Toughie 2873 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2873

Toughie No 2873 by Dada
Hints and tips by Miffypops
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I had no idea who set this puzzle when I solved it. I suspected Dada but not enough to place a wager. 16 of the clues have unchecked first letters which together with some rather stretched synonyms made for a tougher solve than usual for a Tuesday



8a. Back of restaurant fantastic spot, on reflection, for vegetarian food (4)

TOFU: Begin with the last letter of the word restaurant. Add the reverse of a fantastic spot. The initials of a visitor from another planet possibly. I occasionally think our setters come from a different planet

9a. Tool that’s keen, scratching head (3)

AWL: To keen is to wail in grief for a dead person or to make an eerie wailing sound. Remove the first letter from a word meaning to weep or cry noisily

10a. Lazybones,   one going on foot? (6)

LOAFER: A person who avoids work and spends their time idly is also a leather shoe shaped like a moccasin, with a flat heel

11a. Cannon    ball that’s soft (3-3)

POM POM: A double definition. The second being made of wool

12a. Strike alongside second labourer

BACKHAND: Split 4,4 your answer consists of a word meaning to second or sponsor and a labourer or general worker

13a. Dog barking longer, tired always (6.9)

GOLDEN RETRIEVER: An anagram (barking) of LONGER TIRED is followed by a word meaning always

15a. Member of the family boards (7)

STEPSON: Split 5,2 your answer tells how one might board a boat, aeroplane or bus

17a. Staff canteen’s opening in month before winter sale ends (7)

SCEPTRE: The opening letter of the word canteen sits inside an abbreviation for one of the twelve months of the year. This is followed by the last letters of the words winter and sale

20a. Performance of comic remarkable in show’s interval (10,5)

COMMERCIAL BREAK: Anagram (performance of) of COMIC REMARKABLE

23a. I work in retro style, then study modern image (8)

EMOTICON: The letter I from the clue and a heavy volume of work are reversed and followed by a word meaning to study

25a. Head   chef’s strip?

NOODLE: An informal term for one’s head is also a very thin, long strip of pasta or a similar flour paste, eaten with a sauce or in a soup that might be made by a chef

26a. Author easily fooled in conversation? (6)

GREENE: This author and friend of Charlie Chaplin sounds exactly like a description of somebody who is easily duped. He appears regularly in Daily Telegraph cryptic puzzles despite being rather dead since 1991

27a. Date stone cut (3)

SEE: What the stone is in a peach or apricot minus its last letter will leave a verb meaning to date someone romantically

28a. Spread   grain? That’s fine (4)

MEAL: A double definition. Ignore the question mark. A spread that is placed for eating or ground grain


1d. End of battle with South. nothing against old country (6)

KOSOVO: Begin with the abbreviation for how a boxing match might end. Add the abbreviation for south. Add the letter that looks like nothing. Add the letter denoting against which is often used in sporting fixtures. Add the abbreviation for old. You can stop now. You are done

2d. Arrogant  rose (6-2)

JUMPED UP: A double definition. The second being done abruptly

3d. Awful lot of noise around pottery, smashing item? (9,6)

BADMINTON RACKET: A three-letter synonym of the word awful and a lot of noise sit around a type of pottery from Stoke on Trent. Here is an example of an awful noise

4d. Break down   thick layer under skin (7)

BLUBBER: To break down and cry or the fat of sea mammals, especially whales and seals

5d. Boudoir item exciting general (8,7)

ELECTRIC BLANKET: Two synonyms are required here. One for exciting and one for general.

6d. Yours truly gripping wood, one old golf club (6)

MASHIE: An old golf club will always be a spoon, a niblick or this regular visitor to crosswordland. A personal pronoun surrounds a type of wood often used to make snooker cues and the letter that looks like the number one

7d. Youth infinite, endless to some extent? (4)

TEEN: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words to some extent

14d. Royal couple misbehave (3)

ERR: Our good Queens regnal cypher is followed by another royal abbreviation. Rex or Regina. Take your pick. Either will do

16d. Brace over wonky teeth, all crowns lifted (3)

TWO: The initial or crowning letters of three consecutive words in the clue are lifted or reversed

18d. Teacher wearing a perm, awfully sorry? (6,2)

PARDON ME: An anagram (awfully) of A PERM surrounds a university lecturer

19d. European perfecting details, we hear? (7)

FINNISH: The details or end result sounds like (we hear) a Northern European

21d. Calling on couple, directed the wrong way (6)

METIER: Begin with a preposition meaning on. Add a term describing a couple who are romantically involved. Reverse what you have

22d. Buoyant oratorios, primarily in G sharp? (6)

AFLOAT: The enharmonic equivalent of G sharp needs the initial letter of oratorios inserting

24d. Second helping covered by ham or eggs (4)

MORE: Your answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words covered by



19 comments on “Toughie 2873
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  1. I too found it tough for a Tuesday, but as I’m currently suffering from the worst hay fever for many a long year, this isn’t helping with anything, let alone crossword solving

    Thanks to Dada and MP.

    1. I’m also suffering and found I couldn’t concentrate on this crossword. I’ve found breathing difficult and have been dosing myself with pills, nasal sprays and eye drops. What is going on- haven’t ever been this bad before – judging by the empty shelves in the chemists I’m not the only one suffering.

  2. Got stuck on 21d, but the rest were OK. Quite pleased with myself that I was able to parse 1d after some thought! Good puzzle.

  3. Funny how you get a feel for a setter’s style. Like our blogger I had no idea before the solve who the setter was but soon had an inkling it was a Dada production. All very enjoyable.
    I particularly liked 23a and the very cleverly disguised 28a plus 3&22d.
    Many thanks to the setter and MP.

  4. A very enjoyable Toughie that was testing enough to push out my solving time a notch. No particular favourite just good all round entertainment. Loved the Marmite advert.

    My thanks to Dada and MP.

  5. Had no idea this proper and absorbing Toughie was a Dada product but not at all surprised because it was that challenging and enjoyable for me, with 22d, 1d, 28a, and all of the three-letter clues crowding onto several podia. Thanks to MP and Dada, nice team that.

  6. Tough for a Tuesday but that’s the name of the game. Some of the parsings took some time but it was the parsing that got me 21d as it was a new word for me. Favourite was 3d, getting that helped no end. Thanks to Dada and MP.

  7. Quite pleased to finish this with a bit of help from MP
    Didn’t realise it was Dada but usually on his wavelength
    Does that make me weird? 😂
    Thanks to MP and Dada

  8. Needed a couple of hints in the SE corner to finish. Not impressed with 27a or 28a.
    I must admit I find 8a quite disgusting. A pity the extraterrestrial visitors didn’t take it home with them!

  9. Good to know that it was not just me having a bad day when I struggled more than usual with this one, Good fun though so don’t begrudge the extra time it took.
    Thanks Dada and MP.

  10. Other than failing to parse 9a I completed this quicker than his Sunday back-pager so must just have tuned into his wavelength. Very enjoyable.
    Thanks Dada & Miff

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