Toughie 2414 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2414

Toughie No 2414 by Dada

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I enjoyed the challenge so much that I have given this puzzle a rare (for me) enjoyment rating of five stars. 11a was new to me, but derivable from the wordplay and the checking letters.

Solving this puzzle was interrupted by a visit from someone who solved the problem with our central heating boiler – it turned out to be a valve sticking on, causing the boiler to pump out more hot water than the system could handle, which then cascaded on to the flat roof from the overflow.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Famous painting that’s current goes up (6)
IRISES: the symbol for electric current is followed by a verb meaning goes up or ascends

5a    Bird circling dock sees crate (6)
JALOPY: a bird surrounds a verb meaning to dock or cut – the crate is an old car

10a    Gas on in future, cut back (5)
XENON: put the ON from the clue inside most of (cut) a word meaning in future or following and then reverse the lot (back)

11a    Perfume overwhelming initially, Chanel choking pensioner gradually (4,1,4)
POCO A POCO: the initial letters of the first two words in the clue are followed by the first name adopted by French fashion designer and businesswoman Chanel around the three-letter abbreviation for a pensioner

12a    Tedious place where offender’s taken for battery (3-4)
DRY-CELL: an adjective meaning tedious is followed by a room for an offender in a prison

13a    Eerie story’s beginnings in sonorous echo (7)
RESOUND: the initial letters (beginnings) of the first two words in the clue inside an adjective meaning sonorous

14a    Use bad, woolly fleece that’s rank in the Church (9)
SUBDEACON: an anagram (wooly) of USE BAD followed by a verb meaning to fleece or swindle

17a    Anything but straight up? (5)
LYING: prone, as opposed to up, and untruthful

18a    Funny shirt (5)
DICKY: two definitions – shaky and a false shirt

19a    Creep past rubbish winger (9)
CHAFFINCH: a verb meaning to creep preceded by (past) some rubbish, or worthless material

Especially for Jane!

21a    Endless damage to legal term (2,5)
DE FACTO: most of (endless) a verb meaning to damage followed by TO from the clue

23a    Alien, that thing wearing mask (7)
VISITOR: the two-letter word meaning that thing inside a mask

25a    Hole in pink material (9)
CORPOREAL: a hole, like the opening of a sweat gland, inside a pink colour

26a    Liquid filling tank, virtually there! (5)
VOILÀ: a liqid inside most of (virtually) a tank

27a    Creative thinker is at centre of intersection, doing a U-turn (6)
EDISON: IS from the clue inside the reversal (doing a U-turn) of the centre of, for example, the intersection of two great circles of the celestial sphere

28a    He painted a screw, perhaps? (6)
TURNER: the name of this painter could also be something that rotates, like a screw


2d    Hot wings in refectory? (5)
RANDY: the outer letters (wings) of R{efector)Y (1,3,1)

3d    Possible sign-off? Bank closes after that (9)
SINCERELY: one way of signing off a letter is derived from a verb meaning to bank or depend preceded by a word meaning after that

4d    Bit of a bloomer breaking into grandiose palace (5)
SEPAL: hidden (breaking into) inside the clue

5d    Sack’s contents in grate with a tropical wood (9)
JACARANDA: the middle letters (contents) of [s]AC[k] inside a verb meaning to grate, followed by a word meaning with then the A from the clue

6d    Always at the front, leading others, another nervous soldier advances (5)
LOANS: the initial letters (always at the front) of five words in the clue

7d    Great number supporting merger? (9)
PROFUSION: a three-letter word meaning supporting followed by a merger

8d    Book two, or ‘deux’ — so complicated? (6)
EXODUS: the second book of the bible is an anagram (complicated) of DEUX SO

9d    Big cheese Father with container served up (3,3)
TOP DOG: the reversal (served up) of the Holy Father and a container

15d    Defender sent packing fell flat (9)
BACKFIRED: a defender in a game such as football followed by a verb meaning sent packing or dismissed

16d    Giant storm almost engulfing tiny vegetable (9)
CYCLOPEAN: most of a storm around (engulfing) a tiny vegetable – giant here is an adjective

17d    Relief as revolutionary secures victory, help arriving at critical moment? (4-5)
LIFE-SAVER: an anagram (revolutionary) of RELIEF AS around (secures) V(ictory)

Remember these?

18d    Work out tennis score divided by five hundred (6)
DEDUCE: a score in tennis when both players are level around (divided by) the Roman numeral for five hundred

20d    Race inspiring a victory call (6)
HURRAY: a verb meaning to race or hasten around (inspiring) the A from the clue

22d    Pass mark (5)
CROSS: two definitions

23d    Clean Middle Eastern city, five-sevenths of which built up (5)
VALET: the reversal (built up) of the first five-sevenths of an Israeli (Middle Eastern) city

24d    Toast’s first, cereal second (5)
TRICE: the initial letter (first) of T[oast] followed by a cereal crop

Phew! That was tough!


31 comments on “Toughie 2414

  1. For me this was the difficulty level I’d expect from a 1* toughie, taking very slightly longer than a 5* Friday back pager. Having an actual Toughie on a Tuesday did help to up the enjoyment level and so I’ll give it 4*.

    Thanks to Dada for providing an entertaining crossword that meets ‘the description on the tin’ and to BD for the review

  2. What an excellent Toughie this proved to be. I’m pleased to see from BD’s comment that I was not alone in finding this a major challenge and very far removed from the Fluffy Toughies of yore. I did however really enjoy it.

    I failed on one letter of 20d having put in “hurrah”, which I couldn’t parse for the obvious reason that it was the wrong “victory call”.

    Many thanks to Dada and to BD.

  3. It took a while to get into this puzzle and I probably took longer than I should have, going for a ***/***.
    2d was the last in and took too long until the ‘hot’ dawned.
    11a was new to me and guessed the definition from the sum of its various parts.
    Anyway it was very pleasant sitting in the garden watching the birds , among them is a tame robin, blackbird-a raisin fanatic,two ring necked doves and a ‘sweeper’ wood pigeon.
    Off for a walk around the nearby golf course-no play permitted so safe.

    1. We get an amazing selection of birds in our suburban garden: wood pigeons, a pair of collared doves, a robin, blackbirds, blue tits, wrens, sparrows, goldfinches, magpies, blackbirds, grey wagtails, a pair of mallards, and an unwelcome heron eyeing my fish pond; plus, very occasionally, a jay and a woodpecker.

      We used to get feral pigeons and wood pigeons in about equal numbers but for the past few months the feral variety have disappeared completely. Any idea why that should be? Or perhaps Jane as our resident bird expert may know?

      1. The birdsong this year seems better than ever this year. We can’t decide whether they are extra happy to talk to each other without traffic noise and planes overhead, or whether it is because we can hear them more without the noise pollution?

        1. They most certainly are as far as I’m concerned, CS – I got fitted with hearing aids just before the lock down came into effect – I now hear stounds that I have missed for quite a long while :-)

          Nice puzzle too – just a little more to think about than Dada’s normal Sunday workout – very enjoyable, even if it has taken me since last night to complete my solve. Thanks to all concerned.

      2. My best guess would be that due to the abundance of fruits and seeds still available in fields and hedgerows, pigeons, doves etc. haven’t needed to fall back on garden supplies.

  4. I struggled with this last night and again this morning, but after I sought some electronic help, three clues still evaded me–25a, 28a, and 23d (which I would never have solved until the next millennium)–but how brilliant that one and so many others are. I think if I were grading myself on this real tough toughie, I’d award myself a B- (I’m an old American teacher), but I enjoyed every minute of it. Top three: 1,5,11a (almost any threesome here would do justice), and I was tickled that I solved 11a so quickly, thanks to Ms Chanel. Many thanks too to Dada and Big Dave. ***** / ***** Yes, 5 and 5!

  5. Lovely job for a Tuesday solved half on the journey to our new house. Some more over lunch leaving 25ac to be solved after looking at the hints. A darn sight easier than Paul’s Saturday puzzle in the Guardian. Thanks to him for the tussle and to BD for the review.

    1. Was it ‘Paul’ who set the Guardian Prize puzzle Saturday? I’m still struggling with it!

      1. Me too with the Graun prize – I’ve got a few in one corner left to solve.

          1. I haven’t looked at it since Saturday. Let’s hope the over-keen Mr CS hasn’t recycled it!

  6. This puzzle started off in an enjoyable fashion and then started to get rather dull when I was left with a number of clues that seemed certain to involve either a word I did not know or a rather unfamiliar word. 6d crossing 11a caused problems. In the end they could all be correctly guessed or recalled from forgotten brain cells but it spoilt the puzzle for me. I would agree with BD’s difficulty rating but I don’t care for puzzles that demand significantly greater levels of general knowledge than I possess so the enjoyment factor is much lower. I found today’s guardian puzzle of the same sort, so not a great day for me in crossword land

  7. As with others I thought that this was meatier than Dada has given us in the past and very enjoyable. With some of our end-of-week Toughie setters (e.g. Elkamere, Artix, Micawber) seemingly ‘on furlough’ would now not be an ideal opportunity for Mr Halpern to give us the sort of tougher puzzles he provides elsewhere?
    My ticks went to 14a, 19a, 26a and 2d.
    Thanks to Dada and BD.

  8. Intriguing puzzle which took me double the one hour stipulated which beggars the question; Why are all toughies given a one hour target?
    By the way is it possible to set up the grids to auto-save? I find it very fiddly solving on my phone as anything unsaved gets lost if you leave the page for any reason.
    That’s all off my chest!

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I filled it in (very slowly) from the top left corner to the bottom right. The SE corner stubbornly refused to yield until it dawned on me that the winger in 19a was not an anagram, which was just enough to allow me to get established and eventually complete the puzzle. I did know the ‘gradually’ in 11a, but not the ‘tropical wood’ in 5d. Many thanks to Dada and Big Dave.

  10. Good to see Dada in good form.
    A real joy from start to finish.
    No hold ups apart from trying to make an anagram of a screw in 28a.
    Thanks to Dada and to BD.

    1. How about 19ac obviously an anagram (rubbish) of CREEP PAST. and a couple of Sundays ago. Mashed pear in cold cheese had us all looking for an anagram of pear in cold

    2. J-L, I must have tried every possible ‘a screw’ anagram, then all the 6-letter artists I could think of, all to no avail, until the most probable one finally appeared, thanks to B.D.

      Dada in rare form indeed. By the way, did you work the Guardian Prize puzzle Saturday?

  11. Not sure whether to weep or scream when I’ve soldiered through a tough Toughie only to be greeted on the blog by a comment from CS awarding it 1* for difficulty. My language was somewhat colourful………
    I was slow to get the famous painting (anything’s better than those endless Monet water lilies) which left me in the lurch where 2d was concerned and I did have to check that a 14a actually existed.
    11a made me smile – didn’t have a clue about its meaning but it was the name of a very upmarket nightspot in Stockport many years ago.
    No problems with 19a – many thanks for the watercolour, BD.

    Thanks to Dada for the challenge and to BD for the blog.

  12. I must question 23d. Surely the city is Valetta which, as we all know, is capital of Malta. Since when has Malta been Middle Eastern? Have I been misled? Hang on a minute …Valletta has 2 ll’s so, what is the Israeli city?

  13. I seemed to be on Dada’s wavelength for much of this, even though I found it a pleasing slog. Couple of penny-dropping moments – 3, 12, 14 to name a few – & luckily I knew both 11 & 5d. But not the painting, so I foolishly put A for Amps, only realising after checking with BD that of course it’s not. 4*/3*, & thanks to both BD and Dada.

  14. Our initial comment of “Oh good, it’s by Dada” was once again well justified. 11a was new to us and took a bit of teasing out but we did work out what we should be looking for in the BRB. Good fun all the way through.
    Thanks Dada and BD.

Comments are closed.