Toughie 2185 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2185

Toughie No 2185 by Hudson

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Yet again Hudson appears on a Thursday and yet again I found it to be a pleasant puzzle of average difficulty

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Jan Leeming met disheartened, gnarled old boxer (9,3)
GENTLEMAN JIM: An anagram (gnarled) of JAN LEEMING MT (MET disheartened) gives the nickname of a world heavyweight boxing champion (Mr Corbett) of the 1890s

9a    A politician getting invited to clear off, being something of a wash-out (7)
SHAMPOO: A and a Member of Parliament inside ‘Clear off!’

10a    Farage stripped off underwear at the first hint (7)
VESTIGE: An item of underwear + the first name of Mr Farage with the first and last letters removed

11a    They spied regularly in order to get promotion (4)
HYPE: Alternate letters of THEY SPIED

12a    Sweet tin disappointingly empty (5)
CANDY: A tin + the first and last letters of DISAPPOINTINGLY

13a    Return at eleven in carriage (4)
TAXI: A reversal of AT + the Roman numeral for eleven

16a    Having been riled, got one’s point across (7)
NEEDLED: This word for ‘riled’ or ‘irritated’ also means ‘sewn using a pointed object’

17a    Reserve sent out before push (4,3)
NEST EGG: A reserve (money saved) = an anagram (out) of SENT + ‘to push’ or ‘to encourage’

18a    ASAP he admitted smuggling: what an idiot! (7)

21a    In retreat, Hitler besieges tiny state up north, and one further south (7)
FLORIDA: A reversal of Hitler’s first name round the zip code for a state in NE USA gives the name of a state in SE USA

23a    Study in rush for report (4)
READ: A homophone of a rush (grass)

24a    When PM starts to make changes to Bill (5)
AMEND: PM here is post meridiem and it starts when the morning finishes

25a    Post-punk fan came by hotel (4)
GOTH: ‘Came by’ or ‘obtained’ + H (hotel)

28a    Art crying out, being the most enthusiastic (7)
KEENEST: 2 meanings: art crying (the old-fashioned second person singular of a verb meaning ‘to cry’/the most enthusiastic

29a    V. Lake’s frequent co-star wearing light rubber? (7)
ALADDIN: The actor A(lan) LADD who appeared in films in the 1940s with V(eronica) Lake + ‘wearing’ = someone who rubbed a lamp

30a    Melting pot (crucible) — Sheffield’s foremost — which contained British Steel (6,6)
PUBLIC SECTOR: An anagram (melting) of POT CRUCIBLE S (first letter of SHEFFIELD)


1d    Get to grips with Elgar for solving over two pages (7)
GRAPPLE: An anagram (for solving) of ELGAR round PP (two pages)

2d    After forty winks, start to exercise the back of the neck (4)
NAPE: ‘Forty winks’ + the first letter of EXERCISE

3d    I must slip out of bespoke tailored garment (7)
LEOTARD: An anagram (bespoke) of TALORED, i.e. TAILORED minus the letter I

4d    Propose suppressing noise when taken up residence (5,2)
MOVED IN: ‘To propose’ + a loud noise

5d    Dandy Nichols’s first husband swallowing arsenic (4)
NASH: The surname of an 18th century dandy = the first letter of NICHOLS and H (husband) round the atomic symbol for arsenic

6d    I find a partner to embrace sex and reproduce (7)
IMITATE: I + ‘find a partner’ round ‘sex’ = ‘to reproduce’ or ‘to copy’

7d    In Sahara, steak is getting cooked without any fat (2,4,2,1,4)
THIN AS A RAKE: An anagram (getting cooked) of IN SAHARA STEAK

8d    Singer — perhaps 16 — to make the top? (6,7)
SEWING MACHINE: A cryptic definition for a device that may have been made by the Singer Company

14d    Shiny, small vegetable (5)
SLEEK: S (small) + a vegetable (and it’s March 1st tomorrow)

15d    Tie, top hat de rigueur here once a year (5)
ASCOT: A type of necktie. It is also a racecourse that holds a prestigious annual meeting where punters wear top hats

19d    Gold coating covers table (7)
PLATEAU: A coating (often of silver) + the atomic symbol for gold

20d    Popular‘s annual inspection I accommodated in the last month (7)
DEMOTIC: An annual inspection of a motor vehicle and I inside the last month of the year

21d    Trump‘s half-time meat pie? (7)
FANFARE: Trump or a flourish of trumpets. When split (3,4) it might suggest food that a football supporter might eat at half-time

22d    Tidy batting line-up (2,5)
IN ORDER: ‘Batting’ + a list of batsmen in sequence

26d    Meat for sale, no end of mutton (4)
VEAL: ‘For sale’ or ‘open to bribery’ with the letter N (last letter of MUTTON) removed

27d    Unsightly lump fish brought up, line cut (4)
WART: A reversal of ‘to fish by dragging a net along the seabed’ with the letter L (line) removed


20 comments on “Toughie 2185

  1. Not particularly difficult but a most entertaining crossword. I am not alone in thinking that the definition in 29a (my Across favourite) should be on the list for ‘definition of the year’ – my Down favourite was 21d, although there are a long list of clues with honourable mention as runners-up.

    Thanks to Hudson for the fun and Bufo for the blog

  2. A fairly gentle Toughie (luckily I knew the old boxer) but with some cracking clues. I particularly liked the 9a wash-out, the 8d Singer and the 21d half-time meat pie but my favourite is the brilliant light rubber (29a).
    We’ve had three first-rate puzzles so far and with Sparks scheduled for tomorrow it looks like being a classic Toughie week.
    Thanks to Hudson for the enjoyment and to Bufo for the write-up.

  3. I very much enjoyed the puzzle, but I came to grief on the very clues that are crypticsue’s and Gazza’s favourites. The Lake reference meant nothing to me and my Google search did not give me any joy – but in retrospect, the light rubber was wonderful. Nor had I any idea that football supporters partook in such epicurean delights at half time. (The other entry I did not get, and absolutely should have, is the unsightly bump in 27d). Many thanks to Hudson and Bufo.

  4. Thanks to Hudson and to Bufo for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, I thought (wrongly) at one point, that it might be a pangram. Managed most of it, but ran out of steam in the SE corner. Needed the hints for 21’s & 8d, and also to parse 28&29a and 8&21d. I liked 10a & 22d,but my favourite was 9a. Was 4*/3* for me.

  5. I enjoyed this a lot. Some great penny drops, singer and light rubber, and lovely surfaces that beautifully intertwine definition and wordplay. Many thanks Hudson, and thanks bufo

  6. A very enjoyable solve in which I particularly liked the anagram indicator in 3d and the appropriate inclusion of Sheffield in the wordplay for 30a.
    Having said that, my top two were actually 24& 29a.

    Many thanks, Hudson, thanks also to Bufo for the blog.
    PS 20d was new to me – must try to remember it for next time.

  7. Today Jane has commented before me so I can return yesterday’s compliment and say “ditto” even down to my top two and not knowing 20d. I would only add that I found the top half much easier than the bottom.

    Many thanks to Hudson and to Bufo.

  8. I’m in two minds about this crossword which I found rather twee. Did no one else have reservations? Throwing Jan Leeming and Dandy Nichols to the wordsmith wolves for instance was clever but, I felt, rather infantile – albeit a very clever infant!

    1. Dear JB. You must be joking! Such wonderful misdirection is the epitome of cryptic crossword clues. I thought this was an elegant and amusing crossword with nods to the old and the new, to the sporting and to the prosaic. Many thanks Hudson ( and Bufo for the explanation of “ige” in 10a where I clearly failed the doh moment)

      1. I started to laugh and then to shudder. I’m more than old enough to remember Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd and Alf Garnett and Dandy Nichols etc, etc but somehow the joke wore thin. Sorry!

  9. Quickly dismissed Victoria Lake in 29a and searched for the right actress to discover who she played with.
    This kind of construction is not new but always a pleasure to solve.
    Wasn’t keen on 21d though.
    Favourite 8d.
    Thanks to Hudson and to Bufo.

  10. I found this lots of fun. Was going merrily along, then stopped dead with a few to go, all in the south. It’s a brilliant clue, but I had no idea who V Lake might be. That, 21d and 27d (d’oh! and grr! Glad I have Tony for company there!) kept me from finishing unaided.

    Thanks Hudson and Bufo.

  11. The first ever Toughie I’ve managed to solve without needing hints! (And only the week after my first-ever solo back-pager.) Thank you so much, Hudson — that was great fun.

    And thanks to Bufo for explaining the ones I’d got right but wasn’t quite sure of.

    I like this grid design, too: if you get 1a and 7d early on, you get lots of handy first letters.

    I hadn’t heard of V Lake or her co-star, but a quick web search threw up her Wikipedia page (Fortunately, my search engine of choice is DuckDuckGo, which I see from Tony’s comment does rather better than Google in this respect.) and — like so many others here — love that clue.

    Like Jane and Rabbit Dave, I didn’t know 20d, and I’m happy to learn it.

    The singer, the half-time pie, and the PM starts also made me smile, but the light rubber is definitely my favourite clue of the day, and possibly of the year.

  12. So nearly finished it but sadly couldn’t see 27d, so thank you Bufo!
    A highly enjoyable puzzle for me and well worth the time spent on it – although I suspect I took a lot longer than many others here.
    24a and 29a brought a real smile to my face, along with 9a.
    Many thanks to Hudson and Bufo

  13. A good puzzle that was pretty straightforward, though I did struggle a little in the SE corner. I liked the particularly devious definition at 8d, that is when I eventually spotted it.

  14. As usual I’m one of the last to comment mainly due to me nodding off last night when I was going great guns. Not that this was boring, it was thoroughly entertaining. Just enough checkers to enable me to tease out the more difficult clues. 29a is brilliant. Many thanks to Hudson and Bufo for parsing 28a for me.

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