Toughie 2259 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2259

Toughie No 2259 by Dada

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Yet another excellent puzzle from our Sunday Setter.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a    Number 500 bagged by marauder and revolutionary (7)
HUNDRED: this is one of those clues which can only be solved once its structure has been identified, then it becomes easy – a three-letter marauder from a powerful savage nomad race and a three-letter revolutionary surround (bagged by) the Roman numeral for 500

10a    Wine merchant failing to close, little time for opening? (7)
MOSELLE: as with the previous clue, identify the structure and it becomes easy – most of (failing to close) a merchant is preceded by (for opening) a two-letter short period of time

11a    Wise man or foolish, he’s not to be trusted (9)
WOMANISER: more familiar territory here – an anagram (foolish) of WISE MAN OR

12a    Bird ends in tree, resting for the moment (5)
EGRET: the final letters (ends) of five words in the clue

13a    Short beam on the wagon splits (5)
RATTY: this adjective meaning short or irritable is derived by putting a three-letter beam (of light) around (splits) the abbreviation for “on the wagon” or sober

14a    Important see, the setter fills containers (7)
VATICAN: the single-letter first person pronoun inside two three-letter containers

17a    One jumping in leaps, barking dog (8,7)
SPRINGER SPANIEL: someone who is jumping followed by an anagram (barking) of IN LEAPS

19a    Again ask to bring in work (7)
REAPPLY: concatenate two verbs – to bring in the harvest and to work at a trade

21a    Record books taken on board always (5)
ENTER: a collection of books from the bible inside (taken on board) a poetic word for always

24a    Not exactly dark in dark houses (5)
KINDA: hidden (houses) inside the clue

26a    Nasty sweet? (9)
UNSAVOURY: an assumption that if something is not this (2-7) then it must be sweet!

27a    Orders taken down in empty notepads (7)
NEATENS: a verb meaning puts in order is derived by puttig a verb meaning taken down or consumed inside the N[otepad]S without its inner letters (empty)

28a    Bury discontented slave on island (7)
SECRETE: S[lav]E without its inner letters (dis-contented) followed by a Greek island


1d    Grubby lot cleaner? (6)
SHOWER: two definitions

2d    Catching first of mittens, I ran to a loose drawer perhaps? (8)
ANIMATOR: insert (catching) the initial letter (first) of M[ittens] inside an anagram (loose) of I RAN TO A

3d    Mark bloomer up for thin confection (6,4)
BRANDY SNAP: a five-letter mark is followed by the reversal (up in a down clue) of a flower (bloomer)

4d    Jam is stopping rally (9)
IMPROVISE: to jam, as in a jam session, is derived by putting the IS from the clue inside (stopping) a verb meaning to rally or get better

5d    Man possibly one and only, nothing less (4)
ISLE: the necessary capitalisation of Man, which is a definition by example (possibly), is concealed by making it the first word in the clue – I (one) followed by a word meaning only without (less) the O (nothing)

6d    Minister in Magic Circle? (6)
CLERIC: an anagram (magic) of CIRCLE

7d    Observer not entirely present in election (8)
SENTINEL: hidden (not entirely) inside the clue

9d    Fly bit (4)
DASH: two definitions – the first being a verb and the second a noun

15d    Creative moves around south-east China (3,7)
TEA SERVICE: an anagram (moves) of CREATIVE around the abbreviation for south-east

16d    You’re welcome to stay, please do (2,2,5)
BE MY GUEST: two definitions

17d    Memorable rapping (8)
STRIKING: the fourth pair of definitions among the down clues!

18d    Barges in Tunis red for a change (8)
INTRUDES: an anagram (for a change) of TUNIS RED

20d    Girl starts to unwrap another lovely book (6)
ANNUAL: a girl’s name followed by the initial letters of (starts to) three words in the clue

22d    Short song penned by cardinal was poetic, perhaps? (6)
RHYMED: most of (short) a religious song inside a deep vivid colour (cardinal)

23d    Goddess lives twice (4)
ISIS: a two-letter verb meaning lives repeated twice

25d    Expression made by attention-seeker in a skirt (4)
AHEM: the A from the clue followed by a verb meaning to skirt

Very enjoyable, and above average difficulty for a Tuesday.


12 comments on “Toughie 2259

  1. Having confirmed with A.N.Other that today’s back pager was definitely in the wrong envelope, I turned to the middle of the paper and found that Dada had provided us with a slightly trickier than his normal mid-paper crossword, this one taking about the time of a Wednesday back pager.

    An enjoyable solve so thank you to him and BD

  2. Good stuff – thanks to Dada and BD.
    1d brought to mind the comic actor Terry-Thomas who always made me laugh and whose catchphrase incorporated the answer.
    My ticks went to 13a, 14a and 4d.

  3. Good fun and took slightly less time than today’s back-pager.

    Top three here were 13,14 & 26a.

    Thanks to Dada and to BD for the blog – have you had any time to sleep recently?!!

  4. Like the back pager, some head scratching required but I did manage to complete it at a Toughie gallop – 2.5*/3.5*.

    However, I am glad that the Sunday Dada puzzles have become a lot less challenging than this one.

    For 8a, I did have thoughts that it might be the medical sort of number before the penny finally dropped.

    Candidates for favourite – 10, 14a, and 16d – and the winner is 10a – cheers!

    Thanks to Dada and BD especially for his heroic efforts over the last week.

  5. I thought this was a terrific puzzle with many excellent clues. The NE corner took me a good deal longer than the other quadrants, although looking back, I am not sure why. The ‘important see’ in 14a gets my vote for favourite. Many thanks to Dada for a most enjoyable puzzle and to Big Dave for the review. Also a big ‘thank you’ to those who maintain this blog.

  6. Still fighting with the back page! This was kinder. Thought 14a was clever and 24a too common for the DT.
    Hope the web site is sorted soon. Modern technology is a pain in the proverbial.

    1. We have solved this in the car driving through Germany with me reading the clues to the other Numpty. We both agreed that it was one where often one needed to see the clues. It took us a little longer than the back pager. Many thanks to Dada and Big Dave. I’m so glad the site is back.

  7. Gave up on the cryptic after just four clues….couldn’t see my way into it at all! Then I noticed the Toughie was a Dada offering, so gave it a go. Really enjoyed and found it much easier than the back pager. Thanks to Dada.
    Good to have the blog back, thanks Big Dave and I like this format, looks good on an iPad.

  8. In one of those strange coincidences, we saw one of the 12a birds on our regular walk and commented how often it turned up in crosswords in one guise or another. We got home, printed off the puzzle, and there it was again.
    A nice level of difficulty and great fun.
    Thanks Dada and BD.

  9. Great puzzle solved whilst helping boaters/barge/narrowboat types to solve the Quickie and explain how The Quickie Pun works. 25d and 27ac did me over. So Dada 1 The demolition expert 0. This time. I do like the look of the site as it is.

  10. No walkover, but definitely solvable with a little careful thought. After flitting round the grid for a bit I settled to solving each corner at a time, starting to the NW and finishing anti-clockwise in the NE corner. This took more time than the back pager, but on the other hand a couple of hours trimming hedges probably wasn’t the best preparation for a harder than expected but enjoyable puzzle.

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