Toughie 2585 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2585

Toughie No 2585 by Dada

Hints and tips by Miffypops

I’m not here to be perfect. I’m here to be me

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

Good morning from Barrel. Today Dada has supplied us with a true Toughie. Definitions and synonyms are stretched to the limit in this tantalising puzzle. I found it a pleasure to tease out the answers one by one relying on wordplay, definitions and if nothing else fits it must be right so bung it in’ to fill the lights.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        Rubbery chop fed through lips of cabby (5)
CHEWY: The word chop here is a verb meaning to cut. It sits inside the outer letters (lips) of the word cabby

4a        Criticise  bill (5)
SLATE: A double definition. The second maybe being marked up in a pub for a customer who has ‘left my wallet at home’

10a      Cold, as night unfortunately closes in — bitter (8)
SCATHING: An anagram (unfortunately) of AS NIGHT encompasses the abbreviation for cold

11a      Country road almost accessing school (6)
POLAND: A pretty narrow road minus its last letter is surrounded by a school. Of Dolphins perhaps

12a      Wrong, like server (6)
ASTRAY: A short word meaning like is followed by a platter used to serve drinks or food

13a      Meticulous, but imprecise (8)
THOROUGH: Split 3,5 We have an informal conjunction of the word though (but) which is followed by an adjective meaning not precise or approximate

14a      Fairy story with frog, perhaps? (7)
WHOPPER: The abbreviation for with is followed by a word describing a frog by using its means of perambulation

16a      General system for play (6)
LEEWAY: An American general who did whatever generals did hundreds of years ago is followed by a system or method

17a      Article and edict from Greek city (6)
THEBAN: Begin with a three-letter article. Add a decree such as a veto or embargo

19a      Something flat in the sky, pie thrown about in Texas, say? (7)
STRATUS: Reverse a flat open pie that may contain  a sweet or savoury filling and place it within the abbreviation of the compass bearing locating Texas within the United States of America and the abbreviation of United States

21a      Award garlands in a witty conversation (8)
BADINAGE:  1 a small piece of metal, plastic, or cloth bearing a design or words, typically worn to identify a person or to indicate membership of an organization or support for a cause. Or 2 a distinguishing object or emblem. Either of which may be made as an award sits around or ‘garlands’ the words in a from the clue

22a      Hot teas brewed well (6)
STEAMY:   An anagram (brewed) of TEAS is followed by an exclamation such as well, cor, blimey, or golly bongs

23a      Veteran in shock losing heart (6)
STAGER: Remove the central letter from a verb meaning to astonish or deeply shock

24a      Emotional brute cut defending punch (8)
TOUCHING: A rough or violent man losses his last letter and surrounds a synonym of the word punch

25a      Associate dropping head, glower? (5)
EMBER: A person belonging to a particular group or club losses his or her first letter. Glowing hot. Not glowering menacingly

26a      Flash Scottish author (5)
SPARK: A double definition. The Scottish novelist was born in Edinburgh and died in Florence


2d        Cuttings from this item witnessed by journalist? (7)
HACKSAW: This all in one clue can be answered by placing a word meaning observed or witnessed after a journalist who writes dull unoriginal work

3d        Untidy drawer with big tool on top of enormous spanner (8,6)
WATERLOO BRIDGE: An anagram (untidy) of DRAWER BIG TOOL followed by the abbreviation for enormous will lead you to this London landmark

5d        Boat less likely to sink? (7)
LIGHTER: Supposedly this boat is not heavy enough to sink

6d        An arm and a leg work on puppet covered in sticky substance (3,6)
TOP DOLLAR: A three part charade with instructions. The regular abbreviation for a musical work is followed by a synonym of the word puppet. Together these are surrounded by the sticky stuff that binds road making materials together. The answer as a phrase means the highest possible price

7d        Piece of eight in your pocket (4)
TINY: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. The words piece of tell us so

8d        Higgledy-piggledy  of aisles? (3,4,3,4)
ALL OVER THE SHOP: A double definition. The second being where the many aisles might be found in a large department store

9d        Good filling a hole up in puzzle (6)
ENIGMA: Begin with the letter A kindly donated by our setter. Add a hole used for the extraction of mineral wealth from the earth. Reverse what you have and insert the abbreviation for the word good

15d      Star name prodding female and male animals (9)
PENTAGRAM: Begin with a female animal of the avian kind. End with a male animal of the ovine kind. Insert a nickname or description popularly given to someone or something

18d      Warm salt (6)
HEARTY: A double definition. The first being well in mind and body. The second being a sailor

19d      Dog: one in kennel briefly? (7)
SHELTIE: A place providing protection from bad weather needs its last letter removing and the letter that looks like the number one inserting

20d      Princesses welcoming me being upset in class (7)
SEMINAR:  Place the word me (from the clue) inside the plural of Hindu princess and reverse (upset) all of what you have

22d      Bird sending others skyward? (4)
SKUA: These short winged diving seabirds when reversed or sent skywards make another bird altogether. This time a large predatory seabird which pursues other seabirds to steal fish they have caught


22 comments on “Toughie 2585

  1. Yes I loved this. Every egg a bird, as we used to say. Just hard enough for me.

  2. It took me a while fiddling with the dial, but once I found the wavelength it went together fairly smoothly. Thanks to MP and the setter
    PS I think you only want to underline the last word of 7D

  3. Waltzed through the north. Utterly befuddled in the south. Maybe a walk and a return to it later will do the trick otherwise I’ll be needing your help with quite a few Miffs

  4. Fought with this all morning and gave up on last 3 as the blog came on line. My problem was that for 17a I had Thebes not Theban so 15d was was 25 a.
    I liked 22d, an old chestnut, and was proud to remember the creator of Miss Jean Brodie in 26a.
    My COTD is 14 a.
    Thanks to Dada and Miffypops who, like Mary Poppins is, despite his protestations, perfect in every way!

    1. I have enlarged and printed off your final paragraph JB. Saint Sharon will be so pleased to see it in every room of our house

  5. “Definitions and synonyms are stretched to the limit in this tantalising puzzle”. I agree, which is why I would have given it four stars for difficulty.

  6. I’m glad it’s not just me then. I found this very tough, and it took me way beyond the time I would normally take. Yet when I had finished, there was nothing obscure or terribly difficult, so it was just fiendish clueing and great misdirection. Luckily the weather is so awful I persevered. Very challenging but ultimately rewarding. 22d was my favourite.

    Thanks indeed to Dada and MP.

  7. Defeated by SW corner… had COVID jab yesterday and was up all night with fever so maybe brain not working.
    Lots of good clues, don’t do favourites.
    Thanks to MP for 19ac and d which both were beyond me and thanks to Dada for the workout.

  8. If this is the easy toughie of the week, I’ve got no chance by Friday! Managed about a third but the rest beyond my current level of solving. Attempting it passed a goodly time waiting for first coat of paint to dry in bathroom, so all not lost. Thanks everyone.

  9. I was very happy to have completed just under 2/3 of it – almost all of the north, not so many in the south. Kicking myself about 17a as I’d thought of Thebes but never got to Theban. Oh well!
    Thank you for the very helpful hints, at least I understood all those which isn’t alway the case!

  10. Major hold up in the South (W) when I entered Ingle for 25a thinking mingle for associate. Finally resorted to the hints for 15d and then corrected 17a etc etc. So a DNF from me but an enjoyable tussle. Thanks to MP for the rescue and Dada for a proper toughie.

  11. I too had the city not the person from it. Solved 21a, 23a, 25a and 15d with the hints although I was a mile away from 15d. Had the right answer to 20d AND had the princesses and me backwards but was looking for the wrong sort of class. Oh dear there’s no hope really. Thanks to Dada and particularly to Miffypops for proving to me that I’m not as clever as other people seem to think I am.

  12. My earlier comment seems to have vanished, but here I go again. I really enjoyed this Dada Toughie, which I finished without any aids last night before doing the backpager. So much to admire here, especially 22d, 21a, and 20d, which was my LOI and my COTD. Thanks to MP and Dada.

  13. Talk about a game of two halves. A late night return to this & by golly the south was tough. Finished it but needed to use 3 separate letter reveals & then the hints for 15d (had the animals but not the tag), 19a & 19d (never heard it called that). An enjoyable tussle the highlight of which for me was when I eventually got Muriel having mentally trawled through just about everybody & anybody who’s ever put pen to paper.
    Thanks to Dada & to MP

  14. The SE was my sticking point, I thought I was up on my canine types but had to do a reveal for 19d and being a delicate blossom didn’t think of chin for punch. Everything else was tightly clued and gave a lot of pleasure when I winked out the answer. What am I going to do about my b——y knee ? four months now and the pain is awful again. Anyway, a cup of drinking chocolate, a digestive biscuit and Dada have kept my mind off it for an hour and tomorrow we have the three birds to look forward to. When oh when will we be able to meet our friends, go to a nice restaurant, nip up to London? The news is just getting worse. Thanks MP for sorting me out and good luck with getting St Sharon to agree to Mr Perfect signs in every room.

  15. Needed the hints to get the witty conversation and the star.
    Haven’t been defeated by Dada for a long time before that. I thought I knew him better.
    Thanks to him and to MP for rescuing me.

  16. I parsed 3d very slightly differently, in that I don’t think that the final E is an abbreviation of ‘enormous’ but its initial letter, i.e., ‘top’ in a down clue.

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