Toughie 2448 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2448

Toughie No 2448 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Crypticsue

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

Firefly has set us a proper (themed) Thursday Toughie which I really enjoyed solving and blogging as there are some lovely clues here, hence the award of a fairly rare 4* for enjoyment.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Lady sleuth entering, her voice shaky for one doing surprisingly well! (12)
OVERACHIEVER Ann Cleeves’ lady detective (sleuth) [even if you haven’t read the books, you may well have watched the television series] inserted into an anagram (shaky) of HER VOICE

9a    Where our responsibility may lie (4)
ONUS Split this responsibility 2,2 and you’ll see where our particular responsibility may lie

10d    Keep pit area back to store harvest (9)
ACROPOLIS A reversal (back in an Across clue) of a pit for storing grain etc and the abbreviation for Area, between which is inserted a verb meaning to harvest

12a    Develop weapon when rights expire (6)
EVOLVE Remove the Rs (rights ‘expire’) from a particular type of weapon

13a    Reason to suspend soccer game? (8)
SOFTBALL Another split the solution to get the wordplay clue – if this particular game was two words, it would give a very good reason to suspend a soccer match

15a    Very small pieces swapped in USS Nautilus? (10)
SUBNUCLEAR If you know what type of vessel the USS Nautilus is, you can ‘swap’ the two words that describe it to produce an adjective meaning very small

16a    Bullies females (4)
COWS Double definition, the first a verb and the second referring to females of certain animals

18a    Grass before husband’s promise in court (4)
OATH A type of grass goes before the abbreviation for Husband

20a    Writer considered dreadfully inept when outside parking (4-3,3)
FELT-TIP PEN A way of saying considered followed by an anagram (dreadfully) of INEPT put ‘outside’ the abbreviation for Parking

23a    Tailless amphibian’s after biscuit, we hear, for a 6? (8)
KRAKATOA Remove the final letter (tailless) from an amphibian and put it after a homophone (we hear) of a type of biscuit

24a    Careless and extremely rude girl (6)
REMISS The extreme letters of RudE and a girl

26a    Meter maid’s wafted into a ‘Golden Age’ (9)
DREAMTIME An anagram (wafted) of METER MAID – in Australian Aboriginal mythology, a wonderful Golden Age in the remote past when Gods were real Gods and anything was possible.

27a    6 Newtonian elements appearing periodically (4)
ETNA The ‘periodic elements’ of nEwToNiAn

28a    Twin rivers whip Pete horribly close to channel, and a 6 (12)
POPOCATEPETL If you’ve ever said to yourself, how on earth do I spell this particular 6, then Firefly has provided the perfect way to remember it. Twin indicates that we need two lots of the Italian river that long-time followers of this blog will always associate with Gnomethang  ;) ; a type of whip, an anagram (horribly) of PETE and the ‘close’ to channel – simples!


2d    Victor with four-wheeler I use casually around a 6 (8)
VESUVIUS The letter represented by Victor in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and an anagram (casually) of I USE goes round an abbreviation for the type of four-wheeled vehicle intended for use in the country, but more often found in built-up areas!

3d    Heads from road over Arran northward into bay (4)
ROAN A nice (and sneaky) surface definition as the ‘heads’ of Road Over Arran Northward produce a type of bay horse

4d    Vehicle set off — rubbish in low gear! (5,5)
CARGO PANTS A vehicle, a verb meaning to set off and a slang term for rubbish

5d    Charge the setter’s applied to base of furnace (6)
IMPUTE How Firefly would say he is (the setter is), a verb meaning applied to and the ‘base’ of furnacE

6d    Ascending feature of Snowdon, a cloven peak, one gets hot (7)
VOLCANO Our themed word found in reverse [please don’t use that awful term to describe this] (ascending feature in a Down clue) in snowdON A CLOVen

7d    Agitation felt when all the others lose their head? (12)
RESTLESSNESS All the others, a synonym for without (lose) and a headland

8d    Bury Town’s first half leads to major boost after even second half (6)
ENTOMB The first ‘half’ of TOwn and the ‘leads’ to Major Boost go after the second half of evEN

11d    Two puds Greek spoils and turns angry (4,6,2)
GETS WORKED UP An anagram (spoils) of TWO PUDS GREEK

14d    Maybe Bunyan‘s constructional system, entering trials, coming to grief? (10)
ALLEGORIST John Bunyan is best known for Pilgrim’s Progress, a work intended to be read symbolically and the solution describes what type of author he was.  Put a constructional system made of bricks into an anagram (coming to grief) of TRIALS

17d    Buoyant article packing vitality and punch (8)
LIFEBELT A synonym for vitality and into an informal verb meaning to hit hard (punch)

19d    With business improving, increase living space? (5,2)
TRADE UP A phrase indicating that your business was increasing could also mean that you might be able to afford to move to a larger house (increase living space)

21d    Works around India yielding … (6)
PLIANT Works here isn’t a verb but another word for a factory – a synonym for this goes ‘around’ the letter represented by India in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

22d    … bituminous material, initially to strengthen current … (6)
TARMAC The initial letter of To, a verb meaning to strengthen and the abbreviation for a type of electrical current

25d    … shoddy, unroofed pile (4)
HEAP Removing the first letter (unroofed) from a synonym for shoddy will leave you with a pile

Even though I have fond memories of going up both 27a and 2d, my favourite today has to be 28a as I really liked the clear ‘this is how you spell it’ wordplay.


22 comments on “Toughie 2448

  1. What a delight. Challenging, fun, clever, 3* difficulty & 4.5* fun
    9, 27 & 14 made me smile. 13 loi, when the penny finally dropped. Many thanks Firefly, will now read CS’s comments.

  2. The problem with the theme is that, once the straightforward 6d was solved, the four examples are the most well-known ones in the world and therefore pretty much write-ins (though, like CS, I needed the wordplay of 28a to get the spelling sorted out). Thank goodness the Icelandic one which caused the dust clouds a few years ago wasn’t included – I’d have never managed to spell that. :D
    That apart I thought it was an enjoyable puzzle and my ticks went to 13a, 15a, 4d and 17d.
    Doesn’t the way the 9a clue is worded mean that it should be (2,2)?
    Thanks to Firefly and CS.

    1. Doesn’t help much with the spelling but I remember reading that the best way to remember the name of the Icelandic one was to think of ‘Hi, a fellow yokel’.

  3. I kept hoping that Kilauea would appear, once I realized what the theme was (wondering how one might ‘clue’ that one!), and I thoroughly enjoyed the volcanic workout. It took me a while–two different visits–but I finished unaided and wholly parsed (the puzzle, not me). 28a has to be the Gold of the day, but there are about 10 others jockeying for medals in this wonderful and proper toughie. 15a was my last one in, and how brilliant is that? Thanks to crypticsue for an enjoyable review and to Firefly. (You rock, man!) **** / *****

    1. A bit quick ‘n dirty but
      Hawaiian hotspot, like a resort, takes gold award first [7]

  4. I enjoyed this a lot and am particularly impressed with 7d – the cryptic definition element is both spot on and witty. Spent an embarrassingly long time gazing at 13a unable to think of anything beyond football or footfall.
    I’m with Gazza re 9a – the clue doesn’t quite work for a single 4-letter word.

    Many thanks to Firefly and to CSue

  5. My heart sank when I saw so many cross references to a single clue but once 1a gave me the opening letter, I was off to the races. Some great clues and very enjoyable. 14d was my favourite. Thanks to Firefly and CS.

  6. Asking for trouble but you have dropped the pants in 4d!
    COTD 26a. Such a lovely term.

  7. Another enjoyable learning experience for me,to many good clues to choose a COTD, had some trouble with 16a but 9a seemed clear to me.

    Stay Safe Everyone TTFN

  8. I really enjoyed this, and I had the pleasure of being able to finish it relatively unaided (The spelling of 28a is always going to get me even with any amount of helpful memory aides) . I agree with Gazza when he says that once the straightforward 6d was solved, then the related clues were a great deal easier. However, I would be embarrassed to confess how long it took me to spot what was going on which added significantly to the time it took me to get going. I was a little surprised that 17d wasn’t enumerated as (4,4). Many thanks to Firefly and Crypticsue.

  9. Took a while to spot Vera Stanhope in the anagram as the fodder had “over” in it. Good old Brenda Bless Her as I call her.
    Last one in was the game in 13a as I couldn’t get football out of my head.
    Thanks to Firefly for the great crossword and to CS for the review.

  10. Spotting the theme early on certainly helped a lot. Last one in was 13a. We knew that the obvious answer of FOOTBALL was not going to cut the mustard but the right answer did take some head-scratching.
    All good fun.
    Thanks Firefly and CS.

  11. Fortunately, the mention of my ‘local’ mountain drew me to tackle 6d early in the solve which gave me a head start where the other themed entries were concerned.
    Enjoyed this one much more than a lot of this setter’s recent output and hope it heralds a return to his previous ways.
    Top three for me were 1&24a plus 7d.

    Many thanks to Firefly and to CS for the pictorial review.

  12. my last one in was 13a, with the checkers fitting FOOTBALL, like others i was fixated on that. Had to go through the alphabet. I wonder if Firefly imagined people would get hung up on football

    Similarly, could I get LIFEVEST out of my head? That was my second to last one in.

    Very enjoyable, many thanks Firefly & CS

  13. Got the link but was challenged when it came to spelling28 correctly? Hadn’t sorted 14 down. Right level of challenge for me, on the whole.

  14. Spent several days trying to figure out 15a and 14d and couldn’t do so.

    Excluding those, I found this a 2-star for difficulty.

    Thanks to Firefly and crypticsue for the blog.

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