Toughie 2476 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2476

Toughie No 2476 by Zandio

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

Zandio is fast becoming one of my favourite Toughie setters as he always gives us a proper Toughie where the difficulty comes from cleverly written clues without needing to use obscurities

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Sprang up, seeing if an absent wife rang back (4)
GREW One of those ‘that’s the solution but why?’ clues – a reversal (back) of WifE RanG without (absent) IF and AN

3a    Not willing to be ill (10)
INDISPOSED Being unwilling to do something or unwell

9a    Flies turn circles (4)
NIPS Flies and the solution are informal terms meaning to go quickly – a reversal (circles) of a turn

10a    Speculate minister will overturn tariff of fish or lamb but not squid or snail (10)
VERTEBRATE Reversals (will turn) of a verb meaning to speculate and an abbreviated church minister followed by a tariff

11a    Seizes sailor’s round vessel (7)
ABDUCTS An abbreviation for sailor’s goes round a vessel

13a    KO’d, punching through about twice — try another way (7)
REROUTE A synonym for unconscious (KO’d) inserted into (punching through) two lots (twice) of the preposition meaning about

14a    Fly-by-night corrupt liar, new woman that made partner (6-2-3)
MOTHER-IN-LAWSplendid definition! An insect that flies in the night followed by an anagram (corrupt) of LIAR NEW

18a    Complete amateur (11)
UNQUALIFIED A synonym for complete could also describe someone amateur

21a    Somewhere in the subcontinent, fighting, dropping note and letter from Greece (7)
KARACHI A form of self-defence (fighting) ‘dropping’ the musical note at the end and replacing it with the 22nd letter of the Greek alphabet

22a    Separate odd bits of sledge or sleigh intended for delivery (7)
SEGMENT A verb meaning to separate into pieces can be obtained by using either the odd bits of SlEdGe or the odd bits of SlEiGh and adding a homophone (for delivery) of a synonym for intended

23a    Broadcast classic about transport of coal by Germany (10)
PROCLAIMED A word used to describe a classic or typical example of something goes round (about) an anagram of COAL, the result then followed by the IVR code for Germany

24a    One’s in black or conversely one may come in blue (4)
BIRO The abbreviation for Black, the letter that looks like a one and a reversal (conversely) of OR (from the clue)

25a    Unforeseen small resistance infiltrating revolution (10)
SURPRISNG The abbreviation for Small and the abbreviation for Resistance, the latter ‘infiltrating’ a revolution

26a    Watches that can be read backwards (4)
SEES This synonym for watches is a palindrome (can be read backwards)


1d    Low-down Romeo disturbing lady in Saint-Tropez — is it PC there? (8)
GENDARME A slang term for information (low-down) and the French word (as used in St Tropez) for a lady, the latter ‘disturbed’ by the letter represented by Romeo in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

2d    Press is way out, covering physical exertions by Democrat and follower (8)
EXPEDITE Another definition where a verb is pretending to be a noun – a way out ‘covering’ the abbreviation for some school physical exertions and the abbreviation for Democrat and (I think) the letter that follows that abbreviation alphabetically

4d    Spurs rejecting the Parisian’s demands (5)
NEEDS Remove (rejecting) the French (as used in Paris) definite article from a synonym for spurs

5d    Yours truly Latin dancing, keeping time as well as others (5,4)
INTER ALIA The way Zandio might say ‘yours truly’ and an anagram (dancing) of LATIN ‘keeping’ a period of time

6d    Drink spilling over, linked together with fights — thanks to this? (3-8)
PUB-CRAWLING A reversal (spilling over) of a drink linked together with some fights

7d    Broadcast a Tuesday boxing item for viewing (6)
STATUE Hidden in broadcaST A TUEsday

8d    Old record penned by Animals leads to more yawning (6)
DEEPER An abbreviated old record ‘penned’ by some animals

12d    Heartless weirdo, brawny, topless and dim (11)
CREPUSCULAR One of my favourite words. Remove the middle letter (heartless) from a weirdo and the first letter (topless) from a synonym for brawny

15d    Investigations among piles of paper the writer’s collected (9)
INQUIRIES Insert I (the writer’s collected) into a way of saying among some piles (measures) of paper

16d    If in need of a pick-me-up, rest here? (8)
FIRESIDE A reversal (in need of a pick-me-up) of IF (from the clue) followed by a verb meaning to rest in a permanent home

17d    Reprints of ‘Mutiny’ beginning to appear down under (8)
EDITIONS The first letter (beginning) of an insurrection (mutiny) moves to the end (appear down under)

19d    Animals permitted a drink when standing (6)
OKAPIS An informal adjective meaning permitted and A (from the clue) followed by a reversal (when standing) of a verb meaning to drink

20d    Shelter? Shelter has no roof! (6)
ARBOUR A type of shelter without its first letter (no roof)

22d    Pelt across Spain in flight (5)
SKEIN An animal pelt goes ‘across’ the IVR code for Spain

36 comments on “Toughie 2476

  1. I was about to write a comment which said, almost word-for-word, what CS’s first paragraph says – so I’ll just say ditto.

    My ticks in this splendid puzzle went to 1a, 14a, 12d and 17d.

    Thanks to Zandio and CS.

  2. Lovely puzzle – too tough in parts (needed hints for 5 or so) for me, but a joy to attempt and no obscurities👍. Great to read the hints and think ‘well actually there’s no reason I couldn’t have got that’, rather than thinking i’d have to have consulted a dictionary of obscure words to have stood an earthly!
    Thanks to CS with whose comments I wholeheartedly agree and to Zandio for a great combination of fun and solving education.
    Perfect toughie for me👌

  3. I suppose the linking in 6d is like the way the links of a chain are put together. Not a device I’ve seen before, and combined with the reversal it was extra hard to see. Has anyone seen this device before, or is it a new one?

    1. I’ve seen solutions where two words share a letter but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a linking – I’m more sure of the fact that I’ve never had to provide a hint for a clue link that!

  4. I’m sure I find his puzzles than far more difficult than you do, CS, but I have to agree that he’s a fine Toughie setter who leaves a solver feeling proud of having worked everything out correctly. Having said that, I did fail to spot the deletions in today’s 1a – duly kicking myself for that!
    Masses to choose from but I particularly liked 18&24a plus 1,5&16d.

    Thanks to Zandio and to CS for the review and the pointer for 1a.
    PS Think the hint for 4d needs a slight adjustment?

    1. Just testing to make sure you haven’t lost the fine-toothed comb during your extended lockdown. Have you actually been out of the house in all this time?

      1. No.1 daughter still has me under complete lockdown although she did agree to a visit to the podiatrist last week (what a performance that was!) and my hairdresser is coming to shear the locks on Monday. Hope it’s a fine day as the only options I have are a garden haircut or a salon set up in the garage. Not sure how Mark (hairdresser) will take to the idea of working amongst the recycling bins so hoping for some sunshine!
        To answer your question, I do get out once a week for a drive round to keep the car’s battery ticking over – how exciting is that!

  5. Enjoyed this. Straightforward fun until the SE corner, which proved much more of a challenge. Last in and favourites were 24a and 17d. I also laughed at the surface of 8d – “more yawning” is lovely.
    Thanks to Zandio and CS.

  6. What a great day for puzzles–the Ray T and now this brilliant Zandio. I needed all 5 letters offered by my online function, but I did finish otherwise unaided, though I’m still having trouble parsing 6d (can’t seem to find the ‘fights’ crypticsue mentions). So many highlights here, but my favourites are 10a, 14a, and 12d (also one of my favourite words). 23 and 16d were my last two in and held me up the longest. Thanks to crypticsue for the hints and to Zandio for the pleasure.. 4* ; 5*

      1. Oh dear, thanks for being there to rescue me, Gazza. I was on the wrong ‘fighting’ clue!
        Apologies to Robert for leading him up the proverbial garden path.

  7. I never thought I’d finish this but, with some electronic help, I got there. It really needed some inspired lateral thinking especially with 6d which was obvious but the parsing was obscure.

  8. I loved this. I have to say that Zandio is my favourite setter now. Difficult for me but not impossible. Some great clues, many of which made me smile. Last in funnily enough was 1a! Look forward to his next setting. Thanks to Z and CS.

  9. I am with you on your thoughts of the Tougie setter, my favourites were 1, 11 and 22 across, on the downs 1 and 16, my COTD was 21 across, I am still having trouble parsing 5 down and it is down to me as i cannot wrap my head around it so help is required and for that if given Thank you in advance.

    Thank you to Zandio and of course Cryptic Sue

    1. I (yours truly) and an anagram (dancing) of LATIN into which is inserted ERA (time)

      1. Thank you I misread the parsing my fault or as Ronnie Barker said in a sketch ” I was having trouble with my worms”

  10. For some reason this was right on my wavelength today and a **/**** for me to my astonishment.
    Thanks to Crypticsue for the parsing of 1a which eluded me,
    12a was a new word confirmed in Chambers and 14a my favourite.
    5d came from the dark recesses-now I know what it means!
    Really enjoyed the ride-thanks setter for lifting the stygian gloom in darkest Cheshire.

  11. A very enjoyable puzzle except for 6d which sticks out as a poor specimen. I understand it but I don’t approve of it.

  12. A very enjoyable Toughie … thanks to Zandio.

    I started with the Down clues … and 1d remains my favourite.

    I struggled to solve a few of the 4-letter wee stinkers … needed the hint for 24a.

    CS … by the way the answer to 24a is not hidden … it’s plainly seen in black and white. (Sorry!)

      1. Not a pink, but here’s a rose for all your hard work on this site. Always much appreciated!


  13. Thanks Zandio for a great puzzle. As CrypticSue says, took some working out but got there eventually, again no obscurites nor “doh!” moments. Needed Gazza’s fine explanation for the parsing of 6d, not that CS’ was lacking – as is obviously the case for my brainpower. Thanks to all three of you. P. S. A real nit-pick here, but shouldn’t 5d be clued “AMONG others”?

  14. Took ages but I got there in the end. 12d is a new word for my memory bank. This certainly put a stop to this week’s run of not so tough toughies and has pushed the pickled walnuts back a day. I think I enjoyed it but it may just be relief to have finished. Thanks to CS and Zandio.

  15. Two thumbs up from me – I thought this was a great puzzle. I agree that this was tough, but at the same time so nice not to have to spend long periods of time (in my case often fruitless) searching for strange and wonderful things on Google. Last in for me was 26a (I had it penciled in long before, not really being convinced that the clue called for a palindrome). 14a gets my vote for favourite. Many thanks to Zandio and crypticsue.

  16. I was late to get around to tackling this and had to choose between solving it or playing chess online. I’m glad I made this choice. This was a real Toughie for me, right on the edge of my paygrade, but it was beautifully crafted with no obscure answers – just great cluing.

    Although the answer to 6d was obvious, I couldn’t parse it. I suppose “cup” is a drink but that didn’t occur to me, neither did the linking bit.

    On my podium were 1a, 14a , 18a & 1d.

    Many thanks to Zandio and to CS.

    1. Where do you play RD?
      I used to play on but I don’t like the new format so I have lost my games, rating etc

      1. My local club has set up a weekly internal competition for members using Lichess. We’ve settled on using 20 minutes each with 3 seconds added for each move. Individuals can also use Lichess to find random opponents at whatever time limit they want to select.

        1. Thanks, have never come across that site before, looks good
          If some nutter turns up asking for games of Fischer Random 10/5, or Bullet 3/10 you’ll know I’m lurking!

  17. Like others our sticking point was 6d which took quite some time to get fully sorted.
    Just type sort of puzzle we love. No obscurities, just complicated wordplay.
    Thanks Zandio and CS.

  18. On my first, second and several subsequent read-throughs (or is it reads-through?) last night I was absolutely stumped.

    Revisiting it this morning I slowly made inroads, and eventually completed this excellent and challenging puzzle (though it took a read through the comments to see how to parse 6d)

    The hugest of thanks to Zandio and Crypticsue.

  19. Help I am bereft.This is Saturday, and I still haven’t received Big Dave’s Toughie blog for Friday. Osmosis2477 is tricky and I need help. Please would you forward it to me . I love your analyses and comments which usually provide my post-prandial treat. Valerie Phelps NB I think you and the Toughie have helped save my sanity

  20. Thank you Cryptic Sue so mucd I did need help and was thrown when the blog didn’t come on Friday Very best wishes and many thanks for so much challenging pleasure . Valerie Phelps.

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