Toughie 2492 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2492

Toughie No 2492 by Firefly

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Firefly reverting to ‘less difficult’ mode today with quite a bit of ‘doing something with letters’

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Unassuming Burgundy perhaps for the lady? (7)
MILDRED Another way of saying unpretentious or modest (unassuming) and the colour of a Burgundy wine

9a    Dullness unacceptable between physician and his number three (8)
MONOTONY A two-word expression meaning unacceptable goes between an abbreviated doctor and the third letter of phYsician

10a    One well overdue to be cut off (7)
ISOLATE The letter that looks like a one, a synonym for well and a simpler way of saying overdue

11a    Giant oil reproduced in engraving (8)
INTAGLIO An anagram (reproduced) of GIANT OIL

12a    Vehicle‘s range? (6)
SIERRA A Ford car or a mountain range

13a    Presenter nearly beside Ms Giedroyc lay vacuously down (10)
MELANCHOLY Almost all of a television presenter responsible for the smooth running of a programme goes after the abbreviated Christian name of Ms Giedroyc and is then followed by the outside (vacuously) letters of LaY

15a    Racket strings catgut, afterwards metal, for beginners (4)
SCAM The beginners of Strings Catgut Afterwards Metal

16a    Dodge classes by Pearl, perhaps? (9)
STRATAGEM Some classes or levels of society followed by a precious stone of which a pearl might be an example (perhaps)

21a    Return for spell in shed (4)
EMIT A reversal (return) of a spell or period

22a    At all his ten late shifts … (2,3,5)
IN THE LEAST An anagram (shifts) of HIS TEN LATE

24a    … celebrity champion shows formality (6)
STARCH A celebrity and the abbreviation for champion

25a    Son suffering quietly being purged with new energy, becoming cheerful (8)
SANGUINE The abbreviation for Son, some suffering without (being purged) the two-letter instruction to be quiet and the abbreviations for New and Energy

27a    Titchy parent’s bottom? (7)
MINIMUM Possibly a description of a small (titchy) mother (parent)

28a    Settling head down right among heather (8)
LIGHTING Remove the first letter (head down) from rIGHT and insert it among one of the names for the plant heather

29a    Roll unwrapped Easter egg at Scottish reel (7)
STAGGER A reversal (roll) of letters found inside (unwrapped) of EasteR EGG AT Scottish


2d    This month incorporated opening of the faculty (8)
INSTINCT  A word used in formal correspondence to indicate ‘this month’ , the abbreviation for incorporated, and the ‘opening’ of The

3d    Former spirit’s underlying Germany’s stagnation (8)
DOLDRUMS A synonym for former and some alcoholic spirit’s ‘underlying’ or going after in a Down clue, the IVR code for Germany

4d    True alarm spreading about unknown non-resident (10)
EXTRAMURAL An anagram (spreading) of TRUE ALARM ‘about’ a mathematical unknown

5d    In discussion solitary makes advance (4)
LOAN A homophone (in discussion) of solitary

6d    Design from bone set in flexible mica (6)
MOSAIC The Latin word for bone ‘set’ in an anagram (flexible) of MICA – The ‘designs’ at the Piazza Armerina in Sicily are well worth a visit – I always think the young gymnast in the middle in this one looks like a teenager not happy about being made to wear a hat!

7d    Fish product that’s substandard turned up containing still more in the middle (7)
ROLLMOP A reversal (turned up in a Down clue) of a word meaning substandard ‘containing’ the middle letters of stiLL More

8d    My sonny — this needs rewriting — word for word! (7)
SYNONYM An anagram (this needs rewriting) of MY SONNY

11d    It’s awkward when Clinton’s off his head and a bother (3,2,4)
ILL AT EASE Remove the ‘head’ or first letter of President Clinton’s informal Christian name and follow with A (from the clue) and a verb meaning to bother mischievously

14d    Turning over in bed to see workers in the dark? (5,5)
NIGHT SHIFT A change of position (turning over) during the period of time one should be in bed unless, of course, you are one of these workers

17d    People in performance short of time? That’s scary! (8)
MENACING Some people performing without (short of) the T for time

18d    Dash from container on craft when unoccupied on river (8)
TINCTURE A container, the outside letters (when unoccupied) of CrafT and a North Yorkshire river

19d    Girl on unbuttressed piles gets rocket (7)
MISSILE A girl followed by the inside (unbuttressed or not supported on the outside) letters of pILEs

20d    Make amends and leave simultaneously (2,3,2)
AT ONE GO A verb meaning to make amends and another meaning to leave

23d    Players’ union shows fairness (6)
EQUITY The name of the actors’ union or fairness

26d    Muses maybe occasionally during Indian tea (4)
NINE The number of Greek Muses (can be found in the occasional letters of iNdIaN tEa


21 comments on “Toughie 2492

  1. Well, I finished it – with just a little help from electronics. I felt some of the 8ds were a little stretched, but I guess that is par for the course for a Toughie. Overall, good fun, but I don’t suppose that will mean anything tomorrow.

    Many thanks to Firefly and CS

  2. This wasn’t a puzzle that will stay long in the memory. Some of the surfaces don’t make a great deal of sense (e.g. 13a and 19d – though ‘unbuttressed piles’ do sound painful).

    Thanks to Firefly and CS.

    Fans of our erstwhile Sunday setter Virgilius may like to know that he’s in the Guardian (as Brendan) today with a puzzle that’s very enjoyable and not too difficult.

  3. Not one of my favourite setters given his dubious synonyms and often strange surface reads – 15a for instance.
    I did try to give him the benefit of the doubt by putting ‘Kindred’ for 1a but no – he was aiming for one of those ‘could be anybody’ names.
    Ah well – I did rather like 16a.

    Thanks to Firefly and to CS for the review. Yes, I did pick up on the couple of deliberate mistakes but I’ll leave them for others to find!

  4. You must finish the answer to 20d.Is this what Jane meant?
    27a took longer than it should and is my COTD
    I, too, had kindred for 1a. The lady being part of the family. Proper names aren’t very helpful
    Thanks to Firefly and CS. Any rain in the water butts yet?

      1. Ha – so I found another one you’d missed. It’s going to be very hard when your social life resumes and I actually have to do my own proof reading, rather than giving you some entertainment during these trying times

        1. It’s all a bit of a game anyway, CS, it always amazes me how you find time to produce so many reviews as it is.
          Just as well I don’t get the ‘comb’ out for the Rookie reviews!

  5. I thought that this was surprisingly gentle for a Toughie until I became stuck in the NW with that ‘fish product’–and then it suddenly dawned on me what the ‘middle’ referred to. Eureka! And I finished without any electronic help, even without consulting Mr G until I had keyed in that unsavoury-sounding fish dish (oh, I bet I get some gripes from that comment). Anyway, I rather enjoyed the solve, even though, as some of you have rightly said, there were some very bumpy surfaces. I chuckled a bit with 27a, my COTD, and also liked 2d, 13a, and 18d. Thanks to CS and Firefly. *** / ****

  6. Gray completed this while Rose was on her daily phone call to her mum, so naturally he liked it! We have been attempting the Toughie only since its recent inclusion in our digital package. This was the least challenging so far, but still sufficiently taxing to test the little grey cells. The Toughies in general are making us aware of our limitations but producing a great deal of enjoyment nonetheless 😊🙃😊 !

  7. I thought I was doing well with this until I saw that CS had given it * for difficulty. I needed a lot of hints but no Reveals which means I’m improving. Ive only been doing them since last Tuesday so I’m pleased with that.
    Thanks to firefly and CS

  8. As a back page solver for many years but a newbie when it comes to the Toughie, I am still finding my feet. I sometimes feel that, psychologically, the Toughie must be harder because of its name and I sometimes make them harder than they really are. This was such an example. It was probably a lot simpler to solve than the Ray T but it took me as long, which is frustrating. All part of the learning curve.

    Thanks to Firefly and CS.

  9. Once into the swing a steady solve for me, more difficult than a *, going for a **/*** difficulty and the same for enjoyment.
    No standout clues but nothing obscure.
    Liked the surface of 14d and 18a and a pleasant way of passing the afternoon.
    Thanks all

  10. I only needed the hints to parse 29a. 7d was often on the menu when we visited the Scottish in-laws. Thank you to setter and CS.

  11. Got about half way through, but that is OK for me. Several clues I put in in pencil as I wasn’t sure. However have now read CS’s great hints and am doing OK. What a great site this is for people like me and I can’t thank our setters and hint chap/esses enough! Well done, you do it every day and I, for one, am really grateful.

  12. More difficult than one star for us. Last one in was 7d which took considerable head scratching. Particularly enjoyed the wordplay for 9a and 13a.
    Thanks Firefly and CS.

  13. Just now and again I try my hand at a Toughie with varying levels of success. Today was almost painless and I enjoyed the brain-teasing. Several clues appealed including 9a and 7d. My thanks to Firefly and CS.

  14. A brisk solve of all but the SE (5 clues remaining) which I’ll leave until tomorrow as the eyelids are drooping & I’ve an early start. Easiest of the week thus far & maybe more straightforward than the back pager but still enjoyable. Some of the surfaces were maybe a tad clunky but I did particularly like 2&7d along with 9a.
    Thanks to Firefly & CS

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