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Toughie 2321

Toughie No 2321 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This went in fairly easily though it did take me some time to think of the second word of 18 across which I needed before I could do 14 down.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Pitiful spades, coated in powder on the outside (6)
MEASLY: S (spades) inside ‘powdery’

4a    Hindu festival branch virtually covering everything (8)
HOLISTIC: a Hindu Spring festival + a branch (or twig) with the last letter removed. I didn’t know the festival so it was a case of thinking of a word that fitted and then checking it

9a    A lot of rubbish about popular aims (6)
TRAINS: ‘Rubbish’ with the last letter removed round ‘popular’ = ‘aims (a gun)’

10a    Speculate hydro project is riven by unknown fear mostly (8)
DAYDREAM: A man-made feature used in hydroelectricity production goes round an unknown and ‘fear’ with the last letter removed

11a    End to serenity after old woman brought in floor cleaner, going all over the place (8)
VAGRANCY: An old female relative inside an abbreviated form of a device for floor cleaning + the last letter of SERENITY

13a    Woman with many lovers using no soft mystic phrase (6)
MANTRA: Remove P (soft) from a woman who takes a mischievous pleasure in attracting and acquiring members of the opposite sex

15a    Loss of coats? That woman records court case (5-8)
SHEEP-SHEARING: A pronoun denoting ‘that woman’ + 45-rpm records + a court case

18a    I imply nothing will get you healthy again (7,6)
PLACEBO EFFECT: A cryptic definition for a beneficial effect that is ascribed to a patient’s belief in its efficacy

22a    Burns, say, nothing less, penning opening text (6)
SCRIPT: The nationality of Rabbie Burns with the letter O (nothing) removed goes round an opening

24a    One of some erroneous statements, some quite cut down, mangled (8)
MISQUOTE: An anagram (mangled) of SOME QUIT, i.e. QUITE with the last letter removed

26a    Civic dignitary, ditching man, longing to go round island (8)
ALDERNEY: A civic dignatory with MAN removed + a reversal of a longing = an island in The Channel

27a    Doctor engaged in weary tone (6)
TIMBRE: One of the 2-letter abbreviations denoting ‘doctor’ inside ‘to weary’

28a    Farmers wanting Queen to tour Arab country in a couple of years (8)
YEOMANRY: Our Queen round a country on the Arabian Peninsula inside YY (a couple of years)

29a    School of Aristotle rubbished my clue (6)
LYCEUM: An anagram (rubbished) of MY CLUE


1d    Rationale of one very involved in scrap (6)
MOTIVE: I (one) and V (very) inside a particle of dust

2d    Effect of painkillers taken from sale again (9)
ANALGESIA: An anagram (taken from) of SALE AGAIN

3d    Misleading information about new mature stock (7)
LINEAGE: An untruth round N (new) + ‘to mature’

5d    Cricket ground agreement seeing loss of front half (4)
OVAL: A cricket ground in London is formed from the second half of an 8-letter word meaning ‘agreement’

6d    Eighty per cent of Independent articles identifying state (7)
INDIANA: The first four letters of a 5-letter shortened form of ‘independent’ + two forms of the indefinite article = an American state

7d    Restaurant carrying European feast (5)
TREAT: A short form of a word for an Italian restaurant goes round E (European)

8d    Military activity affected delegate after ship’s sailed (8)
CAMPAIGN: ‘Affected’ + ‘to delegate’ with the letters SS (ship) removed

12d    One seizes highest point (hill) (6)
CAPTOR: The uppermost part + a rocky hill

14d    Look to Italy to embrace feminine (6)
SHUFTI: ‘To (as a door might be)’ and I (Italy) round F (feminine)

16d    Struggling University athlete putting University first after opening (2,7)
IN TROUBLE: The opening part of a piece of music + a University sportsman with the letter U (University) moved to the front

17d    Lack of faith in a job, say, after poor treatment (8)
APOSTASY: A + a job + an anagram (after poor treatment) of SAY

19d    Song, musical work the writer picked up in shops (7)
EMPORIA: A reversal of a song, a musical work and a pronoun denoting ‘the writer’

20d    Question: who in France blocks old English monarch (though not at first)? (7)
ENQUIRY: The French word for ‘who’ inside one of eight English kings with the first letter removed

21d    Latin hymn, dreary stuff I translated to English (2,4)
TE DEUM: Take a word meaning ‘dreary stuff’ or ‘boredom’ and change I to E (English)

23d    Transmit Republican farewell to Spain, but not in its entirety (5)
RADIO: R (Republican) + the Spanish word for ‘farewell’ with the last letter removed

25d    Fool to throw out stone and taunt (4)
JEER: Remove the letters ST (stone) from a fool (at a court)

Not the most exciting puzzle I’ve ever solved.


12 comments on “Toughie 2321

  1. No great problems today but I thought that this was rather short of sparkle. On the plus side there were no obscurities but there seemed to be an excessive number of ‘delete last letter’ constructs.
    Thanks to Kcit and Bufo.
    My favourite clue was 15a.

  2. I did most of this in a good time and then got completely stuck in the NE corner (I had to leave it to do a bit of gardening and accompany my ‘recovering from a hip operation’ friend on her daily constitutional for the required cogitation to work)

    Thanks to Kcit and Bufo

  3. Had a couple of ‘moments’ when it came to the parsing of 1&4a but overall found this more enjoyable than yesterday’s Toughie.
    Top marks went to 15a and 21d.

    Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo for the reassurance.

  4. A steady solve for us with probably the longest delay being to think of the ‘agreement’ for 5a from which to remove the first half despite having the right answer.
    Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Kcit and Bufo.

  5. Maybe 4 comments on this puzzle by 9 pm sums it up. Far too complicated for me which left no room for laughter. 5* difficulty, 0.5* for enjoyment.
    Sorry, but ….
    Thanks for the workings out

  6. I came to grief in the SW corner. I shot myself in the foot by having the wrong ending for 17d which meant I was up the proverbial creek for 28a. I enjoyed this, but I found this decidedly tricky and a good deal more than **/*** in difficulty for me. Many thanks to Kcit and Bufo.

  7. Started this morning getting a foothold in the south and finished the north tonight.
    Thought that 4a might be logistic as it covers everything but remembered the festival
    Favourite is the charade in 15a. I like charades. Always have in case someone wonders.
    Kcit always provides a fair workout.
    I like Kcit.
    Thanks to him and to Bufo for the review.

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