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Toughie 2104

Toughie No 2104 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating  –  Difficulty */** –  Enjoyment ***


Hello to you all.  This is Chalicea Toughie number three, which I found a little gentler than the previous ones.  If I didn’t smile quite as much this time round maybe that was just me (I’ve been working on my frown again recently, despite having honed it to near-perfection), or maybe it’s simply that the bar has been set high.  No matter — this is still a Toughie which I thoroughly recommend, especially to the shy.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the If somebody suggests that “circles” in 10a is doing double duty I win a pint.  Of Scotch. buttons.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative — click only if you wish to reveal all.

As usual you may click on pictures to enlarge them or uncover hidden extras.



1a    Film script of alp reflected in exotic scenery (10)
SCREENPLAY:  ALP reversed (reflected) and contained inside an anagram (exotic) of SCENERY

6a    Gin for one some sent back (4)
TRAP:  A portion reversed (sent back).  Gin is an example of the answer

10a   Again, nervously circles the bull (5)
INNER:  The beginning of clue contains (circles) the answer.  I would have preferred something like: Again, nervously circles area around the bull (5) — I’m not sure about the definition as written as the dictionaries support my initial thought that the answer isn’t the same as the bull.  However, it’s not my area of expertise, so information welcome

11a   Recluse sadly isolated mostly around Ireland (9)
SOLITAIRE:  An anagram (sadly) of ISOLATEd without its last letter (mostly) containing (around) an abbreviation for Ireland

12a   Proposal concerning trade union engineers (8)
OVERTURE:  Concatenate concerning or about and abbreviations for trade union and for some military engineers

13a   First-class mixture of oil — to make this? (5)
AIOLI:  Two letters which can mean first class (well a letter and a number, but the number is written in lettery crossword style) and an anagram of (mixture of) OIL

15a   Dwelling too much inside prison (7)
COTTAGE:  The abbreviated form of a common phrase meaning extreme or excessive goes inside an enclosure

17a   Big appeal facing article penned by jerk? (7)
TITANIC:  Appeal or the X-factor and a grammatical article inside (penned by) an involuntary jerk

19a   Endlessly rush round aquatic mammal? On the contrary, it’s bizarre! (7)
SURREAL:  A five-letter word meaning rush or hasten without front end or back end (endlessly) goes inside (roundon the contrary) an aquatic mammal

21a   Ask advice from state official on trade principally (7)
CONSULT:  An official agent for a foreign government next to (on) the first letter of trade (trade principally)

22a   Strongman‘s finally knocking off early (5)
ATLAS:  The Titan condemned to hold up the sky is a (2,4) phrase meaning finally without its last letter (knocking off early)

24a   Mishmash of chatter recalled after nine engulfed by sea (5,3)
MIXED BAG:  The second part of the answer is a word meaning chatter or prate reversed (recalled).  It follows the Roman numerals for nine inside (engulfed by) the common shortened name of a mostly enclosed sea

27a   Characters in plot a Roman invented about male lover (9)
INAMORATO:  This lover is hiding amongst the letters of the clue (characters in …) backwards (about)

28a   Knocked back kingly drink (5)
LAGER:  The reversal (knocked back) of an adjective meaning majestic or kingly, or queenly

29a   Information about lake valley (4)
GLEN:  A short word for information around (about) L(ake)

30a   Distrust involving the French with occasionally warlike ambiguous utterings (6-4)
DOUBLE-TALK:  Uncertainty (5) containing (involving) a French definite article, all of which is followed by alternate letters of (occasionally) warlike



1d    Manure  ground (4)
SOIL:  Two definitions: dirt or dung, or earth

2d    Skilled restoration worker in Verona regulated mounting decay (9)
RENOVATOR:  An anagram (… regulated) of VERONA plus decay reversed (mounting, in a down clue)

3d    Blunder in state of anxiety when short of time (5)
ERROR:  This mistake is a state of extreme anxiety or fear without (when short of) the symbol for time

4d    Land beyond river (7)
PASTURE:  A charade of beyond and a North Yorkshire river

5d    Indisposition of small island accommodating large fellows (7)
AILMENT:  A small island containing (accommodating) the clothing abbreviation for large and some guys

7d    Ready once for endangered pachyderm (5)
RHINO:  The ready is money; we want an old (indicated by once) slang term for this

8d    Disgruntled Picts belie chance to make one’s mark? (10)
PLEBISCITE:  An anagram (disgruntled) of PICTS BELIE gives us a referendum

9d    Distress put right, we hear (8)
STRAITEN:  This sounds like (we hear) put in order

14d   Modified skiing, etc — a different winter sport (3-7)
ICE-SKATING:  An anagram (modified) of SKIING ETC A.  My favourite winter sport is crosswords

16d   Dislike American translation (8)
AVERSION:  After an abbreviation for American we have a translation or edition

18d   This nervous problem, strangely, could be inarguable if bishop’s on board (9)
NEURALGIA:  The answer plus the chess abbreviation for bishop (B) could make an anagram of (could be) INARGUABLE.  So what we need is an anagram of INARGUAbLE

20d   Complaint of upper-class taken in by wild gambol (7)
LUMBAGO:  The letter which can denote upper-class inside (taken in by) an anagram (wild) of GAMBOL

21d   Conceited fellow, one directing commodore on first of boats (7)
COXCOMB:  String together one directing a boat and the three-letter abbreviation for commodore followed by (on, in a down clue) the initial letter of (first of) boats

23d   Abandon  holidays (5)
LEAVE:  Two definitions, verb and noun respectively

25d   Search deeply, regularly, even essentially (5)
DELVE:  Regular letters (… regularly) of deeply and then the middle letters (… essentially) of even

26d   Tramp upset in bleaker times (4)
TREK:  This tramp is a verb, embedded reversed in (upset in) the end of the clue


Thanks to Chalicea.  I liked the male lover lurking in 7a.  3d put me in mind of those blogging days where I have allowed myself too much sleep time (not that a kitty can have too much sleep, but lamentably I do need to be awake to do certain things).  I was also drawn to its cute-if-not-overcomplicated neighbour, 4d.  I think my favourite is the &littish 25d.  But enough about my picks — what did you like?


These hints and tips are for anyone who might find them of use (and who doesn’t need help now and then?).  The asides and illustrations are to add a personal perspective and some colour.  The comments section is — or should be — for everyone.  Please do ask if you need anything clarified, have any suggestions as to how the blogs could be improved, or have anything else you’d like to say.


21 comments on “Toughie 2104

  1. Yes, very much at the gentler end of the Toughie spectrum (though I am not sure I knew the ready definition of 7d), but an enjoyable solve nonetheless, and one that gave me time to squeeze Knut into my lunch-break, which is always a bonus.

    Thanks to Kitty and Chalicea

  2. A gentle puzzle and particularly good for anyone dipping their toes into the Toughie pool for the first time.
    Don’t think I’d ever considered 11a as a person although it’s fairly obvious that it can be something other than a game – must remember that one.

    I thought both 22a & 16d were very neatly constructed and as for 1a – not only did I think of the alternative answer, it took me quite a while to see beyond it!

    Thanks to Chalicea and to our Girl Tuesday for the blog – wonder whether you’ve tried out the 6a kitty catchers in your garden? The 23d sweater made me smile – one of Candy’s cats used to take up that position whenever we were packing for holidays and would strenuously resist every attempt to oust her from the case.

  3. A pretty straightforward puzzle perked up by the thought that the Telegraph might be striking out in a new direction with the alternative answer to 1d.
    I didn’t know that 11a could be a recluse and it took me a little time to work out that 22a wasn’t suggesting that ‘at last’ could mean ‘early’.
    My favourite was the well-hidden lover in 27a.
    Thanks to Chalicea and Kitty.

  4. Gentle indeed, but quality stuff for all its ease, and a lovely hidden at 27a.

    Many thanks Chalicea and Kitty.

  5. This was very enjoyable but not at all tough. I was another who spend a lot of time pondering the non-PC possibility for 1d. I’m not convinced however that the correct answer is synonymous with manure – my BRB says that manure is “any substance, especially dung, added to 1d to make it more fertile”.

    I didn’t know that the verb 9d existed and I too didn’t realise that11a could be a person.

    As 22a the Titan is a god, I took the strongman to be Charles of that ilk, but that might be me being over-pedantic.

    27a is a great lurker and gets my vote as favourite.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and to Kitty.

  6. A lovely puzzle, if a little on the clear side.

    Thoroughly enjoyable so thank you Chalicea – thanks to Kitty too for an entertaining blog as usual. The 3d pic had me chuckling.

    PS 10a I think the bull is the inner bit, the bull’s eye being the centre of the inner bit.

  7. Gentle enough for a late Tuesday solve.

    No particular favourites, but 9d held me back for a while.

    Thanks to Chalicea and Kitty.

  8. Do tell me how you are getting your comments posted – I keep on floating into the ether. Mind you, if this goes astray I am still in the same boat!

  9. 10a I thought “circles” was doing double duty and quite liked it.
    A nice puzzle at the gentler end of the spectrum
    Thanks to Chalicea and Kitty

  10. In 10a, the inner is the area of a target that encircles the bull, so the definition should perhaps be ‘circles the bull’. In that case, however, ‘circles’ would be doing double duty as part of the definition and as a lurker indicator. Is this allowed? I see, since posting, that Gordon has, in effect, covered this point.

    1. “… doing double duty as part of the definition and as a lurker indicator. Is this allowed?”

      I’d always have said emphatically not.

      But sometimes the ground you thought was solid goes all sinkholey on you. Maybe I’m wrong and double duty willy-nilly is perfectly fair and fine after all.

      Perhaps a professional would be kind enough to share their expertise, but I’m off to bed as I have a train to catch tomorrow.

      ‘Night all, and thanks for your comments.

    2. Sorry, but I disagree with Mac. In archery the inner is the centremost part that scores 10. See here:

      The bit that encircles the bull is the outer, surely? Sorry, Kitty, no scotch.

      Liked this crossword but not tough enough for a Toughie, we thought.

      Thanks to Kitty and Chalicea.

  11. Many thanks for the appreciative comments. I’m grateful as I am still struggling to get the level right for Tuesday Toughies. It’s a different experience from other setting with, for example, ‘obscure’ definitions given the red pen and the emphasis put on trickier wordplay. My last one seemed to be slightly difficult and this one is clearly a mite easy. I think Kitty’s alternative clue for 10a is better than my original one and I am pretty sure that part of the definition should not also function as a container indicator. I don’t know how I got away with it. Thank you, Kitty.

  12. Thanks to Chalicea and to Kitty for the review and hints. Thanks for popping in Chalicea, if you need help with testing the level of difficulty I’m sure I could be of assistance 😁. I actually managed to solve it, therefore it was at the easy end of the Toughie spectrum! I can’t normally do the harder ones. I enjoyed solving this, favourite was 24a. Was 2*/4* for me.

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