Toughie 2313 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2313

Toughie No 2313 by Zandio

Hints and tips by Mr K

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone.  I'm standing in for Bufo this week.  I hadn't solved a Zandio puzzle before today, so I wasn't quite sure what I was volunteering for.  Today's puzzle certainly took me out of my comfort zone with a few clues that requiring some serious pondering to parse.  But I did find a lot to enjoy here, with a few smiles and penny drops along the way.  I look forward to reading your impressions.

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions.  Clicking on the answer buttons will reveal the answers.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Truly, trouble dogs a South American absent from work (2,1,6,2,4)
AS A MATTER OF FACT:  A synonym of trouble (as in What's the trouble?) follows (dogs) A + S[outh] + A[merican].  To that lot append a word meaning "absent from" and work or deed

9a    Standing symmetrically, four-foot one (9)
QUADRUPED:  A cryptic definition of a type of four-footed creature that has an axis of symmetry when standing 

10a   Those old revolutionary guards one's blasting (5)
NOISY:  The reversal (revolutionary) of an old word for "those" contains (guards) the Roman one with his 'S from the clue

11a   'State of the Union' part offered by Tarantino had Ice-T heading west (5)
IDAHO:  The answer is hiding as part of the reversal of (part offered by … heading west) the remainder of the clue

12a   Bacon for one, of course not cold, knocked back before shark (3,6)
CON ARTIST:  The fusion of a short word meaning "of course not" and C[old] is reversed (knocked back) and placed before what Francis Bacon defines by example (…, for one)

13a   It's essential for celebrity kiss-and-tellers perhaps to come over clean (8)
STARDUST:  The reversal (to come over) of a derogatory word for kiss-and-tellers and their ilk is followed by a verb synonym of clean 

14a   'Goal's rigged,' 15 chant (6)
SLOGAN:  Follow an anagram (rigged) of GOALS with the chemical symbol for the answer to 15d 

16a   British in origin, southern individuals that are power-driven? (6)
ROBOTS:  The single letter for British is inserted in origin or source with S[outhern] appended

18a   Historic event in which well-mannered turned rough (5,3)
CIVIL WAR:  Well-mannered or polite with the reversal (turned) of rough or not prepared

22a   Auxiliary money trading starts to be minister's trademark? (3,6)
DOG COLLAR:  An auxiliary or unimportant person and the US monetary unit exchange their initial letters (… trading starts)

23a   No place in contents for moderates (5)
EASES:  Contents or satisfies has the map abbreviation for place deleted (no place in …)

24a   Somewhat glib, I lark around getting legal letter off (5)
ALIBI:  Another reverse lurker (somewhat … around)

25a   Long stretch of time with part of crossword to fill in (5-4)
LIGHT-YEAR:  A unit of time preceded by a blank space in a crossword grid 

26a   Symbolic circles made with stones (10,5)
ENGAGEMENT RINGS:  Circular items of jewellery that symbolise commitment 



1d    Makes free pack up to represent English in Masters (7)
ACQUITS:  Pack up or call it a day replaces (to represent) the single letter for English in some experts or masters 

2d    Element of the USA like president that's retired but not old (7)
ALABAMA:  Like or "in the manner of" is followed by a former US President with the abbreviation for old deleted (… not old)

3d    For example, if used in broadcast it makes a better atmosphere (3-12)
AIR-CONDITIONING:  What "if" defines by example (for example) inserted in (used in) a synonym of broadcast


4d    Act as secretary, chuck in pigeonhole (8)
TYPECAST:  Something that secretaries do and chuck or throw 

5d    Take too much in payment for unwelcome house guest? (6)
RODENT:  An abbreviation for the result of taking too much of a drug is inserted in a payment for the use of something

6d    My clients are late (7,8)
FUNERAL DIRECTOR:  A cryptic definition, where late = dead

7d    Flowing chorus after tune getting this person a bit down (7)
ARISING:  A verb synonym of chorus comes after a tune with the letter that the setter uses for himself moved to the right (… this person a bit down, in a down clue) 

8d    Buying a suit thus one does push one's luck (3,2,2)
TRY IT ON:  What one might do when buying a suit

15d   News about violent riot, say -- uplifting, atmospheric stuff (8)
NITROGEN:  Two copies of the abbreviation for new are wrapped about both an anagram (violent) of RIOT and the reversal (… uplifting, in a down clue) of the abbreviation for say or for example

16d   Mandarin's refined in this Maoist record (3,4)
RED TAPE:  Maoist or communist with a type of recording

17d   Road movies actor must suppress food craving (7)
BEGGING:  Road movies refers here not to films like Mad Max, but to the old series Road to Singapore, Road to Zanzibar, … The Road to Hong Kong.  A star of those movies contains (must suppress) a food that might be eaten at breakfast

19d   Film short service, one that's sacred to enter (7)
WESTERN:  A prefix identifying one that's sacred is inserted in (… to enter) a Scottish word for short or little and an abbreviated branch of the armed forces 

20d   Places for holidays, rests or ____? (7)
RESORTS:  An anagram (answer) of RESTS OR.  In addition to being places for holidays, the answer also must complete the wordplay when inserted in the blank space in the clue.  The constraints are satisfied when the answer is both an anagram of RESTS OR and the anagram indicator

21d   Race developed so small, but not small once (6)
SLALOM:  An anagram (developed) of SO [s]MALL with one single-letter abbreviation for small deleted (… but not small once)


Many thanks to Zandio for a rewarding mental workout.  I liked 9a for "four-foot one", 24a for its cryptic definition, 25a for a nice surface and for getting the dimensions of the answer right, 5d for the "take too much" penny drop, 16d for another great definition, and 20d for its cleverness and originality, even though it was a pain to hint.  Which clues did you like best?


13 comments on “Toughie 2313

  1. I much prefer the sort of Toughie we have today where the toughness comes from clever wordplay rather than the type containing obscure vocabulary and characters from antiquity. This one fitted the bill exactly and I enjoyed solving it a great deal. Zandio is a very welcome addition to the ranks of Toughie setters – thanks to him and Mr K.
    I liked 13a, 22a, 24a, 2d and 4d but my favourite is the very clever 20d.

  2. Loath as I am to disagree with Gazza, I’m not, thus far, particularly enamoured with this setter’s compilations. It seems to me as though he’s sacrificed decent surface reads in favour of contortions and I don’t find that particularly appealing.
    Obviously it’s a case of horses for courses and I did like 26a & 5d so all was not lost.

    Thanks to Zandio and to Mr K for somehow finding the time to undertake extra blogging duties. That double pay will doubtless come in handy………….

  3. an enjoyable puzzle for me though it took me three goes to spell 9a correctly doh! 22a was my favourite clue and Mr K’s picture for it added to my enjoyment.

  4. I very much agree with Gazza today. A very nice puzzle that I would put into my 4star difficulty bracket. The absence of small towns, OT characters, exotic flora and fauna etc is a characteristic of the setter which I approve of whole-heartedly. That said I had not heard of the term “road movies” before although I watched plenty of them during childhood (and Westerns too). 4d amused me a bit since in the years running up to my retirement the engineering staff did lots of typing while secretaries never did anyone’s typing and so had lots of time to go round the office telling people off for breaking one of the countless rules. Completely different from when I started my career

    Many thanks to Zandio and Mr K

  5. I’ve never tried a Zandio puzzle before and this one looked almost impossible at first. And then the first few answers went in and after that I pretty much cantered (although not all parsing done perfectly!).

    Somehow I found myself on Zandio’s wavelength and I really enjoyed it.

    Favourites were several: 12a, 16a, 18a, 26a, 7d and 16d.

    Thanks to Zandio and Mr K.

  6. I think the fact that only seven people have commented here by this time of night says it all.

    I have spent **** time on this, and even with a little cheating, I am still less than a third complete. Incomprehensible.

    I suppose that’s why its called a Toughie.

    Thx to all.

  7. This took us longer than our three star time and it was good fun to sort it all out. Totally endorse the point that Gazza makes that the difficulty comes from complex wordplay rather than obscure answers. Just the way we like it.
    Thanks Zandio and Mr K.

  8. What a superb Toughie and so refreshingly different to the many that usually tie my aging brain in knots. Most enjoyable from start to finish. My favourite clues included 6 down and 26 across, but 22 across gets the thumbs up from me for COTD. Thank you Zandio – great fun and thank you too Mr K . . . I needed your help in parsing one or two of my bunged in answers.

Comments are closed.