Toughie 2183 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2183

Toughie No 2183 by Jed

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


A big warm hello to you all on a day which, here in a sunny Surrey, feels far too spring-like for February.  How lovely to see Jed in this spot.  I didn’t find this any harder than this setter’s Sunday offerings used to be, and every bit as enjoyable, so would invite those of you who miss Virgilius in the ST to pop a roast in the oven, don your Sunday best, and enjoy a day of rest with an extra crossword.

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



1a    Having come into fortune, evoke praise (10)
FELICITATE:  Inside (having come into) fortune or destiny is a word meaning evoke or draw forth (6)

6a    Little time lost in short survey (4)
SCAN:  The abbreviation for (little) time removed from (lost in) short or deficient 

9a    Left area with clothing in case (7)
LAWSUIT:  Assemble abbreviations for left, area, and with, and add some matching clothing

10a   For instance, one’s nursed by right people? That’s what doctor orders (7)
REGIMEN:  The Latin-derived abbreviation for for instance and the Roman numeral one are inside (nursed by) R (right) and some fellows or chaps

12a   Write song about it and name despot (13)
AUTHORITARIAN:  Write (6) and an operatic song surrounding (about) IT (from the clue), all followed by N (name)

14a   Ridiculous muscles you are reportedly beginning to develop (6)
ABSURD:  Start with some muscles which may — or may not — come in a six-pack, add letters which sound like (… reportedly) “you” and “are” and the add the first letter of (beginning to) develop

15a   Advice given by chap in brief before I take steps (8)
GUIDANCE:  A chap with his last letter removed (in brief) goes before I (from the clue) and take steps — rhythmically, probably to music

17a   Less sensitive editor was calculating (8)
NUMBERED:  A charade of less sensitive and our usual abbreviation for editor.  I trust this clue is casting no aspersions!

19a   Holder of film broadcast, where such things are annually shown (6)
CANNES:  The location of a famous film festival sounds like (… broadcast) a container for storing film

22a   Reptile in part of Cornwall shown on computer screen (7,6)
MONITOR LIZARD:  The most southerly part of Cornwall, and the British mainland, placed after (shown on) a computer screen

24a   Play fish by side of boat (7)
PORTRAY:  A flat fish is next to (by) the side of a boat which, for obvious reasons, setters favour over starboard

25a   Is taken in by awfully rough reprobate (7)
ROGUISH:  IS from the clue inside (taken in by) an anagram of (awfully) ROUGH

26a   Sailor in manacles? (4)
SALT:  This was my last in even though the usual sailor had occurred to me.  It’s a touch indirect: the chemical formula for the answer is hidden in maNaCles

27a   Escape without corporal punishment — that’s illuminating (10)
FLASHLIGHT:  Escape (5) outside (without) some corporal punishment, the whip



1d    Material  checked by hand (4)
FELT:  A double definition: a soft material, or perceived or investigated by touching

2d    What a lightweight has for simple service (3,4)
LOW MASS:  A lightweight (in boxing, for example, not someone who can’t hold their drink) has this — at least, compared to someone heavier.  The answer is also a particular religious service celebrated without music and incense

3d    Structure I erect with fortune, as person making money illegally (13)
COUNTERFEITER:  Make an anagram of (structure) I ERECT with FORTUNE

4d    Military display that’s not hard to love (6)
TATTOO:  The third word of the clue is missing the pencil abbreviation for hard (‘s not hard) and is followed by TO from the clue and the letter which can represent zero or love

5d    End of Americanism? (8)
TERMINUS:  The answer split (4,2,2) might describe an Americanism: an expression (4) within (2) The States (2)

7d    Temporarily live at home, sheltering old plant (7)
CAMPION:  Take up temporary residence, perhaps in a tent, plus our usual “at home” containing (sheltering) the abbreviation for old

8d    Restricted to West, inside and outside? That’s sensible (2-8)
NO-NONSENSE:  The answer is as defined; for the wordplay, “restricted to West” gives us something that means without the other three points of the compass, (2,3) or maybe (2,1,1,1): NO NSE.  We have two copies of this letter combination in our solution, one inside and one outside

11d   Protective spirit in set covered by newspaper article (8,5)
GUARDIAN ANGEL:  Set, as in solidify or congeal, is preceded by (covered by, in a down answer) a newspaper and a grammatical article

13d   Creative feat, getting bottle open initially — drink up (6,4)
MAGNUM OPUS:  Put together a large size of bottle, the first letter of (… initially) open and the reversal (… up, in a down answer) of a verb to drink

16d   Bat really poorly, missing half-century — letting side down (8)
BETRAYAL:  An anagram (… poorly) of BAT REAL[l]Y without (missing) one of the instances of the Roman numeral for fifty (half-century)

18d   What drink is available in ground? The setter’s side-splitting answer (7)
MINERAL:  “Belonging to me” — the setter’s, from his perspective — followed by the insertion of A (answer) in between the abbreviations for two opposite sides (side-splitting answer).  I’d expect this drink to be the answer followed by “water” but Chambers and Collins have the required meaning.  The online version quoted here is slightly different to the paper version, which has “Jed’s” in place of “The setter’s” — see Mac’s comment @10 below

20d   Signing agreement that’s ready to drop off (7)
NODDING:  Two definitions: indicating agreement with a sign, or ready to drop off to sleep

21d   Rustic varied source of fruit (6)
CITRUS:  An anagram of (… varied) RUSTIC.  The answer can be the fruit or its tree

23d   Stimulate with excitement, going to extremes (4)
WHET:  The outer letters of (… going to extremes) the second and third words of the clue


Many thanks to Jed.  My favourite today was 8d, but it had stiff competition from 14a, 17a, 25a, 4d, 16d and 20d.  Which had you 20d?


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 2183

  1. This was a composition of sheer genius. Challenging but not too hard and a joy to solve from start to finish.

    I wasn’t completely sure about 12a as the definition is a noun and I only knew the answer as adjective. However, on checking, I see the answer can be a noun as well.

    There were a lot of typically Virgilian (Jedian?) clues in evidence and fighting it out for second place on the honours board were 4d, 8d & 18d.

    But, of course, my favourite was the wonderful 5d.

    Many thanks to Mr Greer for the entertainment and to Kitty for a fitting review. Wherever did you get the picture of me for 4d?

  2. A most enjoyable puzzle not too tough for a Tuesday Toughie, completed at a (Toughie) gallop without knowing who the setter was – **/*****.

    When I checked after completion and saw it was one of Mr Greer’s alter egos I thought well, that explains clues like the brilliant 8d.

    I did have to check, and was a little surprised to find, that reprobate (25a) can be an adjective.

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 22a, 8d, and 13d – and the winner is the brilliant 8d.

    Thanks to Mr Greer and Kitty.

  3. Very enjoyable but pretty straightforward to solve. When setting as Brendan in the Guardian, he always has a theme or nina but I couldn’t spot one here…

    Thanks to Kitty and Jed

  4. 26a was also my last in, Kitty – but probably not for the same reason. I just wanted so much for the answer to 18d to be ‘’.

    Too many to choose from to pick a favourite (apart from helping RD with his choice!) but maybe I’ll opt for 13d – I’ve certainly needed to be creative in order to open some of the bottles of red I’ve bought!

    Many thanks to Jed and to our Girl Tuesday for the blog – had a good chuckle over the 4d pic.

  5. A lovely (and fairly gentle) puzzle from Jed – very much in the style of his much missed Sunday prize puzzles. Thanks to him and Kitty.
    Near the top of the tick parade for me were 26a, 4d and 5d but right at the top was 8d.
    I did wonder whether ‘sides splitting’ would have been more accurate than side-splitting in 18d.

  6. Confused with 25a. Surely “reprobate” is a noun and the answer an adjective?
    Favourite clue 26a – so clever.

  7. This was my sort of Toughie. In other words, I could complete it unaided. Amusing and clever clues. I was sure I knew the answer to 26a, but a big grin when the penny dropped – very clever – and my clue of the day.

  8. A very enjoyable puzzle from Mr Greer.

    8d made no sense to me at all … so Thanks to Kitty for the explanation.

  9. 26a was my last in too – so clever. I also agree with everyone that this was a terrific puzzle. Many thanks to all.

  10. In the newspaper version, 18d reads, ‘What drink is available in ground? Jeb’s side-splitting answer’. Not that it makes much difference.

    1. Thanks Mac. I’ll add a note to the blog when I next log in. The reason for the difference is that the setter’s name is given by the puzzle in the paper version, but isn’t so easily visible online, where setters are listed on a separate page (though at least that page is updated properly these days).

  11. I agree with comments that this was like a Sunday Virgilius of old and very enjoyable for that.
    I admit to using a couple of Kitty’s hints, but that was more due to laziness as two crosswords a day uses up many of the grey cells.
    Thanks Kitty anď Jed

  12. Very enjoyable, and my favourite clue was 26a, which elicited a big grin when I finally caught on!
    I inserted the right answer for 18d, but without knowing why, having completely missed the point that Jed was the author. I might have got there quicker if my paper had been a later edition.
    For me, as a novice, one of the best puzzles in recent days.
    Many thanks to Kitty and Jed

  13. A bit more than a ** for me, but I did it which always makes me happy, I needed the hints to parse 8d,18d and 26a. A number of favourites but 2d takes it for me. Thanks to Jed and Kitty.

  14. When we solved this, and really enjoyed it, we did not realise (or had forgotten) who Jed was. On completion we went to the website for who’s who with the setters and it all became clear why it had been such fun. Much appreciated.
    Thanks Jed and Kitty.

  15. I was interested to see whether any of you would think the clue-to-a-clue in 26a too big a jump. (Thoughts that it might be prevented me from citing it as a favourite.) Since nobody has complained, I can only conclude that it passes the solver test. Well judged, setter!

    1. It would have helped me if there was some indication that the salt seen in manacles , NaCl , had to be translated in some way .

  16. I thought 26a was just plain NaCl which made the south-east corner unsolvable . I’m not complaining , I think I was just overthinking or possibly underthinking .
    I liked 9a and 11d and 19a and many others .
    Thanks to Kitty and Jed .

  17. I must admit to not understanding 26ac at all and lobbing it in on definition alone, but in retrospect it’s a very nice clue that was wasted on me. Elsewhere progress was pretty rapid, finishing about as quickly as I would expect for a slightly trickier back pager. Good throughout, I should have guessed who the setter was just from the sheer quality of it. Missed on a Sunday still, let’s hope he graces our pages pretty frequently with more Toughies like this.

  18. Thanks to Jed and to Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, what a super puzzle. Not too difficult by Toughie standards, but very entertaining. I just needed the hints to parse 8d, very clever clue, and 26a, I had seen something similar previously, but can’t remember the details. I really liked 18d, but my favourite was 22a, great juxtaposition of ideas. Was 2*/4* for me.

  19. 4*/4*-hints appreciated…
    liked 26A (sailor in manacles?) and 13D (creative feat, getting bottle open initially — drink up) among others.

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