Toughie No 2957 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 2957

Toughie No 2957 by Dada

Hints and tips by StephenL

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone. Dada kicks off the Toughie week with a fun puzzle which just about hits the Tuesday spot. Very enjoyable.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


9a Animal, monk with two heads? (5)
LLAMA: The spiritual leader of the Tibetan people with the initial letter repeated (two heads)

10a Back-pedalling, I turn into runner, say — smash! (9)
PULVERISE: Insert a reversal of I from the clue plus an abbreviated turn or rotation into the seed of a legume (runner bean?)

11a Saint feeding lowlife a Mexican dish (7)
TOSTADA: Insert (feeding) the abbreviation for SainT into a type of frog or amphibian, which could be a derogatory description of a person. Append the A from the clue

12a Put phone down, no longer engaged? (4,3)
RING OFF: The action of putting the phone down could whimsically refer to someone “no longer engaged” in a romantic sense, missing a finger adornment.

13a Greek character in the morning issue, read about (5)

GAMMA: Start with the Latin abbreviation for “before noon” and add an abbreviated publication or issue. Reverse the result.

14a Put up with song, north European (9)
HUNGARIAN: A synonym of put up (as one might a picture), a song and the abbreviation for Northern

16a Caterer bakes flan, virtually liquid, food served in bowl (9,6)
BREAKFAST CEREAL: Anagram (liquid) of all but the last letter (virtually) of first three words

19a Accurate reading misinterpreted then, tour crossing river (4,5)
TRUE NORTH: Anagram (misinterpreted) of the following two words around the abbreviation for River

21a Upset, one shade seen when angry about king (5)
IRKED: Start with the letter that represents the number one. Add a colour one may go when angry and place it around the abbreviation for King.

23a With a little money invested, go for the green stuff! (3,4)
PEA SOUP: Insert A plus an old French coin into a synonym of go in the sense of energy or liveliness.

25a Title singer Jack rejected (7)

BARONET: Reverse (rejected) a male singer and the abbreviation for Able Seaman (jack)

27a This person articulated key revelation (3-6)
EYE OPENER: A homophone (articulated) of a pronoun the setter would use to refer to himself and a description of the function of a key.

28a Walk in Montmartre a delight (5)
TREAD: Hidden (in) in the clue.



1d Accommodation sounding dreadful? (4)
FLAT: Double definition I guess, the least obvious being a sound without tone.

2d Reportedly fine coach (6)
HANSOM: Homophone (reportedly) of a synonym of fine in the sense of good looking

3d Unforeseen trouble with nutty brood? (6,4)
BANANA SKIN: If you split the solution 7,3 you’ll see the wordplay, synonyms of nutty and brood in the sense of family.


4d Bathe in publicity? (6)
SPLASH: Easier to solve than explain. A kind of cryptic or loose double definition, one a verb, the other a noun.

5d Tube blown when blood banks cool (8)
CLARINET: Place an informal word for blood (often used by over-excited rugby commentators) around (banks) a synonym of cool in the sense of hip. This song features one.

6d Wicked show (4)
MEAN: Double definition, one an adjective the other a verb in the sense of convey or denote.

7d Drug: figure popping one on bed (8)
NICOTINE: Place a figure or number around (popping I guess) the letter representing one and a child’s bed.

8d Unfamiliar milk tooth, possibly, came first (10)

NEWFANGLED: If you split the solution 3,4,3 you’ll see the wordplay. Very funny

13d Hunk’s hat is sweet (10)
GOBSTOPPER: A synonym of hunk in the sense of clump or dollop, the possessive S and a generic term for a hat


15d Improve a lecture about male priest (10)
AMELIORATE: A from the clue, and a synonym of lecture as a verb placed around the abbreviation for Male and crosswordland’s favourite priest.

17d Scholarly cadet due for training (8)
EDUCATED: Anagram (for training) of the preceding two words.

18d Drug in operation working without oxygen (8)
ATROPINE: Anagram (working) of oPERATION (without oxygen)

20d Oz city where drink is available when it’s boiling outside (6)
HOBART: Place a synonym of boiling around a place where one can get a drink to give a very fine city on the island of Tasmania

22d Youngsters in Berlin or closer to Nice? (6)
KINDER: The German word for children is also a comparative adjective which could mean closer to nice. Ignore the false capitalisation.

24d Reel cut up — oh dear! (4)
OOPS: A synonym of reel has its last letter removed and the result is reversed (up in a down clue)

26d Considerable spruce (4)
TIDY: Another double definition, the less obvious one referring to an amount (especially money).

My winners are 12a plus 8&20d. Which ones floated your dinghy?

19 comments on “Toughie No 2957
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  1. A very enjoyable Tuesday Toughie with Dada starting off an outstanding week of Toughie setters although if this had ‘turned up’ as a Sunday PP I would have been somewhat relieved that I would have to solve only half the clues to be able to complete the blog :wink: – 2.5*/4.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 14a, 23a, 22d, and 24d – and the winner is 14a.

    Thanks to Dada and to StephenL.

  2. Very irritated, as I put in ”call off” for 12a [ an equally good answer in my view] which meant i couldn’t complete NE corner. Shouldn’t the Editor spot these dual answers? Didn’t much like first part of13d, but the rest was fair enough and 14a my fave .Thanks to both.

    1. Re 12a…I have to disagree Simon as “call off doesn’t really describe the action of putting the phone down nor does it cryptically describe “not engaged” in the way the solution does.

  3. Now for me this was very like one of Dada’s Sunday puzzles – the only thing that took it into a Wednesdaytback pager time was the parsing of 10a

    Thanks to Dada for the enjoyable crossword and to StephenL for the blog – perhaps you have to be a child of the 1950s to remember when a 13d was a large sweet ball which changed colour every time a new layer was revealed.

  4. Very enjoyable – thanks to Dada and StephenL.
    I liked 23a because, having got the initial P, I tried to make ‘go’ a verb. Other clues I liked were 3d, 8d and 24d (my last answer).

  5. Well this was an absolute delight, enjoyable, entertaining and fun to solve. I particularly liked the conciseness of the clues, and of those, 5d was my choice for favourite. 24d was also my LOI and deserves a mention.

    My thanks to Dada and SL.

  6. A gentle toughie to start the week off, although I didn’t help matters by putting 18d in 7d, which fitted with the checkers I had but held me up for a bit . I liked 8d most, but 10a and 22d pretty good too.
    Thanks Dada, and SL whose blog I shall now read.

  7. Solved everything from 16a southwards fairly swiftly then came to a halt. I wonder if Mr H had this in mind? With much deep digging the top half fell eventually and very satisfying it was too. Thank you Stephen for parsings, pics and The Beatles and to Dada for a great puzzle.

  8. Really enjoyed this one. Found the south much easier than upstairs but the pennies eventually dropped though it probably took longer than it ought to have. 8d my clear favourite with ticks for a number of others – 12&14a plus 5,13,15&24d.
    Thanks to D & the other S

  9. At first I thought I’d never get started but I persevered and finished it. I was initially confused by 20d having forgotten that “Tazzy “ is now part of Australia. No real favourite though 12a is quite amusing.

  10. This one hit the spot for me although I did delay writing in 6d as I was convinced that a more satisfying answer would occur to me at some stage – it didn’t!
    Rather liked the novel way of clueing 3d and my favourite was definitely 8d.

    Thanks to Dada for the fun and to Stephen for the review.

  11. Well I found this hard and spent most of my time finding words that fitted and then trying to justify them. Still I got there. Favourite was 27a. Thanks to Dada and SL.

  12. Oh the differences between ‘us’ and ‘them’–jawbreakers over here (good guess for me at 13a); ‘new’ for ‘milk’ in 8d (another educated guess here)–can someone explain that? Then, the word, according to SL, that rugby announcers use for ‘blood’ in 5d (yet another good guess here), and so forth. The bottom half came quite quickly, but I needed a couple of our reliable blogger’s hints to finish the top. A disappointing DNF for me in what is quite the scintillating Toughie by one of my favourite setters. Thanks to Dada and Stephen.

  13. Completed in 4* time for me. Had to go away and come back to finish NE corner. 8d gave me a smile, so that’s my favourite. Thanks to Dada and StephenL.

  14. We, like Gazza, spent time trying to use a different last letter in our synonym for ‘go’ in 23a.
    Took a bit of thinking to justify the answer for 6d too.
    Lots of good fun clues and a pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Dada and SL

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