Toughie 2860 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2860

Toughie No 2860 by proXimal

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A welcome medium-difficulty puzzle from proXimal.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Work together sealing politician’s brief (7)
COMPACT: A (2-3) word meaning work together contains (sealing) an abbreviation for a politician

5a    Lacking room, spearmint moved for sage (7)
SAPIENT: An anagram (moved) of SPEA(rm)INT lacking the abbreviation for room

9a    Exposed stripped body seen around Aussie’s truck (5)
OUTED: (b)OD(y) from the clue with the outer letters stripped goes around the Australian slang for a small pick-up truck (utility truck)

10a    This subversive welcoming Timon would be against royalty (9)
ANARCHIST: Insert ‘Timon’ into the answer and you will get a person who is against royalty

11a    Edge back deep with player on field and cover for prop (6,4)
PILLOW SLIP: A reversal (back) of a 3-letter edge, a word for deep (as in voice), and a player on the cricket field

12a    Tolerated swine in conversation (4)
BORE: A homophone (in conversation) of another word for swine

14a    Blue container inside oven’s loaded with rice (12)
CONSERVATIVE: An anagram of (loaded) OVENS + RICE contains (inside) a container

18a    Drag empty tub by grasses, ones bearing bristles (12)
PAINTBRUSHES: A drag or bother, T(u)B without the inner letter (empty), and some marsh grasses

21a    Climber last in trek reaching summit (4)
PEAK: A climbing plant and the last letter in trek

22a    Rise with good beer knocked back in quiet club (10)
SHILLELAGH: A rise or tor plus the reversal (knocked back) of the abbreviation for good and another word for beer, all inside (in) an interjection meaning quiet

25a    Bill shunning new colour gets dressed (9)
ACCOUTRED: A 7-letter bill without (shunning) the abbreviation for new, plus a bright colour

26a    Presumably, disapprovals displayed for retreats (5)
NOOKS: Split (2,3), the answer suggests disapprovals

27a    Explanation of text friend, not enemy, bored by (7)
ENDNOTE: Hidden ( … bored by)

28a    Criminal sort in jail’s last bit of snout (7)
NOSTRIL: An anagram (criminal) of SORT IN plus the last letter in jail


1d    Head of CAMRA’s description of some ales as rough (6)
CHOPPY: The first letter (head) of CAMRA plus a description of the flavour of some beers

2d    Picked up tin for one character (6)
METTLE: A homophone (picked up) of a kind of substance exemplified by tin

3d    Don’s swimming in a river among other things (3,2,5)
AND SO FORTH: An anagram (swimming) of DON’S goes inside (in) A from the clue and a river in Scotland

4d    Lead in band downed gins (5)
TRAPS: A 5-letter word for a band or thong has its first letter (lead) moved to the bottom (downed, in a down clue)

5d    Europeans heated pool upon mounting second filter (9)
SPANIARDS: A 3-letter heated pool, then a reversal (upon mounting) of the abbreviation for second plus a word meaning to filter or draw off

6d    Sled carrying this Hollywood star would get spotted (4)
PECK: Inserting this actor into the word ‘SLED’ gives you a word meaning ‘spotted’

7d    Occasional large-scale arrests as detective (8)
EPISODIC: A 4-letter word meaning large-scale or impressive contains (arrests) a short word that can mean ‘as’ plus the abbreviation for a detective

8d    Time was important, scrubbing top being worn (8)
TATTERED: The abbreviation for time, then a word meaning ‘was important’ without its first letter (scrubbing top)

13d    Produced ranges including English cakes (10)
MADELEINES: A 4-letter word meaning produced, and a word meaning ranges (of products) containing (including) the abbreviation for English

15d    Extra money cleaner received in rise (9)
SURCHARGE: A 4-letter cleaner goes inside a rise or swell

16d    Elusive craft stall’s first playpen assembled (8)
SPYPLANE: The first letter of stall plus an anagram (assembled) of PLAYPEN

17d    Supplied dough for month, bread provided in return (8)
FINANCED: A reversal (in return) of the last calendar month, an Indian bread, and a short word meaning ‘provided’

19d    Deliverer leaving starter from Indian — enjoy! (6)
SAVOUR: A 7-letter deliverer (from evil) loses (leaving) the first letter (starter) of Indian

20d    Church aisle not a winding shape (6)
CHISEL: The abbreviation for church plus an anagram (winding) of (a)ISLE without (not) ‘A’

23d    Taxed home in California? (5)
LADEN: Split (2,3), the answer could be a home in California

24d    Love booze-up occasionally served up this, perhaps (4)
OUZO: The letter that looks loke a score of zero, and a reversal (served up) of the even letters (occasionally) in booze-up

I  enjoyed the subversive welcoming Timon (10a) but my favourite today is the jailbird running out of tobacco (28a). Which clues did you like?


12 comments on “Toughie 2860

  1. Nice change to have a quick toughie on a sunny Friday – off to the allotment!
    Thanks to proXimal and Dutch.

  2. Very enjoyable if less tough than our usual Friday fare – thanks to Mr X and Dutch.
    Top clues for me were 28a (last bit of snout – brilliant), 1d and 17d.

  3. Very enjoyable Toughie, surprisingly swift for a Friday! Some superb clues and nothing too bizarre. Pennies dropped with regular chimes, plenty of smiles, good smooth surfaces. LOI 2d. I had 10a and 4d from early on but just could not parse them. Hope MiffyP 19d’s the food and drink!

    4* / 4.5*

    Podium contenders included 25a, 26a, 28a; 3d (reminded me of afternoons punting past Parson’s Pleasure), 6d, 13d, 23d and my COTD, 17d.

    Many thanks to ProXimal, and to Dutch.

  4. Top half took much longer than the bottom but on reflection I can’t see why.
    All fairly clued but I was off wavelength today.
    Thanks to Dutch for excellent blog and to proXimal.
    Like Mustafa I found this more difficult than it seems others did ……

  5. This may have been a slightly easier Toughie than we have come to expect on a Friday, but it was
    brilliantly clued throughout and a real joy to complete. The clever and stylish 28a gets my vote for COTD – quite superb.

    Many thanks to proXimal and Dutch.

  6. Beautifully crafted good fun puzzle. Favourite 28a too.
    Thanks proXimal and Dutch.

    1. Always a joy to receive your comment. Hope all is well in NZ. Not sure it is here.

  7. Thank you, Dutch, for your essential review, as usual. I should have fared much better than I did on this excellent proXimal Toughie, but I’m a bit under the weather over here across the Pond. Just wanted to let you know that I always attempt the toughies and, especially on Fridays, study them afterwards to keep my mind from calcifying further than it already has. Thanks too to proXimal. Have a good weekend!

  8. Whenever I manage to complete a Friday Toughie, I look at the blog only to discover that it was a much easier Toughie than one normally finds on a Friday! However, I thoroughly enjoyed my morning workout, so I cannot compain. But one day I am going to finish a really hard one…

    1. personally i dislike the difficulty ratings, people are different and i worry they place too much attention on them. They are directly derived from my solving times, i don’t know how else to do that. But sometimes you can solve a hard puzzle quickly and vice versa, so many variables. Well done.

  9. Far from the Friday fare from Elgar and Osmosis, but this one took me forever until the LOI 24d slotted in.
    When completed I can’t for the life of me see why. Good quality clueing throughout and no obscurities should have seen this off at a gallop but somehow the wavelength evaded me.
    Thanks to Proximal for the exercise and Dutch for a great review read after the solve.

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