Toughie 2542 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2542

Toughie No 2542 by Dada

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This very enjoyable puzzle was slightly tarnished, for me, by the obscure quantum physicist in 8 Down.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Device with teeth on the scene of battle (6)
COMBAT: a “device with teeth” is followed by a two-letter word meaning “on the scene of”

5a    Faith provided in hindsight, left in God’s embrace (8)
FIDELITY: the reversal (of ) a two-letter word meaning provided is followed by L(eft) inside (in … embrace) a word for a god

9a    Unrealistic plastic doll in use captivating leader in America (10)
DELUSIONAL: an anagram (plastic) of DOLL IN USE around (captivating) the initial letter (leader) in A[merica]

10a    Head shaved in plain green (4)
VERT: drop the initial letter (head shaved) from a word meaning plain or obvious

11a    A boy held back by legion in Asian city (8)
MANDALAY: A and a boy are reversed (back) inside (held … by) a legion or large quantity

12a    Series of messages, half of them looked at (6)
THREAD: the first half of TH[em] followed by a verb meaning looked at

13a    Reasonable charge for offence (4)
FINE: two definitions

15a    Can piece with sound of triangle attract? (4,4)
RING PULL: the sound made by a triangle is followed by a verb meaning to attract or draw towards

18a    Article concealed by moss in higgledy-piggledy piles (8)
MANSIONS: AN (the indefinite article) inside an anagram (higgledy-piggledy) of MOSS IN

19a    Air entering vent unexpectedly (4)
TUNE: hidden (entering) inside the clue

21a    Broadcast covering big deal! (2,4)
SO WHAT: a verb meaning to broadcast followed by a covering for the head

23a    Peculiar issue after end of finger stuck in ring (8)
PERSONAL: a male issue preceded by the final letter (end) of [finge]R inside a ring of bells

25a    Without opening, seize file (4)
RASP: drop the initial letter (without opening) from a verb meaning to seize

26a    Touch support over shoulder holding dress up (10)
SPRINKLING: a small quantity is derived by putting a support which goes over the shoulder around a little-used verb meaning to dress up

27a    Switch e.g. today’s date (2,6)
GO STEADY: an anagram (switch) of E.G. TODAY’S

28a    Just novel ultimately penned by English author (6)
HARDLY: the final letter (ultimately) of [nove]L inside the surname of an English author


2d    Work on putting essay right and using headings (5)
OPERA: the initial letters (using headers) of five words in the clue

3d    Infinite love in large amounts ending in happiness (9)
BOUNDLESS: O(love) inside some large amounts and followed by the final letter of (ending in) [happiness]S

4d    Little bit sweet (6)
TRIFLE: two definitions – the second being a dessert

5d    Find attractive groom, person for social occasion (5,5,5)
FANCY DRESS PARTY: a charade of 3 five-letter words meaning, respectively, to find attractive, to groom, and a person

6d    Minding language, bore opening up more (8)
DILATING: around (minding) a language put a three-letter verb meaning to bore

7d    Meat: slice trimmed on top (5)
LIVER: a slice without (trimmed) its initial letter (top)

8d    Waterproof material quantum physicist found in lake (9)
TARPAULIN: the surname of an obscure quantum physicist inside a lake

14d    Gallant airman, too reckless (9)
INAMORATO: an anagram (reckless) of AIRMAN TOO

16d    Shoddy work from tough old bird in support of corporation (9)
POTBOILER: another word for a large corporation or stomach followed by a tough old chicken

17d    Felon needing strength to lift lady (8)
CONTESSA: a felon followed by the reversal (to lift) of a strength or strong point

20d    Bananas for example about right for meal (6)
BRUNCH: another word for a hand of bananas around R(ight)

22d    Now shift clue I see upwards (3,2)
HOP IT: the reversal (upwards in a down clue) of a three-letter clue and an exclamation meaning I see

24d    Void, top mark struck from book (5)
ANNUL: remove (struck from) one of the top marks from a yearly book

I thought this was going to take longer than it did, but I speeded up halfway through.


22 comments on “Toughie 2542

  1. The Crossword Editor wrote somewhere recently that the Tuesday Toughie should be a slight step up from the difficulty of the Friday puzzle and Dada certainly got the Tuesday difficulty level just right today.

    I did know the quantum physicist. My favourite out of several on the shortlist was 22d

    Thanks to Dada and BD

  2. I thought this was great. Slow start but rapidly picked up pace. I also hadn’t heard of the quantum physicist but there were enough blockers to deduce. Thanks to Dada and BD.

  3. Very enjoyable and a perfect complement to today’s back pager, completed at a Toughie gallop – 2.5*/3.5*.
    I had enough checkers to bung in 8d and then recognise the physicist after the fact.
    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 21a, 5d, and 22d – and the winner is 21a.
    Thanks to Dada and BD.

  4. Some might find him obscure, but I wouldn’t exclude him from a list of quantum physicists as a matter of principal.

  5. This made for a very pleasant start to the day. I have never heard of the word in 26 across meaning to dress up unless it’s been used before in a puzzle and I have forgotten it. Thanks to Dada for the fun and to Big Dave for the review

  6. Great fun – thanks to Dada and BD.
    I didn’t know the 8d physicist but the answer, and therefore the name, was obvious from the checkers.
    I’m always amazed that Dada can dial the toughness up and down at will depending on the platform he’s writing for – I’d just like to see him given a go in the Friday Toughie slot.
    My ticks went to 1a, 21a, 27a and 16d.

  7. Managed to finish this except for 26a which I just could not get. Other than that, 8d was so obvious I didn’t bother to research the obscure physicist so that is what he remains to me……obscure!

  8. Apart from being unable to fully parse 26a this was a very accessible Toughie and enjoyable to complete. 5a was my COTD with 21a a close second. Great fun.

    Many thanks to Dada for the challenge and to BD.

  9. Thank you Dada for the puzzle, and Big Dave for the help and explanations.

    I think the physicist is mentioned in Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman!, an entertaining collection of anecdotes from a scientist who cared a great deal about science and not at all about following rules or conventions. It’s a light read, and I’d recommend it to anybody who hasn’t encountered it.

  10. Just right for Tuesday but I needed Mrs H to confirm 26a. I was quite relieved to realise 21a was what it was – I had all the checkers and feared something unsuitable for the DT. Favourites were 23a and 22d.
    The physicist is actually one of the better known of the obscure quantum physicists.

    Thanks to Dada and BD.

  11. I really enjoyed this one although a few in the lower half took some teasing out, particularly the little used term in 26a which must date back to the days of ‘primping and preening’. As it would seem others have done, I reverse engineered 8d and then looked up a feasible physicist. 12a raised a smile – could probably be said of many of the 12a’s on this blog!
    My top two were the ‘slang’ phrases in 21a & 22d.

    Thanks to Dada for the fun and to BD for the review.

  12. Pleased to finish this unaided over a couple of sittings after a painfully slow start & with nearly all parsed correctly. Mr G needed for the boffin in 8d & for the middle bit of 26a but otherwise nothing obscure. Last in was 21a & with the 3 checkers my first & for a while only thought (apart from having nothing to do with the wordplay) was clearly unsuitable for DT & maybe even the Graun. Some great clues with 5,12&28a my picks.
    Thanks to Dada & to BD for the review

    1. The penny just dropped here over the ‘unsuitable’ answer for 21a – it’s been bugging me ever since Halcyon brought up the subject!

  13. I ended up with quite a few gaps – not sure that I’ve ever finished a Toughie so I wasn’t expecting to finish this one.
    21a and 22d made me laugh – something we could all do with more of at the moment.
    Thanks to Dada for the crossword and to BD for filling in the bits I couldn’t do.

  14. I came to grief in the SE corner where I eventually threw in the towel. I would like to blame it on the several things I did not know (add the lake to the Physicist in 8d for instance). I’m not sure I would associate the part definition in 15a to a triangle. However, if the truth were told, there were some wonderful clues amongst those I did not get and my principal disappointment is with myself. Thanks to Dada and Big Dave.

  15. I don’t buy the Sunday newspaper so seldom come across Dada but on this evidence I may have to start. I thought it was excellent, quirky and great fun.
    26a and 8d were semi biffs and I had to check the gallant but they were my only problems, though I certainly didn’t breeze through it!
    I have to admit the”alternative” solution to 21a came to me far sooner than the actual but I laughed when the penny finally dropped. I also liked 1&15a plus 22d amongst many others.
    Many thanks to Dada and Big Dave.

  16. Like Tony above, I was disappointed in myself that I failed to get any traction in the SE corner, even though I did know the physicist and the lake so 8d was not a problem. Still, I thought this quite a proper Tuesday Toughie from one of the masters of the trade, and I especially liked 21, 27, and 28a, as well as many others. Thanks to Big Dave for bailing me out and to Dada for the great outing.

  17. I haven’t done the crossword yet but my interest was piqued by the quantum physicist! He was a really interesting character and worth a quick look through his Wikipedia page. He was nominated for a Nobel prize by Einstein…who was admittedly a little better known! Now for the rest of the crossword…….

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