Toughie 2233 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2233

Toughie No 2233 by Firefly

Viva Forever by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A thematic puzzle containing 9 examples of a 13 across, 5 of one kind and 5 of another. I assume that the puzzle was scheduled to mark tomorrow’s opening night of the comeback tour of a certain pop combo (minus 21 across). I enjoyed the puzzle even though it was possible to write in several answers without much thought once the theme had been spotted.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    It’s pungent, mother, inside vehicle (old 1000) (8)
CARDAMOM: The first example of the first type of a 13 across.

5a    It’s fiery nobleman restraining pages (6)
PEPPER: The second example of the first type of a 13 across. A nobleman round the abbreviated form of ‘pages’

9a    Curiously, a dispute is shelved (3,5)
PUT ASIDE: An anagram (curiously) of A DISPUTE

10a    Some malevolent eco-vandal set about bird (6)

12a    Eatery where there’s no waiting! (9)
CAFETERIA: A cryptic definition for a restaurant with no waiter/waitress service

13a    It creates added interest in ceps, I fancy (5)
SPICE: An anagram (fancy) of CEPS I

14a    This 13‘s with bishop in alcove (4)
BABY: The first example of the second type of a 13 across. B (bishop) in an alcove

16a    English pensioners spoken for? (7)
ENGAGED: The 3-letter abbreviated form of ‘English’ + a word that describes pensioners

19a    Announce with speed and fluency: ‘Dance cancelled’ (4,3)
REEL OFF: A dance of Scottish origin + ‘cancelled’

21a    This 13 occasionally goes in pub (4)
POSH: The second example of the second type of a 13 across. Alternate letters of GOES inside the abbreviation for a public house

24a    Grant possibly presented to son for this 13 (5)
SCARY: The third example of the second type of a 13 across. S (son) + the first name of the actor with the surname Grant

25a    Lenient with drip involved in counterfeiting (9)
FORGIVING: The abbreviation for an intravenous drip inside ‘counterfeiting’

27a    German mark in ultimatum: short period’s left in shake-up (6)
UMLAUT: A mark used in written German = an anagram (in shake-up) of ULTIMATUM minus the first three letters of a four-letter word meaning ‘period’

28a    Invader that is getting among frenzied grebes (8)
BESIEGER: ‘That is’ in an anagram (frenzied) of GREBES

29a    This 13‘s opening in middle of this year (6)
SPORTY: The fourth example of the second type of a 13 across. An opening (on a ship) inside the middle two letters of THIS YEAR

30a    It’s hot where boy ends semester, we hear (8)
TURMERIC: The third example of the first type of a 13 across. A homophone of a semester + a boy’s name


1d    Small change in Russia — swaggering leader is restricting exercise! (6)
COPECK: A Russian coin (one-hundredth of a ruble) = a swaggering leader round physical education

2d    Approve of note received by fliers? Yes, at first (6)
RATIFY: A musical note inside a branch of the armed services + the first letter of YES

3d    Girl raised to display virtue (5)
ASSET: A reversal of a girl’s name

4d    Batman maybe visibly embarrassed when shown up in airport (7)
ORDERLY: A reversal of ‘visibly embarrassed’ inside an airport just south of Paris

6d    Pictures of Evangelists left with head of Tate stolen and circulated (9)
ENVISAGES: ‘Pictures (as a verb)’ = an anagram (circulated) of EVANGEISS, i.e. EVANGELISTS minus L (left) and T (first letter of TATE)

7d    Spoils photos with top man in (8)
PICKINGS: ‘Spoils (as a noun)’ = photos round a male monarch

8d    They gain fresh employment with Man U, perhaps — about to negotiate endlessly (8)
RETREADS: A nickname for Man U (from the colour of their shirts) round ‘to negotiate’ with its last letter removed

11d    Regular characters aboard HMS Archer providing something fragrant (4)
MACE: The fourth example of the first type of a 13 across. Alternate letters of HMS ARCHER

15d    One like Madeley, e.g., ‘she’ could be a guy, not an … (5,4)
AGONY AUNT: This refers to Richard Madeley and his weekly column in The Daily Telegraph. An anagram of A GUY NOT AN

17d    … exercise in media high points (5-3)
PRESS-UPS: Printed media + high points

18d    Fluids (gallons) and lubricant overturned in female accommodation (8)
SERAGLIO: Bodily fluids + G (gallons) + a reversal of a lubricant = living quarters for wives and concubines in an Ottoman household

20d    What’s played in part of Scotland? (4)
FIFE: 2 meanings: a musical instrument/a Scottish county

21d    One’s blown away by mad Peruvian climber (7)
PARVENU: An anagram (mad) of PERUVAN, i.e. PERUVIAN minus I (one)

22d    This 13’s piquant, shows spirit and starts to galvanize every reviewer (6)
GINGER: The fifth example of both types of 13 across. An alcoholic spirit + the first letters of GALVANISE EVERY REVIEWER

23d    Mushroom cloud’s heading after Gagarin, whose shield’s shot (6)
AGARIC: GAGARIN with the first and last letters removed + the first letter of CLOUD

26d    The setter departs Ellan Vannin in style (5)
IDIOM: A personal pronoun denoting the setter + D (departs) + the abbreviated form of the English name of the island known as Ellan Vannin in its native language. I was aware of Ellen Vannin so had no problems with this

Sorry about the lateness of the blog.


21 comments on “Toughie 2233

  1. Managed to finish it. Fun play with spices. 30a Turmeric is not hot but earthy

  2. Pleasant puzzle – thanks to Firefly and Bufo.
    Twigging that there were two kinds of theme elements (which I got on 21a causing a d’oh!) meant, as Bufo says, that it was obvious that the other four not-so-hot names would be somewhere in the grid, thus making the puzzle less tough than it otherwise might have been.
    Top clues for me were 21a and 15d.

  3. It took me a little while to get onto the setter’s wavelength but when I did and discovered the twin pronged theme it all came together nicely.

    I needed to check on two things: a different spelling to the one I am familiar with for 1d; and the meaning of Ellan Vannin.

    Overall this was quite enjoyable and not too tough. However, although I have recently resolved sometimes to turn a blind eye to single instances of nebulous boys and girls, etc., oh dear, here there are two in one puzzle!

    Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo.

    1. I was rather hoping that, for the sake of your blood pressure, you wouldn’t have found time for this one!

  4. Never mind the puzzle, I can’t work out how there are ‘…9 examples… 5 of one kind and 5 of another’

  5. Slow progress until I realised that there were two themes running through the answers, then galloped to the finishing line. Fav 17A & 28A even though it took ages to solve with what appeared to be too many vowels. ***/****

  6. Hurrrah! The first Toughie I have ever completed. 21a obvious but couldn’t see why. 22d went in quite early as a spice but later much scratching of the head to try and remember 5th girl’s name. Not really my thing as they couldn’t seem to dance or sing but I’m probably in a minority. Just been to vote. 11 completely unknown names on the paper. I just wrote none of the above thanks.

    Good puzzle, made my day finishing it so thanks to all.

    1. It would have sensible on this occasion if the organisers had put an extra box saying “none of the above”. I’m sure a huge number of people would have put their cross there.

    1. I enjoyed solving this themed crossword which was pitched about right for a Tuesday spot, as it was solved in a time slightly longer than both a tricky back pager and the time I’d like to solve a friendly middle of the paper crossword.

      Thanks to both the setter and the blogger

      PS this wasn’t supposed to be a reply but a separate comment. That’s incognito tabs for you :(

  7. Enjoyed the theme.
    Admit to bunging in 29a and 26d as I didn’t know what Ellan Vannin meant and couldn’t parse the former.
    Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo.

  8. Not sure that I’d be quite as generous as Bufo with the marks for enjoyment but it was a pleasant enough puzzle and obviously made far easier once the twin themes became apparent.
    Learned something new in 26d, can’t think why I haven’t come across it previously.

    Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for the blog.

  9. I seldom comment, but thought that this was great fun and worthy of praise. Don’t understand 26d but would have guessed correct answer had I spelt 28a correctly!
    Thanks guys
    Aaargh – just got 26d

    1. I think you’ve changed your email address since your last comment (in 2017) so that sent you into moderation. Welcome back.

  10. A few things we needed to check. The various spelling options for 1d, the name in 15d and the place in 26d. Once we had twigged the two pronged theme the solve became much more user-friendly and good fun all the way.
    Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

  11. Good fun in the main – I have certain reservations, but maybe that’s just me and my lack of knowledge. Unhappy with 1d as I always believed the word began with K, but there again, my ignorance. Loved the spice theme though. Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

  12. I thought this puzzle was really good fun! ***/**** for me. Once I realised the theme, it made solving much easier. I usually find Firefly’s puzzles are a bit too difficult for me, but this was a most refreshing change.

    Others have remarked that 30a is not really ‘hot’. It does add a beautiful flavour and colour. (Hope that’s not giving away too much…)

    Thank you very much Firefly for the entertaintainment.

    And big thanks to Bufo for the review. I did this unaided (apart from looking up the group’s names (sic)!) and, although I had the correct answers, I did need some explanations. In 27a, I had the partial anagram but missed the meaning of the ‘short period’. Again, in 8d I had half the parsing but didn’t know the nickname of ManU. Alas! in 15d, I didn’t realise there was an anagram as I guessed what Madeley meant. Finally, I didn’t know Ellan Vannin. Much appreciation for clarifying these for me, Bufo.

    1. P.S. I have just checked my hard copy and see that I did in fact use the anagram for 15d. I thought I had missed it. That’s a relief!

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