Toughie 2426 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2426

Toughie No 2426 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by A Queasy Queequeg

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Today we have a superbly accessible but just tough enough Toughie from Chalicea. There is a lot of fun to be had here but the number of reversals in this puzzle have left Queequeg feeling quite queasy. 

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Right to enter embassy following promotion (9)
ADMISSION: A synonym of Embassy (not the cigarettes) follows an abbreviation of a notice promoting an event 

8a    Huge soldier at Fort Bragg pursued by another? (5)
GIANT: Fort Bragg is a military establishment in North Carolina. The common term for a soldier here is followed by another type of soldier. This time an insect 

10a    Last bit of bad fruit spot (6)
DAPPLE: The last letter of the word bad is followed by the round fruit of a tree often found in orchards

I had a little pony
His name was dapple grey
I lent him to a lady
She rode him far away

She whipped and she lashed him
She rode him through the mire
I would not lend my pony now
For all that lady’s hire

11a    Ill at ease in equipage; French primarily, not British (8)
FAROUCHE: Golly Bongs. A real Toughie clue. Find an historical name for a carriage and horses with attendants. Now change the initial letter from a B (British) to an F (French)

12a    Have weight if returning boned slice of fish (6)
FILLET: To have weight here is to have a noticeable effect upon something or someone. Add the word if from the clue and reverse what you have

14a    Cavorting nude essentially drunken adult chaperone (6)
DUENNA: An anagram (cavorting) of NUDE followed by the central (essential) letter of drunken followed by the abbreviation for adult 

16a    Supporter‘s friendly but not initially (4)
ALLY: A word meaning friendly needs its initial letter removing. I don’t understand the apostrophe S in the clue

17a    Seen in vehicle, keep-fit lark (5)
CAPER: The vehicle most of us drive (ours are a Lexus and a roller skate) contains (seen in) the usual abbreviation for keep fit lessons

18a    Hide singular relationship (4)
SKIN: Begin with the abbreviation for singular and add your familial relationship 

19a    Guiding light to adopt right-wing views (6)
BEACON: When not split 2,1,3 the adoption of right-wing views becomes a guiding light. 

21a    Faint-hearted Tory with this becomes Green (6)
YELLOW: The answer here is a colour which when mixed with the colour associated with a Tory would make green

24a    Big lie about river flowing backwards; a joke (3-5)
ONE LINER: A four-letter big lie around the reversal (flowing backwards) of an African river 

26a    Jubilant journalist following story in review (6)
ELATED: Our regular journalist follows the reverse (in review) of a story or lie

27a    Advanced examination incomplete in chambers (5)
ATRIA: My last one solved. Begin with the abbreviation for advanced. Add an examination minus its last letter (incomplete)

28a    Ravenous like this and yearning at heart might become carnivorous (9)
VORACIOUS: anagram (might become) of CARNIVOROUS after the central (at heart) letters of the word yearning have been removed 


1d    Theoretical concept supported by student (5)
IDEAL: A concept or thought is followed by our usual student

2d    To render easier second hint provided inside (8)
SIMPLIFY: Begin with the abbreviation for second. Add a word meaning to hint at something. Insert the two-letter word meaning providing 

3d    Too American — ‘Dandy!’ (2,4)
AS WELL: Split 1,5 we have the abbreviation for American followed by a Dandy or toff

4d    Remove some appointed officers (4)
DOFF: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. Indicated by the word some

5d    Detective on instrument having diminished concentration (6)
DILUTE: The abbreviation for a detective inspector is followed by a stringed instrument 

6d    How good client pays in an hotel possibly (2,3,4)
ON THE NAIL: Anagram (possibly) of IN AN HOTEL

9d    Stock exchange member concerned with missile turning up (6)
TRADER: A long thin pointed missile and a preposition meaning concerning are reversed

13d    Drunk shoots Yankee (5)
TIPSY: The shoots of a plant perhaps are followed by the abbreviation for Yankee 

15d    Modify rump mostly used in place of another (9)
ALTERNATE: A word meaning to modify is followed by a word for one’s rump or buttocks minus its last letter

17d    Series of prayers from clerical dignitaries (6)
CANONS: A double definition both should be obvious

18d    Picadors in trouble occurring now and then (8)
SPORADIC: Anagram (in trouble) of PICADORS

20d    Miner’s docked dog (6)
COLLIE: A miner needs his last letter docking or removing 

22d    Sideways drift of upset small boat circling eastern Spain (6)
LEEWAY: The name for a two-masted fore-and-aft-rigged sailing boat with the mizzenmast stepped far aft so that the mizzen boom overhangs the stern is reversed (upset) and placed around the abbreviation for eastern and the IVR code letter for Spain

23d    First performance of French object of ridicule falls short (5)
DEBUT: Begin with the French word for of. Add the fall guy or victim of jokes minus his last letter (falls short

25d    Space in rising open land (4)
ROOM: This space can be found by reversing (rising) the name of open land or heath


42 comments on “Toughie 2426

  1. Pretty straightforward for a Toughie. Enjoyed 21a and thought it was good to see a really grown up clue at 11a.

  2. Plain sailing with the exception of 11a where not being familiar with the equipage left me requiring electronic assistance to complete. Other than that it took me less time than the back pager. I struggled to parse have weight in 12a and still do to be honest. Thanks to Chalicea and MP.

    1. Agree about the difficulty, the time taken compared to the Cryptic and about 12a but decided its use was: ‘in a telling remark’. Thanks to setter and MP.

  3. Apart from 11a ,for which I had to revert to google, very enjoyable and fairly straightforward – although I still can’t find the big lie in 24a….
    Thanks to Chalicea
    and A Q Q

    1. If you look up a word with the 1st, 2nd, 7th and 8th letters of your solution, you’ll find one of the definitions is ‘a big lie’

      1. Thanks for this Crypticsue , I’m convinced you are right , but I cannot find the definition anywhere online – give me a clue to find it please!!!

          1. I’m amazed that the term is completely alien to me – were you familiar with it ?
            Thanks so much for dispelling my ignorance!

            1. It’s been in crosswords very occasionally before but don’t ask me when or where

  4. Last week’s Telegraph Puzzles left me wondering about crosswords all weekend. I experienced great joy solving Micawbers puzzle but spent far longer staring at a small number of ghastly clues I could not have solved no matter how I tried as I did not know the GK behind them. Overall, crosswords did not seem to bring much fun. I don’t much care for compilers wanting to show me that I know little on mythology, Shakespeare, small towns, fabrics, flora and fauna, birds, collective nouns, novels, poets, movies etc – I already know that! So I decided I would give up crosswords – or rather to do this week’s Toughies and the RayT and then give up. On downloading today’s puzzle I saw tomorrow’s is by the grand priest of obscurities himself, so the plan was changed – today’s puzzles will be the last. As far as I know the only compiler of cryptic crosswords who does use obscurities or GK (by my definition) is RayT

    So this, then, is my final puzzle. I think of Chalicea as someone who produces nice clues, usually on the easy side, but takes the shine off by throwing in about 2 obscurities per puzzle. And sure enough today I found two obscurities but the cruel thing was they were both in the same clue so there was no way of guessing. So an oddity of the last puzzle being a “Did Not Finish” but basically a really simple puzzle. I gave up on the back pager as it seemed like a general knowledge test.

    1. Or maybe change to another newspaper? I tend to do that for more stimulation. Or give up on all of them for a while.

      I think even Senf said, a few weeks ago, that he sometimes finds “having to do” (for the review/comments I assumed) a crossword a bit of a chore.

      But they are only puzzles and a little light mental exercise or amusement, surely?

      Patch, you must enjoy them, to some extent.

      PS. Thanks Chalicea for a gentle bit of fun. Nothing wrong with that right now.

      1. Never a chore for me. Always a pleasure. No problem with the cryptic which is there on my iPad when I wake up. I don’t see the Toughie until the paper arrives which is never early and occasionally quite late.

    2. I wholeheartedly empathise, I often feel that way myself. My particular bugbear is names, especially so-called celebrities from last century
      To counter this, I regularly switch between compiling puzzles, playing my old Tanglewood guitar and playing chess (I don’t watch TV, ever – don’t have one)
      My usual day involves solving Graun, DT back-pager & Toughie, Times and Indy plus test solving for several setters – it gets a bit much sometimes
      I remember Chris Lancaster saying he got told off by his wife at a romantic dinner once for subconsciously making anagrams of the menu items
      So I say yes, have a break if it’s beginning to get on your nerves – I would.

              1. “heated hot” would seem to be redundant too but it is part of the fodder. Maybe we need a menu

                What would you like for dinner? Heated hot loin otherwise bangers in batter (4,2,3,4)

                1. Heated hot doesn’t mean anything though, a tautology
                  I think you can afford yourself ‘it’s’ between otherwise…bangers and reduce it

      1. Changing newspapers does not make much difference. I had been doing the week-day Guardian puzzle for a while and I used to do the Times main puzzle. If anything I think the Telegraph is slightly lighter on obscurities / GK than the competition. The blogs that cover those puzzles seem to rejoice in obscurity.

        What seems so odd to me is that, given the number of compilers around, Ray T seems to be the only one that, by nature, avoids GK and obscure words. And, looking at comments below, he is not likely to waste a romantic dinner (with sweetheart, I presume) making anagrams of the menu! I feel strongly that this balance is wrong to the detriment of crosswordland. There is nothing wrong with the occasional Giovanni style Toughie provided it is known in advance. I have sometimes scrolled through a blog to the Times’ Mephisto puzzle (looking for something else, of course) and it looks like a foreign language to me – but that’s fine because I know to avoid it.

  5. Cracking puzzle today Grommit , going for a **/****.
    Last in was 27a,I wanted to put in attic but saw the light just in time!
    I had difficulty with the Tory in 21a ,then the penny dropped-my favourite surface-brilliant.

    Thanks to setter and QQ

  6. Fastest unToughie solve ever. I wrote a long reply to Mr Patch but gateway problems with this site intervened and my dissertation disappeared. Never mind. Just as well. Nothing I said would make any difference. Thanks to Queequeg and Chalicea. A fun puzzle. I think I rode that 11a somewhere along the way in Madame Bovary, though I don’t think it was on that bumpy, libidinous joyride in Rouen. That’s Flaubert’s MB. It’s a novel. It changed my world-view. So did Ishmael, the monomaniacal Trumpist, Aha, and Queequeg who took me harpooning. That was when I was a teenager and read Moby-Dick. That’s a novel. It too changed my outlook on life. * / ****

  7. I found this less challenging than the back-pager today, except for the ‘big lie’ part of 24A. I did know the equipage but needed to google the full answer to confirm the definition. Thanks to Miffypoips for the review and to Chalicea for a very pleasant outing.

  8. Had to check a couple of things like the boat in 22d and the big lie in 24a.
    Remembered the barouche from BD’s list of horse-drawn carriages which I visited so often but you need to know how to access it as it doesn’t appear in his Mine of very useful information.
    Went to the fishmonger this morning and bought exactly the same fish pictured in 12a. Dos de Cabillaud we call it here, a nice beurre blanc and some steamed local green beans, peas and carrots to accompany. Ready in less than 20 mins. Bon appetit and thanks to Chalicea and to MP for the review.

  9. 27a defeated me. Put in rapatious for 28a initially but 25d fixed it. I certainly didn’t think there was too much GK. Most enjoyable.

  10. Was feeling reasonably smug until 11a. Golly bongs about sums up my thoughts too. Knew the clue was ill at ease but the answer was not a word I’ve come across before nor was I familiar with the carriage so the hint was of no help unfortunately. Other than that one about as accessible as I can remember & a fun solve. Thanks to the setter & to MP.
    PS also thought the Graun was a relatively gentle solve today.

  11. Didn’t know the words in 11a or 14a, but worked them out.

    Stand-out clue for me today was 21a.

    Thanks to AQQ for the blog and Chalicea.

  12. For the most part as easy as a back pager, and then there was, yes, 11ac. I’m guessing most of us had to cheat to finish, and so learned two new words which some would consider a bargain, but still… Surely there would have been another way to clue it? The rest, though, was thoroughly enjoyable and a good introduction to the Toughie.

  13. Held up for a while with 11a but the rest all flowed smoothly for us. Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Chalicea and MP.

  14. Oh dear, Patch! That has made me really sad. My Tuesday Toughies are considered ‘easy’ (too easy for some – look at what Robert Clark says above – I always dread that little single star) and even the editor used that ‘Floughie’ word on me this time. We really are discouraged from using any GK words that are not in most people’s vocabulary but I have to slip in two or three difficult and slightly more obscure words to avoid being expelled from the team (it was exciting for me to get a Golly Bongs from Miffy Pops, and that same clue has distressed you).
    But how can I encourage you to stick with it? Might it help to know that I am a really poor solver (will probably manage two clues in Elgar’s on Friday) and completely understand how you feel. I live with an excellent solver. Is there no way you can solve with someone else? It does help you to recognise crossword fodder like that word for a big lie (24ac).
    Perhaps stay with it but be slightly less demanding of yourself? Treat the whole thing as fun – my aim as a setter is to give you plenty of that. You don’t have to complete a crossword, and Big Dave’s blog will fill the gaps for you on the day Toughies appear.
    Many thanks for all those kind solver comments and to Miffy Pops – these puzzles are set quite a long time before they appear and I am grateful for your help in solving even my own (honestly!)

    1. Thanks for popping in & posting a comment. I find it quite surprising that someone able to set such clever clues isn’t necessarily particularly adept at solving those set by others. I won’t feel nearly so inadequate now when I stare blankly on a Friday at an Elgar grid.

    2. Chalicea, thank you so much for popping in. I really enjoy your puzzles, and for me that is the only thing that really matters. However easy or tough it is is irrelevant as long as it is fun to solve. My page today was littered with ticks and I only needed to reach for my BRB for 11a and the “big lie” in 24a. I awarded double ticks to 14a, 21a, 3d & 13d.

      You’ve given great advice to Patch. I do hope he/she sticks with solving cryptic crosswords. It’s a great pastime normally and absolutely essential to help keep us sane during these “unprecedented times” to use the current favourite phrase of the media and our politicians.

    3. Hi Chalicea,
      Nice to see you popping in and I did smile at your ‘obscure words’ comment. As soon as I got to 11a in this one, my first thought was – Chalicea has popped that one in to avoid getting the Floughie label this week!
      Just be true to yourself, Chalicea, where would the fun be if all our setters followed the same sort of format.
      Thank you for today’s puzzle.

    4. A puzzle does not need obscurities to be difficult. Your puzzle today, to me, was indeed pretty easy. I think you made the mistake of overestimating how widely known the answer to 11a is and then compounding it by assuming a specific meaning to equipage that people like me do not know, then throwing in a carriage I don’t know. Outcome: a did not finish for an otherwise easy puzzle
      I really believe crossword land is capable of organising itself better so one knows what to expect. To some extent this is the case eg I know it is most unlikely I would enjoy a giovanni. The problem is that there are so few setters who can form cryptically difficult clues without obscure words

    5. Hello, Chalicea. You also might note that I gave you a 4**** rating for enjoyment even though I did in fact find your crafty puzzle relatively easy for me. I found the few GK clues a delight, relating them to my own literary and artistic experiences, and still am stunned by those comments that seem offended by such. But we each bring our own lives to the task of solving cryptics and what would this crazy world be without such differences? Thanks again for the fun and visiting with us a bit. Come back soon.

  15. Thanks Chalicea I am looking forward to seeing your name appear in the toughie list more and more. As a solver graduating from back pager to the occasional toughie they are at just the right level (apart from 11a A Month of Sunday’s clue for me) but the learning moments are what it is all about. Glad to hear I am not the only one to look at an Elgar with a well-chewed but almost unused pencil. Dutch is helping me with those!
    Thanks to Queequeg too for a clear explanation of my bung ins and LBR for advice on clue construction.
    TTFN bedtime for bonzo.

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