Toughie 2126 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2126

Toughie No 2126 by Hudson

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I filled the grid very quickly but then I had to do the research into Mr Trump’s bone spur and also think about how a couple of other clues worked. I decided early on that it was going to be a pangram but I didn’t need to make use of that observation

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Breaking: Cuba’s made surprise attack (9)
AMBUSCADE: An anagram (breaking) of CUBA’S MADE

9a One’s wearing expression brought on by cheese (that’s as opposed to chalk and cheese) (6)
SIMILE: I (one) inside what’s produced when a photographer says “Say cheese” = a figure of speech in which something is likened to something else

10a Female lap dancing in Halifax, it often requires a pole (5,4)
MAPLE LEAF: An anagram (dancing) of FEMALE LAP. Halifax is in Nova Scotia and the pole is a flagpole

11a Knocked back some cucumber gazpacho – capital! (6)
ZAGREB: Hidden in reverse in CUCUMBER GAZPACHO

12a Tory council’s leader that’s sacked Reg as caretaker (9)
CONCIERGE: ‘Tory’ + the first letter of COUNCIL + ‘that is’ + an anagram (sacked) of REG

13a Socialist discarded vacuous image (6)
LEFTIE: ‘Discarded’ + the first and last letters of IMAGE

17a Evens out extra time, as expected (1,1,1)
E T A: EXTRA with the even-positioned letters removed

19a Getting the message out to everyone bar Sir Lancelot, travelling round Italy (6,9)
PUBLIC RELATIONS: A bar (hostelry) + an anagram (travelling) of SIR LANCELOT round I (Italy)

20a Regularly avoided Manx Sea; it can be quite choppy! (3)
AXE: Alternate letters of MANX SEA

21a Omit passage trashing Republican (6)
EXCEPT: ‘To omit’ = a passage selected from a book, etc. With the letter R (Republican) removed

25a Clubs in Paris love English duke that’s created uproar (9)
CLAMOURED: C (clubs) + the French for ‘love’ (1’5) + E (English) + D (duke)

26a Currency racket leads to arrests, recriminations and sackings (6)
DINARS: A racket (noise) + the first letters of ARRESTS, RECRIMINATIONS and SACKINGS

27a Dad’s upset over trip being curtailed, postponed for another day (9)
ADJOURNED: An anagram (upset) of DAD round a trip with the last letter removed

28a Slatternly aunty going topless (identity protected) (6)
UNTIDY: AUNTY with the first letter removed round ‘identity’

29a Thin-sounding Greek character tucking into good gallon – quite the gourmand! (6,3)
GREEDY PIG: ‘Thin-sounding (like a musical instrument) and a Greek letter inside G (good) G (gallon)


2d Middle East/Africa’s premier stock specialist in the field (6)
MEADOW: the abbreviation for ‘Middle East’ + the first letter of AFRICA + the surname of one of the men who devised an American stock market index

3d Runs places without restrictions; loosen your shoes! (6)
UNLACE: Remove the first and last letters from RUNS and PLACES

4d Rang about large sort of lamp (6)
CALLED: A 2-letter abbreviation denoting ‘about’ + L (large) + a form of electric light

5d It helps to insulate Mr Trump’s bone spur (allegedly) (7,8)
DRAUGHT EXCLUDER: Something used to insulate doors and windows could also be a homophone of something that could describe Donald Trump’s bone spur (allegedly). In 1968 bone spurs in his heels caused his exemption from military service and hence he avoided a trip to Vietnam

6d Missing the end of Get Carter, I will go out for a smoke (9)
CIGARETTE: An anagram (will go out) of GET CARTE I

7d Trembling, very irritated at first, unruly child upset naval lieutenant? (9)
VIBRATION: V (very) + the first letter of IRRITATED + an unruly child + a reversal of something that can represent a slang term for a naval lieutenant

8d Bird‘s left wing a source of nutrition (9)
REDBREAST: ‘Left wing’ + a source of nutrition for mammalian babies

14d Picnic in lounge? (6,3)
SPREAD OUT: This term meaning ‘to lounge’ could also describe a picnic as an array of food in the open air

15d Starts off job as ace in city (it’s crude traded in open outcry) (9)
OBSCENITY: Remove the first letters from JOB, AS, ACE, IN and CITY. I haven’t worked out the significance of the last four words. Are they just part of the definition?

16d Top of the Pops screen frames breaking apart (3,6)
HIT PARADE: ‘To screen’ round an anagram (breaking) of APART

17d About right each time (3)
ERA: R (right) in ‘each’

18d Beer belly of the Doctor’s nemesis? (3)
ALE: The middle letters of a 5-letter enemy of Doctor Who

22d Set task one thousand sit (6)
IMPOSE: I (one) + M (thousand) + ‘to sit’

23d Eccentric question to irritate May finally (6)
QUIRKY: An abbreviation for ‘question’ + ‘to irritate’ + the last letter of MAY

24d In bygone days, the soldiers suppressing island Arab (6)
YEMENI: The old form of the definite article + soldiers + I (island)

This is the first Hudson puzzle that I’ve solved and I can’t make up my mind about this puzzle.


22 comments on “Toughie 2126

  1. A couple of clues took me into middling Toughie time – and I too had to check about the bone spur afterwards

    I enjoyed the solve so thank you to Hudson and Bufo

  2. I greatly enjoyed this pangram. Favourites were 5d (Mr Trump’s ailment, well at least his one of 1968) which made me laugh aloud, and 15d (never seen such a clue before). Thanks to all

  3. Middling sounds about right.
    I found it rather wordy. Eight clues with a double figure word count and as a rule the longer they got, the worse they read.

  4. Thanks to Hudson and Bufo (on whom I was relying for an explanation of the last few words of 15d – alas he’s let me down!).
    I knew about Trump’s alleged physical deformity which allowed him to dodge the draft – which makes even more despicable his mocking of John McCain for being a POW – so that’s my favourite clue. I also liked 10a and 28a.

  5. Amusing clues which I much enjoyed solving. The grid looked less amusing, but there were entry points in each corner so won’t grumble. I was as confused as Bufo and Gazza about 15d.

    Thanks Hudson and Bufo.

  6. We needed to visit Google on completion to sort out the wordplay for 5d. A bit of new GK for us. It was useful for us that we had one pangram letter to go when we came to 2d. It took us longer to get this one than it should have but the ‘stock specialist’ took a while to come to mind.
    Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Hudson and Bufo.

  7. I very much enjoyed this – particularly so after my complete and utter train wreck yesterday. This was a slow and steady solve for me with the SE corner offering the greatest resistance. It yielded itself after 23d came to me, which should have been a lot sooner had I recognized, and used to my advantage, the pangram (one day it’ll happen). I had no knowledge of the bone spur and so the word play meant nothing to me in 5d, but 29a, one of my last in, and favourite, more than made up for it! Many thanks to Hudson and Bufo.

  8. Like Bufo, I haven’t quite made my mind up about this new Toughie setter – he certainly has quite an individual style.

    As usual, I failed to notice the pangram whilst solving, but fortunately didn’t need it to fill the grid.
    I particularly liked the simple 14d, the 26a currency racket and the image conjured up by the clue for 28a.

    Thanks to Hudson and to Bufo for the blog.

  9. I enjoyed this pangram. I thought there was a big spread of difficulty, ranging from very easy in the middle 3×3 square to very challenging in parts elsewhere, and everything in between. Parsing 5d was beyond me (thanks for the explanation, Bufo) and, like others, I was confused by the seemingly unnecessary last four words in 15d.

    I particularly liked 28a & 14d but my favourite was 10a.

    Many thanks to Hudson and to Bufo.

  10. A bit wordy but enjoyable.
    Quickly dismissed Double Glazing in 5d but bunged in the right answer without checking it’s meaning.
    Suspected a pangram quite early, which made the solve easier.
    Liked the construction in 15d and wondered about the rest of the fodder.
    Favourite is 23d.
    Thanks to Hudson and to Bufo for the review.

  11. Thanks Hudson, enjoyed. We were getting on well and steadily and hoping for a Google-free day today. However, ended up touting the answer to 5d round the pub for an explanation. Thanks Bufo.

  12. Still shell-shocked from yesterday’s Toughie, I found this a much more straightforward solve.

    Favourites were 8d and the construction of 15d even though the definition part was a bit 23d.

    Thanks to Hudson and Bufo.

  13. I thought Hudson did a good job of putting a reasonable puzzle into one of my least favourite grids – the 4 mini puzzles weren’t much of an issue, no doubt the pangram might help some.

    My only quibbles were “that’s” in the surface of 12a, when describing a person, and the choice of “suppressing” in 24d. The rest was quite tidy I thought, though ok, clues are on the long side – but there are no rules regarding clue length.

    Many thanks Hudson and bufo

  14. We enjoyed this and found most of the surfaces deceptive and/or subtle as befits a Toughie. We suspect that the final part of 15d is a reference to swearing out loud, but can’t be sure. Overall, 3*/4* with 28a our favourite.

    Thanks to Bufo and Hudson.

  15. Thanks to Bufo for the review and to those who have commented. Regarding 15d, commodities exchanges are nowadays mostly electronic, but the image of traders in striped blazers screaming at each in a trading pit is a system known as “open outcry”. I felt that had the clue stopped at “it’s crude” it would have been extremely weak.
    I will try and bear in mind the helpful comments about clue length.
    best wishes, Rob/Hudson

  16. Only a day late on it, but well worth saving for today. Thoroughly enjoyable. Thanks Hudson. ( will Mrs Bridges be setting crossword puzzles anytime soon? 😉 )

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