Toughie 2191 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2191

Toughie No 2191 by Silvanus

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hello!  As March marches on, so does Silvanus: he’s back with another Tuesday Toughie.  My experience of it was pretty much identical to that with his last, so if you enjoyed that one, then this comes recommended.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the (Sorry — I’ve given up answers for Lent) buttons.  As usual you may click on pictures to enlarge them or uncover hidden extras.



1a    Ahead of time, borders of magnolia escape disease that’s spotted in gardens (8)
LADYBIRD:  Before (ahead of) a word, from Cockney rhyming slang, for time (in prison), we have a disease or ailment in which the outer letters of (borders of) magnolia (maLADY) are missing (escape)

5a    Force of habit wearing uniform? On the contrary (6)
DURESS:  Habit or clothing containing (wearing … on the contrary) the letter encoded in radio communications by uniform

9a    Prices broken by hollow iron statuettes (9)
FIGURINES:  Some prices or values having had inserted (broken by) iron without its inner letters (hollow)

11a   Sauce of political journalist to ignore leader of Nationalists (5)
PESTO:  Political journalist and presenter Robert missing (to ignore) the first letter of (leader of) Nationalists

12a   Energy during line dance to express oneself without restraint (3,3)
LET RIP:  The single-letter symbol for energy in between (during) the abbreviation for line and a word meaning to dance with quick light steps

13a   Main Conservative interrupts Telegraph smart alec (8)
WISEACRE:  The salty main plus an abbreviation for Conservative goes inside (interrupts) a synonym of telegraph (not the paper: the capital T is there only to mislead!)

15a   Worried Azeri on ship hugs child exhibiting illness (13)
SCHIZOPHRENIA:  An anagram of (worried) AZERI ON SHIP contains (hugs) an abbreviation for child

18a   Liberal making bow, it shows progress in education (8,5)
LEARNING CURVE:  Combine an abbreviation for Liberal, making (money), and bow or bend

22a   European native bird, one from the East, it’s said (8)
CROATIAN:  A homophone (… it’s said) of a corvid and someone from the East (the latter surely being what the setter Snape/Eccles has called a homogroan)

23a   Advanced technology initially installed in revolutionary commercial vehicles? (6)
SATNAV:  First letters of (… initially) advanced technology inserted into (installed in) the reversal of (revolutionary) some light vehicles used in transporting goods.  Since the whole clue is both wordplay and definition, this is an all-in-one (&lit) clue

26a   Good few periodically working in concert hall (5)
ODEON:  Alternate letters of (… periodically) the first two words of the clue are followed by a short word meaning working or functioning.  The concert hall could be ancient or modern

27a   Retired neighbours’ lid off a dustbin covers up flowers (9)
DAFFODILS:  The combination of several words of the clue, reversed (retired), contains (covers up) these bloomers

28a   Busy Monday for energetic individual (6)
DYNAMO:  An anagram of (busy) MONDAY

29a   See, one’s awfully excited to exercise (6,2)
LOOSEN UP:  Join together an old/poetic word for see (2), an anagram (… awfully) of ONE’S, and “in an excited state”



1d    Fifty selfies oddly lacking any vitality (8)
LIFELESS:  The Roman numeral fifty is followed by an anagram (… oddly) of SELFIES

2d    Adding sixty after subtracting every other number (5)
DIGIT:  Find this number from the first two words of the clue after removing alternate letters (after subtracting every other)

3d    Composer and famous songwriter shortly going to Australia (7)
BERLIOZ:  Take most of (… shortly) an American songwriter and add an informal word for Australia to find a French Romantic composer

4d    Female gets cut from straightforward foul (4)
RANK:  A word meaning candid from which the abbreviation for female is removed (gets cut)

6d    Very many met up as arranged, having space (7)
UMPTEEN:  MET UP anagrammed (as arranged), with a printer’s space to finish

7d    Comfortable place to relax, say, I reach when tipsy (4,5)
EASY CHAIR:  An anagram (… when tipsy) of SAY I REACH

8d    Nick runs after player achieving a touchdown? (6)
SCORER:  Nick or notch, with the cricketing abbreviation for runs going after

10d   Irish aboard train causing trouble (8)
STIRRING:  The abbreviation for Irish inserted into (aboard) a train or series

14d   Ace under pressure to stop upset exhausts Nadal perhaps (8)
SPANIARD:  The cards abbreviation for ace goes after (under, in a down answer) the physics symbol for pressure; this combination is to go inside (to stop) the reversal of (upset) a synonym of exhausts

16d   Surprised expression over small number originally making annual celebration (9)
HALLOWEEN:  An interjection expressing surprise (5) before (over, in a down answer) a Scottish word for small followed by the first letter (originally) of number

17d   Brings food to table in French porcelain? (6,2)
SERVES UP:  The question mark lets you know that something might be afoot.  Here, we have the wordplay in the answer, the first word of which is a reversal (indicated by the second) of a type of French porcelain (SERVES reversed (up) = Sèvres)

19d   Old general’s command essentially beginning to end, maybe (7)
ANTONYM:  A Roman general plus the central letter (… essentially) of command

20d   Firm is defending clumsy window cleaner (7)
CHAMOIS:  An abbreviation for a company and IS from the clue containing (defending) clumsy (of acting, say)

21d   Bill needs Guy to provide agreement (6)
ACCORD:  These chaps are not chaps at all.  Bill is an account, abbreviated.  Guy is a rope.  Put them together to provide agreement or harmony

24d   Sky News to be positioned outside Scottish town (5)
NAIRN:  Sky or atmosphere has two copies of the abbreviation for new (news) positioned outside/around it

25d   Shock description of cafe from those withholding tips (4)
AFRO:  This type of shock is styled from words four and five of the clue, those words being without either of their end letters (withholding tips)


Thanks to Silvanus.  I thought the all-in-one 23a was very clever, and also really liked 13a, 28a, 2d and 25d.  Which did you dig?


These hints and tips are for anyone who might find them of use.  Asides and illustrations are to add a personal perspective and some colour.  The forum is for everyone.  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.


12 comments on “Toughie 2191

  1. Very pleasant and enjoyable but I think this was a little tougher than Silvanus’s last Toughie 5 weeks ago. However, still finished at a Toughie gallop (just) – **/****.

    Favourite 17d.

    Thanks to Silvanus and Kitty.

  2. Very enjoyable puzzle with smooth surfaces throughout, as always with Silvanus. Thanks to him and Kitty.
    I liked 1a, 27a, 14d and 17d but my favourite (for the clever attempt to mislead with ‘beginning to end’) was 19d.
    [I’ve just noticed that none of my picks match any of Kitty’s which must indicate a top-notch puzzle with the goodies well distributed.]

  3. Very nice Silvanus, thank you. Not overly tough, but enjoyable. 19d was my pick too. Did not know the French porcelain @17d, one to remember. Tincy reservations with the surface of 9a, but only just worth mentioning.

    Thanks Silvanus and Kitty for the blog. 1a is illustrated with a beautiful picture.

  4. Super-smooth surfaces.
    Precise and accurate wordplay.
    Lovely balance of clue types.
    Nice touches of humour.
    Neat misdirections.

    When those ingredients are combined, the result is that almost every one of the clues on my page ended up ticked, thereby reinforcing Gazza’s opinion that this was a top-notch puzzle.

    My last to parse was 17d – very clever!

    12a amused me with its two possible interpretations of the same answer which fit the definition, one of which is rather coarse.

    My double-ticked clues were: the afore-mentioned 12a & 17d plus 22a (a double homophone which actually works for me!), 23a (a splendid all-in-one), 27a (a very well-hidden rekrul), 2d & 20d.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the entertainment and to Kitty for the review.

  5. I’m a huge fan of this setter’s puzzles, particularly of the attention he pays to surface reads.
    Thoroughly enjoyed this one and ticked plenty of clues. From amongst those, I’d single out 1,12,22&27a plus 17&25d for special mention. Loved the 22a homophone and the cunning reverse lurker in 27a.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the pleasure and to our 28a Girl Tuesday for another excellent blog.

  6. I still find all toughies tough, even the easier ones. I needed help parsing 23a and 17d, is never heard of the porcelain, but I stuck them in anyway. I found this crossword very clever and amusing. Too many favourites to mention but if I had to plump for one it would be 19d. Many thanks to Silvanus and to Kitty for explanations.

  7. Solved with only one eye. The other was watching the Cheltenham Festival. I have too admit that a lot of answers were bunged in with no idea what the wordplay might be. I have a full grid but don’t know why. 11 and 27ac for instance had to be what they were. One more televised race and then open up. Crib night tonight so I will probably be parsing this toughie tomorrow lunchtime. Thanks to Silvanus and thanks in advance to Kitty. I am sure I will need some assistance tomorrow

  8. Many thanks to Kitty for her excellent decryptions and delightful choice of illustrations. Could it be that the chair for 7d is actually of normal size and the cat is enormous?!

    Thanks of course too to everyone who tackled the puzzle, especially to those who have taken the trouble to comment, it’s always interesting to read which particular clues are liked the most.

  9. Middling difficulty wise, with a few going in on a hunch really at the start. Then I suspect I got on the setter’s wavelength and made steady if not speedy progress. Engaging, enjoyable, a good start to the Toughie week.

  10. Thanks to Silvanus and to Kitty for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, which I found quite tricky to parse some of the answers, 1, 11&22a and 14&19d. Very good surfaces throughout, most enjoyable. Favourite was 6d. Was 4*/3* for me.

  11. Finally completed today after visitors interrupted me last night. Some excellent clues here with a good array of different types: my faves were 23a, 19d and especially 17d.

    Belated thanks to Kitty and Silvanus.

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