Toughie 2289 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2289

Toughie No 2289 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

An enjoyable puzzle with some original touches. It wasn’t particularly difficult though I had to think hard about some of the parsing.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Reward partners with answer during contest (10)
COMPENSATE: Two letters denoting partners at bridge and A (answer) inside ‘to contest’

6a    Cool 100 prime pieces of salami (4)
CALM: The Roman numeral for 100 + the 3 letters of SALAMI that are in prime-numbered positions in the word

9a    Loudmouth Stokes, initially 10 not out, accepting a single run on review (10)
STENTORIAN: The first letter of STOKES + 10 + a reversal of NOT round A, I (single) and R (run)

10a    Need to take time to replace new engineer (4)
WATT: Take a synonym of ‘need’ and replace N (new) by T (time) and you get the surname of a Scottish engineer

12a    Display flower up north (4)
WEAR: 2 meanings: to display/the river (flower) that flows through Durham and Sunderland

13a    Cook’s welcoming that woman with hot tip (9)
BAKSHEESH: ‘To cook’ and the possessive ‘S round a female personal pronoun + H (hot) = a tip (gratuity)

15a    Place with tunnel in yonder section of farm? Not at first (8)
HATFIELD: ‘Yonder section of farm’ (4,5) with the first letter of the first word removed gives the name of a Hertfordshire town where the A1(M) motorway goes through a tunnel. I don’t think I’ve ever been down this bit of the A1

16a    Mind part of church casting out European and Italian (6)
SPIRIT: A tapering part of a church with the letter E (European) removed + a 2-letter abbreviation for ‘Italian’

18a    Lying, broadcast appeal before long (6)
SUPINE: A homophone (broadcast) of ‘to appeal’ + ‘to long’

20a    An angry mark from teacher, all failing to finish? This is puzzling (8)
ACROSTIC: Take AN, a synonym of ‘angry’ and a written mark a teacher makes when marking something and remove the last letter of each. That gives a type of word puzzle

23a    Effects of marriage finally upset philosopher (9)
TROUSSEAU: The last letter of UPSET + the surname of an 18th-century philosopher

24a    Not quite 21? That’s unusual (4)
RARE: This baffled me until I looked in the BRB and discovered that the answer to 21 down also means ‘served raw’

26a    Return of early deposit by American could make you fearful (4)
AWED: A (American) + a reversal of moisture deposited before dawn

27a    True friend second to go after support (10)
LEGITIMATE: A support for standing on + a close friend with the second letter omitted

28a    Over my dead body, jolly pattern (4)
NORM: A word of refusal + a jolly (a royal marine)

29a    Section of mantle isn’t working (10)
INSTALMENT: An anagram (working) of MANTLE ISN’T


1d    Modest about snookers ultimately providing cover for pot (4)
COSY: ‘Modest’ round the last letter of SNOOKERS = a cover for a teapot

2d    Gather to welcome oddly keen son most likely to inherit everything (7)
MEEKEST: ‘To gather’ round the odd-positioned letters of KEEN and S (son) gives the superlative form of an adjective that describes those who shall inherit the earth (from Matthew’s gospel)

3d    Former gymnast perhaps should ignore jailbird, one making illegal demands (12)
EXTORTIONIST: ‘Former’ + a person (possibly a gymnast) who can twist their body into unnatural positions with CON (jailbird) removed

4d    Quickly sketch pirate wearing black cutting adult (8)
SCRIBBLE: ‘To pirate or copy’ inside the heraldic term for ‘black’ with the letter A (adult) removed

5d    Cheers famous actor in address (6)
THANKS: The first initial and surname of a Hollywood actor

7d    Person who’s free in a very old city in China? Quite the opposite (7)
AMATEUR: Someone who doesn’t receive payment = A + a china (plate) + an ancient Sumerian city

8d    After game, abuse striker (10)
MATCHSTICK: A game + abuse = something you strike to get a light

11d    One might fly with trendy impoverished playwright (12)
WHIPPOORWILL: A North American nightjar (that calls as I hurry to my Blue Heaven) = W (with) + ‘trendy’ + ‘impoverished’ + a name referring to Shakespeare

14d    Ride straight on in error (5,5)
GHOST TRAIN: A ride at the funfair is an anagram (in error) of STRAIGHT ON

17d    Familiarise a Conservative with odd following (8)
ACQUAINT: A + C (Conservative) + ‘odd’

19d    Discover fire close by, we hear (7)
PIONEER: Homophones of a pile of combustible material for burning and ‘close by’

21d    Some anger at rather revolutionary dressing (7)
TARTARE: Hidden in reverse in ANGER AT RATHER

22d    To be conserved, cod must keep swimming here? (6)
SEVERN: An anagram (swimming) of CONSERVED with COD removed gives a river with an estuary where cod might be found. I’m not really convinced by this one

25d    Sleep on, good man? (4)
REST: ‘On’ + a saint (good man)

Very nice. We seem to be on a good run of Thursday Toughies.


11 comments on “Toughie 2289

  1. I found it hard work in several cases to work out the parsing but finished all bar 15ac and had never hear of its Tunnel.
    Anyway, very enjoyable and thanks to all.

  2. Yes, definitely not fluffy – very ‘Thursday’ for us. We struggled with where the cod was swimming in 22d, failing to see the subtractive anagram and postulating the AEGEAN or even ‘REMAIN’ (in the main) for the ‘conserve’ part of the clue, so failed to get 27ac. Some challenging wordplay kept us busy. Most enjoyable, thanks to Samuel and Bufo.

  3. Enjoyable and not exactly straightforward – thanks to Samuel and Bufo.
    I did wonder about the surface of 22d but I suppose it depends on where exactly you draw the line between the Bristol Channel and the Severn estuary.
    To describe the 12a river as ‘up north’ seems very odd in a paper that’s supposed to cover the UK – not from Edinburgh or Aberdeen (or even Newcastle) it’s not!
    The clues that I gave the medals to were 24a, 5d and 7d.

  4. Hand up here for having made enquiries of Mr Google today. 13a for one – entirely my own lack of GK – and the 15a tunnel location for another. Not sure why I should be expected to know the latter although I did get there from the wordplay and doubtless contributed towards its construction through my tax payments!

    Rather liked the intersecting 24a/21d but it was 23a that claimed the gold star.

    Thanks to Samuel for the challenge and to Bufo for bringing us the review.

  5. a proper toughie,needed Bufo’s help for 22d. i’m afraid the answer to 1a irks me as it doesn’t fit the definition,but not enough to spoil the enjoyment.

  6. Overall I found this very tough but I did enjoy almost all of it. However, I thought that a small number of clues (13a, 15a, 4d & 11d) were utterly impenetrable and this just slightly took the gloss off it for me.

    On my podium are 24a, 5d & 19d.

    Many thanks to Samuel and to Bufo.

  7. Returning after solving this, more or less, at lunchtime. As usual, with this sort of clue, (10a), put in the engineer not the need. When will I get these right? Don’t like 22d, nothing to do with the sea just, excuse me, a “bore”. 15a parsed beautifully but how many of us knew there was a tunnel there? While, as for the homophone 19d was appalling. I’m surprised there were no howls of outrage.
    COTD? 11d by a long chalk.

  8. Thanks to the blogger and to those who have commented so far. To answer a couple of points:

    1ac — the answer and its definition appear in each other’s lists in Chambers Thesaurus, which I normally see as a solid test as to whether a definition passes muster.

    StanXYZ — apologies; when I made that comment, I had forgotten that I had moved this puzzle so I didn’t have a Toughie and a back-page outing on the same day (something we try to avoid).

  9. We had the usual problems with UK geography (esp 15a) but did get it sorted eventually. Also struggled with the homophone for the first part of 19d as there is no suggestion of an R in the way we pronounce the answer. Our last act was sorting out the wordplay for 4d as we kept trying to make BLACK in the clue into a B in the answer.
    Quite a challenge and good fun.
    Thanks Samuel and Bufo.

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