Toughie 2128 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2128

Toughie No 2128 by Dada

Hints and tips by Kitty

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

BD Rating  -  Difficulty */** Enjoyment ***/****


Hi everyone.  We have another puzzle from a setter who can write these things almost faster than I can solve them.  It took me a little while to get into this but then things flowed.  As always, plenty to enjoy.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the Now actually hidden!  Like answers in real life. buttons.  As usual you may click on pictures to enlarge them or uncover hidden extras.



1a    Muscle twice in contact with fungal growths (6)
BICEPS:  A prefix meaning twice is followed by some edible mushrooms

4a    Feline  mouse? (5-3)
PUSSY-CAT:  Two definitions, the first literal, and the second being something that can be used to describe a pushover

10a   Noble's double, about 100 (5)
DUCAL:  Twofold around (about) the Roman numeral for 100

11a   Nasty sweet, by implication? (9)
UNSAVOURY:  Start with an adjective, often contrasted with sweet, used to describe foods.  Add a prefix to indicate not so, thereby indicating sweet (in the way that not wrong would be right by implication)

12a   Recount ends in split vote on Scottish island to the west (7)
NARRATE:  Tell a story.  The last letters of (ends of) spliT and votE after (on) the reversal of (… to the west) a Scottish island

13a   Dark room -- shade gone, unfortunately (7)
DUNGEON:  A shade, specifically a dull brown, then an anagram (… unfortunately) of GONE

14a   Into work I dash, very frenetically toiling through the night? (9,5)
GRAVEYARD SHIFT:  Into an informal word for hard work goes I DASH VERY, anagrammed (frenetically)

17a   At which the bride's expecting to tie the knot? (7,7)
SHOTGUN WEDDING:  A cryptic definition.  The bride is expecting lots of wailing and sleepless nights.  And a baby

21a   Revolutionary English conductor, giant in America? (7)
REDWOOD:  A communist revolutionary plus English conductor Henry

23a   One calling to restrain wings of that US animal (7)
CRITTER:  One calling out (5) containing (to restrain) the outer letters (wings) of ThaT.  The US in the definition indicates that the word rather than the animal is from those parts.  (My Chambers says dialect and informal; now esp US.)  I learned today that it’s a name given to fearsome animals of lumberjack folklore, and also to a particular Chinese pangolin

24a   Knife sure to agitate person not co-operating (9)
REFUSENIK:  An anagram of (… to agitate) KNIFE SURE

25a   Underwear, however brief, no good (5)
THONG:  Most of a word meaning however (however brief), followed by the abbreviation for no good

26a   Hypotheses he introduced to politicians (8)
THEORIES:  HE from the clue inserted into (introduced to) some politicians of the blue persuasion

27a   Agent more impoverished having failed grammar? (6)
BROKER:  Take a word meaning without any money and add a suffix to indicate more so.  This wouldn’t be quite grammatically correct (having failed grammar) but would get the meaning across



1d    Joking offensive, in time (8)
BADINAGE:  Offensive (3), IN from the clue, and a period of time (3)

2d    Insect finds bird before fish (9)
COCKROACH:  A male bird (especially a chicken’s mate) plus a silvery freshwater fish

3d    Rob suffering, contact nurses (7)
PILLAGE:  To contact by means of a bleeper contains (nurses) suffering (3)

5d    Sweet nub, say? (6-4,4)
UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE:  It’s a wordplay-in-answer clue.  Nub is bun written bottom-to-top (it’s a down clue).  So start with a word meaning inverted in this manner (6-4) and add the four-letter bun to get this dessert or sweet treat

6d    Partial to sins, even though heaven so blissful? (7)
SEVENTH:  The answer is contained within (partial to) the clue.  It took me too long to twig that this was a lurker

7d    Pretty gripping conclusion on Swedish channel (5)
CHUTE:  Pretty or attractive containing (gripping) the last letter of (conclusion on) SwedisH

8d    Arduous  court procedure? (6)
TRYING:  Two definitions: tedious, or hearing in court

9d    Excess of cooking burned saucepan (14)

15d   Might one have got fired feeding bits of wool to sheep? (9)
FLINTLOCK:  Produce this old type of firearm by inserting (feeding) some bits of material into a herd of sheep.  “No,” you protest, “it’s not a herd of sheep, It’s a …”

16d   Scale up repeatedly for setter (4-4)
AGAR-AGAR:  Two copies of (… repeatedly) an Indian musical scale reversed (up, in a down clue).  The kind of setter you might find in a petri dish, not one making crosswords

18d   Pocket money ultimately taken from surety, or misappropriated (7)
TROUSER:  An informal word for steal.  The last letter of moneY (money ultimately) removed from an anagram of (… misappropriated) SURETy OR

19d   Tramp in snow, perhaps? (7)
DRIFTER:  An aimless person.  Someone negotiating accumulated piles of snow might very whimsically be said to be this

20d   Tedious nonsense, domestic problem (3,3)
DRY ROT:  String together three-letter synonyms, of tedious or dull, and of nonsense

22d   Author fed up, one losing heart (5)
DEFOE:  A reversal (… up, in a down clue, as seen above in 16d) of FED from the clue, followed by OnE from the clue without its middle letter (losing heart)


Thanks to Dada.  It’s always good to see a 4a, and I also liked 25a, 27a, 5d and 6d.  What did you find blissful?


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.


25 comments on “Toughie 2128

  1. There was nothing in this puzzle to scare the horses but it was very entertaining from start to finish. It’s almost impossible to believe this was composed by the same person who set this Sunday’s Cryptic Prize Puzzle. IMHO this one would have been perfect for that slot.

    I only needed to reach for my BRB once as the scale in 16d was a new word for me.

    I had plenty of ticks all over my page, but I’ll settle for the short and sweet 4a as my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to our very own 4a.

    1. You’ve echoed my sentiments today RD, except to say that my favourite was 15 down & I did like 21 across as well.

  2. A steady solve for me and very enjoyable too. I’d agree with 5d, 4a and 27a but also liked 12a & 26a – quite a good haul. Thought 17a was a little unconvincing. I’d go for *** / ****

    Many thanks to Dada and to Kitty for the blog.

  3. As you say Kitty, not too hard but enjoyable. My favourite was the laugh out loud 17a -like your picture! Thanks to all.

  4. I thought that this was marginally easier than Dada’s Sunday prize puzzle – unlike most commenters here I enjoyed Sunday’s puzzle and I enjoyed this one too.
    My podium places were populated by 17a, 27a and 5d.
    Thanks to Dada and Kitty.

  5. Some nice touches of humour here – I was a little concerned after last Sunday!
    Took me far too long to sort out 17a & 5d but both well worth the effort.

    Leader-board here shows 4&17a plus 5&15d.

    Thanks to Dada and to our Girl Tuesday for another excellent blog – slightly worried by that pic for 14a!

  6. I am always a Happy Chappie if I can finish any Toughie unaided, so the smiles are on me. I hadn’t heard of the scale in 16d, nor of it’s double as a setter (just the single for me, thanks).

    17a was a peeny-drop moment, and therefore COTD.

    Many thanks to Dada and Kitty.

  7. A plod but a pleasant plod. Just the way I like my puzzles. As a Coventry kid and a fan of Phillip Larkin I couldn’t get Whitsun out of my mind for the first word of 17ac. Thanks to Dada for the workout and thanks to Kitty for the review. The pet shop is fully stocked today I see.

  8. Started quickly but got a bit stuck for a while in the NE corner, though in retrospect there is nothing too tricky about any of them. Quite an enjoyable puzzle.

    Thanks to Kitty and Dada

  9. Two thumbs up from me – great fun, and certainly no less enjoyable for being perhaps on the gentler side of the toughie spectrum (my day off on Friday is coming!). Many thanks to Dada and Kitty.

  10. Yes, I believe I have solved a Floughie here, but the nice humour we associate with Dada, in his various guises, is well-represented.

    Many thanks Dada and Kitty.

  11. Disappointed with the “kitty in a thong” picture, but enjoyed the crossword.

    My favourite is 6d – a beautiful clue.

    Many thanks dada and kitty

    1. I hope it’s not inappropriate for me to say this here, but I did want you to know how much I enjoyed your puzzle in the Independent on the weekend.

      1. oh wow! how can that be inappropriate, thank you so much! It means the world to me, especially after the bloggers began their blog with “sadly”.
        I was briefly (ha ha) worried you were referring to my comment on kitty’s picture.

  12. Definitely easier than Sunday.
    Took a while to unravel some of the anagrams and managed to parse everything apart from 17a. I know the expression but not it’s meaning.
    Will have to look in the BRB when I get home.
    Wondered if the word in 23a was a deformation of creature. Will check that too.
    Favourite is the lurker in 6d.
    Thanks to dada and to kitty for the review.

  13. How appropriate that 4a should appear in a puzzle published on a Tuesday.
    All the usual fun that we expect from this setter with smiles all the way through.
    Thanks Dada and Kitty.

  14. Yes much easier than Sunday but I liked both. This was the first toughie I tried via my new puzzle subscription and I found it nice enough on my laptop. Not having seen the old version I am quite happy with the experience.
    As for the puzzle itself I enjoyed 17a and 5d but 1d gives me the opportunity to post this again.

    Thanks to Dada and Kitty I needed the hints for a few 11a the very hidden lurker in 6d and 16d.

  15. Bit worried that I found this rather more difficult than most seemed to. Didn’t really know (except for the clue) why agar was doubled in16d.

    Favourite (and second-to-last in) was 4a.

    Thanks to Kitty and Dada.

  16. Thanks to Dada and to Kitty for the review and hints. What a super puzzle, much more accessible, and much more fun than Sunday’s puzzle. I just ran out of steam at the end, and needed the hints for 6d & 27a. 25a made me laugh, but my favourite was 5d. Was 2*/4 * for me.

Comments are closed.