Toughie 2526 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2526

Toughie No 2526 by Dada

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

The days when you could guarantee an easy Toughie on a Tuesday seem well gone. This was of middling difficulty, with several long answers and some of what were, for me at least, obscurities (the aromatic plant, the design and the Indian state, although I had heard of the latter) and a sprinkling of General Knowledge.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Token for each country wasted by France (11)
PERFUNCTORY: a word meaning for each followed by F(rance) and an anagram (wasted) of COUNTRY

9a    List including a chicken, for example (7)
ROASTER: put a list around the A from the clue

10a    Into drink, extremists in Portugal fell (6)
TOPPLE: a verb meaning to drink goes around the outer letters of (extremists in) P[ortuga]L – note that fell here is not a past tense of to fall, but a verb meaning to fell

12a    Number collecting an aromatic plant (7)
DITTANY: a number or song around the AN from the clue

13a    One side of capital city on river, most significant (7)
DEEPEST: the second part of a European capital city, which is itself one of the two towns from which the city was formed, is preceded by a British river

14a    Build ship (5)
CRAFT: two definitions

15a    Incense? Well I’ll be blowed! (4,5)
HOLY SMOKE: this could well be incense, but is a phrase that could well have been used by Robin when talking to Batman!

17a    University east of land I’m at, travelling in Indian state (5,4)
TAMIL NADU: U(niversity) preceded by an anagram (travelling) of LAND I’M AT – I regard the use of such geographic places as a failure in the construction of the grid, where the setter has boxed himself into a corner

20a    Job to keep I suggest (5)
POSIT: put a job around the I from the clue

22a    For example, first test fuelled by row (7)
ORDINAL: there are two main classifications of numbers, one, two, three etc. and this one, first, second, third, etc. – put a type of test around a row or noise

24a    African country upset, prophet rejected (7)
SOMALIA: a three-letter verb meaning to upset or trouble followed by a biblical prophet, all reversed (rejected)

25a    Mob quietly steal fruit (6)
SCRUMP: a mob followed by the musical notation for quietly

26a    Fruit, most of food put in a pan (7)
APRICOT: most of a staple food goes inside the A from the clue and a cooking pan

27a    Rescued by soldiers in uniform, quite possibly, tails in happy group wag (11)
SMARTYPANTS: it requires a stretch of the imagination to regard these soldier insects being in uniform (5,4); put them around the final letters (tails) of two words in the clue


2d    Remove further crowns on crooked teeth (7)
EXTRACT: a word meaning further is followed by the initial letters of (crowns on) two words in the clue

3d    Hundred in his factory made redundant, failing plant (9)
FORSYTHIA: an anagram (failing) of HIS FA[C]TORY without (made redundant) the Roman numeral for a hundred

4d    Celebrated, as is opera, say? (5)
NOTED: an opera is an example (say) of such a musical work

5d    Missing peak way up, high slope skirted around (7)
TOPLESS: the reversal (up) of an abbreviated way around an anagram (high) of SLOPE

6d    Wicked lie over prominent design (7)
RELIEVO: an anagram (wicked) of LIE OVER

7d    Fortune-teller’s ability to nail a speech (11)
PREDICATION: a fortune-teller’s ability goes around (to nail) the A from the clue

8d    Femme fatale’s short catchphrase (6)
MANTRA: most of (short) a femme fatale

11d    Multitude ultimately transported by remarkably pretty star, gathering along the way (6,5)
STREET PARTY: the final letter (ultimately) of [multitude]E inside (transported by) an anagram (remarkably) of PRETTY STAR

16d    French agreed on Welsh girl entering US city state (9)
LOUISIANA: the French for yes (agreed) and a Welsh girl’s name inside the two-letter abbreviation for a US city

18d    Flash before dark envelops copper atom (7)
MODICUM: a two-letter flash or brief period of time and a word meaning dark around the chemical symbol for copper

19d    Fatigue evident in a long run, virtually shattered (7)
LANGUOR: an anagram (shattered) of A LONG with most of (virtually ) RU[N]

20d    Fish stew beneath Englishman abroad (7)
POMFRET: the nickname often applied to an Englishman abroad followed by a verb meaning to stew or worry

21d    Very secure in comfort (6)
SOLACE: a two-letter word meaning very followed by a verb meaning to secure or tie

23d    Overly bold make-up (5)
LIPPY: two definitions

I enjoyed this tussle, but would have preferred it without the GK contribution.


23 comments on “Toughie 2526

  1. I was surprised and pleased that Dada had actually set us a crossword which fitted perfectly the Tuesday end of the Toughie spectrum, being just that more difficult than a tricky Friday backpager. I did know all the ‘GK’ too which I supposed helped although some of the clues are quite convoluted and, as BD says, the soldiers in 27a are unlikely to be in uniform.

    Thanks to Dada – more at this difficulty please on a Tuesday – and to BD for the hints

  2. This was incredible! I got so bogged down that I was reduced to throwing letters into a word processor and checking what came out. All I can say is that what came out has, much to my surprise, proved 100% correct!
    I especially liked 27a but couldn’t for the life of me parse it. Like BD I felt 17a really let the puzzle down.
    Now I shall enjoy reading the blog to see what others made of it.

  3. An enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Dada and BD.

    I knew the Indian state but my woeful knowledge of flora was exposed by 12a and I didn’t know the 20d fish either, but in both cases the wordplay was helpful. I had my usual trouble in spelling 19d.

    My podium boasts 10a, 27a and 13a (which is rather clever because the two ‘old’ parts of the capital are indeed split by the river Danube).

  4. Another “proper” Tuesday Toughie, particularly the top half. The GK was all familiar enough but though 27a raised a smile it is a bit of a stretch. 5d really doesn’t work for me – unless one assumes an extreme dialect of Yodaspeak I can’t see how the anagram gets inside the reversed “way”. 22a is clever and I chuckled at 15a once I finally twigged it.

    Thanks to Dada and to BD for the blog.

  5. I really enjoyed this. I found that quite a bit of the solving process involved identifying the answer from the definition and checkers and then working out the parsing, which in a couple of cases was accompanied by the deafening sound of a large penny dropping.

    27a seemed a bit strange, and 12a and 6d were new words for me but readily derivable from the wordplay.

    My podium comprises 10a, 15a, 3d & 23d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to BD.

  6. This took me two goes to complete it, as my first attempt was interrupted. A quick coffee break then back into it for a speedier completion than my first go suggested. I liked 13a the best for the reasons Gazza expounded at #3. I don’t mind GK if it is indeed General and not specialised, so I thought this was fairly set.

    Many thanks to Dada for the challenge and to BD.

  7. Grumbled my way through this one with a fair bit of electronic help which probably means that it was somewhat beyond my pay grade. However, I did emerge from the battle with a top three – 15&25a plus 2d. The latter put me in mind of somewhere I used to visit a couple of times a year in the good old days………..

    Thanks to Dada and to BD for confirmation that I’d put the right words into the lights!

  8. With the years hurtling by, it’s nice to still learn new things – the plant, the fish (I thought that was Pontefract!), the Indian state. A good test and entertaining although 27a was a bit contrived. Enjoyed 1a.

  9. Solved all but two: the interlocking 12a / 8d. Should have managed 8d, I suppose, but never heard of 12a. Still, a most enjoyable Proper Tuesday Toughie. which should delight CS. I don’t think I remember ‘scrump’ from my UK days, but it’s quite expressive, innit? I don’t really know how I got 27a but somehow I did, though the uniform concept is completely new to me. Really liked 15a, 1a, & 18d and many others! Thanks to Big Dave and Dada, two formidable talents.

    1. I attended one of those primary schools where the walk home necessitated walking past a carefully tended orchard. I was always one of those on ‘look-out’ being far too ‘goody goody’ (or too much of a wimp) to scale over the wall to reach the fruit. Only learned the correct terminology for apple pinching when the subject was subsequently brought up at a morning school assembly……..

      1. I hope they were ripe enough. We often used to get collywobbles from nicking them too soon. I’ve got hundreds lying on the grass at the moment and cant be bothered being creative, food wise.

        Needed electronic help for the plant (haven’t heard a ditty for ages) but that apart all OK with a stronger than usual yet enjoyable Tuesday Toughie; more eloquently described by CS.

        Ta to all.

  10. Golly Bongs. A real Tuesday Toughie. I struggled through first thing this morning and should have recognised a Dada offering. It fell into place slowly like RayTs used to BBD (Before Big Dave) Ta to all

  11. Crikey this is a proper Toughie – 10 answers in and struggling already. Hopefully it’ll be like his biscuity prize puzzle in the Graun & the answers will come eventually though it may take some time…..

    1. Finally completed at the 4th revisit albeit with the help of 5 hints. Never heard of 6d or 12a & only vaguely recall 17a. Tough but fairly clued with 15a my pick of the bunch though like Kath it was one I needed a hint for. Last 2 in were the same as Robert.
      Thanks to Dada & to BD.

  12. We knew all the GK so this all went together reasonably smoothly for us. Always a delight to solve puzzles from this setter.
    Thanks Dada and BD.

  13. A toughie that I could almost do.
    It all went badly wrong in the top left corner but I did manage most of the rest of it.
    My favourite (but one of the ones that I couldn’t do without the hint) was 15a.
    Thanks to Dada and to BD.
    Must try to do the occasional Toughie

  14. Liked this one! I solved it all but needed the blog to help me understand 12 across.
    Thanks to Dada and Big Dave.

  15. Bottom half went in quite well but the top was really tough.
    The fish in 20d sounds like French fries to me as we call them Pommes Frites.
    2d is almost an all in one and definitely my favourite.
    Thanks to Dada and to BD.

  16. Completed but with a lot of help from Mr Google. As always needed the well structured hints (thank you) for the parsing and so many pennies dropped its going to take me all day to pick them up!
    Sticking at this from last night means I’m very late to the party for Weds main course

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