Toughie 2461 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2461

Toughie No 2461 by Zandio

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Slow to start but then progressed smoothly as the checkers started coming in. Some lovely clues made this an enjoyable solve

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a    Go like a Transit? (6)
VANISH: Whimsically resembling a vehicle exemplified by a Ford Transit

4a    Wild one inhabits pubs and clubs (8)
BARBARIC: Insert the Roman numeral for one between more than one pub and the abbreviation for clubs

9a    Broadcast by deerstalker who cares? (2,4)
SO WHAT: A 3-letter verb meaning broadcast seeds and a piece of apparel that a deerstalker exemplifies

10a    Sports event in pool where this person’s invested half of capital (8)
BIATHLON: A 4-letter pool, often for one, into which the setter is inserted (invested) as a first person pronoun, plus the first half of our capital

12a    City should net cross by forward with great ability (8)
EXPERTLY: A 3-letter city beloved in crosswordland contains (should net) the letter that looks like a cross and an adjective meaning forward or saucy

13a    English course in north-west, skipping excellent French course (6)
ENTREE: The abbreviation for English plus a 7-letter racecourse in the NW, omitting (skipping) the first 2 characters meaning excellent

15a    Tight somewhere in America, involved in theft of pound, apparently (5-8)
PENNY-PINCHING: The abbreviation for a state (or a large city) in America goes inside (involved in) a whimsical (apparently) (3,8) phrase that would mean theft of pound – just not that kind of pound

18a    Tackle soldier accosting the woman wearing a plain woolly (13)
PARAPHERNALIA: A 4-letter soldier, plus an objective pronoun indicating the woman that goes inside (wearing) an anagram (woolly) of A PLAIN

20a    Leave as, say, saxophone backing comes round second time (6)
DESERT: The type of instrument a saxophone exemplifies (say) is reversed (backing) around (comes round) the abbreviation for second, plus the abbreviation for time

22a    Sounded out breaking contract, being of unsound mind (8)
DERANGED: Sounded out (as a bell might) goes inside (breaking) a legal document

24a    Gloomy second novel unfurls endlessly (8)
MOURNFUL: A 2-letter word meaning second plus an anagram (novel) of UNFURL(s) without the last letter (endlessly)

25a    Displays with decorations navy’s presented followed song and dance (6)
ADORNS: An abbreviation for navy’s including the ‘S is presented after (followed) a word meaning song and dance

26a    Something for cooking that’s gastronomical or partly recycled (5,3)
CALOR GAS: Not sure what to call this – a cycling hidden? Cyclise ‘gastronomical or’ and take a part of it ( … partly recycled)

27a    Missing Spain is relative — I’ll go to Portugal for free (6)
UNCLIP: A 5-letter relative without the final IVR country code for Spain, then I from the clue and the IVR country code for Portugal


1d    A particular kind of interest in one’s underwear? (6)
VESTED: Two meanings

2d    Celeb snappers making turnover in less familiar publication (9)
NEWSPAPER: An informal contraction of celebrity photographers is reversed (making turnover) inside (in) a word meaning less familiar or more recent

3d    Mate being miserly — about right, with average rise of lease (8,7)
SPARRING PARTNER: A verb meaning ‘being miserly’ goes around (about) the abbreviation for right, a word meaning average and a reversal (rise) of a word meaning lease

5d    Boring scripture-packed commercial (4)
ARID: The abbreviation for scripture taught in school is packed into a 2-letter word for commercial

6d    Floral patterns woven in this cardigan, notable for design (9,6)
BOTANICAL GARDEN: An anagram (for design) of CARDIGAN NOTABLE. A gently allusive definition

7d    Regret taking on Liberal before run as PM? (5)
RULER: A verb meaning regret contains (taking on) the abbreviation for Liberal, plus the cricket abbreviation for run. A judicious question mark

8d    Close in on border south of central Accra (8)
CONVERGE: ON from the clue, a 5-letter border, all underneath (south of) the central letter of Accra

11d    Place for kids distilling what Shakespeare did, often with a twist (7)
PLAYPEN: A (3,4) phrase describing what Shakespeare did often, then reverse the two words (with a twist)

14d    One’s first scampi — one ‘erbert grabbing the middle bit (7)
PIONEER: A nicely-centred hidden ( … grabbing the middle bit)

16d    Maiden fifty recorded after wild iguana holds game up (9)
INAUGURAL: An anagram (wild) of IGUANA contains (holds) a reversal (up) of the abbreviation for a game, followed (recorded after) by the Roman numeral for fifty

17d    Rash kind of film that’s cut by half (8)
EPIDEMIC: A kind of long movie into which is inserted (cut by) a prefix meaning half

19d    Nothing odd about bard — ode’s well versed and makes sense (4,2)
ADDS UP: Even letters in (nothing odd about) bard ode’s, then a preposition that can mean well versed

21d    Aquatic dipper, one of a pair (5)
SCULL: Cryptic definition where the aquatic dipper is not a bird

23d    Rear neighbour that makes parping noises (4)
TUBA: Reverse (rear) a verb meaning neighbour

I very much liked the first three clues in this puzzle, 1a, 4a, & 9a. Which clues were your favourites?

30 comments on “Toughie 2461
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  1. A very enjoyable Toughie, even if not quite up to Friday difficulty expectations.

    I liked 1a and the ‘cycling hidden’ in 26a

    Thanks to Zandio and Dutch

  2. Superb. I found this gentler than Zandio’s last outing but every bit as entertaining. I struggle to pick a favourite clue as I think they are all very good today. More of the same would be very welcome. Thanks to Dutch and Zandio.

  3. It’s been a good week in Toughieland. Thanks to Zandio for today’s fine puzzle and to Dutch for the review,
    I thought that, even with the question mark, PM was a big stretch for ruler.
    My ticks went to 1d, 11d and 23d with top honours going to 1a which made laugh.

  4. Unlike Kath, I don’t usually care for ‘ish’ clues but in this instance our setter has used it in exactly the right way – well done to him.
    Had a slight blip over the aquatic dipper but it revealed itself once some checkers went into place.
    1a takes the gold today with 18a & 1d hard on its heels.

    Thanks to Zandio for an enjoyable Friday puzzle and to Dutch for the review. Thought you might have depicted your own duo at 22a!

  5. There was lots to like here but I am still trying to get my head around 26 across, I liked 1, 4 across and the PDM was 9 across when it finally dawned on me, I enjoyed 17 and 19 down as they leapt out at me, any other explanation for 26 across is appreciated as it is just me not Dutch, thank you to Zandio and Dutch

    Have a nice weekend

    1. Ready? for 26a, if you “recycle” or perhaps just “cycle” GASTRONOMICAL OR you join up the ends of the letter string to make a circle, so that when you read a part of it, the beginning can be read again immediately after the end. If you cycle one letter in EVIL by moving it from the front to the end you get VILE. So we might get, for example, nomiCALOR-GAStro as a cycling product, or miCALOR-GAStrono, etc, or maybe just tronomiCALOR-GAS – anyway, a hidden part of any of these is the answer (partly recycled)

      1. Aha, so that’s it! I just did a slapdash kind of recycling, then found the letters that could be bunged in, and googled to be sure that such a thing existed. Thanks, Dutch.

  6. Hello all, compiler here.
    What a lovely day. I dropped in on the cafe that I normally visit seven days a week to try to write clues, which sadly shut its doors on Fri Mar 20. It was wonderful to see them today busily getting ready to reopen. They plied me with a large glass of wine, so it may not be sensible for me to comment here after that!
    Thank you for the discussion, glad the puzzle has been liked so far. A perfect analysis by Dutch — much appreciated.
    Have a good weekend.

    1. Thanks very much for dropping in Zandio – this is always highly appreciated by our readers
      Enjoy your well-deserved glass of wine

    2. Thank you, Zandio, for another splendid puzzle, at least for me. I more than “liked” it (he gushes): I loved it. Glad your pub is reopening. Over here, we’ve had to ‘pause’ (the insufficient term being used) reopenings in many states. We have regressed badly.

      1. Thanks, Robert. Lucky you, living in Charleston. My late wife Cath and I visited for a few days in about 2003 and thought it was beautiful. A few years ago there was a courtroom TV series called Reckless that used establishing shots swooping over Charleston after every ad break — it was worth watching just for that!

  7. I shy away from telling you how long this splendid Zandio took me, but I finished unaided and Sleepless (until I slept, finally) in Charleston. What a wonderful workout. My last three in were 21d, 26a (which we don’t have here), and 10a, but there’s so much to like and admire, e.g., 1, 4, 9a and 19d, just to start with. Thanks to Dutch and Zandio for the special enjoyment. ***** / ***** (Is it considered too gauche to rank Toughies by time and enjoyment? I see that I’m the only one of the six so far who has.)

  8. This was plenty hard enough for me, but I found it a hugely enjoyable puzzle, the more so in that I was able to finish. I found some of the clues quite wordy which made finding some of the definitions challenging. 4a gets my vote for favourite. Many thanks to Zandio and Dutch.

  9. I tackled this with a mixture of electronics, lateral thinking, inspiration and the odd guess and finished without recourse to the hints.a very pleasant puzzle.
    I do have one query, does 17d really mean “rash”?

    1. yes, figuratively, as in something that is prevalent or has spread rapidly. An epidemic of petty crime, a rash of burglaries. It is in Chambers thesaurus both ways.

      I wondered too

  10. It all went together smoothly for us despite both of us initially trying to spell 18a without the R in the middle. We do that every time!
    Lots to enjoy and a pleasant solve.
    Thanks Zandio and Dutch.

  11. Just have to chuck my deerstalker into the ring here, albeit 24hrs late – only just looked at it – one of the most enjoyable tuffies in a long time. Goes without saying, thanks Zandio. Will now read Dutch, if you get my drift.

  12. Just couldn’t see the answer in 21d.
    Having dismissed squid due to 26a, I remained in the dark.
    Always wondered if Gazza pronounces the R in 18a. I almost forgot to put it in.
    Nice humour in the clues.
    Thanks to Zandio and to Dutch.

    1. Of course I pronounce the R in 18a. It’s important to fight back against those people who are unable to speak English properly (that’s ‘properly’, not ‘propally’).

        1. yes that’s right – the word also refers to the boat, and i’m no rower, but yes, racing sculls are fast sleek single-user boats used for rowing races (actually there may be a 2-person variety judging from google images). The clue though, obviously refers to the oar as the aquatic “dipper”, and the ‘one of a pair’ adds clarification (see Chambers) while maintaining the image of birds the setter wants you to see on first reading

  13. I found this fairly easy going and completed it quickly apart from the bottom left corner. Partly because I had welly for 21d! Not sure that epidemic fits rash and got entirely mixed up in the calor gas!

  14. late as usual. I finished this at 2.30AM this morning, Very enjoyable particularly 1a. I also liked 26a its the first time that i have come across recycling. 15a was also very good. Thanks to Zandia who should repair to his watering hole asap in order to give us more enjoyment. Thank you Dutch for your excellent parsing which reminded me that 15a was also an excellent clue.

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