Toughie 2353 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2353

Toughie No 2353 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I was quite happy to have a none-too-difficult puzzle today. There were no major hold-ups and very little head-scratching.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Puffer train driver’s tea … (10)
ADVERTISER: Someone who puffs (promotes) is an anagram (train) of DRIVER’S TEA

6a    … perhaps eaten partly in recess? (4)

9a    Maybe copper can place landing point within mile (5)
METAL: An abbreviation for the anticipated time of landing inside an abbreviated form of ‘mile’.

10a    Return last of stale crumbles a treasure found in Walmart? (9)
MEGASTORE: A reversal of The last letter of STALE, ‘crumbles’, A and ‘a treasure’ gives an establishment such as most branches of Walmart

12a    An objective for students before uni, and their employment afterwards? (8,5)
CLEARING HOUSE: 2 meanings (almost): a central system for allocating students university courses/a financial office that employs graduates

14a    Worker caught with drink gaining minimal approval (8)
HANDCLAP: A worket + C (caught) + ‘to drink by licking up’

15a    Tacky note put forward about head of technology (4-2)
POST-IT: A sticky piece of paper for temporarily sttaching notes to documents = ‘to put forward’ round the first letter of TECHNOLOGY

17a    Cinematography’s ruined phonetic language such as this (6)
MAGYAR: CINEMATOGRAPHY is an anagram of PHONETIC and this European language

19a    Promoter‘s backing from pilot about right (8)
FOSTERER: A reversal of ‘from’ + ‘to pilot’ round R (right)

21a    Highlights of the movie business? (8,5)
SHOOTING STARS: The name of these astronomical objects entering the atmosphere also describes the process of filming leading movie performers

24a    Bank setter’s entered: ‘Red, sir, unfortunately’ (9)
RIVERSIDE: ‘The setter has’ inside an anagram (unfortunately) of RED SIR

25a    Once trendy, you French admitted being agitated (3,2)
HET UP: An old-fashioned word for ‘trendy’ goes round the French word for ‘you or thou’

26a    Understanding is pervading our group (4)
WISE: IS inside a pronoun denoting ‘our group’

27a    Cut one tendril off (10)
TENDERLOIN: A cut of beef is an anagram (off) of ONE TENDRIL


1d    Crown owns Gatcombe Park … odd bits of it (4)
ACME: The crown or highest point is formed by the odd-positioned letters of GATCOMBE

2d    Rome’s authority imposes tax on international tin (7)
VATICAN: An important source of income for the Government + I (international) + a tin

3d    Ride wave on mat (13)
ROLLERCOASTER: A fairground ride = a wave on the sea + a mat for putting under a drink

4d    I’ll depart but this individual won’t! (8)
IMMORTAL: When split (1’1,6) it says that I won’t be around until eternity

5d    Prompt, say, getting grand playing (3,2)
EGG ON: ‘To prompt’ = an abbreviation denoting ‘say’ + G (grand) + ‘playing’

7d    Expert on pipe work (7)
PRODUCT: An expert (3) + a pipe (4)

8d    See about the placing of English players on pitch — that’s fundamental (10)
ELEMENTARY: A see or bishopric in East Anglia round E (English), players, and pitch (black stuff)

11d    Her chocolates embarrassed young tutor (13)
SCHOOLTEACHER: An anagram (embarrassed) of HER CHOCOLATES is someone who tutors the young

13d    Hitches gang finds a cause of anguish (10)
THUMBSCREW: ‘Hitches a lift in a vehicle’ + a gang

16d    Throne spotted on summit of Dartmoor — that’s an unexplained thing (5,3)
LOOSE END: A throne or toilet + ‘spotted’ on the first letter of DARTMOOR

18d    Golf ranges encompassing ordinary scores (7)
GROOVES: G (golf) + ‘ranges’ round O (ordinary) = ‘scores’ or ‘cuts a furrow’

20d    Revolt briefly over ‘fragrance’ in dish (7)
RISOTTO: ‘To revolt’ with the last letter removed + a fragrant essential oil = an Italian rice dish

22d    Green water welling up (5)
NAIVE: A reversal of a brand of luxury mineral water from the south shore of Lake Geneva

23d    Trip flap (4)
SPIN: 2 meanings: a trip, e.g. in a car/a flap, as in ‘in a ****’

A Merry Christmas to one-and-all. I’ll see you again on the other side.


17 comments on “Toughie 2353

  1. I was rather underwhelmed by this one with none of the clues really standing out.
    In 1d I can see that “park (in the sense of leave) odd bits” contributes to the clue but ‘owns’ just seems to be padding.
    Thanks to Firefly and Bufo.

  2. I had a lot of hmms as I worked through this although I did like 4d & 20d.

    Thanks to Firefly and Bufo.

  3. Possibly the least difficult of all today’s available cryptic crosswords

    Seasons greetings and thanks to Bufo and Firefly

  4. I plodded a bit with this, but got there in the end. I don’t much like 12ac though.Surely pre uni students have the objective of avoiding c******* by getting the required grades in the first place. I suppose a cryptic version of the two word phrase could be ‘leaving home’, but as so many now go to the nearest uni to save money, even that aspiration is far from universal.

    1. I fear that Bufo and co. were looking for a more subtle DD in 12ac than was intended. I simply imagined students doing what my daughters did and thousands of others do after finals — clear their houses!
      Re 17ac, the compound anagram form isn’t one I especially warm to, but it seemed a good opportunity here — and should reasonably find room in a Toughie. Pace LetterboxRoy, there is only one anagram in the clue — hence it only needs one indicator, and isn’t too difficult if one follows Gazza’s succinct instructions. Happy Christmas!

  5. Well that’s the closest I’ve ever got to finishing a Toughie unaided but had to resort to the hints for both 17a & 19a to complete.
    To be honest 17a was a bung in and still don’t really understand the answer even after reading the hint.

    1. 17a is a compound anagram. Cinematography is an anagram (ruined) of PHONETIC + the answer. The way to solve such a clue is to remove the letters of phonetic from cinematography and work out an anagram of what you have over.

  6. One or two hmms here too, such as the four letter lurker defined as a ‘recess’ – in a toughie?
    Unlike JB/Huntsman, I’m not convinced 17a even works. There is only one anagram indicator and no instruction to subtract the second (unindicated) anagram?

    Many thanks Firefly and Bufo

  7. Hesitated for some time over 12a but put it in once we had all the checking letters. The rest all went togethher smoothly for us.
    Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Firefly and Bufo.

  8. Thanks to Firefly for a not too taxing crossword.
    Quite liked 8 and 16d and favourite is 17a.
    Thanks to Bufo for the review.

  9. Very late getting to this one and have to admit to a few ‘umms’ along the way.
    My favourite was the ride on the mat.

    Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo – all good wishes for the festive season.

  10. Rather slow progress today so nearly into 4* territory. We liked 17A and 3D but didn’t like 19A.
    Thanks to all.

  11. Thanks to Firefly and to Bufo for the review and hints. I started off ok, and made quick progress, then came to a complete halt, and needed 10 hints to finish. Most of it was completely beyond me.

  12. 3*/4*….
    liked 16D ” throne spotted on summit of Dartmoor — that’s an unexplained thing (5,3) “

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