Toughie 2337 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2337

Toughie No 2337 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I had no problems in solving this (a few old chestnuts helped) but I did find it somewhat lacking in sparkle.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Maybe crib letters and corner support? (7)
BEDPOST: A piece of furniture such as a crib + letters (mail) = a corner support (where your chewing gum might lose its flavour)

9a    Settle‘s marketplace perhaps under repair (6,2)
SQUARE UP: ‘to settle a bill’ = an open space in a town that might house a market + ‘under repair'(though I haven’t managed to think of an occasion where it means ‘under repair’)

10a    Intricately shape stripped pine and start to use with caution (5,2)
PHASE IN: An anagram (intricately) of SHAPE + the middle two letters of PINE

11a    Flier and French disciplinarian (8)
MARTINET: A bird similar to a swallow + the French word for ‘and’

12a    Profound notes of sex appeal enfolding foremost among actresses (6)
OOMPAH: A conventional representation of the deep sound made by a tuba = ‘sex-appeal’ round the first letter of ACTRESSES

13a    ‘Brain’ partly solved clue about revolutionary motorway (10)
CEREBELLUM: Part of the brain = an anagram (solved) of CLUE round a revolutionary + M (motorway)

15a    Row with joiner (4)
TIER: 2 meanings: a row or rank/someone who joins something together with a knot

16a    Outsiders on tour with old McKellen, for one — serious actor (9)
TRAGEDIAN: The first and last letters of TOUR + ‘old’ + the first name of the actor Sir Ian

21a    ‘Soapsuds’ oddly lacking as piece of work (4)
OPUS: Alternate letters of SOAPSUDS

22a    Remote inn’s concocted soup (10)
MINESTRONE: An anagram (concocted) of REMOTE INN’S

24a    Pointer possibly showing ‘open’ tucked into goods (3,3)
GUN-DOG: Here the pointer is of the canine variety. ‘To open’ goes inside G and G (goods)

25a    Model typist working overtime? (8)
TEMPLATE: A non-permanent secretary + ‘(staying) after the usual time’

27a    Token of oilman’s excitement about launch in Notts (7)
NOMINAL: ‘Token (as an adjective)’ = an anagram (excitement) of OILMAN round the first letter of NOTTS

28a    German’s a mug? Far from it! (8)
EINSTEIN: The German words for ‘a’ and a large beer mug

29a    ‘May sadly embraces retreat.’ Pardon? (7)
AMNESTY: An anagram (sadly) of MAY round a retreat = a general pardon


2d    Here in Africa, unworldly character — old, religious — advanced to accept greeting (8)
ETHIOPIA: An African country = a being from outside the Earth + a greeting + O (old) + ‘religious + A (advanced)

3d    Col above left giving means of access (8)
PASSPORT: A col in a mountain range + the left side of a ship

4d    One such as Adam, cunning in metalwork (10)
SMITHCRAFT: The surname of a Scottish economist called Adam + ‘cunning’ = the skill needed to forge metals

5d    Blue a quid? Only half that on article (4)
AQUA: A + the first two letters of QUID + the indefinite article

6d    Insect in tree climbing for cover (6)
MANTLE: A social insect inside a reversal of a tree = a cloak

7d    Officers sound nuts (7)
KERNELS: A homophone of senior army officers

8d    Record — one in honour of the setter, an exemplar (7)
EPITOME: a 45-rpm record + I (one) + ‘in honour of’ + a pronoun denoting our setter

11d    Alphabet design recomposed after penny drops (5,4)
MORSE CODE: An anagram (design) of RECOMOSED, i.e. RECOMPOSED minus the letter P (panny)

14d    Newly-wed, having trip into Bulgaria, fell over (10)
BRIDEGROOM: A trip or journey inside the IVR for Bulgaria + a reversal of a fell (as found in the Lake District)

17d    NT at twelve? (8)
NOONTIME: Words that can be abbreviated to N and T give ‘twelve-o-clock in the middle of the day). Make sure you don’t get the penultimate letter wrong

18d    Gold tint finally overlaying abstract painting — this might be a spoiler! (4,4)
AUTO PART: The chemical symbol for gold + the last letter of TINT + abstract paintings using optical illusions. The spoiler (so the BRB tells me) is a device fitted to motor vehicles (e.g. racing cars) to lessen drag and reduce the tendency to become unstable through a lifting effect at high speeds.

19d    A good many high-class Military Police holding youth down (7)
UMPTEEN: A letter denoting ‘high-class’ + the abbreviation for ‘Military Police’ + a youth of a certain age

20d    Mean to correct a bloomer (7)
ANEMONE: An anagram (to correct) of MEAN + ‘a’ = a flower

23d    Tip one’s hat to Sarah, aboard Digger’s truck (6)
SALUTE: A diminutive form of the name Sarah + an Australian word for a truck

26d    ‘Spitting Image’ somewhat left-wing? (4)


16 comments on “Toughie 2337

  1. Solving my last three clues took longer than the rest of the crossword put together, and took me from a middling back page time to Toughie (possibly for the wrong reasons) time. I thought of RD when I worked out which nebulous Adam I needed in 4d, but once I’d got that the profound notes had to be what they were. I also noted the appearance of Crosswordland’s flower of the month at 20d

    Thanks to Firefly and Bufo – I’d agree with you that this wasn’t the most sparkling crossword

  2. Re, in my part of Lancashire, “they’ve got the road up down by’t pub” would indicate that the road was under repair. I guess the same would work over the border in Settle, but I don’t know how common the expression would be in the rest of the country.

    1. We’d say that the road was up here in Kent too, especially today when because of road works, there is only one way out of the village while they sort out the repairs they made last time the road was up :(

    2. Yes, we’d refer to the road being up as well. Whether anything would get repaired as a result is decidedly questionable!

  3. I proceeded at quite a good pace through most of this until I reached the NW corner where my speed dropped to that of an arthritic snail until I thought of the required Adam.
    I agree with Bufo’s assessment of the puzzle – thanks to him and to Firefly.

  4. Completed but not with much sense of enjoyment. Ah well – can’t have two Mr T’s on one day!
    Top two for me were 16a & 11d.

    Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for the review.

  5. Resorted to the hints for 12a and 4d and even had to reveal the former as I didn’t associate oomph with sex appeal.
    Thanks to Firefly for the brain teaser and to Bufo for the explicit review.
    Off to do the back page now.

  6. Finding the right Adam made 4d our last one to get sorted. Another enjoyable solve for us.
    Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

  7. Srrangely, I completed the RHS in no time, but could do none of the LHS at all.
    Time to have another look…

  8. Like crypticsue, I rattled through this until the last three. Then there was some head-scratching until the penny dropped and 1a, 4d and 12a followed in short order.

  9. Yes I did get the penultimate word in 17 down wrong! And that both annoyed me and held me up awhile, :-) Otherwise a fairly unexceptional solve. No particular smiles, but was feeling grumpy anyway – it must be the miserable, dark, dank weather that’s affecting my mood!. How I hate autumn! Roll on post Brexit, post election and post Christmas; let’s look forward to snowdrops, daffs and spring. Happy now I’ve had my moan, lol. Thanks Firefly and Bufo, very thankful that I did at least finish this. And now to bed,

  10. A bit of a slog for me: 12a was the last in. No real highlights but I’m pleased I finished it.

    Thanks to Firefly and Bufo.

  11. I’m easily pleased and always enjoy a Toughie if I can finish it. Like some others the 1a, 12a,4d combination was my last in. I hadn’t come across the 4d term before, but it was the only reasonable answer. Maybe 26d was my favourite if forced to choose.

  12. Could not get 12 a so I slept on it overnight.When I woke up it came to me.First time I have ever solved a Toughie so I am celebtating

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