Toughie 2562 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2562

Toughie No 2562 by Silvanus

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty **   Enjoyment ***

Good Morning from The Independent Bubble of Barrel where very little has happened since the beginning of time. Today Silvanus has treated us to a trip down memory lane to meet a dead comedian and a dead B movie actor in a gentle Toughie which I think is just right for a Tuesday.

I wish the merriest Christmas possible to one and all. Your comments each week keep me going. Thank you for putting up with me

For those who enjoy an even gentler solve today’s Cryptic Crossword puzzle is at the easiest end of the toughness spectrum

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        Flocks of birds heading for distant parts (6)
CROWDS:  A group of corvids are divided by the first letter of the word distant

4a        Oddly neglected verse, for example, by leading writer (8)
ESSAYIST: Begin with every other letter of the word verse if the odd numbered letters are removed. Add a word which means for example. Add one number and two letters that look like a contraction of the word first (leading) when written

10a      Detestable swear-word employed by student a little (9)
LOATHSOME: A four letter synonym for a swear word or profanity is surrounded by the letter denoting a student or learner and a word meaning a little or part of a whole

11a      Put off female wearing fawn? (5)
DEFER: The animal which a fawn is surrounds the abbreviation for female

12a      Tuneful rock band departs, one embraced by host (7)
MELODIC: The rock band here is a vein of metal ore in the earth. An indirect anagram (departs) of this metal ore is followed by the letter that looks like the number one and what you now have is surrounded by a host or Master of Ceremonies 

Thanks to SuzyQ, Young Salopian and today’s setter Silvanus for pointing out the error in the above hint. In my defence I have only ever considered ELO to be a pop group. Way above Queen but still only a pop group. 

The initials of a rock band led by Jeff Lynne plus the abbreviation for departed and the letter that looks like the number one are surrounded  by a host or Master of Ceremonies 

13a      Ne’er-do-well used to be lively revolutionary America expelled (7)
WASTREL: Begin with a word meaning what something used to be. Now for the clever bit. Find a word meaning lively or watchful. Reverse it. Remove the abbreviation for American. Add it to what you began with

14a      Hard shell of some invertebrate starfish (5)
TESTA: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word some

15a      Who’s misplaced jumper, medium, in area displaying merchandise? (8)
SHOWROOM: Begin with an anagram (misplaced) of WHO’S Add a jumper. Add the abbreviation for medium. The jumper is abbreviated and lives down under. Shock. Horror. Our setter has used an unindicated Australianism. Call the cryptic crossword police

18a      Fated to perform, engaging individual that’s musically challenged? (4-4)
TONE DEAF: An anagram (to perform) of FATED includes a word or number meaning individual

20a      Age requirement to compete in Tour de France? (5)
CYCLE: A double definition. The first being a recurring series of events or metabolic processes in the lifetime of a plant or animal. The second being showboating on two wheels through parts of France

23a      Instruction to economise is ineffectual (7)
USELESS: Split 3,4 what the greens are urging us to do in order to save the planets resources

25a      Queen reviewed info about unknown architectural style (7)
REGENCY: A four part charade clued in straight order. Do what the clue asks which is as follows. 1 Reverse Her Majesty ‘s regnal cipher 2 Add a three letter word for info or information 3 Add the Latin abbreviation meaning about or around 4 Add a mathematical unknown

26a      Cocky supporter’s hard to sit behind (5)
BRASH: Our amusing crosswordland supporters of breasts sit before the abbreviation for hard 

27a      Found small bird tucking into fruit that is around (9)
INSTITUTE: A four part charade with instructions. 1 The abbreviation for small 2 A bird which is small and seen on garden feeders 3 A fruit usually encased in a hard shell 4 The letters that mean That Is or the Latin Id est. Some parts sit beside each other. Some parts surround other parts. It’s all in the clue

28a      Comparatively dull content of lecture is word-perfect, looking back (8)
DROWSIER: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words content of. To complicate things the word you are looking for is reversed as indicated by the words looking back 

29a      Fuel line located after Paddy runs over (6)
PETROL: The abbreviation for line sits after a fit of sulking or ill temper and the cricketing abbreviations for runs and over 


1d        Friendship sustains Conservative with extremely awful affliction (8)
CALAMITY: A synonym of the word friendship follows the abbreviation for Conservative and the outer letters of the word awful

2d        Wise utterances from old Dawson, perhaps involving motorists (7)
ORACLES: The abbreviation for old and the ancient comedian Mr Dawson’s first name sit around a motoring association. Not the AA. The other lot. Mr Dawson has been pushing up the daisies for twenty-seven years

3d        They dread springs becoming dry (9)
DEHYDRATE: Anagram (springs) of THEY DREAD

5d        Tuck is legendary here as sheer worst food around! (8,6)
SHERWOOD FOREST: An anagram (around) of SHEER WORST FOOD will lead to a place where Mr Tuck met Kevin Costner in a joyful romp filmed two years before Mr Dawson’s death

6d        They provide assistance when carrying kiddies occasionally (5)
AIDES: A two-letter word meaning when is filled with the alternate letters of the word kiddies

7d        Conclude hydrocarbon ultimately needs oxygen for conflagration (7)
INFERNO: A verb meaning to deduce or conclude is followed by the final letter of the word hydrocarbon and the abbreviation for oxygen

8d        Piercing involves son becoming tense, getting excited feeling (6)
THRILL: Find a word meaning of a sound high pitched and piercing. Change its first letter to the abbreviation for tense

9d        Area of England where stories circulated about Roman Catholic (14)
WORCESTERSHIRE: Anagram (circulated) of WHERE STORIES which also includes the abbreviations for Roman Catholic. Pass the sauce please

16d      Acknowledge Eric’s gone to work (9)
RECOGNISE: Anagram (to work) of ERICS GONE

17d      Expression of consent from each bigwig to skip starters (4,4)
VERY WELL: Find two words. One meaning each and one meaning a toff. Remove the initial letter of both words

19d      Herb loves defending US President, releasing first article (7)
OREGANO: The letter that looks like the love score in tennis sits at the beginning and end of this herb. The middle is the name of a former president of the United States minus the first appearance of the letter A (article)

21d      Declared object in game? To be the victor! (7)
CONQUER: A homophone of a Horse Chestnut, the object used in a game and what William managed to do in 1066

22d      Offer more to obtain lots of available British papers (6)
OUTBID: Begin with a word meaning available or issued. Add the abbreviation for British. Add ones identity papers

24d      Typical character shown by those cycling (5)
ETHOS: Cycling” here means moving letters from one end of a word to the other end. The word to be cycled is clearly indicated in the clue as it sits next to the word cycling. Cycle away until you have a word that matches the underlined wordplay 

Knock Knock

Who’s there?


Anna who?

Anna Partridge In A Pear Tree


45 comments on “Toughie 2562

  1. A very enjoyable puzzle completed in record time – for me! No particular favourites but I have to confess to a more naive solving of 12a. Having realised what the answer had to be from the checkers I assumed the ELO to be the rock group, followed by the letter “d” (departs). Your solving was far more sophisticated Miffypops! Thanks to you and Silvanus.

    1. Both of you are correct regarding 12a! I’m hoping Miffypops will correct the hint when he has the chance.

      Thank you both for your kind comments.

      1. Now corrected. Couldn’t see it for looking. As for ELO, I saw them in 1972 with Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan, from The Move with five other multi-instrumentalists playing guitars, saxophones, drums, cellos, violins, French horns through a lot of amplification. A far cry from the syrup that is Mr Blue Sky

  2. This was a real cracker of a puzzle, just the right amount of toughness for a Tuesday. I always admire Silvanus’ setting style, and this proved to be no exception. I liked 5d, but my favourite was 9d.

    Many thanks to the aforementioned and MP for a year of crosswords and blogs.

  3. A very floughie toughie, like an early gift from Santa – most enjoyable.
    Needed to check the parsing of 12a the tuneful rock band – indirect anagram! Tut tut, but made for a lovely surface.
    I parsed 19d slightly differently taking the instruction to release the first instance of the indefinite article.
    Great fun. Thanks to both Silvanus and Miffypops

    1. Thank you, Gordon.

      You will see from my comment above that 12a should be parsed as SuzyQ and YS have done. I wouldn’t use an indirect anagram and the editor wouldn’t wave it through either. Your parsing of 19d is also spot on.

  4. Quick and fun – just right for a Tuesday.
    I particularly liked 1a [heading for Distant “parts”] and 22d [the definition is the first 5 words]. The anagram solution at 5d is unfortunately similar to its fodder – a bit of a giveaway.

    Thanks to Sylvanus and MP

  5. Really enjoyed this, just the right level for me.
    Umm, i parsed 21d as a homophone and definition.
    Thanks MP and silvanus

  6. A very gentle introduction to the Toughie week. I managed all except two, 4a and 21d, in ** time.

    I didn’t know the word at 14a, and 23a is a bit of a old chestnut (roasting on an open fire, perhaps).

    Many thanks to Silvanus, and MP.

  7. Good stuff as usual, very enjoyable
    Silvanus may remember why 18a made me smile…?
    Thanks to your good self and to MP for the blog

  8. Lovely gentle crossword full of seasonal benevolence. Had it not been for my temporary inability to think of anything other than escariot for a word beginning ES with the checkers for my last in at 4a I’d have completed & fully passed in record time but for some reason the obvious took a few minutes to permeate. As always delightfully clued & a pleasure to solve with 19d my favourite.
    Many thanks to Silvanus for this & all the other productions throughout the year & also for his critiques of Rookie Corner which have certainly helped me gain a better understanding of what constitutes a good crossword.
    Big thanks also to MP for his witty reviews that are never less than thoroughly entertaining.

  9. This is only the second Toughie I have managed to complete without the aid of the hints or electronic help. I must say I am feeling quite chuffed with myself. I am not a solver on the level of MP or CS or BD or Gazza so it took me a while but light was brought into the Covid gloom! The main point is that the first one I completed was a slog. This one was a great and enjoyable pleasure. I think this reflects on Silvanus’ ability as a setter and as usual MPs blog was to a great standard. My thanks to both.

  10. Thanks to Miffypops for his Hints and Tips and to everyone else who has taken the trouble to comment. Just a couple of additional tweaks I think are necessary, as 21d isn’t a Double Definition, the first four words of the clue should not be underlined, whereas in 20a, the first word should be underlined as well as all the remaining words.

    May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and all the best for 2021.

    1. Thanks very much for a splendid puzzle, Silvanus, I really enjoyed it with 12a my favourite.

      Looking forward to solving many more of your puzzles in 2021. :smile:

    2. Hi Silvanus, lovely of you to pop in as usual and I’m pleased to see that the hints have now been corrected to some extent which should make life easier for those coming late to the puzzle.
      Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the solve and my double ticks went to 1&18a along with 9&21d – I’ll never look at conkers in quite the same way again!

      Thank you for this puzzle and all the others you’ve brought us during the year – very much looking forward to what you may have to offer us in 2021.

      1. Thank you very much, Jane.

        1a is one of my personal favourite clues of the year (I hope Kath will excuse the multiple favourites for once!).

    3. Thank you, Silvanus, for a crackerjack puzzle, one which enabled me to finish a Toughie in record time for me, but which at the same time was entirely pleasurable to work. I especially liked 1a, 17d, & 8d. Thanks for joining us, for a terrific puzzle, and for all the wonderful challenges you’ve afforded us this year. Best of the season to you, and thanks to MP for your review–always enjoyable.

      1. Thank you, Robert.

        I’ve enjoyed very much reading your erudite contributions during this annus horribilis. I’ve recently created a Dickens-related clue for a future puzzle that I hope you’ll see during 2021. My thought at the time was “Will Robert approve?”, I’m sure you’ll let me know in due course! A very Happy Christmas to you.

  11. Very thrilled that, having been directed to this Toughie from the back pager comments, I managed to complete it unaided. I got a bit stuck on 28a, having considered the word but not being able to parse it until I (finally!) spotted the lurker. There were a couple of others I couldn’t parse without the hints, but hey, this is my first toughie so I’ll take it! Many thanks to Silvanus and Miffypops for the confidence boost.

    1. Well done!

      I can’t promise that all my Toughies will be quite as solver- friendly, but I hope you’ll give future ones a go now that you have broken the ice.

  12. Really enjoyed this, found it a very similar level in both difficulty and quality to this setter’s Friday back pagers.
    I’ve put 1a plus 1&21d on the strongly contested podium.
    Many thanks and seasons greetings to Silvanus and MP for a great puzzle and review.

    1. Thank you Stephen, and for all your kind words throughout 2020.

      I generally try to make the wordplay and constructions a little harder in Toughies and a little easier for back-page puzzles, but sometimes the easier Toughies and harder back-pagers aren’t that far apart, as you point out. I think you will see there being more of a difference in 2021, but perhaps we can compare notes in 12 months? Have a great Christmas.

    1. Thank you, Colin and Carol.

      Congratulations to Colin on winning the latest clue-writing competition.

      A Merry Christmas to you both.

  13. Bit late to the game but a hugely enjoyable puzzle. Just the parsing of 29 escaped me, I must put pet into the memory bank. Loved 9d, had said sauce on my scrambled eggs for lunch today. Thanks to Silvanus and MP.

  14. Very enjoyable puzzle…I was able to parse 12A correctly but it took me a while to make the answer fit the clue.

    28A was my favourite…lovely clue and the answer is a just a great word!

    Thanks to Silvanus & MP

    Happy Christmas to all!

  15. I thought this was a wonderful puzzle and hugely enjoyable. Many thanks to Silvanus and Miffypops.

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