Toughie 2329 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2329

Toughie 2329 by Hudson

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I thought this Hudson Toughie about the right difficulty level for a Thursday, even if it did leave me more than a bit peckish.

I’m always disappointed when a setter selects a crenelated grid like this one, and they don’t actually use the letters revealed round the perimeter for a Nina. Now if only I’d been the sort of person who notices what’s going on with a grid straight away rather than not consciously looking at it until fairly far on in the solving process, I’d certainly have seen something most helpful a lot sooner than I did, particularly when it came to making sense of the clue for 24a. Hopefully the rest of you were more observant!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    High snow drifts engulfing Oscar, going like the wind! (9)
WHOOSHING An anagram (drifts) of HIGH SNOW ‘engulfing’ the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet gives us the sound of something large passing rapidly through the air

8a    Capital city regularly excusing truancies (5)
TUNIS Excuse or leave out the regular letters of TrUaNcIeS

10a    Shaky batting, getting 13 (6)
INFIRM The two-letter word using to indicate that a cricket team is batting followed by a synonym for the solution to 13d

11a    Sweet thing from Mauritius mixed with upper-class once (8)
TIRAMISU An anagram (mixed) of MAURITIuS – upper-class once indicating that you only need one of the Us

12a    Juliet Harrison’s touring coastal features (6)
FJORDS The surname of Harrison the American actor Harrison plus an S (Harrison’s) ‘touring’ the letter represented by Juliet in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

14a    Block record first episodes of Just a Minute (6)
LOGJAM A synonym for record and the first ‘episodes’ of Just A Minute The paper version of this clue has the radio programme’s name in italics so I’ve done the same here

16a    Inquisitive lad returning last thing on Friday (4)
NOSY A reversal (returning) of a lad (I’ve got two of them!) followed by the last letter (thing) on FridaY

17a    Indicate player in an off-side position (5)
POINT A double definition – the first a verb, the second referring to a cricket player’s position

18a    Stop knocking back meths, having dumped husband (4)
STEM A reversal (knocking back) of METhS once you have dumped the H for Husband

19a    One getting into the groove down on the floor? (6)
TONGUE This ‘one’ is the first part of the name for a particular type of floorboard which joins a projection along the side of one into a groove in the other

21a    Weak, backsliding constituent of Iron Lady? (6)
FEMALE Insert a reversal (backsliding) of another way of saying weak or implausible into the chemical symbol for iron

24a    Part of Manhattan — you should eventually see summer here (4,4)
EAST SIDE A well-known part of Manhattan, even if you’ve never been there. As to the second part of the clue, I refer you to the prologue and would add that our setter could have added the word even before the you in the clue and I’d still probably have taken just as long to see what he was on about

26a    Immature youngsters left adult rave drunk (6)
LARVAE The abbreviations for Left and Adult followed by an anagram (drunk) of RAVE

27a    Drive ball, knocking the covers off in match (5)
RIVAL Knock the covers off dRIVe and bALl

28a    Military might sack captured soldier (engineer, rtd) (9)
FIREPOWER Another way of saying sack, the abbreviation for a captured solider and a reversal (rtd) of the abbreviation for Royal Engineer


1d    Quaffed, according to Connery, in cheap joint? (5)
SHANK Quaffed means to have drunk in large quantities – the solution comes from the way someone with an accent like Sean Connery, if he’d done some quaffing, might say an informal term meaning to drink quickly. The addition of the question mark at the end of the clue is very appropriate as since these particular joints became more popular, they certainly seem to have gone up in price!

2d    Swell to drop by on sucker in the US (8)
POPINJAY A fop or conceited person is obtained by adding an American term for a sucker or easily duped person to an expression meaning to drop by (3,2)

3d    Poet‘s song of praise unfinished in scripture reading? (6)
RHYMER An unfinished song of praise inserted between the abbreviation for a scripture lesson and the letter representing Reading in some basic school skills

4d    Fashionable crowd avoiding Spain this month (4)
INST An abbreviation for a term used in formal correspondence to mean this month – just remove the E (avoiding the IVR code for Spain) from a fashionable crowd (2, 3)

5d    With which to augment — when ground — a light cappuccino? (6)
NUTMEG ‘A light’ tells you to leave out the A when making an anagram (ground) of aUGMENT

6d    A kid’s gone off the rails, as Hogarth saw the mother? (3-6)
GIN-SOAKED An anagram (off the rails) of A KIDS GONE

9d    Hired gun in metal band? (6)
ARMLET Although the clue implies that the hired goes before the gun what you actually need is part of a verb meaning hired after a term for a weapon such as a gun

13d    Mother buried dog’s body (5)
STIFF Remove (buried) an informal term for mother from a particular breed of dog

15d    I moan & moan furiously — it’s an obsession (9)
MONOMANIA An anagram (furiously) of I MOAN MOAN

17d    Photographs capturing whistle-blower given title (6)
PREFIX An informal plural abbreviation for photographs ‘capturing’ an abbreviated whistle-blower

18d    Small space stocking beer, where lots get hammered (8)
SALEROOM Insert (stocking) some beer between the abbreviation for Small and some space

20d    Tucking into Darjeeling (a tea), upside-down cake (6)
GATEAU Lurking (tucking into) in DarjeelinG (A TEA) Upside-down

22d    Brussels to support 50% reduction of defence element (6)
MILIEU An abbreviation for the Union we commonly refer to as ‘Brussels’ goes after the first half (50% reduction) of an adjective relating to defence gives us another word for element, environment or setting

23d    Find shelter in 5th Avenue (5)
HAVEN Find this shelter in 5tH AVENue

25d    Leave former partner over sexual relations (4)
EXIT Two of crosswordland’s favourites – a former partner and one of the informal terms for sexual relations

Whatever Bufo is doing on his day off from blogging, I sincerely hope it is somewhere considerably drier than it is in East Kent today!

22 comments on “Toughie 2329

  1. I really enjoyed this puzzle. I needed 24a to nudge me into finding the seasonal Nina and, once found, it was actually a help in finishing a couple of clues. How impressive to incorporate the Nina without requiring lots of obscurities.
    My printout is festooned with ticks – I’ll just mention 12a, 17a, 21a and 1d.
    Many thanks to Hudson (a setter whose name I look forward to seeing in the weekly ‘Toughie setters’ list) and to CS for the comprehensive blog.

  2. I enjoyed this. It was a good challenge and all came together with a bit of perseverance. I even noticed the Nina, after which 24a made sense.

    I was mildly surprised to find the abbreviation of pictures in the BRB but I suppose, by virtue of common use, it is now considered to be a real word. Sigh! I must try harder to tolerate our fast evolving language.

    17a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Hudson and to CS.

  3. A good toughie. For the first time ever i noticed the Nina before completion of the puzzle which was a help. 2d was my favourite as it is a lovely word.

  4. I was struggling until I spotted the nina (which I don’t very often!) – that helped a lot. Is 9d correct? It looks the wrong way round to me? I’m sure I’m missing something. 1d was my favourite followed by 11a, 17a and 19a. All most enjoyable.

  5. I was in Suffolk this morning and I don’t think it could possibly have been drier than East Kent. Now home again and it’s not much better

  6. We struggled and took longer than usual for a Thursday toughie with that rather odd ‘arm let’ taking us a while and we were slightly bothered that both definitions in 17a came from the same headword. Is that OK? However, it was a fine challenge. Thanks to Hudson and CS (was that delicious-looking 11a one of your baking?)

  7. Well done, CS, I didn’t even notice the Nina until you commented on it!
    I didn’t know the American term in 2d – does that have something to do with ***-walking?
    Think 19a was my favourite.

    Thanks to Hudson and to CS for stepping in to cover for Bufo.

  8. I had a couple left to do when I took a look at the blog and learnt about the nina which helped me with 19a and 22d. Couldn’t see 12a (even though I had the “J”) so I had to cheat on that one.

    I liked especially 1d, 2d, 6d and 13d but all-in-all a very enjoyable puzzle.

    Thanks to Hudson and Crypticsue.

  9. So much to enjoy in this clever crossword.
    Got a bit stuck in the SE as I thought Feeble for 21a but couldn’t parse it.
    Liked the tongue and groove in 19a and the construction of 13d.
    Favourite 5d.
    Thanks to Hudson for the fun and to CS for the great review.

  10. Stupidly had boogie for 19@, thinking of getting down to dance. Quite missed the Nina. So clever. Really liked 2d. A lovely word. Sounds as though we did the right thing today leaving Kent for Devon. A little dryer here but not much!

  11. We got to the end of our solve, spotted the Nina, and then were able to make sense of 24a. We puzzled for quite some time over 12a before the penny dropped and gave us a crucial letter for 2d. All good fun.
    Thanks Hudson and CS.

  12. I was pleased to have well over three quarters of this complete in about the same time it took me to do the back pager. I needed a couple of hints in the SE and just couldn’t see 10a and 3d without them either.
    I remember George Galloway calling someone a “drink soaked 2d” and the word has always stuck in my mind since. 4d was a guess from the wordplay and thought 13d a bit insensitive these days but otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle so thanks to Hudson and to CS for her crystal clear explanations.
    Favourite in a strong field was 5d, which I thought was extremely clever.

  13. 17a was my last one in when i found the the cricket meaning as definition 63 in Chambers. The very nice nina was a big help, and i thought there was plenty to like: where lots get hammered, etc.
    Many thanks Hudson & CS

  14. This is so embarrassing. I love the puzzles, but have’t a clue what a Nina is so, .please enlighten me.

    1. I’ve been solving and blogging for years and have failed to spot a Nina yet. They say they are there and I stare and stare. I give up. They are not for me.

  15. 19 across. Your illustration scares the **** out of me. Having turfed the tennis court at our new house I now have to lay new flooring. Have a heart! There is such a lot of it.

  16. Aha. Didn’t spot the nina until I read the beginning of CS’s blog. That helped to (almost) complete it. Very pleased, as don’t often do the toughie. Thanks.

  17. I eventually gave up at about 10:30 last night, as the clock ticked on and the beer kicked in.

    I got 3d but couldn’t parse it, and 21a & 22d remained unsolved.

    Many thanks to all.

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