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Toughie 2146

Toughie No 2146 by Hudson

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

An enjoyable puzzle which I thought was of average difficulty.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Highly-paid actor in article with Hudson? (3,4)
THE ROCK: The ring name of an American actor and semi-retired professional wrestler = the definite article + the first name of a former American actor surnamed Hudson

9a    Hit back, punching a notorious Roman baddie (4-4)
ANTI-HERO: A reversal of HIT inside A and a notorious Roman emperor

10a    Connery’s Arab citadel where the vodka martinis aren’t free? (4,3)
CASH BAR: How Sean Connery (allegedly) would pronounce the word for a castle or fortress in a North African town

11a    Apache helicopter paratroops’ departure call? (8)
GERONIMO: The name of this Apache leader is also an exclamation traditionally used by a parachutist upon jumping from an airplane

12a    Lead with clubs; partner’s overweight (6)
CHUBBY: The abbreviation for ‘clubs’ + a partner or male spouse

13a    Mo — bald head — runs weekly (10)
HEBDOMADAL: An anagram (runs) of MO BALD HEAD

15a    The first spreadsheet entry goes here, pop (4)
COLA: On a spreadsheet the rows are numbered and the columns are identified by layers. Presumably the first spreadsheet entry will go in the first column which can be represented by this word for pop (fizzy drink)

16a    Madame la Reine originally mixing confiture (9)
MARMALADE: An anagram (mixing) of MADAME LA R (first letter of REINE)

21a    Maeve’s exposed Irish island (4)
INCH: Remove the first and last letters from the surname of an Irish novelist named Maeve to get an Irish (and Scottish) word for an island

22a    Enormous tunnel blown up with ammo (10)
MONUMENTAL: An anagram (blown up) of TUNNEL AMMO

24a    It might be part of green fee, touring Southern Corfu on vacation (6)
FESCUE: A type of grass = FEE round S (Southern) and the first and last letters of CORFU

25a    Record drift in Scripture, English and arithmetic? (8)
REGISTER: Drift (or main point of a matter) goes inside a scripture lesson, E (English) and a letter that can represent arithmetic (as one of three subjects)

27a    Retiring Greek character garlanded with wild send-off (7)
FUNERAL: A reversal of a Greek letter inside ‘wild’ or ‘not tame’

28a    Force to accept two thousand in trade (8)
COMMERCE: ‘To force’ round the Roman numeral for two thousand

29a    Stupid, like current 9? (7)
ASININE: ‘Like’ + the symbol for electric current + 9 (just the number)


2d    Pressure on Hants opener without runs mounting — lots of movement through the air here (8)
HEATHROW: ‘Pressure’ + the first letter (opener) of Hants + a reversal of abbreviations for ‘without’ and ‘runs’ = a major airport

3d    Bad hombre guzzling over a bottle (8)
REHOBOAM: An anagram (bad) of HOMBRE round O (over) and A = a champagne bottle equal to the size of six normal bottles

4d    Native American, similar to Caligula and his consul (5,5)
CRAZY HORSE: A Native American war leader who was victorious at the Battle of Little Bighorn = a word that could describe Caligula’s insane actions + the type of animal that he is reputed to have made his consul

5d    Scalped head in bygone days (4)
ONCE: Remove the first letter from a word meaning ‘head’

6d    Phone card flipping low — that’s a blow (6)
SIMOOM: The type of card that’s found in a mobile phone + a reversal of ‘To low’ = a hot suffocating desert wind in Arabia and North Africa

7d    Stops lessons (7)
PERIODS: 2 meanings: full stops/school lessons

8d    In Paris, my uncle loses second new lens (7)
MONOCLE: Remove the second letter N (new) from the French for ‘my uncle’

11d    1 soldier, British (a lieutenant) upset regiment (9)
GIBRALTAR: A geographical feature with a nickname that is the answer to 1 across = an American soldier + an abbreviation for ‘British’ + A + an abbreviation for ‘lieutenant’ + a reversal of part of the British army

14d    Legside boundaries keeping everyone in a defensive position (2,3,5)
ON ALL FOURS: ‘Legside (on a cricket field) + everyone + boundaries (on a cricket field)

17d    Genius‘s curt order for beer at the Oktoberfest? (8)
EINSTEIN: When split (3,5) it could be how you might order a large mug of beer in Germany

18d    Legless chum, annoyed, bottles German barman (8)
SCHUMANN: Hidden (bottled) in LEGLESS CHUM ANNOYED. Barman = composer

19d    Compere almost crushing supporter in bear-hug? (7)
EMBRACE: A compere with the last letter removed goes round a supporter of part of the female anatomy

20d    When mate’s expected on board? (7)
ENDGAME: A cryptic definition. The board is a chess board and mate appears at the conclusion of a chess contest

23d    Teacher married Daisy (6)
MASTER: M (married) + a flowering plant that blooms round Michaelmas

26d    What about about about a head? (4)
EACH: ‘What!’ round two different abbreviations for ‘about’

A Merry Christmas to one and all and I’ll see you on the other side for the final Thursday Toughie of the year


20 comments on “Toughie 2146

  1. Yes, not too difficult. My favourites were 26d (each) for its playfulness and 18d (Schumann) which took me far too long to spot the lurker. Thanks to all.

  2. Couple of different clues in the dead tree version –

    1a Highly -paid actor Ethel undressed Hudson
    5d 1/100, formerly

    1. 5d is rather neat but the on-line version continues the Native American mini-theme (indeed there might have been an ellipsis between 4d and 5d).

      1. Hi Jane and Gazza
        In my original submission there was indeed an ellipsis between 4 and 5. The ed asked for a new clue for 5d on taste grounds and this seems to have made the newspaper version but not the online edition (I have access to neither).
        Warmest regards to all for a very merry Christmas

  3. Very enjoyable with quite a lot of GK, including references to Native Americans and Roman emperors and a basic knowledge of French and German. Am I the only person who’s never heard of (apparently) the world’s highest paid actor?
    I parsed 26d slightly differently to Bufo but ended up with same answer.
    My favourite clue was the LOL 10a.
    Thanks to Hudson and Bufo and Merry Christmas to both.

  4. Mostly enjoyable with a handful of challenging bits.

    24a & 6d were new to me, as was 1a (you are not alone, Gazza!) Incidentally I preferred the paper clue for 1a.

    20d is a very poor cryptic definition.

    I loved 10a & 17d.

    Thanks to Hudson and to Bufo.

  5. A real mixed bag for me with 4 answers I had to ask Mr Google about and a couple of clues that earned ‘umm’ rating.
    Others that I really enjoyed, particularly 9&27a.

    Thanks to Hudson and to Bufo – and a very happy Christmas to you both.

  6. The GK made for a bit of a bumpy ride – umm indeed, Jane. Surprised 1a is considered fair game to be honest. My 26d has ‘circa’ reversed in the middle.

    Thanks Hudson and Bufo and best wishes all round.

  7. I found this a mixed bag as well. It took me for ever to get out of the NW corner. I was very hesitant with 1a. I really don’t know (or care) how much actors earn, and I took it that we were looking for an actor and the definition (I think) turns out to be the gentleman’s wrestling persona? 10a did not quite work for me either. However all would have been much more straightforward had I sorted out 2d sooner in life, which I thought was a wonderful clue! (movement through the air indeed!). The rest of the puzzle fell into place beautifully, and I enjoyed it very much (13a was new to me and I had to resort to electronic help to sort out the the anagram). Many thanks to Hudson and Bufo.

  8. Enjoyed this. Found most of it nicely accessible, but then ended up needing some electronic help in the north (kicked off by eventually shrugging and anagram-solvering the unlucky-for-some 13a) … and just gave up and came to the blog for the intersecting 1a/2d. Silly me. Spent far too long trying to have a P in 2d. Grr!

    I blame the season. Wishing all the seasonal best to Hudson and Bufo – Merry Christmas, and thanks for the puzzle and blog respectively.

    Thanks also to Jane for the paper clues, from a solver of the website version (though not on the website, which is barely possible these days).

    I really liked the numerical 5d. Other likes were the last handful of down clues and 29a where, although the answer jumped out at me before I had the chance to misinterpret “9”, I did pause to reflect on who the stupid current 9a might be.

    As a matter of interest, what’s the alternative parsing for 26d? I can only see Bufo’s interpretation.

    1. Another way of saying what? goes round (about) a reversal (about) of the two letter abbreviation for circa (about)

  9. We had to work quite long and hard to solve this one but did eventually get it all sorted. Considering HELIPORT as a first option for 2d did not do much to help us and it took ages to spot that 18d was a lurker. Plenty to enjoy here.
    Thanks Hudson and Bufo.

  10. I twigged the anagrams straight away. (“Charlie Hebdo” was sadly in the news in 2015.) But I struggled with 2d and 18d at the end. Never heard of 1a, either. Season’s greetings and thanks to Hudson and Bufo.

  11. I rather enjoyed this ‘Hudson’ puzzle – I’ve not come across him/her before, a newbie I wonder? 10 across threw me as I’d not heard of the expression before and 6 down was a new word to add to my vocab. Otherwise no great problems, but it did take me quite a bit longer to finish than some have recently. My favourite just has to be 26 down, along with 27 across as a close second. I quite liked the link between the answers to 11 down and 1 across, which was my first one to be written in. Thanks of course to Hudson and Bufo, with reciprocated wishes for a Happy Christmas.

  12. Very enjoyable. Average difficulty, I would say, which suits me! New word – 6d, have to google to confirm I was correct 4d was a smiler. I got 26d – but I can’t see what a head as to do with it – I’m being thick, bear with me.

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