Toughie 2346 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2346

Toughie No 2346 by proXimal

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

We have come to expect nothing but top quality puzzles from proXimal. Excellent surface readings combined with innovative clueing makes for a most enjoyable solve

Definitions are underlined as usual. The hints and tips are intended to guide you through the wordplay. You can reveal the answers by clicking on the answer buttons. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Sensitive insular person talked oddly (7)
BRITTLE: A person living on these islands plus the odd letters of talking

5a    Supports forming most of base in ship (7)
SPLINTS: A 6-letter base of a column without the last letter (most of) goes inside (in) the abbreviation for steamship

9a    Brownish-coloured river in the East End (5)
UMBER: How someone in the East End might pronounce a river near Hull

10a    Car manufacturer, British, invested in new line that’s silent (9)
INAUDIBLE: A German car brand plus the abbreviation for British goes inside (invested in) an anagram (new) of LINE

11a    Deputy grabbed by Tuareg, an ambush backfired (10)
SUBMANAGER: Reverse hidden (grabbed by … backfired)

12a    Large dons mock idiot (4)
CLOD: The abbreviation for large goes inside (dons, as in puts on) a slang word meaning mock

14a    Unrestricted record of organ tissue hiding nothing (12)
DISCRETIONAL: A 4-letter gramophone record plus a 7-letter word meaning ‘of organ tissue’ (think eye, not kidney!) that contains (hiding) the letter that looks like zero

18a    A grind being retired worker — consuming alcohol is crucial (3-9)
ALL-IMPORTANT: A from the clue, the reversal (being retired) of a word meaning to grind and our favourite 6-legged worker contains (consuming) a fortified wine

21a    Pest eating this cake would get most fat (4)
LUMP: When PEST contains (eating) the answer, we get a word meaning ‘most fat’

22a    Morris dancing with stick, start to remove clothing (10)
MICROSKIRT: An anagram (dancing) of MORRIS + (s)TICK (start to remove)


25a    Gave responsibility to hospital department past its prime (9)
ENTRUSTED: Our favourite hospital department plus a word meaning oxidised that suggests something is beyond it’s ideal functioning state

26a    Kind endlessly backing official reason (5)
INFER: Kind from the clue without the outer letters (endlessly) plus the reversal (backing) of a football official

27a    Some French couple lose heart (7)
DESPAIR: French for some plus a word meaning couple

28a    Feasted with relation to King Edward (7)
REGALED: An adjective meaning kingly or royal plus a nickname for Edward


1d    Exchange part of meal, getting better standard of starter (6)
BOURSE: In a word meaning ‘part of meal’, change the first letter (starter) to a better standard

2d    Take in one graduate after setting up IT firm (6)
IMBIBE: The Roman numeral for one, then the abbreviation for a bachelor’s degree follows the reversal of an abbreviation for a large American multinational computer company

3d    Solid earth company put in ground at rear (5,5)
TERRA FIRMA: A 4-letter word meaning a company or business goes inside (put in) an anagram of (ground) AT REAR

4d    Woman taking out books of amorous literature (5)
ERICA: Remove (taking out) some biblical books from a 7-letter word meaning amorous literature

5d    Good person with space in a shelter for relation (9)
STATEMENT: The 2-letter abbreviation for a good person, then a printer’s space goes inside (in) a temporary shelter

6d    Woman having cause to lie about daughter (4)
LADY: We have a verb meaning ‘to cause to lie’ (top definition in Chambers) about the abbreviation for daughter

7d    Doing 6 billion plus 4 (8)
NOBBLING: Doing as in cheating or conning. A person of high social rank like 6d, the abbreviation for billion, and another word for the plant in 4d. Very nice use of the two clues defined by ‘Woman’

8d    Anagram set daily in consistent manner (8)
STEADILY: An anagram of (anagram) SET DAILY

13d    Seeing Pennywise the clown with head in arm (10)
WITNESSING: Stephen King’s Pennywise the clown plus a word meaning head or cape goes inside (in) a word meaning arm (of a bird)

15d    Rectorship being cut short devastated churchgoer (9)
CHORISTER: An anagram (devastated) of RECTORSHI(p) (cut short)

16d    Nymph gains heart of old man, one’s struck (4-4)
NAIL-HEAD: A 5-letter river or spring nymph contains the central letter (heart) of old plus a male pronoun

17d    Switching between Italy and Spain, type of weather’s changed for plant (8)
CLEMATIS: Swap (switching between) the letters that have the IVR codes for Italy and Spain in a word meaning ‘type of weather’ including the ‘S

19d    Bad function not totally packed (6)
SINFUL: A 3-letter abbreviation for a trigonometric function plus the first 3 letters of a 4-letter word (not totally) meaning packed

20d    Kept raising points about school subject (6)
STORED: Reversal of (raising) a word meaning points goes about a 2-letter abbreviation for a school subject

23d    Fling with this equestrian, perhaps, makes girlfriend mad (5)
RIDER: A compound anagram. FLING plus the answer makes an anagram (mad) of GIRLFRIEND


24d    Vessel going over a swimmer (4)
TUNA: A vessel or vat going over (in a down clue) the letter A from the clue

I liked Pennywise, or penny-dumb since it took ages for this penny to drop. I was aware of the book/film title, but never read/saw IT and so I wasn’t very quick to recognise the clown’s name. There was plenty more to like: the brownish-coloured river, the tribulations of retirement, the image of Morris dancing becoming unimaginably worse, the woman into amorous literature, the daily anagram, and especially the jockey’s love complications. Which clues were your favourites?

14 comments on “Toughie 2346

  1. Another enjoyable puzzle from proXimal who never fails to deliver – thanks to him and Dutch.
    I had to employ Mr Google to find out what Pennywise the Clown was all about but, that apart, I made steady though not swift progress through the puzzle without encountering any significant problems.
    My ticks went to 1d, 2d and 23d.

  2. You need to correct the answer to 7 d.
    I liked 22a and the clever 23 d
    Only got 19d wrong – not bad for a Friday!
    Thanks to blogger and setter.

  3. A slowish steady solve for us with penny-drop moments all along the way. Had to check the Stephen King reference. Biggest delays in the SE with 22a the last to yield. Lots and lots of ticks so won’t pick any one for favourite. Really enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks proXimal and Dutch

  4. A sunny but cold day here in Michigan. A slow solve so **** for difficulty and needed some hints for the SE corner. 7D raised a smile.

  5. I thought this was a terrific puzzle. For me it was the NW corner (again) that was my downfall, and I was left (sadly) with one entry short in 1d. I did not know the exchange and the word play did not give it to me, clever though it was. Speaking of word play, I think 17d gets my vote for favourite. Manny thanks to proXimal and Dutch.

  6. Quite a few hiccups along the way – the 5a supports, the exchange and the clown spring to mind – but all eventually sorted.
    I particularly liked the woman taking out books of amorous literature.
    Probably speaks volumes about my solving abilities but I do prefer our setter wearing his back-page hat…….

    Thanks to proXimal and to Dutch for the review – really liked the cutie sipping through the straw!

  7. Yes, what a delightful clue for the lady taking out the sexy books. So much better than the last time I clued that word with some reference to Scottish heath plants. Thanks to proXimal and Dutch.

  8. That took me a very long time, but I got there in the end. Had to google pennywise. I am still struggling to justify 21 ac. The best I can think of is as in ‘a cake of soap / a **** of soap’. That seems very clunky to me. Am I missing anything?

    1. I only got round to Friday’s Toughie today (Sunday). No mystery to 21a. Not in Chamber’s, but lump cake is a type of cake. Danish I think.

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