Toughie 2315 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2315

Toughie No 2315 by Dada

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

An entertaining puzzle, as we have come to expect from this setter.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Rabat and Beirut, after negotiations, calmer? (11)
BARBITURATE: an anagram (after negotiations) of RABAT and BEIRUT

9a    Minister covering up a potentially catastrophic device (7)
REACTOR: a church minister around the A from the clue

10a    Best sink hole put back! (6)
TIPTOP: a verb meaning to sink, as in to sink a ball in snooker, followed by a hole in the ground, both reversed (put back)

12a    In retirement, time passed swiftly in good health (7)
WELFARE: the reversal (in retirement) of a long period of time and a verb meaning passed swiftly

13a    European doctor wished to follow instructions, finally (7)
SWEDISH: an anagram (doctor) of WISHED preceded by (to follow) the final letter of [instruction]S

14a    Group unable to score? (5)
NONET: split as (2,3) this could mean a team has failed to score a goal

15a    Fishy first course on the way (9)
DISHONEST: how the first course of a meal might be described (4,3) followed by an abbreviation for a type of way

17a    Chaser or otherwise ultimately whipped? (9)
RACEHORSE: an anagram (whipped) of CHASER OR with the final letter (ultimately) of [otherwis]E

20a    Utterance from setter perhaps about conclusion of awful writer (5)
WOOLF: this setter is not our compiler but a dog – put a noise it might make around the final letter (conclusion) of [awfu]L


22a    Leader in orchestra wheels in a small instrument (7)
OCARINA: the initial letter (leader) of O[rchestra] followed by a vehicle sometimes referred to as one’s wheels, IN and A from the clue

24a    National broadcast of Iran entertaining American spies originally (7)
RUSSIAN: an anagram () of IRAN around a two-letter abbreviation for American and the initial letter (originally) of S[pies]

25a    Turn featuring latest characters in the television show (6)
VENEER: a verb meaning to turn around the final letters (latest characters) of [th]E and [televisio]N

26a    Difficult little number, uniform short pink dresses (7)
ONEROUS: a little three-letter number followed by the letter represented by Uniform in the NATO Phonetic alphabet inside (dresses) a shorted pink colour

27a    Fine yet to be paid (11)
OUTSTANDING: two definitions


2d    A vehicle rolling over breaking a number of times, pull in (7)
ATTRACT: the A from the clue followed by the reversal (rolling over) of a vehicle inside two T(ime)s

3d    Cocktail maker demonstrating skill during drinking session (9)
BARTENDER: some skill inside a heavy drinking session

4d    Emperor has to go with uprising, defeat at last accepted (5)
TITUS: the reversal (uprising) of a verb meaning to go with or complement around (accepted) the final letter (at last) of [defea]T

5d    For training, I rope in all the players (7)
RIPIENO: an anagram (for training) of I ROPE IN gives a musical instruction to all the players in an orchestra

6d    Cheat reportedly also needing something to do in prison (3-4)
TWO-TIME: what sounds like a word meaning also is followed by what is served by someone in prison

7d    Sound bites crude, prepare chamber for entertainment? (7,4)
DRAWING ROOM: a three-letter sound or noise around (bites) a three-letter adjective meaning crude and is followed by a verb meaning to prepare or train for a task

8d    Fish, duck and sheep reared (6)
MARLIN: a word meaning zero (duck) and a male sheep, all reversed (reared)

11d    Sporting moment captured in glossy perhaps? (5,6)
PHOTO FINISH: this sportng moment, captured by a camera, could be printed on glossy paper – it’s difficult to explain without using either of the words in the answer!

16d    Something sharp pinning clothes, darned perhaps? (5-4)
SWEAR-WORD: a sharp weapon goes around (pinning) some clothes

18d    Appellation on wine, similar drinks superior (7)
CHATEAU: two words for the same drink followed by the letter indicating superior

19d    Woman expecting money say in rise, she flips! (7)
HEIRESS: an anagram (flips) of RISE SHE

20d    Film taking you and I back (7)
WESTERN: this film genre is a xharade of a word meaning you and I followed by a nautical term meaning back, as in the back of a boat

21d    Prayer kept up by journo’s ironic (6)
ORISON: hidden (kept) and reversed (up) inside the clue

23d    A temporary cut in open spaces (5)
ATRIA: the A from the clue followed by most of (cut) an adjective meaning temporary

Rather a lot of first and last letter constructs, especially the latter, for one puzzle,


17 comments on “Toughie 2315

  1. Perfectly pitched for the start of the week toughie spot – I hadn’t noticed the first and last letter ‘problem’ I was just relieved that the insertion clues were fewer and more spread out than last Sunday’s crossword

    Thanks to Dada and BD

  2. Entertaining as always and, I thought, showing his teeth a bit more than usual I wonder if Dada is slowly inching towards the Wednesday Toughie slot? Thanks to him and to BD.
    My ticks today went to 12a, 15a, 4d and 18d.

  3. 20 down – this should be: “Film taking you and me back.” Object pronoun comes after a verb.

  4. Finished most of it unaided but needed help from BD with 16d (couldn’t get “spear” out of my mind) and also with 5d and 21d, both new words to me. Favourites were 15a and 17a.
    Very enjoyable, thanks to Dada and Big Dave.

  5. There was a delighted hoot here about one of those last-letter clues (the ‘awful writer’). 20a was a favourite by a long stretch. Thanks to Dada and Big Dave.

  6. Damn. I fancied this, and could not do any of it, got one answer. I can’t do Dada’s Sunday puzzles or Paul in the Guardian, so no wonder I could not do this, I must check the setter in future.
    Enjoyed the hints. Thanks all.

    1. Just a note of support, but you were able to complete Sunday’s puzzle and although this was a bit of a step up in difficulty, I would bet you’ve solved tougher puzzles than this one.

      Solving the first couple of clues, for me, can sometimes be the key to the almost domino effect of successfully completing the rest of the puzzle.

      When I began to solve the Toughies I’d generally wait for the blog to appear and if I couldn’t get any on first pass I’d reveal one (generally a long one across or down to give a few starting letters) and go from there. From there came the confidence and slowly the wherewithal to deal with most of the clue types seen in these trickier puzzles (however some Fridays (and other days) still leave me bamboozled), but I can now deal with most of them.

      I don’t mean to be patronising, just trying to be objective and the more I read the blog regards to the clues I don’t understand, the clearer it all, becomes – and don’t be afraid to ‘Biff’ as they say in other blogs..!

      Keep going mate – although it’s late and you’ll probably never read this lol.

  7. An enjoyable puzzle that was perhaps a little more difficult than some Tuesday offerings. The answer to 5d was the only word I did not know and, fortunately the double i’s made the guess fairly easy. My last one was 25a as I don’t think I have come across the word meaning just “show” – I am familiar with it in the sense of “for show” but that would not go with “television”: presumably though it lurks in Chambers. I guessed the answer successfully as everything else seemed less probable. The instrument in 22a seems to appear in crosswords fairly frequently but the only time I believe I have come across it in normal life was when it featured in a Royal Society Christmas lecture circa 1972

    I note that I was not quite the only one to think the Friday Toughie was not an earth shaker but in a tiny minority. The problem I have is that once the number of words I don’t know or that lie in the very depths of memory exceeds about 12 then I reach the melt down point where there are too few checking letters available to progress properly with the cryptic.

    Thanks to Dada and BD

  8. a challenging and enjoyable Toughie though i wonder what percentage of the general population have seen written or heard of 5d, less than 1%?
    20a i thought an excellent clue.

  9. A slightly trickier and enjoyable offering from Dada today which took me a bit longer than a typical Tuesday Toughie.

    Thanks to BD and setter

  10. Didn’t find this one at all easy and needed a couple of hints to get me across the line.
    Think I prefer Dada on a Sunday!
    Top two for me were 15a & 16d.

    Thanks to Dada and to BD for the review.

  11. I lost heart on Friday last, as I just couldn’t get onto or into Osmosis’s way of cluing; giving in as I did after about four answers. Today though I mostly cruised along. Like many before me, 5 down was a new word learned. I needed BD’s help to parse 7 down, even though the answer had to be what it was. Otherwise pretty much plain sailing. My out and out favourite was 20 across, closely followed by 11 & 16 down. I feel most comfortable with Dada puzzles now and find them very entertaining. My thanks to him and of course to BD.

  12. Lots of fun with the biggest laugh coming from 20a. Agree that Dada has upped the difficulty a notch or two so the enjoyment lasts longer.
    Thanks Dada and BD.

  13. Thank you for the hints, Big Dave — I needed quite a few for this one. (Mostly not for specific words; just supplementing my initial few answers, until I had more checking letters for attempting the rest.)

    I particularly liked 15a and 22a, but (like many others above), my biggest smile was from the setter in 20a.

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