Toughie 2203 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2203

Toughie No 2203 by Jed

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hi everyone.  Jed brings us another very enjoyable Toughie, which took me some time to get started on but then filled up steadily from the bottom, finishing with a little head-scratching in the NE.  If I detected a slight political flavour in some of the clues, I think I’ll not add further comment!

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the Every day is April Fools Day … buttons.  As usual you may click on pictures to enlarge them.



7a    Burn is second degree, something that fascinates many (8)
CHARISMA:  Concatenate burn or scorch, IS from the clue, and a postgraduate degree (which would normally follow a first degree)

9a    In a way, British in Europe, for example (6)
ABROAD:  In between A (from the clue) and a way or thoroughfare goes an abbreviation for British

10a   What’s put out by cheat, ultimately, is collection of lies, perhaps (6)
TISSUE:  Something put out or emitted next to (by) the last letter of (… ultimately) cheat

11a   New food stored in crucial state (8)
KENTUCKY:  The abbreviation for new and a dated informal word for food together go inside crucial or central

12a   Short acceptance speech makes us tense (7,7)
PRESENT PERFECT:  This grammatical tense might also be a concise way of expressing that a gift was ideal

15a   Articulated negative experience (4)
KNOW:  Spoken aloud (articulated), the answer sounds like a negative

17a   Form of entertainment found in lots of bars (5)
MUSIC:  A cryptic definition of a melodious form of entertainment

19a   Musician has little time for island’s capital (4)
TUBA:  A Caribbean island country has the letter used as the symbol for time (little time) in place of (for) its leading capital letter.  My last in, perhaps because I wasn’t looking for an instrument, but of course the player might be referred to metonymically by the name of the instrument

20a   Female easily carried instrument in black box (6,8)
FLIGHT RECORDER:  Join together the abbreviation for female, easily carried (at least regarding weight), and a simple wind instrument

23a   Moreover, holding job, is unlikely to drift (8)
ANCHORED:  A conjunction meaning moreover containing (holding) a tedious or routine task

25a   Variety of alpine one found in mountainous region (6)
NEPALI:  An anagram of (variety of) ALPINE

27a   Part of vessel occupied by navy, in essence (6)
KERNEL:  Part of a ship containing (occupied by) the abbreviation for the Royal Navy

28a   Newly produced play, with Act I being exceptional (8)
ATYPICAL:  An anagram of (newly produced) PLAY with ACT I



1d    Language that is endlessly put together (4)
THAI:  The second and third words of the clue without their final letters (endlessly) are put together

2d    Conservative becomes rebel in desperate times (6)
CRISES:  An abbreviation for Conservative plus a verb meaning revolts

3d    Setter’s sound craft (4)
BARK:  The noise the canine type of setter makes is also a type of ship or boat

4d    European writer supported by royalty in style (6)
MANNER:  A German Nobel prize-winning writer is followed by (supported by, in a down answer) the two letters which stand for our current queen

5d    Stick in a payment for building that may be constructed on premises (8)
ARGUMENT:  Stick or glue inside A (from the clue) and payment for use of a property

6d    Assess English piece of furniture as appropriate for sale (10)
MARKETABLE:  Join together assess or grade, an abbreviation for English, and an item of furniture

8d    Bone in behind, centre of rump (7)
STERNUM:  The hind part of a vessel is followed by the middle letters of (centre of) rump

13d   Digital input for band after engagement’s arranged? (4,6)
RING FINGER:  A cute cryptic definition of the digit on which one would normally wear an engagement or wedding band

14d   Person still being portrayed as problem (5)
POSER:  Two definitions, the first cryptic: one sitting for an artist

16d   Showing acute embarrassment hard to put in text (8)
WRITHING:  The pencil abbreviation for hard is to be put in some words

18d   Proud about one side of London (East)? (7)
COCKNEY:  Proud and boldly confident around (about) one of the sides of the word London plus E (East), with the whole clue as definition

21d   Author over fifty? Only just (6)
HARDLY:  An English novelist and poet around (over) the Roman numeral for fifty

22d   Go as traveller, with one kind of travel (6)
REPAIR:  A travelling salesman and a mode of travel (not land or sea)

24d   Give several people a hand, and understanding (4)
DEAL:  Two definitions.  The hand is of cards

26d   Youngster grasping puzzle’s last clue (4)
LEAD:  A boy containing (grasping) the last letter of puzzle


Thanks to Jed.  My favourites today are 2d, 8d, and the clever all-in-one 18d.  Which tickled your ivories?


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.


14 comments on “Toughie 2203

  1. What a joy this was! Great entertainment from start to finish except perhaps for 19a.

    I am sure Kitty’s explanation for 19a is the right one but I’m not keen on it and, if I was able to play one, I don’t think I’d like to be referred to as my instrument. There is also no suggestion in my shiny brand new BRB that this usage is correct.

    That aside, I had ticks galore all over my page, with double ticks for 9a, 12a, 15a, 20a, 1d, 2d, 13d, 16d and, my favourite, 18d.

    Many thanks to Jed and to Kitty.

    1. If ‘first violin’ is a person I don’t see why ‘second tuba’ can’t be one as well.

        1. In the Mikado, the wandering minstrel Nanki-Poo was disguised as a second trombone, so that does it for me.

  2. Pleased to see that it wasn’t just me who couldn’t get anything satisfactory out of 19a but the rest of the puzzle was most enjoyable.
    Think my top two were 12&20a but plenty of others were snapping at their heels.

    Thanks to Jed and to our Girl Tuesday for the fun-filled feline blog. Don’t think it’s a 5d going on in your pic – I reckon it’s a semaphore lesson in progress!

  3. A very enjoyable puzzle from Mr Greer (is he capable of producing anything less?) – thanks to Jed and Kitty.
    I spotted the ‘slight political flavour’ in some clues and wondered whether 8d was meant to be one such.
    I liked 2d, 3d and 24d but my favourite clue was 12a.

    If you’re not all puzzled out by this time of the day Mr Greer (as Brendan) has contributed another excellent composition to the Guardian today.

  4. Just as expected – excellent! I can’t pick a favourite. I can also heartily second Gazza’s recommendation for the Brendan puzzle.

    Many thanks to Jed and Kitty for the blog.

  5. A super puzzle which I had completed well before the hints were available – talking of which, I couldn’t ‘tune into’ the blog until later this afternoon. Gremlins again I guess? Count me in as one of those having doubts over 19A, but there again, one lives and learns :-)

  6. Excellent fun from one of our favourite setters. We searched several on-line dictionaries but could not find any of them that justified the use of the name of the 19a instrument as the player but we had worked out the correct answer so not a big deal for us.
    12a was our favourite clue.
    Thanks Jed and Kitty.

  7. Yes, really good puzzle. We agree with RD about 19a though – it didn’t cut the mustard for us. Favourite clues were 20a (Mrs Sheffieldsy) and 12a (Mr Sheffieldsy).

    Thanks to Kitty and Jed.

  8. I really enjoyed this – but add me to those for whom 19a didn’t really work. Apart from that I had trouble with coming up with the writer in 4d (all those unchecked first letters were bound to trip me up somewhere). Favourite, I think, was the digital input in 13d. Many thanks to Jed and Kitty.

  9. After staring at an almost empty grid for half the solving process the rest filled pretty rapidly and enjoyably enough. 19ac doesn’t work, unfortunately, but the rest was pretty impressive stuff.

  10. Great moments of inspiration helped me in getting words such as 11a and 23a from first read and everything fell into place very smoothly.
    Liked the charade in 20a of course. I like charades.
    Thanks to Jed and to Kitty.
    Off to print the Graun now.

  11. Sorry I didn’t comment yesterday, but I was having problems accessing the site and eventually gave up. An enjoyable double dose of Mr Greer – some of us were a little worried by seeing “LAST” and “BRENDAN” so close together in the Guardian puzzle. This was slightly the easier of the two.

    Thanks to Kitty and Jed

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