Toughie 2246 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2246

Toughie No 2246 by Sparks

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Sparks caught me out on a few bits of general knowledge today. It took me 3* time to fill the grid, but a little longer to parse 3d, 12a & 13a, hence the extra star. Sparks often has a Nina, but if there is one today I have missed it – please let me know if you see something.

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


1a    They’re right between north and east or south and west (6)
ANGLES: A reference to the fact that N&E as well as S&W are 90 degrees apart

4a    Piece of advice is clear — well-bred horse told to go inside (6)
NUGGET: A 3-letter verb meaning to clear (as in to earn) contains (to go inside) an abbreviation for well bred or posh and a homophone (told) of a child’s word for horse

8a    Take aim to bag bird (3)
KEA: Hidden (… to bag). These birds (Nestor notabilis) are cheeky as hell – they used to detach all my rubber tent-peg rings.

10a    Extra leg’s good for stuffing duck (7)
WIDGEON: A type of extra run scored in cricket plus the cricket side known as leg contains (for stuffing) the abbreviation for good

11a    Without question, marquess changed into rubber (7)
MASSEUR: An anagram (changed) of MAR[q]UESS without the abbreviation for question

12a    Woman has article translated from English to French in a Channel Island? (5)
LUNDY: Not that Channel! I should have paid attention to the question mark. A 4-letter word meaning woman in which a 1-letter article is translated from English to French

13a    Wife and partner, one turning to hold hands in kind of romance? (9)
WHIRLWIND: The abbreviation for wife plus the abbreviation for her partner, the Roman numeral for one, and a 4-letter noun meaning a turning contains (to hold) the abbreviations for both hands

14a    Almost aim too high — one beset by a lot possibly panics (13)
OVERREACTIONS: A 9-letter word for ‘aim to high’ without the last letter (almost), then the Roman numeral for one goes inside (beset by) a word that could mean ‘a lot’

17a    Old county book on jackets (13)
CARDIGANSHIRE: A 4-letter verb meaning to book or to engage in advance follows (on) button-up knitted woollen jackets

22a    Plane once flew briefly around Canada (9)
HURRICANE: A verb meaning flew or raced without the last letter (briefly) goes around the 3-letter abbreviation for Canada

23a    Some waste eaten by dog — numskull — rolling over (5)
MUNGO: Reverse hidden (eaten by … rolling over)

24a    China second with extremely illegal bribe (4-3)
PALM-OIL: A word for China or friend, a second or brief period of time, and the outer letters (extremely) of illegal

25a    Disable starter in ice-cream van when changing cover (7)
INVALID: The first letter (starter) in ice-cream, an anagram (when changing) of VAN, plus another word for cover. The answer can be a verb, I now know

26a    Ever so slow to begin letter (3)
ESS: First letters (… to begin)

27a    Reprimand frontiersman for stripping (6)
ROCKET: A US frontiersman with first name Davy without the outer letters (for stripping)

28a    Good man about which to laugh? (6)
JESTER: An all-in-one: the 2-letter abbreviation for a good has around it (about which) a verb meaning laugh or mock


1d    A dandy too (2,4)
AS WELL: A from the clue plus a word meaning dandy or toff

2d    Boris perhaps oddly dour with number in government (7)
GODUNOV: This Boris was a Russian Tsar. The odd letters in dour plus the 2-letter abbreviation for number go inside (in) the 3-letter abbreviation for government.

3d    The best possible year on record after exchange (5)
EVERY: As in ‘The best possible chance of winning’. The abbreviation for Year and a 4-letter word meaning ‘on record’ (as in the best possible chance of winning ****), then exchange the order of these two components.

5d    Mainly give adverse publicity angle in kind (9)
UNSELFISH: A 6-letter word meaning to give adverse publicity without the last letter (mainly), plus a verb meaning to angle hoping to catch something

6d    Attic needs clearing out after student leaves (7)
GRECIAN: An anagram (out) of C[l]EARING without the abbreviation for student or learner

7d    Harangue current clientele outside (6)
TIRADE: The physics abbreviation for current is surrounded by (outside) a word for one’s customers or clientele

8d    Savvy geek with deal blown unexpectedly (13)
KNOWLEDGEABLE: An anagram (unexpectedly) of GEEK + DEAL BLOWN

9d    Is after single old coin in unusual means test (13)
AMNIOCENTESIS: IS from the clue comes after: the letter that looks like one or single, the abbreviation for old and the lowest denomination American coin all inside an anagram (unusual) of MEANS

14d    Briefly boast about whale (3)
ORC: The reversal of a 4-letter word meaning to boast without the last letter (briefly)

15d    Appreciate men stopping vulgar opera (9)
RUDDIGORE: By Gilbert & Sullivan. An informal word for appreciate or like plus an abbreviation for some army men go inside (stopping) another word for vulgar

16d    Female sightseer removing braces systematically (3)
SHE: Braces or pairs of letters are systematically removed from SigHtsEer

18d    Paint short girl, embracing ‘The Scream’? (7)
ACRYLIC: A wonderland girl without the last letter (short) embracing another word for scream or yell

19d    Thriller with intro and finale swapped in a twist of sorts? (7)
RINGLET: Another word for thriller has the first and last letter swapped.

20d    Endlessly sharpen broken tool (6)
SHAPER: An anagram (broken) of SHARPE[n] without the last letter (endlessly)

21d    Finally, for the record, present returned in amazement (6)
WONDER: A reversal (returned) of the last letters (finally) of ‘for the record’ plus another word for present or current

23d    India cutting travel film? (5)
MOVIE: The letter represented by India in international radio code goes inside (cutting) a verb meaning travel or go from one place to another

I liked the quirky 1a, the kind of romance, and the story about Boris. Which clues were your favourites?

18 comments on “Toughie 2246

  1. I suppose I was lucky in knowing the required ‘stuff’ but I was expecting something trickier from Sparks on a Friday. I looked and looked and if there is a Nina it is well hidden

    Thanks to Sparks and Dutch

  2. Enjoyable stuff – thanks to Sparks and Dutch.
    We had the IOW as a ‘channel island’ the other day so 12a was a shoo-in for me since it’s in my ‘local’ channel.
    Top clues for me were 1a, 10a and 3d (my last answer which took me some time to parse).
    I too searched for the Nina in vain.

  3. Amazed to see 1d appear yet again!

    1a & 11a amused, 2d new to me. *** / *** from me.

    Pleasant puzzle, thanks to Sparks for the entertainment and to Dutch for the blog.

  4. Dunnit! Always a good result for me. Not sure I understand 3d fully – just a successful bung in. I needed all the checkers before I could unravel 9d. I wondered about 25a like Dutch, but I know now too. 12a and 19d are my joint winners today.

  5. 3d was my last in too – I’m not sure I completely understand the word play even with Dutch’s explanation. I was tripped up by some of the general knowledge (for instance, I got the ‘shire’ part of the county in 17a early on, but the remainder took some searching). I found this a very enjoyable puzzle, and I was happy to be able to finish it (although there were a couple of leaps of faith).

    1. The answer to 3d means ‘the best possible’ as in ‘I wish you every happiness’. It’s made up of ever (‘on record’ as in ‘he clocked the fastest time on record’) + Y(ear).

  6. ***/****. Slow but steady was the order of the day. 1D is an old chestnut but the two long anagrams proved to be a useful starting point and 15D raised a smile.

  7. Like the rest, I’m not happy with 3d. Not sure about the upperclass horse in 4a either. I don’t feel a baby phrase is good enough for a thoroughbred but there we go.
    COTD is 17a with 13a a close second.

        1. We’ve had that use of ‘gg’ many times, I’m sure. 3d was my last in. We’ve had that use of ‘ever’ before but I needed the blog to remind me of it.

  8. Grief, 9d took me an age to parse. I agree with the favourites Dutch cited. Thanks to him and Sparks

  9. 3d was our stumbling block. We enjoyed 8a as it is both one of our favourite birds and also the alter-ego of one of our favourite setters. So we weren’t the only ones searching the completed grid in vain for a hidden message. Perhaps the setter will pop in soon to tell us what we have missed.
    All good fun.
    Thanks Sparks and Dutch.

  10. Enjoyable Friday fare which took me longer than I’d care to admit.

    Currently in TN USA – not that anybody would care, but my posts will be accented and have access to firearms.

  11. I was eagerly awaiting the appearance of this blog yesterday in order to see if I was right about the notorious 3d. I began writing a comment at about 2.30pm and the phone rang and I spent two hours talking to my brother, then ……. On my return to the PC early today my comment has disappeared. So a late comment now I am here

    I found this to be a slightly disappointing puzzle because I found I was solving many clues from the definition and the checking letters rather than from the cryptic. My idea of a great clue is one where the definition is hard to guess, ideally with a touch of misdirection. The puzzle unfolded with the easy answers giving the solver nice kind letters such as w, k or l in kind positions such as the first letter of a word. I doubt I was the only one shouting out “Sparks as well” when writing in the answer to 1d. With crosswordland’s favourite three-letter whale and a not too well hidden lurking bird throwing in kind letters the cryptic nature of the puzzle dropped a bit which was unfortunate and more an accident of the grid and kind checking letters rather than the clues.

    Many thanks to Gazza for resolving the 3d issue and thanks to Sparks (I usually enjoy his puzzles a lot more)

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