Toughie 2571 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2571

Toughie no 2571 by proXimal

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

An enjoyable and solver-friendly Toughie from proXimal. I did search for a pangram as the grid is one of his ‘usual’ ones where the Xs appear in the black squares but the solutions are also missing a Z so just an ‘ordinary’ crossword this time

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Shattered toddler with a ted, who is fast asleep (4,2,3,5)
DEAD TO THE WORLD An anagram (shattered) of TODDLER A TED WHO

9a    Returned e-books in French subject (7)
SERVILE An adjective meaning subject is obtained by a reversal (returned) of E and the French work for books

10a    A guide saving good person in danger (2,5)
AT STAKE A (from the clue) and a verb meaning to guide into which is inserted an abbreviated ‘good person’

11a    It’d be bolder investing this fortune in pier (4)
LUCK If you insert this synonym for fortune into PIER, you’d get a word meaning bolder

12a    Woman in Bonn, Germany, controls half-hearted scammers (10)
FRAUDSTERS The German word for woman (as used in Bonn), the IVR code for Germany and another way of saying controls without its middle letter (half-hearted)

14a    Timid look on learner cutting wood (6)
YELLOW The archaic interjection meaning look goes after (on) the abbreviation for Learner and the result inserted into (cutting) a type of tree

15a    Empty seat by plane passage in flight (8)
STAIRWAY The outside (empty) letters of SeaT and a plane passage

17a    Eccentric quiet about a feasible formula (8)
EQUATION An anagram (eccentric) of QUIET and a synonym for feasible go about A (from the clue)

18a    One waiting at end of line left in fury (6)
ANGLER The abbreviation for Left inserted into some fury

21a    Unforeseen, spin backfiring for minister (10)
CHANCELLOR Something unexpected and a reversal (backfiring) of a verb meaning to spin

22a    Corrupt power ending struggle (4)
WARP The abbreviation for Power goes after (ending) a struggle

24a    Vagrant deliberates dropping rank food (7)
EDIBLES An anagram (vagrant) of DELIBErateS ‘dropping’ the synonym for the verb rank

25a    Trouble from rugby back, male covered in sweat (7)
TURMOIL A reversal (back) of the abbreviation for Rugby Union and the abbreviation for Male inserted into (covered in) some long hard work (sweat)

26a    Scabs of footballers tackling rest opening in eruptions (14)
STRIKEBREAKERS Some footballers taking on (tackling) a rest and the opening letter in Eruptions


1d    One representing skill in darts, fun sport (7)
DISPLAY Replace the synonym for skill found in DARTS with an I (one) and add a synonym for fun

2d    Farmer‘s current fad — invested in spun sugar trial (15)
AGRICULTURALIST The abbreviation for electrical current and a fad inserted into an anagram (spun) of SUGAR TRIAL

3d    Dog brush, perhaps (4)
TAIL A verb meaning to dog or follow or the part of a fox (for example) known as its brush


4d    Opinion of article on golden year (6)
THEORY A definite article, the heraldic term for gold and the abbreviation for Year

5d    Clear judge after getting caught for larceny originally (8)
EVACUATE Take a verb meaning to judge and replace the original letter of Larceny in that word with the cricket abbreviation for Caught

6d    Bugs over periods found under top of bin (10)
OBSESSIONS Some periods of time go under the abbreviation for Over and the ‘top’ of Bin

7d    Pages spring on adult, liberal individual doesn’t interfere (6,4,5)
LEAVES WELL ALONE Some pages of a book a spring, the abbreviations for Adult and Liberal and an individual

8d    Cattle turned eyes, rejecting bears (6)
JERSEY Hidden in reverse (turned) in eYES REJecting

13d    He painted abstract cole tit, taking over area in Bali (10)
BOTTICELLI An anagram (abstract) of COLE TIT ‘taking over’ or replacing the abbreviation for Area in BaLI

16d    Mix of alcohol in function before church (8)
COALESCE A particular type of alcohol inserted into a trigonometrical function; the result put before the abbreviation for Church of England

17d    Shun European school partners (6)
ESCHEW The abbreviation for European, the abbreviation for school and some bridge partners

19d    Light waves from slits covering staff not ordinary (7)
RIPPLES Some tears (slits) ‘covering’ a staff without (not) the abbreviation for Ordinary

20d    Headwear and neckwear, they’re used regularly (6)
BOATER A type of neckwear and the regular letters of ThEyRe

23d    Reduced coral at sea for marine inhabitant (4)
ORCA An anagram (at sea) of some ‘reduced’ CORAl

29 comments on “Toughie 2571

  1. While I cannot claim to have solved this proximal Toughie totally unaided, I did manage about 80% of it before resorting to electronic help. Getting two of the long ones (1a and 7d) immediately gave some checkers that allowed a toehold on the rest. The reverse lurker at 8d was very well hidden, I thought. Favourite clues from the ones I solved unaided are 12a, 26a and 4d.

    Many thanks, proXimal for the challenge and grateful thanks to Cryptic Sue for the hints.

  2. What a pleasant solve. Interrupted by a walk in the fields with Saint Sharon. I always enjoy a ProXimal puzzle. It wasn’t until I read CS’s review that I realised 8 down was a lurker. The same as Rossini in the Cryptic who’s lurkerishness I failed to spot. Ta to all

  3. I thought that proXimal was unusually benevolent today (and even wondered whether the puzzle was originally compiled as a Friday back-pager but got re-routed to the Toughie slot). I did enjoy it.
    My ticks went to 11a, 18a, 1d and 20d.
    Many thanks to proXimal and to CS.

  4. What a delightful Toughie which all fell into place steadily. When I was about three quarters of the way through I suspected that a proXimal signature pangram missing just an X was on the cards, and this actually held me up by searching for a non-existent Z with my last few answers.

    18a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to proXimal and to CS.

  5. Very enjoyable (and for me, all the more encouraging for being able to start off with a couple of gettable long words). Many thanks to proXimal and CS.

  6. My first Toughie! I’ve always been a bit daunted before, but this felt like a fairly kind introduction. I over-thought a few (and under-thought rather more), needed some hints and parsing help from crypticsue but feel pleased as punch to have got there! Thanks to setter and CS. Great fun!

    1. Congratulations Lorna – I think the Toughie tag puts off a lot of people from having a go and can subconsciously cause overthinking when in fact, exactly the same cryptic rules apply. Good on you for having a crack and succeeding

  7. I will admit to using a little help to get the anagram at 1a, just to get a foot in the door. But after that, it was all my own work, and completed in *** time.

    I was thinking that one or two synonyms were somewhat stretched, but, as usual, admitted that proXimal was right in the end.

    Podium places go to 11a and 18a today.

    Thanks to proXimal and CS.

  8. Really enjoyed the clever constructions in 11a, 1d and 13d.
    Agree about the difficulty level.
    Thanks to Proximal and to CS.

  9. This was another jigsaw puzzle for me; get the edges first then the rest falls into place. 18a was one of my last entries and my favourite. Overall this was a very doable Toughie but one that was long on enjoyment.

    Many thanks to proXimal for the fun and to CS.

  10. Strange how things occur to one’s brain – the long 26a plus those at 2&7d fell into place relatively easily but I spent a while sorting out the anagram fodder for 1a. Maybe it’s because my daughter reckons her toddler and baby never seem to reach the point of being 1a!
    Enjoyed this one and my stand-out favourite was 18a.

    Thanks to proXimal and to CS for the review.

  11. As always I needed Electronic help but found very enjoyable my own COTD was 12a. welcome Lorna and well said LetterboxRoy.

    Thankyou to proXimal and CryticSue

  12. Needed help for the last 4, thanks CS, then asked myself “why can’t you see when you know what to do?” Must be some sort of paranoia I guess. Of course took 4* time but having gritted the drive & snow falling outside it was a better option than the workshop.
    Thanks to ProXimal and CS.

  13. A real pleasure to solve with lots of nicely disguised definitions. We really appreciate this setters style of clue writing with lots of little pieces to unpick and an absence of obscurities.
    Thanks proXimal and CS.

    1. That’s over 50 years of touch typing. I’ve probably typed NEW many more times than I have HEW

  14. May I query the hint for 17a? Is this not simply an anagram of QUIET plus ON around A from the clue? No need to equate A with I (one) or have I misread this?

    1. I agree with you Mac. May I say how nicely you have raised this query. Thank you for that

  15. Great crossword & another one that I made hard work of after the early promise of the 4 long uns yielding quickly. Like RD the conviction that it was an X- less pangram so there must be a Z somewhere was a real hindrance for the last 4 in the NW & particularly after the P (my other missing one)had appeared finally in the SE. In the end I revealed the 1d/9a checker & the pennies dropped though I’m thoroughly ashamed to say I’d quite forgotten the French for books. The usual array of clever clues from this setter & I particularly liked the wordplay devices 1d & 11a which were my last 2 to fall.
    Thanks ProXimal & to CS

  16. I enjoyed this a lot, and quite miss proXimal now he’s on thursday’s – but hey, lockdown again with some more time.

    Thanks very much CS, i couldn’t see the art in darts for the life of me. I mean i can see the art in darts, a fine game – well, you know what i mean

  17. Didn’t have time yesterday, but completed this excellent , fairly benign , puzzle this morning. Thank you ProXimal. No ‘Z’ horrible trickster! 11a and 18a were my favourites.

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