Toughie 2822 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2822

Toughie No 2822 by Firefly

Hints and tips by crypticsue

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Firefly’s turn to provide the Wednesday Toughie 

many of the solutions in this one containing well-known phrases or sayings

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


9a    Remedy problem with playing guitar? (7)
NOSTRUM If you solved the backpager first, you’d definitely have had a sense of déjà vu. If you split a remedy or favourite medicine (2,5), this will reveal a problem with playing a guitar

10a    In gear, learner’s managed shift (7)
REALIGN An anagram (managed) of IN GEAR L (learner)

11a    Contact principal with singular sources of power (4,5)
RING MAINS Contact (by telephone), a synonym for principal with the abbreviation for Singular

12a    Pronouncedly smooth-running train (5)
SUITE A homophone (pronouncedly) of an adjective, one of the many definitions of which is ‘smooth-running’

13a    Misanthrope‘s harboured by antimonarchists (5)
TIMON An Athenian misanthrope is hidden in (harboured by) anTIMONarchists

14a    Muscle in with remodelling etc. in cupboard (7)
CABINET A muscle (usually seen in the plural) inserted into an anagram (remodelling) of ETC IN

17a    Consecutive results gaining position where success is guaranteed (3-3,9)
WIN-WIN SITUATION Two (consecutive) successful results followed by (gaining) a position

19a    Initial strike has waterway seething (3,4)
TEE SHOT A Northern English river (waterway) and a synonym for seething

21a    Quite nauseated (in front and back) sitting in car (5)
KINDA An informal adverb (and yes, it is in the BRB) obtained by inserting the letters found at the front and back of NauseateD into a make of car

24a    It’s hell in headdress — regularly removed (5)
HADES The odd (regularly removed) letters of HeAdDrEsS

26a    Constantly busy — doing dressage, perhaps? (2,3,4)
ON THE TROT This expression meaning constantly busy or without a break could also describe a manoeuvre that forms part of a dressage competition

27a    Heads back to clubhouse after getting bowled within a few deliveries (7)
OBVERSE The ‘proper’ name for that side of a coin we’d call ‘heads’ – The final (back) letter of clubhousE goes after a few deliveries in cricket, into which is inserted the cricket abbreviation for Bowled

28a    Lose heart when one article ignored Paradise Lost (7)
DESPAIR An anagram (lost) of PaRADISE, omitting one of the As (one article ignored)


1d    Aroused or bored to tears? (2,1,3)
IN A RUT Either a male deer being aroused,  or stuck in a monotonous routine that is hard to escape (bored to tears)

2d    All agreed? In return, don’t mention any of it (2,3,3)
AS ONE MAN A reversal (in return) of a way of saying don’t mention any, followed by an abbreviated way of referring to sexual intercourse (it)

3d    Heaven-sent female first to leave parade — appearing under the influence? (4,2,4)
FROM ON HIGH The abbreviation for Female, an abbreviated seaside parade without its first letter, the usual two-letter ‘appearing’ and an adjective meaning under the influence

4d    Limits opening move, sacrificing first piece (5)
AMBIT Remove the first letter (sacrificing first piece) from an opening move in a game of chess

5d    Charge wildly up to scree (9)
PROSECUTE An anagram (wildly) of UP TO SCREE

6d    Load of articles in manuscript (4)
MASS An indefinite article plus an S (articles) inserted into an abbreviated manuscript

7d    Ascribe onset of interference to Truss? (6)
PINION An expression meaning to ascribe or blame (3, 2) into which is inserted the ‘onset’ of Interference

8d    Security association’s billion put away, not whipped! (8)
UNBEATEN The abbreviated world security association, the abbreviation for Billion and a verb meaning put away (food for example)

15d    Poetical medium could be verbose, checking nothing and limp within (5,5)
BLANK VERSE An anagram (could be) of VERBoSE (checking nothing indicating the need to remove the O); an adjective meaning limp inserted into the result

16d    One — Open All Hours, perhaps — homespun at heart, however it’s made (2,2,5)
AS IT COMES A pronoun meaning one, the type of television programme such as Open All Hours, and the ‘heart’ of homESpun

17d    Harry follows Hunter, say, as monitor (8)
WATCHDOG A verb meaning to harry follows a timepiece, of which a hunter is an example

18d    A’s appetite? (5,3)
INNER MAN One of those ‘that’s the solution, but how to hint it’ clues. A facetious term for appetite – the first word of which explains where the letter A can be found inside the second.

20d    Kiev I’d nearly upended carrying salad (6)
ENDIVE Hidden in reverse (upended) in kiEV ID Nearly

22d    Son casually blind to tears in new costume (6)
ATTIRE An anagram (new) of To TEARs In, without the letters SON, casually blind telling you they aren’t in that order in the anagram fodder

23d    Exercise — good for wind, possibly? (5)
ETUDE A musical exercise to train or exercise a player’s technical skill – usually associated with the piano, although I suppose you could possibly play one using a wind instrument

25d    Old-fashioned divine last seen in Christmas BBC murder mystery (4)
SCRY The last letters of christmaS bbC murdeR mysterY – an old-fashioned or dialect word meaning to divine by crystal-gazing


33 comments on “Toughie 2822

  1. Found this quite tough especially the parsing of 2d and 22d. Deja vu indeed on 9a. Thanks to CS and Firefly.

  2. Hi Firefly! Thanks so much for your blog. I am obviously a Bear of Very Little Brain today, but am still struggling with 12a… I got it from the checkers. But why is suite a ‘train’ (either as verb or noun?) Aaargh … just when I think I’m taking Toughies in my stride…

      1. Thanks so much, Cryptic Sue (and sorry to have got things the wrong way round re setter/blogger in my post!) My mind at rest, I can now enjoy the Devon sunshine while awaiting the outcome of our jalopy’s MOT….

  3. I found this relatively tough for a Wednesday too… Also struggled with 12a, which was a bung-in and I’m still not totally happy with it. In fact, quite a bit of the NE corner held out, along with 18 and 23d. Got there in the end, but never quite got on the wavelength. Hey ho.

  4. Thanks to Firefly and CS.
    I couldn’t get the Ford car working for 21a so I swapped to a South Korean make.
    The clues I liked best were 1d and 2d.

  5. Spurred on by the unintentional ‘gimme’ in 9a I went on to make a good fist of this with just a hesitation over the parsing of 22d and a struggle to justify 23d.
    Thought our setter had a slightly lighter touch today which was much appreciated.

    Thanks to Firefly and to CS for the review – especially the illustration of a 17d!

  6. A nice toughie – a lot of thinking required but all attainable from the clever wordplay – no obscure references.
    However, I still don’t understand the parsing of 2d. I can see the ‘don’t mention any’ but don’t recognise ‘SA’ as an abbreviation for ‘sex’ (it)

    1. SA = sex appeal – so, “it” is, say, “that certain quality” [sorry CS! you already answered whilst I was typing…]

  7. Bits were 21ac hard and some definitions seemed not to be my understanding of the answer e.g. 18d and 26ac, but the definitions are in the BRB, as is indeed 21ac which I have always regarded as sloppy diction and makes me kinda irritable…(in which capacity it is not alone!)
    While having a gripe, 23d could also have been “study” ( the English translation of étude) which the book also defines as ‘a musical composition serving as an exercise in technique.’
    Thanks to CS as 2d and 22d wouldn’t parse themselves and to Firefly for the entertainment particularly 27ac.

    1. I kinda like the wicked use of English. It’s fun. You should see what the deaf kids do with sign language. Just as irreverent but funnier. You can’t push the river uphill so best go with the flow

  8. I hit a struggly wall about three quarters of the way through this puzzle. A rather you than me day Sue. Thanks for sorting me out. Firefly, you beat me today. Fair and square. Beam tomorrow

    1. It is all very well to say that “Kinda” is in the BRB. The simple fact is that it shouldn’t be. Language does indeed evolve but “Kinda” is not a new word but merely a sloppy pronunciation of “Kind of”.

      1. It’s not so simple a fact. There are criteria which must be met and I don’t think your personal view has much sway over that. Kinda is used by a widespread number of people both in verbal use and in print. Enough so that those who decide these things deem that it has earned its place in the dictionary. And rightly so for me. Kinda wicked really. Innit?

        1. Does anyone remember The Memory Kinda Lingers by the Not the Nine O’clock News troupe?
          (not posting a link – it is rather crude) but shows that kinda has been around for ages.

  9. Good fun this, not overly tough but testing enough to keep the old brain box ticking over. Some cracking clues, but my top two were 19a and 16d.

    My thanks to Firefly for the challenge and to CS for some help with the parsing.

  10. Consecutive Toughies that I have really not enjoyed. While yesterday’s suffered from too many clumsy surfaces, too often this one left me scratching my head thinking “what”, or indeed “oh, really?” I disliked 21a, was unaware of (or had possibly forgotten other than in the context of crosswords) the abbreviation “SA” as being sex appeal, while 23d could legitimately have been one of two answers. I felt the overall technical structure of the clueing detracted considerably from the pleasure normally experienced on solving a Toughie.

    COTD 27a – possibly one of the best and smoothest clue-and-answer combinations I have seen in a long while.

    4* / 1*

    Thank you to Firefly and to CS.

  11. Sadly, I did not enjoy this one much, but I did manage to finish most of it. CS, blank verse is always in iambic and always pentametric. Whatever those two tercets are in the illustration, they are not in blank verse. The only thing there that qualifies is the lack of rhyme. Obviously, that was my COTD. Thanks to CS and Firefly.

      1. To SLEEP, perCHANCE to DREAM–ay, THERE’S the RUB:
        For IN that SLEEP of DEATH what DREAMS may COME

        Two celebrated lines in blank verse.

  12. Failed on too many to mention but, as you know, idioms are my bêtes noires.
    Thanks nonetheless to Firefly for the unfruitful workout and to CS for filling the wide gaps.

  13. Too many family distractions today so unhappily a DNF. However, I did get the Shakespearean 13a which surprised me..

  14. I didn’t care for the clue to 22d at all and the solution to 23d could have been either of two possibilities.

  15. We also struggled somewhat but did get a completion. 23d last one to fall.
    Thanks Firefly and CS.

  16. You have to take the tough with the smooth. As others have mentioned a couple of synonyms and definitions stretched beyond my ken, even though they are all in the BRB. SA equalling sex appeal was new to me as was 25d. Every day is a school day and I thank Firefly and CS for the lesson today. Endive is not enough to feed my 23d. I will have a nicecupofteaandabiscuit instead.

  17. Did this Friday 25th … found it a bit of a struggle and needed the hints for sure.
    Some clues were fun, some were troublesome.
    13a, 4d & 25d unknown words for me.
    Favourites were 21a & 17d

    Thanks to Firefly & CS

  18. 2*/4*….
    liked 27A ” Heads back to clubhouse after getting bowled within a few deliveries (7) “

Comments are closed.