Toughie 2603 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2603

Toughie No 2603 by Firefly

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty Enjoyment ***

Firefly’s turn to provide the Thursday crossword – most enjoyable while it lasted

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Crush on street making late news (4,5)
STOP PRESS A verb meaning to crush goes on or after the abbreviation for street

8a    Five-and-three, say, in old money? (6,2,5)
PIECES OF EIGHT The two numbers at the start of the clue could be described as this mathematically

11a    No more time for public (5)
OVERT A synonym for no more or finished, and the abbreviation for TIme

12a    More important brother (5)
PRIOR This is a double definition/all-in-one clue as the solution can mean either more important or a member of a religious order (brother), but this particular brother is more important than many of the other members being the deputy to the abbot

13a    Inches from hedge sparrow (5)
EDGES Hidden in hEDGE Sparrow

16a    Force misrepresented policeman, Ian, falsely nicked (6)
COMPEL An anagram (misrepresented) of POLiCEMan without the letters IAN (falsely telling you that they aren’t together in the anagram fodder)

17a    Told you so — old Penny’s in debt (3,3)
THE RED An interjection expressing satisfaction (told you so) and the letter used to represent an old penny

18a    Support from British stock (5)
BRACE The abbreviation for British and another word for descendants of a common ancestor (stock)

19a    Starchy type — awkward when hot! (6)
POTATO A starchy vegetable used, with the word hot, in a slang term to mean a tricky problem one wouldn’t want to touch

20a    Queen’s tirade rambling (6)
ERRANT The regnal cipher of our current Queen and a tirade

21a    Ecstasy taken by Rod lost its effect (5)
WANED The abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy inserted into (taken by) a rod

24a    Quick shot acquiring prey — take note (5)
NIPPY A small quantity of spirits (shot) acquiring PreY, take note being an instruction to remove the second note of the musical scale

26a    Tax initially taken involving typist’s hopeless error (5)
TITHE The initial letters of Taken Involving Typist’s Hopeless Error

27a    With husband on a boat, I roll about in this form of transport (3-3,7)
HOT-AIR BALLOON An anagram (about) of H (husband) ON A BOAT I ROLL

28a    Not requiring special training, a Parisian’s got rid of (9)
UNSKILLED The French indefinite article, an S (Parisian’S) and a verb meaning got rid of (for good!)


2d    Old historian abandoning States — understood? (5)
TACIT Remove (abandoning) the abbreviation for the United States from a Roman (old) historian

3d    Stuck with former boss at the Telegraph? (6)
PASTED A synonym for former and the abbreviated boss at the Telegraph

4d    Have no truck with junk (6)
REFUSE – Double definition

5d    Make short work of cream puff for a start (5)
SKIMP A verb meaning to cream and the letter that starts Puff

6d    Incongruous representation of other map, possibly? (5,8)
MIXED METAPHOR An anagram indicator and the result of rearranging (possibly) OTHER MAP

7d    Domino effect of a car on thin ice skidding (5,8)
CHAIN REACTION An anagram (skidding) o0f A CAR ON THIN ICE

9d    You said cut up wood — it’s prickly! (9)
PORCUPINE A reversal (up) of the letter that sounds like (said) you and a verb meaning to cut, followed by a type of wood

10d    Raw items in hors d’oeuvres I introduced (9)
CRUDITIES Introduce I (from the clue) to some hors d’oeuvres consisting of cut up raw fruit and vegetables and you get something raw or unripe

13d    Welly-boot we regularly found in barge (5)
ELBOW Found in the regular letters of wElLy-BoOt We

14d    Bit of rice put in to achieve texture (5)
GRAIN A small piece of rice or some texture

15d    Mount Everest’s two lowest sections require no name (5)
STEED The two ‘lowest sections’ or last letters of EvereST and a synonym for require without the N (no name)

22d    Batty woman visiting Alaska in warm jacket (6)
ANORAK The Christian name of Mrs Batty in Last of the Summer Wine ‘visiting’ or inserted into the abbreviation for the State of Alaska

23d    Occasion enhanced at the outset with Latin dancing (6)
ENTAIL The ‘outset’ of Enhanced and an anagram (dancing) of LATIN

25d    Indeed, service is long! (5)
YEARN An archaic word of agreement (indeed) and the abbreviation for the Royal Navy (service)

26d    Mark‘s mum leaving Australian possessions to the auditor (5)
TILDE the mark is a homophone (to the auditor) of the remaining letters once an informal word for mother ‘has left’ an Australian bundle of possessions



26 comments on “Toughie 2603

  1. Gentle but very enjoyable. Favourites were 17a, 24a and 25d.

    Thanks to CS and Firefly.

  2. Pretty gentle for a Toughie with nothing too obscure or scary. 8a was a favourite, together with 17a and 26d.

    My thanks to Firefly and CS.

  3. Gentle but enjoyable and long may it continue, I’m not going hold my breath though. Favourite was 8a. Thanks to Firefly and CS.

  4. This was very light but I did enjoy it. What a relief to find a non-nebulous woman in 22d!

    It’s amazing how you can live almost all of your life labouring under a false impression, and one clue in today’s puzzle has shattered two of those for me. I had always assumed that Waltzing Matilda was about an Australian itinerant labourer’s desire to dance with a lady of that ilk. Wrong! And that the answer to 26d rhymed with “killed” and not “Hilda”. Wrong again!

    My podium choice is 8a (favourite), 17a & 6d.

    Many thanks to Firefly and to CS.

    P.S. CS, the answer to 27a is not hidden.

  5. “Gentle” is the common verdict in all the comments above and I wouldn’t disagree with that. Thanks to Firefly and CS.
    On my podium are 8a, 6d and 7d.

  6. I made heavy work of an enjoyable toughie, if I am thinking correctly is the answer to 26d the plural of the answer word, minus a other word for mother, other wise enjoyable thank you to Firefly and Cryptic Sue

    1. The solution to 26d is a homophone of the singular swag bag minus an informal word for mother

  7. Must be having something of a ‘just me’ day as I got held up several times during the solve. Not entirely sure why now that I come to look back over it but I suppose that’s just the nature of the beast!
    8a was my favourite, closely followed by 7d.

    Thanks to Firefly and to CS for the review which I came within an inch of having to use in order to unravel the last couple of clues.

    1. I don’t pop in often but just had to say I thought this was a really satisfying crossword to solve. – I enjoyed every minute and favourite 8a

  8. Very gentle but an enjoyable solve & like yesterday a much quicker finish here than the back pager. Last in was 26d which provided the only real head scratch. 8a was my favourite.
    Thanks Firefly & to CS

  9. It was nice to see my mum making an appearance at 26 down although I spent too much time making mum be sh that 26 down was my last one in by a long way. Thanks to Firefly for a brilliant set of clues with much to enjoy and thanks to CrypticSue for the review. Time to sit down now for the first time today

  10. A pleasant way of spending the afternoon, I started slowly then filled in the middle section and branched off from that.
    One of those puzzles where you put in the definition then parse it!
    Remembered that the Australian possession was not a ‘sheila’ and the parsing of the clue produced the D’oh moment, is Father Christmas real.
    Favourites were 8a and 6d,
    Thanks to Firefly for the imaginative cluing and CS for the blog.

  11. I’m in the ‘lots of fun’ column as well. Many thanks to Firefly and crypticsue.

  12. Most enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the pdm at 8a, then wondered why Firefly did not opt for two-and-six, rather than five-and-three which would have doubly set me on the wrong old money.
    With thanks to both Firefly and CS

    1. Wish I’d thought of that, Gordon!

      Many thanks for all your comments today — most welcome.

      Kind regards Firefly

  13. I found this much harder than anything this week, with the exception of Tuesday’s Toughie. 4* time, but no hints needed. Very enjoyable all the same. COTD 22d. Just happened to be half watching a repeat of that very programme!
    All limbered up for tomorrow’s Toughie.
    Thanks Firefly, and CS for confirming everything

  14. Most enjoyable! Finished it last night before the Ray T. What a neat pair of compilers and their very different kinds of craft and craftiness. Favourites here: 8, 17, and 1a. Thanks to Firefly for joining us and for such a delightful puzzle, and, as always, thanks to CS for the hints, which I didn’t need today but enjoyed reading, especially the detail about the monk.

  15. Unlike nearly everyone else, I didn’t find this gentle, but was a steady solve, completed in **** time for me. Some great clues. 16 and 17a took a while to work out and 6d I liked – is this a reversed anagram – where the answer tells you what to do? Very clever. Thanks to Firefly for the workout and CS for the hints, thankfully not needed.

  16. Two toughies completed this week, today and yesterday. Might try Tuesday’s tomorrow.
    Thanks firefly and CS

  17. Thanks to Firefly and to crypticSue for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one, but I ran out of steam near the end. Needed the hints for 17,20,26a and 6,10,15,26d. Favourite was 8a.

  18. 3*/5*… many entertaining clues…
    liked 3D “Stuck with former boss at the Telegraph? (6)”….
    last one in was 26A “Tax initially taken involving typist’s hopeless error (5)”…..!

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