Toughie 2223 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2223

Toughie No 2223 by Dada

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Kitty is unavailable today, so she has missed this excellent puzzle from Dada, which includes 12 Across, a clue that could have been written especially for her.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a    Huge home gated in part (4)
MEGA: hidden (in part) inside the clue

9a    Highest jumper, say? (3)
TOP: two relatively straightforward definitions

10a    Nurse unlikely, ultimately, to get deal (6)
TREATY: a verb meaning to nurse or care for followed by the final letter (ultimately) of [unlikel]Y

11a    Indian style, cold, cold waters (6)
BALTIC: an Indian style of cooking followed by C(old)

12a    Silent prowler on the retreat, one shot (8)
TACITURN: the reversal of a three-letter prowling animal followed by I (one) and a shot or attempt

13a    Possible reason why Harry Potter failed exam? (8,7)
SPELLING MISTAKE: a cryptic definition of the kind of error that might well be associated with Harry Potter

15a    Experience sponsor losing capital thus (7)
UNDERGO: drop the initial (capital) F from a word meaning a sponsor and add a word meaning to leave (losing, for example / thus) to sponsor and follow it with the Latin word for thus

17a    Stranded in middle of night, close to houses (7)
AGROUND: the middle letter of [ni]G[ht] inside (houses) a word meaning close to or near

20a    Flying classes, air trip and a flight (6,9)
SPIRAL STAIRCASE: an anagram (flying) of CLASSES, AIR TRIP and A

23a    Great waste in fuel (8)
COLOSSAL: a bit of an old chestnut for regular solvers, a waste goes inside a type of fuel

25a    Something to get one’s teeth into about a project (6)
LAUNCH: a meal around the A from the clue – project is a verb!

26a    Each dish one eats (6)
APIECE: something to eat (dish) inside (eats) the one in playing cards

27a    Spoil the Spanish main? (3)
MAR: the Spanish word for sea (main)

28a    Cleaner TV programme (4)
SOAP: the shortened version of “a sentimental, melodramatic radio or television serial concerned with the day-to-day lives of the members of a family or other small group” (thanks Chambers), so called because they were often sponsored by manufacturers of said cleaning product


1d    Leave before Christmas dinner perhaps, heading for pub (6)
DECAMP: the morning before Christmas dinner (3,2) followed by the initial letter (heading) of P[ub] – doesn’t this apply to every day in the relevant month?

2d    Drawer of cash occupying vile prison (8)
BASTILLE: a cash drawer goes inside (occupying) a word meaning vile

3d    Irritating thing in splinter treated with gas — that’s for a minor injury (8,7)
STICKING PLASTER: put an Irritating thing inside an anagram (treated) of SPLINTER with GAS

4d    Better, winning leg (7)
UPSTAGE: to better is derived from a two-letter word meaning winning and a leg (of a race)

5d    Present items, ladies’ legs? (8,7)
STOCKING FILLERS: small Christmas presents and a somewhat cryptic definition of an item ladies’ legs

6d    Get out and live an avian life? (4,2)
BEAT IT: split the answer as (2,1,3) and this could mean to live an avian life

7d    Ball of fire, I’ve blown it up! (4)
STAR: this cosmic ball of fire is derived from the reversal of a colloquial word for “I’ve blown it”

14d    Awareness in book, enlightening (3)
KEN: hidden (in) inside the clue

16d    Catch to hold down, lifted (3)
NIP: the reversal (lifted in a down clue) of a verb meaning to hold down

18d    Certainly gone awry, one female lost (2,6)
OF COURSE: a phrase meaning gone awry (3,6) without (lost) one of the F(emale)s

19d    Egyptian king refurbishing motel in Paraguay, completely gutted (7)
PTOLEMY: an anagram (refurbishing) of MOTEL inside the outer letters (completely gutted) of P[aragua]Y

21d    Island routes being discussed? (6)
RHODES: this Greek island sounds like (being discussed) routes

22d    Tailless bird brought up after bag of bones (6)
SACRAL: the reversal (brought up) of a four-letter bird without its final letter (tailless) is preceded by (after) a bag

24d    Nothing to repeat, I should add — oh dear! (4)
OOPS: O (nothing) twice (to repeat) followed by an after thought in a letter (I should add)

Dada in generous mode!


18 comments on “Toughie 2223

  1. A fairly gentle but enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Dada and BD.
    6d immediately made me think of Jane, for two reasons!

    Top clues for me were 6d, 7d and 18d.

    I parsed 15a a bit differently with sponsor being a verb and the last four letters being the Latin for thus.

    1. Hi Gazza,
      Hope the second reason was a reference to my fondness for our avian friends and not a comment on my crossword solving skills. Mind you – that’s probably appropriate at times as well!

  2. Although I am in full agreement with the enjoyment rating, I can’t understand what this most straightforward of straightforward crosswords is doing in the middle of the paper

    I agree with Gazza’s parsing of 15a – 5d made me think of a certain publican and like others, 6d made me think of Jane

    Thanks to Dada and BD

  3. A very enjoyable puzzle that reminded me of some of Dada’s first Sunday puzzles especially three of the four not so oldie but goodie long clues, completed at a Toughie gallop – ***/****.

    I am with Gazza on the parsing of 15a.

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 13a, and 6d – and the winner is 13a.

    Thanks to Dada and BD.

  4. A huge contrast to Paul in the Graun today – I quite liked this one, even though it’s fairly straightforward.

    Thanks to Dada and BD

    Psst, BD – 19d is missing something

  5. OK – I knew that was coming as soon as I looked at the clue, thank you for not letting me down, guys! Like CS, I also thought of MP’s dreadful joke about the Christmas present he’d bought for St Sharon when I read 5d.

    Had something of a battle to justify the last couple of letters of 15a but plain sailing elsewhere. 13a made me smile so takes top spot here – well, slightly behind 6d of course!

    Thanks to Dada and to BD for standing in for our Girl Tuesday.

    PS Extra thanks to the knight in shining armour for the parsing of 15a.

  6. A fluffy toughie , but fun all the same .
    13a is my favourite .
    Thanks to BD and Dada.

  7. enjoyed this, though straightforward.

    I thought the “perhaps” in 1d meant that xmas was an example of what could be any day in that month.

  8. Many many thanks to BD for coming to my rescue today. I read as far as the intro then decided instead to take a copy of the puzzle to bed. So thanks in advance to Dada for the entertainment.

  9. We spent ages trying to justify the last two letters of 15a before the penny dropped with a resounding clunk. Obviously we were not the only ones to do this. It has to be our favourite. Pleasant solve and good fun as ever.
    Thanks Dada and BD.

  10. The parsing of 15ac failed me, but the rest was pretty straightforward, the perfect start to the Toughie week. I wondered on solving if 5d was just a setup for a suitably… apt photo to accompany the blog.

  11. Thanks to Dada and to Big Dave for the review and hints. I think that doing the Sunday puzzles has helped me to get on Dada’s wavelength. Very enjoyable, but hardly a Toughie. Needed the hints to parse 15&17a. Last in was 7d, favourite was 22d. Was 2*/4* for me.

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