Toughie 2151 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2151

Toughie No 2151 by Musaeus

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Many happy returns of the New Year!

Yes, we’ve made it to the new year, which looks rather like the old one so far, but who knows how it will pan out?  I hope 2019 brings all you lovely people exactly what you desire, and comfort where that doesn’t prove possible.

Perhaps our editor has made a resolution that in 2019 Toughies should live up to their name, because for me this one certainly did.  It could be that I’m just jaded after a hot date* last night.  How was it for you?

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the Extra special New Year wishes to you if you’re reading this! buttons.  Pictures will return later in the year.



1a    Colonel in frenzied state about leaving Queen, say (7)
MUSTARD:  Start with a frenzied state in some male animals such as elephants.  Then add something of which a queen is an example (as would be a jack, king or ace) with a Latin-derived abbreviation for about removed (leaving).  The second part of the name of the Cluedo Colonel

5a    Current hot and humid weather ultimately clouded over (7)
TOPICAL:  An adjective meaning hot and humid with the last letter of weather (weather ultimately) removed (clouded over)

9a    We review exactly what’s needed in unusual circs (7)
CRITICS:  The thing (exactly what’s needed) inside an anagram of (unusual) CIRCS

10a   For this reason Queen restricts short trips (7)
SORTIES:  A charade of therefore (for this reason), the single-letter abbreviation from the Latin for queen, and restricts or tethers

11a   Next to a hypotenuse (9)
ALONGSIDE:  Split (1,4,4) the answer would describe a hypotenuse

12a   Deal with ordinary tops from the east (3,2)
SEE TO:  The reversal of (… from the east) the abbreviation for ordinary and some casual shirts (tops)

13a   This — can, therefore seen back around (5)
OPENS:  An informal word for prison with a synonym of therefore reversed (seen back) around it.  I don’t understand the definition here

15a   Attacker, idiot, upset social worker (9)
ASSAILANT:  Join together three-letter words for an idiot, to upset or trouble, and a social worker insect

17a   I’m often seen in a cape and hope ruse runs and runs inside (9)
SUPERHERO:  HOPE RUSE is anagrammed (runs) with the cricketing abbreviation for runs inside

19a   Touching month turning over stuff dropped and scattered (5)
GUANO:  Touching (2) and a shortened form of a month all reversed (turning over).  Droppings (stuff dropped) used as fertiliser (scattered)

22a   March and Left U-turns with an extra nothing (5)
TROOP:  The nautical word for left returns (U-turns) with a second copy of the letter which can denote nothing

23a   Part of telecoms system that’s at the heart of static in new tellies (9)
SATELLITE:  The central two letters (heart) of static inserted into an anagram of (new) TELLIES

25a   Fermented ale among spring produce (7)
REALISE:  An anagram of (fermented) ALE inside (among) spring (up)

26a   Copper is worthy of servicemen (7)
CURATES:  The chemical symbol of copper plus a word meaning is worthy of

27a   Conjuror uses this cut to hold ace finally (7)
SLEIGHT:  Cut or snub containing (to hold) the last letter of (… finally) ace

28a   Twelfth man‘s coolness to get the game going again (7)
RESERVE:  Two, definitions, with a third defining the answer split (2-5)



1d    Plaything Mac once tinkered with (7)
MECCANO:  MAC ONCE is anagrammed (tinkered with)

2d    Jump on, say, flamenco dancer’s call for helping staff (3,4)
SKI POLE:  A jump (4), then a Spanish exclamation of approval, support or encouragement

3d    Advanced evidence of nearby sub taking off (5)
APING:  Follow the abbreviation for advanced with an “evidence of sub” — a sonar echo

4d    Exhaust insult I spread (9)
DISSIPATE:  A charade of a four-letter word meaning to insult, the I from the clue, and (with added accent) a meat spread

5d    Style succeeded getting into art gallery (5)
TASTE:  Succeeded, abbreviated, inside (getting into) one of a group of four art museums

6d    Missile one’s invested in going west (9)
PERISHING:  The Roman one inside (invested in) a missile.  Going west here means dying (Happy New Year!)

7d    Monster toll capping odd sections of road (7)
CHIMERA:  The toll of a bell preceding (capping) the odd letters (odd sections) of road

8d    Bay under Californian city making you spend a fortune (4,3)
LASH OUT:  Bay or howl (5) follows (goes under, in a down clue) a city in California

14d   Young ‘un to gut fish (9)
STRIPLING:  To gut or clean out (5) plus a fish of the cod family often seen swimming in the seas around crosswordland

16d   Soft-top, say, showing wear damage (6,3)
SPORTS CAR:  Put together a verb to wear (clothing or accessories) and a mark of damage

17d   Flag carried by those who win by daring travesties? (7)
SATIRES:  To flag or weary inside (carried by) the special forces unit whose motto is “Who Dares Wins”

18d   Head of dept once more almost irreverent (7)
PROFANE:  A familiar contraction of (indicated by the contracted “dept”) a university or college head, then a four-letter word meaning afresh (ANEW) without its last letter (almost)

20d   Upset list collecting by way of flyer (7)
AVIATOR:  The reversal of (upset) a list or roll containing (collecting) a word meaning “by way of”

21d   Be responsible for old poem on Spain (7)
OVERSEE:  Concatenate the abbreviation for old, a poem, and the IVR code for Spain

23d   Adventure novel in Latin and film (5)
SHEET:  An adventure novel by H. Rider Haggard followed by the Latin word for (in Latin …) and.  Not the kind of film you watch for entertainment, but a covering

24d   Flyers who tweet left cases (5)
LARKS:  The abbreviation for left plus some chests or coffers


Thanks to Musaeus.

*with a cup of cocoa.  Not even sweetened.  I know how to party.


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.


7 comments on “Toughie 2151

  1. Found this one a bit tough and failed on 13 – I don’t understand the definition either. Quite an enjoyable challenge.

    Thanks to Kitty and Musaeus and Happy New Year to all

  2. The almost total disregard for surface reads took away any pleasure from this one for me – sorry, but I do think they’re important.
    Failed to satisfactorily parse 13a and also 23d where I had both a novel and a film but didn’t see the obvious reasoning behind ‘Latin’. Silly girl!

    My favourite was the neatly contrived 11a.

    Thanks to Musaeus and to our Girl Tuesday for managing to bring us the blog despite her late night partying with the ‘hot date’! Best of wishes for 2019 to both of you.

  3. 13 is an odd one but then again I always find Musaeus’ puzzles a little peculiar.

    My only suggestion is that if you read the sentence as a whole, literally, the prison would have to open in order for an inmate to be seen around again – but it also instructs us as per the hint.

    Thanks to setter and Kitty, and best wishes to all

  4. Definitely on the tougher side – if this is the Tuesday puzzle I’m concerned about what will appear tomorrow.
    There are some enjoyable clues -(I’ve ticked 1a, 11a, 28a and 17d) but I’ve no idea on 13a and, as Jane says, some of the surfaces (e.g. 17a, 19a and 8d) are not great.
    Thanks to Musaeus and Kitty and a Happy New Year to both.

  5. Well, I did not find this that tough, but it did lack sparkle, and I was able to complete it a fast canter – **/**.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 11a and 26a.

    Thanks to Musaeus and Kitty – I thought your hot date was going to be a vindaloo supper!

  6. In the SW corner I had 17a, and 18d penciled in (correctly), but apart form that, I drew a complete blank. The rest was fine. Happy New year, and many thanks to all who make this such wonderful and helpful blog.

  7. HNY to all, I hope you all get what you need in 2019.

    Thanks to Kitty and Musaeus for this offering.

    I found it tough going. On analysis afterwards, I saw that quite a lot of the indication is a bit on the creative side, (like ‘clouded over’ for example), and that was probably the single most difficulty-upping thing for me. The surfaces were strange here and there, but not everywhere by any means, though that too was a factor. And I’m hungover, if I’m honest, ha ha ha!

    Liked 11a, but think I may have seen the idea around somewhere.

    Looking forward to 2019’s crop of Toughies.

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