Toughie 2778 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2778

Toughie 2778 by Logman

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

An enjoyable Jay mid-week crossword, probably deemed to be a Logman production because of the inclusion of about half a dozen words solvers might not know, all of which were fairly clued

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Deal with a shift Boxing Day (7)
ADDRESS A (from the clue) and the type of clothing known as a shift ‘boxing’ the abbreviation for day

8a    Essentially female row about small dog (7)
MASTIFF The ‘essential’ letters of feMAle and a slight quarrel (row) go ‘about’ the abbreviation for Small

10a    One sister is courting floods (9)
INUNDATES The letter representing one, a religious sister and a way of saying ‘is courting’

11a    Allergenic hormones will limit secretion from a wound (5)
ICHOR Hidden in (will limit) allergenIC HORmones is a medical term for a secretion from a wound

12a    Person taking part from atomic pile without engineers (5)
ACTOR An atomic pile without the abbreviation for the Royal Engineers

13a    Catching mum, keeping time after exercise (9)
PESTILENT A synonym for noiseless (mum) ‘keeping’ the abbreviation for Time goes after some abbreviated (school) exercise

15a    Weirdly, likes hoarding books in buckets (7)
KIBBLES Some buckets used in wells or mining can be found by inserting (hoarding) two abbreviations for Book (books plural) in an anagram (weirdly) of LIKES

17a    Regularly admit employees on mother’s side (7)
DISTAFF The regular letters of aDmIt and some employees

18a    Reportedly rub son in dirt — if necessary! (5,4)
NEEDS MUST A homophone (reportedly) of a synonym for rub and some dirt (Gazza and Fez both suggesting very different interpretations of this word) into which is inserted the abbreviation for Son

20a    Bankrupt, having left for right man (5)
BLOKE A synonym for bankrupt with the abbreviation for Left replacing that for Right

21a    Cover from banned hot issue (5)
DHOTI A Hindu loincloth (cover) is hidden in banneD HOT Issue

23a    Aromatic plant or dark pine cultivated on east of Alps (9)
SPIKENARD An anagram (cultivated) of DARK PINE goes on or after the letter at the east end of alpS

24a    Dealt with a poor horse during medical (7)
MANAGED A (from the clue) and a poor horse inserted into (during) an abbreviation for medical

25a    Vague relation has another, discontented (7)
UNCLEAR A male relation followed by the outside (discontented) letters of AnotheR


1d    A record-spinner on American list must be flexible (10)
ADJUSTABLE A (from the clue), an abbreviated record-spinner, an abbreviation for American and a list

2d    Offer money being sensitive and vulnerable (6)
TENDER A verb meaning to offer money or an adjective meaning sensitive and vulnerable

3d    I like this poet’s new elementary forms (8)
ISOTOPES I (from the clue), an adverb meaning like this and an anagram (new) of POETS

4d    Has a think after answer provides entertainment (6)
AMUSES A way of saying ‘has a think’ goes after the abbreviation for Answer

5d    Provided timers intermittently after gaffer loses head and becomes inflexible (8)
OSSIFIES A conjunction meaning provided and the intermittent letters of tImErS go after a gaffer without his first letter (loses head)

6d    Importance of mine host, originally (4)
PITH A mine and the original letter of Host

7d    Life making old man upset about island (6,7)
ANIMAL KINGDOM An anagram (upset) of MAKING OLD MAN goes ‘about’ the abbreviation for Island

9d    Person with unique conviction — posh chap employed by dispatcher of trees (5,8)
FIRST OFFENDER A ‘posh chap’ employed by, or inserted into a way of describing someone dispatching a particular type of tree (3,6)

14d    Speaks in support of European party and explains (10)
ELABORATES A verb meaning speaks goes after (in support of in a Down solution) the abbreviation for European and an abbreviated political party

16d    Prisoners split by scramble for lots (8)
LASHINGS A verb meaning to climb up (scramble) inserted into some prisoners

17d    Turkey, cutting unusual duties, must get whatever remains (8)
DETRITUS The IVR Code for Turkey inserted into (cutting) an anagram (unusual) of DUTIES produces some accumulated debris (remains)

19d    Raise right, perhaps favourable aspect (6)
UPSIDE If you raise something, you put it xx; this should be followed by an example, perhaps, of what right can be

20d    Businessman’s initial stretch for violation (6)
BREACH The initial letter of Businessman and a stretch

22d    Sound name adopted by social inferior (4)
OINK The abbreviation for name ‘adopted’ by an informal term for a social inferior

As a reminder that now is the time to take down the Christmas decorations, here is a picture of the ‘fairy lights’ and ‘paper’ chains in our village telephone box library.


22 comments on “Toughie 2778

  1. Very enjoyable puzzle today with some new words for me. However, 9D was my favourite. Thanks to the setter

  2. A not too difficult but most enjoyable puzzle. I found it a tad easier than the NYD cryptic but just as entertaining.15a came out on top of the pile just ahead of 9d.

    Many thanks to Logman and CS.

  3. An enjoyable puzzle but pretty light for a Toughie – thanks to Logman and CS.

    I didn’t know the bucket meaning of 15a, knowing it only as dog food.

    I think that the dirt in 18a is a bit of soot rather than mould.

    On my podium are 7a, 18a and 16d.

    1. The dirt is either soot or “dirty” jokes or pictures. Either meaning makes sense.

    2. Soot indeed, as I remember in my trainspotting youth (steam days in the 1950s) when leaning out of a railway carriage window getting smut in my eyes – sometimes taking several days and many tears to remove. Yeah, I know, I should have worn goggles or not stuck my head out the window – but at fourteen or fifteen who knows best? ;-)

  4. Enjoyable. Like Deebee, a couple of new words for me and 9d was my favourite. Thanks to Logman and CS.

  5. I’ll go along with the crowd. This was a light Toughie but great fun with a few very fairly clued new words. 9d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Logman and to CS.

  6. Some light relief after the amount of head scratching required for the back pager – **/****

    Candidates for favourite – 8a, 18a, 5d, and 9d – and the winner is 9d.

    Thanks to Logman and CS.

  7. Very enjoyable indeed, a small increase in difficulty from this setter’s back pagers but an increase nonetheless.
    18a and 9d share the honours for me with 7d making up the podium.
    Many thanks to Logman and CS for the top notch entertainment.

    Couldn’t resist this re 2d

  8. A fun puzzle, tough but not too tough – many thanks Logman and CS. Agree with Gazza @3, the dirt is soot rather than mould (as the Son is inserted into it, not at the beginning). Favourite for me was 7d, although there were certainly lots of contenders.
    Thanks again!

  9. Very straightforward with accurate clueing.
    Three new words for me 11,15,23.
    Thanks to Logman and CS.
    Agree star rating above.

  10. As others 15a and 23a were new words for me but fairly clued and I managed to parse everything for once, so happy days. Most enjoyable. Favourite was 22d my last in. Thanks to Logman and CS.

  11. I didn’t think it was too light , as far as I am concerned , it was a Goldilocks Toughie.
    I liked 9d and I liked 18a as well as 7d and 3d.
    There was a sort of liveliness to todays puzzle..
    I imagine few of us here are concerned about PC but I thought 22d was just rude.
    Thanks to CS and the setter.

  12. All done in ** time. As others have said, a few new words and meanings.

    Una, I can’t see what’s wrong with 22d. They are ***s

    Thanks to the Logman and CS.

  13. 15a was new to us and needed BRB confirmation.
    An enjoyable solve as ever.
    Thanks Logman and CS.

  14. Lovely puzzle. Took me a tad longer than Donny’s back pager. Needed the BRB to confirm 15&23a, both of which new to me, & also to check 11a is what I thought. All parsed correctly for a change so happy days. 9d was my clear favourite with 18a & 22d, on the podium.
    Thanks to Logman & to CS.

  15. I’ll go along with many of those preceding me, with 18a, 9d, and 15a (new to me also) at the top of the ladder of another gem by Jay. 22d made me laugh and wins today’s Clarkie. Thanks to CS and Logman.

  16. I think it must have been an easier toughie than usual as I managed to complete all of it bar 3d and 15a without electronic aid. Needed a lot of help with parsing but it has pleased me to get this far with a toughie.
    Thanks to Logman and crypticsue

  17. I doubt that anything’s going to dissuade me from my belief that this setter is a much more comfortable fit in his back-page position but this was enjoyable enough with my votes going to 8&18a.

    Thanks to Logman – and apologies for not gelling so well with your alternative pseudonym! Thanks also to CS for the review and the pic of 23a which I don’t think I’ve ever seen ‘in real life’.

  18. It’s only after CS mentioned it the other day that I realised Logman was Jay under disguise.
    Hardly any difference felt.
    Not complaining as I like his style.
    Learned from the blog what connected soot and smut. I would never have associated the two before.
    Thanks to Logman and to CS.

  19. Did this on Saturday (8th Jan) as I did the regular cryptic for the day and needed another puzzle.
    Given the rating was 1* for difficulty, I had one heck of time with it. More like 4* for me and with several pretty obscure words, like 11a, 21a, 5d being three of them. I had several more too.
    Favourites were 8a, 25a & 9d with 9d winner.
    Ended up being only 2* for enjoyment for me.

    Thanks to Logman and CS for much needed hints for my frozen brain here in chilly West Coast of Canada today.

    Walk today was on pure ice hardened snow with cleats. Even the dog was not impressed.

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