Toughie 2566 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2566

Toughie No 2566 by Django

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

This annus horribilis is drawing to a close so may I wish everyone a Safer and Happier 2021.

Thanks to Django for a pretty gentle Toughie. Some of the clues are rather wordy but the wordplay of all is clear and the puzzle has been put together without any obscurities, which earns applause from me.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.

Across Clues

1a Driver should check this contest with newspaper after engineers fail to start car? (4-4,6)
REAR-VIEW MIRROR: a verb to contest, the abbreviation for ‘with’ and a UK daily all follow our army engineers and ‘car’ without its starting letter.
rear-view mirror

9a Flash, grand sedan (7)
GLITTER: the abbreviation for grand and the sort of sedan that’s carried aloft.

10a Chaps regularly tucked into food made from mould (3-4)
DIE-CAST: put the odd letters of chaps inside one’s choice of food.

11a Warm up inside with a whiskey (4)
THAW: hidden. I’m not sure why the US/Irish spelling of the spirit is used.

12a Careless Greeks fined right away for critical points (5-5)
KNIFE-EDGES: an anagram (careless) of G[r]EEKS FINED.

14a A poltergeist making ordinary adult horrified (6)
AGHAST: start with A and what a poltergeist is then change the abbreviation of ordinary to that of adult.

15a When people retire some workers will retain former government department money (8)
BEDTIMES: some industrious workers contain a former UK government department (DTI) and the abbreviation for money.

17a Without principles he is one up as American returns to generate tension (8)
SUSPENSE: remove the first letters from each word of ‘he is one up as’, add a 2-letter abbreviation for American and reverse the lot.

18a Gets on committees (6)
BOARDS: double definition.

21a Radio is becoming focus of syllabus for linguist (10)
TRANSLATOR: start with a type of radio (now largely superseded) and change ‘IS’ to the two central letters of ‘syllabus’.

22a Lawyer content to leave burglars’ fingerprints (4)
DABS: stick together a prosecuting US lawyer and just the outer letters of ‘burglars’.

24a Ultimately Ed Sheeran’s naked, dancing with date — it’s one way to describe him (7)
REDHEAD: an anagram (dancing) of [e]D and the inner letters of [s]HEERA[n] is followed by the abbreviation for date.

25a Flow out from faucet an American turned partially (7)
EMANATE: hidden in reverse.

26a Last of specials on menu is so complicated — including shelled oysters leads to incomprehensibility (14)
MYSTERIOUSNESS: the last letter of specials follows an anagram (complicated) of MENU IS SO. Finally insert the inner letters of [o]YSTER[s].

Down Clues

1d Watch half-cut group of drivers welcoming non-drinker for race meeting (7)
REGATTA: the first half of a verb to watch and one of our motoring support groups include the abbreviation for non-drinker.

2d Raising stock value after banks withdraw supply with many brands hit briefly (6,9)
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY: an anagram (supply) of [v]ALU[e] MANY BRANDS HI[t].

3d Video’s margins upset film franchise (4)
VOTE: glue together the outer letters of video and the reversal of Spielberg’s popular film.

4d Queen on currency charge (6)
ERRAND: our Queen’s cipher precedes an African currency.

5d Changed — assuming the writer’s in fashion with a bit of denim (8)
MODIFIED: a conjunction meaning ‘assuming’ and a pronoun the writer uses of himself go inside a synonym of fashion. Finish with the first letter of denim.

6d 1 Across shows you this — ignoring France — European investment reveals what most politicians desire (2-8)
RE-ELECTION: start with what you see if you look into a 1a, remove the IVR code for France and insert the abbreviation for European.

7d Surprisingly, most of army deem granola a breakfast favourite (6,9)
ORANGE MARMALADE: an anagram (surprisingly) of ARM[y] DEEM GRANOLA A.

8d Arrest son once secret police force launches (6)
STASIS: the abbreviation for son is preceded by the secret police force of the old East Germany.

13d Judgement sent masses haywire (10)
ASSESSMENT: an anagram (haywire) of SENT MASSES.

16d Perhaps Cuban lives with both sides of lovable rogue at the start (8)
ISLANDER: knit together a verb meaning lives or exists, both sides of lovable (1,3,1) and the first letter of rogue.

17d Succeeded with a fit, heavenly body (6)
SATURN: paste together the genealogical abbreviation for succeeded, A and a fit or sudden feeling of illness.

19d Procedures coming from case of scurvy — crew losing one on board ship (7)
SYSTEMS: start with the outer letters of scurvy then insert a crew or squad without the letter that can mean one into our usual abbreviation for ship.

20d Throw up chocolate bar by the sound of it — getting jacket … (6)
BOLERO: reverse a verb to throw up and add what sounds like the proprietary name of a chocolate bar.

23d … spoils chocolate bar (4)
MARS: double definition, the second what is supposed to help you work, rest and play.

My podium today contains 11a, 14a and 21a. Which clue(s) did you appreciate?


31 comments on “Toughie 2566

  1. Very gentle but enjoyable. I agree that several of the clues seemed wordy (1a, 26a, 6d). Thanks to Django and Gazza.

  2. An exceedingly gentle crossword but very enjoyable so I’ll forgive the lack of Toughness. I didn’t mind the wordy clues as they all told such lovely stories

    Thanks to Django and Gazza

  3. Very enjoyable except, perhaps, for 3d – LOI and it took quite a while for the penny to drop on the usage of franchise, completed at a Toughie gallop – 2.5*/3.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 14a, 1d, and 20d – and the winner is 20d.
    Thanks to Django and Gazza – I didn’t know that Morse moonlighted as a QC!

  4. Don’t know about exceedingly but agree it was a good deal gentler than yesterday’s examination. The wordiness didn’t spoil my enjoyment in the least. Pleased to finish fairly quickly (for me) & with all parsed (I think) for a change but the review may put me right on that score. Liked the 1a/6d combo which got me started plus the choc bar homophone at 20d.
    Thanks to Django & to Gazza.

    1. Correction- after reading the review & Django’s reply to RD I was nowhere near parsing 17a correctly

  5. Rather like doing a jigsaw, completing the outside clues meant that the internal grid could be finished in good time. All was fairly clued and eminently solvable. 14a was my top clue.

    Thanks to Django and Gazza.

  6. I’m with CS and Huntsman. Django’s surfaces are quite exemplary in [mostly] reading like ordinary/demotic English and if that means an extra word or 2 I’m all for it. This one was on the easy side but also enormous fun. Favourites are 11a [perfect surface and perfect logic] 15a [perfect again] 22a [content to leave!] 2d [as clever as anagram clues get].

    Many thanks Django [more like this please] and thanks to Gazza for the blog.

  7. Hello all. Long time reader, second or third time commenter.

    You’ve said that Django was today’s setter but Dave Gorman has claimed it on Twitter. Believe his setter name is Bluth. Is this a mix up or have I just missed something?!

    FWIW 17a, 22a and 3d my favourites.

    Keep up the good work,

  8. Bunged in and solved in reverse for quite a few clues. I might have parsed 26 across successfully had I shelled the oyster instead of discarding the contents. The wordiness of some clues stood out but as CS has commented it didn’t detract from the enjoyment. Ta to all.

  9. I was a great fan of this setter when his puzzles appeared elsewhere earlier this year. However, these clues are generally wordy and some of the innovative sparkle previously shown is missing. For me, the clues that work best are generally the shorter ones: 4d, 13d, 23d and, my favourite, 14a.

    Wordy clues can be fine as long as the surfaces and wordplay don’t suffer as a result. Although the wordplay here is fine (apart from 17a) and a lot of the surface readings are good, some are rather stretched, e.g.: 1a, 17a, 26a & 6d.

    I couldn’t parse 17a, but now, having read the review, I understand why. Surely it needs to be “without principals…”, which would render meaningless an already strange surface.

    Thanks to Django and to Gazza.

      1. :oops: I stand corrected. Sorry about that. I had forgotten that was the principal meaning of principle.

        1. There you go… now all you have to do is imagine some sporting contest in which someone who is cheating – or in other ways, lacking principles – goes one point (game/set) ahead just as an American rejoins the game. Surely that’s a situation that would generate tension.

  10. An enjoyable Toughie. Re: 11a, I think the spelling of whiskey is that used in the NATO phonetic alphabet (I’m sure I learned that from this site).

        1. I know some people would rather drink whisky than whiskey but I think we’d all agree that either would warm you up!

  11. I agree it was a bit wordy but with care, an answer could be deduced. I am obliged to like the workers in 15a but 1a and the nice lurker at 25a join my podium. I missed the last Bluth offering so will go and have a look at it now.
    This was quite a toughie but I enjoyed the tussle.
    Thanks to Gazza and Django

  12. Most enjoyable. Finished last night without any electronic assistance, though I did need Gazza’s help in parsing 17a. Django has made a very interesting distinction between ‘principle’ and ‘principal’, which I had wondered about (see his comment at 10 above), and I suspect we encounter that meaning in such expressions as ‘first principles’, as in fundamental sources or bases of things. Anyway, I think that’s my COTD. Many thanks to Gazza and Django, and Happy New Year to both of you.

  13. A very enjoyable and friendly puzzle that I really needed today.

    However, the image of Ed Sheeran is something I’d rather avoid. Need to discuss with Django.

  14. I do like when clues tell a little story, so that was right up my alley.
    Remembered the former government department on Victoria Street when Michael Heseltine was at the helm.
    I suppose you have to know that Ed Sheeran is ginger haired to get 24a though.
    Thanks to Django for the fun and to Gazza for the review.
    Love the politician / nappy joke. Our health minister just said that the best way to celebrate the new year is to not celebrate the new year.
    Have a good time nonetheless.

  15. I feel this setter’s style is a little unconventional, which can lead to some lengthy surfaces. Having said that I thought this, along with his previous puzzle, was great fun to solve, though some of the solutions required a fair bit of reverse engineering for me.
    As for difficulty, it took me almost twice as long as the back pager so definitely a “Toughie” in my book.
    The excellent 14a was my favourite and is joined on the podium by 5&20d.
    Many thanks and a Happy New Year to Django and Gazza.

  16. The reference in 15a was of course totally unknown to us but we got the clue sorted despite this.
    An enjoyable solve for us where many of the answers we were able to deduce from the definition and them work out the wordplay. All good fun.
    Thanks Django and Gazza.

  17. I seem to be in the minority but I dislike wordy clues. For me, the last word of 26a sums them up. That said, I filled the grid correctly without assistance but, in several cases, I got the answer from the checkers and the wordplay and, that done, couldn’t be bothered to parse it.

  18. Bit late with this but catching up today. Re 11a, in thr phonetic alphabet it contains an E.

  19. Thanks to Django and to Gazza for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, just needed the hints for 24a and 20d. Great fun not too difficult. Favourite was 1a.

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