Toughie 2446 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2446

Toughie No 2446 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

I made steady progress with this puzzle, hence the *** rating.  Once again a very enjoyable puzzle in which I particularly liked the image created by 4 Down.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


4a    Gifted toughie consuming beer and books (8)
TALENTED: a fifties “toughie”, around (consuming) some beer and some books of the bible

8a    Composition some charlatan ostensibly rejected (6)
SONATA: hidden (some) and reversed (rejected) inside the clue

9a    Lengthy message, lacking opening, reached conclusion (8)
EXTENDED: an SMS message without (lacking) its initial letter (opening) followed by a verb meaning reached a conclusion

10a    Chivalrous tale with idiosyncratic feature relating to love (8)
ROMANTIC: a five-letter chivalrous tale (I had to check this one) followed by an idiosyncratic feature

11a    What boy does with toy in nursery verses? (6)
RHYMES: a cryptic definition of what “boy” does with “toy”

12a    Smart figures organised rite in clipped language (8)
LITERATI: an anagram (organised) of RITE inside most of a language

13a    Undressed football club bigwigs in goals? (8)
PURSUITS: start with the five-letter nickname of the best football club in North London, drop its outer letters (undressed) then add some bigwigs

I was there that day!

16a    Small empty township surrounded by marine plant (8)
SWEETPEA: a three-letter a colloquial word for small followed by T[ownshi]P without its inner letters (empty) inside (surrounded by) an adjective meaning marine

19a    Drink from odd sock (3,5)
RUM PUNCH: an adjective meaning odd followed by a sock or blow

21a    Battling conformity, troubled firm drops top executive (6)
TYCOON: an anagram (battling) of CON[F]O[RMI]TY without (drops) the assorted letters (troubled) of FIRM

23a    Philanthropist, setter, say, rounds on upset friend now and then (2-6)
DO-GOODER: the type of animal of which a setter is an example (say) followed by two round letters and the reversal (upset) of the even letters (now and then) of [f]R[i]E[n]D

24a    Six tours organised with opera’s principal star performer (8)
VIRTUOSO: the Roman numerals for six followed by an anagram (organised) of TOURS and the initial letter (principal) of O[pera]

25a    Restrain revolutionary in ranks (6)
TIERED: a verb meaning to restrain followed by a revolutionary

26a    Something to wear having reported naked flesh? (8)
BEARSKIN: split as (4,4) this sounds like (having reported) an adjective meaning naked and some flesh


1d    Mechanical ear’s covered by fleece (7)
ROBOTIC: an adjective meaning of the ear (ear’s) preceded (covered) by a verb meaning to fleece

2d    Beauty clasping trimmed gemstone trinket (9)
BAGATELLE: a five-letter beauty goes around (clasping) most of (trimmed) a gemstone

3d    Incantation when source of danger loses power (6)
MANTRA: drop (loses) the final P(ower) from a source of danger

4d    French fries costing less? It’s a critical situation (3,5,3,4)
THE CHIPS ARE DOWN: looks like French fries are costing less!

5d    Rarely it can be associated with writing (8)
LITERARY: an anagram (can be) of RARELY IT

6d    In city regularly banning butter (5)
NANNY: inside the two-letter abbreviation for a US city put the even letters of [b]A[n]N[i]N[g] to get an animal that butts

7d    Choose nursing team members for constant factor (7)
ELEMENT: start with a five-letter verb meaning to choose and insert (nursing) some team members instead of the C(onstant)

14d    Lacking in schooling turned out problematic (9)
UNTUTORED: an anagram (problematic) of TURNED OUT

15d    Creation with numerous gaps in book by old author? (8)
OPENWORK: a book or composition preceded by O(ld) and a verb meaning to author

17d    Evaluates, it’s said, most of plan for border (7)
WAYSIDE: a four-letter word that sounds like (it’s said) a word meaning evaluates followed by most of a plan or suggestion

18d    Twisted journalist supporting singular gang (7)
SCREWED: our usual journalist is preceded by (supports in a down clue) S(ingular gang

20d    Very great age of octogenarian, male, not English (6)
MIGHTY: start with the age first reached by an octogenarian and put M(ale) instead of (not) the E(nglish)

22d    Swine decapitated water creature (5)
OTTER: start with a swine or cad and drop his initial letter (decapitated)

Great stuff, as usual.


29 comments on “Toughie 2446

  1. Thanks Chalicea. Found this too much of a fluffie tuffie to count it as my pb, but pleasant nonetheless. A great day for beginners to telegraph cryptics! Will now go back & read BD’s parsing & see where we (dis) agree. Big Dave, where does Arsenal fit into 13a? Gooners of the world, unite! Dyslexics of the world, untie! 1*/3*

  2. We seem to have reverted to a floughie Tuesday. Thanks to Chalicea and BD.
    Should the enumeration of 16a not be 5,3?
    My favourite clue was 11a which reminded me of the old Christmas cracker joke ‘What does a parrot do with a carrot?’.

    1. Haha. I think 16a is usually one word for gardeners. Mine are being very slow to get going and don’t seem to understand they should be growing upwards not outwards.

  3. Yes, I agree with BD, this was great fun, and, like BD, I needed to check on the chivalrous tale in 10a.

    I thought that the definition for 26a was a bit vague as was the “source of danger” in 3d.

    With lots of good clues to choose from, 13a, 4d & 20d made it onto my podium. The terraces at Tottenham will never seem the same again with the image created by 13a in mind.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and BD.

  4. On the first read through I thought I would get nowhere but I persevered and, with a little electronic help, finished in. My last one in was the octogenarian. Such a simple clue and it took ages for the penny to drop.

    It was not, to me, a fluffie Toughie as it took me a long time to get on the right wavelength. That, I think, is always the hardest part.

    1. Don’t worry about the moaners. There are some who blog here (no names, no pack drill) who forget that there was a time when they had not reached their present level of expertise.

      1. Thanks, Mac, that’s what the editor says and I met a top setter during a ‘Zoom’ meeting yesterday who said just the same – ‘We shouldn’t worry about hunting for difficulty and obscurity if we can give some enjoyment’.

  5. Gentle, but fun. My only delay was trying to work out what 15d was pointing to.

    13a made me smile, as I knew BD would be doing the write-up…

    Thanks to Chalicea and to BD.

  6. For me, a little less ‘floughie’ than Chalicea has been, completed at a Toughie gallop – 2.5*/3.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 19a, 1d, and 4d – and the winner is 4d!
    Thanks to Chalicea and BD.

  7. What a gentle day this is, for puzzles and the weather. For me, this was more enjoyable than the cryptic even if a few of the surfaces made the structure of the answer too easy. 16a should be 5, 3 surely? 2d last one in, for no obvious reason other than I started at the bottom.

    Chalicea, did you put 13a in just because you knew BD was doing the review?

    Thanks to she and he. I’ll enjoy a 19a at sundown.

  8. Enjoyed this, almost got there ‘sans’ e help but was a couple short. Needed help parsing a couple, notably the philanthropist at 23a too.
    I’m sure the setter had the reviewer in mind when cluing 13a and I see he hasn’t wasted the opportunity!
    I liked 11 and 25a plus 4 and 22d in particular.
    Many thanks to Chalicea and BD for the entertainment.

  9. I liked the odd sock but you cannot beat a gin and tonic in my opinion. Thanks to all and be safe

  10. It might have been gentle for many but, having just started to tackle the Toughie, I welcomed the fact I could solve about 80% of it unaided. I had to use the hints to check some of my answers but only one was wrong – 13a. I got the undressed football club but then put “poses’. Another case of my entering an answer before fully parsing the clue. Fortunately, I got 4d quite early and this gave a number of checkers so is my favourite.

    Thank you, Chalicea for encouraging the less experienced Toughie solvers such as myself. Many thanks as well to BD for the hints. I needed them to help me cross the finishing line.

  11. Like BD a steady solve , just right for a lazy summer day accompanied with a couple of ice cold lagers!
    No obscurities and excellent cluing throughout,
    Thanks to BD for the final parsing of 22a- I just thought’ red’ was a synonym for a friend- like a true blue!, never mind.
    liked 26a and the surface of 6d.

  12. Just what I want from this setter. Lots to think about but not for too long. Every clue a winner. Now about that Ricky Villa goal. It would not be scored in today’s game The defences would be so much sharper. It’s not an example of a great goal but a perfect example of shocking defence. The best goal ever by a Tottenham player was scored at Wembley by Gary Mabbutt in 1987. Everybody in Coventry knows that

  13. I flew through this, and then the SW corner (15,16, 17 and 21) had me staring at the page for what seemed like a eternity. After a trip to the vets with the hound, my brain was working differently (probably the shock of the bill), and the last few fell in easily. Funny how a break can let the brain take a different tack.

  14. A very nice Tuesday Toughie, thank you Chalicea. I did need to check on the chivalrous tale and also the creation where I couldn’t think beyond lattice work.
    4d made me laugh and so did the drink from the odd sock. Very relieved that I only required a very basic knowledge of football teams!

    Thanks also to BD for the review.

    1. Apparently there are only two football teams you need to remember. MUFC and Spurs. The rest don’t really add anything, at least not to the cruciverbalist world. 😂😂😂😂

  15. I enjoyed this, COTD was 4d, a pleasant way to spend a morning here in Vancouver.

    Thank you to Big Dave and the Setter.

    Stay Safe Everyone

  16. Enjoyable and not too tough. 10a was a bit of a bung in as I’m not familiar with the chivalrous reference. Also I found the descriptions in 26a and 3d a bit vague. My favourite clue was 6d. Thanks all.

  17. Thanks to Chalicea for the fun.
    Thought about BD also when solving 13a and needed the review to see what kind of swine needed to be beheaded in 22d to understand my answer.

  18. Ok, not quite a toughie but most enjoyable. Lots of fun too. Finished it last night before doing the cryptic and thought 20, 15, and 2d (my LOI) were the toppers. Thanks to Big Dave and Chalcea. ** / ***

  19. No connivance here, honestly! I didn’t know in advance that Big Dave would be back to doing the first Tuesday of the month (suspected it might be MiffyPops) but my own football background is a sort of family link to the most famous Preston North End player ever (and they probably beat the ‘best north London club’ all those years ago but I had better not say that). Sorry about the SWEET PEA (5,3). Some dictionaries give it as 8 but Chambers and the OED certainly don’t. I am always delighted that folk enjoy things I set and very gad to be appreciated by newer Toughie solvers. I suspected this grid was slightly less genereous than usual but clearly it was not a challenge for some of you star solvers. Thanks, anyway for your smiles.

  20. This was most enjoyable indeed! Many a chuckle along the way, and I had a good laugh at 5d! It’s difficult to pick a favourite clue with so many on offer. 11a, 13a, 16a, 7d, 15d, and 20d are among those I enjoyed the most.
    Fluffie Toughie for some perhaps. Nevertheless, I was well pleased to complete it without help and with correct parsing. I knew the ‘chivalrous tale’ from the title of a very old poem.
    Thank you very much Chalicea for the entertainment and to Bg Dave for the excellent blog.

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