Toughie 2297 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2297

Toughie No 2297 by Zandio

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I’m not sure what I made of this one. I never really warmed to it but at the same time never ran into any significant problems. I’m not sure why because there were some nice touches (though I didn’t care much for the cryptic definitions). Maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I’ll be interested to see what other solvers made of it.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Oldster‘s greeting managed to shoo ducks away before two daughters come in (10)
GRANDDADDY: A common greeting (especially in Australia in a shortened form) with OO (two ducks) replaced by ‘managed’ goes round DD (two daughters) to give an aged male relative

6a    Golf and yet more golf — one’s soundly beaten (4)
GONG: G (golf) ON G (golf)

9a    Loose end to women’s tennis match in east London? (3,4)
SET FREE: This term for ‘to loose’ could also be how the third and final series of games in a women’s tennis match might be said in the East End of London

10a    First awarded to very loud university student — that’s all one can grasp (7)
FISTFUL: Three letters denoting ‘first’ inside an abbreviation denoting ‘very loud’ + U (university) + L (learner = student)

12a    Clumsy delivery by local hiding identity and lying (8-5)
ACCIDENT-PRONE: A way of talking characteristic of a region round ID (identity) + ‘lying or laid flat’

14a    Unfashionable kind of fur’s put by as best (6)
OUTFOX: ‘Unfashionable’ + fur from a British wild animal = ‘to best’ or ‘to get the better of by cunning’

15a    Person taking time to break in, not so polite? (8)
INTRUDER: T (time) inside IN and ‘not so polite’. The whole clue provides the definition

17a    All-round goalie’s kept in African province and across the country (8)
NATIONAL: A reversal of a goalie (as identified by his/her number on the teamsheet) inside a South African province

19a    Mostly stationary after short distance — stopped halfway through drive home (6)
INSTIL: The first two letters of a four-letter word for a short distance + ‘stationary’ with the last letter removed = ‘to drive home’

22a    US-made capsule that got its users high (7,6)
COMMAND MODULE: A cryptic definition for that part of a spacecraft from which operations are directed

24a    Specialist associated with youth said to offer what a growing body needs (7)
PROTEIN: A specialist (professional) + a homophone of a youth = a substance found in the human body

25a    Scratched ‘Physical Graffiti’ (7)
TATTOOS: I think this is another cryptic definition, this time for designs scratched on the skin

26a    Miles away in a service that’s running over (4)
AFAR: A + a reversal of one of the armed services

27a    Not very nice after having caught nothing — two maidens, holding plenty (10)
COMMODIOUS: Single letters denoting ‘caught’, ‘nothing’, ‘maiden’ and ‘maiden’ + ‘not very nice’


1d    Say ‘Ah’ maybe when doctor rings (4)
GASP: A family doctor round ‘when’

2d    Draw contents of dustcart, Tate putting it up (7)
ATTRACT: Hidden in reverse in DUSTCART TATE

3d    Cook had claret, messed up sweet (4,9)
DARK CHOCOLATE: An anagram (messed up) of COOK HAD CLARET

4d    Meeting subjects, aim to stay in range of country houses? (6)
AGENDA: an aim inside a make of cooking range found in some country houses

5d    Explaining it’s economically punishing to underwrite lower classes (8)
DEFINING: ‘Punishing by exacting a financial penalty’ follows two letters denoting the lower classes

7d    Bad boy keeps love in dump (7)
OFFLOAD: ‘Bad’ + a boy round O (love) = ‘to dump’

8d    Sage saw this could sum up HM’s 50th anniversary (6,4)
GOLDEN RULE: This term for a guiding principle (sage saw) could also describe 50 years of the Queen’s reign

11d    A1 to the south, Aunt Edna rambles past it (13)
SUPERANNUATED: A1 (or excellent) + an anagram (rambles) of AUNT EDNA = ‘past it’ or ‘so old as to not be fit for work’

13d    Well I never joke over hosting company — one suppresses a lot (10)
CORNUCOPIA: ‘well I never!’ = a reversal of play on words round the abbreviation for ‘Company’ + I (one) + A = an emblem of plenty

16d    Scarf and angora used in dance? On the contrary (8)

18d    Draw Test, rolling a pitch to take spin (7)
TOMBOLA: A draw (lottery) = a reversal of a test done on a car + a reversal of A and a high throw or pitch

20d    American rock group comes in to see guitarist’s effect (7)
TREMOLO: An American alternative rock band formed in 1980 inside TO + ‘See!’

21d    Chant repeatedly with tense accompaniment from this? (3-3)
TOM-TOM: T (tense) + a sacred syllable intoned as part of Hindu devotion followed by the same again = a kind of drum. I remembered the two-letter chant from a puzzle a few months ago

23d    Flying insects — with head cut off they’re poisonous (4)
WASPS: Remove the first letter from flying insects that sting


12 comments on “Toughie 2297

  1. Another fairly average back page crossword – no particular favourites either

    Thanks to Bufo and Zandio

  2. I enjoyed this one a lot (more than Bufo did, it seems)- thanks to Zandio and Bufo.
    I’ve far too many ticks to list them all so I’ll restrict myself to 12a, the semi-all-in-one at 15a, 4d (‘range of country houses’), 18d (for the well-timed surface reading) and 20d.

  3. I quite enjoyed this. Zandio puzzles seem to avoid tricky GK and obscure words and I managed this without needing Google. The only clue I did not like much was 22a. The capsule comes into its element on reentry rather than going up. The clue is not wrong but I found it a bit misleading mentally. Otherwise I found most clues good. My rating would be **\***
    With thanks to zandio and Bufo for clarifying the definition of 15a which I had taken to be just “person taking” which seemed very weak

  4. I quite enjoyed this with favourites pretty much coinciding with Gazza and 12 across taking top prize

  5. This was a strange solve for me. I got 3d almost immediately, and a couple of others, but I wasn’t able to find any other way into the puzzle, and after two or three attempts I almost abandoned it. In the end I ‘cheated’ and found 22a online (and I think ended up by being my least favourite clue) which was just enough to get me established, and I finished relatively easily. I thought the lurkers were very well hidden. At present, my disappointment in not being able to do this without the push is a good deal greater than my satisfaction in finishing it. Many thanks to all.

  6. Just couldn’t get into this at all. I’ll blame it onto the nasty stomach bug I’ve picked up from somewhere.

  7. Didn’t have time to make a start on this before going out this morning so, remembering the really tough Toughie that this setter gave us with his last offering, thought I’d pop in to see what others had made of it before making time for it this evening.
    Umm – seems to have garnered mixed reactions – I’ll see how it goes.

    1. I’ve been busy all day so not able to comment before now.

      I did this puzzle this morning, at first by mistake in the sense that I opened the Toughie when I thought I was opening the Cryptic. When I finished it in reasonable time I thought it was quite a tricky back pager then realised my mistake. Then I did the cryptic which I thought was tougher in places! It’s a weird world in crossword land sometimes.

      10a, 12 a and 21d were in top places plus I always like a bit of cockney (9a). 13d took far too long. Overall? Moderate difficulty and good fun. Not sure about the body needling cryptic.

      Ta to all.

  8. I enjoyed this and thanks for the review too. I was particularly grateful that the puzzle gave me an excuse to sit down and have a cup of tea, when the gardening got me out of breath!

  9. 16d took us longer than it should have, mainly because of the unconventional placement of the definition in the clue, but the penny eventually dropped. Chuckled at the Cockney 9a.
    An enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Zandio and Bufo.

  10. Thought this was a little more solver friendly than Zandio’s first Toughie but it still took me some time to unravel. I didn’t know the term in 20d so had to trust in the wordplay and am never likely to remember which shirt belongs to the goalie!
    Top two for me were 9a & 4d.

    Thanks to Zandio and to Bufo for confirming the parsing in his review.

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