Toughie 2837 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2837

Toughie No 2837 by Moeraki

Hints and tips by Stephen L

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

Hello everyone from South Devon on a nice bright early Spring Day.
Moeraki has only set half a dozen or so Toughies so needless to say I haven’t blogged one before today, but I do know know they are usually quite accessible and good fun. I thought this one was very much in that vein too.
Apologies for the pared down review, I’m not feeling 100%.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a US politician about to meet innkeeper (10)
REPUBLICAN: Follow the usual preposition meaning about with someone who keeps a public house to give a member of the GOP

6a Joint enterprise in prison (4)
COOP: Split 2-2 this gives what could be a joint enterprise, a chain of shops in the UK.

9a Striking new 6 in the centre of Wigan (10)
PHOTOGENIC: Anagram (new) of 6a plus IN THE and G (centre of Wigan)

10a Clothes  deteriorate (4)
WEAR: Double definition, one a noun, one a verb

12a Not finding last of baggage in cargo causes alarm (6)
FRIGHT: Remove the last letter of baggage from some cargo or a shipment

13a Cut after cut cut, in a manner of speaking (8)
PARLANCE: Start with a verb meaning to trim or shave and remove (cut) its last letter. Add another cut, maybe what one would do to a boil

15a Ability to produce and touch vegetables outside.
GREEN FINGERS: A synonym of touch lies within some vegetables or a group of vegetables which we were encouraged to eat as children. Was originally thinking along the lines of an &lit for this.

18a Capital way in which kings’ representatives negotiate, we hear (6,6)
REGENT STREET: If we enumerate this 7-5 we have some kings’ representatives and a homophone (we hear) of a synonym of negotiate in the sense of manage.

21a Trouble that’s encountered in the jacuzzi (3,5)
HOT WATER: What you “encounter” if you step into a jacuzzi

22a Do without — selfishly? (6)
FOREGO: Split 3-3 this synonym of do without or sacrifice could whimsically mean selfishly

24a Rough time outside major city (4)

ROME:  The outside letters of ROugh tiME. Anyone else thought “major” was part of the wordplay. Took me a while to see it.

25a Get hold of wine — as stated, “a bit of body” (6,4)
COLLAR BONE: An informal word meaning grab or arrest and a homophone of a French wine

26a Dried-up burn, you say (4)
SERE: Another homophone (you say) of a synonym of burn or scorch

27a TV host is good man, English writer, capturing hearts with fine lines. (7,3)
STEPHEN FRY: A charade of a 2-letter abbreviation for a saint, E(nglish), a writing implement placed around H(hearts), the abbreviation for F(ine) and some (RailwaY) lines. Thanks for the partial name check setter.


1d Tear shed for exploitation (3-3)
RIP OFF: Tear in the sense of shred or rend plus shed in the sense of removed

2d Favouring healthy yield (6)
PROFIT: The usual preposition meaning for or favouring and a straightforward synonym of healthy.

3d He joins the family after the match (7-2-3)
BROTHER IN LAW: The match here is a marriage. Need I say more

4d Wild beast regularly ignored important date in March (4)
IDES: Alternate (regularly ignored) letters of the first two words

5d Novel getting fan mail sorted by member (6,4)
ANIMAL FARM: Anagram (sorted) of the preceding two words with a (body) member appended

7d Old boss to stock new shrub (8)
OLEANDER: O(ld) from the clue then a straightforward synonym of a boss or frontman into which is inserted (to stock) the abbreviation for N(ew).

8d Bolshie traveller coming up with lines (8)
PERVERSE: A reversal (coming up in a down clue) of a traveling salesman plus some (poetry) lines

11d Only nude Berg production at this opera house (12)
GLYNDEBOURNE: Anagram (production) of the previous three words. I needed a lot of checkers for this


14d Bulletin from war correspondent sadly dropped Conrad (4,6)
NEWS REPORT: Anagram (sadly) of the preceding two words after the letters that spell out CONRAD have been removed

16d Card-holders surprisingly led away to vergers in France! (8)
ORCHARDS: A bit of a repeat of previous clue. Anagram (surprisingly) of the preceding two words after the removal (away) of the letters that spell out LED

17d Get grime out of the mixer one’s found in the kitchen (3,5)
EGG TIMER: Anagram (out of the mixer) of the preceding two words

19d Discharge the French dandy for a dropped catch, maybe (3-3)
LET OFF: Split 2-4 this could whimsically describe a French dandy or fop but enumerated as per the clue gives a double definition

20d Unaccompanied artist holds on (6)
LONELY: A 17th century Dutch artist surrounds ON from the clue

23d Fielder brings up drink (4)
SLIP: The reversal of this (cricket) fielder gives a type of lager

Very enjoyable, if a touch anagram and homophone heavy. Top clue for me for the PDM on the parsing was 24a.


33 comments on “Toughie 2837

  1. Very enjoyable, completed at a steady ‘plod’ – 2.5*/4*.

    Candidates for favourite – 13a, 27a, 7d, and 8d – and the winner is the oldie but goodie 7d.

    Thanks to Moeraki and StephenL.

  2. The solving of my final clue and then parsing it took me over the border into 1* Toughieland.

    I’ve enjoyed this setter’s previous crosswords more than this one – apart from anything else, it seemed to me that he was ‘trying too hard to be Ray T’ and I’m not really a fan of very terse clues

    Thanks to Moeraki and Stephen – hope you feel better soon

  3. First read-through of the acrosses gave me precisely one answer. The downs began to fall, but I have to admit to having to reveal a letter each for 8d & 22a, plus using Mr Google to check the meaning of 26a, so technically a dnf. Good fun tho’, so thanks to Moeraki and Stephen L.

  4. I wonder how close we are in South Devon? Did you see yesterday’s mentions of Buckfastleigh? My son volunteers on the SDR when we are down here
    Not sure about this puzzle. I liked 13a, 25a was amusing but 11d took some unravelling.Rather lacklustre I think.
    Hope you feel better soon, COVID or Moderna?

    1. Hi JB
      I’m in Torquay on the South Devon coast. I didn’t see anything on Buckfastleigh but I always enjoy visiting the abbey there.
      Touch of food poisoning I think!🤢

      1. I’ve taken this off EBay . It’s my favourite GWR poster and I’m off to buy myself a copy!

  5. I had forgotten about Moeraki… I thought this was more challenging than we’ve had on a Tuesday for a while, but, like StephenL (I hope you feel better soon) I’m not firing on all cylinders today. But it really cheered me up, so thank you to our setter for that. May I politely beg to differ with CS – I really admire very short clueing. But de gustibus non disputandum est, I always say :-)

  6. Enjoyed this Moeraki, needed some help so thanks to the ailing Stephen and especially for explaining what looked to me like a completely redundant phrase at the end of 19d.

  7. I have got to learn to be more patient late at night when I first attempt these Toughies, especially in one like this nice and quite accessible Moeraki. By the time I reached the SE corner, I was too brain-weary to think properly in 25a and 3d, so I sought electronic aid with three letters. Anyway, I was delighted to solve the opera and London venues so quickly; all of those checking letters helped immensely. So much to like here in every corner, especially 13a, 27a, & 22a. Thanks to SL (hope you feel better soon) and Moeraki.

  8. 11d my favourite clue from this gentle Toughie offering. I also like the 14d/16d type of anagrams which are a bit more interesting than traditional ones. The whole puzzle was pleasantly diverting without being overly strenuous.

    My thanks to Moeraki and SL. Get well soon.

  9. An undemanding but pleasant puzzle – thanks to Moeraki and StephenL.
    Four consecutive anagrams gave me the impression that there were more anagrams than there actually were.
    My ticks went to 12a, 18a and 8d.

  10. Have to admit to looking up the 20d artist to verify his existence and also to checking on 26a.
    Quite a few that I really enjoyed and my picks would include 6,21,22&27a with 27a claiming top spot.

    Thanks to Moeraki and to poorly Stephen for the review – get well soon.
    PS We’ve solved several of your puzzles now, Moeraki, are you ready to reveal your identity yet – it seems only fair………

    1. We share your curiosity about the setter. Surely ‘Moeraki’ must imply a New Zealand connection somewhere.

  11. I’ve got 5 left to do so will look at the hints later. Did this while ‘watching’ a Zoom Art Society lecture. Trouble was us zoomers were stuck on slide 2 for the duration so rather frustrating. We had quite fun in the ‘chat room’ though and I even put the predicament into the Q & A box to no avail. Hope you are feeling better soon Stephen.

      1. I had the same feeling about not immediately recognising the opera house, Manders, especially as I’m a regular visitor there!

    1. We had a Granta art society zoom yesterday as well. Have not quite got back into the routine of attending in person at Churchill . They are so interesting.

  12. A tale of two halves ,the top one completed befote the lower was started.
    The usual Tuesday introduction to the toughie week, enjoyable with no obscurities unless vergers is one!
    Liked the27a charade and 18a, enjoyed the solve,thanks setter and SL for the pics

  13. A mixture of straightforward and really difficult clues for me, although once I’d got them I couldn’t see why. I too had to Google the artist In 20d and spent ages parsing 24a which became my favourite. I also had to check the French word for 16d. Thanks to Moeraki and SL.

  14. A good Tuesday Toughie. Reasonably accessible. 24 across was a good un which I would not have been able to work out BBD (Before Big Dave) Thanks to Morraki who can remain anonymous for me if he so wishes and also to StephenL for his blog. Food poisoning? Is that actually a thing?

  15. Like Senf I reckon this one worth **** for enjoyment. Not particularly difficult but no gimme either. I too had to look up the artist, check my French at 16d & can’t say I was familiar with 26a but not much head scratching elsewhere. 25a my clear favourite (smiled at choice of pic to illustrate) – thought it a super clue despite thinking Silvanus might have tweaked it to make it an even smoother surface. Pleased to spot the 2 subtractive anagrams or whatever they’re called.
    Thanks to Moeraki & Stephen – trust that you’ll be feeling better soon.

  16. Three-quarters of this fell sufficiently quickly that it could have been an early-week backpager, the other quarter put it fair and square as a Tuesday Toughie for me. Dragged the artist in 20d from depths of memory, and thought 27a a lovely charade even if SF could in my view better be described as comic actor, as well as broadcaster and author. Considered 19d a triple definition and rated it my COTD.

    Many thanks to Moeraki for a very satisfying solve, and to Stephen L for the review.

    1. 19 down was the subject of some discussion earlier on. The French is Le and dandy is Toff which is wordplay not definition.

  17. I enjoyed that very much , other than being completely stumped by 20d.
    Thanks to Moeraki and Stephen L.

  18. Thanks BD et al. Haven’t checked toughies for a while now. Are the answers regularly offered uncovered? ummm… strange idea!

    1. They are covered on my iPad. They should be covered on all devices. Can you say which browser you are using and I’m sure Big Dave will look into it for you.

  19. Took while for the wine homophone in 25a to come to mind and that was our longest hesitation.
    Enjoyable solve,
    Thanks Moeraki and SL.

  20. A relatively smooth Toughie but 26a and 20d left me with a DNF with me needing to peek at the answers.
    Both unknown to me.
    7d and 11d I worked out but did not know either of those either … but11d was solved with the obvious anagram to assist
    Liked 12a 18a, 27a & 1d

    Thanks to Moeraki & StephenL

  21. Thanks to everyone who has commented thus far and to all those who extended their good wishes, much appreciated.

  22. A few held me up towards the end and a bit of research required to check some of my constructions. Thanks to Stephen and Moeraki.

  23. For me this was a rare foray into Toughie territory but I realise what I have been missing – I will return. 25a amused. SW slowest to fall although 20d artist unbeknown to to me so that was very last in. My sympathies SL – I had similar g***y tummy (not PC?) problem for few days recently but don’t think it was food poisoning – do hope all will soon be well for you too. TVM for the enigma Moeraki and for hints SL.

  24. Last in I’m afraid. Did most of this very nice crossword last night and at about four this morning. I was held up a bit by writing cry off (wrong tear) for 1d and just could not fathom 23d, crickety clue although my grandson drinks the stuff and I should have known it. I liked 18a (happy memories I used to work there) and 2,3,& 11d. 5d was the favourite. Many thanks to Moeraki (an anagram?) and SL – I hope you are better soon

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