Toughie 2813 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2813

Toughie No 2813 by Dada

Hints and tips by Stephen L

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

 Hello everyone from a bright but chilly (at the time of writing) South Devon.

I solved this lovely puzzle “blind” in that I didn’t know who the setter was until I received the template by which time it was almost done but my initial thoughts were that it was indeed the work of our Sunday maestro. A definite step up in difficulty from his weekend work so perfect for a Tuesday Toughie and a lot of fun, as we’ve come to expect from this setter.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


9a        Author left in big hole (5)
MILNE:  A writer best known for his Winnie-the-Pooh work (and his initials!) is obtained by placing the abbreviation for L inside a large hole or pit.

10a      Compare flavour of numerous liqueurs, keeping a record (9)
ANALOGISE:  A liquorice flavoured herb used in some alcoholic drinks  goes around (keeping) A from the clue and one of the usual records

11a      Tree ring almost covered by water (7)
SEQUOIA:  A ring of rubber thrown in a game to land on or near a vertical rod has its last letter removed and is inserted into (covered by) a large body of water giving a tree quite popular in crosswordland.

12a      Important answer inspiring North African people (7)
KENYANS:  A synonym of important or essential and an abbreviated form of “answer” contain (inspiring) the abbreviation for North.

13a      Belief, first of all, can really enhance every day (5)
CREED: A first letters clue.

14a      Clear his ear out when runny (9)
AUTHORISE:  Anagram (when runny) of the preceding three words.

16a      Plug in hole initially, I saw off bit of gravy — with this? (7-2,6)
WASHING-UP LIQUID: Anagram (off) of PLUG IN I SAW plus the initial letter of Hole. Add a synonym of some gravy in the monetary sense. Took me a while to see how it worked.

19a      After party, one in commercial left (9)
ABANDONED: Start with a synonym of party, not as a shindig but a group of people. Add ONE from the clue and place the result inside the usual two-letter commercial.

21a      First person in Germany with golden, sacred flower? (5)
ICHOR:  A first person German pronoun and the heraldic symbol of gold gives a fluid said to flow through the veins of Greek gods.

23a      Fortified building used primarily by Earl Grey, twice? (7)
CHATEAU:  Start with an informal word for a drink of which Earl Grey is an example. Add it’s more formal name and the initial letter (primarily) of Used. Great clue.

25a      Experienced runner regularly seen in front (7)
LEARNED:  Insert alternate letters of RuNnEr in a synonym of front

27a      Ground deep, rim is layer on surface (9)
EPIDERMIS:  Anagram (ground) of the following three words.

28a      Rope, as secured by London players (5)
LASSO: As from the clue inserted into (secured by) the shortened form of an orchestra based in our capital city.



1d        A short time with saint and prophet (4)
AMOS: A from the clue, a two-letter short period of time and the abbreviation for a saint.

2d        Calculus marker (6)
PLAQUE:  Double definition, the less obvious one being a build up of bacteria on the teeth.

3d        Support current recovery (6,4)
SECOND WIND: This renewal of strength or vigour is obtained by placing a current of air after a synonym support or back.

4d        Hat: article wrapped by parents (6)
PANAMA:  An indefinite article is inside (wrapped by) two informal names for one’s parents.

5d        Champions raising funds to acquire baseball player (8)
BACKSTOP: Champions here is a verb and it’s followed by a reversal  (raising in a down clue) of some funds.

6d        Callus in ear (4)
CORN: Double definition, one of which is some hard skin on the foot, the other refers to a plant.

7d        Sweet I stuff into tailored suit (8)
TIRAMISU:  An anagram (tailored) of suit contains I from the clue and a synonym of stuff as a verb

8d        Wanderers out to catch leader in Everton, one delivering report (10)
NEWSREADER:  Anagram (out) of WANDERERS includes the initial (leader of) of Everton

13d      In retreat, notice US train line clearer? (10)
COWCATCHER:  A synonym of retreat or recoil contains (in) a synonym of notice as a verb.

15d      First gorilla in new sanctuary, finally (10)
ORIGINALLY:  Anagram (new) of the preceding two words plus the last letter of sanctuarY

17d      As medicine man has turned crazy (8)
SHAMANIC:  Start with an anagram (turned) of HAS. Add a word meaning crazy, insane or deranged. Gives me an opportunity for this, one of the better things to come out of Wales.

18d      Something to play, well after drinks (3,5)
GIN RUMMY:  Here “well” is an exclamation. It’s preceded by two alcoholic drinks.

20d      Lovely to polish off forged shield (6)
DELISH:  Anagram (forged) of SHIELD. I think the “to polish off” refers to the fact the solution is often associated with food but I may be missing something

22d      Direct, perfect way (6)
HONEST: Start with a synonym of perfect as a verb, as one may one’s skills. Add the abbreviation of a way or road.

24d      Some knighted, English PM (4)
EDEN: Hidden (some) in the clue

26d      Misery in humour uplifting (4)
DOOM: Reverse (uplifting) a synonym of humour.

Clues that I particularly liked were 16&23a plus 4&18d. Which ones floated your boat?




33 comments on “Toughie 2813

  1. If this puzzle had found its way into the Sunday envelope I would have placed it at the cheesy end of the chalk and cheese spectrum – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 12a, 23a, and 7d – and the winner is 23a.

    Thanks to Dada and to Stephen L.

  2. A crossword that started off feeling tougher than it ended up – just on the cusp between difficult backpager and friendly Toughie, so ideal for a Tuesday

    Thanks to Dada and StephenL

  3. That was tough for a Tuesday Toughie, but well worth the effort as each piece satisfyingly fell into place with a bit of persistence. I made a false start by entering “rising tide” for 3d as my first answer in. That held me up in the NW corner until the penny finally dropped. 2d involved a new meaning of calculus for me, but the BRB came to my rescue with that one.

    10a was my favourite with 23a in second place.

    Many thanks to Dada for the fun and to SL for the review.

    1. Oh dear. Having posted this, I thought I would check on our cricketers in the West Indies. 15 minutes after the start, Alex Lees was out LBW off the first ball that I watched and only the ninth one he had faced. Perhaps he’s not the answer to the problems we are having in finding a decent opening partnership, but I suppose there’s always a second innings where he could come good. Root might as well just open himself.

  4. Thanks Dada for a gentle TypicalTuesdayToughie. And thanks to SL for confirming my loose parsing of 19a – I had my doubts but am now a happy bunny. 1*/3*

  5. Thanks to Dada for an enjoyable, if rather anagram-heavy, Toughie and thanks to StephenL for the deciphering.
    I didn’t know that meaning of calculus but the Q gave the answer away.
    My boat was floated by 12a, 23a, 13d and 18d.

  6. Good fun, though I made unnecessarily heavy weather of it – several examples where, once I got the answer, I couldn’t see why it had taken me so long, and often they intersected:12a and 7d, 13d and 23a. But, as always, there is much pleasure to be had in the dropping of the penny. Many thanks to Dada, and to Stephen for the blog post.

  7. If you have time for another crossword, our old Sunday setter has a splendid crossword in today’s Graun

  8. Straightforward although I needed e-help to find the tree. Thanks to Dada and Stephen.

  9. Re your comment about 20 down; the answer “delish” is a way of shortening “delicious”, thus something lovely to eat or polish off.

  10. After my Sunday struggles with Dada (it’s become psychological, I suspect), I was delighted to have finished this one without having to resort to assistance and having parsed them all, I think. Will now read Stephen’s review and double-check. Took me two separate sittings last night, but a great sense of satisfaction and (dare I say it?) relief to have completed a Dada Toughie. 21a wins the Gold, but I also liked 11a,15d, & 18d. Lovely puzzle. Thanks to Stephen L and Dada.

  11. A terrific Toughie for a Tuesday, just the right amount of difficulty with some excellent clues, such as my favourite, 21a. My thanks to Dada for a fine puzzle, and to SL.

  12. Well I found this harder than most, nothing new there, I made it harder for myself by writing the answer to 23a in 25a. I hadn’t heard of the calculus before. Still I got there. Favourite was 23a when I put it in the right place. Thanks to Dada and SL.

  13. I was surprised to find 20d is in the BRB. I always disliked it because an acquaintance used to say “delish pish” after every meal when “delicious, thank you” would have been so much better.
    Otherwise a great Tuesday Toughie thanks to Dada.
    Also thanks to SL for parsing 16ac which seemed too complicated.

    1. I didn’t even bother to look in the BRB but I agree with you, Chris, 20d is quite dreadful.

  14. I made much heavier weather of this than others seem to have done and it was quite a relief to finally get it completed. The only definition of 2d that I knew was the dental one and I wondered where mathematics came into it……..
    Top clues for me were 10a & 18d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Stephen for the review – there are certainly problem areas in the nation that I now call home but I would completely disagree that Manic Street Preachers are one of the best things to have come out of here. Bit of 16a needed to wash your mouth out, Stephen!

    1. Haha….sorry Jane, I’m a big fan of the Manics (well musically anyway) and had been meaning to shoehorn them into a review for some time but now I’ve done it I promise to spare you a repeat!

  15. This was on the enjoyable end of hard and I loved the hints, Stephen, but am really puzzled by what “numerous” is doing in 10a. As no one else has mentioned it, I guess it must be me.

    1. Hi Celia
      Anise is the flavour of many or numerous or some (but certainly not all) liqueurs. I hope that helps.

  16. Just started this puzzle so I am trying to avoid looking at the hints just yet, I noticed that you were struggling to find a list of forthcoming toughie setters;
    is where I found the current list
    … 2813 Dada
    2814 Hudson
    2815 Giovanni
    2816 Elgar
    is the plan for the rest of this week. There is a similar list for the Sunday toughie but they haven’t updated it yet but I will be keeping an eye on it to find out who is doing next Sunday’s

  17. I really enjoyed this so thanks to Dada and Stephen. Is 5d a position in baseball? There is a catcher, but I’ve never heard of a 5d except as a old position in cricket designed to limit extras for a wayward bowler and/or a novice wicketkeeper.

    1. Thanks to Dada and to Stephen L for the review and hints. Nice and Floughie, most enjoyable. I liked 16a and 20d, but my favourite was 17d. Lots of laughs, LOI was 2d. Was 1*/4* for me.

    2. No one today, over here in Lockdown Baseball Land (yes, players and management are at daggers ends; the opening weeks have already been cancelled), calls the position of catcher a ‘backstop’. Dada surely knows this and may have in mind an expression like this one that I once heard: ‘What a great backstop that catcher Yogi Berra was!’

    3. Geoger, I always thought that the backstop in baseball referred to the fence behind the catcher. As far as I am aware, it’s definitely not a “baseball player”.

      In cricket, a fielder placed behind a wicketkeeper is called a longstop. (Woe betide any captain who employs one when I am keeping wicket!)

      1. I tend to refer to Merriam-Webster for American words and its second meaning for backstop is:
        a player (such as the catcher) positioned behind the batter

        1. backstop
          in American English
          (ˈbækˌstɑp) (verb -stopped, -stopping)
          1. a wall, wire screen, or the like, serving to prevent a ball from going too far beyond the normal playing area
          2. Baseball
          the catcher

          My source….from Collins

  18. Surprised I managed this after a wee bit too much wine over dinner but it was a surprisingly swift solve albeit with a couple of bung ins near the end. Know nowt about baseball & last in was 13d where I couldn’t think of owt else that would fit & wasn’t even sure if the answer was a word. Too tired to parse either so I’ll let Stephen tell me the whys. Not a fan of 20d also but otherwise very enjoyable though not from the top drawer.
    Thanks to Dada & Stephen.

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