Toughie 2025 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2025

Toughie No 2025 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

This is a fairly gentle Toughie which I thought was somewhat lacking in sparkle. There are lots of reversals and deletions of single characters.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a Fish haul brought in ray without tail (6)
BELUGA: insert a verb to haul into a ray or glimmer without its last letter.

or, more probably …

4a Finishes article about senior officer of a religious area (8)
DIOCESAN: a verb meaning finishes or stops working and an indefinite article contain an abbreviation for the senior military officer.

10a Carry out recall of legislation about working of visa denial (9)
DISAVOWAL: join together a verb to carry out or execute and the reversal of a piece of legislation then insert an anagram (working) of VISA.

11a Shakespearean heroine mostly quick to embrace love, on reflection (5)
VIOLA: ‘quick’ here is being used in its archaic Biblical sense. A synonym of that without its last letter contains the letter resembling love or zero. Finally reverse the lot.

12a Row about a vacated tenement looking increasingly shabby (7)
TATTIER: a row contains A and the outer letters of tenement.

13a Concern about politician’s ability (7)
CALIBRE: another word for concern or solicitude contains the abbreviation for a party politician.

14a Subtle quality of a city according to locals (5)
AROMA: A and the local name of a European capital city.

15a Hard mineral perhaps unexpectedly cracked open by one (8)
SAPPHIRE: an anagram (unexpectedly) of PERHAPS with the Roman numeral for one inside it.

18a Base returned broadcasting with style (8)
DEBONAIR: reverse a word meaning base or foundation and add a phrase (2,3) meaning broadcasting.

20a Happen again on short cut (5)
RECUR: a preposition meaning on or concerning is followed by an adjective meaning short or terse without its last letter.

23a Teacher’s first reprimand — may leave child this? (7)
TEARFUL: the first letter of teacher and an informal word for a verbal reprimand.

25a View of satellite? No sign, looking back around West (3,4)
NEW MOON: join together NO and a sign or forewarning, reverse it all and bring inside the abbreviation for West.

26a Narrow backing for programme already shown (though no duplication) (5)
TAPER: start with what the broadcasters like to call ‘another chance to see’, reverse it and remove one of the instances of the only duplicated letter.

27a In which one collects drinks provided by parliamentary official (4-5)
WHIP-ROUND: a set of drinks follows the name given to a party enforcer in parliament.

28a Blubber sandwiches European exhibited with half-American dairy business (8)
CREAMERY: a verb to blubber contains the abbreviation for European and half of the word ‘American’.

29a Revised and cut down, putting third item first (6)
EDITED: a verb meaning cut down or ate less has its third letter moved to the front.

Down Clues

1d It’s most suitable when catching just a bit of sleeping? (8)
BEDSTEAD: bring together a superlative meaning most suitable and an adjective meaning sleeping or ‘out like a light’ but move the first letter of the second back into the first. The whole clue is meant to be the definition but I’m not sure that it works terribly well.

2d Lion going round lush hot country in Africa (7)
LESOTHO: the Latin word for lion contains a lush or habitual drunkard and the abbreviation for hot.

3d Present sex in the past as experiment? (4,2,1,2)
GIVE IT A GO: concatenate a verb to present or hand over, an informal word for sex and an adverb meaning ‘in the past’.

5d Organised pic with son and relation having guardianship role (2,4,8)
IN LOCO PARENTIS: an anagram (organised) of PIC SON RELATION.

6d Complain about foul when hacked down (5)
CAVIL: a two-letter abbreviation meaning about or approximately and an adjective meaning foul without its last letter.

7d One weeping to see 50 on board slaver (7)
SLOBBER: someone weeping contains the Roman numeral for 50.

8d Almost, but not quite, round number? That’s tidy (6)
NEATEN: charade of an adverb meaning almost without its last letter and a significant number in the decimal system.

9d Argument with everybody blocks someone broadcasting circus act (5-9)
SWORD-SWALLOWER: another word for an argument (5), the abbreviation for ‘with’ and a synonym for everybody go inside a broadcaster or spreader.

16d Given job around sick ward, being determined (4-5)
HARD-WIRED: determined here means fixed. A past participle meaning given a job contains an anagram (sick) of WARD.

17d Criminal group’s protecting racket set up in island (8)
TRINIDAD: a (usually Chinese) criminal group contains the reversal of a loud racket.

19d No longer big enough for instance (7)
EXAMPLE: glue together a prefix meaning ‘no longer’ and an adjective meaning big enough.

21d Caught? Run out? Yours truly being dismissed in restrained game (7)
CROQUET: start with the cricket abbreviations for caught and run out and add an adjective meaning restrained after removing a pronoun meaning ‘yours truly’.

22d Fixed problem with radio (6)
STATIC: double definition, the first meaning immobile.

24d Discussion group supporting doubtful response? (5)
FORUM: combine a preposition meaning supporting or ‘in favour of’ and a response indicating doubt or hesitation.

My favourite clue is 3d. Which one(s) took your fancy?

27 comments on “Toughie 2025

  1. I’d agree with the description, the ratings and the favourite

    Thanks to Kcit and Gazza

    1. One of the meanings of ‘fish’ in Chambers is ‘any exclusively aquatic animal’ so I’d say yes.

      1. The Beluga or European Sturgeon is indeed a fish – totally unrelated to the Beluga (white) Whale.

          1. I don’t think you’d get the famous caviar from the chap in your picture

          2. Not to worry, Gazza, it was a far nicer picture than one of a European Sturgeon would have been – ugly looking brute!

            1. Picture of ugly-looking brute added.
              Getting the pictures wrong is a sure-fire way of increasing the number of comments!

  2. The clue to 1 across is misleading,as the answer isn’t a fish.It’s a species of whale.Other than that,this was a reasonably difficult puzzle(for a novice like myself!!)Thanks to Kcit and Gazza

      1. Thanks Big Dave(does that make me Little Dave?) Been reading the blog for ages but this was my first comment

        1. We used to have a regular commenter called Little Dave but we haven’t heard from him recently.

  3. Nice, gentle puzzle for a lovely Wednesday morning.
    4a was the last to go in. One of those mental block moments.
    Particularly liked 9d.

  4. I found this difficult. There were too many clues where, because letters were omitted, one had to guess the answer and then see if if fitted. That sort of clue is only just worse than a Spoonerism in my estimation!
    Never mind, tomorrow is another day.
    Thanks to blogger and setter.

  5. Have to say that I wasn’t very happy with 1d nor with the definition of 25a but everything else slotted in quite happily.
    12a was probably my favourite with a mention for 23a.

    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the blog. The 21d cartoon made me smile and the pictorial reminder of 15a took me back a few years!

  6. Apologies.After further research,i.e. Google,I find that there is a species of fish with that name

  7. Agree 1d is dubious at best, never come across 4a before. Doubtless a crosswordland word.
    Quite liked 18a as it’s very tidy.
    Thanks Kcit and thanks Gazza

  8. 1d was a tentative last one in for me. I got stuck on 2d, thinking lush hot was an anagram of hot, then wondered where the S came from. Thanks Gazza for sorting me out.

    I liked 29a. Had to look up 7d, was trying to insert blubber but that already got mentioned in 28a.

    Many thanks Kcit for the entertainment

  9. Finished in ** time. Enjoyable tho’ except 1d – poor clue – & 20a – cut?? Mm.
    Didn’t know 6 & 7d but had to be.
    Clever word plays. Liked 10,15 18, 27& 28 in particular. And 2d as lived there a while
    Thanks Kcit + Gazza

  10. I did enjoy this; I was able to finish it, and in reasonable time. However, there were several that I got from the definition alone at first, and then it took a good while for the word play to come limping in a distant second. (As others have mentioned 1d is a prime example – but there were others that I should have been able to sort out far sooner than I did). Many thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  11. We thought we could see the setters name as part of 21d and spent time trying to justify cricket for the game. Bet we weren’t the only ones. The last to parse was 1d. We also had the discussion about the type of creature in 1a but Carol was familiar enough with types of caviar (from reading, not eating it) to get that one sorted.
    We enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

  12. Enjoyed this but agree that 1d doesn’t really hit the mark.

    Liked 28a and 7d (for some reason slaver was the ship for far too long).

    Thanks to Gazza and Kcit.

    PS. How long are we going to have to tick this privacy box? Very annoying.

  13. An enjoyable, fairly straightforward puzzle. My knowledge – or rather lack of it – regarding Shakespeare let me down at 11ac, but the rest went in with little ado.

  14. I’m in agreement with the general gist here. Not such a hot one perhaps, but still enjoyable.

  15. Yes, we were surprised that the beluga was a fish but that was clearly what the clue gave.

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