Toughie 2490 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2490

Toughie No 2490 by Dada

Hints and tips by Zelda Fitzgerald

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from the village of Barrel where one falls asleep looking at Saturn and Jupiter and wakens to Magpies. Dozens of them. Downtown L I it ain’t but we are getting used to it.

Oh dear I thought (or words to that effect) upon seeing the grid. 16 unstarted words in 28 clues. However, after a couple of read throughs I had enough checkers in to make most answers obvious in a very enjoyable puzzle.

Not too tough really, probably just right for a Tuesday Toughie. A limbering up exercise for the rest of the week.

Solving on the iPad is a dream for me so thanks once again to those at The Daily Telegraph for including The Toughie in with the subscriber package. The lack of the setters name is a small price to pay and someone with a hard copy of the paper will surely enlighten us all. (It is Dada which would have scared the pants off me had I known before solving.) [You can always check the Telegraph Puzzles website or this site’s sidebar! BD]

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a Bay — covered by this? (4)
BARK: What covers this or any other tree. My last one in

9a I don’t like that bug hubby’s caught (3)
UGH: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. Indicated by the word caught

10a Fireplace feeling hot (6)
HEARTH: A feeling which is also an organ of the body is followed the abbreviation for hot

11a Pig sending back horse and trap (6)
GANNET: A three-letter horse is reversed and joined by a verb meaning to trap or a noun meaning a trap

12a Band in camp, hollering (8)
WHOOPING: A circular band sits inside a group within a political party or other organisation having particular views or a particular function

13a High-flier referencing pal, tired and emotional, clutching Oscar (9,6)
PEREGRINE FALCON: Anagram (tired and emotional) of REFERENCING PAL which includes the letter representing Oscar in the NATO phonetic alphabet

15a French chemist detailed former currency? (7)
PASTEUR: A word meaning former or before is followed by a currency used throughout the European Union but minus its last letter (de-tailed)

17a What is a Japanese wine glass? Give up! (7)
FORSAKE: The question asks what is a Japanese wine glass? The answer split 3,4 is that it will contain a Japanese drink

20a Overly-optimistic statement, passing comment? (6,4,5)
FAMOUS LAST WORDS: This overly optimistic comment might be made just before ones shuffling off this mortal coil, bereft of life and ready to push up the daisies

23a Find variable rate, of course! (8)
TREASURE: An anagram (varied) of RATE is followed by a word meaning of course or certainly

25a Get back in contact after redrawing of lines (6)
ENLIST: The last letter of the word contact follows an anagram (redrawing) of LINES

26a A snappy sort of clue? (6)
ACROSS: Split 1,5 The letter A from the clue is followed by a word meaning snappy or angry

27a Back in Kawasaki, boy band from Japan (3)
OBI: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. The word in tells us so. The word Back Tells is that it appears in reverse

28a Towards the front, figure in audition? (4)
FORE: The figure is a number. In audition tells us that this is a homophone clue. Pick a number and alter its spelling.


1d Does gibbon have the ability to bite? (6)
CANAPE: Split 3,3, question whether a gibbon or any other type of monkey may be able to perform a task, such as biting

2d Experiment on the surface most in need of funds? (4,4)
SKIN TEST: Spoken as all one word this describes “the one with least money”

3d Say bananas put down below black fruit (9,6)
BUTTERNUT SQUASH: Below the abbreviation for Black place three synonyms. One for say. One for bananas. One for put down

4d Without question, pipe evident (7)
SHOWING: Pick a question, Who What Where When Why or How. Surround that question with a rather stretched synonym of the word pipe

5d Be honest, great fun for them dancing aboard boat (5,4,3,3)
SHOOT FROM THE HIP: A three-part charade including an anagram and two synonyms all explained in nine words. A synonym of great fun. A synonym of a boat. An anagram (dancing) of FOR THEM. Arrange to suit

6d Bit of a bloomer misplacing parcel (6)
CARPEL: Anagram (misplacing) of PARCEL

7d School demolished, we hear? (4)
ETON: Demolished here means ingested as a meal might be. The school and the demolishing sound exactly alike

14d Yob: one certainly thieves (3)
OIK: An exclamation meaning certainly thieves (contains) the letter that looks like the number one

16d Muslim leader unaffected by uprising? (3)
AGA: This leader is a palindrome who might give one a racehorse for Christmas which one might keep just for fun, for a laugh ha ha ha ha (cue irritating accordion fill)

18d Work left during working hours — take stock? (8)
SHOPLIFT: The abbreviations for work and left sit comfortably within a timeframe of ones working

19d Mendicant seeking refuge and religious books (4-3)
HAVE-NOT: A safe refuge is followed by a set of books from The Bible

21d Speaker, sailor wearing jumper, pulled up (6)
ORATOR: A nickname for a kangaroo is reversed and contains a nickname for a sailor

22d Leave dry (6)
DESERT: A double definition, the first leaving an army during a battle perhaps

24d Shake someone who can’t be shaken? (4)
ROCK: A verb meaning to shake back and forth is also used to describe used to refer to someone or something that is extremely strong, reliable, or hard


24 comments on “Toughie 2490

  1. This crossword was an absolute delight. Such pithy, clever and witty clues with lovely smooth surfaces and some oblique and unusual definitions. It took a little while to break in to it and it presented a good enough toughie challenge for a Tuesday. Lots of favourites: 20, 23, 1, 4, 18, 21 – perhaps 18 winning top spot. 3* / 5* Thank you Dada and ZF.

  2. Lovely puzzle today. Goofed on 8a where I took bay as a horse and therefore ended up with tack. Otherwise I thought it was quite a gentle affair. Thanks to MP and Dada.

  3. A brilliant puzzle from Dada … definitely worthy of 5 stars for entertainment.

    The four 3-letter solutions all deserve a place on the podium … but 27a takes top spot. (Alas, I now know the top ten Japanese Boy Bands)

    1. The obi is a sash/belt worn by Japanese martial arts exponents, as well as Obi Wan Kenobi of star wars fame-there was a British pop group called Obi!

  4. A total joy from Dada. So many outstanding clues, but 18, 2, and 5d occupy the highest rungs of this steep ladder of wit and cleverness. I agree: 5 stars. (11a, in its UK ‘slang’ use, is new to me, but I worked it out.) Thanks to Zelda for the hints and to Dada for the great pleasure. 4* / 5*

  5. Same mistake as Jonners with 8a tack-just as good an answer!
    I started slowly then gradually worked my way round the grid ,guessed 27a which I could not find in Chambers ,is it a pop group or a sash?
    Enjoyable solve and a ***/*** as per MP’s.
    Liked 5d 20a and 18a.
    Raining again after some recent flooding 4″ in an hour!

    1. re 8a – because bay refers to the noise of a canine as well as a plant it is a doubly clever clue

  6. I really enjoyed this one. Cannot say I found it anything other than quite difficult but it was a real delight. 8a and 2d were the last ones to fall with 5d my favourite.

    Thanks so much Dada and to MP.

  7. I found this a hugely enjoyable puzzle. It didn’t look at all promising at the outset, but I got a foothold in the SE corner and was able to fill gradually from there, and once the four longer central clues went in, it was relatively plain sailing. Lots of contenders for favourite, but my top spot goes to 3d. Many thanks to Dada and Zelda Fitzgerald.

  8. We are delighted that this Toughie of which we have heard so much has turned up on the iPad. Why wasn’t there one yesterday? Or is there never one on Mondays? Anyway, we really enjoyed it, found it challenging but entertaining and satisfying. Favourite clue 18d for humorous definition. Not sure above thieves as an indicator for contains, but if you say so Zelda …. Thanks to you and to Dada.

    1. There is never one on Mondays.
      It is the General Knowledge instead linking with Saturday’s GK.

  9. Unbelievably, I managed to get through this puzzle with minimum cheating…ie putting in what I thought were the answers then pressing the button which shows mistakes. (8a 3d and 4d did for me for a while).
    I am very much encouraged to continue giving the Toughies a try after this……too bad they have only just come to the online edition.

    Thanks to the setter and to Miffy.

  10. Admittedly I used a bit of electronic help with anagrams etc. but this was a most enjoyable crossword. I hadn’t realised that the online puzzle has a facility for checking wrong letters. The dead tree version has no such temptation.
    Before discovering the hidden sash in 27a I, too, searched Japanese boy bands. I was surprised to find so many!
    I think my favourite clue was 12a or was it 20a? Both were excellent.

  11. Our last one in was 8a as we too got hung up on Bay being a horse. Very clever to have a tree and a dog as possible allusions too.
    Thoroughly enjoyable solve once again from this setter.
    Thanks Dada and MP.

  12. Well I thought I’d come over here and take a look. I’ve been sitting on the grumpy step on the other side as neither today’s or yesterday’s cryptic floated my boat. Wasn’t on the wavelength. My first toughie. Managed the 3 letter words on my own and then very gratefully went through the hints clue by clue ( without revealing the answer) I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working through it. So many thanks to ZF for your tutoring. Your hint at 16D really tickled me and now I have an ear worm. Thank you to the setter also. I’ll be coming over here again.

  13. Got there in the end though it’s taken most of the evening, occasional use of the check answer correct facility, a letter reveal in the 2d/8a checker & a peek at the hint for 5d to bump start me after I’d stalled a dozen or so in.
    Thought it quite brilliant – full of witty clues with super surfaces only very tough. Favourites were the four long ones plus 1d, 11,15&17a.
    Thanks Dada & MP – will need to read your review properly to fully appreciate some wordplay (4d & 8a)

  14. I had SAND for 8a which also seemed to fit quite well. That made the top left a bit tricky…

  15. I assume ZF is not a Simpsons viewer,as they have informed many people that maple,ash and poplar trees
    don’t have bark.(We weren’t told what they do have instead).Congrats to ZF,you make my attempts at solving
    look pitiful.

  16. Unbelievably I had cove for 8a as bay can also mean red and be a cove. Red and bay covered cove!! Daft I know but just another take. An inaccurate one unlike the others. No problem with the rest of it. Liked 15a.

  17. I thought that this was going to be trickier than it turned out to be. Thoroughly enjoyable solve with the usual absence of commentary from the usual suspects.

    Thanks to all.

  18. Thank you Dada, and Zelda too for an excellent intro. But shouldn’t it be ‘reads through’? Unless it’s hyphenated of course!

    Thank you, great help there were one or two that irritated my slightly but your clues to the clues helped think outside my box and deep into another!

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