Toughie 2498 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2498

Toughie No 2498 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Bill Brewer

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BD’s Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Chalicea kicks off the Toughie week with a Floughie Toughie that should wet the whistles of those making early ventures into Toughieland. A couple of passes should give enough checking letters to suggest obvious answers for reverse parsing. A full grid is what you are after. How you achieve this is up to you.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a Mac accepts it reversed after car operated without intervention (9)
AUTOMATIC: Off we go with a quirky clue. The word IT (from the clue) is reversed as it says in the clue. It is then placed inside the word MAC (also from the clue). This is then placed after another word for a car. The answer is also a type of car but that is not the definition used

8a Treacherously bares fencing weapon (5)
SABRE: Anagram (treacherously) of BARES

10a Midshipman‘s joint (6)
REEFER: A double definition. The first being one aboard a sailing ship that takes in or lets out amounts of sail. The second being a cigarette containing cannabis

11a Produce confused teenager (8)
GENERATE: Anagram (confused) of TEENAGER. Aren’t they all?

12a Inn, oddly chilly, back open to all (6)
PUBLIC: A three-letter word for an inn is followed the reversal of every other letter from the word chilly

14a Timid people nursing essentially stealthy ill-will (6)
MALICE: A four-letter word used to describe timid people sits around the essence or heart of the word stealthy

16a Boss a form of poker (4)
STUD: A double definition. Both regularly used in cryptic crossword puzzles

17a Bar making a comeback for merrymaking (5)
REVEL: This bar is the one Archimedes claimed to be able to move the earth with. Reverse it

18a Insult hospital food (4)
DISH: A short word meaning disrespect which gained popularity at the same time as Rap Music is followed by the abbreviation for hospital

19a Cunning statecraft with no rest curiously producing a moneybags (3,3)
FAT CAT: Remove the letters of the word rest from the word statecraft and make an anagram (cunning) from what is left

21a Military ruler‘s weapon missing target ultimately (6)
SHOGUN: A weapon used to shoot game needs the last letter of the word target removing

24a Crikey! A boxing contest for a social butterfly (8)
GADABOUT: A three-letter exclamation similar to cor is followed by the letter A from the clue and what a boxing match is known as

26a Returned calls from city dwellings miles away (6)
ECHOES: The postcodes of The City of London are followed by our houses but without the abbreviation for miles

27a Turn for information in two directions? (5)
REFER: This palindromic answer means to seek information

28a Boundlessly dire dregs, dull, dark and disorderly (9)
IRREGULAR: The answer here is derived from the inner letters (boundlessly) of several words from the clue


1d Cycling itinerary further from centre (5)
OUTER: An itinerary needs to have its first letter moving to the end (cycling)

2d Prisoner experienced defeat (8)
CONFOUND: Two synonyms. One for prisoner and one for experienced

3d Mate admitting turn-on now and then in security detachment (6)
PATROL: A three-letter mate or chum surrounds the alternate letters of the word turn-on

4d Offend good, and confess (4)
SING: A word meaning to offend against divine law is followed by the abbreviation for good

5d Honour the French ancient city and the Spanish (6)
LAUREL: A three-part charade of regular suspects in the correct order and with no insertions, reversals, additions or subtractions. 1. The French word for the (feminine) 2. An ancient city 3. The Spanish word for the. Easy peasy Japanesy . Wash your hair with Lemon Squeezy

6d Cold rice: it is cooking in pan (9)
CRITICISE: The abbreviation for cold is followed by an anagram (cooking) of RICE IT IS

9d Brutish student supporting warped mania (6)
ANIMAL: The letter suggested by a British student comes after (supporting) an anagram (warped) of the word MANIA

13d See tweeters, the pits? (5)
CAVES: The letter that sounds like the word see is followed by some tweeters. Feathery ones with toothless beaked jaws

15d Artifice of befuddled magistrate lacking imagination for a start (9)
STRATAGEM: An anagram (befuddled) of the word MAGISTRATES without the first letter of the word imagination

17d Upset ransacker to re-equip workshop? (6)
RETOOL: A ransacker or pillaged is reversed (upset).

18d With money casually head for fried cake (8)
DOUGHNUT: A slang term for money is followed by a synonym for one’s head

20d Some bitter alcohol turning up in wine (6)
CLARET: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word some. It is reversed as indicated by the words turning up

22d Began to write in dictionary (6)
OPENED: A verb meaning to write sits inside the abbreviation of a well-known dictionary

23d Partly coppiced a redwood tree (5)
CEDAR: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word partly

25d Pleasantly sharp bakery product (4)
TART: A rather obvious double definition

A gentle start to the four-day run of Toughie puzzles. I hope you enjoyed it


31 comments on “Toughie 2498

  1. Feeling rather chuffed as this is the first Toughie I have finished unaided. No doubt others will have found it easy and call it a Floughie but I am happy.

    I loved 24a but my favourite clue is 28a.

    Many thanks, Chalicea for an enjoyable challenge and thanks also to Big Brewer for the hints, which I did not need but I will read.

  2. A nice Chicken Korma from Chalicea today. Thank you to her and Bill B

    Who else didn’t read the clue for 26a properly and ended up with the wrong letter at the end of the solution?

    1. The last letter was the first and only letter of that answer that I put in. With all of those plurals in the clue the answer had to end with the letter S

    2. Guilty. Raced through it & completed, by a considerable margin, in my quickest ever Toughie time only for the iPad to announce the incorrect verdict. Fortunately the offending d was identified reasonably quickly.

  3. It took me longer to see 27a than do the rest of the puzzle – spent far too long with points of the compass and L/R before twigging the palindrome and the rather cunning definition. Nice one Chalicea and thanks to BB.

    1. Me, too with the compass. In the end decided it was a palindrome and got it but was not really sure the result met the criteria.

  4. I found this so much more pleasurable than today’s backpager. It flowed smoothly from top to bottom, with only two or three throwing me off the scent. I didn’t know that 21a was military. I learned little history of England at school, never mind the Far East. I guessed at 13d, not knowing the second part, but with words like ‘avian’ around, it was going to be tough to be wrong.

    My only stumbling block was 27a, with just two Es for checkers, my mind was blank, and it turns out , I had parsed it incorrectly, (LEVER, EVE in L&R?)

    So, many thanks to Chalicea and to MP for the right answer.

  5. What a lark! Finished this nice Chalicea in about half the time today’s Cryptic took me, but I enjoyed it nearly as much. I do realise its ‘Floughie’ nature, but that didn’t diminish my pleasure in solving her clues, from ‘reefer’ to ‘refer’. Highlights: 18, 2, 15d; 24, 28a. Thanks to MP and Chalicea for the pleasure. 1.5* /3.5*

  6. We agree with MalcolmR, much more enjoyable than the backpager despite have some chestnuts e.g. 11A & 16A.
    1.5* / *** with COTD 24A.

  7. As a newbie to these Toughies I am always pleased to finish them when I can. This was certainly perhaps the easiest of the few I have attempted since it came onto the iPad Edition but no less enjoyable. Possibly more straightforward than the cryptic today but happy to have completed it. Joint favourites were 24 and 28a.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and MP.

  8. As a regular struggler of Toughie puzzles I enjoyed this, and as with Young Salopian 24 & 28 across were my joint favouries, it was nice to see how the answer to 1 down came about so I learned something, and one question was 19 across a compound anagram. My thank yous to Chalicea & Bill Brewer for their services.

    1. That was how I solved it and that is how the hint reads. I wondered if we had two anagram indicators, cunning and curiously, but I suppose the curiously is there to indicate that rest is scrambled within the fodder rather than removed sequentially

  9. I enjoyed this as I usually do with chalicea puzzles. There were some easy clues but also many which needed a close look. Like halcyon & jb, I struggled with 27a refer, though I was looking for a palindrome. I had GEN in my head, that wasn’t going to work, was it. So thanks bb for that. I have a special appreciation for clues like 8a & 6d – simple but very nice.
    Many thanks chalicea, I think the floughiness (Not a nice word, really) is spot on, and would be happy if it stayed that way

  10. Fully agree with Malcom that this was more enjoyable than the back pager & though extremely floughie it didn’t spoil it in the least for me. Other than the last letter hiccup at 26a & a complete bung in for 13d (last in & nowhere near parsing it) it all yielded swiftly & perhaps more surprisingly was understood.Favourite was 28a (the sort of clue that I never used to pick up on) where I could imagine Anthony Hopkins or Richard Burton saying the words.
    Thanks Chalicea & MP for the review

    1. Or, perchance, Dylan Thomas even. Something about the d-alliteration there bespeaks Welshness, doesn’t it? (Nice observation, Huntsman.)

  11. I gave up on Toughies ages ago but have decided to have another crack at doing them – I’m glad I picked today.
    Lots of nice and not too tricky clues so it was a very good re-introduction.
    My favourite was either 24 or 28a.
    Thanks to Chalicea and to BB.

  12. That was an Ideal companion to the back pager. just 27a and 13d caused problems here. 13 was plumped correctly and I knew 27a was a palindrome, like Dutch I had gen in mind which I couldn’t make work but I also thought of LEVEL as in the level you may be playing when it is your TURN at the game. Thanks to BB and Chalicea. (Missed the cycling finish as Mum wanted the Tatties mashing just as the final Km approached! – an excuse to sit through the highlights)

    1. And what a finish it was, John! I found myself on the edge of my seat, cheering on Whoever Sprinted Fastest since I have no favourite cyclist yet. And what gorgeous scenery!

      1. Todays winner (Primož Roglič) is a good bet to win it overall. The current leader (Julian Alaphilippe) will lose time eventually when the mountains get steeper and longer, although he gave them a fright last year as he was quite resilient. Last years winner (Egan Bernal) doesn’t look as though he is over the bad back he brought into the race but may work himself fit. Tomorrow is almost certainly a sprint stage and Peto Sagan will mop up more points and secure the green jersey but the final sprint tomorrow may go to Caleb Ewan again. Complicated business this cycling lark, I will enjoy the scenery too and pray it goes the distance. The french government may put a stop to it if they get any COVID infections in the field.

  13. Solved in the doctor’s waiting room . Very pleasant now that magazines are banned.
    I liked 12a and 18d.
    Thanks to Miffypops and Chalicea..

    1. You were lucky to get into the surgery, I had my last meeting with the doctor sitting in the car park!! (Hope it was nothing too serious – george had to go to Addenbrookes today for a Covid test prior to a biopsy on Friday and said it was not a pleasant experience)

  14. With this setter we start smiling as soon as we see her named as the compiler and these smiles always last right through the solve. Last in was 27a as we kept trying to read too much into the wordplay.
    Thanks Chalicea and MP.

  15. What a lovely set of comments! You have had me smiling all the way through. It makes setting really worthwhile when there is such a warm set of solvers. Thank you Miffypops, too for those so succinct breakdowns of how each clue works. I know what a demanding task the blogging is, especially when you have so little time after the puzzles appear. I really admire those who manage to blog an Elgar Friday Toughie!

  16. Chalicea,

    Should have left more positive comments, we really enjoyed your crossword, many thanks, A & M.

  17. Damn! I thought I had become a crossword genius overnight only to discover I hadn’t and it was a very mild Toughie indeed. Very enjoyable.

  18. You can add mine to the list of positive comments. Completed over two early morning mugs of tea, thought it was fabulous, very doable, though still a fair bit more difficult than the back pager, wichch is how a Toughie should be measured?
    Joint favourites 25a& 18d
    Many thanks to Chalicea and MP.

  19. Completed this over coffee this morning. I think this is only the 5th time I’ve managed to complete a Toughie unaided so feeling very pleased with myself. As BB says after a couple of run-throughs there are enough checkers to enable a pretty good go at reverse parsing.
    I thoroughly enjoyed it so many thanks to the setter and to BB!
    Hard to pick a COTD as there were so many to enjoy, but 21a certainly was an “ah of course” moment when I finally saw it!

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