Toughie 2403 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2403

Toughie No 2403 by Gila

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

A pleasant puzzle which is not too tough. Thanks to Gila.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a Food set out on plate (7)
POLENTA: an anagram (set out) of ON PLATE.

5a Showing little humour, people often initially rejected weaker coffee (2-5)
PO-FACED: the initial letters of People and Often followed by the reversal of a type of coffee which lacks the vital ingredient (a bit like mint sauce without the mint).

9a Taxi service housed by a grand European hotel (7)
AUBERGE: the name of a recently introduced taxi service (to the dismay of black cab drivers) is contained inside A and abbreviations for grand and European.

10a Money saved up for foreign holiday property (7)
PENSION: double definition, the second a small hotel or boarding house in Europe.

11a A great new place to study and somewhere to eat (3,6)
TEA GARDEN: stick together an anagram (new) of A GREAT and an informal place to study.

12a Spy acts oddly without information (5)
AGENT: the odd letters of ‘acts’ contain an informal word for information.

13a Poem of Frost broadcast on the radio (5)
RHYME: this sounds like a type of frost.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,  
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

15a Downbeat artist’s gripped by good southern country music (9)
BLUEGRASS: start with an informal word for downbeat or depressed and append our usual artist and the ‘S bracketed by abbreviations for good and southern.

17a Shy person beginning to get, for the most part, really tense (9)
INTROVERT: string together a word for the beginning of a piece of music, an adverb meaning really or extremely without its last letter and the grammatical abbreviation for tense.

19a Was liable to miss the opening over (5)
ENDED: a verb meaning ‘was liable to’ without its first letter.

22a Excel is known to work (5)
OUTDO: charade of an adjective meaning known or in the public domain and a verb to work or perform.

23a I book transportation first, then head out of Jamaica? (9)
CARIBBEAN: the Roman numeral for one and the abbreviation for book are preceded by a type of transportation and followed by an informal word for someone’s head.

25a Records of note provided by US tax officers (7)
MEMOIRS: knit together a short note or message and the US equivalent of our beloved HMRC.

26a Cocktail is 50% neat rum or gin (7)
NEGRONI: half of the word ‘neat’ followed by an anagram (rum) of OR GIN.

27a Clothing and drink reportedly coming from south-east Asia? (7)
NECKTIE: weld together an informal word to drink or knock back and a homophone of a description of someone or something from a specific south-east Asian country.

28a No more money held by former heads of city trading (7)
EXTINCT: a dated informal term for money is contained inside a prefix meaning former and the leading letters of City and Trading.

Down Clues

1d Column missing front piece of Italian stucco? (7)
PLASTER: start with a rectangular column partly projecting from a wall and remove the first letter of Italian.

2d Where one might get a fine collection of records (7)
LIBRARY: double definition, the first where being late with your returns may get you a fine. There’s a considerable overlap between the two meanings.

3d Female, Type A (5)
NORMA: another word for a type or pattern and A.

4d Willing daughter stops being open to possible change (9)
AMENDABLE: the abbreviation for daughter goes inside an adjective meaning willing or compliant.

5d Visit American relative at home (3,2)
POP IN: concatenate an informal word for a male relative in the USA and an adverb meaning ‘at home’.

6d Cheap ornament is cool to hang (9)
FANDANGLE: stick together verbs to cool and to hang or swing loosely.

7d Fancy ring given to a king on retirement (7)
CHIMERA: start with a verb to ring or peal then add the reversal of A and an abbreviation for king.

8d Head of family put away small gifts (7)
DONATES: cement together the head of a criminal family, a verb meaning put away or scoffed and the abbreviation for small in clothing sizes.

14d Rioting is to come closer to Milton Keynes? (9)
ECONOMIST: an anagram (rioting) of IS TO COME and [Milto]N.

16d Complete opportunity to disregard children, it’s said (9)
UTTERANCE: an adjective meaning complete or total and an opportunity without the abbreviation for children.

17d Superhero name adopted by one Italian (4,3)
IRON MAN: the abbreviation for name goes inside the classical number one and an Italian citizen.

18d Much-revered thing a singer does on stage? (7)
TOTEMIC: split 4,3 it’s what a singer moving around on stage might have to do.

20d Within two days, odd bits of ice have to subside (3,4)
DIE DOWN: insert the odd letters of ice between two occurrences of the abbreviation for day then append a verb to have or possess.

21d A number of people possibly sit and tend to shift about (7)
DENTIST: cryptic definition coming from an anagram (to shift about) of SIT and TEND.

23d Class project supported by headteacher at the halfway point (5)
CASTE: a verb to project or fling followed by the middle letter of headteacher.

24d Large, extremely hot section of Australia’s coastline (5)
BIGHT: assemble a synonym for large and the outer letters of hot. I didn’t know that The Great Australian ***** is the name of the large indentation in the southern coastline of Australia.

I ticked 17a and 23a but my runaway favourite was 14d. Which one(s) did you select?

In these grim times it’s necessary to have a bit of cheer from time to time and my newly-arrived Private Eye gave me a laugh this morning:


17 comments on “Toughie 2403

  1. That’s 2 good, fun puzzles in a row. Favourites 14d [about as good as anagram clues get] and 21d [ditto].

    Many thanks Gazza and Gila

  2. I found most of the puzzle pretty straightforward, progressing at a reasonable back pager rate and then got stuck on the SW corner. I assumed the superhero was going to end in “man” which meant “nightie” fitted 27a and the ending fitting the homophonic drink. I could not connect “nigh” with SE Asia but it seemed plausible for a while. Eventually I remembered the superhero and could then finish the corner, abandoning nightie in the process. There lots of good clues and I particularly enjoyed 14d and 21d

    Thanks to setter and Gazza

  3. On the cusp between a backpager and an easy Toughie so 1* difficulty, even allowing for the application of Tippex in a couple of places. Quite enjoyable – my favourite being 21d as I have spent quite a bit of time in the 21’s chair, shifting about during root canal work :(.

    Thanks to Gila and Gazza

  4. Love the Eye’s cover. Thought this was about as accessible as DT Toughies get and particularly the top half which I completed in as fast a time as I’ve ever done. The bottom was a good deal tougher for me but got there in the end and unlike yesterday even fully parsed most of them. Completely agree 14d was the standout clue & 18d gave me the most head scratching.
    Thanks to all.

  5. This was my third enjoyable puzzle of the day. I found it nicely challenging and good fun with the very clever 14d my favourite.

    Alison Krauss is one of my favourite singers (sorry, Kath) and an accomplished exponent of 15a. Although not strictly bluegrass, here is one of her best songs which makes me smile every time I listen to it.

    That is probably a better choice than the alternative possibility I considered – Iron Man by Black Sabbath.

    Many thanks to the 2Gs.

    1. You’re probably familiar with it but in case not I’d recommend the album Paper Airplane – my favourite of their discography. The Steeldrivers & The Mulligan Brothers are also excellent if you’re into country/bluegrass.

  6. Don’t think I’ve ever considered what is the precise meaning of 6d so that was something new learnt today and I had the same fight as Patch did with the ‘nightie’ in 27a. Otherwise all OK although I was glad I wasn’t called upon to underline the definition in 21d.
    Favourite has to be 14d for the wonderful surface read.

    Thanks to Gila and to Gazza – so now I know how to lay my hands on some toilet paper! Strangely, my supermarket is also completely out of the drink involved in 5a – do people know something that has thus far escaped me?

  7. I found this a hugely enjoyable puzzle – but a good deal harder than others seem to have found it. Unlike Huntsman, at one stage I had a full and complete bottom half, and nothing in the top half! There were several things I was not familiar with which slowed me down (cocktails, columns etc.) but I was pleased to able to finish it eventually. 14d gets thumbs up from me as well, but there were other contenders – the number in 21d for instance. Many thanks to Gila and Gazza.

  8. Something to do in my confinement !
    Agree with a **/*** ,not too taxing and nothing obscure .I was held up by the SW corner but eventually all fell into place
    Like RD I really rate Alison’s voice -my favourite song is Going To Carolina accompanied by Jerry .Also into Heavy Metal so 17d would have been most apposite.
    Like Jane my favourite was 14d.
    Thanks all.

  9. Another vote for 14d. Solved whist enjoying a Montecristo no. 3 and a coffee on my terrace. Does anyone know if the Toughie is available online as I’m getting a bit concerned about possible lack of access to the paper version ? Thanks all.

  10. Good fun and like everyone else we have put our biggest ticks beside 14d and 21d.
    Thanks Gila and Gazza.

  11. Happy me! I finished my third Toughie this week, though not without a small bit of electronic help near the end, with 18d and 25a, I couldn’t get Jason or Aeneas or Ben Affleck out of my mind for the Argo director, and I think the Atilla followup is just brilliant. (Hunnish, really.) Like everyone else, I did mind-forged cartwheels over 14a and 21d.
    Thanks, Gila and Gazza, especially for the opening stanza to ‘Stopping By Woods….’

    1. I think you’ve merged your comments on this Toughie (Wednesday’s) and 2404 (Thursday’s). Never mind – it all makes sense once that’s sorted out.

      It’s actually the last stanza of ‘Stopping by Woods’.

  12. Best puzzle of the week and I mean the whole week as I ve just got round to this one today, Sunday. So many brilliant surfaces, I ve got stars on too many to list here but wow, 14 down, that’s gone straight into the charts ! Thanks Gila *** / ***** for me

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