Toughie 2737 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2737

Toughie No 2737 by Robyn

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Golly bongs, this  little beauty from Robyn took some sorting. Thanks for the tussle Robyn and please come back soon with more of the same

If anyone would like a perfect hardback copy of Richard Osman’s book The Thursday Murder Club I have one to give away. The first person to ask for it in the comments can have it. I will email for an address.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Dish breaks passing on food deliveries (4,7)
FAST BOWLING: A word meaning going without food on purpose surrounds a type of dish one might eat breakfast cereal from

7a        Run and scrap, covering defensive error by right back (7)
JOGTROT: The scrap here is a very small amount. It covers two abbreviations. One for an own goal and one for right. The one for right is reversed as indicated by the word back. A lovely clue once I sorted the whys and wherefores

8a        Where a plane reaches its highest point? (7)
TREETOP: The plane here does not fly. It is a living organism. One of many at Westonbirt which is always a delight to visit at this time of the year

10d      It’s surprising India stop batting (1,7)
I DECLARE:  The phonetic alphabet letter suggested by the word India is followed by the voluntary cessation of an innings by a cricket elevens captain

11a      Red wine guzzler, say, punched by jockey (6)
SOVIET: A three letter heavy drinker surrounds a verb meaning to jockey for position perhaps

13a      Picked up a tie — it’s worn by a performer (4)
TUTU:  A tie in a football match where each team scores a brace of goals sounds like the costume of a particular type of stage performer

14a      Assembled legators, or one offering fortune (10)
ASTROLOGER: Anagram (assembled) of LEGATORS OR

16a      English tourist sites, not new, bagging large rewards (10)
EMOLUMENTS: Begin with the abbreviation for English. Add some ancient structures, statues, or other things of historical importance but change the letter N (not new) for the letter L (bagging large)

18a      Ditch husband with cry of triumph (2-2)
HA HA:  The abbreviation for husband is followed by an expression of surprise which is also the name of a Norwegian band

21a      Radio version of no. 1 tunes from abroad (6)
LIEDER: The person at the top (Number one) sounds like (On the radio) the type of German songs of which Chopin wrote quite liberally

22a      There’s not much flesh on this small, trim guy (5,3)
SPARE RIB:  The abbreviation for small is followed by a synonym of the word trim. This is followed by a synonym of the word guy. Both of these synonyms are unusual. Trim with a knife and guy by taking the rip

24a      Early football tournament led by British (7)
BLADDER: The abbreviation for British is followed by a type of competition favoured, I believe by squash clubs where people progress by challenging and beating those who appear above them

25a      Mike wearing collar where members can relax (7)l
ARMREST: The letter suggested by Mike in phonetic alphabets is surrounded by a word meaning collar as a policeman might collar a criminal if he can be bothered. The members are limbs

26a      Order of starter — refined or manky and sour? (2,4,5)
ON YOUR MARKS: An anagram (refined) of OR MANKY SOUR. The starting is starting a race


1d        Little bit of fancy fruit supposed to get cored (7)
FIGMENT: Begin with a three letter fruit. Add a word meaning supposed minus its central letter

2d        Huge rises count to a great extent (6)
SORELY:   A large garment size (not that large) is reversed and followed by a four letter word meaning to count on or bank on

3d        Reinforced, say, fruit salad container upended (10)
BUTTRESSED: A word meaning a fruit salad or any pudding is followed by a container. The whole lot is then reversed or upended

4d        Some power half taken from leader of revolt (4)
WATT:  The first half of the name of the leader of The Peasants Revolt of 1381 will provide your answer

5d        Occasionally pinched brass or tin item for sucker (3,5)
ICE LOLLY:  The alternate letters of the word pinched are followed by an amusing synonym for money (brass or tin)

6d        Signalling to leave EU separately? It shows a lot of cheek (1-6)
G STRING:  Remove the letters E and U from a word meaning signalling with ones hands to reveal a garment that I imagine would be most uncomfortable to wear

7d        Briefly, drink up, carrying a little one for me too (4,3,4)
JOIN THE CLUB:   Thanks to Jepi at comment 5.  Briefly drink up” = (O)range (J)uice / “carrying a little one” =  in the club

9d        Go on following safe figure children read about (5,6)
PETER RABBIT: An informal word meaning to talk or chatter follows anther name for a safe

12d      Column perhaps about to slam criminal getting life in cell (10)
PROTOPLASM:  A column of support surrounds the word to. This is followed by an anagram  of the word SLAM as indicated by the word criminal

15d      Leave uniform on doctor in time for operations (5,3)
DUVET DAY:  The answer is an unscheduled extra days leave from work which is sanctioned by ones employer. The letter representing Uniform in the regular phonetic alphabet is followed by a doctor of animals. Together they sit between the name given to June 6th 1944

17d      Season with this Shakespearean role entered in Oscars (7)
OREGANO: Insert one of King Lear’s daughters into a pair of letters represented by the word Oscar. Don’t have just love the way Americans pronounce this word?

19d      Close shaven, trimmed on top (7)
AIRLESS:  Remove the first letter from a word meaning close shaven or bald

20d      Starchy hem of Eleanor’s first coat (6)
PRIMER:  Begin with a word meaning stiffly correct and add the outer letters of the word Eleanor

23d      Chauffeur dutifully holding tongue (4)
URDU:  The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue, as indicated by the word holding


40 comments on “Toughie 2737

  1. I’m rather disappointed. I was expecting a competition to win the book, possibly involving cryptic crosswords or maybe Bob Dylan. I like a good competition, I do. :-(

      1. I’ve been racking my brain to come up with a clever-dick or amusing answer, but this is the best I can do:

        Quite a bit. Or even countless trillions of bits.

        Probably not worth the effort …

        1. *I’ve just resorted to my old Ready Reckoner and done a few quick calculations and come up with: 60 grams.

        2. *I’ve just re-calculated using my slide rule, which should be more accurate: 0.2 millionths of an ounce, or 6 micrograms.

  2. I found this very difficult indeed , needing 6 hints.
    I guessed several others but couldn’t explain why.
    Thanks to the setter and Miffypops.

  3. Robyn is one of my favourite setters and you can always rely on him (and his piratical alter egos) to give the cryptic grey matter a proper work out.

    What with retirement and then being at home for what seems like for ever due to the pandemic, it is very difficult sometimes to know which day of the week it is. I was convinced it was Tuesday when I woke up but by the time I’d got to the end of the crossword, I did wonder if I’d overslept quite a bit and it was Friday!

    A lovely proper Toughie with some splendid d’oh moments and sneaky definitions (24a being an example of just one of them) , so a big thank you to Robyn and MP

  4. I was beaten by the NW. 7a and 2d were just beyond me, not knowing the word at 7a didn’t help. COTD for me was 24a.

    Many thanks to Robyn and MP.

      1. Hello Miffypops, from deepest Devon, and thank you for putting me out of my misery on 2d and 7a, both of which outfoxed me completely. But I took the total meaning of 7d (Join the club) to be ‘me too’ rather than ‘drink up’ [the reversal of OJ]. Have I got that wrong?

        1. I think you are bang on the ball Linda. I’ve amended the hint accordingly. A difficult clue to sort out for me. I have no knowledge of non alcoholic drinks.

  5. Loved this. Great obscure use of definitions. Lots of smiles and phews.
    In 12d where MP has said abbreviation I think he means anagram.
    Too many smiles to pick a favourite. Return soon Robyn. Thanks to MP for unraveling a couple of bung ins.

  6. Even though I failed to finish–drew blanks at 11a, 24a, and 15d–I thought this one of the most refreshing Tuesday Toughies in memory. Never heard of 15d (really, MP? Is that you stretched out?), had no clue about 24a since I failed to include ‘football’ in the definition, but should have solved 11a–kept trying to think of a red wine! But 16a, 8a, and 13a nudged out a host of contenders for the podium. Thanks to MP for the hints and helping me parse several that I’d just bunged in, and many thanks to Robyn for a first-rate Toughie.

  7. This was a real cracker of puzzle, not impenetrably difficult but tricky enough to be called a Toughie. The clues were beautifully succinct and delightful to solve. 13a was my favourite of many, with 5d a close second.

    Thanks to Robyn for the entertaining challenge and to MP. Is that a self-portrait at 15d?

        1. I’ve never missed a days work in my life CS. I have no idea how to conduct myself on a Duvet Day. The concept is not within my remit. It is a nice photo though

  8. it Tuesday?
    This was really tough for me and I failed on 15d 2d and 13ac even with all checkers.
    The rest varied between brilliant and amusing.
    Thanks to Robyn…come back on a Friday!
    Thanks to MP for help and ghastly picture of 24ac.

  9. Great puzzle as many have already said .
    7d as may have already been explained is OJ (orange juice/ drink reversed ) and in the club = carrying a little one ie pregnant.
    Thanks all

  10. A fun puzzle – many thanks to our setter. 7a and 15d were new to me, but guessable (though 7a took an embarrassingly long time). Definitely tough for a Tuesday. What will tomorrow bring?

  11. I very rarely try the Toughie but foolishly thought I would give today’s one a go as it was Tuesday and I thought the Toughies on Tuesdays were easier…..not so. But a relief to find that others also found it difficult.
    I managed to solve and parse 15 out of the 28 clues, so I am counting it as a victory.
    Thanks to Robyn and Miffypops

    1. 15 out of 28 is a fair result here Ora. Maybe more next time. I do like it when regular back page solvers make the transition to attempting Toughies. Onward and upward as they say

  12. “I get the winner” is an anagram of internet weigh, but I don’t know if that gets me the book! Great puzzle today. Thanks to both reviewer and setter.

  13. A very tough puzzle for a Tuesday (I have to admit to a DNF) with a lot of the definitions extremely well hidden in seemingly unconnected surfaces, very crafty indeed. A few new words added to the difficulty but I enjoyed it overall with some real PDMs.
    Several clues appealed including 1,10,13&22a plus 7d.
    Many thanks to Robyn and MP for the entertainment.

  14. MP posed the question how much does the internet weigh. I have seen estimates that the traffic is 10^24 bits per year, so if we assumed that 10 years worth is still stored, that’s 10^25 bits. If it takes one electron to represent 1 bit, then -since it takes about 10^27 electrons to weigh 1 gram, by this measure the internet weighs about 1/100th of a gram.

    Disclaimer-it’s 60 years since I last studied Physics-so please forgive any elementary errors in the above calculation. But I bet the answer is still a tiny amount. Secondly, I am ignoring of course the weight of all the hardware to contain and manipulate the electrons.

    I’d love to hear from the real experts in this area.

    Best wishes to all

    1. I once spent a few nightshifts helping a chunk of the internet move up the M1. It started in London, where it was unplugged around midnight, shrink-wrapped onto pallets, and loaded into a couple of rented Ford Lutons. Our job in Leeds was to unload the vans, and plug each of the devices in and get them up and running again there before breakfast, and — ideally — before the people using that part of the internet really needed to use it, so as to minimize colleagues having to answer phone calls along the lines of:

      “I’m phoning because my website’s down.”
      “Yes, that’s because it’s currently on the back of a lorry doing 70 on the motorway.”

      Anyway, he truckloads of kit certainly felt quite heavy as we lugged it about. And that was only a few tens of thousands of websites. The whole internet must weigh tonnes.

      Spouse and I both enjoyed The Thursday Murder Club. I’ve reserved its sequel from the library, but I’m currently at number 142 in the queue, so I don’t think we’ll be getting that imminently.

  15. Tougher than the usual Tuesday Toughie. I needed 2 hints for 2d and 11a. Thanks Miffypops and to the setter for a very enjoyable workout. I thought 7d was a brilliant clue and is my pick of the day with 24a close second.

  16. Two sittings and I finally resorted to the hints for 15d which defeated me. Plenty to like here, with 7d producing the biggest smile. Thanks to Robyn and MP.

  17. Good grief – Friday already! What a little stinker.
    Got there in the end but only with some googling and altho 7d had to be what it was I still couldn’t account for the jo bit [maybe not having kids doesn’t help]. Some very clever clues and very well disguised definitions [11a, 24a, 1d] and a belly laugh at 6d.
    Look forward to more from this setter pref on Fridays.
    Thanks to Robyn and MP

  18. This was incredible. I got there with a bit of electronic help, bung ins and lots and lots of lateral thinking, I loved the naughty 6d and the funny 24a. which was my COTD.

  19. 15d was something we had not met before and had us head-scratching for some time before a bit of investigoogling set us right.
    A most enjoyable challenge.
    Thanks Robyn and MP.

  20. I really expected to hardly touch the answers to this puzzle when I started, but in the end all ok except for 15d which I hadn’t heard of.

    Really a great feeling to have done so much.

    Thanks to MP for the blog and Robyn for the puzzle.

  21. Well beaten with this one. Had 3 stabs at it & managed 80% before revealing the 1a/d F checker which then enabled me to get to within 3 of a finish. Needed the hints for 15d (vaguely knew the term for pulling a sickie), 7a (never heard of & quite a parsing feat if you had) & most annoyingly 11a (didn’t peg the correct definition). In addition there were a few I couldn’t fully parse.
    Super crossword with any number of very clever clues – 6&7d, a couple of beauties, that were both definition bung ins for me.
    Thanks Robyn & Miffs for sorting it all out – I trust the 15d pic was not the consequence of a 2d in yesterday’s Campbell puzzle.

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