Toughie 2540 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2540

Toughie No 2540 by Kcit

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

It is a good job that this crossword was nicely at the easier end of the Toughie spectrum, taking slightly longer than a Friday backpager, as my morning turned out to be a lot busier than I’d expected for a birthday in lockdown. The grid was one of those where one corner was solved at a time, with quite a bit of ‘remove a letter’ going on, and even a bleep from the repetition radar

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a    Something to follow tango, even (7)
UNIFORM Something that follows Tango in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet can also be defined as ‘even’

10a    Short story and French article trailing volume set during holiday period (7)
NOVELLA Insert the abbreviation for Volume into a holiday period that will be here before we know it, and then add the French female definite article

11a    US military gear? Nothing was run by sailor (5,4)
OLIVE DRAB The letter representing nothing and a synonym for was, the cricket abbreviation for run and one of the abbreviations for sailor

12a    Region is deficient in pragmatic behaviour (5)
REALM Remove the IS (is deficient) from some pragmatic behaviour

13a    Drink and chat with son about origin of life (5)
GLASS An informal word for a chat and the abbreviation for son go ‘about’ the first letter (origin) of Life

14a    Sinister: oxygen getting less, after suppression of oxygen (7)
OMINOUS The chemical symbol for Oxygen, a word used in maths to mean less, into which is inserted (after suppression) the chemical symbol for Oxygen

17a    Having nowhere else to turn before we arrived here on tour? (2,3,4,6)
IN THE LAST RESORT If you arrived here on a tour, you’d definitely have nowhere else to turn

19a    Spoke without end about a strange retreating warrior (7)
SAMURAI Remove the final letter (without end) from a way of saying spoke and insert A (from the clue) and a reversal (retreating) of a synonym for strange or odd

21a    Some woodwind identified in studies in sound (5)
REEDS – A homophone (in sound) of a verb meaning studies

24a    Kind of friend to include love in the mix (5)
ALLOY The letter representing love in tennis scoring inserted into a kind of friend

26a    Bob perhaps missing launch with part in theatre work (9)
OPERATION This Bob was a very funny actor – remove the first letter of his surname (missing launch) and add a part or portion

27a    Resident of Middle-earth not yielding collection of trees (7)
ORCHARD A resident of Tolkien’s Middle Earth and an adjective meaning not yielding

28a    Peak volume in middle of week then quiet (7)
EVEREST The second use of the abbreviation for Volume inserted into the middle letters of wEEk and then another way of saying quiet is added at the end


1d    Kept excavating capital of Greece for sea creature (6)
DUGONG A way of saying kept excavating followed by the capital letter of Greece

2d    Member of political party is upset over soldier hissing (8)
SIBILANT An abbreviated member of a political party and IS (from the clue) are reversed (upset) and then put over (it is a Down clue) one of crosswordland’s soldiers

3d    Curse, standing under wide sign in part of department store (10)
WOMENSWEAR A verb meaning to curse goes under the abbreviation for Wide and a sign

4d    After demolition, one’s left with broken house (9)
KNEBWORTH Remove the I (one’s left) and an anagram (after demolition) of WiTH BROKEN will produce the name of a stately House in Hertfordshire, famous in the past for rock concerts

5d    Write articles about dismissing leader when finished (4)
OVER A journalist might do this with a news story – all you need to do is dismiss the ‘leader’ or first letter

6d    Hispanic US city? Power in US city very much linked to Spain (2,4)
EL PASO Start with the IVR code for Spain and link it to an abbreviated US City into which you’ve inserted the abbreviation for Power, then finish with an adverb meaning very much

7d    Way of working with group after blight does for monkey (8)
MARMOSET – An abbreviated way of working and a group go after a verb meaning to blight

9d    King avoiding observances for deity (4)
MARS The chess abbreviation for King ‘avoiding’ or being left out of a synonym for observances

15d    Ship‘s unwelcoming response meeting wave (10)
ICEBREAKER An unwelcoming response and a wave coming on shore

16d    Equipment from the past brought in to crush endless flowers (9)
MARIGOLDS Some equipment and an adverb meaning from the past brought or inserted into a verb meaning to crush without its final (endless) letter

17d    Privy to sealing off main areas when appropriate? (2,6)
IN SEASON A two-word phrase meaning privy to ‘sealing’ of a large part of the earth known as ‘main’

18d    Cruise company with this would be a joke (3-5)loc
ONE-LINER A type of joke could also describe a very small cruise company

20d    Evil male supported by literary heroine (6)
MALICE The abbreviation for Male supported by (in a Down clue) a literary heroine

22d    Fool brought in for one reason (6)
SANITY An informal fool inserted into an adverb meaning for example (for one)

23d    Present judge is outspoken (4)
HERE A homophone (is outspoken) of a verb meaning to judge

25d    Vote for right in 2020? (4)
YEAR An archaic way of saying yes (vote for) and the abbreviation for right

Once I’ve scheduled this blog, I’ve got some time to relax before a video chat with the family when our grandson is home from school. Then I’ll be celebrating with cake and some lovely local sparking rosé

23 comments on “Toughie 2540

  1. A very doable Toughie I thought, and of roughly the same degree of difficulty as the Ray T cryptic. 27a stood out for me alongside 1d and 19a. Great fun.

    Many thanks to Kcit and the birthday girl.

  2. Pretty straightforward for a Thursday Toughie I thought, although I had to use Google to verify the 4d house. Thanks to Kcit and thanks (and Happy Birthday) to CS.
    Top clues for me were 1d and 22d.

  3. I agree with CS-not too hard. I liked 14A and smiled at 17A and (particularly) 18D. Thanks to KCIT and CS.

  4. How strange. I found this very difficult and only solved about 6 clues. Just not my cup of tea.
    Cup of tea? I’d rather have a 13a of that delicious fizz! Happy Birthday CS

  5. Despite having everything else filled in 4d proved very elusive. Trying the vowels as the first letter provided no joy nor did the letter S. I mentioned this to the sainted smartarse who suggested that a K might be possible and the stately home jumped out at me along with a thousand memories of that day back in 1976 when Hazel and I hitch hiked from Coventry to London and caught a train to wherever to see The Rolling Stones for the third time that year.
    Happy days. Thanks to Kcit for the challenge and CrypticSue for the blog. Happy Birthday too. It’s just over a year until my next birthday.

  6. I also struggled with 4D and it was my final entry. I thought the puzzle to be hardly tougher than a standard back page cryptic.

  7. Made 7d difficult by putting in “novelet” (French ‘and’) for 10a! After some time realised what the monkey was and improved my spelling of the short story. The rest was fairly straightforward. Thanks to all and many happy returns.

  8. Nothing came to mind on a quick read through but a steady solve once underway,
    4d was last in, solvable once the checking letters were in place.
    Anyway an enjoyable romp and a **/*** for me ,fair cluing with no obscurities, liked my first in 27a and the surface of 16d.
    Probably a 5* Elgar tomorrow!

  9. Just me then – I’d have found it easier to solve half a dozen Ray T offerings!
    Got there in the end, minus the stately home, hadn’t registered the anagram fodder.
    18&22d vying for top spot.

    Thanks to Kcit and to the birthday girl – enjoy your cake and bubbly.

  10. Unusual for me to be in synch with Cryptic Sue’s rating but I found today’s toughie very straightforward.
    Got most answers from the parsing and had to check a few if they fitted the definition.
    Favourite 4d.
    Thanks to Kcit and to CS.

  11. 4d was somewhere that neither of us had ever heard of so a real challenge for us. Twigged that it was probably and anagram so a bit of judicious Googling found it. The rest went in relatively smoothly. 18d was our favourite.
    Thanks Kcit and CS.

    PS Happy Birthday Sue.

  12. Thank you to everyone who posted birthday wishes on this page rather than the back page blog

    I’ve had a lovely day but I’m now going to concentrate on celebrating rather than crosswords so I’ll ‘see’ you all tomorrow

  13. Got everything, with a wee bit of electronic help, except the stately home. I ended up with something like INKBEROT–and finally just screamed! (Just kidding.) And haven’t I actually been there, to Knebworth I mean, during one of my UK sojourns? Anyway, I loved this puzzle, especially the paltry cruise line with very little to offer! Much joy and pleasure from the puzzles today, on my mother’s 104th birthday. And again, Happy Birthday, Sue, and thanks for the review. Many thanks to Kcit too.

    1. In case you’re still around, Robert. Just watched a programme about the Booker shortlist including interviews with the authors. With the best will in the world, it seems like a very depressing selection – talk about doom and gloom!

    2. All the best to your Mother Robert. Have you read Jeanette Winterson? I’ve enjoyed everything of hers that I have ever read

  14. Just cannot get on to Kcit’s wavelength – haven’tsolved one by my own efforts yet :-( Ah well, nil desperandum or sommat.

  15. Mostly ok, with 1d and 27 raising smiles. Started 17a with “at”, so the SW didn’t work until this was corrected, and needed the hint for 4d, which seemed to be much harder than the rest.

  16. Very late dip into this & fell 3 short. Needed the hints for 1d, 11a & most annoyingly 4d, where I nearly made the same journey from Coventry in 76 to see Stones. Unlike others I found it tougher than the last couple of days. Another vote for cowboy cruise outfit.
    Thanks all.

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