Toughie 2463 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2463

Toughie No 2463 by Serpent

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

There’s not a lot to worry the horses today, though I couldn’t see any reason for the capital letters in 22a and 18d.

Do leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.

Across Clues

1a Stocktaker taking boss round empty supermarket (7)
RUSTLER: a bit of an old chestnut to start – put a boss or top person around the outer letters of supermarket.

5a Throw nearly all back that’s caught in the sea (7)
LOBSTER: a verb to throw followed by almost all of a word meaning back (of a ship). Now we know where Arthur Daley’s alternative for the Shakespearean creature in today’s back-pager has absconded to.

9a Easily forged credit cards? (7)
PLASTIC: double definition with forged meaning fashioned or moulded.

10a Broadcast fewer programmes that could be seen as stuffy (7)
AIRLESS: split your answer 3,4 and it could mean to broadcast fewer programmes.

11a Having rogue agent on encrypted line is awkward (9)
INELEGANT: an anagram (rogue) of AGENT follows an anagram (encrypted) of LINE.

12a What may be used to identify body of old murder victim? (5)
LABEL: the body (i.e. central letter) of old and the name of a fratricide victim from the Bible.

13a Live and prosper without love (5)
DWELL: start with a phrase meaning prosper (2,4) and remove the letter that resembles love or zero.

15a Divinity doctor singled out student at the beginning (9)
GODLINESS: an anagram (doctor) of SINGLED and the first letters of O[ut] and S[tudent].

17a True novel about being in army? (9)
VOLUNTEER: an anagram (about) of TRUE NOVEL.

19a Plan almost allowed growth of many branches (5)
MAPLE: pin together a plan or chart and a verb meaning allowed without its last letter.

22a Place Depression turned against America (5)
LOCUS: a depression in the mountains is reversed and this abuts a 2-letter abbreviation for America.

23a After leaving university, most vocal individual is centre of attraction? (9)
LODESTONE: remove an abbreviation for university from a superlative meaning most vocal and add a word meaning individual or single.

25a Innkeeper has house converted into a studio (7)
ATELIER: start with another name for an innkeeper and replace the abbreviation of house with A.

26a This player would create record when losing 6-0 (7)
VIOLIST: if you lose the way of writing 6-0 from the player you’re left with a record or register.

27a Elongated skinless bananas producing hybrid fruit (7)
TANGELO: an anagram (bananas) of [e]LONGATE[d].

28a See what’s being said in Spooner’s rent guide (3-4)
LIP-READ: Spooner might have transformed this into a word for a rent or tear and a verb to guide.

Down Clues


1d Made a comeback with a revolutionary song (7)
REPLIED: string together the reversal of ‘a’ (as in 50p a kilo) and a German song.

2d Climb north face of Everest made up of different sides (7)
SCALENE: assemble a verb to climb, the abbreviation for north and the first letter of Everest.

3d Hospital invested in most recent cutting-edge equipment (5)
LATHE: insert the map abbreviation for hospital into an adjective meaning most recent or ‘immediately preceding’.

4d Shape of playing field introducing confusion (9)
RECTANGLE: the abbreviation for a community playing field precedes a word meaning confusion or muddle.

5d Listed days when there’s nothing to be had on the radio (5)
LEANT: a homophone (on the radio) of the period when some religious individuals fast.

6d Be badly upset having criminal bury me outside (9)
BERYLLIUM: reverse an adverb meaning badly or adversely inside an anagram (criminal) of BURY ME. Neatly disguised definition but the surface isn’t great.

7d Male singer holds quaver (7)
TREMBLE: we have another visit from Yoda. A singer with a high-pitched voice contains the abbreviation for male.

8d Ulster’s settled scores involving opposing sides (7)
RESULTS: an anagram (settled) of ULSTER’S.

14d Many countries broadcast fake news of dictator’s crushing victory (9)
LANDSLIDE: knit together a synonym of countries and a homophone (of dictator’s) of a verb meaning ‘broadcast fake news’ or ‘told porkies’. The ‘many’ seems superfluous.

16d Adventurous sort was about to drink American wine (9)
DAREDEVIL: reverse a verb meaning ‘was’ or existed and insert an abbreviation for American and a generic type of wine.

17d Courageous rogue has left to overcome resistance (7)
VALIANT: start with an adjective meaning rogue or unorthodox and change the abbreviation for resistance to that of left.

18d You are reportedly leaving academic with new Reader’s support (7)
LECTERN: remove the two letters that sound like ‘you are’ from a university teacher and append the abbreviation for new.

20d Outline argument in favour of data collection (7)
PROFILE: charade of an argument in favour and a collection of data.

21d Preferred not to have succeeded in office (7)
ELECTED: remove the genealogical abbreviation for succeeded from a verb meaning preferred or chose.

23d Slow movement characteristic of particular gorillas (5)
LARGO: our one and only hidden answer.

24d Vessel in water capsized (5)
SLOOP: reverse some areas of still water.


The clues sitting atop my podium are 1a (an oldie but goodie), 13a and 21d. Which one(s) did you select?

19 comments on “Toughie 2463
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  1. I was very surprised to find that Serpent was in very kind to solver mood when he set this one – it took me exactly the same time to solve as yesterday’s Chalicea, which I thought was very much a Friday back page level crossword.

    Enjoyable while it lasted – I too am confused about the capital letters in 22a and 18d – and I’ve searched to see if there was some sort of Nina, which we often get from a Serpent Toughie, but I’ve probably missed the extremely obvious.

    Thanks to Serpent and Gazza

  2. Very enjoyable and some great clues. It almost felt like I spent longer parsing 1d than the rest put together. My favourite clue was 25a but the neighbouring 23a and 26a were also strong contenders as was 6d. Thanks to Gazza and Serpent.

  3. Although it wasn’t too taxing I did rather enjoy this, the more so as I progressed down the grid. I agree the caps are odd and a couple of words are superfluous but there are some nicely done clues and surfaces which raised smiles. Particular favourites were 6d [should be aware of As and Be at the start of clues but never am] 23a [lovely construction with “most vocal individual”] 27a [nicely done, nicely daft] 28a [a decent Spoonerism is a rare thing] and 23d [particular gorillas just made me laugh – perhaps it’s an old Bonzo Dog memory of “two separate gorillas” – anyone else?]

    Thanks to Serpent and Gazza.

  4. Well you guys can go on about how gentle it was. But as an occasional Toughie doer (a mix of no time and insufficient ability) when I get to one and complete it without assistance. I am going to take it, thank you 😁

  5. Well, it might be a chestnut but I really liked 12a. At the other end of the scale I detest Mr Spooner so 28a is only fit for the bin!

  6. A thoroughly enjoyable (unmentionable) number of minutes spent completing this. 3*/4.5* for me. I too hate the Rev Dr quoted at 28a but his appearance here was tolerable. Many thanks Serpent, off to read Gazza. P. S. A coincidence – 5a here, & 11a on the back page?

  7. If memory serves, this is the first Serpent I have solved completely and I had previously ‘sworn’ to avoid his(?) puzzles.
    However, having said that, I quite enjoyed this and solved it at a Toughie gallop – 2.5*/3.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 23a, 4d, and 16d – and the winner is 23a.
    Thanks to Serpent and Gazza.

  8. Not too embarrassed to admit I gave up on yesterday’s Chalicea Toughie after it took an age to get 3 answers but may return to it having solved this one in a record time for me. Most unusually I accurately parsed the answers too apart from 22a so am pretty chuffed. Had to smile at 5a answer given earlier talk in the cryptic comments of Arthur Daley misquoting the Bard. Agree with Senf’s podium but with 4d nicking it.
    Thanks to Serpent & to Gazza

    1. Funny what a difference 24hrs & a different humour makes. No problems with yesterday’s Toughie this evening whereas last night it might as well have been in Arabic…..

  9. I really enjoyed this, but for some reason I made very heavy weather of the NE corner. In 6d, it took a long time for the penny to drop in how the definition worked. Chestnut or not, I needed Gazza’s review to understand how the first letter in 12a worked. I had 5d penciled in correctly early on, but it took me a long time to feel comfortable in equating ‘nothing to be had’ with a forty day period. . . . . I did get there in the end, and pleased to do so, and many thanks to Serpent and Gazza.

  10. I started in fine form and the NW and SW quadrants took * time , however the NE and SE took much longer at*** time, so overall a ** with an enjoyment factor of *** – the same as Gazza!
    The D’oh moment came with 6d, and me a chemist too.
    Liked 23d and 25a, the cavorting gorillas raised a smile and good fun all round.
    Thanks all.

  11. i found for some reason this a bit easier but was probably down to me, there were to many clues to mention like to mention, thank you to Serpent and Gazza as always.

    TTFN

  12. Hi, Gazza, as you say not a great challenge. Reader is an academic rank, above senior lecturer and below Professor, hence the capitalisation. Possibly. Keep up the good work, everybody.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Batrachos.
      You could be right on the reason for capitalisation but Chambers defines it as ‘a higher grade of university lecturer’ without using a capital R and I don’t think we normally capitalise professions.

  13. For some reason I never quite gel with this setter’s style of compiling although I do keep trying in the hope of eventually ‘getting’ him.
    Today I only finished up with 6 ‘hmms’ and 1 ‘yuck’ which is definitely something of an improvement!
    I did particularly enjoy 23a so that gets my vote today.

    Thanks to Serpent and to Gazza for the review – really enjoyed The Fendertones cover of the old favourite.

  14. Great fun, and like Jane, I thought 23a the highlight of many really good and amusing clues, and it made me laugh. Finished this last night before doing the Cryptic and struggled a bit with 11a, my LOI. can’t see why now, many hours later. I too wondered about the two capital letters. I also liked 15a, 27a, 17d, and 6d, though I thought 28 a rather feeble Spoonerism.. Thanks to Gazza and Serpent for the style and wit. ** / ****

  15. That was fun. Of course, I loved 24d and the Fendertones version was a delight. The podium would have to include 2d and 4d which caused me to revise my geometry homework. a couple of clues I would never have got in a Month of Elgars (6d 23a) but still it was a fine toughie.
    Thanks to Gazza and Serpent.

  16. For some bizarre reason 8d was our last one in. Got fixated on the idea that it was the same word as 1a without the last letter. Took ages to see the alternative and correct anagram that fitted with the definition.
    An enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Serpent and Gazza.

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