Toughie 2277 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2277

Toughie No 2277 by Zandio

Hints and tips by Bufo

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

Thanks to our publican and dankeschön to our German correspondent for covering the past two Thursdays while I was otherwise occupied. I have been looking forward to my first battle with a Zandio puzzle.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Climbs down path guarded by defenders (10)
BACKTRACKS: A path inside defenders on a soccer team

6a    Tramp’s missing million found in vault (4)
ARCH: Remove M (million) from the front of a word meaning ‘to tramp’

10a    Competitor finishing in the lowest place (5)
SKIER: A cryptic definition for a sportsperson who ends up further downhill from where they started

11a    White-collar worker‘s family gathering awfully germy (9)
CLERGYMAN: The white collar is a dog collar. ‘Family’ goes round an anagram (awfully) of GERMY

12a    Nice location I found in Loire area? (7)
RIVIERA: The location of the French city of Nice = I inside the geographical feature of which the Loire is an example + A (area)

13a    Night-time air beneficial for smaller people (7)
LULLABY: A cryptic definition for a song sung to infants at bedtime

14a    Going far, Liberal doing reshuffles connected with policy (4-8)
LONG-DISTANCE: L (Liberal) + an anagram (reshuffles) of DOING + a policy

18a    Women only, a disturbing cult with differences about terminology (12)
NOMENCLATURE: ‘Women only’ (2,3) + A inside an anagram (with differences) of CULT + ‘about’

21a    By heading west, prepare to be accompanied by American flies (7)
AVIATES: A (American) + ‘by way of’ + a reversal of ‘prepare’ = ‘flies an aeroplane’

23a    See a picture of victim a GI neutralised in cover-up (7)

24a    Irregular conclusively swapping sides, shiftily? (9)
GUERRILLA: An anagram (shiftily) of IRREGULAL, i.e. IRREGULAR with the final R (right) changed to L (left)

25a    Lounger is unused, to a greater extent (5)
IDLER: This word could also be the comparative form of an adjective meaning ‘unused’

26a    Scoff seeing sustenance one in every three sent back (4)
EATS: A reversal of every third letter in SUSTENANCE

27a    Exploit entertaining title held by firm (10)
DETERMINED: An exploit goes round a title and ‘held by’


1d    Where Parisian 26 initially gets admission to upcoming ball (6)
BISTRO: Three letters representing ‘initially’ or ‘first’ inside a reversal of a spherical object

2d    Badger taps very filling creeping thing (6)
CHIVVY: ‘To badger’ =the two letters found on the top of a pair of taps + V (very) inside a creeping plant

3d    Manoeuvre that makes Wes sew? (5-5,4)
THREE-POINT TURN: A manoeuvre in a motor vehicle. To make WES into SEW you reverse it. Also W, E and S are abbreviations for compass directions

4d    Divine being a convert, someone learning following resistance (9)
ARCHANGEL: A + R (resistance) + ‘to convert’ + a single letter denoting a learner

5d    Lower part of leg, middle part of leg and large bottom (5)
KNEEL: ‘To lower part of leg’ = the middle part of the leg + L (large)

7d    Spirit I found in pop, being moved by Cuban music? (8)
RUMBAING: An alcoholic spirit + I inside ‘pop’ = ‘doing a Cuban dance’

8d    Fixers using what dealer gives one male trapped by craving (8)
HANDYMEN: What the dealer deals you in a card game + M (male) inside a craving

9d    Material gain is sadly demanding all the same (14)

15d    Involved during scam, almost put away (9)
INTRICATE: ‘During’ + ‘scam’ with the last letter removed + ‘put away food’

16d    Work out what’s caught by weasel — gnat numbers seen rising (8)

17d    Close the writer’s books about the writer eating in (8)
IMMINENT: ‘Close’ or ‘impending’ = ‘the writer is’ + part of the bible round ‘the writer’ with IN in the middle

19d    One makes music with quintet — two of them love getting a lift (6)
VIOLIN: The Roman numeral for five + two letters denoting ‘ten’ + a reversal of love or zilch. My initial answer for this was LINNET (a reversal of TEN and NIL though I wasn’t able to explain the quintet

20d    Was sizzling passage in Bible transposed? (6)
SEARED: Take the body of water that the Israelites crossed in the Old Testament and transpose the two halves

22d    Crack in small soft spot — nothing needs to be bunged up (5)
SOLVE: ‘To crack (a clue for instance)’ = S (small) + a soft spot with the letter O (nothing) moved to the front

An enjoyable challenge.


11 comments on “Toughie 2277

  1. A Toughie two days running ! This one was both challenging and enjoyable, and at one point required the use of TIppex – 5d took quite a bit of reading and thinking to justify the obvious solution – I particularly liked 11a as the ‘white-collar worker’ made me smile

    Thanks to Zandio for the Toughie and Bufo for the blog

  2. Enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Zandio and Bufo.
    I wasn’t keen on 5d which seemed somewhat ‘same-both-sidey’.
    The clues I liked best were 24a, 19d and 20d.

  3. Three enjoyable toughies in a row, with the last two being quite tricky. I do like Zandio’s declared aim of avoiding obscure words and GK. The SE corner proved the most difficult for me, taking a while to parse 19d and 20d even after I was fairly confident I had the answers. “Passage in Bible” is perhaps stretching things a bit but it made me laugh when the penny dropped. Lots of nice clues including 11a, 4d, 5d as well as 19 and 20d

    With thanks to Zandio and Bufo

  4. A great challenge which I managed without recourse to the blog or BRB. Took me a while though! My favourites 12a and 20a. LOI 22d!
    Looking forward to the next Zandio, so thanks to the setter and Bufo

  5. I found this a great challenge, and most enjoyable. The top half went in more quickly than the bottom half. I thought the lurkers were very well hidden. My favourite was the terminology in 18a. Many thanks to Zandio and Bufo.

  6. Thought our setter reverted to the level of his debut puzzle today and have to admit to finding some of his complex clues rather difficult to unravel.
    I wasn’t overly keen on 10a or 7d and did need to come to the blog for the complete parsing of 5&20d.

    Favourite was 3d with a mention for the ‘white-collar’ worker.

    Thanks to Zandio and to Bufo for his assistance with those pesky bits of parsing.

  7. Lovely challenge – all went in steadily, not quickly. Worthy of my mention were 13a, 23a, 2d, 19d, 20d, 22d with top spot awarded to 18a.

    Thank you Zandio and Bufo for the hint for 20d.

  8. We enjoyed this a lot – 4* for enjoyment and 3* for difficulty. We’re beginning to appreciate Zandio’s style – he/she is very adept at making nouns read as verbs and vice versa.

    Thanks and welcome back to Bufo, thanks to Zandio.

  9. Quite a challenge but I finished it before lunch with, I must admit, a little electronic help.
    I wasn’t that keen on 7d but thought 3d very clever. 20d raised a smile when I realised how it was constructed. I must say I thought the passage was in Egypt and not in the bible ( I expected “verse” or something like that) but I mustn’t be picky.
    Thanks to setter and blogger. Let’s all gird our loins for tomorrow’s Toughie which will, in all probability, be even more of a challenge.

  10. This all went together steadily but not quickly for us. 10a was our last answer in as it took a while to understand the wordplay.
    Thanks Zandio and Bufo.

  11. An enjoyable challenge that took a lot less time than yesterday’s to sort out.

    Thanks to Bufo and Zandio

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