Toughie 2327 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2327

Toughie No 2327 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

I always look forward to Chalicea’s puzzles, and this one didn’t disappoint. Where there are lesser=used words or definitions they are limited to one per clue, which is how it shoud be. The only one in today’s puzzle that was new to me was the monkey in 26 Across.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Daily sex — strangely, that could be a problem (8)
DYSLEXIA: an anagram () of DAILY SEX – those who suffer from this problem will have difficulty spelling this answer!

5a    Graduate cunningly manipulates without spite, possibly (6)
ALUMNA: this female graduate is more often seen in the masculine plural – I have a copy of Nonesuch, the magazine for such graduates of the University of Bristol, on the table in front of me – remove (without) the various letters (possibly) of SPITE from MANIPULATES and find an anagram (cunningly) of what remains

9a    Abruptly come upon evident dark web, ignoring the odds (8)
OVERTAKE: a lesser-used (but by no means unusual) meaning of this answer is constructed by combining a word meaning evident with the even letters (ignoring the odds) of two words in the clue

10a    Insignificant employee with boundless talent produces quality drink (6)
COGNAC: what could be an insignificant employee is followed by the inner letters (boundless) of a talent or intuitive skill


12a    Notable prisoner accepting prison, ultimately, is revolutionary (6)
SIGNAL: put a colloquial word for a prisoner around (accepting) the final letter of [priso]N, add IS from the clue and then reverse the lot (revolutionary)

13a    Source of stability getting established for hospital’s early version (8)
ANCESTOR: start with a source of stability for a ship and replace the H(ospital) with EST(ablished)

15a    Crowd gutlessly ply strong brew (7)
SCRUMPY: a crowd or mêlée is followed by P[l]Y without its inner letter (gutlessly)

16a    Vintner’s refuse to hastily swot up about (4)
MARC: refuse here is a noun, not a verb! – reverse (about) a verb meaning to hastily swot up (for an exam)

20a    Is better than not opening items for consumption (4)
EATS: drop the initial letter (not opening) from a verb meaning Is better than

21a    Piece of land or vehicle working it (7)
TRACTOR: a piece of land followed by OR from the clue

25a    Period intervening in poor sentence (8)
MEANTIME: cobine two four-letter words meaning poor or lowly and a prison sentence

26a    Good French monkey plant (6)
BONSAI: start with the French for good, then add a capuchin monkey

28a    Arrested northern cook on the way back (6)
NAILED: N(orthern) is followed by the reversal (on the way back) of the first name of a famous cook

29a    Find stern tests all uncovered concern (8)
INTEREST: drop the outer letters (all uncovered) from the first three words in the clue

30a    Liberal French floor returning ambassador (6)
LEGATE: L(iberal) followed by the reversal (returning) of the French word for a floor or storey

31a    Unremarkable path involving kilometres in tortuous road (8)
WORKADAY: put a three-letter path around (involving) K(ilometres) itself inside an anagram (tortuous) of ROAD


1d    Dull squabbles in Dudley on vacation (6)
DROWSY: put some squabbles inside the outer letters (on vacation) of D[udle]Y – spookily I am picking up a chair from Brierly Hill, near Dudley, this afternoon!

2d    Hammer‘s essentially brass-lined cutting side (6)
SLEDGE: the middle letters (essentially) of [bras]S-L[ined] followed by the cutting side of a blade

3d    Coming onto stage to fill with rapture (8)
ENTRANCE: two definitions – pronounced differently!

4d    Unpleasant daughter leaving in poor condition (4)
ICKY: Drop (leaving) D(aughter) from an adjective meaning in poor condition

6d    Discarding diamonds upset one so old — 27! (6)
LOOSEN: drop (discarding) D(iamonds) from the last three words in the clue and reverse (upset) what remains (but doesn’t that leave an extra “O” – your thoughts welcome)
Chalicea’s final version (which works!): Endlessly upset one so old – 27!

7d    Precise details of humanities sorted out without disheartened heads (8)
MINUTIAE: an anagram (sorted out) of [H]UMANITIE[S] without the outer letters (disheartened) of H[ead]S

8d    Correctness of current church office (8)
ACCURACY: a type of current followed by a church office

11d    Look closely at wasp, say, gobbling middle of apple (7)
INSPECT: put a six-legged creature, like, say, a wasp around (gobbling) the middle letter of [ap]P[le]

14d    Excellent sauce (7)
SUPREME: two definitions – isnt the sauce named because it is excellent?

17d    Malinger in resort just starting up (8)
GERMINAL: an anagram (in resort) of MALINGER

18d    Divulge information about duck theft (8)
STEALING: a four-letter verb meaning to divulge information or squeal around a type of duck

19d    Game with measure of winner’s lead for jumper (4,4)
POLO NECK: a game followed by what could be the winning margin in a horse race

22d    Let it stand framing Royal Engineers’ thoroughfare (6)
STREET: the Latin abbreviation for let it stand around (framing) the Royal Engineers

23d    Scale of a second century death (6)
ASCEND: a charade of the A from the clue, S(econd), CEN(tury) and an usupported abbreviation of D(eath) C(entury) and a word meaning death [thanks to those who pointed this out]

24d    Hostile, flexible and strong holding no trumps (6)
WINTRY: an adjective meaning flexible and strong around (holding) the abbreviation, in bridge, for No Trumps

27d    Let loose gun dog, removing restraints (4)
UNDO: drop (removing) the outer leters (restraints) from gun dog

Surely the perfect puzzle for a lazy Tuesday (although I have reservations about 6 Down – unless you know better)


29 comments on “Toughie 2327

  1. A perfect complement to today’s backpager slowed down to a Toughie gallop by the Vintner’s refuse, mostly because of ‘hanging onto’ the ‘other’ pronunciation of refuse (reject) – 2.5*/3.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 29a, 3d, and 18d – and the winner is 18d.
    Thanks to Chalicea and BD.

  2. I thought that this was definitely fluffy and, apart from the well-spotted anagram at 1a, it seemed very ‘mechanical’. I can’t explain 6d.
    Thanks to Chalicea and BD.

  3. The second light, fun puzzle of the day! :smile:

    I agree with BD about 6d not working although I took “upset” to be an anagram indicator, but you still end up with one too many O. 20a is such an ugly word, and it is a shame that “without” was used in two different clues for the same purpose of removing letters from anagram fodder. But those minor points aside this was very enjoyable indeed with 1a my favourite.

    The monkey was new to me too.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and to BD.

  4. Gentle but enjoyable. Like RD I thought 6d was an anagram that an Editor overlooked. And for 23d I had the A, S, and then C for century and the last three letters as another way of saying death.

    Thanks to all. Gladly going back to the West Indies tomorrow for some warm weather!

  5. Another enjoyable puzzle from Chalicea although I join others in being worried about the ‘O’ in 6d.
    Top three here were 1&21a plus 18d.

    Thanks to Chalicea and to BD for the review. In 23d, isn’t it just the ‘C’ for century followed by ‘end’ for death?

  6. I’ve given up expecting any difficulty but I usually get more enjoyment from a Chalicea crossword than I did with this one. Thanks to her for the crossword and BD for the review

  7. First time here but second time overall (have commented before on back pager). Ref 6d, isn’t it a reverse lurker?
    Thanks to Chalicea and other contributers, I agree with “C” and “end” in 23d.

  8. a pleasant Toughie. the answer that most amused was 27d which only came to me after some time spent removing the ends from the names of many breeds of dog.

  9. Something went wrong at the editorial level, as the proof version of 6d read ‘Endlessly upset one so old – 27!’ This was an editorial adjustment of my original clue ‘Be less severe, endlessly upsetting one so old! – there must have been a last-minute reason for losing my ‘endlessly’ and introducing those diamonds (maybe to try to make it more difficult for crypticsue – though I am not too stressed about being ‘fluffy’ for one of the top two lady solvers – good luck in December CS!)
    Mark Goodliffe has fine advice for setters – he advises us, when reading the comments in blogs, to ignore the most glowing one and the most critical and absorb the mean of the rest (mean or otherwise). I pass that on to new setters who are sometimes somewhat demoralised by the harshness of comments.
    Many thanks for these generous comments and, of course to Big Dave.

  10. Last in unfortunately was 6d which has caused a bit of a stir, even with the reversed lurker the O remains superfluous-just an error ?
    agree with a **/*** ****.
    Took a while to find the cook in 28,
    An enjoyable romp all round, new monkey for me too in 26a, as were the blue faced snub nosed golden fur variety in our 7 continents and one of the daemons in dark materials- just digressing.
    Favourite, as others ,was 1a, liked 13a and 18d.
    Thanks all for the fun

  11. We took longer to solve this one than we usually do with a Chalicea puzzle and had all the excellent fun that we expect from her.
    A question about the use of ‘vintner’ in 19a. In most of the world apart from North America the word means a seller of wines rather than a maker. The addition of Californian before vintner would have corrected this.
    The monkey in 26a was new to us too.
    Thanks Chalicea and BD.

  12. 1a and 1d went in almost immediately and I thought I was in for an easy romp, but the brakes went on firmly very soon afterwards. I am glad not to be the only one puzzled by 6d, but it did not detract form the enjoyment of it all. I found the vintner helpful in 16a – without it the refuse would have completely eluded me. Many thanks to Chalicea and Big Dave.

  13. Thanks Chalicea. But you raise the question of whether the editorial prerogative properly encompass the conversion of a perfectly satisfactory clue [iboth your original and its revision] into nonsense? There was an inexplicable clue in last Friday’s toughie too.

    1. It is certainly unusual – setters are normally consulted even about as little as the addition or removal of a comma – I truly don’t understand how the clue went wrong. Our editor is very careful, supportive and usually ‘spot-on’.

  14. Fell three short, so I’m pleased to get so close.
    Looking forward to confirming some of the parsing.
    Thanks BD and Chalicea.

  15. Nice stuff, just right to start the Toughie week. Good to see that Chalicea didn’t clue 6d as presented (it threw us too).

    Thanks to Big Dave and Chalicea.

  16. I finished DT29199 in fairly quick time so I thought I’d have a crack at the Toughie. I very rarely have the time to attack two cryptics in one day. The toughie is definitely a step up to the next division. I got 50% out, my favourite, 15a because I love the stuff😋. Will have a crack at today’s later. I have a 12 hour head start😜🦇

  17. Many thanks Chalicea

    Must be the end of a long day or something, i didn’t find this that easy. I’d have been very surprised to find this as a back pager. Favourite was 1a, of course. To my shame i’m not sure i’ve come across the female graduate before. enjoyed the wintry drinks, and i remember many a fine 16 as well!

  18. Enjoyable puzzle. Went to bed with 13a unsolved. Saw the light this morning. Glad we got 6d sorted. Thanks Chalicea.

  19. Not sure bailies has ever been a synonym for arrested ? Certainly synonymous with achieved but arrested ? Thought supreme was a dish not a sauce ?

  20. Not sure nailed has ever been a synonym for arrested ? Certainly synonymous with achieved but arrested ? Thought supreme was a dish not a sauce ?

  21. managed about half without recourse to hints, ….for which Thanks !
    liked 10A “insignificant employee with boundless talent produces quality drink (6)”

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