Toughie 2834 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2834

Toughie No 2834 by Django

Hints and tips by crypticsue

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **/***Enjoyment ****

Django continues to provide entertaining Toughies – I know there’ll be the usual muttering about clue lengths,  but I thoroughly enjoyed solving and blogging this one, especially the oooh moment when I realised how one particular clue parsed.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Working on charter airline carrying first-class towards Heathrow Terminal 5, e.g. (4,7)
TUBE STATION The name of a charter airline company and ON (from the clue) ‘carrying’ or having inserted between them an adjective meaning first class and a preposition meaning towards

7a    Romp cut short by case of listeria — it’s a game of chance (7)
TOMBOLA One of the meanings of romp is a high-spirited boyish girl – truncate (cut short) the more widely-used word for this and add the ‘case’ of ListeriA

8a    Alcoholic’s lies backfire about bottles — heads to rock bottom? (7)
ABSEILS Hidden in reverse (about …. Bottles) in alcoholicS LIES BAckfire

10a    Ornamental work where daughter goes to become well-mannered woman? (5)
INLAY If you split this ornamental work 2, 3, you should see where the abbreviation for Daughter goes to ‘become’ a well-mannered woman

11a    European newspaper, ultimately fated to become Spain’s Sun — one found by schoolmate? (5,4)
LEMON SOLE Take a French daily afternoon newspaper and replace the ultimate letter of fateD found in the name of that newspaper with the Spanish word for sun

12a    Kinky orgy with UHT milk product (7)
YOGHURT An anagram (kinky) of ORGY with UHT

14a    Late goal creates stalemate (4,3)
DEAD END An adjective meaning deceased (late) and a goal

15a    Payment from Pinter’s script, primarily defined by large breaks in speech (4,3)
LUMP SUM The primary letters of Pinters Script defined by or fixed inside the abbreviation for Large and some interjections of hesitation (breaks in speech)

18a    Spy from the East meets Greek character and Bond’s boss — shh! (4,3)
KEEP MUM A reversal (from the East in an Across solution) of a verb meaning to give a sly look (spy) followed by a letter of the Greek alphabet and the codename of James Bond’s boss

20a    Northern poet’s entertaining spots with clubs moved to later social event (4,5)
BARN DANCE The abbreviation for Northern ‘entertained’ by a literary word for a poet, followed by some spots with the abbreviation for Clubs moved later in that word

21a    Belief it could go either way (5)
TENET This belief could go either way because the word is a palindrome

22a    Leaving dramatic chapter out (7)
EXITING Omitting (out) the abbreviation for chapter from a synonym for dramatic

23a    Copper with hobby, say, ignoring pressure to make superintendent (7)
CURATOR The chemical symbol for copper and the type of bird of prey of which a hobby is an example, without the P (ignoring pressure)

24a    Pickpockets casing area try jostling tourists (3-8)
DAY-TRIPPERS Slang for pickpockets ‘casing’ the abbreviation for Area and an anagram (jostling) of TRY


1d    Prisoner under sentence causes delay (4,3)
TIME LAG Slang for a prisoner goes under the sentence they’d serve

2d    Lad penning books to get prize (5)
BOOTY A young land ‘penning’ the abbreviated Books of the Old Testament

3d    Red wine lake lowered somewhat — supporting prices, finally (7)
SCARLET A type of wine with the abbreviation for lake moved further down the word (lowered somewhat) ‘supporting’ or going after in a Down solution, the final letter of priceS

4d    Protected from breaking into unpoliced metal packing (7)
ALARMED Remove the abbreviation for the Metropolitan Police (unpoliced) from metAL and another way of saying carrying a weapon (packing)

5d    Suggest variable annuities (9)
INSINUATE An anagram (variable) of ANNUITIES

6d    Disgusting number one — very much my sort of thing (7)
NOISOME The abbreviation for number, the letter meaning one, and a two-word expression meaning very much my sort of thing

7d    Somehow still barely seventeen, for example (11)
TRISYLLABLE An anagram (somehow) of STILL BARELY produces the description of a particular type of word, an example of which is the solution to 17d

9d    It shows what one’s up to when Saint Peter is welcoming journalist over me (11)
SPEEDOMETER The abbreviation for Saint and PETER (from the clue) ‘welcoming’ an abbreviated journalist, the cricket abbreviation for Over and ME (from the clue)

13d    Encouraging noises from courier — last drop from delivery is in time (4-5)
UPSY-DAISY A well-known courier company, the last drop of delivery, and IS (from the clue) inserted into a period of time

16d    Joined political journalist with something incendiary (7)
MARRIED The surname of a political journalist (until recently with the BBC) and an explosive device (something incendiary)

17d    Perhaps Mourinho‘s hair embracing silver colour at last (7)
MANAGER Some long hair ’embracing’ the chemical symbol for silver, the result followed by the final letter of colouR

18d    Bone needing potassium — nurse on the counter putting measurement up (7)
KNEECAP The chemical symbol for potassium, a reversal (on the counter) of an abbreviated nurse, followed by a reversal (up) of a measurement of speed

19d    Regularly email heads about English transcript (7)
MINUTES The regular letters of eMaIl and some informal heads, the abbreviation for English being inserted into the latter

21d    Short — sitting in booster seat (5)
TERSE Hidden (sitting) in boosTER SEat

33 comments on “Toughie 2834

  1. Fun, with a lot of reverse engineering for some of the parsing. 24a was my favourite. Thanks to Django and CS.

  2. I managed this ok, but I needed the hints to parse 1a, 2a, 10a, 20a and 4d. I’ll get the hang of this one day. Favourite was 6d. Thanks to Django and CS.

  3. Great fun. I always think the joy of a Django puzzle is in the parsing & today’s cracker no exception. Wonder if Sue’s oooh moment was at 13d ? Certainly was for me & the key to unlocking the west which I found a good deal trickier than the east – that 7d anagram took an embarrassingly long time & the political journo also. Could pick out any number of clues as a favourite – 1,18,20&24a along with 7,9&13d the standouts for me.
    Thanks to Django & to CS
    Ps An excellent Picaroon puzzle in the Graun with a wonderfully risqué 10d

  4. I thought this was a gem, a real tour de force.
    I initially filled a lot of it in through the checkers and stabs at the definition and it was only when going back and justifying the wordplay that I appreciated the skill and artistry in putting it together.
    Ticks all over the place including 8,11,15&24a plus 6d but top spot for sheer audacity and has to be the brilliant 13d.
    Many thanks to Django and CS for the top notch entertainment.

  5. Oh my! I finished it! It may be just a 2-star puzzle but I’m thrilled. Maybe I’m getting my mojo back. I did need the hint to parse 1A because I’ve never heard of that airline. 8A is my top pick. Thanks to Django and CS.

  6. All what has been said above and more. The only thing wrong with this puzzle is that it wasn’t published yesterday for me to blog. So entertaining that I might very well buy two tickets to see this setter at Warwick Arts Centre in October. He’s in Leicester the night before so he’s got to pass my house on the way. Anyway. Lots to like with a refreshing way of clueing. Keep em coming Dave. I like them. Can you tell? Thanks to DJango and to Cryptic Sue

    1. I’d really recommend Dave Gorman’s live shows; they’re so clever, finding humour in incredibly detailed analysis of everyday things, and not being political or cruel.

      I was excited when Ents24 emailed me to announce his show at the Alhambra theatre in Bradford (11 miles from our house) in the autumn. I was considerably less excited when I looked it up and discovered that on that date he’s actually playing at the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline (200 miles from our house).

      1. A man who so carefully constructs his shows to get the most out of the words he uses was always going to be a winner at setting cryptic crossword puzzles. I was interested from the very beginning and he is improving all of the time.

        1. Are we saying that Django is Dave Gorman? Apologies if I’m being dim, but I have no idea how you know who the setter is, even if it is given i.e the toughies! Gx

          1. Yes Django in the DT, Bluth in the Indy and Fed in the FT are all Dave Gorman.

  7. It takes all kinds of compilers, from the concise to the verbose, to give us these fascinating Toughies (I prefer the Logman types to today’s). Completing this one took several sittings–baseball games and last night’s dinner interrupting–but I managed to finish, though not without several parsing issues, which CS has settled (1a, 13d, 16d). I do not understand, however, ‘one found by a schoolmate’ in 11a. I think that 15 and 18a are my favourites. Thanks to CS and Django.

  8. Yes, the clues were wordy, but that’s fine by me provided the surfaces are smooth without any surface padding which is the case here. This was nicely challenging – just the right level of difficulty for mid-week Toughie and very enjoyable. The only thing I needed to look up was that “romp” can be a synonym of “tomboy”.

    As others have commented there were several clues where reverse engineering of the parsing was the order of the day.

    7d had an ingenious double interpretation whereby the answer describes both the word “seventeen” as well as the answer to clue number seventeen.

    There were too many good clues to single out any one for favouritism.

    Many thanks to Django and to CS.

  9. A thoroughly entertaining puzzle from Django.

    Loved it all … but especially the definitions in 11a and 9d.

    Couldn’t parse 7d … so thanks to CS for the explanation.
    (Somehow I missed “Somehow” as the anagram indicator. Oh Dear!)

  10. Good fun today and a**/**** for me.
    Nothing obscure just excellent cluing, favourite was 24a followed by Mr Mourinos hair!
    Thanks to Django and CS for the pics

  11. Thanks CS – and all for the comments so far.

    I think the fact that the answer to 17d works as an example of the answer for 7d is really just a happy coincidence. Certainly when I wrote the clue I only meant that the word seventeen itself was an example – as noted by Rabbit Dave above. The word makes for a nice surface reading without needing to be a reference to another clue. But I’m more than happy to pretend I meant it all along.

    1. Great puzzle. Thanks for popping in. 17d certainly didn’t remotely occur to me in relation to 7d. I had more than enough trouble figuring out the anagram.

    2. Well over 50 years of cryptic crossword solving and I’m conditioned to thinking that if there is a number referenced in a clue and there’s another clue with that number, it will 99% of the time be a reference to that second clue

    3. Good of you to pop by Django and thanks again for a top puzzle, if there’s been a better clue than 13d this year I can’t remember it.

  12. An enjoyable romp (a word I had to look up to confirm the 7a meaning) – thanks to Django and CS.
    Top clues for me were 15a, 23a and 13d.

  13. Well I have completed the whole of the top half and I know they are right because I can ask my device if I have made any errors. On some of them I have absolutely no idea how I got there so I will look at CS’s hints when I have, hopefully, finished. Thanks to all.

    1. Well, I have now finished and will read the hints as most of my answers were some pretty good guesswork!

  14. I enjoyed that but needed quite a lot of help from CS. I did like the schoolmate as I used the same device in a recent stab at a clue for the puzzles newsletter. I also had to look up romp.
    I have earmarked tickets for the setters tour later this year but hope resumption of his normal gainful employment doesn’t stop him setting these delightful puzzles.

  15. I really enjoyed cracking this one this morning, with some tricky clues in amongst the easier ones. I liked the 7d/17d combo the best. Great entertainment.

    Thanks to Django and CS.

  16. Top stuff, many thanks Django & CS. I can only echo the appreciative comments above. Ridiculous definition of 11a probably makes it my favourite, though really it was super throughout. Thanks again!

  17. Add me to the fan club.
    Last in were 20a and 16d were I had to check the acronym but the journalist rang a bell.
    Thanks to Django for the super fun and to CS for the review.

  18. Guess that the parochial knowledge needed for clues like 1a and 17d make it harder for us than for most UK solvers but we did get it all sorted in reasonable time with a little help from Google. An enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Django and CS.

  19. Cracking puzzle, one of the most enjoyable Toughies for a long time. Loved it. Thank you so much for your witty genius, Django.

    & thanks also to CS, because I just couldn’t parse the northern poet or encouraging noises.

Comments are closed.