Toughie 2326 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2326

Toughie No 2326 by proXimal

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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


Another most enjoyable puzzle from proXimal with some delightful clues. I hope you liked it as much as I did.

Definitions are underlined as usual. The hints are intended to help you unravel the wordplay. You can reveal the answers by clicking on the click here buttons. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Obviously roll back warm covers (8)
PALPABLY: A reversal (back) of a 3-letter bread roll that a word meaning warm or friendly covers

5a    Oddly ignored oldie wearing short dress in dance (6)
FROLIC: The even letters of (oddly ignoring) oldie goes inside (wearing) a type of dress without the last letter (short)

9a    Band of bikers hits pitfall (9)
CHINSTRAP: A word meaning hits (on the chin) and a word meaning pitfall

11a    Approach tasty leftover sandwiches (5)
STYLE: Hidden (… sandwiches)

12a    Third of cops replaced by Yankee amateurs (6)
LAYMEN: The third letter of another word for cops or policemen is replaced by the letter with radio code Yankee

13a    Direct access to city following Russian revolutionary (8)
NAVIGATE: The access or entrance to a city comes after (following) the reversal (revolutionary) of a Russian name

15a    Desperate adult stresses with endless issue … (2,4,4,3)
AT ONE’S WIT’S END: The abbreviation for adults, a 5-letter word that could mean stresses (eg ***** of voice), WITH from the clue without the last letter (endless) and a verb that can mean issue 

18a    … USA, perhaps, land heading off further issue (13)
REPUBLICATION: A type of country exemplified by (perhaps) USA, then another word for land or country without the first letter (heading off)

22a    Like shade from colour ranges with finish of eggshell (8)
SPECTRAL: A 7-letter word meaning colour ranges (rainbows and Pink Floyd album covers come to mind) plus the last letter (finish) of eggshell.

23a    Controversial tome this one revered could be badmouthed (6)
BUDDHA: An anagram (controversial) of TOME + [the answer] could be BADMOUTHED

26a    Caught lacking, cowardly bird (5)
RAVEN: A 6-letter word meaning cowardly is lacking the cricket abbreviation for caught

27a    Harm of French river deluging centre of Quimper (9)
DETRIMENT: The French word for of, then an English river covers (deluging as in flooding) two letters in the middle (centre ??) of QuIMper

28a    Stop hiding South American neglect (6)
DISUSE: A verb meaning stop or end covers (hiding) the abbreviations for southern and American

29a    Ministerial work includes nap around one (8)
PRIESTLY: A 3-letter verb meaning to work includes a nap around the Roman numeral for one


1d    Standard to keep cryptic clue current and funny (8)
PECULIAR: A 3-letter word for standard (think golf) covers (to keep) an anagram (cryptic) of CLUE plus the physics symbol for electrical current

2d    Nonchalant after learner’s insolent (5)
LAIRY: A 4-letter word meaning nonchalant or breezy comes after the abbreviation for learner

3d    Gold music player? Not totally serious (7)
AUSTERE: The chemical symbol for gold plus your home music-playing electronics without the last letter (not totally)

4d    Singer‘s large chest (4)
LARK: The abbreviation for large plus a chest or coffer

6d    Pause ceremony involving psychic ability (7)
RESPITE: A religious ceremony contains (involving) an abbreviation meaning psychic ability or a sixth sense

7d    Tree ideally in ground (9)
LEYLANDII: An anagram (ground) of IDEALLY IN

8d    Sharp chef’s implement cutting article (6)
CLEVER: A 7-letter chef’s chopper omitting (cutting) the indefinite article

10d    Insect buried into ordinary fruit (8)
PLANTAIN: A 3-letter insect goes inside (buried into) a word meaning ordinary

14d    Dan Brown novel that’s at budget price (3,5)
OWN BRAND: An anagram (novel) of DAN BROWN

16d    Natural sending down leader of disagreeable mischief-makers (9)
OURSELVES: A 4-letter word for disagreeable or rancid in which the first letter is moved to the end (sending down leader, in a down clue), then a 5-letter word for mischief-makers

17d    At early stage, track soldiers (8)
INFANTRY: A 6-letter word for ‘at early stage’ of development or childlike, plus the abbreviation for railway

19d    Clients of doctor taking out independent legal protection (7)
PATENTS: Remove the abbreviation for independent from clients of doctors

20d    A method of transport this writer’s vilifying (7)
ABUSIVE: A from the clue, a method of public transport, and how the setter might say “this writer has”

21d    Dry wraps discontented sweet lady (6)
ASTRID: A 4-letter word meaning dry covers (wraps) SweeT from the clue without the inner letters (dis-contented)

24d    Remained in Germany with their world (5)
DWELT: The IVR for Germany plus the German word for world

25d    Headline that’s annoying to the North (4)
STAR: Reversal (to the North, in a down clue) of an exclamation meaning “that’s annoying”

Plenty to like. I was taken with the two issues in long clues, of which the second is my favourite clue today. I also really liked the tree and the Dan Brown novel. Which clues did you like?

17 comments on “Toughie 2326

  1. Crikey, what a contrast to yesterday’s proXimal back-pager. I found this very tough particularly in the SE corner, where 23a & 29a defeated me, but it was a lot of fun. As Dutch mentions, 27a doesn’t quite work; perhaps it should read “… part of the centre of …”?

    14d was my favourite closely followed by 18a.

    Many thanks to proXimal and to Dutch particularly for unravelling 23a & 29a.

  2. Must be a wavelength thing but I didn’t find it tough at all.
    Enjoyed it nonetheless.
    Did question the middle of Quimper though.
    Thanks to proximal and to Dutch for the review.

  3. Re 16d – Can anyone help me understand the equivalence of “ourselves” and “natural”? Chambers has an example “We can be ourselves” but that doesn’t really suggest natural is fully synonymous to me.

    Re 27a – The “centre of Quimper is m – end of. Is there a river Trient? Perhaps we should be told.

    Otherwise an entertaining puzzle. I enjoyed 23a once the penny finally dropped.

    Thanks to proXimal and Dutch.

    1. ‘No need for formalities, just be yourself and act naturally’ – so being ourselves would be being natural?

      1. Thanks LBR – that’s a more helpful extension of the Chambers definition. I see the similarities but being different parts of speech they just don’t seem the same. I’m just an old pedant.

  4. I thought for a while that my email correspondent who’d told me earlier this morning that proXimal wasn’t as difficult as usual was having me on but once I’d got onto the correct wavelength, I finished in a very good time for both a Friday toughie and a Mr X crossword

    I did notice the Quimper ‘problem’ – no particular favourites. Thanks to proXimal and Dutch

  5. This is ridiculous. Having finished a Friday Proximal, albeit with a little electronic help, I am completely beaten by the back page. Just cannot get on the same wavelength at all. I’ve given up.

    I did like 23 and 26a here but, like others, do not understand 16d.

  6. Is it acceptable to have the definition in the middle of the clue (23a)? I thought it had to be at the beginning or the end.

    1. normally at beginning or end, but can also be in middle when indicated with something like “this” and normally with some kind of multi-anagram or reverse wordplay. Just randomly having it in the middle would seem very odd

  7. I enjoyed this very much, but it was the NW corner that held me up the most. 2d was my last in – I hadn’t heard of the definition, and it seemed to me akin to the dapple-grey of a coupe of days ago! Many thanks to proXimal and Dutch.

  8. With 9a we looked at the right answer but could not equate CHIN with HIT so thought again and came up with CLIP as the first part as the answer. Looks like we should have stayed with our first idea as it is a better fit with the enumeration than our option.
    Lots of jottings in the margins for us. A sure sign that a lot of hard work was required to get it sorted.
    Thanks proXimal and Dutch.

    1. Likewise, CHINS troubled me, so I thought that I was very smart when I lit upon CUFFS. (Which made solving 2D very problematic).

  9. Either I’m getting more atuned to proXimal’s style or he’s making his Toughies a bit less tough. I enjoyed this one (but noticed the obvious boo-boo in 27a).
    Thanks to proXimal and to Dutch.
    The clues I liked best were 9a (because the word amuses me – it was the name of a comic colonel in the comedy show “It’s that man again”) and 4d (just because the surface made me laugh).

  10. Very late to the party but I did enjoy this one, despite finding it quite tough.
    Failed to correctly parse 29a and didn’t know enough German for 24d!

    Top two for me were 14&19d.

    Thanks to proXimal and to Dutch, particularly for the help with my two failures.

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