Toughie 2177 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2177

Toughie No 2177 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Bufo

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A pleasant enough puzzle from Firefly with a nod to today’s date. It caused no problems except perhaps in the NE which was the last corner to yield

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a/10a/30a (now changed to the correct 1a/30a/10a in the online version):    LOL! It’s self-evident to all manoeuvring for a romantic proposal from 21ac 29! (4,2,2,4,4,2,4)
LET’S DO IT, LET’S FALL IN LOVE: An anagram (manoeuvring) of LOL! IT’S SELF-EVIDENT TO ALL gives the title of a song written by 21 across 29 across

5a    This crusty creature lives next to old school (6)
ISOPOD: A member of an order of Crustacea such as a woodlouse = ‘lives’ + O (old) + a school of whales or seals

9a    Refuse to go underground here? (8)
LANDFILL: A cryptic definition for where refuse (rubbish) is disposed of by burying it under the soil

10a    See 1 Across

12a    It’s a shade dear in France with trains getting revolutionary (6,3)
CHERRY RED: The French word for ‘dear’ + the abbreviation for railway (trains) + a revolutionary

13a/15d    Leave in instant? That’s doubtful, if he’s around! (5,9)
SAINT VALENTINE: An anagram (doubtful) of LEAVE IN INSTANT gives a name associated with today. I guess that the whole clue gives the definition

14a    Keen songstress from the east (4)
AVID: A reversal of a great female singer

16a    Hurry inside clinic to find Arab (7)
SARACEN: ‘To hurry’ inside a short form of sanatorium (clinic)

19a    Very beautiful and posh young lady I can set out to embrace (7)
ANGELIC: A facetious rendering of an upper-class pronunciation of another word for a young lady goes inside an anagram (set out) of I CAN

21a    Elderly monarch that’s maybe slack, reportedly? (4)
COLE: An old king from a nursery rhyme is a homophone something that might be slack

24a    Giant poinsettia unfortunately lacking elements of poise (5)
TITAN: An anagram (unfortunately) of NTTIA, i.e. POINSETTIA minus the letters of POISE

25a    A damsel in shambles? Might he help? (6,3)
LADIES’ MAN: An anagram (shambles) of A DAMSEL IN = someone who enjoys the company of women

27a    The setter’s in the midst of bigoted witch hunt — idiot! (6)
DIMWIT: ‘The setter is’ inside the middle four letters of BIGOTED WITCH HUNT

28a    How they used to deliver snare drums – unload ship, then dismantle (8)
UNDERARM: The old way of delivering a cricket ball = an anagram (dismantle) of NARE DRUM, i.e. SNARE DRUMS minus SS (steamship)

29a    Drink left by casualty in a state? (6)
PORTER: A dark beer = ‘left’ + the American abbreviation for a casualty department

30a    See 1 Across


1d    Bloomers mount up endlessly under leaders of laundering investigation (6)
LILACS: Trees with light-purple or white flowers = the first letters of LAUNDERING and INVESTIGATION + a reversal of ‘to mount’ with the last letter removed

2d    Present carer‘s inexperienced (6)
TENDER: 3 meanings: to present/a carer/inexperienced

3d    Stay in Bow? (5)
DEFER: 2 meanings: to stay or put off till another time/to bow or yield to the wishes of someone else

4d    Boorish learner twisted bridle around (3-4)
ILL-BRED: L (learner) inside an anagram (twisted) of BRIDLE

6d    Turning left‘s wrong: one landed on the centre of Oz! (9)
SINISTRAL: A wrong + I (one) + the middle five letters of the name of the country often referred to as Oz

7d    Backing Cable’s department? (8)
PROVINCE: ‘Backing’ or ‘in favour of’ + the first name of the politician with the surname Cable

8d    What couple might be doing after 13 15’s intervention — directly heading for treasured ring! (8)
DUETTING: ‘Directly’ + the first letter of TREASURED + ‘to ring’ or the sound of a small bell

11d    Lays over on outskirts of Dundee, with son (4)
ODES: Lays (poetry) = O (over) + the first and last letters of DUNDEE + S (son)

15d    See 13 Across

17d    University’s top art dept poorly decorated (6,2)
TARTED UP: An anagram (poorly) of U ART DEPT

18d    Source of a three-minute warning? (3,5)
EGG TIMER: A cryptic definition for a device used in the kitchen to show when three minutes or so have elapsed

20d    Youngster showing leg? (4)
CALF: This word for a young cow can also mean part of the leg. At first I tried to justify the alternative answer meaning a young horse but then had to think again

21d    Closing bars cancelled tentatively — Lord Lieutenant’s gone, though (7)
CADENCE: A succession of chords closing a musical phrase or at the end of a complete melody is an anagram (tentatively) of CANCEED, i.e. CANCELLED minus LL (Lord Lieutenant)

22d    Devil in the style of leaping creature (6)
IMPALA: A little devil + ‘in the style of’ = an antelope capable of prodigious leaps

23d    Paint handle in teal (just alternate sections) (6)
ENAMEL: A handle (what people call you) inside alternate letters of TEAL

26d    Odds — or the positions of 11 among soldiers? (5)
EVENS: Odds in betting when it’s a fifty-fifty chance. Note where the letters in the answer to 11 down occur in the word SOLDIERS


22 comments on “Toughie 2177

  1. A nice straightforward and enjoyable crossword – my only hold up was believing the original order of clues in 1a

    Thanks to Firefly and Bufo

  2. An enjoyable puzzle with its St Valentine clues. The ordering error in 1 10 30 had me fooled for a time.


  3. I also believed the enumeration in 1a etc and went through the song lyrics looking for an alternative to the obvious!
    I do struggle a little with this setter’s wavelength but it was nice of him to give a nod to the date. All I received through the post this morning was a copy of ‘Third Age Matters’. Ho hum………

    No particular favourite but I was very relieved to have twigged the cricket reference in 28a. Our setter seems to be rather fond of that type of clue construction.

    Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for the blog.

        1. I shall just accept the rose gratefully and not ask too many questions. Wouldn’t want to be disappointed twice in one day!

  4. As Bufo says this was pleasant enough if somewhat anagram-heavy. I’m not a great fan of very long anagrams and (not helped by the earlier error in the clue) only got 1/30/10a by having a little knowledge of the 21/29 composer’s work. Does anyone ever solve a 22-letter anagram from cold without knowing roughly what they’re after (and having lots of checkers)?
    My favourite clue was 9a.
    Thanks to Firefly and Bufo.

    1. The answer to your question is certainly no in my case! I’ve been known to be slow to get 5-letter anagrams, so you can guess how I fared today …

  5. Very pleasant and relatively mild for a Toughie. The puzzle site version of 1a was correct when I printed it off. I thought rather too many anagrams as well. Joint favourites 27a and 28a. Not sure I get the homophone 21a?

  6. 1a/etc turned what started out well into a towel thrown in. Had spotted that the enumeration didn’t fit neatly across the spaces as presented, so thought there might be a mistake there, but was too much of a 27a to think of changing the order in that way. Enjoyed much of what I did get.

    Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

  7. A fun crossword with its links to the date.

    I’m just old enough to remember nutty slack. It did not have a good reputation – my parents despaired of it!

  8. The enumeration error had us scratching our heads for a while until we twigged what was going on and that was the major hold up for us. An appropriate theme and a pleasant solve.
    Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

  9. The mix-up with the numbering of 1a plus not knowing any Cole Porter songs left me struggling. I got the Valentines Day references and most other anagrams, but still could not finish the last few and had to resort to Bufo to enlighten me! Sorry, but I didn’t especially enjoy today’s puzzle although others obviously did.

    Thanks to Bufo and Firefly

  10. The enumeration mistake at 1ac was spotted as was the anagram fodder. I stared at it for far too long and failed to solve it. I couldn’t get away from Love is in which fit with 1d and 4ds checkers. Nice puzzle thanks to Firefly. Nice blog. Thanks to Bufo.

  11. It was a shame that I didn’t think to check the blog earlier than I did. Had I done so I would have quickly realised that as far as the paper version was concerned there’s a problem with the enumeration for 1 across. Once all was made clear (thanks Bufo) the Toughie was a pleasure to solve. Lots of clues to give ‘smile’ moments – 28 across, 21, 23 & 26 down clues to name but four. Nice one Firefly – thank you and thanks to Bufo too.

  12. Visitors yesterday so finished this off today.

    Same problem with 1a etc, but otherwise enjoyable. NE most tough area: I knew the 5a word although didn’t get it for a while. Took me a while to realise that the word in 8d has two “t”s.

    Thanks to Firefly and Bufo.

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