Toughie 2548 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2548

Toughie No 2548 by Zandio

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

You can usually rely on Zandio to provide a ‘proper’ Toughie crossword and, after his cryptic crossword last Friday which I found at the most difficult end of the backpager spectrum (and I know that many others found it extremely tough), I was sure we’d be in for a bit of a tussle today. How wrong I was, this  enjoyable crossword would have, in my opinion, fitted very nicely on the back of the paper on a Wednesday or a Thursday.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Rogue wearing a shortened garment — twice all is revealed by this! (11)
ABRACADABRA A rogue ‘wearing’ or put inside two (twice) lots of A (from the clue) and an abbreviated (shortened) garment

7a    Surrounded by revolutionary plain evil ne’er-do-wells — fire! (7)
ENLIVEN Hidden (surrounded by) in reverse (revolutionary) in plaiN EVIL NE’er

8a    Occasionally in bar, punter weeps over trouble (7)
PERTURB Another reversal (over) found in the occasional letters of BaR pUnTeR wEePs

10a    Deployed lunar dye to show what’s beneath the surface? (8)
UNDERLAY An anagram (deployed) of LUNAR DYE

11a    Massage back then study weight (6)
BURDEN A reversal (back) of a verb meaning to massage followed by a study

13a    Oxygen needed by relative that runs all round the room (4)
DADO The chemical symbol for Oxygen goes after a male relative

14a    Ritualistic chapel in Snowdonia? (4,6)
HIGH CHURCH A place of worship in Snowdonia might be described as this!

16a    EU chemists misrepresented in noted publication (5,5)
SHEET MUSIC An anagram (misrepresented) of EU CHEMISTS

18a    Mere idiot that’s loud should be quiet (4)
POOL Change the musical abbreviation meaning loud at the start of an idiot and replace with the instruction to play quietly

21a    Collections of plastic measurably needing year to melt away (6)
ALBUMS An anagram (plastic) of MeaSUrABLy once the letters YEAR have melted away

22a    Young rebel that’s got little coverage (8)
SKINHEAD A cryptic definition of an extremely short-haired young rebel

24a    Folk riding tandem, say, more or less following anything from behind (7)
TWOSOME A reversal (from behind) of a dialect word meaning anything followed by an adjective meaning more or less

25a    Concerned with toffs missing grand arrival from stars? (2-5)
RE-ENTRY The preposition meaning concerned with and some upper-class people missing the abbreviation for Grand

26a    Using childbirth, do they seek political gain? (6,5)
LABOUR PARTY A synonym for childbirth and a ‘do’


1d    Made reference in dull read, unopened unfortunately (7)
ALLUDED An anagram (unfortunately) of DULL rEAD (unopened telling you to omit the R)

2d    Maybe write new part of speech to create sonic effect (6)
REVERB If you were to write something new you might use a prefix meaning ‘again and in a different way’, add a part of speech to create a sonic effect

3d    Too easy to pick up tab after cheat promises to pay (10)
CONTAGIOUS A verb meaning to cheat, a label (tab) and some promises to pay

4d    Exercise, weed! (4)
DOPE A two-word expression meaning to exercise

5d    Parts of bay perhaps needing to accommodate or put up local communities (8)
BOROUGHS Some parts of a tree (bay perhaps) needing to ‘accommodate’ a reversal (put up) of OR (from the clue)

6d    In pieces, seeing a northern city giving land away (7)
ASUNDER A (from the clue) and a northern city without the LAND (giving … away)

7d    Splitting the difference in ninety-nine quid is tantalising (11)
EQUIDISTANT Hidden in ninE QUID IS TANTalising

9d    Store animal food, bagging nothing, covering rest for twenty-four hours (4,7)
BANK HOLIDAY A store of money or information followed by some animal food into which is inserted the letter representing nothing and a covering

12d    Person who analyses western music packaging (6-4)
SHRINK-WRAP A slang (originally US) term for a person who analyses, the abbreviation for Western and some music

15d    A male duck nibbling crest of milkweed that goes up like a mushroom (4,4)
ATOM BOMB A (from the clue), a male of various animals and a verb meaning to duck ‘nibbling’ or taking in the ‘crest’ of Milkweed

17d    Catch up in Baltimore somehow, not at Mobile (7)
EMBROIL An anagram (mobile) of almost all (somewhat) of BaLtIMORE without (not) the letters AT

19d    Entertaining tango, too, with no smoke and mirrors (7)
OVERTLY Insert the letter represented by Tango in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet into an informal (originally US) adverb meaning too or excessively

20d    Fashionably dressed and ready to roll (2,4)
IN GEAR If you were fashionably dressed, you might be wearing xx xxxx

23d    Dandy comic second to Buster? No no! (4)
BEAU A rival comic to the Dandy without the NO (no no) and the second letter of bUster – a lovely surface reading, especially if you were a reader of said comics in your childhood

29 comments on “Toughie 2548

  1. I enjoyed this. Needed some help of course but I managed about 80% unaided.

    Many thanks, Zandio and CS.

  2. I didn’t think it was that gentle, especially the RHS – 5 & 6 d were my last in. Good fun though – favourites were the neat little ones 18a and 23d.

    Thanks to Zandio and CS

  3. Immeasurably easier for me than the Ray T (which hallelujah I’ve finally finished) but very enjoyable nonetheless. Agree with CS that this was very gentle but very nicely clued throughout & a pleasure to solve. 1a & the 7d lurker were my picks from any number of good clues.
    Thanks Zandio & to CS for the review.

  4. I don’t think there’s much difference in terms of difficulty between Zandio’s back-pagers and his Toughies. In both cases the clues are generally smooth, mercifully short of obscurities and very enjoyable.

    There were lots of clues to like here, including 1a, 14a, 3d and 23d.

    Many thanks to Zandio and CS.

  5. I think either Zandio or the editor must have mixed up his submissions for today’s Toughie, which wasn’t tough, and Friday’s back-pager, which was.

    I did enjoy this apart from a few hmms:14a; 2d; the bizarre surface for 15d; and I don’t think that the definition for 17d defines the answer.

    CS, I parsed 17d differently. I took it to be an anagram (“somehow”) of “Baltimore” omitting (“not”) an anagram (“Mobile”) of “at”. Although really Mobile is only necessary for the surface as the letters appear in the right order.

    My crowded podium comprises 22a, 26a, 3d, 4d & 7d.

    Many thanks to Zandio and to CS.

    1. Similarly I thought that ‘to melt’ in 21a was indicating that the letters of ‘year’ were not in the right order.

  6. I like clues with long descriptive definitions.
    Tried very hard to look at equine anatomy in 5d, thinking bay was a horse.
    Didn’t know 14a.
    Very enjoyable crossword.
    Thanks to Zandio and to CS.

  7. Apart from the chilling 15d I thought this was a most enjoyable puzzle. I think 23d was my favourite. The no, no was so clever.

  8. Was I the only one to come to a sticky end on 26a? Labour Peers seemed obvious to me! Seek/peer?

  9. I parsed 2d differently. Splitting it 1,1-4, the ‘write’ is one of the three ‘Rs’, and a new part of speech would be an E-verb.

  10. Very enjoyable with only a couple of hiccups. The more I looked at 23d the more I liked it so that is my favourite. I am still not sure about the parsing of 17d; perhaps Zandio might pop in later to tell us how he compiled it?

    Thanks to him and to CS.

  11. Going for a **/*** today as a pleasant puzzle with straight forward cluing and no obscurities to boot.
    Don’t remember seeing 1a before in a crossword and congratulations to Zandio for managing to provide a clue of any description!
    Favourite was12d when the penny dropped and I managed a smile.
    Liked the surface of 9d, bet tomorrow will be ‘an Elgar’ of 5*

  12. Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle solved whilst freezing some or other bits off on the banks of a lake in West Sussex – getting too old for that malarkey
    Thanks to Zandio and CS

  13. I didn’t find this quite as gentle as most other commenters but I did find it very entertaining indeed with some cracking trademark Zandio clues. I liked all of the long perimeter clues plus 25a and 3&4d in particular.
    I agree with RD re the parsing of 17d (otherwise “somehow” would be redundant) but I dont agree with him that the “definition doesn’t define the answer”!
    Many thanks to Zandio and CS for the all round excellence.

  14. A jolly distraction and a pleasant solve. Which we are all learning to expect from this setter. Thanks to CS for the blog and Zandio for the puzzle especially 1 across which reminded me of the most magic dog the Labracadabrador

  15. Hello all. Thanks very much for the discussion and analysis. Regarding 17d, the intention was to use two anagram indicators (“somehow” and “mobile”). If “at” was whole in “Baltimore” then of course no anagram indicator would be needed. If the matter to be deleted was in the wrong order, then most people would agree that we need an anagram indicator. I appreciate that many compilers think that if the item to be deleted is separated but in the correct order, no anagram indicator is needed. Maybe that’s right, but as I see it the item is in bits that have to be put together, so it seems fairer to use an anagram indicator. Many thanks for the interest.

  16. I finished most of this very nice Zandio on my own, but had to resort to a bit of electronic help for 7d and 23d. Enjoyed 1a, 14a, 12d. Thanks to CS and Zandio. Great fun.

  17. Took me such a long time to sort out the reasoning behind 23d but it has to count as one of my group on the podium – just hilarious.
    Against stiff competition, it is joined by 1a and 4d.

    Thanks to Zandio both for the puzzle and for popping in. Thanks also to CS for the well illustrated review although I have to say that the answer to 14a is very far from the truth in my experience!

  18. Maybe it’s just because I usually solve the Toughie in the dead of night, but it invariably takes me at least twice as long as the back pager, so editor please don’t be tempted to move some of these puzzles to the main slot. :-)

    Agreed though that this was a gentle enough offering, though no less enjoyable for that.

  19. If I could manage it without much trouble it’s probably not a Toughie. I couldn’t parse 19d though and ended up here. What a great site. How nice to ‘meet’ the setter. Thank you Zandio, CS and Big Dave.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      You are not alone in looking for help with a clue and ending up at Big Dave’s blog. We hope now you’ve found us, you’ll come back and comment again

  20. Finished this a day late but thoroughly enjoyed it. Apart from needing my trusty word/ anagram finder for the last few, I did most of this on my own. I particularly liked 1a and 12d which I thought were great clues and made me smile. I struggled parsing15d as I waned the duck to be one of the o’s – great misdirection. And 14a which I didn’t really like. Thank you to Zandio and CrypticSue

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