Toughie 2226 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2226

Toughie No 2226 by proXimal

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

I was happy to find that proXimal has again given us an accessible puzzle today with some lovely surfaces. I managed three quarters of this fairly rapidly, then the last quarter took as much time again. I had several clues left to parse once I had a full grid (soon done).

The definitions are underlined as usual. The hints and tips are intended to help you untangle the wordplay, and you can always reveal the answers by clicking on the click here buttons. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    One taking advantage of work somewhere in Africa in harbour (11)
OPPORTUNIST: The abbreviation for work, then an African city goes inside (in) another word for harbour

9a    Greed is a sin holding soldiers back (7)
AVARICE: A from the clue plus another word for sin, containing (holding) the reversal (back) of the abbreviation for some soldiers

10a    Cut sandwiches to music from America (6)
MOTOWN: Cut, as grass might be, contains (sandwiches) TO from the clue

12a    Swimmers on near edge of treacherous rocks (7)
TOTTERS: Some cute swimming mammals follow (on) the first letter (near edge) of treacherous

13a    Almost completed short step saving energy payment (7)
TRIBUTE: A 4-letter short step without the last letter (almost completed), a word meaning saving or except, and the abbreviation for energy

14a    Comedian with variable range (5)
CARRY: A comedian who hosts “8 out of 10 cats” plus a letter used as an algebraic variable

15a    Aggravation at sea losing a good sailor (9)
NAVIGATOR: An anagram (at sea) of (ag)GRAVATION without (losing) A and G(ood)

17a    They gas snakes after beginning to panic (9)
PRATTLERS: American snakes after the first letter (beginning) of panic

20a    Organisation in which one is made victim (3-2)
SET-UP: Two meanings, the second being a situation in which one is unjustly framed

22a    Composition of two foreign articles after a month (7)
NOVELLA: Just what is says, really. A 3-letter abbreviation for the 11th month, plus Spanish and French definite articles

24a    Deliver case of iron and copper in Nice and lead in Toulouse (7)
INFLICT: The outer letters (case) of iron, a French (in Nice) slang word for policeman, and the first letter (lead) in Toulouse

25a    Lamentable being pregnant after a Romeo disappears (6)
CRYING: Take an 8-letter word that can mean being pregnant (as in ******** a child), then remove A from the clue as well as the letter indicated by the radio code Romeo (after … disappears)

26a    Capsized over and over (7)
UPENDED: A 2-letter word meaning over and a 5-letter word meaning over

27a    Aboard ship, peer as net entangled marine monsters (3,8)
SEA SERPENTS: An anagram (entangled) of PEER AS NET goes inside (aboard) the abbreviation for a ship


2d    Basically fussy and really regularly ignored (7)
PRIMELY: A 4-letter word meaning fussy or prudish plus the even letters (regularly ignored) in really

3d    Honour nice as alternative for respect (9)
OBEISANCE: An honour awarded by the queen plus an anagram (alternative) of NICE AS

4d    Invite violent commotion seeing off bridge opponents (5)
TEMPT: A 7-letter violent commotion or storm but without (seeing off) the abbreviations for two bridge opponents

5d    Figure coming up with metal good for mesh (7)
NETTING: The reversal of a 3-letter cardinal number, a metal, and the abbreviation for good

6d    Cor! Pet possibly disappears in milling waste products such as this (7)
SAWDUST: An anagram (possibly) of COR PET is removed (disappears) from an anagram (milling) of WASTE PRODUCTS.   (I just received a message from CS suggesting paper solvers weren’t helped here by the fact that the exclamation mark looked just like a lower-case L!)

7d    Some international clubs yearn to bag one player (11)
PARTICIPANT: Another word for some, the abbreviations for international and clubs plus a word meaning yearn containing (to bag) the Roman numeral for one.

8d    Stumble from topless bar; felt drunk (6)
FALTER: An anagram (drunk) of (b)AR FELT (topless bar)

11d    Ruin predicted in trouble with EU (11)
DECREPITUDE: An anagram (in trouble) of PREDICTED + EU

16d    Clothing I left dropped in dirty room (9)
VESTIBULE: An undergarment, I from the clue, then a word meaning dirty or X-rated in which the L(eft) is positioned one character lower (dropped)

18d    Unfavourable publicity almost sure to be heartless (7)
ADVERSE: A 6-letter word for publicity without the final letter (almost) plus S(ur)E without the inner letters (heartless)

19d    Recordings made of time with friends (7)
TALLIES: The abbreviation for time plus friends or people with a shared purpose. (Arguably ‘made’ could be part of the definition).

20d    Very fine screen is most weak (7)
SOFTEST: A 2-letter word for very, the abbreviation for fine, and a screen or examination

21d    Degrees ending in success? (6)
THIRDS: Split (5,1), the answer describes the last letter in success

23d    Divine gold carpet going upwards (5)
AUGUR: The chemical symbol for gold and the reversal of (going upward) a small carpet

I liked the subtractive anagram in 6d in which the definition is beautifully extended by part of the wordplay. I loved the use of the three metals and two French cities in 24a. I enjoyed the originality of 23d. Which clues were your favourites?

21 comments on “Toughie 2226

  1. The weekly Toughie crossword didn’t disappoint. Even allowing for the time I spent peering at 6d trying to work out if there was such a thing as a ‘corl’, I finished in a nice 4*ish time.

    I did wonder whether 14a was a bit GK comedian-wise but… Lots to enjoy, but I particularly liked 10a and 21d

    Thanks to Mr X and Mr D

    1. Hey Mr D do you want me to be a farmer a cowhand an old country boy to get up in the morning and do all the chores and leave all my troubles behind a green door

  2. I do enjoy proXimal’s puzzles – no gimmicks, no ghost themes, no cross-references all over the place, no over-extended synonyms, no great obscurities, just 28 clues to be solved and enjoyed. Thanks to him and to Dutch for the review (I laughed aloud at the satnav cartoon).
    My ticks went to 10a, 13a, 16d and 21d but favourite has to be 11d for the very topical surface.

  3. For my money this was the best puzzle of the week (not looked at the back page yet today) Completed it in several visits in between making a birthday cake for t’other ‘arf, decorating it and attending to several other little jobs that needed doing. Too many super clues to pick out just one favourite. Thanks to proXimal and to Dutch, whose hint I needed for 6 down.

  4. Lovely puzzle – needed the hint for 21d
    You might want to check the spelling of 3d on the hints .
    Thanks to Proximal and Dutch

  5. Indeed, what a great puzzle. Meticulously fair and a lot to enjoy.

    For my money 21d is one of the best clues I have ever seen, and yet another occasion to remind me why I am not, and could never be, a setter.

    Many thanks proXimal and thanks to Dutch too for the explanations and the witty choice of pics.

  6. Can someone please explain 24a. I can’t understand the hint. I get “in” and “t” but how is “flic” made up?

    1. As Dutch says in his hints, it is a slang term used in Nice, France, for the person we’d informally call a copper

    2. It’s in Chambers (french slang for policeman). I remember it as a French word.

      1. 24a is a terrific clue.
        A lovely puzzle especially as Friday’s offerings are sometimes just too difficult.
        To be picky, I don’t consider 16d to be a room do you?
        Thank you ProXimal and Dutch.

  7. I have come to enjoy very much proXimal’s back-pagers every other Thursday, so I thought I would dip my toe in the water today with one of his Toughies.

    What a good decision! I absolutely loved this. All I would add to Gazza’s perfect summing up above is my delight at the Roy Orbison clip – great singer, great song.

    Many thanks to proXimal and to Dutch.

  8. Hit a brick wall with 14a as the answer would be a long way down my list of synonyms for ‘range’ and I couldn’t think of the so-called comedian. Then I fell at 6d due to my usual blind spot with regard to subtractive anagrams. Both eventually rectified and didn’t spoil my enjoyment of another excellent puzzle from this setter.

    So many clever clues but it was 10&17a that produced the widest smiles.

    Many thanks to proXimal for the challenge and to Dutch for the excellent blog.

  9. I found this a hugely enjoyable but properly tough puzzle. In the end 14a was my only failure – I had never hear of the comedian, and like Jane, I would not have equated ‘range’ with a synonym for the the definition. I also hadn’t heard of the French copper in 24a or the American music in 10a. I was fortunate in guessing 6d correctly without realizing how wonderful the wordplay was (thank you Dutch). I also agree with Conrad Cork that 21d was another wonderful clue. Many thanks to proXimal and Dutch.

  10. We tend to approach the Friday Toughies with real trepidation but thought this was delightful, and for once within our reach *** for difficulty and **** for enjoyment. Thanks to Dutch and proXimal. I shall have nightmares about the creatures in 27.

  11. 24a gets our tick as favourite clue but there were plenty of others in the running too. Really good fun to solve and just the right level of difficulty to keep us challenged and happy.
    Thanks proXimal and Dutch.

  12. Lovely puzzle, accessible, a little challenging here and there, enjoyable. 14ac took me an age at the close, but the rest was done and dusted surprisingly quickly for a Friday Toughie.

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