Toughie 2238 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2238

Toughie No 2238 by Artix

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

How nice it was to get my hands on a real Toughie, not one of those fluffy offerings found in the early part of each week. Too many excellent clues to pick out a favourite

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Sole occupant of vacant seaside mobile home? (6,4)
HERMIT CRAB: a cryptic definition of a crustacean that lives in a shell vacated by a mollusc

6a    Retro version of curse in Red Dwarf? (4)
STAR: reverse a curse to get this celestial object of which a red dwarf is an example – ignore the capitalisation which is there to misdirect to a TV program

10a    A Southern place for layers? (5)
ASCOT: the A from the clue and S(outhern) are followed by a place for laying down to sleep – the whole clue defines a place in the South of England where people lay bets

11a    United embroiled by unseemly suicidal drama (1,8)
I, CLAUDIUS: insert U(nited) into an anagram (unseemly) of suicidal

12a    Masculine men brawl when weekend begins? (8)
TOMORROW: a male animal, such as a cat, is followed by some enlisted men and a brawl

13a    Camp Zulu stripped in silence (5)
GULAG: the inner letters (stripped) of [Z]UL[U] inside a verb meaning to silence

15a    Horribly punish one going on bender? (7)
KNEECAP: a bone that protects a bending joint

17a    Gadabout tenor with Queen (7)
DRIFTER: tenor or gist followed by the Queen’s regnal cipher

19a    Drink with a female, chasing almost ten nicker (3,4)
TEA LEAF: an alcoholic drink followed by the A from the clue and F(emale) preceded by (chasing) most of (almost) TE[n] gives a colloquial term for someone who nicks (steals)

21a    Where (unspecifically) to find more information on leak? (7)
SEEPAGE: split a (3,4) this would usually be followed by a number to direct to a specific place to find more information

22a    Cloth clobber American bishop going West (5)
BATIK: some clobber or gear, A(merican) and B(ishop), all reversed (going west in an across clue)

24a    Yikes, this patient could be unmistakeably sick (8)
AMBULANT: UNMISTAKEABLY is a compound anagram (sick) of YIKES and the answer

27a    Chuck Berry’s fabulous jam? (3,6)
AIR GUITAR: a cryptic definition of an imaginary instrument often used to perform the music of the late, great Chuck “Crazy Legs” Berry

28a    Ozzie bouncer oh so wide (5)
ROOMY: an Australian marsupial, renowned for bouncing, followed by an interjection meaning “oh!”

29a    Vessel departs for South in pomp (4)
DHOW: start with a word meaning pomp and replace the S(outh) with D(eparts)

30a    Last war’s ending advanced jolly old prof (10)
ARMAGEDDON: the final battle at the end of the world, between the forces of good and evil, is derived from a charade of A(dvanced), a jolly or Royal Marine, a four-letter word meaning old and a three-letter professor


1d    Kid‘s hard, picked up fellers’ targets? (4)
HOAX: H(ard) is followed by what sounds like the trees that are the target of a feller

2d    Show how you can make a rope (4,5)
ROCK OPERA: the first word of the answer indicates that A ROPE is an anagram of the second

3d    Starter: Where’s Paris? Answer: __ __y (5)
INTRO: where to find Paris, the abductor of Helen, without the final letter Y

4d    Tweet, greeting runs in competition (7)
CHIRRUP: a three-letter greeting and two R(un)s inside a knockout competition

5d    Owned, but with 100% mortgage? (7)
ALLOWED: split as (3,4) this indicates that 100% is loaned

7d    Best to turn up during dog show at Crufts? (5)
TRIAL: start with a verb meaning to dog and reverse (turn up in a down clue) the two letters indicating best

8d    Revamped roads with green floral feature (4,6)
ROSE GARDEN: an anagram (revamped) Of ROADS with GREEN

9d    Problem when shareholders’ meeting gets into papers (8)
QUAGMIRE: put a yearly meeting of shareholders inside a quantity of paper

14d    Transporter used for hot dog and fish meals (10)
SKATEBOARD: a hot dog is a stunt performed on this “transporter” – combine a type of fish and the provision of meals

16d    Help to totter Crown, we hear? (8)
CHECKSUM: a value used to confirm that no data has been mislaid during transmission could be the currency of an East European country

18d    Many commuters forget it in traditional travelling (9)
TRAINLOAD: an anagram (travelling) of TRAD[IT]IONAL without (forget) the IT

20d    Use soap and drier (7)
FLATTER: two definitions – use soap or praise insincerely and drier or duller

21d    With Rome’s agreement, live song’s sent up here in Russia (7)
SIBERIA: the Italian (Rome) word for yes (agreement) followed by a verb meaning to live and the reversal (sent up in a down clue) of a song

23d    Elephant’s foot roughly finding trunk (5)
TORSO: the final letter (foot) of [elephant]T followed by a phrase (2,2) meaning roughly

25d    Yuck! Roman leader on bow is cut in two (5)
LURVE: start with a bow or arch and replace its leading letter with half its value, as a Roman numeral

26d    Hint of yellow added into cooler shade of blue (4)
CYAN: the initial letter (hint) of Y[ellow] inside a cooler or US prison

Dutch should be back in this slot next week.


14 comments on “Toughie 2238

  1. I agree almost entirely with BD’s prologue except that I’d substitute most days of the week rather than the early part of the week. If I was going to pick just one clue for stardom, it would be 3d

    Thank you to Artix for a really great proper Toughie and to BD for the blog

  2. Beaten by 16d (had out instead of sum) a word I didn’t know.
    I suppose 25d is just a yucky word?
    Glad of the blog to explain properly a couple of my answers which I knew were right but not why.
    A real Toughie.

      1. Good old BRB, what would we do without it? I’d use mine more often except my 13th edition weighs a ton as does its matching thesaurus. I still have my mother’s 1957 edition which she used for crossword solving. Much lighter and her cross references are invaluable – or would be if the book didn’t keep falling apart!

  3. A proper Friday Toughie – very enjoyable. Thanks to Artix and BD.
    I had to seek assistance to get the significance of Crown in 16d.
    I took the layers in 10a to be birds but I can see that it also works as those laying down an infant to sleep.
    I have ticks all over the place – I’ll just pick out 19a, 3d and 20d.

  4. That was certainly tough. I got off to a quicker start than I typically do with an Elgar puzzle but things then slowed down considerably and it certainly finished up in the 5* bracket .Lots of good clues

    Thanks to Artix & Big Dave

  5. Hands up those who put flannel in at 20 :)
    Agree with CS on 3 being the star.
    Thanks all.

  6. I was able to gain a foothold in the SE corner and in general, and very slowly, spread out from there. However, I came to a grinding halt with the intersecting pair of 24a and 25d. When it became obvious I wasn’t going to be able to finish the puzzle without them, I largely lost the will to persevere further. Looking at the review, I thought 24a was a wonderful clue, and I am cross with myself for not being able to unravel it (I am not good, yet, at spotting and solving compound anagrams). However, I had never heard of the definition in 25d, and without the first letter, the cleverness of the word play was lost on me. Looking at the remainder of the review, I know next to nothing of Chuck Berry (no matter how late or great), and so the definition had no meaning for me whatsoever in 27a, (whilst I am at it, I find 2d largely oxymoronic!), and there were a number of other definitions I had not heard of. On balance, I was disappointed that I was not able to enjoy the cleverness of this more. Many thanks to all.

  7. Took me ages and I still ended up with several question marks and 25d left blank.
    On reading the review, most of my issues arose from definitions I found somewhat tenuous and one that I simply didn’t know – the 14d stunt.

    I did enjoy quite a lot of the cleverness in this one – 1a & 5d got double ticks here.

    Thanks to Artix for the challenge and to BD for a most informative blog.

  8. We snookered ourselves for a long time by putting TRIPPER in for 17a, justified by Alva Tripp being an American tenor. It didn’t go well until we decided it must be wrong!

    Great puzzle. Thanks to BD abs Artix.

  9. Wow. Like others this took me a long time , almost gave up, glad I didn’t. My “issues ” were with clues already mentioned and my favourites the same but a special podium for 3d. Thanks to Artix and BD

  10. Busy weekend so only just tackling this now. Didn’t go well (the puzzle, not the weekend). I was pleased with myself knowing Alva Tripp was an American tenor (17a), so that was one of several things that scuppered me.

  11. 10 star for us! But did have grandson and family staying the weekend. Just missed out on ‘Yuck’ – not in my online wordfinder. Thanks to Artix and BD.

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