Toughie 2645 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2645

Toughie No 2645 by Dada

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

This puzzle was certainly not a Tuesday Floughie! I enjoyed the challenge.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Run and lift up sporting projectile (11)
SHUTTLECOCK: regular travel between two points followed by a verb meaning to lift up the firing pin of a gun

9a    Italian food: five parcels cold in the middle (7)
POLENTA: a combining form meaning five around (parcels) the middle letters of [c]OL[d]

10a    County functioning within Middle Eastern city (6)
TYRONE: to get this Irish County, put a two-letter word meaning functioning inside a Middle Eastern city

12a    Prayer interrupted by depraved dance (7)
LAMBADA: a Tibetan who prays around an adjective meaning depraved

13a    Bird, fish-eating swine! (7)
SPARROW: this female swine eats a young salmon

14a    Matter cleaner, wiped at the front (5)
ISSUE: drop the initial letter (at the front) from a thin piece of soft absorbent paper (cleaner)

15a    Caught in the end, marathon unfinished — athletic event (9)
DECATHLON: C(aught) inside a demise and followed by most of (unfinished) an adjective meaning marathon – because so much of the word “marathon” appears in the answer this was the last clue I parsed

17a    Flip three articles into traps (2,7)
GO BANANAS: three indefinite articles (two two-letter and one single-letter) inside another a colloquial word for traps or mouths

20a    Froggy doggy (5)
HUSKY: two definitions – the first being an adjective meaning slightly hoarse or sounding like a frog

22a    Shaved king, going grey, seeing red! (7)
ENRAGED: the inside letters (shaved) of a king (there are eight to choose from!) followed by an adjective meaning going grey or getting old

24a    Weapon, being that one thrown around say in South Africa (7)
ASSEGAI: a two-letter word meaning “being that” and I (one) around the Latin abbreviation for say itself inside the abbreviation for South Africa

25a    Arm lifted briefly, good earlier (6)
PISTOL: most of a verb meaning thieved preceded by a two-letter word meaning religiously good

26a    Prophets erred, as fake (7)
READERS: an anagram (fake) of ERRED AS

27a    Nothing treats excess fat (4,7)
LOVE HANDLES: nothing as a score in tennis followed by a verb meaning deals with or treats


2d    Layer on diseased bean plant (7)
HENBANE: an egg layer followed by an anagram (diseased) of BEAN

3d    Jelly and custard ultimately polished off by youth in outdoor cafe (3,6)
TEA GARDEN: a type of jelly and the final letter (ultimately) of [custard]D inside a youth aged 13-19

4d    Flower everyone can see in a bundle (5)
LOTUS: the letter that indicates everyone can see a film inside a bundle or large number

5d    Reportedly topical fruit (7)
CURRANT: sounds like (reportedly) an adjective meaning topical

6d    Charlie learnt to dance for chief (7)
CENTRAL: the letter represented by Charlie in the NATO Phonetic alphabet followed by an anagram (to dance) of LEARNT

7d    Magic worker in children’s competition (8,3)
SPELLING BEE: a charade of a word meaning magic and a worker insect (not an ant!)

8d    Beautiful remains in Scottish castle (6)
GLAMIS: a four-letter adjective meaning beautiful (a shortened version of a nine-letter adjective) followed by a verb meaning remains or exists

11d    Ordinal with little time showed the way to embrace divinity, finally (6-5)
TWENTY-FIRST: T(ime) followed by a phrase meaning showed the way (4,5) around the final letter of [divinity]Y – it helps if you know the difference between ordinal and cardinal numbers!

16d    Island, besmirched, also featured (2-7)
CO-STARRED: a Greek island followed by a verb meaning besmirched or tarnished

18d    Video’s ending after sticker put on it — it’s a wrap! (7)
BURRITO: the final letter (ending) of [vide]O preceded by the prickly seed-case of certain plants, which sticks to clothes or animals, and IT from the clue

19d    Close game — is one on late? (7)
NIGHTIE: an adjective meaning close or near followed by a competitive game

20d    Person held ticket to access Tube (7)
HOSTAGE: a three-letter ticket or label inside a piece of tube

21d    On the radio, party sounded relieved (6)
SIGHED: sounds like (on the radio) a party or faction

23d    Heartlessly delivered a letter from Thessaloniki (5)
DELTA: drop the middle letter (heartlessly) from a verb meaning delivered, as in delivered a blow, and add the A from the clue

A bit Tougher than Dada’s Sunday puzzles, but clued fairly.


31 comments on “Toughie 2645

  1. I am pleased that this Dada did not get misplaced into the Sunday envelope although there have been some Sunday puzzles not too far away from it. As BD says, not a Floughie and certainly a bit of a head scratcher. 2.5*/4*.

    Candidates for favourite – 15a, 2d, and 20d – and the winner is 2d.

    Thanks to Mr H and BD.

  2. I saw the weapon (24ac) on my first random glance, and then I stared at this, with mounting panic, for about 20 mins before I could solve anything else. Once my brain clicked into gear I slowly worked through the rest. I took me ages to parse 4d, because those cinema ratings trip me up every time. Not what you normally expect for a Tuesday, but a very satisfying solve. Thanks to all.

    1. Exactly the same with me. The weapon was my only entry after the first read through with Robert’s comment (in his back page comment) about it being doable heightening my sense of inadequacy.

  3. Dada is enjoyable as always – thanks to him and BD.

    My first thought for 20a was ‘chien’ but I suppose that would be too un-PC. :D

    My podium contains 12a, 27a and 20d.

    1. Not just you, Gazza, I was trying to think of an alternative word for a French poodle!

  4. I also like chien for 20ac!
    Loved 27ac.
    Very enjoyable accessible well-constructed toughie, thanks Dada.
    Thanks to BD for parsing 15ac 24acand 4d.. I always forget those pesky cinema ratings.

  5. Knew at the outset the type of projectile our setter had in mind but it took me ages to think of a satisfactory simile for ‘run’. Plenty of Dada quirks in this one and the tongue-in-cheek 12a made me smile – excellent dance with the right partner!
    Podium places going to 13&27a along with 3d.

    Thanks to Dada for the fun and to BD for the review.

  6. Very enjoyable. I was also in the chien club for a while. Thanks to Dada and BD.

  7. Unlike devartly, I was able to complete all of this puzzle, with the exception of 1a, for which I needed the hint.

    Finished in *** despite the fact that I was seething after taking over 90 minutes to install a new printer onto my Mac. I hate technology.

    The parsing of 3d was beyond me, but I did like 20a. I was trying to get an equine friend in there.

    Thanks to Dada and BD.

  8. A testing tease out of the answers which reminded me of the RayT tussles of the times before Big Dave’s blog. Slow but sure got me through with a ton of satisfaction when finished. Thanks to Dada for an excellent Toughie and to Big Dave for the blog. Rather you than me today

    1. A. Reader = prophet in the sense of soothsayer, forecaster, clairvoyant, prognosticator, etc. A “reader” is someone who reads, or interprets, lines in the palm of a hand, tea leaf patterns, horoscopes, etc. to predict/forecast the future.

  9. Aldhelm – those who read the runes or tea leaves claim powers of prophecy.

    1. Sorry, Patrick – I’ve just spotted that you’ve already answered #9, above. Never mind…

  10. Just right for a Tuesday Toughie.

    Amazing how Dada/Paul can produce so many superb puzzles so often.

    Definitely **** four-star entertainment today.

    Favourites: 15a & 17a but first prize goes to the “Froggy Doggy” -Best in Show.

  11. I found this hard but then again it’s supposed to be. I kept chipping away at it and got there in the end. I managed to parse them all myself which is not always the case. Very satisfying to finish it. Favourite was 11d. Thanks to Dada and BD.

  12. I found this a tough Toughie, a 4* on my personal Tortuous Toughie Test scale! With recent Dada puzzles I’ve managed to get into the mindset reasonably well, but not today: it was a struggle, with the first half slow to solve and, unhelpfully, scattered across the grid. When they did fall, they fell in swift groups, but with a few written in and not parsed.

    Having said that, immensely satisfying, with cracking clues, groans, penny-dropping clangs and clunks, and eyebrows going up and down like a Roger Moore impersonator. Still not sure I fully understand the parsing of 20a – Froggy as in “frog in the throat”? Difficult to choose a favourite from that feast, there are too many contenders: 12a, 27a, 23d, 18d, 11d?


    Many thanks to Dada & BD

  13. After a painfully slow start I suddenly got into this and flew through the remaining clues. I found this a tad harder than a traditional Tuesday Toughie but it was rewarding and entertaining to solve. As for a favourite, stick a pin in. Great stuff.

    My thanks to Dada for the challenge and to BD.

  14. Well! I managed to correctly complete this with guesses, bung ins, electronic help and sheer brainpower!
    Glad of Patrick’s explanation of 26a. It had to be what it was but the BRB was no help at all.
    I’m going to nit pick! Surely 13 a has the swine eating the fish not the other way around as demanded by the clue?
    COTD is 2d my first one in and the most straightforward.

          1. But that is obvious in a double barrelled name. It’s when it’s thrown into a crossword clue, perhaps over 2 lines of small print, that it can be, as in this case, ambiguous. Anyway, I should just be grateful I solved a Toughie clue yesterday and start to worry about today!

  15. Always a pleasure to solve such a well crafted crossword.
    Dada never disappoints and despite a slow start, I gathered momentum and finished in good time.
    Also thought of Chien for 20a but soon retracted as the SE corner proved to be the most accessible.
    Remembered the Scottish castle and the Irish county but learned something new in 7d which was given to me by the Google family.
    So many good clues that I cannot possibly choose a favourite.
    Thanks to Dada and to BD.

  16. Have to disagree with BD as I reckon this a fair bit tougher than Mr H’s Sunday productions & I’m including the 2 recent head scratchers in that slot. Tackled it without realising or at any stage twigging it was Dada & it was battle from the outset. Good old Mr G was needed to enlighten me about the 2d plant & the Lebanese city in 10a but the wordplay was clear enough (though not the definition for the latter if you’re apt to read county as country for the umpteenth time). Unfortunately I was nowhere near parsing 9a nor the last 2 letters of 8d & with 15a & 23d I was on the right lines but not quite there. Can’t even claim the consolation of an unaided complete grid as 20a&d had me flummoxed & after staring at them I lost patience & revealed the opening checker & commendably resisted the urge to lob the iPad across the room.
    Great crossword. Pick for me 13a because, like JB, I was trying to put my fish round the pig & initially thought the maestro had made a ricket – as if.
    Thanks to Dada & BD for the explanations

  17. Late today. Finished this very nice Dada last night as I found myself instantly on his wave-length for a change, and the pennies kept dropping. Couldn’t believe my luck and my eyes. And then, thud: I ran up against 20d / 20a. Finally settled for an electronic letter, the H, and then I was done. Really enjoyable Toughie, with those two final clues my CsOTD. Thanks to Big Dave for the review and to Dada for the fun.

  18. Beautifully crafted clues and an absolute pleasure to solve.
    Looks like we weren’t the only ones to have our biggest head-scratching moments in the SE corner.
    Thanks Dada and BD.

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