Toughie 2275 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2275

Toughie No 2275 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Having thought I would be solving a Dada puzzle I find that it is actually one from Chalicea. The Telegraph website showed the wrong setter, apparently Dada will be next Tuesday. For me, this is a win-win situation!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Substitute defence player in an up and down situation (10)
SWITCHBACK: combine a verb meaning to substitute and a defensive player

6a    Where to buy birdcage? (4)
COOP: two definitions – the first being one of a chain of shops

9a    Regiment with area to hold line dance (5)
SALSA: an elite regiment and A(rea) around (to hold) L(ine)

10a    Slight, tiny gin I’d prepared (9)
INDIGNITY: an anagram (prepared) of TINY GIN I’D

12a    British boundary almost overflowing, having no empty space (7)
BRIMFUL: B(ritish) followed by a three-letter boundary and most of (almost) an adjective meaning overflowing

13a    Exclamation of dismay echoing occasionally in Chagar Bazar (5)
AARGH: the reversal (echoing) of the even letters of two words in the clue

15a    Feather-brain‘s base for operations in enemy territory (7)
AIRHEAD: two definitions – both are in the BRB

17a    Feeler from worker woman rejected (7)
ANTENNA: a worker insect followed by the reversal (rejected) of a woman’s name

19a    School allergies from time to time absent in Eton? (7)
COLLEGE: drop (absent) the odd letters (from time to time) of two words in the clue

21a    A row about English student’s workshop (7)
ATELIER: the A from the clue and a row or level around E(nglish) and the letter that represents a student

22a    Pie’s turning a brown colour (5)
SEPIA: an anagram (turning) of PIE’S followed by the A from the clue

24a    Comprehensive‘s useless having taken on daughter and husband (2,5)
IN DEPTH: a word meaning useless around (having taken on) D(aughter) and followed by H(usband)

27a    Driving force of limousine almost out of control, restricting power (9)
IMPULSION: an anagram (out of control) of most of LIMOUSIN[e] around P(ower)

28a    Petty officer clutching erotic picture (5)
PHOTO: the abbreviation of Petty Officer around (clutching) an adjective meaning erotic

29a    On the radio, overlooked dimness (4)
MIST: sounds like (on the radio) a verb meaning overlooked

30a    Sadly older, worth a spiritual life elsewhere (10)
OTHERWORLD: an anagram (sadly) of OLDER WORTH


1d    Frame band (4)
SASH: two definitions – the first being a window frame

2d    Narrow-minded libel liar put about (9)
ILLIBERAL: an anagram (put about) of LIBEL LIAR

3d    Paint one Central American native (5)
COATI: a layer of paint followed by I (one) gives a fluffy animal that is native to Central America

4d    Informed of plot involving umpire accepting bribe essentially (7)
BRIEFED: a garden plot around a three-letter abbreviation for an umpire, itslf around the middle letter (essentially) of [br]I[be]

5d    Mark everything up after dice thrown (7)
CEDILLA: the reversal (up) of a word meaning everything follows an anagram (thrown) of DICE

7d    Shrub‘s more promising with top clipped (5)
OSIER: start with an adjective meaning more promising and drop (clipped) its initial letter (top)

8d    Branch of medicine for those with a mind to study (10)
PSYCHIATRY: a slightly cryptic definition of the branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness

11d    Old woman on support, one receiving gift (7)
GRANTEE: an older family member followed by a support for a golf ball

14d    Self-loving unstable man’s crisis (10)
NARCISSISM: an anagram (unstable) of MAN’S CRISIS

16d    Observe brood of pheasants gathering for dance (7)
EYEBALL: an obsolete term for a brood of pheasants followed by a formal social gathering for dancing

18d    Be rough in joggling someone close (9)
NEIGHBOUR: an anagram (joggling) of BE ROUGH IN

20d    European catalogue including Italian exclusive type (7)
ELITIST: E(uropean) and a catalogue around (including) IT(alian)

21d    Firm in depression cutting alcohol (2,5)
AL DENTE: similar wordplay to a recent clue – a depression inside (cutting) an alcoholic drink

23d    Measures high voices (5)
PIPES: two definitions – the first being measures of wine

25d    Hand round a soft fruit (5)
PAPAW: an animal’s hand around the A from the clue and the musical notation for soft

26d    Ordered ‘Stop all ado, removing restraints!’ (4)
TOLD: three words in the clue without (removing) their outer letters (restraints)

While writing this review I was conscious of using the word anagram eight times, which is rather a lot.


15 comments on “Toughie 2275

  1. Solving the crossword in the paper, I did know who the setter was which probably gave me a slight advantage – I think Chalicea has upped her difficulty level relatively speaking (I took a time I’d expect to spend on a Monday or Tuesday back pager) and it did take longer to solve than next Tuesday’s Dada probably will.

    21d and 6a did feel ‘familiar’ to say the least.

    Thanks to Chalicea and BD

    1. Yes, as Ape says below, the crossword sketch by the Two Ronnies was the prompt for that clue. Chris, the editor, has been on a well-earned vacation which might account for this one being allocated to Dada in the Telegraph list. Until today, I didn’t know whether to expect mine or his. It was also a couple of editorial tweaks that added two anagrams to the maximum of six we are expected to include – sorry BD. I am warmed by your kind ‘win/win’ comment – and didn’t miss the ‘fluffy’ animal.

  2. Having solved the puzzle, I was then a little surprised to see that it was attributed to Dada on the DT Puzzle site, then, while I was sleeping, it became a Chalicea. I did think, compared to his Sunday puzzles, it did not have the ‘feel’ of a Dada.
    Very enjoyable and comfortably solved at a Toughie fast gallop – **/*****.
    Candidates for favourite – 6a, 21d, and 26d – and the winner by a nose is 21d (even if it is a very recent repeat).
    Thanks to Chalicea and Dada.

  3. I learned three new things while solving this very enjoyable puzzle: the military base in 15a; the brood of pheasants in 16d; and the measures in 23d.
    Initially I put in “psychology” for 8d. I think it’s a more accurate answer for that cryptic definition, but it messed up 17a & 21a for me until I realised it wasn’t the required solution.
    Many thanks to Chalicea and to BD.

  4. Pleased to note that I wasn’t alone in not knowing the military base or the old measures but I was OK with the pheasant brood.
    Definitely thought that Chalicea had upped the difficulty in this one and she fooled me for a while with 3d where I was looking for an obscure tribe and 28a – I had the first and last checker in that so you can imagine where I was going!
    Not overly convinced by the second definition in 23a, I rather thought that called for slightly different wording.

    A very enjoyable solve with 1a taking my vote for favourite.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and to BD for the review.

  5. Very enjoyable. 6a favourite. (Check out the crossword sketch on The Two Ronnies). Ta to all.

    1. Indeed, Ape, as I said above, that sketch means that there can only be one way to clue that word – but it is the nun’s last comment in the sketch that is the winner.

      1. Absolutely, Chalicea. The nun’s comment has me in tucks of laughter every time I watch that sketch.

  6. Very satisfying to solve on the journey to our new house. The bird house held out even though I have built several. The headless willow was last in even though we have beds of them by the river. Thanks to Chalicea and to Big Dave

  7. Well it seems I found this a tad harder than most of you and like RD, I was unfamiliar with the same three words plus 3d
    Chalicea has definitely sharpened her talons and produced a stiffer but very enjoyable challenge
    Many thanks to Chalicea and to BD

  8. I finished both the back pager and toughie unaided in a (unmeasured) time by my slow standards that must be close to a personal best. I did not know the furry animal or the pheasant thing but both could be confidently guessed without difficulty. I had to use the blog to check I had 23d correct as I was not 100% sure. I think it was one of those rare days when the answer comes to mind easily and one just has to check the parsing

    Many thanks to Chalicea for a nice puzzle and BD for the blog

    Must remember to watch the two ronnies sketch as I can’t remember having ever seen it

  9. When we solved this we were still under the impression that it was by Dada, but in retrospect, we should have questioned this. As BD has said it was a win/win situation as it was another of our favourite setters instead. A few things we needed to check such as the second meaning in 15a and the first part of 16d.
    A very enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Chalicea and BD.

  10. A very pleasant solve indeed .
    I put “Arrah ” for 13 across , an expression used in Cork , used as a prefix to something one mildly disagrees with .As in Arrah , don’t be silly .
    I was in Cork today , at a funeral .Funerals are different in Ireland , nobody is invited and everyone is expected to turn up .
    Thanks to Chalidea and BD.

  11. Very nice. A relatively mild Toughie as befits a Tuesday albeit solved Wednesday. Went straight to the Two Ronnies sketch – a classic. Thanks for the reminder.

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