Toughie 2187 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2187

Toughie No 2187 by Dada

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hi all, and Happy Shrove Tuesday.  Tomorrow fast times begin, and today we have a Toughie that might have the speedsters reporting something similar (but no quoting times here please!).  As a happy plodder, I enjoyed stopping to smell the roses — not the 9a! — but still wouldn’t have batted an eyelid had this appeared on the back page.

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.



7a    Game over in love, heart not in it (8)
LACROSSE:  This ball game played with sticks is formed by taking a preposition and adverb meaning over and placing it in love (from the clue) without its middle letters (heart not in it)

9a    I run ad that’s contrived, a stinker? (6)
DURIAN:  I RUN AD is anagrammed (that’s contrived).  The stinker is a famously pungent fruit

10a   Catcher dropping back, it’s said to aid concentration (6)
MANTRA:  Something for catching trespassers missing its last letter (dropping back)

11a   Roughly Tuesday around noon — not fixed (8)
UNSTEADY:  An anagram of (roughly) TUESDAY around the abbreviation for noon

12a   Place for dental work where Americans get gas (7,7)
FILLING STATION:  This could describe somewhere holes in teeth are patched up, but is more usually a term for a petrol, er, place

15a   Structure made of timber, large amount (4)
RAFT:  Two definitions, the first a flat floating structure which may be made of logs

17a   Army touring India gets lift (5)
HOIST:  An army or great number placed around (touring) what India represents in radio communications

19a   As it happens, shocking potentially? (4)
LIVE:  Of a broadcast, transmitted or present at the time of occurrence, not from a recording.  Of a wire or device, connected to a source of electricity

20a   Red soft pants, underwear in bedroom cabinet (5,2,7)
CHEST OF DRAWERS:  The red is a famous Argentine revolutionary; he is followed by an anagram of (… pants) SOFT and then some underwear

23a   Something positive about religious teaching in Genesis (8)
CREATION:  A positively charged particle (CATION) (whose charge I remember by thinking of it as “pussytive”) around (about) a school religious lesson

25a   A number of drinks, roughly (6)
AROUND:  Bring together A from the clue and some drinks bought together for everyone in a group

27a   Goddess has first two vowels in order (6)
ATHENE:  The first two vowels in alphabetical order might be spelled out as (1,4,1)

28a   Lump coming up on skin, primarily (8)
SWELLING:  Coming up or issuing forth goes after (on) the first letter of (… primarily) skin



1d    Story that’s a laugh, written up (4)
SAGA:  A (from the clue) and a laugh, all reversed (written up, in a down answer)

2d    Dry area, land initially savage (6)
BRUTAL:  Put together dry (of wines), the abbreviation for area, and the first letter of (… initially) land

3d    Dandy ribbon tied by ear? (4)
BEAU:  This sounds like (… by ear) a ribbon perhaps, tied in a decorative looping knot 

4d    Seaport passed over from the south, partially visible (6)
ODESSA:  This port is partially visible in reverse (from the south) in the clue

5d    A new trailer on an important route? (8)
ARTERIAL:  A (from the clue) plus an anagram of (new) TRAILER

6d    Out, removed in a tight spell of bowling (6,4)
MAIDEN OVER:  An anagram of (out) REMOVED IN A

8d    Check  firm (7)
STAUNCH:  Two definitions: to check or stop the flowing of (especially blood), or an adjective meaning steadfast and loyal

13d   Having bagged a century, batting cleric is out (10)
INACCURATE:  Containing (having bagged) the A from the clue and an abbreviation for century, we have a two-letter word meaning batting and a member of the clergy

14d   Challenging  body (5)
STIFF:  Another double definition.  Tough or challenging, or a dead body

16d   Going to pot, green tea for hormonal problem? (8)
TEENAGER:  An anagram of (going to pot) GREEN TEA

18d   Cut cloth, one level raised (7)
TERRACE:  A fabric used for towelling without its final letter (cut) is followed by the one in cards etc.

21d   Poirot ultimately after material, something to go on? (6)
TOILET:  The last letter of (… ultimately) Poirot goes after a thin cotton or linen dress material

22d   Totally white tree (6)
WHOLLY:  The letter which could be an abbreviation for white (though I can’t find in the main dictionaries) plus a tree or bush with prickly leaves

24d   Running feature? (4)
NOSE:  A facial feature which can run

26d   Baseball team not entirely beaten, in effect (4)
NINE:  The number of players in a baseball team is lurking in part of (not entirely) the last words of the clue


Thanks to Dada.  My picks today are — no, not 24d! — 7a, 9a, 27a, 16d (for the wordplay; I can’t quite decide whether or not I like the definition, which is quirky and fun but a little derogatory) and 21d.  What topped your pancake  list?


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 2187

  1. What a delightful Toughie this was. Starting in the NW corner, the first three quarters progressed smoothly and steadily except for 7a, which took quite a while to parse. The final corner in the SW provided a 8d challenge but that fell too with some persistence.

    I’m not keen on the definition for 16a but, that apart, there was a great deal to like here. My crowded podium comprises 12a, 23a, 27a, 6d, 14d & 21d.

    Many thanks to Dada for a great puzzle and to Kitty for a great review.

  2. A double dose of Mr Halpern today. This was a little easier than his Guardian puzzle, but still took a bit of thought. Wasn’t entirely sure 15a was right, but I suppose it is usually a large amount, though not necessarily when combined with measures.

    Thanks to Kitty and Dada

  3. Very enjoyable and very reminiscent of Mr H’s Sunday puzzles in November and December. A little bit of head scratching required, including BRB-ing a couple of answers – 9a in particular, for completion at a gallop – **/****.

    Favourite – 16d – especially for the definition, suitably qualified with the ‘?’.

    Thanks to Dada and Kitty.

  4. Very enjoyable indeed and fairly gentle (though I had to verify that the ‘something positive’ in 23a was a real word).
    My ticks went to 7a, 6d, 14d and 24d with my favourite being 21d (because I can’t resist that sort of humour).
    Thanks to Dada and to Kitty for the review.

  5. What a delightful start to the Toughie week! Got 7a last but needed the blog for explanation. As above, slight issue with 16d but other than that, excellent. Favourite the simple but clever 27a. Thanks to setter for a great puzzle.

  6. Oh dear – I grumbled all the way through this one but don’t really have an excuse. It’s hardly Dada’s fault that I took ages to see how 7a worked, tried very hard to use ‘red’ as part of the anagram fodder for 20a, didn’t know the ‘positive’ in 23a, thought the wooden structure was a cart and am not a great fan of lavatorial humour.

    On reflection, perhaps it’s down to the fact that I just finished watching a TV programme which featured a ‘rather mature’ actress whom I suddenly realised is the LITTLE sister of a friend from years ago. That’s enough to give anyone a bad day!

    Thanks and apologies to Dada and likewise to our lovely Girl Tuesday whose blogs always put a smile on my face.

  7. Jane’s grumpitis must be contagious. Not too tricky but solved with reservations: 20a is not a cabinet, the definition for 16d is also terrible and the W in 22d? Enjoyment somewhat eroded.

    Many thanks to Dada & Kitty

    1. The BRB gives B/W as the abbreviation for Black and White so perhaps it’s not too much of a stretch to get from there to W = White? :unsure:

      1. Fair enough, but is that not akin to using ‘Air’ to clue A because of RAF?

    2. I suspect that W for White is a survivor from the apartheid era in South Africa. It’s not in the BRB but C for Coloured is there (specifically related to South Africa).

      1. Strange; Collins is often word for word with Chambers, but in this instance it is not listed in Collins at all.

    3. W for white is included in the “Chambers XWD Dictionary of Crossword Abbreviations”.

      1. But presumably not A for Air. You can however find A for ‘Orses in the Cockney alphabet.

      2. Really? So there is a Chambers crossword dictionary that includes entries not in the main dictionary? That’s a bit daft.

        Funny how sources differ. Tell me, does ‘Winter’ for W make an appearance?

        I used it once and got told off!

        1. It’s this:

          It’s out of print, but amazon often has cheap used copies. It’s useful because you can both find words that abbreviate to a given letter combination and look up words to get abbreviations for them. It does contain abbreviations that are not in the current editions of the major dictionaries, so a setter would probably want to check XWD’s offerings before using them in a puzzle.

          I’m afraid that it does not include W for winter.

  8. Poor handwriting made this take longer than it should have done. A glaring spelling mistake made 15ac impossible. Bunged in 23ac and 12d. An enjoyable Toughie but not really a back pager. Far too obscure. Ta to all

  9. Well I really enjoyed this. 9a was a new word for me, professor Google to the rescue and I hadn’t heard of the positive. As usual just completing a toughie makes me happy. favourites were 12a and 21d naughty but amusing. Many thanks to Dada and Kitty.

  10. Back from watching Keira Knightley produce an incredible variety of clothes from what looked like an attaché case in “Aftermath” only to then take them off……
    I finished this before I left and my last in was the pesky 4 letter 15a. I wanted “vast” which didn’t parse but when you think what a 15a can be made of from Kon Tiki’s balsa wood to something improvised from oil drums, I feel this definitely was not COTD!!

  11. Well, was i the only one to have a “shed load” of trouble with 15a? This timber structure was my FOI which caused progress to slow somewhat.

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