Toughie 2140 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2140

Toughie No 2140 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating  –  Difficulty ** –  Enjoyment ***


Hi all, and a happy Tuesday to you.  When 1a went straight in, followed by almost all of the crossing downs, I feared this might not mount much of a challenge.  However, things slowed down towards the SW and I took a usual Tuesday Toughie kind of time in the end, and enjoyed myself along the way.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the I’m a kitty, get meowt of here! buttons.  As usual you may click on pictures to enlarge them or uncover hidden extras.



1a    Ant’s one  person employed by local council … (6,6)
SOCIAL WORKER:  A description of an ant, or a professional concerned with welfare of people in the community

9a    … Dec’s place in regular series to continue (4)
LAST:  The regular series is the months of the year, and this is Dec(ember)’s position in it.  To continue or endure.  Clever opening surfaces referencing Ant and Dec — and you may find it helpful to bear them in mind a little longer

10a   Original computer department in terror of extreme morality (9)
PURITANIC:  A prefix meaning original or primitive and the abbreviation for stuff to do with computers all inside frantic or sudden fright

12a   Sad to say, gripping marine excursions often accompany these (6)
ALARMS:  An expression of woe containing (gripping) the abbreviation for a member of the Royal Marines.  The definition refers to an expression coming from an old stage direction, and not one I knew

13a   Woman of Munich, say, beginning to hoard gold, succeeded with French gold (8)
HAUSFRAU:  Join together the first letter of (beginning to) hoard, the chemical symbol for gold, abbreviations for succeeded and for French, and another copy of the symbol for gold

15a   Refurbished material from altar’s torn, this person explains (10)
TRANSLATOR:  A rearrangement of letters of (refurbished material from) ALTAR’S TORN.  Here’s a sign language interpreter perfectly conveying the state of certain current affairs

16a   Tool that cuts and increases, we hear (4)
ADZE:  This cutting tool sounds like (… we hear) a word which (when followed by “to”) means increases

18a   Drink repels a couturière (4)
COCO:  A chocolate drink loses A (repels a).  The nickname by which Gabrielle Chanel was known

20a   Spectral tailless rodents seen by parking area in southern county (10)
PHANTASMIC:  Some rodents without their last letter (tailless) after (seen by) the letter symbolising parking and the insertion of A(rea) in an abbreviated form of a southern English county

23a   Bribe, perhaps, to get trees (3-5)
OIL-PALMS:  This could be an idiomatic way of saying bribe.  The trees are not hyphenated in the main dictionaries

24a   Turf next to study is very wet (6)
SODDEN:  A bit of turf or earth (3) goes next to a private domestic room for work or pleasure

26a   Booed pals dancing this (4,5)
PASO DOBLE:  This dance is an anagram (… dancing) of BOOED PALS

27a   Chasm turning out cold and deserted (4)
LEFT:  A crack or opening without (turning out) the abbreviation for cold

28a   Arty imbecile could make this programme (2,1,9)
IM A CELEBRITY:  ARTY IMBECILE could be anagrammed to make this programme, the presenters of which have already been referenced in the first two across clues



2d    Make a choice — the compiler’s is electronic to get best result (8)
OPTIMISE:  A charade of “make a choice” (3), a contracted way the setter might say his (compiler’s), the IS from the clue, and a letter used to denote electronic

3d    Game is heartlessly petty (1-3)
I-SPY:  Take IS from the clue again, and add the outer letters only of (heartlessly) petty

4d    Novel a lone donor broadcast (5,5)
LORNA DOONE:  An anagram of (… broadcast) A LONE DONOR

5d    Dull alumnus cooked suet (6)
OBTUSE:  An abbreviation for a former pupil plus an anagram of (cooked) SUET

6d    Family of helpful socialist (7)
KINDRED:  Helpful or agreeable followed by a communist

7d    Note vulgar perfume breaking out once more (12)
RECRUDESCENT:  A charade of the name of a musical note in a scale, vulgar or unrefined, and a perfume or aroma.  A new word for me

8d    Criticise a graduate’s hat (6)
PANAMA:  Criticise or slate (3), the A from the clue and a type of graduate

11d   Not showing total belief, partner avoids church as the done thing? (4,8)
FAIT ACCOMPLI:  Belief or trust without the final letter (not showing total …), after which a partner (in crime) loses (avoids) an abbreviation for the Church of England.  “The done thing” is not used in the usual sense, but more literally as the thing which is done

14d   Stout sailor left in old folks’ institution — that can be understood (10)
FATHOMABLE:  Stout (3) followed by abbreviations for a sailor and for left inside a care institution

17d   Joker, willing to participate, settled in carriage (5-3)
WAGON-LIT:  Join a joker, a preposition which I’m struggling to equate with “willing to participate” and settled (upon)

19d   I should abandon unfinished heavenly instrument (7)
CELESTA:  I is removed from (should abandon) an adjective meaning heavenly without its last letter (unfinished)

21d   Change government department providing yachts primarily (6)
MODIFY:  A charade of the initials of a government department, providing (2), and the initial letter of (… primarily) yachts

22d   One that’s mounted on horse goes off south, heading north (6)
SADDLE:  A word meaning goes bad with the abbreviation for south moved to the top (heading north)

25d   Catch present being delivered (4)
HEAR:  Catch audibly.  A homophone (… being delivered) of present in this place


Thanks to MynoT.  My favourite is 11d, my last in.  Which do you think worthy of celebrity?


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.


17 comments on “Toughie 2140

  1. I didn’t get 1a straight away, and found MynoT ‘s puzzle quite challenging for a Tuesday – but fair, since I didn’t have to refer to Google to solve anything nor refer to Kitty’s tips to understand the solution. So very enjoyable in the end! Kept me thinking to the last.

    Too many clues to list that were verging on impossible until the penny dropped. But I would give a special mention to 11d and 20ac for satisfying word play.

    And then there’s 28ac. I once started a collection of “apt anagrams”, long since forgotten. This would have gone straight in there.

    Hope everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did.

  2. Thought we were free of that wretched programme for 12 months now but no – MynoT had to drag it up again!

    Like Kitty, 7d was new to me but I was OK with the preposition in 17d as I thought of ‘I’m on’ as in ‘I’m up for it’.

    No particular favourite but it was nice to see a couple of our contributors getting a mention.

    Thanks to MynoT and to our Girl Tuesday for her usual high standard of blog.

    PS I’ve learned to accept the abbreviation used in 10a for ‘original’ but I’m blessed if I can understand how it came to mean that. Anyone got any ideas?

    1. Ur derives from German where it’s used as a prefix meaning old, primitive or original. One of our German set books at school was Urfaust (Goethe’s original attempt at the Faust story).

  3. An enjoyable puzzle – thanks to MynoT and Kitty.
    I specially enjoyed the clues referring to the fractured celebrity duo and the excellent anagram at 28a.
    I also ticked the short but neat 25d.

  4. Mostly straightforward, but the short ones at 9 and 25 caused me a few problems

    Thanks to Kitty and MynoT

  5. A perfect Tuesday Toughie completed at a gallop – **/****.

    7d was a new word for me but the ‘lego’ kit was reasonably obvious before reaching for Chambers to seek confirmation.

    Candidates for favourite – 13a, 14d, and 19d – and the winner is 13a fir its 5 ‘elements’ in an eight letter word.

    Thanks to MynoT and Kitty especially for the perfect illustration for 26a!

  6. Quite challenging and mostly enjoyable although a couple of the clues were a bit tortuous for my taste. “Ur” in 10a was new to me, I think (I’m careful to add that rider a,s if I don’t, someone will pop up and tell me I said the same eleven months ago).

    Much as I loathe the programme, 28a was my favourite with 11d, my last one in, in second place.

    Many thanks to MynoT and to Kitty.

  7. I enjoyed this very much. No real hold ups for me – just a steady solve starting at the top and working down. I had not heard of the definition in 7d but the word play made it easily accessible. Neither had I heard of the programme in 28a, but it, too, was easy enough to put together from the checkers along with the anagram ingredients. Many thanks to MynoT and Kitty

  8. All perfectly fair and enjoyable, with a couple of ‘new to me’ answers. 7d seems to be new to many, but 17d is every bit as new to me. Perhaps it’s because I was always a hitchhiker rather than an interrailer.
    THanks MynoT and Kitty.

  9. Thanks to MynoT and to Kitty for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, almost got there, but needed the hints for 18a and 17,19d. Favourite was 28a, made me laugh. Was 3*/3* for me.

  10. Good fun that all slotted together smoothly. We had heard of the 28a programme but have never seen it so did not realise until we read the blog that it is presented by the duo from 1a and 9a clues.
    Thanks MynoT and Kitty.

  11. J only did half a dozen over a short lunch, leaving plenty for G to get stuck into at the pub, and it quickly flowed. The dogs, as usual, slept through it. Enjoyable but not too taxing once we got our heads together (it is only Tuesday though). Thanks to MynoT and Kitty.

  12. Don’t know what Ant and Dec look like but met them before in crosswordland.
    I wasn’t aware that they hosted that particular show. Nice link.
    Really enjoyed the crossword.
    11d and 28a also in my shortlist and 6d for it’s fun surface.
    Thanks to MynoT and to Kitty for the review.
    Nice pic of Paso Doble.

  13. We enjoyed this, verging on 4 * for enjoyment. As for others, 7D was a new word but fairly clued. We thought 11d was a cracking clue. In the explanation of 20a, it’s surely not correct to say that the parking letter goes inside the county?

    Thanks to Kitty and MynoT

    1. Indeed it’s not, Sheffieldsy. When you edit to make the parsing more explicit you can instead, if catterbrained, make it completely wrong.

      Blog amended, thanks.

  14. Nice puzzle with favourites of 11d and of course 28a with its clever link to 1a and 9a.

    Thanks to Kitty and MnoT.

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