Toughie 228 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 228

Toughie No 228 by Campbell

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BD Rating – Difficulty * Enjoyment **

I am not sure what to say about this Toughie, so I won’t. But if you want to claim that you have done a Toughie, then this is the one to go for…

As usual please leave a comment if you want to share a thought or two with us.


1. Land in Spain, say (6)
{ESTATE} – E (Spain – IVR) and STATE (say).

4. Tricky question from trustee about wealth (6)
{TEASER} – TR (an abbreviation for trustee) around EASE (wealth).

8. Shot in two parts of body (8)
{BACKHAND} – A tennis shot for example is made up of BACK and HAND, two parts of the body.

10. Interest in a fine female voice (6)
{AFFAIR} – A F (fine) F (female) AIR (voice).

11. Orderly in fairly good trim (4)
{TIDY} – Triple definition? Fairly good could also be a “tidy sum”…

12. Current landlord brought round special printed update (10)
{NEWSLETTER} – NEW (current) and LETTER (landlord) round S (special).

13. Wild West character, on the ropes and worried (9,3)
{DESPERATE DAN} – DESPERATE (on the ropes) and an anagram (worried) of AND is the “Wild West” character from the Dandy famous for his cow pies.

16. Valet’s master key? (12)
{PASSEPARTOUT} – A cryptic definition for those of you who do not already know, Jean Passepartout is a character from Jules Verne’s novel “Around the World in Eighty Days”. He is the French valet to Phileas Fogg. Chambers also has this word (hyphenated) meaning “a master key”.

20. Commando, incompletely prepared, has to take a risk protecting monarch (5,5)
{GREEN BERET} – GREEN (incompletely prepared) plus BET (take a risk) around (protecting) ER (queen).

21. Stick rook’s taken from wader (4)
{CANE} – Remove R (rook – chess) from CRANE (wader, a type of bird.) for a stick.

22. Routed round roundabout route (6)
{DETOUR} – An anagram of ROUTED (round) for a deviation, or a circuitous way.

23. Hospital rang one distraught dependant (6-2)
{HANGER-ON} – H (hospital) and an anagram (distraught) of RANG ONE.

24. Head of Buchanans in court case concerning clan (6)
{TRIBAL} – Take the first letter (head) from Buchanans, B and then place it in TRAIL (court case).

25. Trail duck on small lake (6)
{LAGOON} – LAG (trail), O (duck) ON.


1. Analyst, formerly a Bevin boy? (8)
{EXAMINER} – EX (formerly), plus A MINER (Bevin boy). Bevin boys were young British men conscripted to work in the coal mines from December 1943 until 1948.

2. Toff’s opening fine wine (5)
{TOKAY} – T the opening letter of Toff’s, plus OKAY (fine) is a wine from Hungary.

3. Rough terrain for a coach (7)
{TRAINER} – An anagram of TERRAIN (rough).

5. Helped nervous beadle to entertain knight (7)
{ENABLED} – An anagram of BEADLE and N (knight – chess)

6. Means of protection in East River in fast waves? (6,3)
{SAFETY NET} – E (East) TYNE (River), inside an anagram (waves) of FAST. Does waves works as an anagram indicator?

7. Cavalier, perhaps, about a mosstrooper (6)
{RAIDER} – RIDER (cavalier) around (about) A, are bandits who operated in Scotland during the 17th century.

9. Have to surrounded by poverty? It’s practical (4-2-5)
{DOWN-TO-EARTH} – OWN (have) and TO inside DEARTH (poverty).

14. A sausage one must have seasoning on to start with (9)
{PEPPERONI} – PEPPER (seasoning), followed by ON, and then I (one).

15. Go blue getting lower (4,4)
{TURN DOWN} – TURN (go) DOWN (blue).

17. Southern peninsula, a vast region (7)
{SIBERIA} – S (southern) and IBERIA (peninsula).

18. Dish — a number girl served up outside (7)
{ANTENNA} – A TEN (a number) with ANN (girl) reversed (served up) outside.

19. Lusting after paintings hanging round study (6)
{ARDENT} – ART (paintings) round DEN (study).

21. Set of beliefs about leftist circle (5)
{CREDO} – C (about – circa) RED (leftist) O (circle).

26 comments on “Toughie 228

  1. After last week’s marathon of Toughies that lived up to the name, I was disappointed by this. It was of the standard that I would expect for the Friday cryptic. Apart from being unable to spell “passepartout”, this did not present any real challenges.

    1. Prolixic,
      I don’t want to be awkward, but generally I would consider the Friday cryptic to be better and harder than this….

      1. My admittedly weak off the cuff clue still amply describes.
        I shall leave now while you disappear up your own fundamentals.

    1. bigmacsub,
      If this had been a normal cryptic and had been posted on a Saturday or early in the week, I would have no complaints, but the Toughie was originally described by the Telegraph as “the toughest crossword in Fleet Street” or similar. Today’s was certainly not.

      1. I am with the majority on this and would not consider us at all (4,8).
        With the exception of 16a I don’t personally think that it lived up to it’s name.
        I didn’t find anything outside the box

  2. I can understand why you wizards rate it low for difficulty as I got the answers so it must have been my wave length was working on this one – unusual for me to get a toughie without lots of help. Therefore I enjoyed it.

  3. I just thought I would add that I don’t usually comment on the toughie as I am using each one as a learning curve – sometimes quite steep so this must be below your standards.

    1. Lea,
      Personally, yes, I thought todays normal cryptic was better generally. As always the views of the blogger, are the views of the blogger alone. The reason why comments exist, is so that anybody can agree or disagree with the bloggers views. Although the voting on CluedUp seems to disagree with me re. difficulty….
      Currently CluedUp shows 50 plays of the Toughie, with two smiles (enjoyment) and 3 stars (difficulty), but if you compare that to todays normal cryptic that is currently showing 219 plays it has 4 smiles and 5 stars.

            1. Dave,
              A confession, the Quick took me longer than the Toughie….. and (as you) about the same time as the Cryptic….. perhaps we should start reviewing the Quick :-)

              1. Hi Libellule, don’t make a rod for your own back, but I certainly could have done with help in today’s stinker of a Quickie, took me aslong as the time it took to solve both the Touchie and Cryptic!

  4. well. did all but 4 but had never heard of mosstroopers or passepartout but got that one with help from my chambers dictionary :) also failed on 25a cos i had creed for 21d :(
    A nice toughie for me but i can see how all you experts must be cursing it :)

  5. Well, my chief disappointment was no picture for 13a -sorry, Libellule, not really criticising! Other than that, quite enjoyed it. What is a mosstrooper?

      1. Well thanks for that, Gazza! Taken ages to check this out as our internet has just died for about 30 minutes – anyone else had problems?

    1. Nana,
      I don’t do pictures (you may have noticed) but if you click on the bandits link…..

    2. From Wiki (and I believe i!)
      //Moss-troopers were bandits who operated in Scotland during and after the period of the English Commonwealth.//
      Not sure about the hyphenation but was good enough for the answer (for me)

  6. The problem with the Clued up rating system is that it does not actually run from excellent to poor.

    It has ratings of downright infuriating to extremely pleasurable. A puzzle can take me several hours and be extremely pleasurable as it unwinds. A puzzle can be so poor in terms of quality that it infuriates me that it made it to publication.

    Today’s Toughie annoys me that it is no tougher than an average cryptic. The selling point for the Toughies is that they are supposed to be the hardest puzzles around..

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