Toughie 2565 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2565

Toughie No 2565 by Dada

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment ****

A proper Toughie on a Tuesday – what is the world coming to!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Soup: food served with ginger, sent back (7)
CHOWDER: a colloquial word for food followed by the reversal of ginger as a hair colour

10a    In the direction of a river, a desert (7)
ATACAMA: a word meaning “in the direction of” followed by the A from the clue, a river, and another A from the clue

11a    With principal made redundant, centre visited by head in large organisation (7)
OCTOPUS: start with a word meaning a central point, drop its initial letter (principal) and insert (visited by) a word meaning the head

12a    Stone with more grit, by the sound of it (7)
BOULDER: this large stone sounds like an adjective meaning with more grit

13a    Private sector inept, having dismissed popular reforms (3,6)
TOP SECRET: an anagram (reforms) of SECTOR [IN]EPT without (having dismissed) IN (popular)

15a    Dictator’s wet in command (5)
REIGN: sounds like (dictator’s) some wet precipitation

16a    Unseen, one observing another corrupt occultist in healer (7-8)
CURTAIN TWITCHER: a verb meaning to corrupt and a follower of the occult inside a healer – did you also waste time looking for an anagram (corrupt)?

21a    Feeling of resentment when card game curtailed (5)
PIQUE: drop the final letter (curtailed) from a card game

23a    Popular food primarily kept in freezer compartment? (3-6)
BOX-OFFICE: the initial letter (primarily) of F[ood] inside a freezer compartment (3,2,3)

25a    Striker with a ludicrous idea (7)
CHIMERA: a striker followed by the A from the clue

26a    One might be painted to blur a line (7)
TOENAIL: TO from the clue followed by an anagram (blur) of A LINE

27a    Cash in old coin is English (7)
REALISE: an old coin followed by IS from the clue and E(nglish)

28a    Guy in fleece working for soldier (7)
DRAGOON: a three-letter verb meaning to guy or tease inside a two-letter verb meaning to fleece or con followed by a two-letter word meaning working


1d    Apparently creative rhyme of sorts, the initials counting? (8)
ACROSTIC: a puzzle in which the first letters of each word spell another word

2d    God turning up in Lesser Antilles (4)
ARES: hidden (in) and reversed (turning up) inside the clue

3d    Bob chewed meat (6)
RABBIT: a, principally Scottish, affectionate term for Robert followed by a verb meaning chewed

4d    Month in government coming up, one’s spotted (6)
JAGUAR: a three-letter abbreviated month of the year inside the British government of India (1858–1947), all reversed (coming up in a down clue)

5d    Jam – might that be in one? (8)
SANDWICH: as an item of food, this might contain jam

6d    Vapid mogul on the radio? (6)
BARREN: sounds like (on the radio) a five-letter mogul

8d    Where ‘H’ or ‘C’ found, easily accessed (2,3)
ON TAP: does this need explanation?

9d    Flies are pulled up after donning immaculately pressed trousers, originally (7)
DIPTERA: the reversal (pulled up in a down clue) of ARE follows the initial letters (originally) of four words in the clue

14d    Print dash (3)
RUN: a double definition

17d    Give up blocking genuine compensation (8)
REQUITAL: a verb meaning to give up inside (blocking) a word meaning genuine

18d    Reportedly, strikes increase (3)
WAX: sound like (reportedly) a verb meaning strikes

19d    Up-end a baby feeder filled with very strong material (7)
TAFFETA: the reversal of the A from the clue and a baby feeder around the musical notation for very strong

20d    White fish after climb, flipping tail (8)
RIESLING: to get this white wine a type of fish follows a climb with its final two letters (tail) reversed (flipped)

21d    Good traveller, old rogue (6)
PICARO: a two-letter adjective meaning good is followed by a motor vehicle (traveller) and O(ld)

22d    Very cold with top off, holding you closer at night? (6)
EYELID: drop the initial letter (with top off) from an adjective meaning very cold and put what remains around an old-fashioned word for you

23d    Fire garment (6)
BLAZER: two definitions

24d    State I see breaking promise of union, once (5)
IDAHO: an exclamation meaning “I see” inside a marital promise (1,2)

26d    Handsome groom (4)
TIDY: two definitions

Several times I had to reverse-engineer the wordplay from the definition.  Solving this took me a tad more than I had bargained for, which has allowed no time for illustrations.


27 comments on “Toughie 2565

  1. I too was surprised to find an actual Toughie from Dada although I’d probably put it at about 2.5* on the Toughie difficulty spectrum. A very strange looking grid too.

    Thanks to Dada and BD

  2. The most enjoyable puzzle (so far) of the holiday period for me. Many thanks to Dada and BD.
    Lots of clues to like (and only two anagrams, which is always a bonus as far as I’m concerned). I picked out the following, all for their cleverly disguised definitions: 16a, 23a, 20d with 22d being my favourite.

  3. My stars must have been quite properly aligned in this brilliant Dada as I just sailed right through this one, though I did have to Google 16a to validate a phrase I’d never heard before. 18d, 23a, and 10a were highlights for me. Thanks to Big Dave and Dada, and Happy New Year to both of you.

  4. A genuine Toughie on a Tuesday and the second in three days from Dada – 3.5*/4.5*.
    I was really held up in the NE until I had a PDM on 12a although I had ‘pencilled in’ 3d but couldn’t quite convince myself that it had something to do with a small member of the Leporidae family.
    Favourite – a toss-up between 25a and 17d – and the winner is 25a.
    Thanks to Dada and BD.

  5. Agree – quite tough for a Tuesday. I thought 21d was what it was from the dim recesses of memory and the wordplay but couldn’t confirm it in my old Chambers [12th]: is it in the latest? I liked 23a and 22d but thought 5d was a bit feeble.
    Thanks to Dada and BD

    1. On 21d – yes and no – in the Revised 13th Edition, it is shown in the etymology of picaroon as follows ‘Sp picaron, augmentative of picaro rogue’

      1. Thanks Senf – I re-checked in my 12th Ed and it says the same thing. But it still isn’t a head-word. I’m blaming Chambers not Dada!

  6. Not for the first time South American geography was my undoing. After a lengthy tussle 10a remained & was initially convinced a K must be involved to complete the pangram & then chucked tamar in the middle only to find no such desert existed. The Cam did occur but gave up & revealed. Still now I know it was Dada I’m chuffed to have got so close without hints or a letter reveal although I did use the check if correct on a couple of occasions for 9&21d – both new to me & my first thought for the latter was Picard, as I believe he gets about a bit in space. Also need the review to parse 3d though ought to have worked it out for myself.
    Thoroughly enjoyed this Toughie. Found the east much tougher than the west & the NE the trickiest. Lots of great clues with 16&23a plus 4,18&22d the ones that particularly stood out for me.
    Many thanks to Dada & to BD.

  7. Sound start in the NW quadrant ,slow progress in the SW then the brick wall and the realisation that this was not the usual user friendly Tuesday Solve!
    Eventually finished the puzzle and agree with BD on a ****/****.-most enjoyable.
    21d was new to me and had to check it up.
    Have to agree that I too tried to find an anagram for 16a, the first word came quickly but needed the checking letters for the second.
    Favourite was 26a which eventually produced the D’oh moment-nicely misled- thanks DADA.

  8. The ‘ice cold’ word was new to me, I guess that is the root that the Australian ice cream derives from, via Italy.

  9. Needed to check on a few things – the desert, rogue and 22d adjective. Added to those, yes – I did try for an anagram at 16a and I had to work hard to convince myself of the synonym at 6d. It was something of a relief when the required god in 2d turned out to be one who’d popped up recently.
    Thank you for giving this 4* BD, I don’t feel quite so bad about it taking me a long time!

    Grudging thanks to Dada (thought you’d done your worst on Sunday!) and thanks to BD for the review.

  10. That was a most enjoyable slog, if that is possible. As our blogger says in his preamble, a proper Toughie that needed much unscrambling. I had to put it down halfway through as nothing was happening, but as always, the second sitting saw it completed.

    Many thanks to Dada for the considerable challenge and to BD.

  11. Solved first thing this morning with a ‘rather you than me’ feeling. Each clue solved offered checkers for another and slowly the grid was filled. A bit like a RayT back pager in the days before discovering this blog. Thanks to Dada for the fun and games and to Big Dave for the review. Can you turn the snow off now please? My iPad is filling up

  12. Thought about a pangram after getting a few obvious letters and it did help with 17d/21a in this extremely enjoyable toughie. When complete, I noticed that the V was missing.
    Hesitated a lot before writing my answer in 3d as it is more often eaten in France than in the UK unless meat has another meaning.
    Lots of great clues.
    Thanks to Dada and to BD.

  13. NE got me as well. The excellent hints put me straight, but had to reveal the desert.
    Quite satisfied to have got so far unaided.
    Happy new year to everyone

  14. A real Toughie on a Tuesday is an accurate description of how we found this puzzle. As Dada is always such fun it just means that the fun lasts longer. It was the SE sector that held us up the longest.
    Great enjoyment and really appreciated.
    Thanks Dada and BD.

  15. A chasm in difficulty level between this and the back pager but a very fair Toughie that eventually yielded after a long tussle and a little electronic help especially in the NE.
    Some fabulous clues, with 16,23& 26a plus 3&22d standing out for me along with my favourite, 20d.
    Many thanks to Dada and to BD for the explanations, and a happy New Year to both.

  16. A recent lurker here. As is so often the case with the tougher crosswords, I’m stuck by my lack of word knowledge. I could see what the clue wanted but I didn’t know the word(s) necessary to finish it off. I’ve never heard of picaro nor whatever the very cold word is; I didn’t know that a large organisation is called that; the list goes on sadly. I blame it on my lack of education! I was the first comprehensive year in my area and went to the old secondary modern as a middle school and then a new upper school that was still being built when I left 5 years later. The only grammar was during French and German lessons and we all failed the latter o’level, as the top set in the year. Thank you all, especially BD for this wonderful site, for helping me to learn at last, every day in every way …

  17. Enjoyed this one and managed all but 21d without help. Hope for many more such challenges in 2021.

Comments are closed.