Toughie 2193 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2193

Toughie No 2193 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

The SW corner caused the only real hold-up in what was a perfectly acceptable puzzle.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Civilisation’s plunging into frenzied … (12)
INCANDESCENT: An old civilisation of South America + a plunging (progress downwards)

9a    … violence and dreadful criminality — resistance is initially futile (9)
MILITANCY: An anagram (dreadful) of CIMINALITY, i.e. CRIMINALITY less R (first letter of RESISTANCE)

10a    Passage where ‘I will’ may be heard? (5)
AISLE: A homophone of the shortened form of ‘I will’. The whole clue can function as the definition

11a    Sister vicious at heart going to ambassador (6)
NUNCIO: A sister in a religious order + the middle three letters of VICIOUS

12a    Single housing worker becomes redundant (8)
UNWANTED: ‘Single (having no spouse)’round (housing) a worker of the insect variety

13a    They leave EU next, possibly (6)
EXEUNT: An anagram (possibly) of EU NEXT

15a    Boundary stall leads to argument (8)
HEDGEROW: ‘To stall’ + an argument

18a    Best bit of acrobat’s performance? (4,4)
HIGH SPOT: I filled in the only thing I could think of that fitted which fortunately means the most memorable or exciting moment. I don’t really see where the acrobat comes into it (unless it’s a tightrope walker)

19a    Counter sailor with a short profanity (6)
ABACUS: A device used for counting = an able-bodied seaman + A + a profanity with the last letter removed

21a    Fully back service when recruiting Newton — then see (8)
ENTIRELY: A reversal of a religious ceremonial form or observance round N (Newton) + a see or bishopric in East Anglia

23a    Resort theatre with character (6)
REPAIR: ‘To resort’ = repertory theatre + character

26a    After Christ embraces people, there’s change (5)
AMEND: An abbreviation used in dates to mean ‘after Christ was born’ goes round people

27a    Ponies fit to travel, notwithstanding … (2,5,2)
IN SPITE OF: An anagram (to travel) of PONIES FIT

28a    … cowboy’s mount, Lucky, being inclined to recklessness (7-5)
TRIGGER-HAPPY: A horse owned by the cowboy Roy Rogers + ‘lucky’


1d    Superb actor in variety leaving commentaries for ‘Review’ (7)
IMMENSE: An anagram (for review) of MMENIES, i.e. COMMENTARIES minus the various (in variety) letters in ACTOR

2d    Mark, look, steer’s corralled (5)
COLON: A punctuation mark = ‘Look!’ inside ‘to steer’

3d    Some of life’s essentials — nothing French — included in crazy stunt (9)
NUTRIENTS: The French word for ‘nothing’ inside an anagram (CRAZY) of STUNT

4d    It can be scorching in Estonia, from time to time (4)
ETNA: Alternate letters of ESTONIA

5d    Pepper plants ‘Desire’, putting sticks around (8)
CAYENNES: Pepper plants (named after a place in French Guiana) = ‘a desire’ inside sticks (often used to support plants in the garden)

6d    Ruminant featured in many a landscape (5)

7d    Mysterious store detective thrown out — not vetted unfortunately (8)
ESOTERIC: An anagram (thrown out) of SORECTIE, i.e. STORE DETECTIVE minus the various (unfortunately) letters in VETTED. I must admit that this kind of subtractive anagram clue has never been a favourite of mine

8d    Tom’s call is about a day somewhere grassy (6)
MEADOW: A noise made a tom (male cat) round A D (day)

14d    Most powerful, content only for some years (8)
EIGHTIES: Remove the first and last letters from a word meaning ‘most powerful’ to get a particular decade

16d    Moving north, husband and dad start to breed whopping rhubarb (9)
GIBBERISH: A reversal (moving north) of H (husband), a father, the first letter of BREED, and a word meaning ‘whopping’. That gives you rhubarb or meaningless talk

17d    Fillet / going off? (8)
MOULDING: 2 meanings: an ornamented edging such as a fillet/becoming covered with small fungi (which could mean that a foodstuff is going off)

18d    A slice of brioche, eh? Awesome in Bray (6)

20d    Trump in South Carolina, and heading for York, dishevelled (7)
SCRUFFY: ‘To trump in a card game’ inside the zip code for South Carolina and the first letter of YORK

22d    Primness when undressing is comparatively unsophisticated (5)
RUDER: Remove the first and last letters from a word meaning ‘primness’ or ‘priggery’

24d    Squandered arrival time thus? (3,2)
ATE UP: The answer provides a cryptic indication for ‘arrival time’ in that the first word is an apt abbreviation and the second word is a reversal indicator

25d    One echoing 10, like ‘Hoy!’ (4)
ISLE: A homophone of the answer to 10 across. Hoy is to be found in the Orkneys

Another hard afternoon watching Cheltenham coming up. I’ve made a modest profit on the first two days and I’m hoping that the big win will come today. I’m ever the optimist


15 comments on “Toughie 2193

  1. I’m not a fan of those subtractive anagrams either and to have three (even though one only removes one letter) in one crossword did make me grumpy but not quite 1a

    An extremely short-lived experience – I spent more time being grumpy than solving – with no particular favourites

    Thanks to Firefly and Bufo

    1. I think the deletion indicator might have been a little difficult for me. Does being futile equate to being subtracted? I scrached my head on that one, as the answer word didn’t readily square with the definition.

      Never mind. A gentle solve otherwise I thought, and indeed the back-pager was harder!

  2. My favourites were the 1a 9a pair but I also confess a liking for 27a. Thanks to all

  3. Another day when the Toughie was less hard than the back-pager. I found it reasonably challenging and enjoyable.

    There were a couple of animal noises to unravel. In spite of the phrase “happy go lucky”, I’m not convinced that the former is a synonym of the latter. 24d was my last one in, and the topical 13a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Firefly and to Bufo.

  4. It’s always to solve a TT but did anyone else waste a lot of time thinking that 1a was an anagram of plunging into?!

    1. I did spend a bit of time initially “plunging into” 1a, but fortunately I got 4d early on which gave me a checking E thereby stopping me going down that road.

  5. Strange but whilst I can readily accept Mr T’s stretched definitions I often find myself checking the BRB to verify those from this setter. I’m also another who isn’t keen on subtractive anagrams and couldn’t quite accept the definition of 18a.

    Think 26a was my favourite today.

    Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for the blog.

  6. Please tell me that I’m missing something in 9 across. I make it a nine letter word from a ten letter anagram. Criminality has eleven letters – take away the R – that makes ciminality; ten letters.
    Despite that, I enjoyed the challenge, but most definitely found it more difficult than today’s back pager. Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for some much needed parsing.

    1. You have to take away the r for resistance and i for is initially.
      We, like bufo couldn’t understand the acrobat in 18a.

      1. I’m a bit puzzled by people’s problem with 18ac. Chambers and Collins are both clear that an acrobat can perform on a trapeze or a tightrope – hence the first word of the answer. The second word can mean both “place” and “performance”. There you go!

        Regards to all

      2. The ‘acro’ part is Greek for ‘high’, as in Acropolis (high city) and acrophobia (fear of heights).

  7. In 9a, I think that R and I (the first letters of ‘resistance’ and ‘is’) have to come out. If you just take out R, you have ten letters to solve a nine letter clue.

    1. Likewise – thank you Mac also – I’d completely overlooked that little ‘is’. :-)

  8. About average difficulty for a Toughie here, and engaging throughout. I do like subtractive anagrams, but thought we perhaps had one too many. 18ac looked fine, it not being unknown for an acrobat to perform at a height. Last in was 24d that completely befuddled me on solving, but is actually very clever in retrospect.

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