Toughie 2564 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2564

Toughie No 2564 by Kcit

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A mid-spectrum Toughie from Kcit with quite a bit of ‘doing things with letters’

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Uninspiring President sadly adopting leadership of America (10)
PEDESTRIAN An anagram (sadly) of PRESIDENT adopting the ‘leadership’ of America

6a    Foundation dismissing current singer (4)
BASS Dismiss or remove the abbreviation for electrical current from a foundation

9a    One suffers with no chance of treatment in store (10)
SHOPAHOLIC A cryptic definition of a person with a purchasing problem

10a    Leave service, after Bishop fails to appear for the presentation (4)
DEMO Remove the chess abbreviation for Bishop (fails to appear) from an informal shortening of a verb meaning to leave the army

12a    Curtailed suggestion about pound in vain (4)
IDLE A curtailed suggestion goes about the abbreviation for Pounds Sterling

13a    Be unfortunate, keeping very ill, not very doddery (9)
BERYLLIUM I do like a sneaky chemical symbol clue – this element is found by inserting vERY (without the V – not very) and ILL (from the clue) into an adverb meaning worthless or unfortunate

15a    Comrades, trio, cut down, cornered by gun (8)
BRETHREN Cut down (remove the last letter of) the number in a trio and insert into (cornered) a type of gun

16a    Symbol of Egypt that is resident in Egypt? (6)
SCARAB The two letter Latin abbreviation meaning that is and the nationality of someone resident in Egypt

18a    Tentative jokes, lacking power — clean, but lacking power (6)
UNSURE Some jokes lacking the abbreviation for power and a synonym for clean, again lacking the abbreviation for power

20a    Significant figure part of Victorian bicycle design? (3,5)
BIG WHEEL The description of part of a Victorian bicycle

23a    I whine when engaging in dream of bad behaviour? (5,4)
CRIME WAVE I (from the clue) and a verb meaning to whine or make a high-pitched cry inserted into (engaging) in a verb meaning to dream of

24a    Time and again leading articles will offer valediction (2-2)
TA-TA Two (and again) abbreviations for Time each leading an indefinite article

26a    Recording to draw upon energy (4)
TAPE A verb meaning to draw upon and the abbreviation for energy

27a    Auditor’s no longer prepared to imagine servility (10)
SYCOPHANCY A homophonic (auditor’s) way of saying no long prepared to imagine

28a    Neglected to overlook second requirement (4)
DUTY Overlook or leave out the abbreviation for second in a synonym for neglected

29a    Endless complaint about revolutionary tumult, one engaging lots of people (10)
GREGARIOUS Remove the final letter (endless) from a complaint and put what’s left ‘about’ a reversal (revolutionary) of a tumult


1d    Central item removed from verses in garland (4)
Remove the middle letter from some poetry collectively or in the abstract

2d    Desperate? Access given to most of quantity of food (2-2-3)
DO-OR-DIE A form of access to a building and almost all of a quantity of food

3d    Wind a beauty? One blows over a basket (5-7)
SNAKE-CHARMER A verb meaning to wind and a beautiful person

4d    Supports (one heard) non-alcoholic drink (4,4)
ROOT BEER Two supports, the second one a homophone (one heard)

5d    A change required around island feature of zoo (6)
AVIARY A (from the clue) and a verb meaning to change ‘around’ the abbreviation for island

7d    Studio more impressive but not quiet (7)
ATELIER Remove a slang interjection meaning hush (not quiet) from a word meaning more impressive

8d    Arctic vehicle is blown off-course around second ridge, finally (10)
SNOWMOBILE An anagram (off-course) of IS BLOWN around an informal abbreviation for a period of time (second); the final letter of ridge being added at the end

11d    Fielder about to secure wicket? This one’s waiting for the right moment (5-7)
CLOCK-WATCHER A cricket fielder goes about a verb meaning to secure and the abbreviation for wicket

14d    Face doubts uncertainly, becoming confused (10)
OBFUSCATED An anagram (uncertainly) of FACE DOUBTS

17d    Criminal staying in party with free food to the end? (8)
LIFELONG A criminal inserted into a party with free refreshments

19d    Tiny cut in stone — small piece cut out (7)
SNIPPET Truncate (cut) a tiny person and insert into the abbreviation for stone

21d    Use up a metal dividing bar, trimming volume (3,4)
EAT INTO A (from the clue) and some metal ‘dividing’ a verb meaning to bar or ban without (trimming) the abbreviation for volume

22d    Brief film about whiskey (6)
LAWYER Brief being a slang term for this legal person obtained by putting a film of something around the letter represented in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet by Whiskey

25d    Scrutinises base for sure (4)
EYES The letter used to indicate base (you know the one where everyone says I didn’t know that ….) and a word for agreement (for sure)

Wishing Kcit and everyone else the best Christmas one can have in these current circumstances and a happy, healthy and vaccinated New Year

25 comments on “Toughie 2564

  1. Thanks to Kcit for the puzzle and CS for the review and best wishes to both for a Happy Christmas.
    I thought the puzzle fulfilled the criteria for a Toughie but was a bit lacking in pizzazz. My favourite clue was 13a (doing crosswords and watching ‘Pointless’ has filled several of the gaps left by my formal education in my knowledge of chemistry).

  2. Managed most of it and was chuffed to get 13a.
    Greetings to all. I hope we can all make the best of the holiday. After all, Christmas is still Christmas!

  3. A steady, enjoyable plod which is fine since I’m busy doing nothing for the next week or so
    I do like a cryptic definition so 9a gets my vote – spent some time trying to make an anagram work
    Many thanks to CS and Kcit

  4. Must be thick as 1 down was the only one I had to guess at and I still don’t understand how the answer was derived. Please enlighten, many thanks.

    1. Remove the E in the middle of poesy which is a word meaning poetry collectively or in the abstract

  5. I found this very challenging and a genuine Toughie. I got there in the end, but it was a bit of a struggle, and it took a few bung-ins and some help from our blogger to correctly parse the last half dozen. That said, I enjoyed the fight. Once I understood it, 13a became my favourite.

    Many thanks to Kcit for the tussle and to CS. Merry Christmas to you both.

  6. With my Christmassy ‘5-letter gift’, I managed to complete this very intricate Kcit Toughie, with my LOI 9a. I struggled a bit parsing a few–especially 7d (and I’m still not sure what has been omitted from the answer, which I plugged in as the only obvious one)–but I really enjoyed the tussle last night. I think 21d, the first one I solved, is my favourite. Many thanks to CS for all the resourceful reviews this year and to Kcit. May you both have the best Christmas possible.

  7. Enjoyed this but struggled with parsing 1d and 7d. Like Robert above I’m still unclear on 7, if anyone would be kind enough to help explain further I’d appreciate it. Many thanks to Kcit and CS and a very merry Christmas to all.

    1. 7d More impressive is ‘statelier’. – remove the ‘st’ (‘quiet’, i.e. exclamation requesting silence).

        1. I’ll own up to wondering about shatelier (though it doesn’t sound too good) and patelier

  8. Got there quite easily but there were three clues that I couldn’t parse properly.
    In 23a, I only had mewl as a synonym of whine and couldn’t account for the missing L.
    Had the felon in 17d but still don’t know what a lig is.
    As for the last one in 7d, I still can’t see the original word for more impressive.
    Liked the cryptic def in 9a and the arctic vehicle in 8d.
    Thanks to Kcit and to CS.
    Have a lovely Xmas eve.

      1. Thanks CS. When I put Lig party in the search engine nothing came up but I have now seen the definition in various dictionaries.

      2. I knew that a lighter was someone who gatecrashed a party cor free drinks, but wasn’t aware it was derived from the noun Lig.
        First time on this site. Looking forward to using it more. Mind you, I struggle with standard crosswords.
        Best wishes

  9. Don’t know about mid spectrum difficulty – bloody difficult in my book. Revealed 3 checkers & still needed the hints for a further 2 clues plus parsing explanations for a further 3 but it’s kept me entertained for the fag end of Boxing Day evening so belated thanks Kcit & of course to CS

  10. I can’t make 29 work. We appear to have a reversal of IRAGE in GROUS[e], unless I’m missing something.

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