Toughie 2333 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2333

Toughie No 2333 by Zandio

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This very enjoyable puzzle was just about completed in average time but I gave it an extra half-star to allow for the cogitation needed to finish working out the wordplay. It was good that there was only one obscurity in it (the soul in 5 down). I’m assuming that you’re all familiar with the American rapper.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Laurel maybe planted in line with church policy (6)
STANCE: The first name of Mr Laurel + the Church of England

4a    After damage, preserve sandwiches or seasoning (8)
MARJORAM: ‘To damage’ + a preserve round OR

9a    Lofty cycled, dry only occasionally on the way back (6)
LORDLY: A reversal of alternate letters of CYCLED DRY ONLY

10a    Uber utopia that is being lost in parts in the Caymans, say (3,5)
TAX HAVEN: Take a vehicle that Uber drivers drive (4) and a word meaning ‘utopia’ (6) and remove the letters I and E (IE = that is)

12a    Beastly carer, female, paid to restrain that woman (8)
SHEPHERD: A female pronoun + an abbreviated form of ‘paid’ round another female pronoun

13a    When one’s dropping off, composer’s wearing spectacles go too far (6)
OVERDO: The surname of an Italian composer with the letter I (one) removed goes inside OO (pair of spectacles)

15a    Accommodation offered by male with boat docked by river (8,5)
BOARDING HOUSE: A male pig + a small open boat with the last letter removed + a Yorkshire river

18a    Double triumph led Titanic novel to come first (9,4)
IDENTICAL TWIN: An anagram (novel) of LED TITANIC + a triumph

20a    Decline to assume current disguise (6)
FACADE: ‘To decline or die away’ round ‘alternating current’

22a    All-round worker, 20, yielding 50 per cent to corporation (8)
FACTOTUM: a person employed to do all kinds of work = the first half of the answer to 20 across + TO + a corporation or belly

24a    Certificate shows African city contracted work as journalist (8)
ACCREDIT: The capital of Ghana with the last letter removed + ‘to work as a journalist’

25a    It makes the wheels go round, go round, taking in Spain not America (6)
PETROL: A source of power for vehicles = ‘to go the rounds of an area’ with the letter E (Spain) replacing the letter A (America)

26a    Quick nap’s acknowledged to offer help for shifting weight? (8)
KNAPSACK: It took me ages to realise that the answer is hidden in QUICK NAP’S ACKNOWLEDGED

27a    ‘Safe space’ could be a yard in shanty town (6)
ASYLUM: A + Y (yard) in what could be a shanty town


1d    Show takes chances on viewer’s attachment (6)
SPLASH: The abbreviation for starting price (chances) + hair found near the eye

2d    Nice, where one sees the French behind bare, age variable (9)
AGREEABLE: An anagram (variable) of BARE AGE + the French definite article

3d    Ageing judge — under 100! — with 1950s-style tough head for cruelty (4-11)
COLD-HEARTEDNESS: The Roman numeral for 100 + ‘ageing’ + ‘to judge’ + 1950s unruly adolescent + a head

5d    Sadly soulless state of America (4)
ALAS: Remove a 2-letter word for the ancient Egyptian soul of a person from the most northerly state of the USA

6d    Sanctimonious visitor with jeans shoves roughly (8,7)
JEHOVAH’S WITNESS: An anagram (roughly) of WITH JEANS SHOVES gives someone who might engage in door-to-door preaching

7d    Amazon maybe has rights to import quartet, classical and electronic (5)
RIVER: R (right) + the Roman numeral for four’ + E (electronic’ + R (right)

8d    Channel ports offering entry for underground workers (8)
MANHOLES: A cryptic definition for orifices large enough to allow the entrance of people into sewers

11d    Fashion staff wearing pink (7)
PRODUCE: ‘To fashion’ or ‘to make’ + a staff or slender bar inside a brownish-purple or deep purplish-pink colour

14d    Like a cloud that’s atomic, with nitrogen falling (7)
UNCLEAR: Take a word meaning ‘atomic’ (as in ‘atomic energy’) and move the letter N (nitrogen) from the beginning to elsewhere in the word

16d    In tunnel, a rut annually backed up, not flowing (9)

17d    Son splits in disapproval — one should be able to hold one’s drink (3,5)
HIP FLASK: ‘In’ or ‘fashionable’ + S (son) in adverse criticism

19d    Image of rap star British Left has elbowed in (6)
EMBLEM: Take the name of an American rapper and replace IN by B (British) and L (Left)

21d    Drink that’s never taken after I should! (5)
COCOA: A hot drink. The phrase ‘I should *****’ means ‘I should say so’ when used ironically

23d    Find less over counter? (4)
DISC: Remove OVER from a word meaning ‘to find’ to get what might be a counter as used in games

It’s good to come back to such an enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to Cryptic Sue for covering last week. Is the weather in Kent any better than last Thursday? It’s a whole lot worse here!


16 comments on “Toughie 2333

  1. Another friendly crossword in the middle of the paper – and yes I had heard of the rapper!

    Having solved 4, 10 and 13 Across, I have to say that I looked at the checking letters for 6d and wrote in the solution without even looking at the clue! I thought the lurker in 26a was particularly well hidden

    Thanks to Zandio for the enjoyable crossword and to Bufo for the blog

    As for the weather, yes it is worse than last week. Although the sun is out at the moment, the view to the east over Thanet at the moment is the blackest black cloud I’ve ever seen – I just hope the rain isn’t coming this way

  2. 5* for enjoyment from me – I thought that this was excellent and all the better for the lack of obscurities.
    I have a long list of ‘likes’ including 18a, 26a, 8d and 21d but my favourite (for the LOL surface reading) was 2d.
    Many thanks to Zandio and Bufo.

  3. Am I alone in thinking that there must be more to 8d ? Other than that, very satisfactory.
    Thanks to Zandio and Bufo

  4. I thought this very friendly and very enjoyable too. Very pleased to see a contemporary reference in 19d rather than, say, a fifteenth century Italian poet
    Many thanks to Zandio and to Bufo

  5. I found lots to like as many commenters above but I also thought some surfaces absolutely dreadful and nonsensical: 13a, 24a / 2,3 and 6 down.
    I also think 8 down to be very poor.
    1a, 15a and 18a and 27a make up for the above as top favourites.
    26a was brilliantly hidden.

    Thanks to all

  6. Took me ages to get a foothold in the SW until I saw that great lurker in 26a.
    So many good misdirections.
    Thanks to Zandio and Bufo.

  7. Friendly, enjoyable puzzle in the main. The Egyptian soul was new to me, but 5d had to be what 5d was. Held up by my last two in – 21d and 23d, so I shall make those two my joint favourites.

  8. Our last two in, and we had to work hard to get them, were 1a and 1d. This made a slow start for us but we picked up the pace when we moved on to an alternative starting point.
    A real pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Zandio and Bufo.

  9. I thought this was a great puzzle, and hugely enjoyable. Like jean-luc cheval, the SW corner put up by far the greatest resistance for me. I agree with him, and many others, that the lurker in 26a was wonderfully disguised. Fortunately the rapper in 19d was one of two that I am remotely aware of. Many thanks to Zandio and Bufo.

  10. Thoroughly enjoyed trying to solve this. Needed the hints for 22a and 1d, bunged in 5d and 21d from the checkers but otherwise challenging but eminently solvable and great fun (despite some iffy surfaces)
    It would be hard to overlook the magnificent lurker at 26a as COTD, but I also liked 1 and 9a (well I would!) plus 2 and 6d.

    Many thanks to Zandio and to Bufo for the H&T’s.

  11. We’ve had the soul in 5d before. I remember that someone then referred to the Dennis Wheatley novel ‘The Ka of Gifford Hillary’, the only instance of the word that I have come across outside of crossword puzzles.

    Incidentally, I see that the answer to 27a also occurred in the back-pager today, clued in a very similar way.

  12. Away from home so doing this a day late. I found it difficult until I got out my trusty thesaurus as so often I was thinking along the wrong lines. Trying to put “bay” into 1a for instance. I, too, think 8d a poor clue. Needed Bufo to parse my bung in 25a and reveal the placing of 26a.
    It’s going to be odd tackling a Friday Toughie on a Saturday.
    Sue, Did the black cloud arrive? If not, it’s because it followed me here to Devon!

  13. I really enjoyed this in almost every respect, the exception being 8d, which I found to be an absolute clunker of a clue (unless there’s something clever lurking there that I’ve missed!)

  14. Only got to this today as both Mr and Mrs Sheffieldsy were out yesterday for separate reasons.

    The day’s delay was worth it! This was such an enjoyable crossword so thanks up front to Zandio. Too many good clues to list, but ‘sanctimonious visitor’ was brilliant. ***/****.

    We too found the SW more difficult than other quadrants.

    Thanks to Bufo of course.

  15. Enjoyable indeed. We had no trouble with the Egyptian spirit which we find so often in cryptic crosswords though it also occurs as a Scottish jackdaw. We liked the sanctimonious visitor too. Thank you Bufo and Zandio.

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