Toughie 2454 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2454

Toughie No 2454 by Dada

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Certainly not a Floughie, but an enjoyable Toughie. The highlight of this puzzle must surely be 3 Down.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a    What comes from opening letters, thousand written by a mate (7)
ACRONYM: a word created from the opening letters of other words is derived by preceding the Roman numerals for a thousand with the A from the clue and a mate or chum

10a    Withdrawal of flag with respect to a country (7)
ERITREA: the reversal (withdrawal) of a verb meaning to flag followed by a two-letter word meaning with respect to and the A from the clue

11a    Initial broadcast on air for Italian youth (9)
SIGNORINA: a verb meaning to initial a document is followed by an anagram (broadcast) of ON AIR

12a    Buff soul touring outskirts of village (5)
MAVEN: a soul or chap goes around (touring) the outer letters (outskirts) of V[illag]E

13a    Hiding in Mexico, a timid American mammal (5)
COATI: hidden (hiding) inside the clue

14a    Skirt gathered in by head member of clergy (7)
PRIMATE: put a skirt or edge inside (gathered in by) an old-fashioned word for the head

17a    Remake heavenly with this sad old film (3,4,8)
THE LADY VANISHES: an anagram (remake) of HEAVENLY with THIS SAD

19a    Reportedly, fruit existing (7)
CURRENT: sounds like (reportedly) a type of fruit

21a    Supporter of art giving pound to back facility (5)
EASEL: the letter that represents a pound in money goes after (to back) facility or effortlessness

24a    Pirate show (5)
TEACH: the surname of a famous pirate, aka Blackbeard, is also a verb meaning to show or educate

26a    He is confused by currency in business (9)
FRANCHISE: an anagram (confused) of HE IS is preceded by a currency still used by some countries

27a    Note ringed by marker on the road in European city (7)
COLOGNE: a note or journal goes inside (ringed by) one of those pesky markers found in many a road

28a    Island virtually beside isle with a capital city (7)
MANAGUA: most of (virtually) an island in the North Pacific is preceded by (beside) an isle in the Irish Sea and the A from the clue


1d    Ultimately, voyager in space travelling remarkably long way (6)
PARSEC: the final letter (ultimately) of [voyage]R inside an anagram (travelling) of SPACE

2d    Bore people in speed contest (4,4)
DRAG RACE: a bore or pest followed by a people or nation

3d    Arouse excitation? (10)
INTOXICATE: an anagram (arouse) of EXCITATION is brilliantly defined by the whole clue

4d    Fool with ring impressing lover no more — that’s it! (3,6)
SEX APPEAL: a fool or dimwit and a ring of bells goes around (impressing) a former lover (lover no more)

5d    Strong and stable business (4)
FIRM: two definitions – an adjective that, as a slogan, the general public did not feel was relevant to Theresa May’s government and a business or organisation

6d    Short test covering four details (6)
TRIVIA: most of (short) a test around (covering) the Roman numerals for four

7d    Third of relish in sarnies, awfully dry (8)
RAINLESS: the third letter, not one-third, of [re]L[ish] inside an anagram (awfully) of SARNIES

9d    Chief pride of lions, did you say? (4)
MAIN: sounds like (did you say) the long hair on the back of the neck of a lion

15d    Indiscreet novel, extraordinarily colourful (10)
IRIDESCENT: an anagram (novel) of INDISCREET

16d    Jockey stymied if thrown (9)
MYSTIFIED: an anagram (jockey) of STYMIED IF

17d    Signing for the better team in City, kid initially put on course (8)
TICKTACK: the initial letters of four words in the clue followed by (put on) a course taken by a sailing ship – Chambers gives the enumeration as (4-4)

18d    Seaside town is obliged to defend police operation (8)
HASTINGS: a word meaning “is obliged” around (to defend) a slang word for a trap for criminals set up by the police (police operation)

20d    So energy invested in event (6)
REALLY: E(nergy) inside (invested in) an event or gathering

22d    Room where miniature lifts in place (6)
LEEWAY: the reversal (lifts in a down clue) of a three-letter word meaning miniature or small inside a verb meaning to place

23d    Draw, having lost lead — damage done (4)
HARM: a word meaning to draw or attract without (lost) its initial letter (lead)

25d    Off up a mountain, for example? (4)
HIGH: two definitions – off or rancid and how one who is up a mountain might be described

Miffypops will be in this slot next week.


24 comments on “Toughie 2454

  1. V pleasant start to the week, 2*/4* for me. Loi 3d, v clever & also my cotd. SW held out longest, 28a was a bung-in which I eventually parsed after extremely extensive cogitation after finishing! 17a being the first solve helped enormously. Thanks Dada and BD.

  2. A perfectly pitched start of the week actual Toughie from Dada so thank you to him. Thanks also to BD for the review

    PS: Has anyone else noticed that 13a is fast becoming Crosswordland’s Animal of the Month?

  3. Nice puzzle. Agree that 3d is rather special and also quite cunning – I spent far to long working on the theory that it was a double definition, even with several checkers in place! 8a and 17d made mea smile too.
    Thanks Dada and BD.

  4. I didn’t think that this was one of Dada’s very best puzzles but even an average Dada is better than most setters can produce. My anagram count reached eight which is rather 25d.
    Podium contenders for me were 3d, 4d and 16d.
    Thanks to Dada and BD.

  5. Very enjoyable but not too tough, this could easily have been a Dada Sunday puzzle but it would probably have attracted the ‘Q’ word – completed at a Toughie gallop – 2.5*/4*.
    Candidates for favourite – 8a, 27a, 3d, and 4d – while I agree with BD’s comment on 3d, the winner is 4d.
    Thanks to Dada and BD.

  6. A smooth introduction to the Toughie Week with no outlandish clues-12a was new to me but it was confirmed in Chambers!
    Last in was 9a,obvious once second to last 8a had finally been parsed.
    Remembered the pirate , I thought his nickname was Blackbeard -confirmed by BD. Going for a **/****
    Liked the surface of 16d, an apposite clue on Royal Ascot opening day-looking forward to the 5 furlong sprint at 3.35.

  7. Hadn’t heard of the pirate surname so tripped ourselves up by using TRACE – that left 25d with EGGY (off smell!) but couldn’t parse the while thing! Now we know.
    Thanks again to all involved.

  8. Very much enjoyed this one despite having to ask Mr G about the buff and also to check on the 24a pirate. Can’t say I cared much for 7d but that was my only complaint.
    Quite a packed podium here with 8a plus 3,4,17&18d jostling for position.

    Thanks to Dada and to BD for the review and the picture of the cute 13a.

  9. I thought this was excellent – challenging and good fun, although the gloss was just slightly taken off it when I had to look up 12a in my BRB to discover that it is American slang.👎

    There were plenty of candidates for favourite and my list is whittled down to 8a, 3d, 4d & 16d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to BD.

    1. Definitely a black mark for Dada – he could surely have put American or US in front of the clue without harming the surface read.

  10. Not finished this yet but just popped in to say I agree with 3d as a great clue. A genuine laugh out loud when it clicked.
    Thanks to BD and Dada.

  11. Found this to be a bit of a slog today. Needed some electronic help with 28a and still don’t see the parsing. Thanks to Dada and BD.

    1. 28a took me ages to parse. 1st three letters of “a U.S. island territory in Micronesia” go after A from the clue, all preceded by Isle of *** in the Irish Sea, giving you a capital city of a country north of Costa Rica. Please don’t sit me on the naughty step for this BD! Only trying to help… 😊

  12. I agree with Nogbad very enjoyable an, parsec was a new word for me, my COTD was 3 down all inall a nice way to start the week.


  13. I found this Dada a delightful Toughie. and had it not been for 17d, I would have finished in a very respectable gallop. But I finally gave up there, having never heard the term before, and sought a bit of electronic help. (By the way, we spell that betting person’s name ‘bettor’!) Still, a really classy puzzle, with 3d and 8a being two of the smartest and most exhilarating clues I’ve seen in a long time, each one boosting the other’s glory. I also admired the 18d / 28a pairing. Top-drawer stuff!. Thanks to Big Dave and to Dada for the sheer enjoyment, **** / *****

  14. Dada never dis appoints. Took us somewhat longer than many of his puzzles in the Telegraph but enjoyed every minute of it.
    Last in and top prize to 3d of course.
    Thanks Dada and BD.

  15. I struggled badly in the SW corner, and failed miserably on 28ac not knowing either one of the islands or the city, but did enjoy the rest. Just not my day I guess!

  16. Found the SW really hard to get into.
    Didn’t know the pirate.
    Didn’t know the capital either, nor the buff.
    For the former, doesn’t Dada know that it is not very nice to clue GK in GK?
    Never mind. I still like him.
    Thanks to Dada and to BD.

  17. Finally given up 7 clues shy & all in the SW. Simply can’t get a foothold so off to BD’s review for a hint (or two) to see if that gets me to the finishing line. Absolutely agree that 3d was inspired. Enjoyed the tussle but out of my depth.
    Thanks to all.

  18. Thanks BD – couple of hints got me home but I’ve a bone to pick with Dada. Over 30 years in the bookmaking industry & never seen 17d spelt with Ks – very much a case of naughtily tweaking the odds in his favour.

  19. Enjoyed this one. Finished it all apart from 24a. Didn’t know pirate’s name and didn’t think of the word teach for show. Ironic, since I was a teacher for 36 years! Like others, I thought 3d the best.

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