Toughie 2309 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2309

Toughie No 2309 by Hudson

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Most of it went in fairly readily in an average time but I then had to really winkle out the last 3 or 4 answers. Hence the extra star for difficulty. I wasn’t sure while solving it but decided in the end that I had enjoyed it.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Recycling of clearer water vital to its survival (5,4)
CORAL REEF: An anagram of OF CLEARER = a bank formed of the skeletons of invertebrates

8a    Lord‘s seeing Boycott getting to grips with run out (5)
BARON: The lowest rank in the British peerage = ‘to boycott’ round the abbreviation for ‘run out’

10a    Mass location maybe where holy person is garlanded with blessing (6)
BOSTON: Mass is the abbreviated form of a state of the USA. An abbreviation denoting a holy person inside a blessing

11a    Spilling milk crossing rough road regularly wasted well over two pounds (8)
KILOGRAM: An anagram (spilling) round alternate letters of ROUGH ROAD. It’s over two pounds weight but I wouldn’t say it’s well overl

12a    Testify, condemning ‘Mr FIFA’ (6)
AFFIRM: An anagram (condemning) of MR FIFA

14a    United spin row creating mayhem (6)
UPROAR: U (United) + an abbreviation denoting spin (as a form of propaganda) + ‘to row (a boat)’

16a    Launch hotel web address (4)
HURL: H (hotel) + the abbreviation for a web address

17a    Table Mountain, Switzerland? (5)
BENCH: A Scottish mountain + the IVR for Switzerland

18a    Washington Times: The Measure of Power (4)
WATT: The abbreviation for the state of Washington + two occurrences of the abbreviation for time = the SI unit of power

19a    Godfather actor not in old American material (6)
ALPACA: Take the name of an American actor who appeared in the film The Godfather (and two sequels) and remove IN O (old). Then add A (American) to get a cloth made from the long silky wool of a South American animal. I must confess to consulting Mr Wiki about this one

21a    Knocking back beer, Cruz possibly is very happy (6)
ELATED: A reversal of ‘beer’ + the first name of Mr Cruz (an American politician). I didn’t know Mr Cruz so once again Mr Wiki was consulted

24a    Rotten luck, getting one that turns (3-5)
OFF-BREAK: ‘Rotten (like food can be) + a piece of luck + a ball in cricket that turns

26a    Errant husband leaving resting place for Senior Service? (6)
ASTRAY: Senior Service is a brand of cigarette (which I didn’t know were still being produced). Remove H (husband) from a receptacle you might put a cigarette down on

27a    Philosopher‘s male haircare product? (5)
HEGEL: The surname of a German philosopher = a male pronoun + a product used to fix hair in place

28a    Romeo: build deep love, and build again (9)
REDEVELOP: R (Romeo) + an anagram (build) of DEEP LOVE


1d    Throw punches, taking time over risky jab? (5)
BOTOX: ‘To throw punches’ round T (time) and O (over) = something injected in the skin to reduce facial wrinkles. This was my last one in

2d    Profligate, playing awful set (8)
WASTEFUL: An anagram (playing) of AWFUL SET

3d    State of British administered East India (6)
BRUNEI: A country of SE Asia = B (British) + ‘administered’ + E (East) + I (India)

4d    Bill, the magistrate (4)
BEAK: 2 meanings: a bill (of a bird)/a magistrate

5d    Desperate character, German, in peril (6)
DANGER: A desperate character from The Dandy + an abbreviated form of Germany

6d    During battle, trap a noble mounted general (9)

9d    The last thing from Nevil Shute: novel made into film (6)
SLEUTH: An anagram (novel) of L (the last letter of Nevil) and SHUTE = the title of a film based on a play by Anthony Shaffer

13d    Servant seen with with nothing below the waist in priest’s residence (5)
MANSE: A servant + the first two letters of SEEN (i.e. SEEN without the bottom half) [surely the repetition of “with” in the clue is a typo? BD]

15d    Being cautious, made it out of the group stage? (9)
QUALIFIED: 2 meanings: cautious/made it out of the group stage and to the next round

17d    Be mostly against dam’ hard worker? (6)
BEAVER: BE + the first four letters of a six-letter word meaning ‘against’ = an animal that works hard building dams

18d    Having grappled with the others, went first (8)
WRESTLED: W (with) + the others + ‘went first’

20d    Leisurely mover better going topless (6)
AMBLER: Remove the first letter from a better (someone who bets)

22d    Gaza, leaderless, getting a visit from Bush (6)

23d    Patient chap embracing a cold patriarch (5)
JACOB: An OT character noted for his patience goes round A and C (cold) to give an OT patriarch

25d    Swiss-born artist moving first piece of luggage to bottom part of ship (4)
KEEL: Take the surname of a Swiss born artist and move the letter L (first letter of LUGGAGE) to the end. I originally wrote in the artist’s name but realised that doesn’t work when I was writing the blog

I’m away next week so I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.


18 comments on “Toughie 2309

  1. Nice puzzle, but more ** or *** for me.

    Favourites were 1d, 6d, 20d.

    Thanks to Bufo and Hudson.

  2. Excellent puzzle again; thanks to setter. Favourite clues were 10A, 11A and, best of all, 26A. 3*/4* for me. Good week so far; hope it doesn’t all go pear shaped tomorrow!! ;)

  3. I enjoyed this pangram a lot although I thought there was a bit too much GK required (I tried to make a different Godfather actor work for some time in 19a).
    I’m not keen on ‘mostly’ in 17d meaning ‘remove the last two letters’.
    My last answer was 1d where the pattern of ?o?o? left after the checkers went in was not very helpful but, having got it, I did like ‘risky jab?’. Other clues that made my list of likes were 8a, 26a and 18d.
    Thanks to Hudson and Bufo.

  4. Very nice puzzle – just the right level of difficulty for me. I, too, was trying to get the wrong Godfather into the answer for a while.
    Quite a few to like, 8a, 14a, 19a, 26a, 23a but joint top spot to 10a and 1d.

  5. 27A was my only real hold-up and I was stuck on trying to fit M for male for far too long. The pangram helped in solving 15d. I liked 1D a lot, but 26 was my clear favorite. Thanks to Hudson and Bufo.

  6. A bit of a struggle for me, being delayed by my first answer being the other anagram for 28a. Once underway I found it very enjoyable and plodded on to make it the first one I’ve solved fully in quite some time, so 4* from me! I liked the misdirections in 10a and 26a and my favourite clues were 1d and 26. Many thanks to Hudson and Bufo

  7. Not sure about this one, I never quite felt that I’d tuned into the right wavelength.
    24a was a ‘guess & check’ and I had to confirm the Swiss painter with Mr Google but I did rather enjoy 26a – although I think something similar has appeared previously?

    Thanks to Hudson and to Bufo for the blog – enjoy your time off from the ‘chair’, hope you’re going somewhere away from all this rain!

  8. Like Bufo I found this mostly fairly straightforward but with a small number of clues proving a bit problematic. Also, like Gazza I thought there was a little bit too much GK for my taste. Fortunately this largely lay within my limited range although it took me ages to recall the philosopher and I started off with the wrong actor in 19a. I am old enough to remember the cigarettes but think the clue is a bit tough for younger solvers – I don’t know if the brand is still around or fading out just like the Royal Navy.

    I think I would give it 3*/3* and thank Hudson and Bufo

  9. I really did not like this puzzle. Too much searching for obscure philosophers, cigarettes, cricket terms
    and films. I also thought the apostrophe in 8a made a nonsense of the answer.
    A sad disappointment after yesterday.

    1. Surely the apostrophe in 8a just indicates a contraction of ‘Lord is’?

      That gives the clue the structure ‘〈definition〉 is 〈wordplay〉’.

      I liked it — impressed at getting 3 different cricket references into a clue for an answer that’s nothing to do with cricket.

  10. Enjoyed this, in part because the people and other GK didn’t cause any issues (although I have no idea how I knew about the cigarettes). Favourite was 6d.

    Wondered if it’s legal to drop the full stop indicating that Mass in 10a is an abbreviation?

    Thanks to Hudson and to Bufo

    1. In general, full stops indicating truncations are a matter of house style of the containing document, rather than being intrinsic to the abbreviation itself. So it should be OK (or indeed O.K.) to write ‘Mass’ without one.

      Those in the US (aka U.S.) are keener on using full stops (well, periods) on such abbreviations, so it’s probably written as ’Mass.’ by most locals of the place — but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong not to.

  11. I managed to complete this grid, but three clues needed a visit to Mr. G. (19a, 21a, 27a) otherwise done in ***/**** time.

    As others have commented, some GK is acceptable in a Toughie – but only if I know it!

    Thanks to Hudson and Bufo.

  12. I found this surprisingly accessible given the rating, but still needed a bit of electronic help and a couple of nudges from Bufo to get there. To me it had a bit of a Friday back pager feel to it…ie it wasn’t the most contemporary offering.
    20d made me smile when the penny dropped re the parsing and I liked 1d too, very clever.
    As Bufo alluded to, I think “just” would be better than “well” in 11a (where the hint needs slightly ammending by the way)
    Many thanks to Hudson and Bufo for the entertainment.

  13. Really enjoyed this. I haven’t done Toughies often recently due to work pressures and therefore I often struggle with the more difficult ones. This one I found reasonable so was surprised at the **** rating. Was held up by the senior service until I remembered that my mum was not only partial to my dad the matelot but also product in 26A!

  14. Loved 7a and 1d – great start to a delightful puzzle. Didn’t get 27a – too hung up on using an M.
    Great stuff, many thanks Hudson and Bufo

  15. Registering that we had a potential pangram helped us when we were closing in on the last few answers. We also tried to make Marlon Brando involved in the wordplay for 19a before we went to a cast list for the movies (which we’d never watched). A real pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Hudson and Bufo.

  16. We thought this was a fun and accessible puzzle. Mr Sheffieldsy’s best friend’s mother used to smoke Senior Service so that came fairly easily. The pangram helped with1d.

    Our COTD (in fact, best clue for some time) was 10a. Liking Hudson more and more.

    Thanks to Hudson and Bufo.

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