Toughie 2438 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2438

Toughie No 2438 by Dada

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Dada continues to demonstrate the Fluffy Tuesday is a thing of the past as far as he is concerned.

Please remember when reading this review that this is a Toughie puzzle, so when some clues are described as easy, that means they should be easy for a competent Toughie solver, and that the ratings, particularly the one for difficulty, refer to this as a Toughie puzzle not as a standard “back page” puzzle.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Little bit sweet (6)
TRIFLE: a nice easy double definition to get started

5a    Welcomed by mugs, auditory technology that’s mechanical (8)
ROBOTICS: a verb meaning mugs around (welcomed by) an adjective meaning of the ear (auditory)

9a    Illicit indulgences coming out after leader in government sacked (10)
UNLICENSED: an anagram (coming out) of INDUL[G]ENCES after the initial letter (leader) of G[overnment] is dropped (sacked)

10a    Root out food (4)
GRUB: another fairly easy double definition

11a    Vegetarianism at last! Diet — like this? (8)
MEATLESS: the final letter (at last) of [vegetarianis]M followed by a way to diet (3,4)

12a    Look on computer key for star (6)
ALTAIR: a look preceded by (on in an across clue) a computer key

13a    Capital of Lithuania seeming obvious initially, looking back (4)
OSLO: the initial letters of four words in the clue, reversed (looking back) – hands up those who whacked in EURO, with the intention of coming back later to work out why!

15a    Poor language principal has avoided, well-bred chap (8)
INDIGENT: a language from the sub-continent without (has avoided) its initial letter (principal) followed by a well-bred chap

18a    Cream and fish for preservation (8)
PICKLING: an adjective meaning cream or elite followed by a fish

19a    Tongue inserted into four dumplings (4)
URDU: a language (tongue) from the sub-continent is hidden (inserted into) inside the clue

21a    Dip in noise when busy, then problem returns (6)
HUMMUS: this dip is a creamy mixture into which food may be dipped before being eaten – a busy noise is followed by the reversal (returns) of a problem

23a    Prepare cooking here, putting in some corn (8)
REHEARSE: an anagram (cooking) of HERE around (putting in) some corn

25a    Start delayed as weather nasty, originally (4)
DAWN: the initial letters (originally) of four words in the clue

26a    Grasping tail in dark, beware rat that’s mistaken for mole (10)
BREAKWATER: an anagram (that’s mistaken) of BEWARE RAT around (grasping) the final letter of (tail in) [dar]K – not the kind of mole that is Ratty’s friend in The Wind in the Willows!

27a    Strap that’s testable when travelling? (4,4)
SEAT BELT: a very appropriate surface reading to this anagram (when travelling) of TESTABLE

28a    Primate certainly cloned? (3-3)
AYE-AYE: a word meaning certainly repeated (cloned)


2d    Compass point located in storm (5)
RANGE: a point (of the compass) inside (located in) a storm

3d    Woolly pack covers dressing for arm (9)
FLINTLOCK: a pack of woolly animals around (covers) some material used for dressing wounds

4d    Person on hunger strike, quite possibly, abandoning a West Country city (6)
EXETER: start with what could be a person on hunger strike (2-5) and drop (abandoning) the A from the clue

5d    Criminal erring, I assert, with street cordoned off — it’s an offence (9,6)
RESISTING ARREST: an anagram (criminal) of ERRING I ASSERT around (cordoned off) ST(reet)

6d    Unfortunate lad held by gangs in arid region (8)
BADLANDS: an anagram (unfortunate) of LAD inside (held by) some gangs

7d    Drunk, pretty even (5)
TIGHT: two definitions

8d    Given yellow card, action due to be reviewed (9)
CAUTIONED: an anagram (to be reviewed) of ACTION DUE

14d    Lay down rubbish, burying uranium at bottom of dump (9)
STIPULATE: a verb meaning to rubbish or criticise around the chemical symbol for Uranium preceded by (at bottom of) a dump or heap

16d    Salt: a sailor with too much to bear? (9)
GLUTAMATE: the A from the clue and a sailor preceded by (to bear) a word meaning too much or an excess

17d    Attractive deer fed fish I reeled up (8)
KISSABLE: a large deer around (fed) a fish and the I from the clue, all reversed (reeled up)

20d    Tea chest wheeled over for meditation centre? (6)
CHAKRA: a word meaning tea followed by the reversal wheeled over () of a chest

22d    He painted beings, terrestrial and otherwise (5)
MANET: a word meaning beings that are terrestrial followed by one not so terrestrial

24d    Sleazy date with daddy after vacation (5)
SEEDY: a verb meaning to date or go out with followed by D[add]Y without its inner letters (after vacation)

Very enjoyable.


28 comments on “Toughie 2438

  1. As BD says, Dada provided us with the right level of difficulty (but so rarely get) for the first Toughie of the week. Very enjoyable. Looking at the Toughie list for this week, it looks like a good week for fans of actual Toughie crosswords.

    Sorry BD but I saw the 13a capital straight away – the other sense of capital never occurred to me.

    Thanks to Dada – please keep producing Toughies like this – and also to BD for the blog.

  2. I loved it – thanks to Dada and BD. Dada now seems to be clearly differentiating in terms of difficulty between his Sunday back-pager and his Toughies. Considering the number of puzzles he produces his ability to remain fresh and interesting is amazing.

    I didn’t know the 20d meditation centre but Dada made the wordplay straightforward and lo and behold there it was in the BRB.

    Pick of an excellent bunch for me were 21a, 27a, 4d and 22d.

  3. Has there been a problem with this site this afternoon?
    Don’t know why but I found this puzzle an unamusing slog. There were some excellent clues but somehow they failed to ignite.
    21a was the last one in. It took me ages to realise what sort of dip I was looking for. Stupid of me.
    I really liked 26a for its Wind in the Willows misdirection.COTD

        1. How to add a bookmark depends upon which browser you are using.

          RTFM … alas, there are no manuals these days.

          1. It has been done thank you Jepi and Big Dave, as I am still getting into the Toughies I am trying the look for Pictures then work from there method, but I am welcome to any and all suggestions.

            Thank you Everyone

        2. Does your browser have an “add to favourites” option which you can use to create a list of sites you wish to save the URL for future reference?

  4. Was this tougher than last Sunday’s Dada? I thought the level of difficulty was very similar.

    I thoroughly enjoyed both of them.

    My favourites today were the Dip in 21a … and the Capital in 13a (for all those who travelled to Norway on Sunday)

  5. Another enjoyable workout. Very pleased to manage most of it without the hints, although certainly fell into the Euro trap as well as missing the Dip completely.
    Having decided 17d involved the elk, but ended up with Likeable which it wasn’t!
    26a was rather fun.
    Thanks so much to Dada and to BD for the explanations as well as a great site.

    1. I toyed with LIKEABLE which matches the definition and contains the ELK, but there it ends which is why I ditched it.

  6. The first three quarters went in quite smoothly for me (although tougher than “Fluffy” standard), but the SE corner proved to be a real brute. I got there in the end and very enjoyable it was too with 11a my favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to BD.

  7. I spent some time checking out 16d, it’s [definition/solution] is not quite as I understood it to be; also thought the surface of 24d is rather odd if read literally, no?
    Don’t know whether JH is successfully adapting his style or whether I am warming to his usual style, but either way I am enjoying them more than I used to
    21a is my pick – I am biased because I adore the stuff and eat it by the spoonful, never mind a dainty dip
    Many thanks to Dada and BD for the review and for keeping us up and running

    1. I assumed the “daddy” in 24d was a sugar daddy which works well with the surface.

      1. I suppose so, but that’s not how it initially struck me; ‘dandy’ would work just as well

  8. A little challenging to nail the last few but at least I avoided the Euro trap and remembered that mole.
    No stand-out favourite although the preserved cream and fish along with the sleazy date with daddy made me laugh.

    Thanks to Dada and to BD for the review.

  9. An enjoyable and straightforward Tuesday toughie ** / ***. 23 caused some mirth when I thought that the first 4 letters were the anagram and the last 4 I couldn’t explain! I’m sure I won’t be alone in that. Last clues in were 21 and 17. Favourite clue was 11.

  10. Super enjoyable puzzle today. I thought 11a, 21a 3d and 4d were all fantastic. 17d was my last in and took a bit of head scratching. Thanks to BD and Dada.

  11. I enjoyed this one. and solved it without hints. Just a query, though, with some of the clues I just looked at them and thought “I know this” and in it went and later on I managed the parsing. Perhaps I was just ultra alert today, but did anyone else perhaps think they had come across similar clueing before for some of the entries? Apologies if I am wrong and thanks to Dada and BD anyway.

  12. Never a bad thing to open my chakras with a bit of humming. This is what I do when I get stuck but didn’t need it today.
    Everything was as smooth as Buddha’s belly.
    My favourite was the star in 12a. I have to look very closely at the keyboard to find it whenever I need to use it, which is why I rarely rate a puzzle.
    Thanks to Dada for the fun and to BD for the review.

  13. A very enjoyable stroll through challenging countryside. Not a Fluffy Tuffy by any means but very work-out-able. Several “Doh!” moments, including my last two in, 1 & 3. Difficulty quotient 2.5, enjoyment 4.5. Thanks Dada, now going to read BD’s insight!

  14. I struggled and needed some help but I got by with a little help from my friends. I also saw the capital immediately and it was my first one in. I had completely forgotten the primate at 28a but it could be nothing else. The BRB confirmed my answer. 21a reminded me that the time has come to make some.

    Wonderful clues from Dada and, even though I still need some help, I am starting to get into Toughies.

    Many thanks Dada and, of course, to BD for the hints.

  15. I very much enjoyed Dada’s Toughie today and actually finished it faster than I did the Cryptic. There must be at least 10 clues vying for the Gold, but I’ll cite these for giving me special pleasure: 21, 26, and 28a; 3, 16, and 20d. (My only hmmm came with 17d–for which I thought, ‘Really?’). Many thanks to Gazza and Dada. ** / *****

    1. You’re 24 hours early in thanking me – I’m on duty tomorrow. Today’s review came from BD.

  16. We really look forward to Dada puzzles and he never seems to disappoint us. Lots of chuckles all the way through as the pennies dropped.
    Thanks Dada and BD.

  17. Was feeling smug after finishing a tough(ish) Crucible in the Graun but brought down to earth with another comprehensive kicking from JH.
    Infinitely harder than his Sunday back pager – needed the hints for 12a, 28a, 16d & 20d where I was unfamiliar with the words & couldn’t get there from the wordplay.
    Some great clues – 4d, 11a, 21a were my favourites & I’ve now learnt a mole is a dam (to soon be forgotten like the lemur thinking about it)
    Thanks to Dada & BD for getting me to the finishing line.

  18. I thoroughly enjoyed this one from Dada; somewhat reminiscent of his initial Sunday puzzles in the Telegraph for me.

    I solved it after a fair old struggle with today’s (yesterday’s) Times, so maybe I was livened up a bit…

    Regardless of the above, an excellent puzzle as far as I’m concerned.

    Thanks to BD and Dada.

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