Toughie 2801 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2801

Toughie No 2801 by Moeraki

Hints and tips by Miffypops and Google

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Chris M Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

After a poor first pass the few checkers I had led me towards a rather fast finish. Tough enough for a Tuesday Toughie slot but accessible enough for all levels to tackle.

Solved while watching the joyful antics of the young snowboarders in the Winter Olympics and trying to convince Saint Sharon that my Wordle in four tops her Wordle in three because I use less helpful start words

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a First mate biting lip (6)
PRIMAL: A mate, chum, crony, China or mucker surrounds a lip or edge

5a Finest daily record (with front cover missing) — old book of animals (8)
BESTIARY: An adjective meaning finest is followed by a writers daily journal minus its first letter

9a Novelty tavern gets good cheer (10)
INNOVATION: A tavern or pub is followed by a round of applause

10a Barking heads (4)
NUTS: Double definition The second being a term for your heads

11a Bob and Sir Rowland in prison. Not half! (8)
SHILLING: The surname of a knighted geezer with the first name Rowland sits inside the one half of the name of a prison located at 354 Hunter Street, Ossining. An area once inhabited by the Sint Sinct Native Americans which may be how the famous prison got its name

12a Scraps that could make one brood (6)
LITTER: A double definition. The second being a family of young animals produced at one birth

13a Tennis player of no interest dropping in (4)
BORG: Find a word meaning dull, tedious or of no interest and remove the word IN to find a tennis player who was rather dull and tedious himself

15a Places to keep records and money after apartment is secured (8)
NOTEPADS: The money here is in the plural. It is the folding stuff. It sits around or secures a common name for a flat or apartment

18a Invited crowd to mill around bar? Not me! (4-1-3)
RENT A MOB: Anagram (to mill around) of BAR NOT ME

19a Cut card, first to be discarded (4)
RUMP: The card here is (in bridge, whist, and similar card games) a playing card of the suit chosen to rank above the others, which can win a trick where a card of a different suit has been led. It needs its first letter removing. The cut is a piece of meat

21a English maestro not getting second, or silver (6)
ARGENT: This English Maestro needs the first letter of his surname (the abbreviation for second) removing. His title and Christian names are Sir Harold Malcom Watts but he was generally called Sir Malcom

23a Greeting Middle Easterner in park (8)
YOSEMITE: An informal greeting much loved by your blogger today is followed by a member of a group of people speaking a common language including Arabs, Akkadians, Canaanites, Hebrews, some Ethiopians, and Aramaean tribes

25a Party animal (4)
STAG: A double definition which needs no further explanation

26a Cleaners — 51 separately joining in game (10)
CHARLADIES: The letters of the Roman numerals for 51 are inserted separately into a game in which players guess a word or phrase from a written or acted clue given for each syllable and for the whole item

27a Antagonise English eccentric (8)
ESTRANGE: Begin with the abbreviation for English. Add a word meaning eccentric or weird

28a Dramatist in France briefly flying east (6)
RACINE: Find a synonym for flying, careering speeding or dashing. Remove its last letter. Add the abbreviation for east


2d Galloped hard, circling Charlie’s farm (5)
RANCH: A synonym of the word galloped together with the abbreviation for hard encircle the abbreviation for Charlie

3d Otherwise expressed, thin gloom (9)
MOONLIGHT: Anagram (otherwise expressed) of THIN GLOOM. What to underline as a definition? Suggestions welcome. All of the clue I think, or just gloom?

4d Introduction of Romance language round Spain (4-2)
LEAD IN: The Rhaeto-Romance dialect spoken in Northern Italy and the Engardine region of South-Eastern Switzerland surrounds the IVF letter which represents Spain

5d Rearranged Banbury’s leading fund-raising event (5,3,3,4)
BRING AND BUY SALE: Anagram (I hope) of BANBURY’S LEADING as indicated by the word rearranged

6d Tops and just one t-shirt for starters (8)
SINGLETS: A word meaning just one and one only is followed by the starting letters of the word T-shirt

7d Small hotel’s appeal isn’t it for some (5)
INNIT: My word of the week. Guaranteed to set the teeth of some who claim to love the English language on edge. Begin with a small hotel providing accommodation, food and drink especially for travellers. Add a short word which can be used to define sex appeal

8d Port gives mother a bad character (9)
ROTTERDAM: A bad character such as a cad sits before one’s mother where one’s father is a sire

14d Exaggerates deliveries per hour (9)
OVERRATES: Split 4,5 we have a description of the number of balls bowled per hour in the sport of cricket. Don’t ignore the fact that exaggerates is in the plural

16d Who comes to aid camper when injured? (9)
PARAMEDIC: Anagram (when injured) of CAMPER AID

17d Smiley caught feeling outside (8)
EMOTICON: The abbreviation for caught sits inside a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances or mood

20d Demolishing wings, smash large building stone (6)
ASHLAR: Remove the outer letters of the words smash and large as they appear in the clue to find the word hidden inside

22d Seeing bears regularly going to mountain (5)
EIGER: The alternate letters of the words SEEING BEARS will give the name of a mountain if you start in the right place

24d Wooden utensils, maybe — about ten boxes (5)
TREEN: A two-letter word meaning about is surrounded or boxed by the word ten from the clue


19 comments on “Toughie 2801

  1. The was a really enjoyable and accessible Toughie that was pitched perfectly for a Tuesday. It is nigh on impossible to pick a favourite from such a great list of contenders, but I have gone for 23a.

    My thanks to Moeraki and to MP for the review.

  2. Reasonably straightforward except for 4d which we’ve never heard of. Liked 13a and 8d.
    Enjoyable, thanks to all.

  3. Several new words and a Sir Roland with whom I was unfamiliar made this a little more time consuming, but all manageable. A bit more of a Tuesday toughie than some recently.
    Thanks to Moeraki and MP.

    1. Sir Roland is very well known here in Shropshire – moreso I suppose in Shrewsbury, I guess :-)

  4. Unlike Sunday’s Toughie, this one was right up my street – lots of humour and a joy to solve.Favourites included 11a, 13a, 5d & 7d. I can’t remember coming across a Moeraki Toughie before, but do I like his/her style. Thanks to both setter and MP

  5. Thanks, Moeraki and Miffypops ! Trotted through this one at a comfortingly brisk pace (for a change). But the Romance language in 4d is a new one on me, I must admit – so my correct answer was basically a punt. Also – though I worked out 21a – I’d forgotten the spelling of Sir Malcolm’s surname, so was fretting about why the (non-existent) ‘e’ had been dropped… (Btw, MP – I think you need to underline ‘silver’ rather than ‘English Maestro’?)

  6. The second very enjoyable puzzle of the day, though with the exception 17d perhaps not the most contemporary.
    My only problem was pondering overly long on the Yoda like 24d, clues I’m never too keen on.
    I liked 13a (and our blogger’s accompanying comment) and 21a along with 7d (I can’t decide if it’s clever or silly so will go with the former) along with the aforementioned 17d..
    Many thanks to Moeraki and MP (enjoyed the music choice) for the fun.

  7. I remembered Sir Rowland but the animal book, the wooden utensils & the language were all unfamiliar & required confirmation. Thankfully the wordplay pretty clear. Otherwise fairly straightforward I thought (well at least compared to Sunday) & a real pleasure to work through while the rain pours down relentlessly. I rather liked the neat anagrams at 3,5&16d along with the wee ones at 13&19a but 23a just pips 26a as my favourite.
    Thanks to M&M

  8. I agree tougher than of late for a Tuesday. Didn’t know the language in 4d, but the answer had to be what it was. 28a clever, and my cotd.
    Thanks Moeraki and MP

  9. No real hold ups. Always good to learn some new stuff but perhaps a bit too much for me in this one. Thanks to Moeraki and MP.

  10. Very enjoyable Tuesday Toughie, which brought to mind Dan Dare and some Venusians. Lots of fun, appropriate level of challenge. Had to confirm my bung-in of the Romance language, but otherwise straightforward.

    Many thanks to Moeraki and Miffypops.

  11. So, Flash Harry has a mention in 21a as well as the out of date currency in 11a.
    I must say the language in 4d was unnecessarily obscure and to think that all the efforts of 13a are classed as “no interest” is surely unkind?
    Not a being a bridge fan, the parsing of 19a was beyond me.
    No real COTD but I did impress myself by getting 5a as my first solve.

  12. We did not know the language in 4d so had a bit of head-scratching about how that one worked but no problems with the rest.
    Good fun to solve.
    Thanks Moeraki and MP.

  13. I did have to Google Sir Raymond but I knew Sir Malcolm as well as the Romance language and that odd word at 24d only because it recently appeared in one of our cryptics, I think. I really enjoyed this Tuesday Toughie, which (because I slept all afternoon nursing my decrepitude) I finished about 22 hours ago and am just now admiring it all over again. I laughed out loud at Miffypops’ illustration of 23a, my COTD. Can’t remember hearing about 18a before but it had to be what it was. Many thanks to MP for the enjoyable review (poor Bjorn) and to Moeraki for the pleasure.

  14. I am having trouble getting on a wavelength with Moeraki (interesting soubriquet – I wonder what it comes from)
    I will perseverate with Miffs hints and see what I haven’t got yet.

    1. Moeraki is a small fishing village on the South Island of New Zealand. We’ve always assumed that the setter must be a New Zealander but sadly he’s never turned up to either say hello or confirm our assumptions

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