   Stress at home with sibling getting tense (6)
INSIST:  At home (2), a short form of a sibling, and the abbreviation for tense

21a   Run a blog badly, or manage somehow? (3,5)
RUB ALONG:  An anagram (… badly) of RUN A BLOG

22a   In France we almost slip over something sticky (6)
NOUGAT:  Most of (… almost) a French word for we followed by a slip or label reversed (over).  The something sticky is a chewy confection made with nuts

23a   Boat parts Royal Mail put in when following cart heading west (8)
YARDARMS:  The initials of Royal Mail are put in a preposition which can mean when.  This all follows the reversal (… heading west) of a strong cart.  Boat parts I like the sun to be over

24a   Taking everything into consideration, answer requires Niall to change lines (3,2,3)
ALL IN ALL:  Concatenate an abbreviation for answer, an anagram of (… to change) NIALL, and two instances of the abbreviation for line

25a   More than one flock of geese hides around middle of Med (6)
SKEINS:  Animal hides wrapped around the middle letter of Med



2d    Choice when seconds removed is still a choice (8)
ELECTION:  Start with a choice beginning with S (seconds); when that S is removed we are left with another choice, perhaps of a person for public office

3d    Unusually T S Eliot embraced rule for eight-line poems (8)
TRIOLETS:  An anagram of (unusually) T S ELIOT around (embraced) the legal abbreviation for rule.  This was a new word for me

4d    Ten deer having scampered around edges of Exmoor went in again (9)
REENTERED:  An anagram of (… having scampered) TEN DEER around the outer letters of (edges of) Exmoor.  The answer is hyphenated in Chambers

5d    Starry LA mooner confused about Oscar for high-level observer (10,5)
ASTRONOMER ROYAL:  An anagram of (… confused) STARRY LA MOONER around (about) the letter denoted by Oscar in international radio communications

6d    Terrible mishap covers flaw (7)
BLEMISH:  The first part of the clue contains (covers) the answer

7d    Needy US soldier turned up, splitting in depression (8)
INDIGENT:  A US soldier reversed (turned up) inside (splitting) the combination of IN from the clue and a depression or hollow

8d    Chief element provided by openers to nuclear energy (8)
KEYSTONE:  A charade of openers (of locks), the TO from the clue, and abbreviations for nuclear and for energy

14d   Dishevelled bed ruins son's facial hair (9)
SIDEBURNS:  An anagram (dishevelled) of BED RUINS and then the genealogical abbreviation for son

15d   India replacing diamonds with symbol in badges of honour (8)
INSIGNIA:  The first word of the clue, replacing the cards abbreviation for diamonds with a four-letter word for a symbol

16d   Cross with dog pound's lock at the front (4,4)
KISS CURL:  A charade of something indicated in written communications by a cross or x, a low-valued dog, and the abbreviation from the Latin for pound

17d   Wild celery is produced in little time (8)
SMALLAGE:  Little (5) plus a time or era.  Another new word for me, not difficult to guess, but a bit surprising

18d   Old codger? Quite the opposite. He's a sweetheart (5,3)
YOUNG MAN:  Two definitions, the second a rather old-fashioned term for a boyfriend

19d   See sailor with 6 give up booze (7)
ABSTAIN:  Join together an abbreviation for a type of sailor and a 6d


Thanks to Warbler for easing us nicely into the Toughie week.  My favourite clue is 21a because it made me laugh, though BD might -- quite rightly -- have something to say about it!  Do you have anything to say about the puzzle or any of the clues?


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 forum is for everyone.  Please do leave a comment if you need anything clarified, have any corrections or suggestions, or if there’s anything else you’d like to say.


21 comments on “Toughie 2124

  1. I found this to be a fluffy Toughie but very enjoyable. My experience mirrors Kitty’s in that I only got held up by a couple of clues with 10a my last one in.

    I learnt a couple of new words along the way plus the bizarre fact that there are different collective nouns for geese depending on whether they are on the ground (gaggle) or in flight (25a). :wacko:

    Many thanks to Warbler and to Kitty.

  2. Nothing to frighten the geese today. I didn’t know the wild celery but with 5 out of 8 checkers it was easy to get. I was distracted at 3d by remembering the more usual anagram of T S Eliot.
    My favourite clue was 16d.
    Many thanks to Warbler and Kitty.

  3. Too busy laughing over the 7 ****** terms of a woman to concentrate on the puzzle!

    Sorry, normal service now resumed. Quite a gentle puzzle although still three new things learned – the hat (which I suspect may have tripped me up before), the 8-line poem and the name for wild celery.

    Think my favourite was the 12a shuffle – I’m trying to steer clear of 21a……….

    Thanks to Warbler and to our lovely Girl Tuesday. By the way, apart from the above-mentioned 7 terms, all the other bonus pics are just appearing as an X in a box.

    Edit – they’ve just appeared!

  4. 17a gave a moment of deja vu . I had written it in the back page puzzle just a short time ago! Enjoyable puzzle with new words and lots of misleading.

  5. Quite straightforward with plenty of anagrams. Most thought given to 12a which I just didn’t see for a while. The answer to 3D was a new word for me. Favourite was 5d.
    Thanks to Warbler and Kitty.

  6. A nice and gentle start to the week. I think I liked the lock on the dog pound the most. Many thanks Warbler and Kitty

  7. 17d was one of those words that, once we had worked out from the wordplay and checkers and said “surely that is not a real word”, looked it up in the BRB and there it was. All good fun.
    Thanks Warbler and Kitty.

  8. Not too much of a challenge, even the new words, but enjoyable. 16D gets my vote. I’m 3 for 3 today, so I’m a happy camper. Thanks Warbler and Kitty.

  9. Enjoyable puzzle not too hard for a toughie or me. I learned the same new words as Kitty. Thanks for the hints to help me with the parsing and the last stubborn few. Thanks to Warbler too for stimulating the grey matter.

    Mr K may be interested to know that although the spoilers are working here a double click turns them inside out ie click here on yellow background and the answer showing on the grey box. And it takes some rapid clicking to make them go back to the correct way.

    1. Thanks, John. I believe that inside-out behavior of the spoilers has always been there. I think it occurs if one clicks while the spoiler is fading in or out. The fix would probably be to disable the fade effect and make the transition a rapid switch. But I quite like the fade (although I made the fade on my blogs faster than standard because I’m impatient).

      1. Must be my impatient clicking sorry. Still some weird stuff going on tho. On firefox for android the blue line rarely makes it all the way across so some parts seem to be failing to load. And I am still refreshing like mad to get the latest posts.

  10. Not many comments today? I don’t often attempt the Toughies, I do know my limitations. But as the cryptic was nice and gentle today, thought I would give this one a stab. Glad I did, great fun, but I’m sure too easy for the brighter folks. Learnt three new words, 13a, 3d and 17d. Not a bad day’s work. Thanks to Warbler and Kitty, especially for the cats at 21a.

  11. More like a gentle back pager, I thought. Although there were a couple of words I had not seen before they were easy to work out with the checkers. A relaxing Toughie.

  12. I was stuck on 3D which I did not know, surely it should be Octi something? Well we live and learn. Thanks to Kitty and warbler – my favourites were 1a and 11a.

  13. This was so relaxing that I fell asleep after solving it and have just woken up. I learnt some new words, which I shall soon forget. There’s plenty of wild garlic round here but I’ve never come across wild celery. Thank you K and W.

  14. Thanks to Warbler and to Kitty for the review and hints. I’m glad I had a bash at this one. Still didn’t quite manage to finish it. Was beaten by 1a, I just cannot do double definitions, and 16d, had no idea what it was about. I was looking for a cross. Didn’t notice the lurker in 6d, but got it from the checkers. Had never heard of 13&21a and 3&17d. Favourite was 8d. Was 2*/3* for me.

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