Toughie 2524 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2524

Toughie No 2524

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Kcit is back with one of those Toughies where it helps to be someone who really likes words, the more unusual the better, thanks to a lifetime of reading anything and everything – either that or you need, like our setter, to have borrowed The Book of Obscure Words for Crossword Setters as there are several solutions in this Toughie that could have come straight from that tome, if it actually existed!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Get rid of souvenir of gambling with the Devil? (7)
DISCARD If you were gambling with the Devil you might have used something which came from the Netherworld

5a    Well-worn stuff given to horse? (7)
CORNCOB Something old-fashioned or hackneyed (well-worn) and a type of horse

9a    Affix scrap (3-2)
SET-TO Add a hyphen to a verb meaning to affix and you get a fight or argument (scrap)

10a    A crippled vessel returned after circumnavigating a country (9)
GUATEMALA A reversal (returned) of A (from the clue), a synonym of crippled and a small vessel, the latter ‘circumnavigating’ or going round another A (from the clue)

11a    Compound of lethal arsenic returned by the writer nevertheless (3,3,4)
ALL THE SAME An anagram (compound) of LETHAL, a reversal (returned) of the chemical symbol for arsenic followed by the way Kcit might refer to himself as ‘the writer’

12a    What allows boats to advance forward? (4)
LOCK The boats in question would be narrow boats on a canal, and the forward a rugby player

14a    Going out of business, only going through my cash (7,5)
FOLDING MONEY A way of saying going out of business and a number that can mean only inserted into (going through) MY (from the clue)

18a    Computer message repeatedly right about routine more prone to bugs, nothing less (3-4,5)
RUN-TIME ERROR Take two lots (repeatedly) of the abbreviation for Right and put them ‘about’ an anagram (prone to bugs) of  ROUTINE MORE once you have removed one of the Os (nothing less) awill produce an annoying message from your computer

21a    Chill, mostly icy, around zero (4)
COOL Almost all of a synonym for icy goes around the letter that represents zero

22a    Claim donkey continually grazed (10)
ASSEVERATE A donkey, an adverb meaning continually and a verb meaning grazed

25a    A little nonsense removing the old deception (9)
WHITEWASH A tiny bit of something and some nonsense without YE (removing the ‘old’)

26a    This person, crazy to seize power, received information (5)
INPUT The first-person pronoun (this person) and an informal term for a crazy person ‘seizing’ the abbreviation for power

27a    Story provided by Catholic and Anglican organisation (7)
ROMANCE The organisation or bringing together of an adjective relating to the Catholic religion and the abbreviation for the Church of England (Anglican)

28a    Student of the sun’s written about carbon and hydrogen (7)
SCHOLAR An adjective meaning ‘of the sun’ written about the chemical symbols for Carbon and Hydrogen


1d    Sadness is beginning to moderate in time (6)
DISMAY IS (from the clue) and the ‘beginning’ to Moderate inserted into a period of time

2d    Agree to fix story expressing source of alibi (6)
SETTLE A verb meaning to fix (a slight beep of the repetition radar here!) and a story without the A (expressing or forcing out the source of Alibi)

3d    High point in a narrow-minded proposition about love (10)
APOTHEOSIS A (from the clue) an informal adjective meaning narrow-minded and a proposition into which is inserted (about) the letter used to indicate love in the sense of nothing

4d    Elevated Old Masters finally — including me? (5)
DEGAS One of the Old Masters is obtained by reversing (elevated) a synonym for old and following with the final letter of Masters

5d    Excavator runs in pursuit of one claim in rocky situation (9)
COALMINER The abbreviation for Runs in cricket scoring goes after (in pursuit of) an anagram (in rocky situation) of ONE CLAIM

6d    Cycling without restriction rocks? (4)
REEF Take an adjective meaning without restriction and cycle the first letter to the end

7d    Church expert accepts regularly using note in musical form (8)
CHACONNE An abbreviation for church and an expert, the latter accepting a two-letter word meaning regularly using and the abbreviation for note gives us the musical form of an old Spanish dance

8d    Happen to collar servant producing evidence of injury (5,3)
BLACK EYE A verb meaning to happen into which is inserted (to collar) a servant

13d    Deliveries seized by mischievous beggar (10)
IMPOVERISH Here beggar is a verb obtained by inserting some cricket deliveries into an adjective meaning teasingly mischievous

15d    Velocities in opposite directions in astronomical region (4,5)
DEEP SPACE Take two different words for velocity and reverse the first (in opposite directions) and then follow with the second

16d    Economic competition in Edwardian times perhaps absorbing one chapter (5,3)
PRICE WAR Insert (absorbing) the letter meaning one and the abbreviation for chapter into the period of time when Edward VII was on the throne

17d    Disorderly commune securing current praise (8)
ENCOMIUM An anagram (disorderly) of COMMUNE ‘securing’ the abbreviation for electrical current

19d    Criminal charge — appeal regularly dismissed? Go downhill fast (6)
RAPPEL A slang term for a criminal charge and the ‘irregular’ letters (the regular ones having been dismissed) of aPpEaL produces another word for abseiling or going downhill fast

20d    That man will get tense when cornered by my warrior (6)
HECTOR The male third person pronoun (that man) followed by the abbreviation for Tense ‘cornered’ by an informal injection (my!) – apparently he was considered to be the greatest warrior in Troy

23d    Fifteen letters will fix hard code (5)
ETHOS Insert the abbreviation for Hard into a run of fifteen letters in the alphabet – hands up who else actually used their fingers to count and make sure it was actually fifteen?

24d    Place for claret, French drink seen around Spain (4)
VEIN This particular claret is an old slang for blood – some French drink put around the IVR code for Spain


18 comments on “Toughie 2524

  1. This was an enjoyable challenge. I got held up in the NE corner, where I had prop in 12a for a while, causing delays until 8d forced a rethink. Struggled to parse 25a as I fail to see where the nonsense comes in. Ticks against quite a few but my joint winners today are 15d and 24d. Thanks to Kcit and CS.

      1. Thank you for the explanation re nonsense, which I didn’t understand either. I had the right answer to the actual clue but could only partially parse it. I still don’t really understand the parsing of 1a either. Overall this was challenging but satisfying to complete. 22a was a new word for me, which I was able to put together from the clues and then checked the dictionary.

        1. Hell, where the Devil lives is also called ‘Dis’ – a card you took home from a gambling game with the devil could therefore be called a Dis card

  2. I made quite heavy weather of this one, especially in the NE corner with 7d (never heard of it). Thanks to Kcit and CS.
    My ticks went to 14a, 13d and 16d.

  3. Very enjoyable, needed electronic help with 22a, 7d and 17d – but the real struggle for me was satisfactorily parsing 4d….
    Thanks to Kcit & CS

  4. Well, talk about dictionary corner! I finished this but some were only obtained by doing a word search 22a and 7d were particularly obscure.
    I don’t get the “me” in 4d
    A little humour would have been appreciated to leaven the wordiness

    1. The artist in the solution to 4d (me) is suggesting that perhaps he too is an Old Master

  5. I really enjoyed solving this Toughie. The wordplay was enough to get any obscurities and my favourite clues were 13 and 24d. My thanks to Kcit and CS.

  6. Having grown up with Bach’s Chaconne for Cello, and like CS, having lived a long life ‘reading anything and everything’, 22a was one of my first ones in, but it was 4d that held me up the longest (technically, art historians might argue that 4d is in fact too young to be among those Old Masters), along with 24d (though it had to be that, I didn’t know that claret was slang for blood). Having said all that, I really enjoyed this Toughie. I did Google the computer term just to be sure about the enumeration (all kinds of variations there). Favourites: 11a, 14a, & 15d, with bunches of runners-up. Thanks to CS for the review and to Kcit for the great pleasure.

  7. Battled on for a considerable time but eventually had to admit that our setter had defeated me and turned to the hints.
    Of the ones I solved unaided, I particularly liked 13d.

    Apologies for falling by the wayside, Kcit, and many thanks to CS for pointing out what I should have done.

  8. I enjoyed this very much. Fortunately I did know the musical form in 7d, but there were several other definitions that I did not know. However I managed to get it all sorted out without too much difficulty. I think my favourite aspect of the puzzle is crypticsue’s picture for the hint in 14a! Many thanks to Kcit and crypticsue.

  9. That had us working quite hard and we enjoyed the challenge. Last one in was the painter and we used a bit of help with 18a.
    Thanks Kcit and CS.

  10. For 18 ac I had “about” positioning the two r letters either side of the anagram, and ”

    prone to bugs” as the anagram indicator. Otherwise some words seem superfluous,

    1. This was the clue that caused me more grief than any of the others – one of those where you need a lie down after you’ve read it and then again, when you’ve attempted to parse it. Thank you – I’ve corrected the hint now

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