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Toughie 2374

Toughie No 2374 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Another super puzzle from Chalicea. The answers to one or two clues needed to be teased out, but most were straightforward.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Sent round specimens essentially taken as given (7)
POSITED: a verb meaning sent, as in sent a letter, around the middle letter (essentially) of [spec]I[mens]

5a    Ignoring nurse initially, doctor inspects dirty pool (7)
CESSPIT: an anagram (doctor) of I[N]SPECTS without (ignoring) the initial letter of N[urse]

9a    Exposed unctuous favourites and hangers-on (7)
LIMPETS: an adjective meaning unctuous [sLIMy] without its outer letters (exposed) followed by some favourites

10a    Exceptional band had very able performer (3,4)
DAB HAND: an anagram (exceptional) of BAND HAD

11a    Tipsily homes in on foolish talk (9)
MOONSHINE: an anagram (tipsily) of HOMES IN ON – I think illicit liquor would have been more appropriate as the definition!

12a    Relative position, say, about subject (5)
LIEGE: the position of, perhaps, a golf ball followed by the reversal (about) of a Latin abbreviation of say / for example

13a    Occasionally scarce farm product (5)
CREAM: the even letters (occasionally) of two words in the clue

15a    With singular speed, furnish high-altitude gear (9)
SPACESUIT: S(ingular) followed by a word meaning speed and a verb meaning to furnish or provide

17a    Driving mechanism to sustain vendors with no restrictions (9)
PROPELLER: a verb meaning to sustain or support followed by some vendors [sELLERs] without their outer letters (with no restrictions)

19a    Jog in the altogether round centre of Rugby (5)
NUDGE: an adjective meaning in the altogether around the middle letter (centre) of [Ru]G[by]

22a    Range in Switzerland especially (5)
ANDES: hidden (in) inside the clue

23a    Law-abiding ordinary, second-class employee (9)
OBSERVANT: O(rdinary) followed by the letter that denotes second-class and a domestic employee

25a    Toughened after time with permanent post (7)
TENURED: an alternate spelling of a verb meaning toughened or hardened after T(ime)

26a    Storm about backing foreign plonk, sour stuff (7)
VINEGAR: the reversal of a verb meaning to storm follows some French (foreign) plonk

27a    Silly goon excluded from moving agony column’s hatchet job (7)
CALUMNY: an anagram (moving) of A[gon]Y C[o]LUMN without (excluded from) the assorted letters (silly) of GOON

28a    Small coin journalist got wind of (7)
SCENTED: S(mall) followed by a foreign coin and the abbreviation for a senior journalist


1d    Coppers not completely holding me up in controversy (7)
POLEMIC: most of a word for the coppers / boys in blue around the reversal (up) of ME

2d    A person readily welcoming me heading committee at last (7)
SOMEONE: a word meaning readily or quickly around (welcoming) ME from the clue followed by (heading) the final letter (at last) of [committe]E

3d    Head-to-toe cover for garment? (5)
TREWS: start with a verb meaning to cover and move its initial letter (head) to the end (toe)

4d    Notice southern girl wearing ring (9)
DISMISSAL: S(outhern) and a young girl inside (wearing) a verb meaning to ring on the telephone

5d    Day in custody cell (5)
CADRE: D(ay) inside a word meaning custody

6d    Curiously subtler and almost petty (9)
SUBALTERN: an anagram (curiously) of SUBTLER with most of AN[d]

7d    Rising up circling former top of ancient tableland (7)
PLATEAU: the reversal (rising) of UP around a word meaning former and the initial letter (top) of A[ncient]

8d    Most trim little flier expires trapped inside (7)
TIDIEST: a small bird (flier) around (trapped inside) a verb meaning expires

14d    Violent turmoil as merlot mixed with last of rum (9)
MAELSTROM: an anagram (mixed) of AS MERLOT followed by (with) the final letter (last) of [ru]M

16d    Scratchy things as with undergarments I’ve taken in (9)
ABRASIVES: the AS from the clue around (taken in) some female undergarments and I’VE

17d    Popular credit card, it’s turning up in town, say, mostly (7)
PLASTIC: the reversal (turning up) of IT’S inside most of somewhere like a town

18d    Part of record in a Latin service book (7)
ORDINAL: hidden (part of) inside the clue

20d    Heard plan for a drink (7)
DRAUGHT: sounds like (heard) a plan or outline

21d    Tree with lowered resistance, in consequence put down (7)
ENTERED: start with TREE, move the R(esistance) down a position (lowered) and then put it all inside a consequence

23d    Curiously evenly folded clays (5)
ODDLY: the even letters of two words in the clue

24d    Limits of country estate with first of gardeners gone (5)
RANGE: start with a country estate and drop (gone) the initial letter (first) of G[ardeners]

The usual consistency from one of my favourite setters.


22 comments on “Toughie 2374

  1. An enjoyable crossword as we’d expect from Chalicea – it took me the same time to solve as the backpager – so both about right for a Tuesday backpager.

    Thanks to Chalicea and BD

  2. Quite straightforward but not quite the F-word, completed at a Toughie gallop – **/****.
    A Hmm on 6d because I am not quite sure of the connection between the definition and the answer.
    Favourite – 26a.
    Thanks to Chalicea and BD.

    1. I too wondered about 6d but it seems they are both a synonym of subordinate so I suppose that is enough?

      Thoroughly enjoyable and fairly gentle puzzle. Thanks to Chalicea and BD. Liked them all but I’ll go for 17d as favourite just ahead of 3d.

  3. This constitutes something of a record for me being this early, a consequence of not being too well so I’m not doing other things. It’s nice to have a toughie that’s doable for us ordinary mortals. Favourite 27a. Many thanks to Chalicea and BD.

  4. As mentioned on Saturday Chalicea does like her anagrams. All in all a nice puzzle to solve whilst entertaining a demanding two year old. Thanks to Chalicea and to Big Dave for the hints and the lift to the black hole of Shepherds Bush

  5. This was good fun and moderately challenging overall. A lot of answers went in quickly but some needed quite a bit of teasing out and I failed on 3d as I couldn’t think of a word meaning garment which would fit with T-E-S.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and to BD.

  6. Romped through this before coming to a grinding halt in the NW corner. That took me as long to solve as the rest of the puzzle
    Like others, not sure about 6d. COTD 27a

  7. I enjoyed this very much. I was slowed down in the NW corner, but pleased to figure out 3d without too much diffuclty. The biggest chuckle was Big Dave’s offered alternative wording in 11a! Many thanks to Chalicea and Big Dave.

  8. Although a regular on the back pager I am only recently venturing in to Toughie territory so this enjoyable and “doable” puzzle was most welcome. I think it is important that the Toughie is sometimes achievable by those less experienced in its twists and turns so thanks Chalicea for thinking of us!

    Apart from 6d, which I did kind of get without the hints, the one I could not see was 3d, so thanks BD for the explanation of this and causing the “doh” moment.

  9. Similar to others was stumped on 3d and needed to check definitions for 27a and 6d. Enjoyable, and took a bit longer than the back page to get to where I got to.

  10. Very enjoyable and thankfully 3d caused no problems here. I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that 6d referred to the relative rankings of a Subaltern and a Petty Officer – perhaps Chalicea will pop in to enlighten us.
    My podium places went to 9,10 & 19a.

    Thanks to Chalicea and to the blog birthday boy for the review.

    1. Dear Jane, and those wondering about 6d. I set this one several months ago and was advised that the subaltern was a military rank below a petty officer but I agree that Chambers defines both terms but doesn’t actually rank them. That was certainly my intention in the clue. As always, I really appreciate your warm response to my ‘slightly easier’ toughies and am delighted that they encourage newcomers to tackle a toughie even if they are rather easy for stars like Crypticsue. Special thanks to Big Dave. We couldn’t make this year’s party because of sk-ing commitments but heard that it was a most enjoyable event, as always.

      1. Sk-ing? Write a clue for that one. Thanks for commenting. I fully agree with all who think Tuesday’s Toughies should provide a sensible step up from back pagers. One of my greatest pleasures derived from Big Dave’s site is seeing the progression some folk make from never having completed a back pager to feeling confident enough to tackle a Toughie. As for 6d. A piece of cake because of John Betjemin and his Subalterns Love Song

        Miss J. Hunter Dunn, Miss J. Hunter Dunn,
        Furnish’d and burnish’d by Aldershot sun,
        What strenuous singles we played after tea,
        We in the tournament – you against me!

        Love-thirty, love-forty, oh! weakness of joy,
        The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy,
        With carefullest carelessness, gaily you won,
        I am weak from your loveliness, Joan Hunter Dunn.

        Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
        How mad I am, sad I am, glad that you won,
        The warm-handled racket is back in its press,
        But my shock-headed victor, she loves me no less.

        Her father’s euonymus shines as we walk,
        And swing past the summer-house, buried in talk,
        And cool the verandah that welcomes us in
        To the six-o’clock news and a lime-juice and gin.

        The scent of the conifers, sound of the bath,
        The view from my bedroom of moss-dappled path,
        As I struggle with double-end evening tie,
        For we dance at the Golf Club, my victor and I.

        On the floor of her bedroom lie blazer and shorts,
        And the cream-coloured walls are be-trophied with sports,
        And westering, questioning settles the sun,
        On your low-leaded window, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

        The Hillman is waiting, the light’s in the hall,
        The pictures of Egypt are bright on the wall,
        My sweet, I am standing beside the oak stair
        And there on the landing’s the light on your hair.

        By roads “not adopted”, by woodlanded ways,
        She drove to the club in the late summer haze,
        Into nine-o’clock Camberley, heavy with bells
        And mushroomy, pine-woody, evergreen smells.

        Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
        I can hear from the car park the dance has begun,
        Oh! Surrey twilight! importunate band!
        Oh! strongly adorable tennis-girl’s hand!

        Around us are Rovers and Austins afar,
        Above us the intimate roof of the car,
        And here on my right is the girl of my choice,
        With the tilt of her nose and the chime of her voice.

        And the scent of her wrap, and the words never said,
        And the ominous, ominous dancing ahead.
        We sat in the car park till twenty to one
        And now I’m engaged to Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

      2. Better late than never – just to clarify, a “subbie” (as they are usually called) is the lowest rank of commissioned officer in the Army (and is sometimes taken to include both sublieutenant and lieutenant) and petty officer is one of the highest non-commissioned ranks (or more correctly, rate) in the Royal Navy.

  11. Seeing the name Chalicea at the top of a puzzle always puts smiles on our faces and they stayed there right through the solve once again. !2a was the biggest challenge as we initially saw ‘relative’ and wanted to use NIECE as the answer. Eventually got it sorted when the word play and first letter wouldn’t work.
    Thanks Chalicea and BD.

  12. Really liked the definitions in this very enjoyable crossword.
    From the hangers-on to the popular credit card and the hatchet job, they gave a new dimension to the solve.
    Thanks to Chalicea and to BD.

  13. Really enjoyed this one as I did it all by myself. Should have guessed that it was easier. Thanks for explaining 6d.

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