Toughie 2339 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2339

Toughie No 2339 by Silvanus

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

You can rely on Silvanus for precise cluing, and this puzzle is no exception. I particularly like the discovery as to how the answer to 2 Down could be derived and the anagram at 21 Across.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Taking for granted past in sumo wrestling (10)
ASSUMPTION: an anagram (wrestling) of PAST IN SUMO

6a    Sweet spot (4)
DROP: two definitions – a boiled sweet and a small amount

9a    That (expletive deleted) person with respectable clothes (2-3-2)
SO-AND-SO: a word meaning with inside (clothes) an adjective meaning respectable

10a    Challenged extremely likeable Democrat to pursue policy direction (7)
TACKLED: the outer letters (extremely) of L[ikeabl]E and D(emocrat) after (to pursue) a policy direction

12a    Upsetting DVD being shown, sure to put ace off golf (13)
DISCONCERTING: a DVD followed by a two-letter word meaning being shown, a word meaning sure without (to put … off) the A(ce) and the letter represented by Golf in the NATO Phonetic alphabet

14a    Domestic servant, first to be found from Internet search? (4,4)
HOME PAGE: an adjective meaning domestic and an old-fashioned servant combine to give what is frequently displayed following an Internet search

15a    Boxer, perhaps, attracted to popular fast food (3,3)
HOT DOG: the type of animal of which a boxer is an example preceded by (attracted to) a three-letter word meaning popular or current – according to Collins, so named because of the supposed resemblance of a sausage to a dachshund, but the Oxford Dictionary of English says it is probably influenced by a popular belief that the sausages contained dog meat!

17a    My time in New York enthrals chaperone at social event? (6)
ESCORT: an interjection meaning “my” inside (enthrals) the abbreviation for the time zone that includes New York

19a    Scriptures keeping theologian, American, easily persuaded (8)
BIDDABLE: a book of Christian scriptures around the qualification received by a theologian and A(merican)

21a    Discovered by chance top EU insiders intoxicated (13)
SERENDIPITOUS: this adjective derived from one of my favourite words, defined by Chambers as “the faculty of making fortunate or beneficial discoveries by accident” is an anagram (intoxicated) of TOP EU INSIDERS

24a    Instrument to imprison intellectuals exposed in foreign country (7)
UKRAINE: a three-letter instrument around (to imprison) some intellectuals without their outer letters (exposed)

25a    Unspecified number feeling unwell? It must be catching! (7)
NAILING: the letter that represents an unspecified number, as opposed to a constant or an unknown number, followed by an adjective meaning feeling unwell

26a    Declared profit from supplying trees (4)
YEWS: sounds like (declared), and I quote Chambers, “the profit derived from property”

27a    Tennis skill that determines an Open champion? (6,4)
STROKE PLAY: this tennis skill is the scoring method used to determine an Open Golf Champion


1d    Further ambition, primarily with orchestra (4)
ALSO: the initial letter (primarily) of A[mbition] followed by the abbreviation for a British orchestra

2d    Retired centrist politicians, not Europeans, achieving celebrity (7)
STARDOM: Start with some centrist politicians, reverse them (retired) and then drop both the E(uropean)s

3d    Method of working revealed by fishmonger, essentially (5,8)
MODUS OPERANDI: expand the abbreviation found at the centre (essentially) of [fish]MO[nger]

4d    Admitting being filled with worry occasionally in comprehensive (8)
THOROUGH: a conjunction meaning admitting or notwithstanding around (being filled with) the even letters (occasionally) of worry

5d    One dispensing drink in bar, serving up some illicit poteen (5)
OPTIC: hidden (some) and reversed (serving up) inside the clue

7d    Read ill criminal made a recovery (7)
RALLIED: an anagram (criminal) of READ ILL

8d    Teachers striving ultimately to cut rampant dope usage (10)
PEDAGOGUES: the final letter (ultimately) of striving inside (to cut) an anagram (rampant) of DOPE USAGE

11d    Something in the air Commanding Officer also reported? (6,7)
CARBON DIOXIDE: the chemical formula for this gas (something in the air) is the abbreviation for Commanding Officer followed by what sounds like (reported) a word meaning also

13d    Work oddly rushes by somehow in English public school (10)
SHREWSBURY: an anagram (somehow) of the odd letters of WoRk with RUSHES BY

16d    Pepper of good appearance starts to taste off (8)
PIMIENTO: a two-letter adjective meaning good is followed by an appearance or aura and the initial letters of (starts to) the last two words in the clue

18d    Hairstyle: crop above forehead, initially short (7)
CORNROW: a cereal crop followed by (above in a down clue) a word for the forehead without (short) its initial letter

20d    Unrefined one gets introduced to premium beer mostly (7)
BESTIAL: I (one) separates (gets introduced to) an adjective meaning premium and most of a beer

22d    Awkward, end of toe breaking during gymnastics (5)
INEPT: the final letter (end) of toE between a word meaning during and some gymnastics

23d    Rudely dismissing Royal Opera House is unpleasant to behold (4)
UGLY: start with an adverb meaning rudely and drop (dismissing) the letters that make up the abbreviation for the Royal Opera House

Another excellent puzzle – thank you Silvanus.


36 comments on “Toughie 2339

  1. Very enjoyably at the gentler (dare I say fluffier) end of the Silvanus spectrum which allowed for completion at a Toughie fast gallop – **/****.
    Favourite – 11d.
    Thanks to Silvanus and BD.

  2. Great fun and the usual super-smooth clues – thanks to Silvanus and BD.
    I ticked 9a, 17a and 2d but in prime position was the excellent 11d.

    1. My thoughts precisely and I would only add the wonderful 21a to my list of ticks.

      Many thanks to Silvanus for a perfect Tuesday Toughie and to BD (and Gazza too).

  3. I feel very stupid. I was completely out of my depth and I mostly did this with electronic help and luck. My answers were correct but the parsing was beyond me. 3d is a case in point. My COTD is 8d because not only is it a lovely word it was one of the few clues I understood and solved without help.

  4. I enjoyed this Silvanus puzzle very much …nice surfaces throughout.

    But I am still puzzled by (expletive deleted) in 9a.

    11d – my favourite – Thought it was going to be a bird I had never heard of …

      1. if you were going to call somebody a rude name but were in polite company you would call them a 9a

      2. The acceptable or average, unremarkable (2-2) ‘clothes’ or goes round the outside of the ‘with’
        The ‘expletive deleted’ indicates it’s a euphemism when stronger language might spring to mind

    1. Enjoyable puzzle with some interesting constructions: thanks to Silvanus and Big Dave.

      Favourites for me were 3d and especially 11d.

  5. Trotted through this and enjoyed the entire ride. Nice clueing, nothing outrageously obscure.

    22d was my favourite.

    BD – In the preamble, 21 across should be 21 down.
    Gazza – 9a should be 9d and 11d should be 11a.
    Why is the world so rotated today?

    Thanks to Silvanus and BD.

      1. Oh, yes. Got me there. I was looking at the back pager but commenting on the Toughie. My apologies to Gazza and Big Dave. Must be more careful in future.

  6. Another treat from Silvanus, very smooth and I wouldn’t call it a floughie – a bit of head-scratching here
    The hint for 9a is a little confusing (?)
    Thanks to BD and Silvanus

  7. Late in this afternoon as a friend called round bearing cakes and it would have been rather churlish to excuse myself to look at the blog!
    Loved this one – as is invariably the case with this setter’s puzzles. What an object lesson in clue-writing for our aspiring setters in Rookie Corner.
    Quite happy to go along with the ‘favourite’ choices made by others but Silvanus knows that I love the ‘funny’ ones so I want to add 14a & 16d to the list.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the puzzle and to BD for the review – particularly the picture of the 18d hairstyle – goodness, that looks complicated!

  8. A couple of clues in the SW caused a slight delay. Never heard of the hairstyle in 18d but got it from the wordplay. The school in 13d was also not known by me. The answer is much better known in NZ (and it seems to be an exclusively NZ thing) as the type of biscuits that most of you call a jammy dodger.
    Excellent fun and a pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Silvanus and BD.

  9. Very enjoyable and good fun. Top half a bit easier than the bottom – but just the right level for the start of the Toughie week. Won’t name my favourites, as there are far too many. But I must admit to having an ‘eyebrow lifting and Mmmm’ moment for the similarity of the clue constructs for 4 & 11d. What do you think Silvanus? :cool: Seriously though, a very professional puzzle and excellent, precise cluing.

    Thanks to Silvanus for the puzzle and to BD for the review.

  10. Another brilliant puzzle from Silvanus. I admitted defeat with five to go. How I failed to equate the scriptures in 19ac with the bible is beyond me. Thanks to Silvanus for the fine puzzle and thanks to BD for the blog

  11. Enjoyable puzzle: thanks to Silvanus and Big Dave.

    I particularly enjoyed 3d and especially 11d.

  12. Many thanks as ever to BD for his hints and tips, and to everybody who took the trouble to leave comments, they are always read with great interest.

    I was prompted to include 13d as a solution after a trip there earlier this year, but I had no idea that the town’s name is better known in NZ as a jammy dodger biscuit, thanks to KiwiColin for that information. I think SL meant to refer to 4d and 13d (rather than 11d?), but he can rest assured that “worry occasionally” and “work oddly” didn’t raise a murmur from my repetition radar!

  13. I thought this was a great puzzle, and I enjoyed it very much. A couple of things that we not familiar to me (the school in 13d and the hairstyle in 18d) made the SW corner slow to unravel, but once the penny dropped with the time in New York in 17a, everything eventually fell into place nicely. Many thanks to Silvanus and Big Dave.

  14. A very enjoyable puzzle, enjoyed more than the cryptic today. Nice to see 11d get a mention, it gets too much bad press these days!! So as a one time plant scientist, that gets my clue of the day!
    Thanks to Silvanus and Big Dave

  15. Thanks to Silvanus and to Big Dave for the hints. A super puzzle, not too tricky for a Toughie. Some great surfaces. Needed the hints for 17a, which I should have got, and for 18d which I had no idea. Favourite was 11d. Was 2*/4* for me.

  16. Great puzzle. favourite 11d. Slotted it in but didn’t see the chemical symbol link until I read the hints. Big d’oh ensued.

        1. PI (abbr. pious; good, saintly) + MIEN (appearance, aura) + [first letters of] T(aste) O(ff)
          Always happy to help Terry

          1. Many thanks, I had not come across ‘Pi’ and missed ‘Mien’. Never too old to learn (I hope).

  17. 4*/4*…..
    liked 21A ” discovered by chance top EU insiders intoxicated (13) “…
    amusing hint to 15A ” boxer, perhaps, attracted to popular fast food (3,3) “

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