Toughie 2345 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2345

Toughie No 2345 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

It was good to find that I only had to wait three weeks between Micawber puzzles this time. It was excellent stuff from with some very nice touches. It probably took me longer than it should have done because I didn’t feel on top form today but that gave me more time to appreciate it.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Dress, something Twiggy put on — gear that’s popular in New York? (5,5)
STICK SHIFT: Something Twiggy (i.e. a twig) + a loose dress = an American term for a hand-operated gear mechanism in a motor vehicle. I wonder how popular it is in New York because I thought most Americans drive automatics

6a    Ike, to be beside the seaside, follows this singing star (4)
IDOL: Take the first three words of an old music-hall song about being beside the seaside and remove IKE

9a    Old form of transport on river outside university (10)
EXTRAMURAL: A prefix meaning ‘old’ + a form of urban transport that runs on rails + a river that flows through Russia and Kazakhstan

10a    Woman from Limerick perhaps in need of husband (4)
IRIS: Remove H (husband) from a word that describes someone from Limerick

12a    Covering for head of each stringed instrument (6)
PERUKE: A term for a wig = ‘of each’ + the short form of the name of a stringed instrument popularised in Hawaii. I knew that the answer was a word though I’d no idea what it meant

13a    Asthmatic‘s expression of delight with spirit (8)
WHEEZING: Asthmatic (as an adjective) = a word expressing delight + spirit or zest

15a    Vegetarian in difficulty on US bar tours (12)
BRONTOSAURUS: A vegetarian creature of prehistoric times is an anagram (in difficulty) of ON US BAR TOURS

18a    Politicians exchanging words in public toilet? (5,7)
PRIVY COUNCIL: The answer is a committee of advisors to the sovereign. When the words are transposed it could refer to a municipal toilet

21a    Novel ‘Wuthering Heights’ knocked back in editorial HQ (8)
NEWSROOM: ‘Novel’ + a reversal of the type of landscape that surrounds Wuthering Heights

22a    At kick-off, Aston Villa’s missing left back’s dribble (6)
SALIVA: A reversal of the first letter (or kick-off) of ASTON and VILLA’S with a letter L removed

24a    Middleman oddly withdrawing plan (4)
IDEA: Remove the odd letters from MIDDLEMAN

25a    One’ll restrict flow of claret to jug when getting quite drunk (10)
TOURNIQUET: Something that restricts the flow of claret or blood = TO + a jug + an anagram (drunk) of QUITE

26a    Gloss over leader of union having quit trade body (4)
GILD: Remove U (first letter of UNION) from a trade body

27a    Recording of iPhone perhaps that’s shared between two viewers (3,7)
EYE CONTACT: A homophone of I + a word that could mean ‘to phone’


1d    Aerobics exercise class for this area’s level one (6)
STEPPE: When split (4,2) (with the 2 being an abbreviation) it might describe an aerobics class. The answer is a treeless plain

2d    Confine where seabird’s diet can be found? (6)
INTERN: When split (2,4) it tells where a particular seabird’s food ends up after the bird has eaten it

3d    Boozed up, clutching tin and end of whisky, one’ll get slaughtered here (8,4)
KNACKER’S YARD: A reversal of ‘booze’ goes round a slang term for money (tin) and Y (last letter of WHISKY) to give a place where horses are slaughtered

4d    University entertained by prince in drag (4)
HAUL: U (university) inside Prince Henry

5d    Ostentatious observation is bone of contention (10)
FLASHPOINT: ‘Ostentatious’ + an observation

7d    Parisian behind broadcast of Irish song? (8)
DERRIERE: The French word for the behind or buttocks is a homophone of a song from a particular city in Northern Island

8d    Pal’s stag degenerated — what you might call a lucky escape (4-4)
LAST-GASP: An anagram (degenerated) of PAL’S STAG

11d    Tail on criminal seen storing up grass crop for end of prohibition (12)
LEGALISATION: An anagram (criminal) of TAIL ON round a reversal of grass harvested and stored for animal fodder

14d    Bury sawn-off piece of wood in old yard for examination of creepy-crawlies (10)
ENTOMOLOGY: ‘To bury’ with the last letter removed + a piece of wood between O (old) and Y (yard)

16d    Great bridge card (8)
SPANKING: A bridge + a court card

17d    Old penny perhaps needed for fairground attraction (3,5)
BIG WHEEL: Could be (perhaps) how one might describe the penny part of an old penny-farthing bicycle

19d    South American transporter from shipping line losing way south of Virgin Islands (6)
VICUNA: A South American animal = the abbreviation for Virgin Islands + a shipping line with the letters RD (road = way) removed. I can’t find any real evidence that this animal is used as a beast of burden

20d    Clapped-out old man’s one tweeting? (4,2)
PAST-IT: Old man (father) + the possessive ‘S + a bird (one tweeting)

23d    One snapping base off pot (4)
CROC: A creature that snaps = a pot with the last letter removed

I’m glad it was last week and not this week that I wasn’t able to blog.


9 comments on “Toughie 2345

  1. I thought it had been longer between Micawber crosswords but however long we have to wait this one was well worth waiting for. It did take a little longer to solve than some of his previous Toughies but that just made the pleasure last longer. I could have marked so many clues as favourites but I’ll just mention 6a, 13a and 17d

    Thanks very much to Micawber (looking forward to the end of the year puzzle) and to Bufo.

  2. Micawber’s on top form – this was a delight. Thanks to him and Bufo.
    I gave up on ticking the clues I liked in order to save ink, but not before marking 1a, 6a, 18a and 25a with my favourite being 7d – how wonderful to get a homophone that not only works but is very amusing.

  3. This was definitely the most enjoyable Micawber puzzle I can remember, and probably one of the toughest, although totally fair, with only one word (19d) which I didn’t know. 1a, 21a, 1d, 3d, 11d and 14d were all ingeniously constructed, with original non-cliched components, whilst 6a, 7d and 19a were amusing and equally original. Many thanks indeed, Micawber, and Bufo, with whose positive assessment I agree totally.

  4. Lovely, thanks Micawber.
    Thanks for the blog Bufo – I think “singing” in 6a is part of the wordplay rather than the def. By a mile my favourite clue once the penny dropped.

  5. How nice to have Micawber back in the Toughie ranks – thoroughly enjoyed this one, despite having to check the spelling of the vegetarian!
    Ticks aplenty with the final places going to 6&18a along with 7d.

    Many thanks to Micawber and to Bufo for the review – sorry to hear that you’re somewhat below par today.

  6. I hugely enjoyed this. My only temporary hold up was in the NW corner. I wasn’t able to figure out how New York came into play in 1a and so I was hesitant in entering what was the correct answer, and I had not heard of the head covering in 12a. My standout favourite is 6a. Many thanks to Micawber and Bufo.

  7. This was a smashing puzzle. 1a was my clear favourite but there were many more worthy of mention. I had never heard of 12a and I thought 9a was very clever. Thanks to Micawber and Bufo.

  8. Took some time to sort out the parsing for 3d. Saw the inverted CAN and assumed that was the TIN from the clue. The actual synonym for tin was new to us but eventually sorted with help from BRB. Not a quick solve for us but excellent fun all the way through but special mention must go to 6a.
    Thanks Micawber and Bufo.

  9. Learned a few things such as ackers, the spelling of the wig in 12a, the expression in 8d and the animal in 19d.
    But perseverance paid off.
    I like charades. So my favourite is 9a.
    Thanks to Micawber and to Bufo for the review.

Comments are closed.