Toughie 2913 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2913

Toughie No 2913 by Dada

Hints and tips by StephenL

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone from a blue skies South Devon coast.

Dada kicks off the Toughie week with a rather Double Definition heavy puzzle. As ever with this setter lots to enjoy however.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Sweet drink chasing first of bitters, say (12)
BUTTERSCOTCH: An alcoholic drink “chases” the initial letter of Butter and a synonym of say.

9a    Terribly regal, I gathered, monarch’s ultimate Elizabethan gentleman (7)
RALEIGH: Anagram (terribly) of REGAL I plus the final letter of monarcH

10a    Strain is breaking musical group that’s laid back (7)
TENSION: Is from the clue “breaks” a nine-piece musical group and the whole thing is reversed (laid back)

11a    Cut beef, by the sound of it? (4)
MOWN: A homophone (by the sound of it) of a synonym of beef in the sense of complain. I wish I could say this was my lawn but alas it isn’t!

12a    Reportedly flash gift (5)
FLAIR: Another homophone (reportedly) of a synonym of flash as a noun giving a gift in the sense of talent.

13a    Outer layer broke, almost entirely (4)
SKIN: Remove the final letter of an informal word for broke or penniless.

16a    Tired and exhausted, descend quickly (3-4)
RUN DOWN: Double definition

17a    In attendance, corrupt potential killer (7)
GAROTTE: Place a synonym of corrupt as a verb inside an attendance at a football match say or large event.

18a    Wonderful man sitting at God’s right hand (7)
CORKING: Append (at RHS) a chess piece (man) to a synonym of God as an exclamation.

21a    Iris or Lily for example dropped brick? (7)
BLOOMER: Something of which an iris or a lily is an example is also a description of a dropped brick or error.

23a    Some territorials, travelling westward, retreat (4)
LAIR: Hidden (some) and reversed (travelling westward) in the clue

24a    Load of fun, dammit! (5)
BLAST: Double definition, one a noun the other an exclamation.

25a    Activate mind-blowing experience (4)
TRIP: Another double definition, one a verb the other a drug induced experience.

28a    Identical class of undergraduates? (7)
UNIFORM: If you split the solution 3-4 you’ll see the wordplay

  • in

29a    Picturetake it (7)
IMAGINE:  Double definition, the first obvious, the second in the sense of suppose or assume.

30a    “Chic” dresses half limp — this adds shine (6,6)
FRENCH POLISH: Place a whimsical description of the word chic (based upon its etymology) around (dresses) half of the word LImp.


1d    Plain landslide, perhaps, for PM (7)
BALDWIN: A synonym of plain in the sense of bare and a landslide in the sense of a triumph.

2d    Suddenly see shoot (4)
TWIG:  Double definition, one a verb, the other a noun.

3d    Rank: one he and discontented colonel reviewed (7)
ECHELON: Anagram (reviewed) of ONE HE plus the outside letters of ColoneL

4d    Session: pain hosting it (7)
SITTING: Place a synonym of pain in the sense of smarting around (hosting) “it” from the clue.

5d    Ordinary thing to come from a pen.? (4)
OINK: The abbreviation for Ordinary and what flows from a pen as a writing implement gives the noise that may emanate from a different type of pen.

6d    High-jumper in sport? (7)
CRICKET: This sport (think willow and leather) is also the name of a “leaping insect”

7d    Proper curry, aloo cooked — yellow perhaps? (7,6)
PRIMARY COLOUR: A synonym of proper is followed by an anagram (cooked) of the preceding two words

8d    Running repairs put in and returned (13)
UNINTERRUPTED: Anagram (repairs) of PUT IN and RETURNED

14d    Subject on the menu, briefly? (5)
TOPIC: Split the solution 2-3 and you’ll see the reference to “on the menu briefly”, the briefly indicating the last letter has been removed.

15d    Tolerate channel (5)
BROOK: Double definition, one a verb the other a noun.

19d    American mountain, one covered by black cloud? (7)
RAINIER: Insert the letter representing one into a whimsical description of a black cloud based on what falls from it.

20d    Tramp feeding gobbet to upset crone (7)
GALUMPH: A gobbet or a chunk goes inside a reversal of a rather unpleasant word for an unpleasant woman.

21d    Far Eastern symbol of loyalty, promise of marriage to US president? (7)
BUSHIDO: Two words uttered by the bride and groom follow a US Republican president, take your pick whether it’s the senior or junior.

22d    Very tasty, as Othello in speech? (7)
MOREISH: A homophone of the description given by Christians to the inhabitants of Maghreb, one of whom was Othello.

26d    Astronomical body in second lit up (4)
MOON: A 2-letter abbreviation for a second followed by a synonym of lit up as a lamp might be. I took this picture a couple of weeks ago.

27d    Queen Cleopatra, nightly, bathes (4)
RANI: Hidden in the clue as indicated by the word “bathes” .

Taking the honours today was 5d. Which ones did you like?

20 comments on “Toughie 2913

  1. Well that was fun and much more friendly than the Sunday PP – **/****.

    And, I remembered to solve the whole puzzle instead of stopping when I had completed half of it.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 24a, 2d, and 20d – and the winner is the delightful 20d.

    Thanks to Dada and StephenL.

  2. This was just right for a Tuesday Toughie – not too tricky and a lot of fun.

    I did wonder while solving it how many different ways there are to spell 17a with one or two Rs and/or one or two Ts. :unsure:

    As I am typing this, I can see in the sky black clouds of the type needed for the wordplay for 19d. The garden desperately needs them to unburden themselves of their contents, but, exactly as they have done for the past few days, they just seem to be moving slowly on taking their precious cargo with them.

    My top three clues are 11a, 19a & 5d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to SL.

  3. A pretty gentle but very enjoyable puzzle which generated a number of laughs – thanks to Dada and StephenL.
    My ticks went to 17a, 21a and 22d but my favourite has to be 5d.

  4. A nice, just right for a Tuesday Toughie. Lots to enjoy but like Gazza my favourite is 5d

    Thanks to Dada and Stephen L

  5. It all went in pretty briskly until 18a&19d. Can’t claim an unaided finish as I cheated & looked up a list of US mountains – wasn’t familiar with the answer & have never come across that term for a black cloud before though ought to have figured the wordplay out. Immediately got 18a & thought when will I get to the stage when as soon as I see man think chess. Otherwise a pretty gentle puzzle that I hadn’t pegged as one of Dada’s until Senf’s back-page comment. 5d my fav too & with ticks for the downs at 1,21&22.
    Thanks to D & the other S.

  6. A happily unaided finish for me, with everything fully parsed with the exception of a slight hesitation about 18a, but SL has just set me straight on that. I’ve seen the first syllable there used in a number of ways to express an interjection or an exclamation, but today’s use is a new one on me. Totally enjoyable puzzle, with 18a, 17a, & 8d (my last three in) yielding to 20d for my runaway COTD. Those double-defs. do deserve a hand, too. Thanks to StephenL and Dada.

    1. I must add that 22d is unfamiliar to most Americans, I think, but–mirabile dictu–I just this week encountered it in the novel I alluded to in my comment on the backpager today, Lawrence Osborne’s On Java Road. The narrator uses the term to express his delight over some excellent cuisine in a Hong Kong restaurant. This kind of serendipity seems to be happening to me too eerily often these days.

  7. Oh, yes! 5d was absolutely brilliant. My COTD
    I really enjoyed this puzzle. I did wonder whether the wording of 18a would offend and I needed help with 21d a new word for me.
    Now to look at the back page..

  8. Had problems with a few in the lower reaches but eventually crossed the finish line. Amazing what those in the trade can achieve with 30a.
    Podium places awarded to 1&11a plus 5,20& 22d.

    Thanks to Dada and to Stephen L for the review – nice photo at 26d.

  9. I concur with 5d as COTD. I liked 24a and 25a as well.
    Thanks for the parsing of 18a, StephenL and to Dada.

  10. Always look forward to the Tuesday Toughie,
    usually a tad more difficult than the backpager.
    Liked the 3d and 20d charades and the last in 18a.
    Enjoying the Cheshire sunshine,thanks to our setter and SL, agree with his **/***

  11. Super puzzle, very enjoyable – but then again it’s a Dada, si what else would one expect?

    Thank you to Dada and SL.

  12. Thanks Dada for a 3ish*/4* today, which I didn’t quite finish. Perhaps if had, it would have been 2* difficulty? I ended up with four I couldn’t get – 18a, 14d, 15d (couldn’t think of a word that fitted both definitons!) and 21d.

    A few more I bunged in from checkers, so thank you StephenL for the enlightenment in the form of your excellent hints (enjoyed, as written, under blue Devon skies!)

    Winning clues for me 3d, 16a, 22d.

  13. For me, I found this tougher than some of the ones last week that appeared later in the week. Therefore, I have a question, hoping that someone is still reading this far after the event. What makes this puzzle a good Tuesday toughie as opposed to, say, a Friday cryptic or even a Friday toughie? Most of you seem to agree with the placing so there has to be a reason. I think that part of the general decision making is whether you need to take multiple steps to reach the wordplay (anagram of a synonym, for example) but there has to be more to it than that. Anyone able to shed any light on this, please?

    1. Hi Cypher
      In theory the Tuesday Toughie is supposed to be the most gentle of the week and straddle the difficulty levels of a Friday back pager and a later week Toughie. However as seen in recent weeks this is not always the case in practice. I have it on good authority that certain setters are scheduled for certain days and the Editor is reluctant to change that schedule regardless of the perceived difficulty. Hope that helps.

      1. Just another observation from your comment… anagram of a synonym would be an indirect anagram and not allowed.

  14. Did this on Sept 1 after the Ray T puzzle.

    Definitely on the tougher side I thought vs a Dada back pager.
    Enjoyed it, but still ended up with three I could not parse or get so technically a DNF
    You beat me Dada!

    Favourite was 5d for me but I also liked 1a, 24a, 2d & 21d

    Thanks to Dada and CS

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