Toughie 2430 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2430

Toughie No 2430 by Dada

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I found this to be an excellent Toughie with the only obscurity for me being the biochemical compound, which was easily derived from the wordplay and rang a bell in the back of my mind when I had solved it.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Reverse on coins showing primate (10)
SILVERBACK: a four-letter word meaning to reverse preceded by (on in an across clue) some coins

6a    Stone boulder apparently fairly close, every second counting (4)
OPAL: the second letters of four words in the clue

9a    R. L. Stevenson, say, put on a course (5)
ASCOT: the nationality of Robert Louis Stevenson preceded by the A from the clue

10a    Ten or so forms in biochemical compound (9)
SEROTONIN: an anagram (forms) of TEN OR SO followed by IN from the clue

12a    Something created in pint-sized drink (7)
MARTINI: a three-letter creative activity inside an adjective meaning pint-sized or small

13a    Stole perhaps from gangster, one going missing (5)
SCARF: start with a nickname given to Al Capone and drop (going missing) the three-letter word meaning one

15a    Get skirts matching, like some sleeves? (7)
BATWING: a three-letter a colloquial word meaning to get around (skirts) a word meaning matching

17a    Study on youth recalled damage to reputation (7)
SCANDAL: a verb meaning to study followed by the reversal (recalled) of a youth

19a    Reporter’s journey planned, misery (7)
TORMENT: split the answer as (3,4) and it sounds like (reporter’s) a four-letter journey and a five-letter word meaning planned

21a    Scandinavian king knocked over by worker, cross (7)
BEEFALO: the reversal (knocked over) of a four-letter Scandinavian king followed by a worker insect (not an ant this time!) gives a cross between a cow and a similar North American animal

22a    Might this be going to this setter’s head? Nonsense! (2,3)
MY HAT: this could be something our setter might wear on his head

24a    Teacher on staff in ancient kingdom (7)
MACEDON: a university teacher preceded by a heavy staff, carried as a mark of authority

27a    Great work lost, dream in tatters (3,6)
OLD MASTER: an anagram (in tatters) of LOST DREAM

28a    Fragile weakling, initially, looking game (5)
WISPY: the initial letter of W[eakling] followed by a looking game (1-3) often played by children during long journeys

29a    Opening, not closing* (4)
STAR: most of (not closing) an opening – now you know why the asterisk is there!

30a    Opener cross after deadlock (10)
DRAWBRIDGE: a verb meaning to cross is preceded by a deadlock


1d    Criticise achievement of card player (4)
SLAM: two definitions

2d    Mover put nuts on wheels (9)
LOCOMOTOR: an adjective meaning nuts or daft followed by what are colloquially known as “wheels”

3d    Apple in a tree shaken about (5)
EATER: an anagram (shaken about) of A TREE

4d    Cheat, in error, playing for cash (7)
BUSKING: a verb meaning to cheat inside an error in a computer program

5d    Vehicle conks out in top gear (7)
CARDIES: a motor vehicle followed by a verb meaning conks out gives items of clothing worn on the top half of the body

7d    Last of all in soap opera, gun fired: diva shoots lover? (5)
PANDA: the final letters of five words in the clue gives an animal that loves bamboo shoots

8d    A giant among poets? (10)
LONGFELLOW: this poet could also be a giant

11d    With a will, sample polished off (7)
TESTATE: a verbs meaning to sample and polished off food

14d    I mess about when lapsed Puritan (10)
ABSTEMIOUS: an anagram (I mess about when lapsed) of I MESS ABOUT

16d    Disinclination to act in monarch tribal, oddly (7)
INERTIA: IN from the clue followed by our monarch’s regnal cipher and the odd letters of the penultimate word in the clue

18d    A number climbing in fell, determined (9)
DIAGNOSED: the A from the clue and the reversal (climbing) of a musical number inside a verb meaning fell (or conked out!)

20d    Juliet finally in mood for Romeo? (7)
TEMPTER: the final letter of [Julie]T inside a mood or disposition

21d    Needing a lift, book taxi for threesome in pack (4,3)
BACK ROW: the reversal (needing a lift) of a book and a taxi gives the threesome at the rear of a rugby pack

23d    Labour target in jeopardy, high up (5)
HYDRA: this target of Hercules (not of a political party!) is hidden (in) and reversed (up) inside the clue

25d    Scottish chemist in action after idea uncovered? (5)
DEWAR: the surname of the Scottish inventor of the vacuum flask is derived from a major military action preceded by the inner letters (uncovered) of i[DE]a

26d    Key in style (4)
TYPE: two definitions

Not bad for what is often Fluffy Tuesday!


26 comments on “Toughie 2430

  1. Another superb brainstrainer. Just crept into 3* time (for me) & easily 5* happiness. Thought I was going to have an easy time of it until the SE corner raised its ugly head. Two pennydroppping moments with 21A & 18D, last ones in. Enjoyed the game in 28, but fave answer 14, one of two common words with all five vowels in the correct order. Thanks Dada, & didn’t have to use the Helpful Hints.

  2. To borrow from the jewellery expert on Sunday night’s Antiques Road Show, this crossword was the rarest of hen’s teeth – “the most fiendish [cryptic] crossword on Fleet Street” today (I’ve solved them all) and on a Tuesday to boot! 4*/4* from me.

    My last one in was 29a – using both sides of the printer paper to save money etc, I did wonder for quite a long time whether the asterisk was just a dot on the paper. Only when I’d peered at it very closely did I see what it was and how it related to the clue, making it my favourite Across clue. My favourite Down clue was 7d

    Thanks very much indeed to Dada and to BD.

  3. Dada’s sharpened up his act today and given us a proper Toughie – on this form it can’t be long before he gets promoted to Wednesdays. :D

    I really enjoyed this with the only word I didn’t know (because I’m not well up on ladies’ fashion) being 15a.

    My ticks went to 28a, 5d and 21d with top spot reserved for 7d with its superb definition.
    Thanks to Dada and BD.

    If you’re feeling bored in lockdown Brendan (Virgilius) in the Guardian is a joy.

  4. I found this hard work – but enjoyable, should be *** ,but taken to **** because 15a proved beyond me for an age. Had to check 10a and 21a with the trusty google. Favourite was 13a .
    Thanks to Dada and B D.

  5. Yes, a genuine Toughie on a Tuesday! This was quite a challenge but very enjoyable even though there is no way I can make anything approaching homophone out of the first part of 19a and is “lapsed” in 14d really an anagram indicator?

    My favourite was 7d with 9a coming in second place.

    Many thanks to Dada and also to BD whose help I needed to understand the parsing for 13a, 15a & 4d.

  6. I made a note of **/*** difficulty and **** enjoyment before the blog, I think that I must have had a good day.
    The SE segment was trickier than the rest and held my favourite 21d, it helped when I remembered the ‘cross’ in 21a from a recent puzzle.
    13 a seems to be a favourite clue for many, rightly so.
    Liked 23d and a smile occurred when the penny dropped on one of the hero’s Labours.
    15a came from a distant memory- watched a documentary yesterday on Sky Arts of the making of the best selling album bat out of hell-maybe this jolted the old grey matter as Poirot would say!.

  7. Had to accept the hints for 29a&23d – really annoyed with myself about those, particularly 23d.
    Favourite here was 7d with a mention for 15a.

    Thanks to Dada and to BD for helping out where I failed.

  8. Like Rabbit, I almost did not enter 19a, worried about the homophone – all part of the homophone game.

    Like Gazza, I struggled with the sleeves and that was my last one in.

    Like BD, I thought this was excellent. It unraveled slowly – clues that meant nothing at the start became accessible with a checker or two. A joy to solve.

    I think my favourite bit was “playing for cash”

    Many thanks Dada & BD

    1. Can I point out that, for the second day running, someone has referred to “Rabbit”. He isn’t just any old rabbit, he is Rabbit Dave

      1. I was hoping my faux-antipodean familiarity would get a little rise out of RD rather than CS, but hey, I’ll take what I can get!

        1. I like that, Dutch – “faux-antipodean familiarity”, or perhaps FAF for short.

          1. We generally like to avoid the use of the term ‘antipodean’ as we often don’t appreciate being too closely linked with ‘that lot across the ditch’.
            At least you weren’t abbreviated to ‘Rabby’ RD which seems to be a common way of butchering names over there.

      2. :-) Indeed. Rabbit Dave or RD for short.
        Thanks, CS (or can I call you “Cryptic”? :wink: )

  9. Totally beaten by 15a. And as I was missing only three letters, I decided to complete the previous clue outside the grid to make up.
    The short version of 24a was new to me.
    Favourite is the poet in 8d.
    Thanks to Dada and to BD.
    Off to have a go at Brendan now.

  10. A super fine Toughie from Dada, with 15a (never heard of it, alas) being my only real obstacle. Not enough there to Google with, and I tried every vowel–but not that elusive ‘W’! Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. Thought the asterisked clue 29a the crème de la crème, but many others offered strong competition. Got the chemical compound early on, as I did 1a, but 14d, 21d, and 23d complement 29a on the podium. Thanks to Dada and BD. ***** / *****

  11. Unfortunately I fell short in the NW corner. I did not know the primate, and add to that the mover in 2d and the top gear in 5d are not words that I am familiar with. A pity – I thought it was wonderfully constructed puzzle, and I certainly enjoyed it, but I was disappointed in not being able to finish it. Many thanks to Dada and Big Dave.

  12. A work in progress….
    Bar 15a all done other than the SE corner. Thought I’d glance at the comments to see which bright sparks had completed (& if Jane had done her ironing) & am more than a bit chuffed to have got this far having read CS’s post. In the unlikely event of an unaided completion my cup will well & truly runneth over.

  13. 28a took longer than it should though I liked the game. Didn’t like the homophone at the beginning of 19a and resented having to look for a Scottish chemist in 25d although the parsing was there.

  14. Super puzzle. At half way I thought it was heading towards defeat but perseverance paid off and I got there. Some great clues, loved 12a and 28a so joint honours today from me. Thanks to Dada and Big Dave.

  15. Brilliant crossword. I learned two new words at 21a and 2d. Favourite clue would be either 28a or 29a. Still smiling at “… looking game”. Thanks to Dada for the great puzzle and to BD for everything.

  16. Unfortunately needed BD for 15a which was not a style with which I was familiar. Must admit to also using the letter reveal function twice but otherwise fairly pleased. Echo everybody’s comments – a super crossword in every respect with plenty of very challenging clues. 21a was my clear winner not least because my answer came from the wordplay.
    Many thanks to Dada for occupying on & off a good bit of the late afternoon/early evening & to BD

  17. A lockdown story. During April’s spell of warm weather my daughter Joni had the bifold doors leading to the garden open. My two year old grandson Ethan noticed the kitchen door moving in the wind. He didn’t understand why the door was moving on it’s own and seemed to be worried about it. Joni explained that because the bifold doors were open the draught from the garden was making the door move. For several days she noticed Ethan watching the door and being distressed by the movement. Time and again she explained about the draught moving the door. My grandson got more bothered by the day and said he didn’t like the draught behind the door in the kitchen. Only then did Joni realise he was scared of the Giraffe from the garden that was moving the door. If I was two years old I would be scared of a Giraffe behind the kitchen door. Giraffe and Draught I can understand. Tour and Tor sound exactly the same to both myself and Saint Sharon. Why do some folks have a problem with 19 across? As for the puzzle- brilliant. I wish I had been available to relieve Big Dave from the pleasant task.

  18. Agree that it was an absolute joy to solve. We must have been right on wavelength as it all flowed smoothly for us, even 29a.
    Thanks Dada and BD.

Comments are closed.