Toughie 2217 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2217

Toughie No 2217 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

There was no danger that I wouldn’t realise it was Thursday because I knew that there was a Micawber Toughie to blog. In the event I was somewhat disappointed because I didn’t think that the puzzle was anything special.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Record of financial transactions on a yearly basis for each advert (5,5)
PAPER TRAIL: A sequence of documents (usually financial ones) that can be followed in a criminal investigation = an abbreviation denoting ‘on a yearly basis’ + ‘for each’ + an advert for a forthcoming film or TV programme

5a    Sell / business (4)
SHOP: 2 meanings: to sell or betray/a retail business

9a    One rabbiting‘s turn to kill (7)
WINDBAG: ‘To turn or coil’ + ‘to kill game’

10a    Go off fruit that’s mostly bad inside (7)
DEVIATE: A fruit of a palm tree round ‘bad or wicked’ with the last letter removed

12a    Excuse for rule-breaking that might be endorsed by grammar police? (6,7)
POETIC LICENCE: I assume that this is a cryptic definition of an allowable departure from strict fact, rule or logic for the sake of effect, as frequently occurs in verse compositions

14a    Remix done by unknown (6)
BEYOND: An anagram (remix) of DONE BY = unknown (as in ‘the unknown’)

15a    Finish with or go out with one given money? (8)
ENDORSEE: ‘Finish’ + OR + ‘go out with’ = a person to whom a bill is assigned

17a    Appetite lacking in second half, Rovers after comeback beginning to attack rivals? (8)
VORACITY: ‘Appetite’ or ‘extreme gluttony’ = a reversal of the first half of ROVERS + the first letter of ATTACK + a football team who might be a rival of the Rovers (e.g. in Bristol)

19a    Guard conquistador taking French art to the far west (6)
ESCORT: Take the name of a 16th-century Spanish conquistador (CORTÉS) and move a French word meaning art (as in ‘thou art’) to the front

22a    Remembering to enter carrying alcohol? Genius! (7,2,4)
BEARING IN MIND: ‘To enter carrying an alcoholic spirit’ (4,2,3) + a genius

24a    Caribbean island opposed to bird droppings withdrawing objection (7)
ANTIGUA: ‘Opposed to’ + sea-fowl dung used as manure with the last two letters (an objection) removed

25a    Smoking material used by ecclesiastical swingers? (7)
INCENSE: Material burned to give fragrant fumes, especially in religious rites when it might be swung about

26a    Blow / repair (4)
DARN: 2 meanings: Blow!/to repair, e.g. socks. Does anyone mend socks any more?

27a    Leader in Economist, article truly in heavenly style (10)
ETHEREALLY: The first letter of Economist + the definite article + ‘truly’


1d    Pop Idol in Greece once covering Westlife’s Number One (4)
PAWN: ‘To pop (leave with uncle)’ = a Greek god round the first letter of Westlife

2d    Change old nappy where daughter’s left brilliant array (7)
PANOPLY: An anagram (change) of OL NAPPY, i.e. OLD NAPPY minus D (daughter)

3d    Nosily watching masseuse behaving amorously (13)
RUBBERNECKING: A person that massages + ‘kissing amorously’

4d    Get back, say, bad weather coating (6)
REGAIN: An abbreviation denoting ‘say; inside wet weather

5d    Lazy member of ruling party to observe fast? (8)
INDOLENT: a member of the ruling paty + ‘to observe’ + a time for fasting

7d    More than one carrion feeder has to be fed with any end of lettuce when desperate (7)
HYAENAS: Carrion-feeding carnivores (alternative spelling) = HAS round an anagram (when desperate) of ANY E (last letter of LETTUCE)

8d    Heads of state allowing church to usurp scientific system, giving historical justifications (10)
PRECEDENTS: Take a word meaning ‘heads of state’ and replace two letters that denote the modern scientific system of units by the Church of England

11d    Depraved band from which there’s no escape (7,6)
VICIOUS CIRCLE: ‘Depraved’ + a band (something round)

13d    Surfer’s position should be this open (5,5)
ABOVE BOARD: Where a surfer will be positioned (until they fall off)

16d    Male social worker taking note is unmoved (8)
STAGNANT: A male (attending a men-only function) + a social worker (insect) round a letter denoting a musical note

18d    Start to restrain English player, one liable to have a meltdown if things go disastrously? (7)
REACTOR: The first letter of RESTRAIN + E (English) + a player (on the stage)

20d    Noise during exam resulting in third? (7)
ORDINAL: A noise inside an exam gives a type of number such as a third

21d    Content I censor’s held to act like clickbait (6)

23d    Bank lacking power to respond (4)
RELY: ‘To bank’ = ‘to respond’ with the letter P (power) removed


16 comments on “Toughie 2217

  1. I twas nice to have a Micawber but I do think, in the past, he’s been more fun than this to compensate for the ‘solver friendliness’

    I marked 1d for favouritism mainly because I was pleased to spot the meaning of ‘pop’ on first reading

    Thanks to Micawber and Bufo

    1. Ha, that was my last to parse, not seeing the ‘pop’ definition until the inevitable face palm ;)

  2. Pleasant enough but considerably easier than today’s back-pager.

    I don’t think I’ve seen that spelling of 7d since I was at school, and I struggled to remember the conquistador in 19a.

    Among the smiles were the images conjured up by 24a, 25a & 3d.

    Many thanks to Micawber and to Bufo.

  3. It’s a great day for me in crosswordland when we get treated to both a Ray T and a Micawber. Unlike our blogger it would seem, I really enjoyed this one and found plenty to smile about.
    I didn’t know the 1d ‘pop’ (must try to remember) and don’t think I’ve come across the alternative spelling of 7d before today but neither caused much of a hold up in the solve.

    Podium places handed out to 10,12&25a plus 3,11&13d.

    Many thanks to Micawber for the fun and to Bufo for the blog.

    PS If anyone has time, the answer for 8d could do with a tweak.

  4. I found this plenty enjoyable – I was just slower than I should have been getting some of the longer multi-word entries, especially in the middle of the puzzle. I was also slowed by the spelling in 7d, and not easily being able to let go of ‘sandbag’ for 9a. However, I got it all sorted out eventually. Many thanks to Micawber and Bufo.

  5. I had trouble with 12a and 8d and the spelling as The Telegraph web site would not allow me to submit it it kept on saying 1 answer wrong or 2 Answers wrong depending whether i used an E or an I in the 8d spelling can some help me?

  6. First Toughie I’ve ever completed and in fairly good time too. I generally don’t bother with it,perhaps i should try it more often.

  7. I had trouble with 12a and 8d as i could not submit my crossword on line as it kept on saying 1 wrong answer or 2 depending whether i used an E or an I on 8d can someone help me

    1. The correct solution to 8d is now hiding under the click here thingy and should answer your question

      1. A belated thank you all is good in the world(ha ha) with your help i finished both both crossword, and learned a knew spelling

  8. A pleasant enough solve reasonably swiftly dispatched. 3* for difficulty, which would have been 2* except that the alternative spelling at 7d was unknown to us and caused a slowdown for our LOI.

    After last night’s Manchester derby, the final part of 17a didn’t immediately make us think of Bristol! Our favourite was probably 24a because it made us smile.

    Thanks to Bufo and Micawber.

  9. Sorry, but I don’t understand how the given answers to 12a) Poetic Licenc-E and 8d) Pres-I-dents can both be correct. What am I missing?

    Is the answer to 8d) Pre-CE-dents?

    1. Jane was quite cryptic earlier when she pointed out the wrong solution for 8f but I’ve corrected it now

  10. We also had to check the spelling of 7d but only for confirmation. A pleasant solve that all went together smoothly for us.
    Thanks Micawber and Bufo.

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