Toughie 2478 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2478

Toughie No 2478 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

It’s been a busy morning, including a trip to the doctor for a blood test (an annual one that was due last April!). The usual enjoyment from Chalicea, with a mix of the very easy and the slightly more difficult.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


4a    Scaremonger‘s weapon in atomic schedule (8)
ALARMIST: a three-letter weapon goes inside A(tomic) and a schedule

8a    Fitting together of disparate elements associated with lawgiver (6)
MOSAIC: two definitions – the lawgiver is an Old Testament character

9a    Dislike American translation (8)
AVERSION: A(merican) followed by a translation

10a    Interest cut short before it returned for compositions (8)
CONCERTI: most of a word meaning interest is followed by the reversal (returned) of IT from the clue

11a    Novel carol initially heard sung by choir (6)
CHORAL: an anagram (novel) of CAROL with the initial letter of H[eard]

12a    Calamitous stage direction not potentially adroit for development (8)
GENETICS: an compond anagram (calamitous) of STAGE DIRECTION without (not) the various letters (potentially) of ADROIT

13a    Stories about regularly adept or developing little swimmers (8)
TADPOLES: some stories around the even letters of ADEPT OR

16a    Abrasive hag reportedly offering snack for compulsive gambler? (8)
SANDWICH: an abrasive is followed by what sounds like (reportedly) a hag

19a    Make weak reactionary moan separating English wines, essentially, from the French (8)
ENFEEBLE: the reversal of a four-letter moan goes between E(nglish) and the middle letter (essentially) of WINES on the one side and the French definite article on the other

21a    Promise dad part in play (6)
PAROLE: A two-letter word for dad followed by a part in a play

23a    With intention of improving, including the setter, attempt further contact (8)
REMEDIAL: the first person objective pronoun (setter) inside an attempt at further contact by telephone

24a    This appears briefly in 2 and so forth (2,6)
ET CETERA: the abbreviation (briefly) of this Latin phrase appears in the clue for 2 Down

25a    Typical old European endlessly on line (6)
NORMAL: an old European who invaded England without his final letter (endlessly) fb L(ine)

26a    Hearing unit of scoring in cricket test (5,3)
TRIAL RUN: a hearing is followed by a unit of scoring in cricket


1d    Voice raised after care of part of horse’s foot (7)
CORONET: the reversal (raised in a down clue) of a male voice comes after the abbreviation for Care Of

2d    Entwined thread etc moved by progressive degrees (9)
RATCHETED: an anagram (entwined ) of THREAD ETC

3d    Old acts and droit without limits for city toll (6)
OCTROI: O(ld) followed by the inner letters (without limits) of two words in the clue

4d    Contrary to natural feelings, disliking the start of gentle showery weather (7,3,5)
AGAINST THE GRAIN: a word meaning disliking followed by THE from the clue, the initial letter (start) of G[entle], and some showery weather

5d    Opening digits America’s used with most of communication lines? (4,4)
AREA CODE: A(merica) followed by most of a word meaning communication and some lines of poetry

6d    Bungle military intelligence’s event (5)
MISDO: Military Intelligence, the S from ‘S and an event

7d    Safekeeping of gold in field of action (7)
STORAGE: the heraldic term for gold inside a field of action or drama

14d    Wrongdoers cease interrupting proposals (9)
OFFENDERS: a three-letter verb meaning to cease inside (interrupting ) some proposals

15d    Person with honour, one that’s in forever, possessing go (4,4)
LIFE PEER: someone destined to spend forever in prison around (possessing) a verb meaning to go or urinate

17d    Electrical device suitable in construction of road (7)
ADAPTOR: a three-letter adjective meaning suitable inside an anagram (construction ) of ROAD

18d    Classical man academically pens annual publication (7)
ALMANAC: hidden (pens) inside the clue

20d    With little to spare concealing morning’s dearth (6)
FAMINE: an adjective meaning with little to spare around the two-letter abbreviation for morning

22d    Theatre masonry styles (5)
OPERA: two definitions – the latter being used in naming various styles of Roman masonry

Mrs BD’s Zoom meeting having finished I have now added the remaining hints.


21 comments on “Toughie 2478

  1. Not the toughest toughie but challenging in parts. 2* difficulty but 4* enjoyment, especially 15d – a laugh out loud moment. Many thanks Chalicea, off to read BD now.

  2. Top left hand corner presented the most challenge for me, with a new word at 3D. I too liked 15D. Thanks to Chalicea for an enjoyable puzzle and to BD for the blog.

  3. Just could not break the ice of that opening NW corner, being unable to solve 1 and 3d, as well as 8a–but on reflection, I really should have solved 8a. Found the rest of the puzzle quite enjoyable if challenging but very doable (except for15d). I usually fare better with Chalcea, I think, but the fault today is certainly not his. I thought 12 was brilliant and is my COTD. Thanks, Big Dave, and Chalcea. ***** / **** (Yes, Nogbad: 15d does give us a LOL moment!)

        1. No problem, Robert. Sadly I believe I am the only lady ‘Toughie’ setter and one of only four active female Listener setters (our numbers doubled last year when Vismut and Skylark joined Nutmeg and me) so it is logical to assume that a setter is a man. I blog the Listener every week on Listen With Others and have to be careful to say ‘he or she’ for a new setter or one I don’t know to be male.

  4. Was held up by the NW and after a break to do some planting made progress but finally resorted to hints for 12a which was just wasn’t happening. I also needed to check definition for 3d as I constructed correctly from the parsing but had never heard of it. Favourite today was 15d which made me smile. Thanks to BD and Chalicea.

  5. Have to confess that I much prefer the offerings this setter comes up with for the BD site but life moves on and I’m sure she appreciates the challenges that Telegraph Toughies throw her way.
    I did have to ask Mr Google for help with a couple of definitions and can’t say that I have a particular favourite to mention.

    Thanks to Chalicea for the puzzle and also to BD for the review.

    1. Indeed, Jane, it is ‘horses for courses’. The ones for Big Dave’s NTSPP are tremendous fun to set and I rather naughtily invariably have a hidden theme there. Big Dave gives his NTSPP setters a fairly free hand. Setting a Toughie is ‘tough’ – it takes me about five times as long as each of the weekly ones I set for a farming publication as the rules are fairly strict – choice of words used, for example, and clue construction (it has been almost a ‘remedial’ course in setting for me, Chris, the editor, still adjusts some of my clues, including one that has been appreciated here) but it is a tremendous privilege to be part of the Toughie team and I really appreciate the solvers’ welcome and responses that have been generous since I was admitted to the team

  6. Thank you Chalicea for a hugely enjoyable puzzle. Last in was 12a – those compound anagrams so often bite me, but I did get it in the end. Having invented 3d from the word play, I was surprised that the definition actually existed. Fortunately I got 4d early in the proceedings which helped to get me well on the way. Many thanks to Big Dave for the review.

  7. I needed help with five clues but the rest was most enjoyable with 15d raising a smile. I did like 16a, which I thought was quite clever. That will be it for me as far as the Toughie goes because I rarely mange two in a week. I’m happy to get even one.

    Thank you, Chalicea for the challenge. Thanks to to Big Dave for the hints.

  8. 8a went in but totally unaware of the other meaning. Cheers to BD and Chalicea for a fun solve

  9. Bottom half went in smoothly even though 22d was a bit of a bung in. Top half much harder. Did anyone else put Pastern in 1d?
    3d was beyond me and even if I saw the construction I would never have thought to look up the alphabet soup that resulted.
    16a my favourite today as it reminded me of the Blackadder sketch about a Round of Geralds.
    Thanks to BD and Chalicea. Do you do 23a classes for cruciverbalists? Of course you do, this site is one big remedial class!

  10. Our usual starting point in the NW but this was the last section to yield with this puzzle and considerably raised the difficulty level for us.
    Not sure we have ever met 6d as a real word before but find that it is in BRB.
    Great fun as ever from this setter.
    Thanks Chalicea and BD.

  11. Mixed bag I thought. A couple of new words which looked odd but were right. 3d for instance. Although I searched, I missed 1d as part of a horse’s foot and isn’t 6d an ugly word?
    I suppose I liked 16a best.

  12. Thank you to Chalicea and Big Dave. I used a few hints. I particularly liked the 16a snack and 24a’s having briefly appeared elsewhere.

  13. Thanks to all. I am always happy when a crossword is enjoyed. Indeed the NW corner and the choice of that rather ungenerous grid were a deliberate attempt to be just a little bit tougher than usual – to require a little more time than the back-pager.
    Many thanks to Big Dave, of course.

    1. Thank you for commenting — it’s always interesting to get a little insight into the setting process.

  14. Really enjoyed this one Chalicea. It was a bit like a day on a links golf course – perfect benign conditions for 75% of the way round & then by golly the weather turned. Am afraid, like others, I found the NW a tough ask & certainly needed BD to get me over the line.
    Many thanks all.

  15. Thanks for an enjoyable puzzle. I rather liked solving the new (to me) word in 3d and on checking with google thereby discovering the history of a wall round Paris.

  16. Never got round to comment last night as I was quite tired but really enjoyed the solve.
    Bunged in Odeon in 22d which caused a bit of trouble.
    Nice definitions.
    Thanks to Chalicea and to BD for the review.

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