Toughie 2496 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2496

Toughie No 2496 by Zandio

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment *

Tilsit covered my Tuesday slot, while I am covering Thursday to allow crypticsue to deputise for Dutch tomorrow.

I found this to be a slog with no satisfaction on completion. I’m sure others will disagree. What a contrast to the excellent puzzle that I have just solved that will appear as Saturday’s NTSPP.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    A heartless story, song and dance expert (10)
AFICIONADO: the A from the clue followed by a story without its middle letter (heartless) and a “song and dance”

6a    Python meat? (4)
SPAM: the meat popularised by the Monty Python cast in a famous sketch

9a    Ring writer — dope’s overturned sports car? (4-3)
OPEN-TOP: the ring-shaped letter (yuk) is followed by a writing implement and the reversal (overturned) of some dope or cannabis

10a    Pshaw! Bad weather in country (7)
BAHRAIN: an expression similar to pshaw is followed by some bad weather

12a    Clio goes around in one (7,6)
TURNING CIRCLE: I think this has more to do with a Renault Clio than it does with the Muse of History

14a    Hard to put down in print in proper English (8)
READABLE: a (finger)print goes inside an adjective meaning proper and E(nglish)

15a    Would take essence of arrowroot desultorily in retirement (4,2)
USED TO: hidden (essence of) and reversed (in retirement) inside the clue

17a    Clan member not taking sides — Scot just wins (6)
COUSIN: drop the outer letters (not taking sides) from the last three words in the clue

19a    China’s put out over this computer graduate’s smuggled in (5,3)
TABLE MAT: put a type of small computer around (smuggled in) a graduate

21a    Objective is not accruing money at bank? (13)
DISINTERESTED: this could mean not accruing money on a bank deposit

24a    Channel Four’s in guide shown by TV, but not Five (7)
RIVULET: put the Roman numerals for four inside a guide and add TV without the Roman numeral for five

25a    In Paris, and after training, one’s invaluable in the kitchen (7)
SKILLET: the French (in Paris) for “and” goes after “training”

26a    Eleven maybe were moaning out loud (4)
SIDE: sounds like (out loud) a verb meaning moaning

27a    One’s associated with a thinly-stretched body that’s short of member (7,3)
SAUSAGE DOG: a cryptic definition of a creature that is long and thin with short legs


1d    Trace bird from down under over time (4)
ATOM: the reversal of an extinct New Zealand bird goes around T(ime)

2d    Being still inebriated after partying and missing bed (7)
INERTIA: an anagram (after partying) of INE[B]RIAT[ED] without the letters of BED

3d    Put behind bars at Los Angeles, premier written up worldwide (13)
INTERNATIONAL: a verb meaning to put behind bars followed by AT from the clue and the reversal (written up) of the abbreviation for Los Angeles and No 1 (premier )

4d    Conversion of Saint Paul, short of a romantic ceremony (8)
NUPTIALS: an anagram (conversion) of S[A]INT PAUL without one of the As

5d    Beginning golf, tee off and clean up (5)
DEBUG: start with a beginning and the letter represented by Golf in the NATO Phonetic alphabet then drop (off) the letter tee

7d    Arrested by cop, charged journalist had a swagger (7)
PRANCED: inside a Police Constable put a verb meaning charged or raced and add our usual journalist

8d    Absorbed in Batman, get out snack food (10)
MANGETOUTS: hidden inside (absorbed in) the clue

11d    Fussy bar being disconnected from net? (4-9)
HAIR-SPLITTING: This describes what could happen when bar is separated from net where Barnet (Fair) is Cockney rhyming slang (thanks Gazza)

13d    Expert more or less puts up with losing northern operations (10)
PROCEDURES: an expert is followed by the single-letter Latin abbreviation for “more or less” and a verb meaning “puts up with” without the N(orthern)

16d    Female pandas possibly canoodling (8)
CARESSES: this could, at a stretch, mean female police cars

18d    Heathen‘s computer work at risk? (7)
UNSAVED: two definitions

20d    Three daughters — two blocking stubborn ass, third daughter at sea (7)
MUDDLED: put two D(aughter)s inside a stubborn ass and add a third to the end

22d    New page in Lear screenplay perhaps (5)
EXTRA: could this describe the part played by a page – by now I couldn’t care less

23d    Men’s game (4)
STAG: an adjective which can precede night to describe an all-male party

Sorry Zandio, but a crossword puzzle should be fun to solve and, for me, there was no fun here.


29 comments on “Toughie 2496

  1. After a morning’s slog, I only managed 5 answers. If I’d understood the clues it might have helped.
    I can only agree with Big Dave – no fun at all. Sorry!

  2. Well outside of my comfort zone so this took a fair bit of electronic assistance. Several of the answers that don’t sit well with me – 12&27a plus 16&22d to mention just a few.

    Thank you Zandio but not really my scene – thanks also to BD for battling through to bring us the review.

  3. I enjoyed this a lot more than BD obviously did, helped by a regular supply of d’oh moments.
    I liked 17a,19a and 11d but my favourite was 27a (short of member indeed).
    Thanks to Zandio and BD.

  4. I too enjoyed this – there were quite a few d’oh moments and parsings where you had to think – my favourite has to be 27a

    Thanks to Zandio and BD

  5. How strange – I was brought up to know Barnet Wood = hood
    Have to agree with BD that this was light on entertainment and high on the nose-wrinkle-ometer – 27a for example does not float my boat
    Respect and thanks to Zandio and BD

    1. Nothing wrong with the construction, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it Andy

    2. Are you saying that ‘over’ in a down clue should mean ‘on top of’ rather than ‘around’? If so I’m with you – however a number of setters, including Zandio (and the Telegraph puzzles editor), obviously don’t agree.

      1. Yes. It was the use of over as an indicator for containment that bothered me. Probably we do see that and I’m just sore about not getting an easy one 😁

        What would the usage be (outside crossword land) that allows ‘over’ to be used that way? It doesn’t spring to mind.

          1. Thanks. Good explanation.

            I’m logging it for the future – even if not entirely convinced. It shouldn’t have defeated me with A-O- and a T involved anyway!

  6. Potential *** fun spoilt by some barking clues (imho) of which the female police cars tops the list.

  7. Didn’t much enjoy this I’m afraid. One clue raised a wry smile – 18d and 1a, last in, defeated us for a long while! Otherwise it was rather a grim slog with much “pshawing” and raised eyebrows at some of the definitions. Don’t really get 22d or 23d. Not that it matters a great deal but the fact that both “computer” and “expert” came up twice leapt out. What is NTSPP? 2* / 1.5*

    1. Not The Saturday Prize Puzzle – one of the little extras we get treated to each week by BD. Usually pops up on the site around noon on a Saturday, well worth trying.

  8. A mixed bag. For me 8d is one of the best “hidden” clues for a while, worthy of Mr Greer and I rather liked 1a, my last in, once the penny dropped. 11d is also quite clever. But 12a and 16d? Best skip the car jokes – and I’m with LBR re 27a. I stared at it for a good while thinking “there must be more to it than that” – it seems not.
    Thanks anyway to Zandio and to BD.

  9. This was the ultimate curate’s egg for me, with some excellent clues mixed with some truly awful ones. In addition I found the top half challenging but solvable with persistence but the much of the bottom half was impenetrable. At least 6a made me smile at the memory of the Monty Python sketch, and 2d gets a tick for the surface.

    Thanks to Zandio and particularly to BD for the explanations of those clues which were beyond me.

  10. With an almighty struggle I got about half way and then I arrived here in much the same mood as BD’s remark in 22d.
    Well obviously that is not entirely true as I did want to know the solutions.
    Thanks to all concerned.

  11. This was a mixed bag for me as I was not keen on 12 across and 16 down nor 22 down, 19 across and 8 down stood out for me, and I enjoyed seeing 6 across as it brought back memories, 24 across was a new word for me, the ****/* rating was spot on as a toughie can be tough but enjoyable at the same time IMHO.

    Thank you to Zandio and Big Dave for what they do

  12. A ***/** today for me .There were certainly some ‘iffy’ clues 22a/25a/16a females for example ,but there were sound ones too.
    6a was unusual , liked 27d but should have been members to my mind.
    Favourite was 1a, an excellent charade as was 13d.
    Anyway whiled away yet another afternoon..

  13. Reference 27 across. Les Barker has a funny poem about Dachshunds which is well worth looking up

    1. But thanks to Big Dave for the hints and to Zandio, whose puzzles I have solved and enjoyed in the past.

  14. We obviously enjoyed this one much more than others have reported.
    Certainly has us working hard but slowly all the pennies dropped.
    Thanks Zandio and BD.

  15. Managed 13 & will have another look tomorrow with the help of BD’s hints. Of the ones I managed I liked 2d & 10a. Can’t recall seeing the 8d lurker with an s.
    Too hard for me Zandio but thanks.

    1. Finished with the help of the hints. There were a few of them that I felt I ought to have maybe got unaided but the likes of 16&18d were impenetrable & would never have got there without being led by the nose.
      Thanks BD

  16. I liked it because I managed to complete it all! Not sure that some answers fit e.g. 1d and 22d and whether a skillet is a kitchen essential! Enjoyed the car esses!

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