Toughie 2510 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2510

Toughie No 2510 by Silvanus

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

What a pleasure it has been to solve and review this wonderful crossword. The puzzle is full of ingenuity and offers none of the staleness and tiredness sometimes seen in crosswordland. At the time of solving and reviewing I have Silvanus in mind or possibly Chalicea. Only time and Kath will tell. (CrypticSue told and it is Silvanus) Great fun all round. 27 across and 20 down went in easily but both took some time for me to work out the parsing. See if you can manage them without the hints.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Cause of unexpected fall perhaps in British people eating pineapple (6,4)
BANANA SKIN: The abbreviation for British and one’s family and relations (people) sit outside an alternative name for the pineapple. I don’t think many people will slip up on this clue

6a Active agent must possess core element of secrecy (4)
SPRY: An agent such as James Bond contains the central letter of the word secrecy

9a Soup beginning to inflame large mouth ulcer (7)
GUMBOIL: A spicy chicken or seafood flavoured soup of the Cajun regions is followed by the initial letter of the word inflame and the abbreviation for large

10a Something providing direction and order during Conservative predicament (7)
COMPASS: A three-part charade. 1 The abbreviation for Conservative 2 The abbreviation of The Order of Merit 3 A state or situation of a specified, usually undesirable, nature. The definition of-part three is a long way down the listings in the online dictionary which, I suppose, is where it should be for a Toughie

12a In America, check Iowa road index for place pots are made (8,5)
BILLIARD TABLE: A straightforward four-part charade. Do as the clue asks and build up your answer 1 A check or tab in an American restaurant 2 The abbreviation for the state of Iowa 3 The abbreviation for road 4 An index or list

14a Brace of flightless birds, fast but not hot (8)
REASSURE: Try not to be misdirected by the words brace of. We need only one flightless bird together with a word meaning able to be relied on or trusted. The abbreviation for hot can be removed from the flightless bird

15a Hoped indeed to split power with Republican and Democrat (6)
PRAYED: Begin with the three abbreviations for Power, Republican and Democrat. Insert an exclamation meaning indeed

17a Fool with money backing idiot’s tips (6)
NITWIT: Reverse a three-letter word for money. Add the abbreviation for with. Add the tips or outer letters of the word idiot

19a Genealogical study led Harry all over the place (8)
HERALDRY: Anagram (all over the place) of LED HARRY

21a Flowering shrub of Great Britain, said to cause irritation (6-7)
HEEBIE-JEEBIES: Of all of the shrubs in the world pick an evergreen one native to New Zealand with spikes of white, pink or mauve flowers. Now take the initial letters of Great Britain and include an apostrophe S to suit the words of Great Britain. With the name of the plant you have **** G B’s.  Now treat it like the Quickie Pun and say it over and over until the penny drops.  A clue that has Silvanus written all over it

24a How a dry summer regularly attracts northern chaps catching crabs? (7)
OARSMEN: The answer here is mostly spelled out using alternate letters from the first four words in the clue as indicated by the word regularly. The abbreviation for Northern completes the answer

25a Untidy toilets? That’s some understatement! (7)
LITOTES: Anagram (untidy) of TOILETS

26a Dull morning following temperature close to heatwave (4)
TAME: The usual abbreviation for morning sits in between the abbreviation for temperature and the last letter of the word heatwave

27a Pictures of ordinary ducks without any crests (10)
LANDSCAPES: Two words minus their first letters (crests) will solve this clever clue. The first a synonym of ordinary or uninteresting. The second a little more obscure, a synonym of ducks or dodges or evades or flees


1d Steals lots (4)
BAGS: A double definition

2d Country of one billion and rising, Amnesty International fellow to tour (7)
NAMIBIA: Start with the letter that looks like the number one. Add the abbreviation for a billion. Surround this with the reverse (rising in a down clue) of the abbreviation for Amnesty International and a common or garden fellow

3d Student’s introduced to excited masses with iconic type of art (13)
NEOCLASSICISM: An anagram (excited) of MASSES and ICONIC with our usual student or learner thrown in for good measure

4d Army promoted banks of irregulars to guard monarch (8)
SOLDIERS: Promoted here means to have persuaded someone of the merits of something. Begin with this word then place the outer letters (banks) of the word irregulars around our wonderful Queen

5d Suffer, having no interest to wipe out debts (5)
INCUR: A synonym for having no interest needs the letters IOUS (debts) taking away

7d Pick youngster for sports team magazine (7)
PLAYBOY: Split 4,3 how a team manager might be said to have given a game to a young lad

8d After variable years, Ted’s transformed in recent past (10)
YESTERDAYS: A commonly used mathematical variable is followed by an anagram (transformed) of YEARS TEDS

11d Sources of tremendous influence within America list novel as obsessively consumerist (13)
MATERIALISTIC: An anagram (novel) of AMERICA LIST also contains the initial letters (sources) of the words tremendous and influence

13d Outdoor garment husband wears at concert that rocks (6,4)
TRENCH COAT: The abbreviation for Husband is surrounded by (wears) an anagram (that rocks) of AT CONCERT

16d Offended salesman shouted, losing equanimity finally (8)
REPELLED: A three-letter abbreviation for a travelling salesman is followed by a word meaning shouted minus the final letter of the word equanimity

18d Proposition nothing to do with article male pens (7)
THEOREM: There are four-parts to this clue. 1 An article of three letters. 2 The letter that looks like nothing. 3 A two-letter word meaning to do with or concerning. 4 The abbreviation for Male. Arrange to suit the instructions within the clue

20d PC Plod takes heed when turning up at intervals (7)
DESKTOP: The alternative letters of consecutive words in the clue when read backwards (turning up)

22d Press union over cheers for unelected military government (5)
JUNTA: The abbreviation for the National Union of Journalists is reversed (over) and followed by a short word of thanks (cheers)

23d Begs son to pursue job after wasting time (4)
ASKS: Remove the first letter from a piece of work to be done and add the abbreviation for son

Toughie “Pun” Hebe G Bs Heebie Jeebies


31 comments on “Toughie 2510

  1. A very gentle Toughie from Silvanus today. I flew through this in ** time, no real difference from a back-pager in my opinion – with the exception of 27a. I couldn’t even start to parse that little beggar.

    The ‘predicament’ in 10a is in the BRB, but is very well hidden.

    COTD 20d.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and MP.

  2. Lovely stuff to start the Toughie week. Not sure that “and rising” is needed in 2d except to improve the surface and 21a must be the most groan-worthy homophone for months [but still I chuckled]. Also worthy of note are 27a, 20d [LOL] and clue of the year 25a. Why has it taken 12 years of Toughies [so far as I’m aware] for a setter to use this lovely coincidence? Brilliant, especially for the hint of L*****S in the clue itself.
    Many thanks to Silvanus and to Mp for the blog.

  3. Knowing the alternate name for a pineapple made 1a my first entry. A good, humorous start.
    Don’t we usually see “moral” in front of 10a?
    COTD has to be the aforesaid 1a

  4. Lovely crossword, splendid blog. Both adding to a brilliant day. We’ve escaped from east Kent for the first time for ages, my first time since February and Mr CS’s first time this year. Lovely morning in Rye, splendid lunch at Webbes, and we are now waiting for our times slot for entrance to Grwat Dixter Garden. If this really is the last day of summer, it couldn’t be bettered

    1. I love Rye. I was there only once, with my mother, 48 years ago–Henry James pilgrimage and all that–but the town’s charm and its hilly joys are what remain in my memory.

  5. Brilliance upon brilliance, I thought. And even though I finished Silvanus’s gem in good time, I had trouble parsing several–including 21a, 27a, and 10a (‘pass’ as in “it has come to this pass” maybe? Like a stalemate?)–so thanks to Miffypops for the enlightenment. So many winners herein, but I’ll single out 20d, 1a, and 12a–as well as those mentioned above. What a joy to work and, finally, to solve and have parsed. *** / ***** Thanks to MP and to Silvanus for the fun, not unvarnished at that (speaking litotically).

  6. A lovely Tuesday Toughie. Thanks, Silvanus.

    Podium places in no particular order:
    12a (… place pots are made),
    24a ( …catching crabs) and
    27a (which I could not parse at all … thanks MP for the enlightenment).

    25a was not half bad either?

  7. Speaking as someone who struggles with Toughies I found this enjoyable and as always I like seeing the parsing as I always feel it helps, thank you to Silvanus and Miffypops.

  8. What a sparkling and totally accessible Toughie. Thoroughly enjoyable and testing enough to be worthy of the name. So many great clues, but I will pick 1a and 12a as a top favourites.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the fun and to MP.

  9. As usual – not disappointed by this super puzzle from one of my favourite setters. 1 & 21a were reminiscent of ‘budgie smugglers’ in as much as you don’t see those answers being clued very often – you have a warped mind sir :smile: 27a was my last one in and I certainly had a laugh when the penny finally dropped. 20d was my favourite.

    Thanks to Silvanus for the enjoyment of another well-crafted puzzle and to the retired landlord and shed builder for his review. Keep up the good work.

  10. Many thanks to MP for his Hints and Tips and to everyone else who has commented and enjoyed the puzzle, your contributions are much appreciated.

    Halcyon, without “and rising” in 2d there would be no reversal indicator, so it is not there merely for aesthetic reasons!

    1. So good of you to pop in, Silvanus. I always look forward to one of your compilations and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. Podium places galore – 7d gets the prize for biggest laugh, 17a for its surface read and 10a for its relevance to the current situation. The last to fall here were 21&27a – the former possibly because of a definition that’s unfamiliar to me and the latter due to my falling into a trap with Scaup, a duck which doesn’t have a crest unlike its look-alike, Tufted Duck. Ho hum, sometimes it doesn’t pay to rely so much on birding knowledge!

    2. Yes, you’re right, a brainstorm – I mistakenly applied the reversal to the 1 Billion [5th and 6th letters] rather than the AI fellow. Apologies.
      BTW – did you contemplate just “Toilets not a little untidy” [or similar] for 25a? It lacks a def by example indicator but might have been worth a punt.

      1. Hi, no I didn’t think of 25a as a potential “all-in-one” clue, I was conscious though not to go down the TS Eliot anagram route, as I have seen that more than once before and I wanted to try an alternative.

        1. I’ve never seen the TS Eliot option but some rather iffy surfaces come to mind! I love the fact that “toilets” itself is [or was] a rather déclassé euphemism – at least when I was growing up.

    3. It’s Wednesday morning here in America and I hope you read the blog “on the next day” because I thoroughly enjoyed your Toughie and want to thank you for the great pleasure you gave me. So thanks, Silvanus!

  11. Silvanus, thank you very much for popping in.

    I thought this was a perfect Tuesday Toughie and I really enjoyed the solve which I found nicely challenging and a lot of fun.

    With lots of great clues to choose from I ended up with a final five battling for podium positions: 21a, 24a, 25a, 1d & 20d. It’s fairly rare for me to pick either an anagram or a double definition as my favourite but 25a & 1d respectively were very fine examples of each type.

  12. I really enjoyed completing this puzzle but needed explanations for 14 and 27a. I thought 27a was very clever (must remember “without any crests”). It’s difficult to choose a favourite but it is 21a. Thanks to Silvanus and MP for his review.

  13. Lovely puzzle. All solved without too much trouble except the parsing of 27a which had me stumped. I also had to correct my spelling of 21a when Es needed to become I to make the downs work. Too many smiles to pick a winning clue today. Thanks to Silvanus and MP.

  14. We both laughed out loud when we twigged 21a and are still chuckling about it. Our last act was parsing 27a and see that we were not alone with this.
    An absolute pleasure to solve .
    Thanks Silvanus and MP.

  15. I enjoyed this very much. Managed to parse everything, which is a rare feat for me. I was also happy to learn a new word for pineapple. 20d is my favourite, followed closely by the chuckle-inducing 21a.
    Thanks Silvanus and MP.

  16. Excellent crossword & all the more so having read MP’s comprehensive review so that I now fully understand the wordplay (4&7d plus 10&27a). Found the north tougher than the south & must confess to glancing at the comments which tipped me off that I was looking for a slang term for pineapple which was new to me. Too many brilliant clues to pick a winner.
    Thanks Silvanus for the entertainment & popping in & to MP for the explanations.

    1. Thank you, Huntsman, but 1a does not contain a slang term for pineapple, it is the botanical name.

      1. Silvanus,

        Not sure if you’ll get this post being as it is now February. Let me explain:

        I am an “improving” solver over several years. Improving largely because of the help provided on this site.

        Currently I have a little time on my hands (obviously) and have started to attempt some toughies if I finish the back pager in good time. I choose the puzzles by searching ‘toughie’ on this site and then ** difficulty examples.

        My point is that I have completed a number of your back pagers and more recently, toughies and I find them all very enjoyable. This toughie certainly tested me but I got there in the end. I am sure the construction is helping me to improve further

        Thanks very much . I appreciate your efforts .


        PS, I’ve just read the comment below which has said much the same thing but far more succinctly

        1. Thank you very much, Banksie.

          All comments are read and, where appropriate, the setter will be informed as has happened in this case. I hope you’ll find my more recent puzzles equally enjoyable, you’ll be catching up soon at this rate!

  17. Thank you MP for directing me to this excellent puzzle which I tackled after this morning’s backpager.
    For Toughie addicts this was no doubt straightforward. However for those like me it provided an opportunity to complete one unaided, although I have to thank MP for parsing 2 or 3.
    Thank you Silvanus for the pleasure and MP for the usual excellent review.

  18. Usually with the Toughie I tend to start fairly late in the day anticipating a fairly abrupt halt and then take a sneaky look at the star rating and the setter to estimate my chances.
    On the odd occasion I actually manage to make some progress (usually with a 2* or less Silvanus or Chalicea) I sometimes pick it up the following morning which I did today and succeeded in making steady progress until completing it unaided about half an hour ago (after completing today’s back pager).
    I had to verify a couple of the wordplays and analyse some of the parsing for which hats off to MP.
    Thanks to setter and MP!

  19. Needed to check a few of my parsing, so thanks to MP for the help.
    Very enjoyable crossword.
    Thanks to Silvanus.

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