Toughie 2453 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2453

Toughie No 2453 by Artix

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Quality stuff from Artix. Every clue a delight. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Container ship’s beginning to be besieged by enemy fire (5)
FLASK: The first letter (beginning) of ship goes inside (to be besieged by) a word meaning enemy fire

4a    Notice which might upset you a bit? That’s about right (8)
OBITUARY: The whole clue serves as an extended definition. An anagram (which might upset) of YOU A BIT that is about the abbreviation for right

10a    Robe from a jolly part of France lacking length (7)
ARMOIRE: A from the clue, a 2-letter abbreviation for a jolly, and a part of France named after a river but without the initial abbreviation for length

11a    Retired master, single, making dish from leftovers (7)
RISSOLE: A reversal (retired) of how you would address a school master plus a word meaning single

12a    Two-thirds of official outing is dross (4)
JUNK: The first 4 letters of a 6-letter word for an official outing or feast (JUNKET)

13a    Recall lumps in trifle (5)
STRAW: Reverse (recall) some ugly lumps on your skin to give a word that can mean a small amount (definition 5 in Chambers)

14a    Player’s cash St Andrews cut (4)
RAND: Think Golf. Money in the country of Mr Player is the famous St Andrews golf club (1,3,1) without the last letter (cut)

17a    Cross-breed has change of heart to make ordinary chicken cry (4-1-6-3)
COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO: An 11-letter canine cross-breed (also written without the last 3 letters) with a change in its central letter (change of heart), a 2-letter verb meaning to make, plus the abbreviation for ordinary. Here are my two reprobates pretending to be cute (Marley & Odie). They steal my pens and chew them to shreds, on a good day

19a    Question line taken by criminal court and lay into QC (7,7)
QUALITY CONTROL: The 1-letter abbreviation for question, then the abbreviation for line goes inside (taken by) an anagram (criminal) of COURT + LAY INTO

22a    E-type? Moss laps rookie driver (4)
BLOG: You’re looking at one. A word for moss or marsh goes around (laps) the abbreviation for learner driver

23a    Smaller space backing onto China? (5)
NEPAL: The smaller of two printer spacings is reversed (backing) onto a word for China or friend

24a    Assist Argentina’s foremost banker, say (4)
ABET: The first letter (foremost) of Argentina, plus what a banker or a certainty is an example of

27a    Cooking coaching skips American dumplings (7)
GNOCCHI: An anagram (cooking) of CO(a)CHING without (skips) the abbreviation for American

28a    That woman in good family that’s often pickled (7)
GHERKIN: A pronoun meaning “that woman” goes between (in) the abbreviation for good and a word for family

29a    Bloom’s gripping leads in Youth Theatre and its supporting fixture (3-5)
FLY-TOWER: A 6-letter bloom contains the first letters (leads) in Youth Theatre

30a    If __ __, you patient? That’ll make you red (5)
MEDOC: Fill in the blanks in “Me Tarzan You Jane” style


1d    Get flustered rating Bake Off challenge? (8)
FLAPJACK: A 4-letter verb meaning get flustered and a 4-letter rating or sailor

2d    Book resort of La Mancha without hotel (7)
ALMANAC: An anagram (re-sort) of LA MANC(h)A without the abbreviation for hotel

3d    Raised furore, wanting son to marry (4)
KNIT: The reversal (raised) of a 5-letter furore or outraged reaction without (wanting) the abbreviation for son

5d    Office to get ready for hols? (6,2,6)
BUREAU DE CHANGE: A cryptic definition with a play on ready

6d    Pointedly attack Brussels bigwig (4)
TUSK: Two meanings, the first might involve an elephant

7d    Stoned fruit adult left out of noisy bash (7)
AVOCADO: The abbreviation for adult, a word for noisy or load without its final abbreviation for left, and a word for bash or party

8d    With energy for a game daily, deliver results (5)
YIELD: An anagram (game) of DAILY in which the abbreviation for energy replaces A from the clue

9d    Edit tenth headline about old mystery (5,2,3,4)
DEATH ON THE NILE: Make an anagram (edit) of TENTH HEADLINE around (about) the abbreviation of old

15d    Former Lib Dem leader‘s message … (5)
CABLE: Two meanings

16d    … party vote against? (5)
BEANO: Split (2,1,2), the answer could mean vote against

18d    Climbing mountain, increasing strength, not going all the way (8)
PLATONIC: The reversal (climbing, in a down clue) of a 3-letter mountain, and an adjective meaning giving or increasing strength

20d    Pseudo-science in report you follow? Gee! (7)
UFOLOGY: A homophone (report) of ‘you follow gee’ from the clue

21d    Checked about our place in plot (7)
REBUKED: A short word meaning about or concerning, then a 2-letter abbreviation for our place or country goes inside a 3-letter plot in our garden

22d    How to get twice as much purchase? (5)
BOGOF: A cryptic definition with a play on purchase also meaning advantage or leverage. A 5-letter acronym for a type of offer

25d    Imitate screech owlet with wings clipped (4)
ECHO: Hidden ( … with wings clipped). And clipped equally on both sides, nice to see

26d    Hard wood to control (4)
HELM: The pencil abbreviation for hard and a type of wood

Lots of great clues. I loved QC (19a), which I had first tried to work into the anagram. E-type (22a) is a great whimsical definition. I thought 4a was very well done. My favourite for the smile was “Not going all the way” (18d). Which clues did you like?

38 comments on “Toughie 2453

  1. I thought that this was superb – it’s been a good week in Toughieland. Thanks to Artix and Dutch.
    The meaning of robe in 10a isn’t in the BRB but Collins has it as ‘informal Australian’.
    I liked 14a (for the d’oh moment when I realised why player had to be the first word), 17a, 22a (for its quirkiness), 5d and 18d (very amusing definition) but my favourite was the excellent anagram at 4a. To be honest I could have listed half the clues.

  2. Excellent stuff with plenty of entertaining clues. Faves include 4a [perfectly apt] 22a [e-type!] 23a and 8d.
    I did spend a while pondering whether “unology” could be an appropriate new word for pseudoscience but couldn’t make it fit the wordplay.

    Thanks to Artix and Dutch

  3. Beat me, not helped by my putting the wrong vowel in 3d, thus scuppering 10a & 1d, which (when I twigged) made me grin. Completely forgot the gentleman at 15d! Thanks for your help Dutch, & thank you to Artix for the workout. I suppose, as a DNF, I have to rate this 5* for difficulty. 3* for entertainment, if only for 1d.

  4. A proper Toughie, not exactly Friday tough but a nice average toughness – as Gazza says it has been a very good toughie week.

    I did have to check the trifle in 13a but didn’t have any problems with the ‘robe’ in 10a – my particular favourite was 30a

    Thanks to Artix and Dutch

  5. Got stuck on 14a, and struggled to parse trifle in 13a. Otherwise OK but slow. 18d, 16d and 1d were my favourites. Thanks to Artix and Dutch.

  6. I started well enough but slowed up as I neared the finishing line.
    Overall a****/**** for me.
    Not heard of 20 a but the checking letters gave enough of a lead.
    22a flummoxed me and the E -type is still a mystery even after reading Dutch’s blog! can someone explain.
    Apart from this hiccup, an excellent crossword to while away the time .
    Lots of top clues, going for 18d for its surface.

  7. How nice to get a different Friday setter – apologies to Elgar devotees!
    Got held up a bit by the trifle and the St. Andrews player – could have kicked myself over the latter – and didn’t know either the supporting fixture in 29a or the pseudo-science, both of which had to be painfully put together and then checked.
    Plenty of podium places issued – 4,14,22&23a plus 5d all in the final line-up.

    Thanks to Artix for the enjoyment and to Dutch for the 22a and the pic of your two reprobates – bet they run circles round you!

  8. I thought this was a terrific puzzle. I was beaten fair and square by 14a – great clue. I couldn’t decide between an ‘i’ or and ‘o’ for the vowel in 3d until I eventually got 10a (which I thought was somewhere robes were stored rather than a robe itself). I think the politicians have cropped up in previous puzzles, but I am not familiar with them and so it took some searching to track them down. Many thanks to Artix and Dutch.

  9. Stuck for ages on 14a and eventually had to take the hint. Never heard of 29a but filled it in. Otherwise very enjoyable. Favourite clue: 30a.

  10. Great puzzle – really clever clues! I stupidly put in deal for 26 d which stymied 30a so needed hints for those. Also forgot the acronym in 22d so couldn’t think of any word to fit

  11. Got all of the long answers, muffed many of the short ones. My online score sheet gave me a 81% correct rating, and so that pretty well lets you know how poorly I fared. I think this was my first Artix effort, and while I enjoyed the challenge, I disappointed myself by missing 1 and 22a, but there was no way I would ever have solved 6,15, and 22d (lack of GK, though googling might have got me there by next year). Completely missed the reference to the great S African. Love the acronym in 22d, though I missed that one too. Thanks, Dutch, for the hints, which I needed, and kudos to Artix for a really terrific puzzle. ***** / ****

  12. As usual a learning experience for me, having an Italian wife I should have got 27 across but did not , lots of clues to enjoy here no real COTD, thank you to Artix and Dutch.

  13. I enjoyed this. As usual, I needed the hints for about a quarter of the clues but, as I have only started to tackle the Toughie, I am happy with this. I loved 17a mainly because it leapt out at me. I agonised over 22d for ages thinking of all kinds of levers etc then that hit me between the eyes once I got the checkers. My COTD was 16d, which I thought very clever.

    Grateful thanks to Artix for a great workout and to Dutch for the excellent and amusing hints.

  14. Sorry to say I did not really take to this puzzle. Too many umms. For instance, when did hens go 17a? I’ve really had enough of transgender politics for one day.!!

  15. Buoyed by yesterday’s Toughie & Graun completions approached both with optimism bordering on expectation. As with golf you play well one day lousy the next thus a DNF in both. Might just shade RC’s completion % & like him it was the wee ones that were the culprits – 14a, 22a & d (despite all checkers in) feel I ought to have got but 10&13a doubt I’d ever have got without hints.
    All good fun – 30a my clear favourite.
    Thanks to Artix & Dutch for much needed hints

  16. Many thanks to you all, especially Dutch for a brilliant & amusing **** (no spoilers!). You probably do not fully appreciate how much kind words mean to setters, so I am delighted that you seemed to have (mostly) enjoyed this puzzle (it was Friday, after all, for those who felt it a little too Toughie). Blessings to one and all, and have a great weekend.

    1. Really enjoyed this one as did everyone else. One of many problems was putting in kiss for three down. More than once in my life A kiss has caused a furoreso I appreciated that clue

    2. Thank you, Artix for a great puzzle and restoring my belief that I have some ability, at least, to solve a Toughie. Thank you for popping in because, as others have said, it is greatly appreciated when a compiler takes the trouble to comment on the blog.

    3. I usually return much later (after an earlier comment) to see how my friends have done and was pleased to see that you have taken the effort to join us, Artix. Although I did not fare as well as I should have (great expectations as always!), I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. Thank you again for a super puzzle.

  17. Quite a lot of head-scratching involved and good fun all the way.
    Still confused about 22a. We got the right answer from the wordplay and checkers but despite the comment at #6 cannot find any reference to E-type and the answer being synonymous. Perhaps there is some IT context which we do not know.
    Thanks Artix and Dutch.

    1. If you e-mail you’re sending a message online, so if you e-type you must be typing something (a blog, perhaps) online.

  18. This is the first time this week I have actually got to grips with the toughie, although I was thinking of a golden egg for 17a. I loved your two dogs, I had two black poodles for 20 years – no other dog could compare. 4a was a brilliant clue. Quite a lot of food in this one! Many thanks.

  19. Marley and Odie are sooo cute. Lucky you! The crossword was good too… I’m always a bit apprehensive on Fridays but this one was challenging yet doable – very enjoyable.

  20. Delightful – just right for a Friday for us. I paticularly liked 22d and 30ac.

  21. As usual, I enjoyed the review and the comments even when I’m not doing the crossword. I wouldn’t normally comment about that (so please take it as read on other days!), but wanted to say how much the Plato cartoon at 18d made me laugh — thanks, Dutch.

  22. Really enjoyed this one. Probably because I completed it all. Liked 22d and 30a the most.

  23. Very enjoyable. Thanks Artix. Only two minor quibbles with 10a and 13a. 10a as illustrated by Dutch is a wardrobe which is correct according to my Chambers dictionary (hard copy) and 13a is not made from leftovers as such, But leaving these matters aside. as I could parse the answers from the clues I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. My favourites are difficult to choose from so many splendid clues but I have settled on 5d, 17a and the last clue that I completed 14a which clicked when I realised that it was Gary Player who was being referred to. Thanks Dutch for your explanation of the clues which I entirely agree with but I think you have to remove the last three letters of Andrews in 14a not just the last letter as your exposition suggests’

    1. RAND = Royal and Ancient, or R and A, without the final A. St Andrews is known as the Royal and Ancient.

  24. After an iffy week, this was brilliant. Thanks to Artix for delightful clues. Wonderfully precise. Needed help sorting out 14a, but entirely my own failing there. Too many crackers to pick a favourite clue. More like this, please!

  25. Very entertaining puzzle, also Dutch’s hints….
    liked 6D ” pointedly attack Brussels bigwig (4) “…appropriate photo thereto I thought !

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