Toughie 2853 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2853

Toughie No 2853 by Dada
Hints and tips by StephenL

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***

Good afternoon to everyone from a cloudy South Devon. Not my favourite Dada puzzle today, I have to say, a bit general knowledge heavy and a few too many double definitions for my liking but as ever with this setter lots to like too.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a Swaying, rocking action so, bilious on board (11)
OSCILLATION: Anagram (rocking) of the following two words placed around a synonym of bilious (on board)

9a Where merchandise is scattered? (3,4,3,4)

ALL OVER THE SHOP: A pretty straightforward cryptic definition, think goods in a retail setting

11a Bill educator (4)
BEAK: Double definition, the less obvious being an informal word for both a judge and a headmaster

12a Splendid drink knocked over (5)
REGAL: Reverse (knocked over) a refreshing beer.

13a Four characters in Europe standing trial (4)
PEST: Hidden in the clue.

16a Resident of small country governed by First Lady, out of bounds (8)
ANDORRAN: Start with the first lady in Greek mythology (often associated with a box) and remove the outer letters. Add a synonym of governed or managed.

17a Over-elaborate  colour (6)
PURPLE: This colour when related to prose say, can mean to write in a very elaborate manner, so I guess a double definition.

19a Perhaps brief peer is taken inside box that neither opens nor closes (6)
ARISTO: Is from the clue goes inside a box without its first and last letters, giving an informal word for a patrician or grandee.

20a Primate departs tropical tree (8)
TAMARIND: A small monkey is followed by the abbreviation for Departs

22a Before kiss, take off top (4)
APEX: Take off here is a verb, meaning to mimic. Place it before the letter representing a kiss in a text say.

23a Lighter  twin (5)
MATCH: A pretty straightforward DD.

24a On the organ with a drum, our two instruments clashing, initially (4)
OTIC: Nothing musical here. The organ with a drum is of course on the sides of one’s head. The first letters (initially) of the preceding four words.

27a Novel published on Ray, jazz favourite (8,2,4)
RHAPSODY IN BLUE: Anagram (novel) of the following three words. Here’s a real treat.

28a Flag is pentagon, surprisingly divided by five (6,5)
PAVING STONE: This came up in yesterday’s (very good) Rookie Corner and was not dissimilarly clued. Anagram of IS PENTAGON with the Roman numeral for five inserted


2d Sailor with bad temper in King Edward’s smack? (4,3,7)
SALT AND VINEGAR: King Edward’s here is a type of potato. An informal word for a sailor, a synonym of with and a word associated with sourness or sulk gives this flavour or “smack”

3d Flatten  metal (4)
IRON: Another double definition, one a verb the other a noun.

4d On welcoming first of invitees, call up vassal (8)

LEIGEMAN:  Insert the first letter of Invitees into a synonym of on in a cricket sense and follow it by a reversal (up) of synonym of call

5d Artist: Hyperion, for example, inspiring one (6)
TITIAN: Place the letter representing single inside a family of Greek mythological gods of which Hyperion was a member

6d More than one animal in buffalo, fox, giraffe and penguin, last of all (4)
OXEN: A variation on a first letters clue, this time it’s the last letters of the four animals in the clue

7d Manouvre tricky there, indicate, then go (5-5,4)
THREE POINT TURN: Anagram (tricky) of THERE, then synonyms of indicate or gesture and go as a noun.

8d Tasteless sandwiches put in container on top of doughnuts, sweet (7,4)
SPOTTED DICK: Start with an informal synonym of tasteless and place it around (sandwiches) the past tense of a verb meaning to put in a container as you would a plant and the initial letter of Doughnuts.

10d Something said by charmer, rogue being cuddled by a couple of supporters? (11)
ABRACADABRA: One of crosswordland’s favourite rogues is “cuddled” or is inside a couple of bodily supporters each preceded by A from the clue.

14d Jar colossal, by the sound of it? (5)
GRATE: Jar here is a verb and is a homophone (by the sound of it) of a synonym of colossal or huge.

15d Islander sending up all but two characters in opera (5)
CUBAN: Remove the final two letters of an 1842 Verdi opera and reverse (sending up) the result.

18d Transmittable  skill of fielders (8)
CATCHING: Two meanings, both pretty obvious.

21d Case of goliath leading India, (6)
GANDHI: How you would say the outer two letters of GoliatH “leading” or going before an abbreviation for India. A clever &lit.

25d Bones, when like that, turned over (4)
OSSA: Two 2-letter synonyms of when and “like that” are reversed or “turned over”

26d Final word, acknowledgment by unsuccessful angler? (4)
OBIT: Split the solution 1-4 and you have what an unsuccessful angler achieved after a fruitless session, the letter O representing zero or nothing.

22a plus 2,8,21& 26d were my winners today. Which floated your boat?


29 comments on “Toughie 2853

  1. As I said in my comment on the back pager, this Dada took me less time and was more enjoyable.

    I did wonder if the last word of 2d’s clue should have been snack.

    Candidates for favourite – 19a, 20a, and 18d – and the winner is 18d.

    Thanks to Dada and StephenL.

    1. “salt and vinegar” is a flavour, not a snack (a snack would be e.g. “salt and vinegar crisps”). From Chambers:
      n a taste; a distinctive or distinguishable flavour; a trace or tinge; a mere tasting, enough to taste.

      1. Perhaps you have never heard the story of a man going into a pub and asking the landlord if they serve food. The answer – Yes, Cheese and Onion or Salt and Vinegar.

    2. S. I can see where you’re coming from, but smack is the best word (as explained by CS). And, it furthers the marine theme of the surface – a smack is also a sailing boat.

  2. Sorry about dull weather in Devon…beautiful day on the IOW.
    I needed help parsing 16ac and 15d and daftly put in test for 13ac.
    Thanks to both.

  3. A proper Toughie on a Tuesday – this took me a 3.75* Toughie time to solve and I really enjoyed it. I particularly smiled at the ‘mythical’ rather than ‘nebulous’ lady in 16a

    Thanks to Dada for the unexpected brain stretching and to StephenL for the blog

  4. That was a fun run. My only real hitch was stupidly 2d in which smack (i.e. slap!) had confused me but then I introduced snack to my thinking and the penny dropped. Favs were 8d and 10d. I must make a point of more frequently getting around to the Toughie as well as the Cryptic. Thank you Dada and StephenL.

  5. Not one of Dada’s most scintillating efforts but even a below par Dada is never less than entertaining – thanks to him and StephenL.
    My initial impression was that 10d didn’t really work but looking at it again I think it’s ok.
    My selections for the honours board were 22a, 7d and 26d.

  6. Really enjoyed this witty and amusing Tuesday Toughie, which I felt merited its place in the inside pages. But then again Dada is one of my favourite setters, so why wouldn’t I? I was ‘caught’ out for a while thinking the fielders’ skills were ‘passable’ and that the H in 21d was rather nearer the G, until Mr Gershwin’s composition forced a rethink. Could not parse the Pyrennean resident for toffee but recall visiting the country decades ago, and wondered whether ‘smack’ was some strange dialect expression for ‘crisps’!

    Many thanks indeed to Dada and to Stephen L

    Coincidentally, yesterday I looked up the Lord Peter Wimsey BBC Radio theme, “When Day is Done” by Paul Whiteman & orchestra, which led me to their performance of Rhapsody in Blue in the 1930 film King of Jazz, where the sound track was recorded independently of the filming, and works remarkably well given how long ago the over-dubbing took place! Here’s an abridged colour version, and you may wish to forward until the “voodoo dance” bit is over:

  7. Got more pleasure from this than Stephen seems to have done although it did take a bit of will-power to agree with ‘smack’ in 2d.
    Podium places dished out to 9,17&20a plus 8d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Stephen for the review.
    PS Bet our Rookie Meles smiled at 28a!

  8. Needed the hints to parse 16a (didn’t know the lady was the first), 17a (didn’t know the second definition), 20a (didn’t know the monkey) and 15d (didn’t know the opera). Well I do now! Still, not bad for me. Favourite was 7d. Thanks to Dada and SL.

  9. I really enjoyed this Dada offering, with plenty of smiles and ticks along the way. The smack or snack argument passed me by as a I misread the clue. That aside, all parsed and accounted for with 7d my favourite.

    Many thanks to the aforementioned and SL.

  10. It would have helped if I’d understood all of the clues. Some were just incomprehensible. That said, I enjoyed and solved 9a and 10d
    I see the revealed answer problem persists. Boring!

      1. Mr K did the cryptic and his spoilers show Answer until clicked. SL uses spoilers that show Click Here!. ???? The mystery deepens

        1. The difference between my spoilers and the standard ones is more than just the text that appears on the button; the underlying code is different. Knowing that mine still work when the standard ones don’t is helpful.

  11. I did know the opera of course but not the monkey (even though I knew the tree and it had to be that), nor did I twig just now ‘smack’ was employed but 2d couldn’t have been anything else. And I don’t recall ever reading that the Greek mythic figure was the ‘First Lady’, but we do live and learn. So, on balance, I did quite well to finish on my own without assistance and enjoyed the challenge very much. I agree with SL’s choices, especially 22a, 21d, & 26d–and a special shout-out to the greatest symphonic work ever composed by an American artist, 27a. Thanks to StephenL and Dada.

  12. Good fun as ever from this setter. For some reason that makes no sense now 19a was my last to fall. Did need to confirm the 15d opera.
    Thanks Dada and SL.

  13. Thanks to SL and Dada. I really enjoyed this early this morning. Keep em coming Dada. They suit me

  14. Needed Stephen to explain the parsing of 16,17&20a for the same reasons as TG & the hints to solve 15d& 19a. Like YS I misread smack as snack. 7&10d my top 2 in an enjoyable puzzle that didn’t strike me as being particularly below par.
    Thanks to Dada & Stephen.

  15. The answers are showing again. I have tried my iPhone and MacBook (safari) and they are showing on both

    1. This glitch is becoming a real nuisance, I’ve tried several browsers on both my android phone and Windows 10 PC, without success. At first answers were uncovered on a sporadic basis, but now it almost every time I access BD. I’ve commented at being pleased that the problem had disappeared, only to have it return when I open up the same BD page later. As to this toughie I found it far more testing than others have, took lots of electronics to get a full grid…..just me I guess. Thanks to Dada for the workout and Stephen for the blog.

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