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Toughie 2500

Toughie No 2500 by Samuel

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

We haven’t had a Toughie from Samuel for over six months, but it is clear from the Nina round the outside of the solved grid that this one has been specially complied to mark today’s particular Toughie milestone. My first time at blogging a Samuel Toughie too and I did enjoy myself, and no, not just because of the opportunity to look at lots of images of 24a before choosing the one to insert here!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


6a    Drink from cans, hugging cool male, oddly drunk (3,7)
TOM COLLINS Some cans ‘hugging’ an anagram (drunk) of COOL and the odd letters of MaLe

8a    Fat chanteuse returned cases (4)
SUET Hidden in reverse (returned) in chanTEUSe

9a    Model man perhaps about to leave non-professional type (9)
LAYPERSON Remove the Latin abbreviation for about from a model of a man made from a particular type of earthy material

11a    Keen on headless horse (4)
INTO Remove the first letter (headless) of a mottled-coloured horse

12a    Slip into Henley? (3)
DON This verb meaning to put on (slip into) is also the name of the Eagles’ drummer, Mr Henley

13a    Description of poor kippers — or suggestion for overly good ones? (9)
SLEEPLESS These particular poor kippers suffer from insomnia – split the solution to see the suggestion for the overly good ones

16a    Clothe in undergarment the French discarded (4)
GIRD A verb meaning to clothe is obtained by discarding the French definite article from a lady’s undergarment

17a    Treated badly with forces leaving, crowd united (3-4)
ILL-USED Forces leaving indicates the need to remove two lots of the abbreviation for Force – firstly from a verb meaning to crowd and secondly from a synonym for united

18a    King cut short by top officer taps part of ear (7)
COCHLEA Cut short a Shakespearean king and put what’s left after an abbreviated top officer and the letters found on taps

20a    Kind of dash about on lake (4)
MERE Reverse (about) a printer’s dash and follow with the preposition meaning about

21a    Police officer reported description of Blofeld’s position? (9)
INSPECTOR A homophone of the position (2,7) of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the Bond villain

23a    City disturbance brought to a premature conclusion (3)
RIO Bring to a premature conclusion, or just remove the last letter from a disturbance

24a    Actor fit to make comeback (4)
ELBA A reversal (to make comeback) of a synonym for fit

25d    Firm flying out in case (9)
TENACIOUS An anagram (flying) of OUT IN CASE

29a    One at sea and tense after auction finished early (4)
SALT One of the many terms for a sailor (one at sea) – the abbreviation for Tense goes after a truncated (finished early) auction

30a    Grant for one to conceal order error for canteen (10)
COMMISSARY The Christian name of Mr Grant the actor (not Hugh!) conceals or has inserted an abbreviated Order [of Merit] and an error


1d    Fine member of parliament to be chicken? (4)
FOWL The abbreviation for Fine and a member of a group of birds, the collective noun for which is a parliament

2d    Going to pieces without pot? That’s not very nice (4)
ICKY To produce an informal adjective meaning distastefully unpleasant, simply remove (without) a pot or cooking vessel from an adjective meaning going to pieces from anxiety

3d    Run unhindered, changing hands (4)
FLEE Take a synonym for unhindered and change the abbreviation for one hand found in that word to the other hand

4d    Partly regret spitting over better advisor (7)
TIPSTER Found in reverse (over) in part of regRET SPITting

5d    Eye star possibly drinking whisky in the past (10)
YESTERYEAR An anagram (possibly) of EYE STAR ‘drinking’ a type of whisky

7d    Rock singer initially with Mick? (9)
SANDSTONE The initial letter of Singer, a conjunction meaning with, and how one might describe Mick Jagger

8d    Support for bad member’s stolen weapon (9)
SLINGSHOT A support for a bad arm, S (‘s) and an informal term meaning recently stolen

10d    Nothing gained by training writer (3)
POE Put the letter representing nothing inside some school ‘training’

13d    Injured life-saver bringing in student will get fine decoration (6,4)
SILVER LEAF An anagram (inured) of LIFE SAVER bringing in L (learner, student)

14d    Rich living: German’s over for the first time (9)
EXUBERANT Luxuriant or overflowing – Replace the first T (time) in a synonym for living or surviving with the German word for over

15d    I bite cop wrongly arresting Republican before anyone stirred? (9)
PREBIOTIC Relating to the time before the appearance of living things – an anagram (wrongly) of I BITE COP ‘arresting’ the abbreviation for Republican

19d    Wave finally at son with a friend in Paris (7)
TSUNAMI The final letter of aT (can a two-letter word really have a final letter?), the abbreviation for son, and how someone in Paris (or elsewhere in France) would say ‘a friend’

22d    Caught greeting foreign character (3)
CHI The abbreviation for Caught in cricket scoring and an informal greeting

26d    Company provided cap (4)
COIF An abbreviated company and a conjunction meaning provided

27d    Expel vacant student holding up distance-learning provider (4)
OUST The outside (vacant) letters of StudenT hold up (in a Down solution) the abbreviated distance-learning provider of a university education

28d    Fast ship unloaded on track (4)
SPRY Unload or remove the insides of ShiP and put them on an abbreviated railway (track)


33 comments on “Toughie 2500

  1. A very enjoyable puzzle without any obscure GK. A couple held me up, namely 16a where I kept trying (unsuccessfully) to justify garb as my answer, and my last one in, which was 2d.
    I completely missed the Nina (as always).
    3*/4* for me. Many thanks to Samuel, and to CS for the review.

  2. When I blogged the Toughie yesterday I noticed the number was 2499 and wondered whether there would be anything in today’s puzzle to mark the significant milestone. Of course I’d forgotten all that by this morning so I missed the Nina during the solving process and only spotted it once I had a full grid.

    That was a pity because I could have done with the Nina’s help in the NW corner where I finished and which I found by far the trickiest bit of the puzzle.

    My highlighted clues were 2d, 4d (well-hidden lurker), 7d and 8d.

    Thanks to Samuel for the enjoyable puzzle and to CS for the usual comprehensive blog.

  3. Aha – the lesser-spotted Samuel. I guess he’s got quite a lot of other things taking up his time these days! Fortunately, I was on the look out for a Nina but that didn’t help much when it came to my sticking points of sorting out the parsing for 17&18a.
    I guess it will have to be 24a at the top of my pile – nice pic you finally settled on, CS!

    Many thanks and congratulations to Samuel (and all those others who have helped the Toughie to reach this landmark) and thanks to CS for the review.

  4. Yay, my kind of crossword! I accidentally woke up when it was still dark, my vocabulary of synonyms isn’t good enough to manage a Ray T, and I’ve really enjoyed Chris Lancaster’s occasional Tuesday puzzles, so thought I’d give this a go. I’m pleased that I did: it’s the first Toughie I’ve completed pre-hints in several months, possibly years.

    12a’s Henley, 21a’s homophone, and 1d’s MPs all made me laugh when I finally got them. My favourite was the model man in 9a. Thanks, Samuel.

    Thank you to CrypticSue. I didn’t need you as 4d down today, but did need you to point out the nina. I hadn’t heard of the canteen (and Oxford marks it as North American), but the nina explains why it was needed.

    We were finally released from Bradford’s local lockdown yesterday. And the children have also returned to school, so we have the novel experience of working from home without them, erm, contributing to the ambience.

  5. Some clever, tricky clues here to mark a milestone. The NW corner refused to yield until the rest was complete, then eventually 2d and 4d fell into place so they’re my top tips – along with 14d.
    Thanks to Samuel for the battle and CS for the blog.

  6. Lots to make me smile today, but only 9a that needed the blog to parse it – making that the most amusing of them all. Honourable mentions to 13a, 21a and 7d.

    Thanks to Samuel and to CS for the 9a parse and for pointing out the NINA.

  7. Lots to enjoy today including both included words. What a treat it has been to wake up to The Toughie on the iPad. Thanks to Samuel for the puzzle and thanks to Sue for sorting a couple of minor issues. Missed the Nina as always

  8. When I realised that Henley wasn’t in Oxfordshire and in fact was in my favourite band I was really looking forward to Gaza’s video link to the clue. Sadly the fine actor Mr Elba took precedence. Still it didn’t dim my enjoyment of this fine return from Samuel. Even though this must contain the easiest to spot Nina ever, I as usual missed it. Thanks to Samuel and CS

  9. I really enjoyed this and was helped a lot by spotting early on that there might be a Nina when I had four of the top five down clues in place and I also noticed the Toughie number.

    Everything fell into place smoothly and steadily, and, at the end, I was only flummoxed by the parsing of 30a (that particular Mr Grant didn’t occur to me) and 2d (where I couldn’t see beyond “picky” without the P) – many thanks to CS for the enlightenment. Many thanks too to Samuel for the fun.

  10. What a delightful Toughie! Although I did finally seek a bit of electronic help in the NW, I found this to be a refreshing, amusing, and altogether ‘smart’ challenge. I think that this is the first Samuel I have worked, and there are so many contenders for top honours that I can only mention a few, notably 9a, 17a, 15d, and 8d (my COTD, I think). Thanks to CS for parsing 2d and 18a for me. And thanks to her for the review and to Samuel for the pleasure. Yes, I just found the NINA.

  11. I enjoyed this CL Toughie … of course, I missed the Nina. I was too busy trying to solve the puzzle.

    After a bit of “research”, it seems that Toughie No 0001 was compiled by Giovanni and published on Tuesday, 02 September 2008.

    I remember it well (?)

  12. This was a really nice solve, my favourites were 13 across & 8 across, i have to say that 18 across & 26 down were new to me and after reading the Gazza post I did spot the nina alln in all an enjoyable solve. Many thanks to Samuel & Cryptic Sue for helping my enjoyment.

  13. Thank you samuel and an impressive milestone. I saw the top and bottom bit of the Nina early on, and attached a different meaning, was then confused by the left hand column, and only when I saw the right hand column did i think i’d better check today’s toughie number. A very enjoyable puzzle, quite tricky but not taking overly long to complete

    1. Look at the top, bottom and two sides of your solved grid and then check the toughie number

      Not every grid like this one has a message but it is always a good idea to check just in case

  14. I gather the Nina is just on the right hand corner? Gobbledygook after that. No, I’ve just realised the left side is there, it just doesn’t follow on.

    Did most of this. Felt Grant the actor was unfair. What about Richard, Hugh and there must be others?

    I did like 26 d such an elegant word.

      1. Yes, I realised that the left hand side, like the right, had to be read downwards. It did not, as I first expected, follow on round the square.

        Dare I ask? How are the bruises and black eye?

        1. Much better thank you. Black eye now fading, cut on forehead healing well thanks to surgical super glue. Ribs and big toe will take a bit longer

  15. We got lucky and spotted the Nina in plenty of time to be a real help with this one, particularly in the NW.
    Good fun all the way through.
    Thanks Samuel and CS.

  16. I’ve never got to grips with ninas, in spite of reading faqs. Today however CS’s preamble gave me the first letter of 20a so i didn’t have to read the hint! Cotd 1d. Great fun solving this. Thanks to all

    1. Another ‘victim’ of the person with a name with spaces between words getting + put in between the parts and so putting you into moderation

        1. It is some special new thing sent to try us today – it isn’t just you it is everyone with a space between the different parts of their alias

  17. Well I typed in a great long screed sympathising with your injuries, talking about the Nina etc and thanking you all for your hard work. Having just got out of the bath (where I finish off the toughie if I can) I dozily hit the wrong button and it disappeared. Ah well. Can’t do it all again, many thanks.

  18. Missed my midnight target but finished it with the aid of one letter reveal (2d/6a checker). As usual there were a few I couldn’t parse properly & the Nina completely passed me by but thought it an excellent Toughie, nicely challenging but still doable for us lesser mortals. 13a gets my vote for COTD.
    Thanks Samuel & to CS for explaining the wordplay

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