Toughie 2527 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2527

Toughie No 2527 by Messinae

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

An enjoyable puzzle with a number of good clues of which 1a stood out for me. The Toughies are supposed to get harder as the week progresses but for me this was less tricky than yesterday’s puzzle so the system may have broken down this week – do you agree?

Thanks to Messinae.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a William III acquired this for a bit, historically (4-1-5)
HALF-A-CROWN: the whole clue works as a cryptic definition in the sense that William reigned jointly with his wife Mary for a time until her death, after which he ruled alone. Bit also means coin.

6a Recalled a dash for information (4)
DATA: reverse A and a dash or small amount.

10a One cartoon character missing head and feet (5)
IAMBI: the Roman numeral for one followed by a Disney cartoon animal without its first letter.

11a Report variable range missile coming back (9)
BOOMERANG: a reverberating report and an anagram (variable) of RANGE.

12a Cost of being friendly (8)
OUTGOING: double definition, the first an item that might appear in the debit column on your bank statement.

13a Arrived with large pack animal (5)
CAMEL: stick together a synonym of arrived and the clothing abbreviation for large.

15a Polluted area put in shade by journalist (7)
TAINTED: the abbreviation for area goes inside a shade or hue and we finish with our usual abbreviated journalist.

17a Do casual work with English artist — he could use it (7)
TEMPERA: glue together an informal verb to do casual work and abbreviations for English and artist.

19a Boxing East Ender I developed in greater poverty (7)
NEEDIER: an anagram (developed) of ENDER I containing (boxing) the abbreviation for East.

21a Pleasure-seeking swimmer soaking up sun at sea (7)
SENSUAL: an aquatic creature contains an anagram (at sea) of SUN.

22a Scream when this person leaves film (5)
SHREK: a verb to scream or yell with the subjective personal pronoun removed.

24a Rogue following motor sport for the money (8)
FISCALLY: an informal word for a rogue (especially in the Liverpool area) follows what looks like the abbreviated name of a motor sport that’s slightly less interesting than watching paint dry.

27a Give Yale U changes in this? (3,6)
IVY LEAGUE: an anagram (changes) of GIVE YALE U produces the name of a group of top US universities of which Yale is a member. I can’t really see what the surface means.

28a Gadget makes soldiers wink (5)
GISMO: bolt together some US privates and an informal word for a wink or short period of time.

29a Advanced period of restraint (4)
LENT: double definition, the restraint being what some Christians practise before Easter.

30a Kept in confined space, odd part of kitchen (10)
KETTLEDRUM: kitchen here is an informal word for a specific section of an orchestra. Join together an informal verb used by UK police forces meaning ‘kept (protesters) in an enclosed area’ and an adjective meaning odd.

Down Clues

1d Maybe gunfire salute (4)
HAIL: double definition, the first a possible way of describing a salvo of bullets.

2d Lose Mini racing round hairpin bend in big car (9)
LIMOUSINE: an anagram (racing) of LOSE MINI contains the letter that looks like a hairpin bend.

3d Copying a sound made by computer (5)
APING: my initial thought was this doesn’t really work but on reflection I think that ‘sound’ is being used in the sense of ‘sound out’ or measure. It’s A and a term used in computing for a check to see if a remote system is working and (if so) to measure the response time.

4d Make good taxi company put up the Italian Democrat (7)
REBUILD: reverse the name of a taxi company and append an Italian definite article and the abbreviation for Democrat.

5d Made approximate weight limits (7)
WROUGHT: a Yoda-type clue – a 2-letter abbreviation for weight contains an adjective meaning approximate.

7d Are terrifying like the Marines (5)
ALARM: a French phrase (1,2) meaning like or ‘in the style of’ and the abbreviation for our Marines.

8d Plotline from Paradise Lost cascades (5,5)
ANGEL FALLS: this is how the wrongdoing and banishment of Satan in Milton’s epic poem could be summarised.
Angel Falls, Venezuela

9d Servant, female, attending the Queen in May (8)
HENCHMAN: a female (bird, or possibly young woman in Scotland) is followed by a verb meaning may containing a 2-letter abbreviation for our Queen (not ER this time).

14d Jam kiosk’s place to keep cash (10)
STANDSTILL: stick together a kiosk or booth and where a retailer may keep its cash (although these days there’s not much cash being used).

16d Double killer’s regularly cleared what star does (8)
TWINKLES: start with a double or something identical and add the odd letters of “killer’s”.

18d What could make game lie square (9)
EQUALISER: a cryptic description of a goal that could level the scores is an anagram (what could make) of LIE SQUARE.

20d Fugitive from EU free to wander round heart of Belgium (7)
REFUGEE: an anagram (to wander round) of EU FREE contains the central letter of Belgium.

21d Dodgy American power infiltrating religious group (7)
SUSPECT: abbreviations for American and power go inside a religious group.

23d There’s something fishy about material (5)
RAYON: the ‘something fishy’ is a fish. Add a preposition meaning about or concerning.

25d Film director’s limited view (5)
ANGLE: the film director (3,3) responsible for Life of Pi, for example, loses his last letter.
Ang Lee

26d Make the bench (4)
FORM: double definition.

I liked 30a, 9d and 18d but my standout favourite (and candidate for clue of the week) is 1a. Which clue(s) floated your boat?


29 comments on “Toughie 2527

  1. OK 1a is a good clue but I wasted a lot of time trying to relate “a bit [12.5 cents]” to half a crown! I rather liked 24a which conjures up an image of the sort of imbecile who cuts one up on the A120 [and I agree completely about the excitement quotient of F1 Gazza]. 9d detained me for a while too, contemplating a different [driving-type] servant, so that gets a vote. I fear we are going to see a lot more of the useful Mr Lee [25d].
    Thanks for the blog [yes, a star less tough than yesterday’s] and thanks to Messinae for the puzzle.

  2. Now it is in the electronic DT am trying the Toughie when I rise early. Managed this unaided except for 1a & 1d. How I couldn’t see the former I don’t know but it is my COTD. I got bogged down trying to get something starting with “l” (WiLliam III). Trying to be too clever by half.
    With 1d 4 letter double definitions are my nemesis.
    Thanks to setter & Gazza the reviews are leading to an improvement ( slow but there nonetheless)

  3. This was a very light Toughie, but I enjoyed it a lot so what I wrote for today’s back-pager applies here too. “It doesn’t have to be tough to be good”.

    I got the answer for 25d from the definition and checkers. However, although I realised that we were looking for a film director’s name with the last letter chopped off, it never occurred to me that it involved more than just a surname. Like Gazza, I was perplexed by the surface of 27a.

    1a was my runaway favourite. 30a and the alliterative 21a joined it on my podium.

    Many thanks to Messinae and to Gazza.

  4. Definitely a step down in difficulty from yesterday although I got off to a slow start – speed and enjoyment increased as the solve progressed. I thought 11a was a nice way to rebrand one of our old friends but wasn’t overly persuaded by either 7d (shouldn’t it have an ‘s’ on the end?) or 14d which doesn’t necessarily equate to the definition.
    1a certainly gets my vote and I was also drawn to 8d.

    Thanks to Messinae and to Gazza for the review – well done for finding the cartoon to illustrate 11a!

    1. Surely it is because RM is a plural.

      Thanks for the challenge … I needed a 1ac of help here and thankfully got it. Thanks setter and to Gazza for the blog.

  5. “It doesn’t have to be tough to be good” but if it is appearing as a “Toughie”, surely it should at least try to be harder to solve than a mid-week backpager?

    I did really like the very clever 1a

    Thanks to Messinae and Gazza

    1. Hi CS – I think your solving capability is such that you often find it difficult to view a puzzle as it possibly appears to many of us. Forgive me for saying but your reactions can sometimes come across as being condemnatory to the point of destroying any pleasure others may have experienced from completing what has been for them a reasonably challenging solve. I’m sure that’s not your intention but that’s how I think it often translates.

      1. That isn’t my intention at all. I always check it isn’t just me before I say anything but I’ll stay silent in future apart from Thursdays

        1. Please don’t do that, your comment on how you found a puzzle is just as important as that from anyone else. However, I think it would possibly be better received if you didn’t appear to be quite so scathing about the difficulty level. Sorry, CS, I didn’t mean to upset you.

        2. CS don’t refrain from commenting, I am sure Jane was trying to be constructive That I only needed a hint for 1 across means for a Wednesday Toughie it was “easy” & I knew that.
          However your comments on clues makes me think (if I haven’t already done so and agree with your choice) “What is it about that clue?”. It often gets me, someone who just bumbles through crosswordland, to see clues in a different light.
          There will be some days when the difficulty has strayed below the line & others when it has strayed the other way. With the latter I have no chance. I know there are a number of us derive satisfaction out of solving easier ones & fully expect Toughie devotees would say it was too strakghtforward.

          1. I’m assuming that CS has a scale of difficulty based on her solving times which I know to be rapid. However, I’ve never found her comments to be patronising and over the years have followed her advice of checking dictionaries in the old fashioned way when uncertain of parsing etc and it has helped my solving no end and never put my nose out of joint if I didn’t find the puzzle as easy as she. I guess CS is just being honest as to how she found the difficulty. Based on the fact that the Telegraph ambitiously suggests its Toughie is the sternest test in Fleet Street or something along those lines (not so in my humble opinion except Elgar of course), I’m assuming it can be an occasional / regular letdown for the elite solvers (I am definitely not one of those).

            Back to the puzzle, I thoroughly enjoyed solving this one in the balmy weather we’re currently enjoying in Tennessee I thought it was going to be straightforward but it took me longer than expected.

            Thanks to all and please CS, keep commenting.

        3. CS. Sorry to be late, but our local library is shut on Wednesdays. I can see nothing wrong with your comment – you found this Toughie easy (which it oughtn’t to be) and suggested that it should be harder than a midweek back-pager (and it certainly should). And that is perfectly fair comment to me. I hope you keep commenting and carry on regardless.

  6. Certainly this was at the easier end of the setting spectrum and therefore very accessible. I do hope that there are many solvers out there who rarely, if ever, attempt a Toughie who might have a stab at this and be pleasantly surprised.

    1a is clearly the outstanding clue, but I also really liked 8d.

    Many thanks to Messinae and Gazza.

  7. I think I kind of agree with CS’s comment at 6 but still thought this a great crossword & the plus side is that it allows me time to return to my struggle with yesterday’s Dada Toughie. Delightfully clued throughout & wouldn’t disagree with Gazza’s selection of favourites. 12a was my last in & must own up to impatience & looking at the hint – a reluctant penny that really ought to have dropped.
    Thanks Messinae & Gazza.

  8. Definitely at the easier end of the Toughie spectrum which suits me down to the ground. I personally categorize Toughies as – hardly tough, tough, very tough and no-chance tough! Some great clues today. I’ll go along with most of you and pick out 1a. I very much liked 30a as well.
    I sympathise with CS, but it’s her own fault for being such a clever clogs. I hope to be in her league one day and these easier Toughies are helping me improve.

    1. Some folk tackle the back-pager and occasionally look in on toughie and that’s it – others solve DT, Toughie, FT, Graun, Indy and The Times daily and have done for many years
      The difference in experience between 5 puzzles a week and 30 odd puzzles a week is marked, as one would expect
      Add into that test solving for various setters and you’ve pretty much seen it all before
      I agree with Sue that a Toughie should stand up to it’s name, but frequently it does not (6a, 13a, 22a, 27a, 7d etc…..)
      By tougher, I don’t mean the inclusion of obscurities, rather more misleading surfaces and clever, original wordplay

      Secondly, sometimes written words don’t quite come across as intended as appears to be the case with Jane & CS above, but fret ye not – it’s only a crossword

      1. I have to join in. I am overcome with admiration for some of our solvers. I did finish the Toughie today but it took me all morning. Luckily the back page gave in more quickly or I’d still be fighting now! I couldn’t possibly tackle a third.

      2. I’d say you’ve summed that up rather well. Having done the DT back pager now & again but nothing else for a number of years I’ve only been bitten by the crossword bug comparatively recently & am trying to improve & this site has been invaluable. At my level frankly it’s the easier the better but quite understand that the more able/experienced solvers prefer a Toughie to live up to it’s name. Am also concerned that Elgar is starting to become a bit of a pushover – only joking…..

  9. A toughie of just the right strength! I’ve liked all of this weeks offerings…more please!
    Thanks to Messinae.

  10. I’m a regular back-pager, only occasionally attempt the toughie. Sometimes I get around half, have completed a couple.
    This one I completed, though found it quite challenging, so very pleased.

  11. What a great opening clue, 1a! Like Gazza, I think it must be one of the week’s cleverest, certainly a contender for today’s COTD, but if 1a isn’t the cat’s whiskers, perhaps 8d is! Dare I offer a draw again, a tie for COTD? I didn’t remember the specialised meaning of ‘kitchen’, so I just took stab with 30a. I finished this very enjoyable Toughie last night all on my own (no Google, no electronic aid!), always a source of great satisfaction though it doesn’t happen often enough with the Toughies. Podium stars: 8d / 1a, 18d, 12a. Thanks to Gazza and Messinae. Great fun.

  12. I enjoyed this although had to bung in 25d as I don’t know much about films and couldn’t fully parse 30a despite having spent many years as an orchestral musician. I thought 18d was a great clue. Thanks to Messinae and Gazza.

  13. I thought this was a great crossword however you grade it. Certainly more difficult than anything that appears on the back page so “Tougher” definitely.
    18d was extremely clever and I liked the surface reading of 21a so they along with the amusing 28a make up my podium.
    Thanks to Messinae and Gazza.

  14. The use of ‘kettled’ to mean kept in a confined space was new to us but we did get the answer quickly by recognising the musical context for ‘kitchen.
    Some really enjoyable wordplay to unpick with 11a and 9d being our two favourites.
    Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Messinae and Gazza.

  15. Guessed 8d from the definition as I haven’t read Milton. Same with 1a as I didn’t know about William III.
    Failed on 30a and 26d.
    Can’t say that it was easier than yesterday’s as I didn’t manage to finish it.
    Thanks to Messinae and to Gazza for the review and help.

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