Toughie 2514 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2514

Toughie No 2514 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A lovely offering from Chalicea today with a number of delicious clues, Solved and blogged quickly as I have a busy day ahead. A very suitable Tuesday Toughie.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Attack on way to introduce comedian (9)
ONSLAUGHT: Begin with the word ON from the clue. A generous gift from the setter. Then insert a word that loosely describes a comedian into the abbreviation for a thoroughfare

8a    Overthrow argument about Murphy, say (5)
TUBER: An argument to prove that an accusation is false is reversed to find what a potato (Murphy or Spud) is

10a    Not completely wrong eating during last series of exams (6)
FINALS: A word meaning incorrect has its last letter removed. A short word meaning during is inserted into what is left

11a    Taking on and winning (8)
ENGAGING: A double definition both obvious after a couple of checking letters

12a    Vehicle making a comeback in Nagasaki or Tokyo (6)
TROIKA: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the in. It is reversed as indicated by the words “making a comeback”

14a    One’s turn done with no restraints in cell (6)
NEURON: The central letters of the first three words of the clue will provide the answer

16a    Call large bird, not difficult in East London (4)
BUZZ: A large common bird of prey has its last three letters removed. These three letters supposedly sound like the way a cockney would say a word meaning difficult

17a    With reserve in Mafia country when son’s missing (5)
ICILY: The country of the Mafia has the abbreviation for son removed

18a    Varying measure of old Canary wine (4)
SACK: A large bag made of hessian or paper is also an old variable unit of measurement. It is also a wine from the Canary Islands

19a    Poor game is discriminating against oldies (6)
AGEISM: Anagram (poor) of GAME IS

21a    Small, pudgy, squat and thick (6)
STUBBY: The abbreviation for small is followed by a word meaning pudgy

24a    Irritable about university intake, principally, after good financial gift (8)
GRATUITY: A word meaning irritable contains the first (principle) letters of the words University and intake. Altogether what you have follows the abbreviation for good

26a    Entirely fashionable Wizard of Oz character (2,4)
IN TOTO: A word meaning trendy or fashionable is followed by a four-legged character from The Wizard of Oz

27a    Fruit and vegetable, cold/hot (5)
PEACH: A small green round vegetable is followed by the abbreviations for cold and hot

28a    Barge in, upset at charges (9)
GATECRASH: Anagram (upset) of AT CHARGES


1d    Stormy until dark (5)
UNLIT: Anagram (stormy) of UNTIL

2d    Old pen carried upside down by Mozart, a classicist (8)
ALCATRAZ: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue indicated by the words carried by. It is reversed as indicated by the words “upside down”

3d    Cooked limes used principally for breakfast cereal (6)
MUESLI: Anagram (cooked) of the word LIMES and the first letter of the word used

4d    Five lost from barge in Oxford? (4)
SHOE: A verb meaning to barge needs the Roman numeral for five removing

5d    Country backing force during tricky gun fighting method (4,2)
KUNG FU: A three-part charade. 1. The initials (reversed) of the country most of our solvers live in. 2. An anagram (tricky) of GUN. 3. The abbreviation for force. Arrange as per the complicated instructions in the clue

6d    Hold back army and strengthen with further support (9)
REINFORCE: To hold back as one might a horse followed by what an army is an example of

9d    Advanced inside information followed by heartless city operation (6)
AGENCY: Begin with the abbreviation for advanced. Add a three-letter word meaning information and the outer letters (heartless) of the word city

13d    Regrettably adopting one false identity (5)
ALIAS: A word meaning regrettably. Often followed by ‘Woe is me’ sits around the letter that looks like the number one

15d    Clothing for work in manure a discerning person turns over (9)
DUNGAREES: Begin with a synonym of the word manure. Add the letter A from the clue. Add the reverse of a discerning person often seen with prophets and sages

17d    Following unlimited mounting pain, doctor in charge of feet (6)
IAMBIC: Reverse the word pain and remove its outer letters. Add one of Crosswordland’s regular abbreviations for a doctor. Add the abbreviations for in charge

18d    Signal extreme distress about British Conservative’s pitiful tale (3,5)
SOB STORY: The International mayday call (three dots, three dashes, three dots in Morse Code) is interrupted by the abbreviation of British and followed by a conservative

20d    Undiminished in sensitivity for others (6)
INTACT: Use the word In from the clue. Add a word meaning sensitivity in dealing with the feelings of others

22d    US airline employing college rock fan in 50s (6)
UNITED: A three-letter abbreviation for a higher education college is followed by a drainpipe trousered 1950s youth and music fan

23d    Secret store of headgear used up round start of spring (5)
STASH: Regular types of headgear are reversed and wrapped around the initial letter of the word spring

25d    Group of students indeed worry, at heart (4)
YEAR: In affirmative answer is followed by central letter of the word worry


28 comments on “Toughie 2514

  1. This is at the more gentle end for a toughie but nonetheless very enjoyable. 8a made me smile. Thanks to Chalicea and MP.

  2. This was a pleasure to solve with nothing too obscure but quite a bit of head scratching required. As usual, it was the short four letter ones that had me foxed. However, of these, I thought 16a was a gem. I also liked 8a, 5d and 17d.

    Many thanks to Chalicea for an enjoyable challenge. Thanks also to Miffypops for the hints that, for once, I did not need but I will read them now.

  3. A nice mixture of easy and more challenging clues. 8a made me smile too, but resisted until the end. 2d and 23d are also lovely clues.

    Thanks to Chalicea and to Miffy.

  4. 8a may get the vote from the first three respondants, for me it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I had the rest of this all done and dusted in ** time, but had to come here for the hint to finally get it.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and MP.

      1. I, too, found this the only clue which defeated me – but then, I’d never heard a potato referred to as a Murphy! My education was sadly lacking………

  5. In terms of difficulty I had this on the same level as today’s cryptic, and it was just as enjoyable. A number of terrific clues, of which 16a got the biggest laugh. 4d also made it on to my podium, along with the excellent reverse lurker at 2d.

    Thanks very much to Chalicea for the challenge to MP.

    1. Me too. In fact I thought the back pager was a bit harder. Both great puzzles though. LOI 18a, but perversely first one in was 8a.

  6. Chuffed to beat my quickest ever solving time for a Toughie even if it was at the easier end of the spectrum. Thought there were some super clues & while it’s difficult to look beyond the crafty reverse lurker at 2d my last in was 16a & the wordplay has only just dawned on me as I read Steve’s comment & agree it’s very good. No other parsing issues unusually & plain sailing other than trying to fit MIT as the college into 22d until the blindingly obvious struck me.
    Thanks to Chalicea & MP

  7. A **/**** for me today and a continuation of Tuesday toughies of a gentle nature but good fun. A wide variation of clues with no obscurities.
    Like many 8d was last in, I was looking for ‘spud’ initially, at least I was on the right track-solved eventually thanks to the checking letters!
    Liked 16a and 2d also 26a for the surface read.
    Thanks MP and Chalicea .

  8. Chalicea’s charms (with wit and wiliness) win again in this delightful Toughie, a very nice start to ToughieWeek. 8a kept me from finishing in record time (for me), but the rest of the puzzle fairly sparkled with lovely clues, the best of which were 2d, 28a. 16a, 5d, and 17a. Thanks to MP for his hints, which I’ll read now, and to Chalicea, who earns my great admiration with every outing of hers. ** / *****

  9. Chalicea’s Toughies are the only ones that I know I have at least a chance of getting somewhere with.
    I really enjoyed this and thought there were some lovely clues some of which made me laugh which is always a bonus.
    I got really stuck with several in the top right corner and thought I was going to have to give in but got there in the end.
    18a was my last one and thought I was going to have to admit defeat until I looked up ‘Canary’.
    Just a few of clues that I particularly liked include 8, 12 and 21a and 2, 5 and 17d. My favourite was 16a.
    With thanks to Chalicea and to MP.

  10. It is always rather daunting to appear on the ‘first Tuesday of the month’ (in a manner of speaking) after the massive struggle with the Friday Elgar, so it is heart-warming and encouraging to read such lovely comments. Robert Clark, you put such a smile on my face that I have set to work on another grid. Many thanks as always to Miffy Pops.

    1. Thanks very much for popping in, Chalicea. I really enjoyed this fairly gentle puzzle which was a joy to solve. My podium selection was 8a, 16a & 2d.

      Many thanks for the fun.

    2. Always good to hear from the compiler! I enjoyed this toughie. Too many good clues to single them out. Thanks chalicea and MiffyPops for settling my mind on 18ac.

    3. Good of you to pop in, Chalicea. I very much enjoyed this one and put 26,27&28a on my podium.
      My apologies yet again for not being converted to EV’s but I hope the ‘September experiment’ has gone some way towards increasing the number of devotees – it obviously means a lot to you.

    4. Thank you for dropping by, Chalicea and for giving us your wonderful puzzle. I am with Jane in not being a convert to the EV but I do hope others are.

  11. This deservedly seems to have won universal approval and I can only add to the plaudits. Thoroughly enjoyable and didn’t have to spend all evening scratching my head.
    2d was just brilliant, 16a not far behind, and I also particularly liked 26a as it reminded me of the fabulous rock band (named after the character by the way).
    Many thanks to Chalicea and to MP for a top notch puzzle and review.

    1. We’ll agree on the clues Stephen – not so sure about the band though I’ll give you Africa was good.

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