Toughie 2460 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2460

Toughie No 2460 by proXimal

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

A slightly friendlier proXimal Toughie than some, presumably why we find him in the Thursday Toughie spot, which suited me because I quite often struggle with his more difficult Toughies.

In a ‘normal’ June, BD would be blogging this crossword as Mr CS and I would be in the middle of our usual visit to a village to the north of Enniskillen watching an excited small boy (he’s seven today) open his birthday presents. However, due to the pandemic, instead of being in fairly cool grey skies with a chance of rain (it always rains in Northern Ireland!), we are here in sweltering Kent (it was 20 in the shade at 7am when I solved this crossword in our sunny garden) and will, for the second time this month, be watching a grandchild open their birthday presents by video link – which is very nice but not quite the same as being there in person whatever the weather.

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1a    Sailor taken in merchant vessel that gets shaken (10)
SALTCELLAR An experienced sailor and a homophone (taken in, understood) of a merchant

6a    Turners to turn and turn (4)
SPOT Reverse (to turn) some things that turn (turners)

9a    Some boxes grocer emptied up in arms (5)
ANGRY Another way of saying some ‘boxes’ the outside (emptied) letters of GroceR

10a    Stopped fighting crackers pack, cutting ends in foil (4,5)
MADE PEACE A more formal way of saying crazy than crackers, followed by the inside letters (cutting ends) of pACk inserted into a foil used in fencing

12a    Screen one Zulu bitten by fat reptile (7,6)
MONITOR LIZARD A [computer] screen followed by a single-letter meaning one and the letter represented by Zulu in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet inserted into (bitten by) some fat

14a    Run around with flyers for films (8)
WESTERNS A reversal (around) of a verb meaning to run in the sense of stitching followed by some birds (flyers) – interestingly in both Mrs Bradford and Chambers Crossword Dictionary – run is a synonym of the reversed word, but not vice versa

15a    Good person, monarch in support group for condition (6)
ASTHMA A good person and the abbreviation for His or Her Majesty (monarch) inserted into an abbreviated support group

17a    Developed new material with European brought to fore (6)
ENSUED The abbreviation for New and a type of material, the E (European) at the end of that word being brought to the ‘fore’

19a    One held Munro to be windy — crackpot mountaineered ignoring that (8)
DETAINEE As clues for compound anagrams go, this one was a good one – lovely surface reading (a Munro being a mountain over 3,000 feet), clear indication that you need an anagram (crackpot) of MOUNTAINEERED once you have ignored the ‘windy’ (not in that order) letters MUNRO

21a    That woman records trial, action involving fleecer (13)
SHEEPSHEARING The feminine third person pronoun (that woman), some extended-play records and a trial

24a    First university do held in station (9)
UPPERMOST The abbreviation for University and a [hair]do, the latter held in a synonym for station

25a    Bear around church in Alaskan valley (5)
GULCH A reversal (around) of a verb meaning to bear or carry followed by the abbreviation for church. These valleys are found not just in Alaska but also in other parts of the United States of America ;)

26a    Passenger just picked up (4)
FARE A homophone (picked up) of a synonym for just

27a    Saw assistant prying around behind earl’s back (4,4,2)
LAID EYES ON An assistant, and a reversal (around again!) of an informal word meaning prying go after (behind) the ‘back’ of earL



1d    Replace exhaust with parts (4)
SWAP The abbreviation for With ‘parts’ a verb meaning to exhaust

2d    Veg on gas uncovered (7)
LEGUMES The name of one side of a cricket pitch (on) plus some vapour (gas) without its first letter (uncovered)

3d    Staff eating desire protective equipment, tucking into a chilli (7,6)
CAYENNE PEPPER A stick (staff) ‘eating’ an intense desire and the abbreviation for some protective equipment (if you don’t know this, where have you been since March?!) ‘tucked into’ a preposition meaning each (a)

4d    Restrictive of lithium, metal used in aircraft (8)
LIMITING The chemical symbol for lithium and some metal inserted into a Soviet aircraft

5d    Tree rising in sacred land (5)
ALDER Lurking in reverse in sacRED LAnd

7d    Uneasy arachnophobe scratching bonce after adapting ruler (7)
PHARAOH Another compound (uneasy) anagram – ARACHNOPHOBE ‘scratching’ or leaving out the letters BONCE (after adapting telling you that the letters aren’t in that order)

8d    Hold back and study wife cutting potato (5,5)
TREAD WATER A verb meaning to study and the abbreviation for Wife inserted into (cutting) an informal potato

11d    After gulping in, answer royal with care (13)
PAINSTAKINGLY An adjective meaning after ‘gulping’ IN (from the clue), the abbreviation for answer and an adjective meaning belonging to a (top male) royal

13d    Beloved entourage’s difficult, reportedly (5-5)
SWEET-STUFF Homophones (reportedly) of entourages and difficult

16d    Left section to fill in document (8)
DEPARTED A section inserted (to fill) in a document

18d    Coming north, salesman with fish in carriage (7)
SLEEPER A reversal (coming north in a Down clue) of a salesman and some fish

20d    Bugs tormented fledgelings having escaped shed (7)
NIGGLES An anagram (tormented) of FLEDGELINGS once the synonym for escaped has been shed

22d    Dropping every case, the fool that makes fuss (3-2)
HOO-HA Drop every ‘case’ or outside letters from tHe fOOl tHAt

23d    Fine giving us washing if in bag (4)
THIN If you put this word meaning fine or slender into BAG you’d get another way of saying washing. The penny only dropped with this (cleverly sneaky) clue when I was telling Mr CS about pesky four-letter words and reading the clue out to him! 


22 comments on “Toughie 2460

  1. Definitely a Thursday rather than a Friday Toughie from proXimal but enjoyable as always. Thanks to him and to CS for the review.
    I didn’t know the synonym for ‘run’ in 14a but it’s in the BRB (as about the 87th definition).
    I had 1a, 27a, 3d and 22d on my hit list.
    I think it’s the ‘escaped’ that’s been shed in 20d rather than the other way round.

    1. A clue earlier in the crossword took so long for me to see what was happening that, combined with it being 27 degrees in the shade at 10am, made my poor old brain completely befuddled from then on :scratch:

  2. I really enjoyed this and despite some stutters and wrong guesses finally got them all in correctly. So many COTD today but I particularly liked 20d 21a and 24a.

  3. I wouldn’t win any prizes for my solving time today, but I thoroughly enjoyed the tussle.
    My last four to go in were all in the SE corner.
    Many thanks to proXimal, and to CS for the explanations (in particular 23d which I failed to parse).

  4. Eventually had to look at the hints for 8&23d – how annoying when I’d been doing so well, although I’d also had to consult the BRB over the Alaskan valley.
    Top three for me were 1&12a plus 22d.

    Thanks to proXimal (it was tough enough for me thank you!) and to CS for the review and the much needed couple of hints to get me over the line.

  5. I didn’t much like the ‘beloved’, so I spent a long time trying to think of a better answer. I eventually decided it had to be correct. Glad to find CS has the same answer. Otherwise an enjoyable solve.

  6. What’s the world coming to? First an Elgar on a Tuesday, then a proXimal on a Thursday – it does make me worry what the new Friday has in store

    A lovely puzzle from proXimal today. It felt like a lot of subtractive anagrams when solving, but there weren’t that many – I like them, anyway, and I agree with CS that mountaineering was a particularly good one. I also liked the chilli, the fleecer, and many more

    many thanks proXimal & CS

  7. Managed three quarters before giving in. Just as well I didn’t persevere as, even with the hints, I was lost.
    I suppose, like CS I could blame our Kentish heatwave, but I’m afraid that wouldn’t be honest of me. Here’s hoping tomorrow is cooler so we can tackle the Friday offering unless it’s Elgar in which case nothing will help!

  8. I enjoyed this enormously – especially after my complete train wreck in yesterday’s toughie. My last in were two of the pesky four-letter entries in 1d and 23d (I wanted to put ‘if’ in the bag rather than the definition, but the penny did finally drop!) Many thanks to proXimal for a puzzle that was within my reach, and to crypticsue.

  9. Slowly solved with the exception of 23d which stumped me. I did also consult as whether 1a can be one word as I would have used two. Some great clues and a very enjoyable tussle either side of watering the allotment. Thanks to proXimal and CS.

  10. As always this is a learning process for me but I feel I am slowly getting, 1 , 10 and 14 across as well as 3 and 11 down stood i needed a lot of help so the parsings always help so a big thank you to proXimal and Cryptic Sue.


  11. I like the cluing method and that there wasn’t any abstruse general knowledge words. A pleasant solve for a sunny day here in Toronto.

  12. I have to admit I was stumped by 23d and had to uncover the answer. Doh! I blame the heat.

  13. :phew:
    Much as I normally love proXimal’s puzzles, this one was way beyond my capabilities and I gave up after four stop-start sessions.

    I would have said that 1a should definitely be enumerated (4,6). Collins agrees and I was very surprised to see that Chambers lists it as (10). Also, very unusually for proXimal, we have a howler! An epee is not a foil; they are distinctly different types of sword.

    Of those I managed to solve, 12a was my favourite.

    Thanks to proXimal and to CS. I’m off to lick my wounds now.

  14. Great level of challenge and a real pleasure to solve.
    Penny-drop moments all over the place.
    Thanks proXimal and CS

  15. Thoroughly enjoyable as always from this setter but for me, not as fiendish as he can be sometimes.

    Thanks to CS and proXimal.

  16. I did try this very early this morning, crypticsue, but managed to answer only two. Thought I should just pop in now and thank you for your brilliant review, even though I never made it back to the puzzle since I’ve been a bit under the weather today. Your decryptions on Toughie days are always enlightening, but today’s was the most illuminating one for me yet. I usually do much better with proXimal’s work and always look forward to him. Hope your heat wave abates soon. Ours will…in October: it’s 94 here today in Charleston, with thunderstorms expected later. (94F = 30++C?)

  17. Can’t sleep in this heat so thought I’d have a bash at a **** rated Toughie. Really chuffed with myself for getting within 2 of an unaided finish but also annoyed that I missed out on 19a & 23d – particularly 19a where if I’d spotted the definition it would have been easy to work back (similar idea in 7d)
    Really satisfying to finally start to get to grips with some of these more convoluted wordplays with favourites here being 3&8d together with 12,19&21a.
    Thanks to proXimal & to CS

  18. Friday morning checking over last nights efforts in the bath whilst George hogs today’s paper. Too late for anyone to read but I thought I would say WOW. To sort that out in such extreme heat I salute you Sue. A lovely puzzle once decrypted, I managed about half.
    So sorry you are missing your grandchildren they are such a joy especially when they are young. I had two girls and was surprised at how sweet and affectionate little boys are! I treasure the early years when I was close to my grandsons – grown up now of course. They call me technogran!

  19. Was very much into this one.
    Loved the challenge and finished with 19a and 20d.
    Thanks to Proximal and to CS.

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