Toughie 2270 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2270

Toughie No 2270 by Artix

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A lovely puzzle by Artix, full of innovative clueing

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


1a    Woman bosses modified hems on tiny armchair (10)
MATRIARCHY: An anagram (modified) of the outer letters (hems) on T(in)Y + ARMCHAIR

6a    Fed 80% of heavy machinery from the wrong side (4)
NARC: Fed here is the agent variety, not the verb! My last one in because of that. A reversal (from the wrong side) of the first 4 letters (80%) of a 5-letter item of heavy machinery used for lifting weights in construction

10a    Love to pursue record bash (5)
DISCO: The letter that resembles the score of love in tennis follows (to pursue) a (vinyl) record

11a    Thus break a prisoner returning in these islands (9)
GALAPAGOS: Another word for thus, a word meaning break, A from the clue and another word for prisoner, all reversed (returning)

12a    #moan&fuss (4,4)
BEEF STEW: A word for a moan or complaint and a word for fuss. In case you can’t see it on your device, the first character in the clue is underlined as the definition

13a    Fool in NY is first to diss small book (5)
DWEEB: The first letter in diss, a Scottish word meaning small, and the abbreviation for book

15a    Cool mate maybe cut up wood, shaving edges (4,3)
ICED-TEA: Mate or maté is a Paraguayan infusion often encountered in crossword land – I’ve yet to have it cold, though I suppose you could. Take a 5-letter past participle meaning cut up plus a 4-letter (expensive) kind of wood, and remove the first and last letter (shaving edges)

17a    Taking day off, dish dreamt up … by Nobu? (7)
TEMPURA: Nobu is a famous Japanese chef. Omitting the abbreviation for day, we have an anagram (dish) of (d)REAMT UP

19a    First lead-free rent-a-car companies side-by-side or face-to-face (3-1-3)
VIS-A-VIS: Repeat (side-by-side) a well-known 4-letter rental car company and remove the first letter from the first one (first lead-free)

21a    With time, this Nirvana-seeker can become ecstatic (7)
ASCETIC: If you add the abbreviation for time to the answer, it can be anagrammed into (can become) ECSTATIC

22a    Maybe Queen Vic’s beer gets knocked back (5)
REGAL: The ‘s translates to IS. A reversal (gets knocked back) of a type of beer

24a    More than one’s in The Cat Sat on The Mat (Cameron’s doggerel) (3-5)
RAT-RHYME: A Scottish (Cameron’s) expression for a bit of doggerel, which taken literally sees more than one example (three, not to give too much away) in the wordplay

27a    Try to animate Avatar egg (9)
AGGRAVATE: An anagram (to animate) of AVATAR EGG

28a    Bury FC playing in Italy (5)
INTER: Two meanings, the first a verb

29a    Fox cub beginning to eat bird (4)
KITE: The word for a fox cub plus the first letter (beginning) of eat

30a    Trouble from interior put pygmy off, by Jove! (5,5)
GYPPY TUMMY: An anagram (off) of PUT PYGMY plus an exclamation meaning by Jove


1d    Coat for the South of France (4)
MIDI: Two meanings

2d    Vulgar adjective used to describe asylum-seeker with head lowered (9)
TASTELESS: A word describing an asylum-seeker or someone without a home-country, with the first letter dropped two spaces (with head lowered)

3d    By-product, not special, gets shot (2-3)
IN-OFF: Think snooker. A (4-3) by-product without (not) the initial 2-letter abbreviation for special

4d    Start and finish of race with gun backfiring at Cowes? (7)
REGATTA: The whole clue alludes to the answer. The first and last letters (start and finish) of race, a gun, and a reversal (backfiring) of AT from the clue

5d    Imbecile cycling with a large female (4-3)
HALF-WIT: Cycle WITH A L F, where A is from the clue and L and F are abbreviations. The answer is not hyphenated in Chambers but it is in Collins

7d    Ye Olde Nook and Hook? (5)
ANGLE: Two meanings – a word meaning hook is also an old word for a nook.

8d    Picture bean counters with a black car taking one out (10)
CASABLANCA: An abbreviation for bean counters or accountants (including an S for the plural), A from the clue, the abbreviation for black, and a make of car omitting “I” (taking one out)

9d    50% taken by Great Plague (8)
EPIDEMIC: A prefix meaning half or 50% goes inside (taken by) an adjective meaning great

14d    Marked elder in African forest? (10)
SILVERBACK: A cryptic definition with a pun on elder

16d    Islander‘s dodgy undervaluation once unhappy De Niro leaves (8)
TUVALUAN: An anagram (dodgy) of UNDERVALUATION from which an anagram (unhappy) of DE NIRO is subtracted (once … leaves)

18d    In the last month, corporation supports setter’s advanced threat (9)
ULTIMATUM: An abbreviation meaning ‘in the last month’, then a 3-letter word for corporation or belly goes underneath (supports) a (1’1) way of saying “setter is” (from the setter’s perspective) plus the abbreviation for advanced

20d    Valuable cargo sure to be lost in weather that’s unreliable (7)
STREAKY: An 8-letter valuable cargo from which the final ‘SURE’ from the clue is missing (to be lost) goes inside (in) a 3-letter word that can mean weather

21d    5 following leaderless Man City (7)
ANTWERP: Another word for the answer of 5 follows (m)AN from the clue without its first letter (leaderless)

23d    Joe bought joint (5)
GIGOT: A Joe or American soldier plus a verb meaning bought or obtained

25d    One getting into the next lift? (5)
HOIST: Insert the Roman numeral for one into another word for the answer of ‘the next’ (clue)

26d    Like member shedloads (4)
ARMY: The answer whimsically could mean like a member or limb

I liked the #, the rent-a-car, the “vulgar adjective”, and the picture which is my destination next Friday (well, a one-hour stop). Which clues were your favourites?

19 comments on “Toughie 2270

  1. Super puzzle – thanks Artix and Dutch.
    My last bit was the NE corner until it occurred to me that ‘fed’ was not a verb.
    There are loads of excellent clues here – I particularly like 6a, 12a (for the use of #), 30a (“trouble from interior”!), 5d (the cycling imbecile), 25d (for the cunning use of next) and 26d (like member).

  2. Really enjoyed this. Made to work without feeling it was beyond me as I found last Friday. 6 across was a new word to me. That and a couple of others that I had guessed correctly I needed Dutch to parse for me. Thanks to Artix. I look forward to his next offering. Thanks to Dutch for enlightening me on this one.

  3. Great fun – like Gazza it took me a while to realise that ‘fed’ in 6a wasn’t a verb. I also took a while with 20d. 26d was the one that made me smile the most so I’ll nominate that as favourite

    Thanks to Artix and Dutch

  4. Thanks for the blog Dutch. Perhaps you could add that in 12a the # signifies the answer ? Hash= beef stew?
    I can just about see (on a phone screen) that you have the hash underlined but it is very faint

      1. Yes I know as I commented above, it is simply because, at least on phone screens, the underlining gets lost or obscured by the answer, particularly when it has been revealed. Just a small technical issue, that’s all.

  5. Today’s stage of the Tour de France has been stopped and cancelled due to snow on the road! On 26th July!

  6. I thought this was a great puzzle, and hugely enjoyable. Close to the end I was left with a handful of definitions scattered around the puzzle that I was unfamiliar with, but eventually, after some Google time, I got it all pieced together. I got 6a by way of the heavy machinery, and the checkers, and then the fed fell into place. Too many great clues from which to pick a favourite. Many thanks Artix and Dutch.

  7. Made very heavy weather of this and came in for Dutch’s help at around the halfway stage.
    I didn’t know either the 24a doggerel or the 16d island and was unfamiliar with that definition of 20d – I see now that it’s an Americanism.

    Thanks to Artix for the challenge – sorry to be unequal to it! – and many thanks to Dutch for the review and the assistance.

  8. Refreshingly lovely puzzle, though 24a was new to me too. Some nice original thinking
    Thanks Artix and Dutch for the blog

  9. Thanks Artix for a lovely puzzle and to Dutch for the help.

    For 24a, the answer seems to be missing it’s ‘click here’ protector.

    I liked 50% of 9d, the cleverness of the head-lowering in 2d, and the side-by-side of 19a (my first in); my favourite was #12.

  10. Looks like we were not alone in saving 6a as the last answer to enter. We needed to have the first letter from 8d to point us in the right direction. A thoroughly enjoyable solve for us.
    Thanks Artix and Dutch.

  11. Thanks to Artix and Dutch. The toughie is always out of my league but today I worked through each clue , reading the definition and then understanding how it worked. Great explanations and illustrations from Dutch and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Also how do I change the avatar accompanying my name? I think it’s a bit too aggressive for me!

  12. Feeling really chuffed with myself, solving a Friday Toughie, albeit with lots of electronic help. Hats off to Artix and Dutch

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