Toughie 2597 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2597

Toughie No 2597 by Silvanus

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Silvanus has definitely settled in to the, usually Floughie, Tuesday slot and, 21 Down apart, this was an easy solve. I would be interested to know if non-UK solvers knew about the cartoon couple in 8 Down.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Gather where spectators seek refuge in bad weather? (10)
UNDERSTAND: when split as (5,5) this could be where spectators seek refuge in bad weather

6a    Necklace of spun carat gold breaks (4)
TORC: the heraldic term for gold goes inside (breaks) the reversal (spun) of the abbreviation for carat

9a    Cook coaching adult off to make dumplings (7)
GNOCCHI: an anagram (cook) of CO[a]CHING without the abbreviation for A(dult)

10a    Discretion to delay when clubs will appear for sale (7)
AUCTION: start with a word meaning discretion and move the C(lubs) along a couple of places (delay when … will appear)

12a    Additional drink, soft and clear, having no head (13)
SUPPLEMENTARY: a charade of a three-letter verb meaning to drink, the musical notation for soft and an adjective meaning clear or basic without (having no) its initial letter (head)

14a    Native American greeting some at first indifferently (6)
ANYHOW: a native American greeting preceded by (at first) a word meaning some

15a    Flipping excellent mushrooms eaten by the French in particular (8)
ESPECIAL: two letters indicating excellent and some mushrooms go inside (eaten by) the French definite article, all reversed (flipping)

17a    Impetuous youngster not at home following meal, right? (8)
TEARAWAY: a four-letter word meaning not at home is preceded by a meal and R(ight)

19a    Misses southern singer holding nothing back (6)
AVOIDS: S(outhern) and a female singer around (holding) O (nothing), all reversed (back)

22a    It’s used to gather material from pain athlete experiences? (7,6)
RUNNING STITCH: this could be the pain experienced by an athlete

24a    Tool to measure energy new refrigerator initially consumes (7)
SPANNER: a verb meaning to measure in a particular way is followed by E(nergy) inside (consumes) N(ew) and the initial letter of R[efrigerator]

25a    Country each artist urged regularly to visit (7)
ERITREA: EA(ch) around (to visit) the even letters (regularly) of two words in the clue

26a    Hit, scratched by careless dart (4)
DASH: start with an eight-letter word meaning careless and drop the four-letter word meaning to hit

27a    Bird, extremely tame, adopted by Hotel Four Seasons? (10)
HONEYEATER: the outer letters (extremely) of T[am]E inside (adopted by) H(otel) and a phrase meaning all four seasons (3,4)


1d    Encourage son to steer clear of medical profession (4)
URGE: drop (steer clear of) the letters of SON from a medical profession

2d    Visits young lad disheartened after fielding mistakes (5,2)
DROPS BY: a young lad without his middle letter (disheartened) comes after some fielding (in cricket) mistakes

3d    Return of actor in epic, or performing … (13)
RECIPROCATION: an anagram (performing) of ACTOR IN EPIC OR

4d    … play that’s of little importance? (6)
TRIFLE: two definitions

5d    Narrow escape from weapon, one that cuts head (4,4)
NEAR MISS: a weapon and I (one) inside (cuts) a headland

7d    Occasionally coercing Nancy’s friend to display Eastern art (7)
ORIGAMI: the even letters (occasionally) of a word in the clue followed by the French (Nancy is a French city) for friend

8d    Something insubstantial about Capp married couple succeeded attracting readers ultimately (10)
CANDYFLOSS: a delightful charade of the single-letter Latin abbreviation for about, the husband and wife cartoon Capps (4 and 3), S(ucceeded) and the final letter (ultimately) of [reader]S

11d    Wild overreaction describing student’s debut in music school (13)
CONSERVATOIRE: an anagram (wild) of OVERREACTION around (describing) the initial letter (debut) S[tudent]

13d    Reportedly got mounting hope when a wound was treated thus? (10)
CAUTERISED: four letters that sound like (reportedly) a word meaning got followed by the reversal (mounting) of a hope

16d    Agreed to go north without new angora jumper (8)
KANGAROO: a two-letter word meaning agreed is reversed (to go north in a down clue) around (without) an anagram (new) of ANGORA

18d    Garden plants in books (7)
ANNUALS: two definitions – plants that only last for one year and books that come out each year

20d    Succeed with current blockbuster about the Queen (7)
INHERIT: a two-letter word meaning current followed by a blockbuster around the Queen’s regnal cipher

21d    Jobs for one told to pack ship tightly (6)
STEEVE: The fact that Jobs is a surname is concealed by it being capitalised as the first word in the clue – sounds like (told) the first name of the late entrepreneur Jobs.

23d    Broadway musical that Yul Brynner abandoned? (4)
HAIR: Yul Brynner abandoned this for his role in The King and I

I did have to confirm the answer to 21 Down in the BRB, but it is obvious once the wordplay has been identified.


47 comments on “Toughie 2597

  1. Needed to check 21d otherwise a gentle start to Toughie week. 23d made me laugh. Thanks to BD and Silvanus.

  2. Lovely – no gimmicks, no themes, just 28 well-crafted and smooth individual puzzles to solve. Thanks to Silvanus and to BD for the review.
    My ticks went to 10a, 26a, 27a and (what a brilliant spot!) 8d.

  3. What a delight! For anyone who doubt the importance of surface readings, they should savour the smoothness of each and every one of these clues.

    The first three quarters went in relatively quickly, but the SW corner put up quite a fight, including the parsing of 26d for which the penny seemed to be suspended in mid-air for a very long time. The answers to 6a & 21d were new words for me but readily derivable from the wordplay.

    1a chimes with me as lifelong cricket follower given the amount of time I have been forced to gather there over the years.

    Selecting a podium choice from such a good selection was a tough task, with 1a, 8d (my favourite), 11d & 21d eventually getting the nod.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to BD.

  4. Failed to parse 13d and completely off target with 21d, but otherwise most enjoyable.
    Thanks to Silvanus and BD.

  5. Ditto on 21d. Otherwise a very enjoyable start to the Toughie week at just the right level – 2*/3.5* (sorry, 21d cost 0.5* on the enjoyment).
    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 1d, and 18d – and the winner is 1a.
    Thanks to Silvanus and BD.

  6. Wasn’t sure about clues like 1d and 10a. where one really had to guess the answer and then manipulate the clue.
    27a was clever but I really liked 16d. and 23d
    I suppose 21d is the root of stevedore.

  7. What brilliant fun. Every clue was a gem, perhaps with the exception of 21d, but the quality of the rest of the grid more than made up for that one miscue. 1a and the exceptional 8d were my favourites. This was a real treat to start the Toughie week.

    My thanks to Silvanus and BD.

  8. Enjoyed this, needed some thought but it all came good in the end, 21d last in.
    Thanks to setter.
    Thanks for review.
    PS cartoon is syndicated in the New York Times and a lot of papers worldwide.

  9. Such a pleasure to get a puzzle from a setter who still cares about smooth surface reads, sadly that seems to be viewed as being of less importance these days.
    Not sure that I would put it in the ‘floughie’ category but I suppose we all have our own parameters.
    21d was a new word for me but I quite enjoyed researching its derivation along with that of the somewhat similar stevedore.
    Very packed podium here with 1,10,14,22&27a jostling for position alongside 8&13d.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the enjoyment and to BD for the review – any chance of getting up the list of Toughie setters for the rest of the week?

  10. Like others, I found this a hugely enjoyable puzzle, but for me more than ** in difficultly. I needed all of the checkers in 8d and a stab in the dark to figure out what was going on, and in addition to not knowing the ship packing in 21d, it took me a long time to track down the bird in 27a. The SW corner held me up for a while until 13d came into focus (such a clever clue) and I was away and running again. Many thanks to Silvanus and Big Dave.

    1. A very pleasant start to the day and the Toughie week. The bird and the boat packer held me up at the end but not for too long. I do like puzzles from Silvanus.

  11. I’m in the “I think I made harder work of this than should have” camp this afternoon. Nonetheless enjoyable for that though. SW was last to go in but once I had a couple of checkers I finished it at a respectable jog. I wasn’t helped by having the wrong two letter word for 2d, which I couldn’t parse but 13d sorted that out. Favourite was 8d. Many thanks to Silvanus and BD.

  12. A great puzzle, where I learnt a couple of new words in 21d and the bird in 27a.
    Can anyone explain why, if I check the box for follow-up comments, no email notifications ever seem to occur?
    Thanks in advance, and thanks to setter and hinter!

    1. Hi Jules,
      Let’s try.
      You only get a notification if someone replies to your comment.
      The other box informs you of the next posts.

      1. Thanks for trying.
        I make sure all three boxes are checked.
        Your reply just now never was notified by email. Just looked at the blog again to see if anyone had replied.
        Maybe BD can throw some light on it.
        (All three boxes are definitely checked now!)

          1. Thanks for replying. I have checked that in the past. Just looked again…. Nothing there.
            Just logged in to the online puzzles page. I see what you all mean. Can’t read any of the clues. Page won’t rotate either, even though it’s enabled.
            I’ll persevere with the paper version; just have to get stronger specs and an interrogation lamp for the weekend!

            1. It could be that the emails are going to an incorrect address; is your log on email address displayed here your correct address?
              BD will be able to verify if you ask him nicely!

              1. I’ve delved deeper into subscriptions. I thought I did all this a few years ago, but maybe not.
                I’ve sent a Mayday request to the powers that be, so hopefully I should get it sorted. Thx for your help

                  1. I think I’ve sorted it today. Towards the bottom of the subscriptions page (miscellaneous, then others….) there is a submit button. Put your email address in, then submit. Mine then said I had too many submissions to continue. Follow instructions and you will get an email which gives you a link to your WordPress page. There I found lots of submissions going back 3 years which needed to be confirmed. I confirmed BDs site. I hope it’s going to work!

  13. I’d echo the RD’s opening comment. Didn’t find this as ‘floughie’ as some & went to the hints 2 shy of a finish. Was nowhere near twigging Mr Jobs at 21d (stevedore had occurred even though nowt to do with it) but most annoyingly didn’t work out the bird, which I’d not heard of, from the wordplay. Remembered Andy but wouldn’t have got his wife’s name in a quiz without the help of the clue. Not sure how you narrow it down to a podium with so many contenders but I particularly liked 14&26a plus the witty 23d.
    Many thanks Silvanus & to BD for the review.

  14. Completed in long 3* time. Spent a few minutes googling Native American tribes with the three checkers I had before the penny dropped. 21d unknown to me, but not anymore! Across favourite 14 because it was the last in, and down favourite 8, the cartoon being the only thing ever worth reading in the Daily Mirror when I was younger. Great clues Silvanus, good hints BD, thanks to all.

  15. Might have been floughie for the first 75% but the last quarter was really hard to get into.
    Only had the T in 13d and needed a leap of faith to get 22a, 24a,26a and finally 14a. Wasn’t sure about the double def in 18d as I thought that the books were called Annals. Wasn’t sure if to span was to measure in 24a and having nothing in 26a, I don’t know how slapdash came to mind but it paid off.
    Had the wrong ending in 2d and even if I thought unlikely that this setter would clue the lad as Ian without it’s central letter , it still took me a long time to get it right.
    All in all a perfect toughie living up to it’s name.
    Thanks to Silvanus and to BD for the review.

  16. I thought this was outstanding, perfectly pitched for a Tuesday Toughie, certainly more difficult than this setter’s back pagers but just as entertaining.
    I’ve highlighted 1a plus 1,8,13&16d as podium contenders but could have mentioned several others.
    Many thanks to Silvanus and BD for the top notch entertainment.

  17. 21d was a new word for us and was our last one in. The couple in 8d are familiar enough in this corner of the world so not a problem there.
    An absolute joy to solve with such beautifully put together clues.
    Thanks Silvanus and BD.

  18. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to leave comments and to BD for his Hints and Tips. I think a small tweak is required for 8d though, as the last two words of the clue have been omitted.

    27a was my own personal favourite and, although I normally try to steer clear of obscure words, the homophone opportunity in 21d was too compelling to resist. I’m pleased 8d was generally liked, it’s the sort of clue that wouldn’t be considered fair game in a back-pager but which is okay for a Toughie!

    1. Thank you silvanus. As someone who is very much a beginner with Toughies it was great to have a doable one. I finally got 21d just as I was about to give up and check the hints. I don’t have a favourite clue as I thought they were all brilliant!

    2. Thanks for pleasantly helping to pass a painful night. With a cup of hot chocolate and two digestive biscuits (even though buying McVities puts money into the pocket of that irritating young man from Chelsea) and the joy of finishing a toughie I’m a happier bunny. Did get stuck on the bird though. Never liked Andy Capp but liked the clue and 9a, 6a, 17a well, they were all first class. Thanks for sorting out the elusive bird for me Big Dave – a completed grid. Yeay.

  19. Thanks to Silvanus and to Big Dave for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but found bits of it very tricky. Had the second word of 2d wrong, which made 14a impossible. Also needed the hints for 21d & 27a. My favourite was 6a, but 22a made me laugh. Nice puzzle. Was 2*/3* for me.

  20. Thank you, Silvanus and Big Dave. I accidentally woke up too early this morning, saw who the Toughie was by, and decided to give it a go — and was glad I did.

    It was a bonus to learn the name of Mrs Capp, and what Yul Brynner was famous for — as well as now having 21d to casually drop into conversation the next time we’re trying to fit our holiday packing into our suitcases.

    I particularly liked 1d’s spectators and 11d’s overreactions; my favourite was 27a’s Hotel Four Seasons.

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