Toughie 2201 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2201

Toughie No 2201 by Hudson

Hints and tips by Bufo

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

Another interesting puzzle from Hudson that caused some head-scratching both when solving a few of the clues and justifying some answers. I noticed early on that it was likely to be a pangram but then forgot about it until I’d finished.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    During shocking seance, saw winged creatures (6,5)
CANADA GEESE: A saw (saying or proverb) goes inside an anagram (shocking) of SEANCE to give common waterfowl often considered as a pest species

8a    Making a comeback in Hilversum, a darts one-time visionary legend (11)

11a    King Alfred summarily returned fire (4)
FLAK: A reversal of an abbreviation for ‘king’ and a diminutive form of the name Alfred

12a    Nick‘s girl taking over (4)
GAOL: Nick or prison = a girl round O (over)

13a    A ruble’s minted here (7)
BELARUS: An anagram (minted) of A RUBLE’S gives a country that uses the ruble as its currency. A quick google suggests that the coins are actually minted in Lithuania and either Slovakia or the Czech Republic and so the clue is not strictly correct

15a    Rome presidential palace facade scratched for a laugh (4,3)
HOLY SEE: This is the Roman Catholic bishopric of Rome. Take the name of the palace that is the official residence of the President of France and replace the first letter (facade) by a two-letter interjection denoting laughter

16a    Charming English line before the end of Tati movie? (5)
ELFIN: Abbreviations for ‘English’ and ‘line’ are followed by the French word for ‘end’

17a    Best if Tim dropped a stone (4)
OPAL: Remove TIM from a 7-letter word meaning ‘best’ [optimal] to get a gemstone

18a    Grand Exhibition’s first in, like, yonks (4)
AGES: G (grand) and the first letter of EXHIBITION inside ‘like’

19a    The deep old container filled with earth initially (5)
OCEAN: O (old) + a container round the first letter of EARTH

21a    Dip one’s biccy — to be annoying — in port (7)
DUNKIRK: ‘To dip one’s biscuit in one’s tea’ + ‘to be annoying’

22a    What Luis Suarez did repeatedly, incurring universal coverage on the streets? (7)
BITUMEN: Luis Suarez is a Uruguayan footballer. Take something unsportsmanlike that Google tells me he did on at least three occasions (3,3) and put it round U (universal). The answer is a tarry substance used to surface roads

23a    Failed when Liberal Democrat leaves in recess (4)
APSE: Remove L (Liberal) and D (Democrat) from a 6-letter word meaning ‘failed’ to give a recess in a church

26a    Answer unknown in the setter’s puzzle? (4)
MAZE: A (answer) and a letter representing an unknown quantity inside a pronoun referring to the setter

27a    Megastore flogged turkey hamper (not suitable for everyone) (11)
HYPERMARKET: An anagram (flogged) of TRKEY HAMPER, i.e. TURKEY HAMPER less U (suitable for everyone)

28a    Decent papers pulling back from description of Trump as ‘competent’ (11)
PRESENTABLE: Trump’s office minus an abbreviation denoting ‘identification’ + ‘competent’


2d    Brief, reassuring text sent in a state of frenzy (4)
AMOK: When split (2,2) this could be a text message that informs the recipient that you’re fine

3d    Age-old dissident question upsetting Brussels? (7)
ANTIQUE: ‘Dissident’ + Q (question) + a reversal of the European Union (Brussels)

4d    A pair of aces over jack, ten? It’s quite often seen in loo (4)
AJAX: A pair of aces round ‘jack’ + the Roman numeral for ten = a brand of household cleaning products that can be used in the loo

5d    Cunning goalie’s best moment coming up (7)
EVASION: Cunning or the art of elusion. Reverse it and get the number one and a successful attempt to stop the ball going into the net

6d    Wallop son on ear (4)
SLUG: S (son) + an informal term for the ear

7d    Flintoff, Broad waywardly defending area where players hope to get runs (3-8)

8d    His Nirvana licks originally remixed, getting digital enhancement (4,7)
NAIL VARNISH: An anagram (remixed) of HIS NIRVANA L (first letter of LICKS)

9d    What’s needed in a wurst-case scenario? (7,4)
SAUSAGE MEAT: A cryptic definition for the substance that is encased by a skin when making wurst

10d    Pulp, Genesis, Blur vocalist (5,6)
BLUES SINGER: An anagram (pulp) of GENESIS BLUR

14d    Kebab mix binned — it’s very oily (5)
SLICK: Take a 9-letter type of kebab from Russia [shashlick] and remove a 4-letter word for a mixed dish of small pieces of meat and vegetables. That gives a film of spilt oil. I needed to research the kebab because I’ve never heard of it

15d    Cover simmering bhaji (5)
HIJAB: A covering for a Muslim woman’s hair and neck is an anagram (simmering) of BHAJI

19d    Underworld figure turning up to take action against hospital professional (7)
ORPHEUS: The name of a figure in classical mythology associated with the underworld is a reversal of ‘to take legal action’, H (hospital), and a professional

20d    Uplifting song in support of Farage commonly seen in the country (7)
NIGERIA: A shortened form of Mr Farage’s first name + a reversal of a song = an African country

24d    Observer regularly censored very weird letters (4)
EYER: Alternate letters of VERY WEIRD

25d    Warning as hen party’s made up? (4)
OMEN: At a hen party there are zero males

26d    Daughter failing to make gong for dinner? (4)
MEAL: Remove D (daughter) from a gong (an award)

I thought it was an enjoyable puzzle even though I needed Mr Google’s help a couple of times


20 comments on “Toughie 2201

  1. Terrific puzzle providing loads of laughs – thanks to Hudson and Bufo.
    I have a veritable rash of ticks on my printout – 11a, 16a, 22a, 28a, 5d and 7d. My favourite (for the brilliant “wurst-case scenario”) is 9d.

  2. I’m not familiar with Hudson’s puzzles … was this his best so far or was this his “wurst”?

    Liked all the jokes!

  3. Very very enjoyable. A great lurker and a very good lurker. I thought it on the easier side of Toughie territory. I am off to the other side to recommend it

  4. Didn’t realise that 4d is still available but apparently one can purchase it gift-wrapped from Amazon! Sounds like the sort of gift that MP would be likely to get for St. Sharon!
    I wasn’t overly keen on 24d and was grateful to Bufo for doing the investi-googling about Luis Suarez.

    Thanks to Hudson and to Bufo for the blog.

    1. That comes under ‘shopping’ Jane. Nothing to do with me. As for the presents. I bought Saint Sharon a swing top waste bin the first Christmas we spent together. She gets a birthday present in July of bin liners to use with the bin and the same every Christmas Day. Lucky girl. Occasionally I surprise her with very good tickets to see Bob Dylan or Van Morrison. I’m all heart me.

  5. I enjoyed this very much, and I found it a good deal easier than yesterday’s toughie. I missed it being a pangram (as usual). I would have been ashamed had I not found the winged creatures in 1a, but fortunately I did early on, and I was off and running. Many thanks to Hudson and Bufo.

  6. I enjoyed this immensely. Lots of good clues and within my solving range. Of the many, 16a and 23a with top spot to 7d , where I really wanted boundary for the second word – great lurker..

  7. Loved this one. No hints needed in **/*** for me, but the enjoyment factor far higher. Some very clever clues which made me laugh, with 8,9 and 10d my favourites.
    Thanks all

  8. Took a little bit of time to start it off but it soon came together with plenty to smile about along the way.

    Thanks to Hudson and Bufo

  9. Solved on a train journey so I had to hope I’d remembered the kebab correctly.

    Lovely crossword, shame about the double unched grid

  10. We had the right answer for 14d (well it does have 4 checkers) but did not understand the parsing. The other major holdup was with 17a where we thought the definition was ‘Best’ which did not help at all. We did say “Pesky 4 letter answers” several times and there are 12 of them in this grid. Lots of laugh out loud clues and an enjoyable solve. We did spot the pangram.
    Thanks Hudson and Bufo.

  11. Lovely stuff. Plenty of head-scratching and penny-drop moments to keep us happy. Favourites were 23a and 11a. 3*/4*.

    Thanks to Bufo and Hudson.

  12. I had a go at this after reading MP’s comments on the back pager. Naturally I was on the lookout for the lurkers, the first of which I spotted immediately (8a), the second, which I thought was brilliant took a little longer. Would I have got them without the forewarning…? Anyway I enjoyed the rest of the puzzle, though needed a few hints, especially for the parsing. I particularly liked 9d, 22a and 13a.
    Thanks to Bufo for the explanations and to Hudson for a clever puzzle

    1. Thanks for commenting Stephen. I really felt that this was a good step up puzzle that would give confidence to those gaining experience through the back page blogs. It had a lot of humour too. I enjoyed the solve.

    2. I think a swing top bin is a much safer option than a new hoover, which is what I carefully chose for that important birthday present . Less damage when it gets wrapped round a dozing cruciverbalist !!

  13. Unbelievably I finished this before the blog opened and then had to go out, just got back. Needed help to parse 15a, 17a and 14d but found it easier than some rated **. Favourite was 9d. Thanks to Hudson and Bufo. I’ll try the inside back pager now.

  14. Great fun. My first one in, perhaps not surprisingly, was 4d which put me on pangram alert. Didn’t help me in the solve though. I needed bufo’s excellent hints for the last couple, which in retrospect I should have seen.
    I had a preview of 10d in Twitter.

    Many thanks Hudson!

  15. Oh dear! Doing this a day late again and found the puzzle profoundly irritating and twee. As I seem to be the only one to feel this way I must be getting ( or more likely got) old!

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