Toughie 2613 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2613

Toughie No 2613 by Moeraki

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

An excellent Tuesday Toughie – hope our setter can find time to drop in and say hello.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


3a    Predilections for small portions? (6)
TASTES: a straightforward double definition

6a    Search some musicians, ultimately missing nothing (4)
COMB: a group of musicians without (missing) their final (ultimately) letter O (nothing)

A blast from the past courtesy of the band led by Bill Black (of Elvis, Scotty and Bill)!

8a    Scent … Cologne, it’s said (5)
ODOUR: sounds like (it’s said) the two words which often precede Cologne

9a    German train crashes, leading to prosecution (11)
ARRAIGNMENT: an anagram (crashes) of GERMAN TRAIN

10a    Craftsman representing two generations (5)
MASON: Combine a mother and her male offspring

11a    When the waitress approaches behind bars! (7,4)
SERVING TIME: this could be when the waitress approaches!

16a    One that’s cold to walk over (6)
ICECAP: a cryptic definition of what may be found at the top of a mountain I (one) and C(old) followed by the reversal (over) of a verb meaning to walk (thanks Gazza)

17a    Study with an introduction to Aristophanes’ Lysistrata half-written (8)
ANALYSIS: a charade of the AN from the clue, the initial letter (introduction) of A[ristophanes] and the first half of LYSIS[trata]

19a    Number Six, the inside man (8)
PRISONER: a reference to the cult 1960s TV series starring Patrick McGoohan as Number Six


20a    Fitness fanatic consumes a little bit of a snack (6)
PEANUT: start with what could be a fitness fanatic (2,3) and insert (consumes) the A from the clue

22a    Arrives at the Khyber, as happens (5,2,4)
COMES TO PASS: this could mean arrives at the Khyber

25a    Small cart backing several feet (5)
YARDS: the reversal (backing) of S(mall) and a (not so small) type of cart

27a    Cold in head nasty in bleak season? Wrap up warm in this (11)
WINDCHEATER: C(old) inside an anagram (nasty) of HEAD all inside a bleak season

28a    Loose article in Paris Match (5)
UNTIE: the French (in Paris) indefinite article followed by a match or contest

29a    Duck to baste — around medium (4)
SMEW: a verb meaning to baste or stitch around M(edium)

30a    Don’t retire, as those who keep from relegation do (4,2)
STAY UP: those who keep from relegation to a lower division do this


1d    Barrier for prosperity (4)
BOOM: two definitions

2d    Being keen on spending, as opposed to total miser splashed out (11)
CONSUMERISM: a three-letter word meaning opposed to followed by a total and an anagram (splashed out) of MISER

3d    Bread might give them pain (11)
TRANSLATORS: a cryptic definition of those who convert the English word bread into pain, the French equivalent

4d    Rarest sort of philosopher (6)
SARTRE: an anagram (sort) of RAREST

5d    Issues comprising treason, start to finish (8)
EDITIONS: start with a word meaning treason and move its first letter (start) to the end (finish) – because the definition is plural there is a high probability that the first word begins with S

6d    Firm paid for jet (5)
COMET: the second clue today that refers back to the 1960s, although this jet first flew in 1949! – a firm followed by a verb meaning paid for

7d    Note car on motorway going downhill and uphill (5)
MINIM: the note that comes between a crotchet and a semibreve is derived from a small car and M(otorway), whichever way you look at it (downhill and uphill)

12d    Terribly ugly person hugging daughter; that’s sweet (6,5)
GOLDEN SYRUP: an anagram (terribly) of UGLY PERSON around (hugging) D(aughter)

13d    Deceitfulness of fashionable Las Vegas taking in Her Majesty (11)
INSINCERITY: a two-letter word meaning fashionable followed by a colloquial word for Las Vegas around (taking in) Her Majesty’s regnal cipher

14d    German sub! (6)
ERSATZ: a word (from the German) for a sub(stitute) – nothing to do with U-boats!

15d    Writer pockets ten pence piece in cinema (6)
BIOPIC: a three-letter trade-marked ball-point pen (writer) around IO (ten) P(ence)

18d    Evocative of European river ebbing fast (8)
REDOLENT: the reversal (ebbing) of a European river followed by a period of fasting

21d    Puff from old trains? (6)
PASTRY: a word meaning old followed by the tracks for trains

23d    Blame leader having quit platform (5)
ODIUM: drop the initial letter (leader) from a platform

24d    Give, in 7d (5)
ENDOW: hidden (in) inside the expansion of 7d – nothing to do with the clue at 7d!

26d    With onset of snow, blazed a trail on this? (4)
SLED: The initial letter (onset) of S[now] followed by a verb meaning blazed a trail

It’s been over three months since Moeraki’s previous (debut) puzzle (Toughie 2550) – I hope we don’t have to wait as long for the next one!


61 comments on “Toughie 2613

  1. I was on schedule for a *** finish, but I just couldn’t see 3a or 3d, leaving my 4d & 5d uncertain. I thought 3d had to begin FRANC…. After a cup of tea, I realised I had mistakes at 3a & 11a, which, when corrected, led me to the rest, except 4d, for which I again had to use electrons.

I thought 13d was a brilliant clue, but couldn’t parse 8a or 29a. I needed Mr G to explain 19a, (before my time.)

    Thanks to Moeraki for the challenge and to BD for the blog.

  2. A good Tuesday Toughie with a number of penny-drop moments. Thanks to Moeraki and BD. It’ll be interesting to see how many remember the 19a series from the 1960s.

    There is some wordplay in 16a – it’s I + C(old) + ‘to walk’ reversed.

    My podium contenders are 20a, 12d, 14d and 24d.

    1. Ah yes, I remember 19a well. A brilliant series starring the wonderful Patrick McGoohan.

      1. You’ll really have to come over and visit the filming location, Portmeirion. Beautiful gardens, excellent restaurants and shops stuffed with No.6 memorabilia.

        1. I went there many years ago. It’s a truly magical place, but I was scared witless by a colony of bats that I disturbed in one of the passages under the hotel.

      1. Advanced maybe but not “unusual” surely, especially following on the theme from Danger Man?

        Many a happy day in PM – from teenager visitor in the sixties to older house renter once. Hated the pottery. Fantastic long summer views over the bay from the garden at the hotel, glass in hand.

        A soft toughie I thought this morning but enjoyable. Who is Moeraki?

    2. For what it’s worth, I knew of it, and I wasn’t born till a decade after it was broadcast. (I’ve never seen it.)

      My main problem with 19A is that its surface instantly made me think of the answer, and since surface readings are designed to confuse, I immediately discounted that and wondered how else to parse it …

  3. About right for a Tuesday but it did seem to me that we needed to know quite a bit of ‘stuff’ and foreign languages too

    I agree with Gaza about 16a – my favourite was 7d as I managed for a change to spot what was needed straight away rather than looking at 7d!

    Thanks to Moeraki and BD

  4. I enjoyed this even though I didn’t find anything remotely tough about it. The meaning of “baste” in 29a was new to me as I have only ever come across it as spooning hot fat onto food.

    “RY” in 21d doesn’t quite mean “trains”, and I don’t think “blame” is synonymous with the answer to 23d.

    17a was my favourite long clue and 14d was my favourite short clue.

    Thanks to Moeraki and to BD.

  5. This setter’s style might polarise solvers – a bit like the late Excalibur did. But Clearly BD doesn’t think there’s any comparison!
    I thought 19a perhaps a tad unfair to younger folk and 11a rather feeble but I did enjoy 18d and 24d; the latter is quite cunning.

    Thanks to Moeraki and to BD for the blog.

  6. After a slightly lacklustre back pager I really enjoyed this one. Not particularly tricky but beautifully clued throughout & with just the right number of head scratchers. Will read the review post walk (delayed by Tramp’s ABBA themed Graun cryptic) but reasonably confident I have them correctly parsed for a change. Plenty of podium contenders but if limited to 3 it’ll be 2,3&15d.
    With thanks to Moeraki (don’t leave it so long next time) & to BD

  7. Very enjoyable puzzle, thanks to setter. Favourite was the simple but clever 20A. I agree with **/****.

  8. Completely echo BD’s sentiments, I do hope we get another puzzle from this setter before long. Lovely touches of humour which I always appreciate and – yes, Gazza I remember the 1960’s series very well!
    Ticks aplenty for this one – 11&15a making the podium along with 12,13,21&24d.

    Many thanks to Moeraki for a most enjoyable puzzle, to BD for the review and to Gazza for confirming my parsing of 16a.

  9. 14 and 24d were my two top clues from this fairly straightforward but hugely entertaining puzzle.

    My thanks to Moeraki for the fun and to BD.

  10. An enjoyable solve most of which dropped in after some study, had to resort to hints for 1&21d, which despite having all checks defeated me.
    thanks to setter and BD.

    1. Third entry in the listing for the answer in the BRB. You probably need to address your disgust and hatred to Chambers.

      1. I think Buzza is being somewhat tongue-in-cheek and a little cryptic with his comment (not entirely literal). He’s highlighting that hatred and disgust are normal/common synonyms of the answer, rather than the more obscure (though not incorrect) one used in the clue.

  11. I do like this setter’s style, but 19a is downright unfair – no wordplay, just a cryptic reference to some (probably) second-rate TV show from 10 years before I was born; how on earth am I supposed to work out an answer?
    6d is another I’ve never needed to know, but it does amuse me that they called an aircraft a comet, given the nature of comets!
    Thanks to setter and BD

    1. There are plenty of references in crosswords that would doubtless be obvious to someone of your age but leave me completely in the dark. Do what I do in those circumstances – ask Mr Google! In this particular instance, typing in Number Six will take you directly to the answer.
      By the way, it was far from being a second-rate TV show, the ratings were phenomenal at the time!

      1. Well it clearly didn’t keep my parents occupied!
        The results Mr G provides are based on your cyber profile, ie they spy on your online activities and show you what they think you want to see
        I typed in Number Six as you suggested and was directed to a Wiki page about 6 being ‘the smallest composite perfect number, its divisors being 1,2 & 3’ etc
        As for phenomenal viewing figures, (Roy’s about to get shot down in flames) that was probably more to do with the TV than the shows, much the same as The Beatles and pop music hype – when you look at their music objectively it is mostly plagiarised student-in-a-bedsit pap
        Sorry Beatles fans

        1. Can’t let you get away with that Roy. The Beatles may have started out as a highly effective pop singles band but they went on to produce some stunning material & albums that have stood & will always stand the test of time – Sgt Pepper & Abbey Road are masterpieces.
          I take your point about the clue but the TV show (I’m too young to really remember it) but it’s iconic.
          As a matter of interest what was view on the Father Christmas clue in yesterday’s Graun ?

          1. Roy has form on disparaging The Beatles. You can add Rubber Soul and Revolver to the two you mentioned Huntsman.

            1. Guilty as charged Stephen, but I will admit Blackbird is ‘pretty’
              Shh – don’t tell Huntsman, but Sgt Pepper is a ‘multitude of antique gonads’ in my opinion :smile:

          2. A big no-no Huntsman, too close to the truth and very poor taste – why not avoid? It’s not funny
            For me the Graun is only worth a cursory glance since many of the puzzles wouldn’t pass muster in Rookie Corner let alone a daily

            1. Certainly agree re the clue. I do the Graun as it’s free & the digital format is user friendly whereas I don’t find the Indy format as good. I did enjoy Tramp’s ABBA themed one today & even played one of the answers on Spotify – my Linn streamer didn’t know what to make of Harry Champion singing Boiled Beef & Carrots – we’re both far too young for that one…

              1. I don’t know what a Linn streamer is, who Harry Champion is, or whether Boiled Beef & Carrots is really a song
                Probably better to discuss Graun crosswords on their blog :smile:

  12. Well I confused myself, I was expecting a Silvanus – isn’t he normally a Tuesday Toughie setter – and on completion I discovered that it wasn’t one of his but he is our setter tomorrow.
    Nevertheless, a very enjoyable not overly tough puzzle – ***/****.
    Favourite – a toss-up between 3d and 13d – and the winner is 13d.
    Thanks to Moeraki and BD.

  13. Been out in the glorious sunshine.
    Great early week toughie. Enjoyable accessible and well clued.
    Thanks to setter and BD for meaning of baste and explanation of 24d which eluded me entirely.

  14. A very entertaining puzzle with many clever and amusing clues. Not too tough which suits my ability – but I am improving – honest!
    Number six was the stand out clue for me. Quite handy, being as old as I am, for once. I can see some of our younger members not being too impressed, though, since there was no way of working it out from the clue which is a trifle unfair.

  15. I absolutely loved this one, even though I had never seen the 19a series (and luckily bunged-in the right answer) and couldn’t parse that clever 16a. 13d was my runaway favourite but there’s a lot more to admire here, and on my first run-through, I thought I was being so bright by typing in ‘eau de’ (sounds right anyway). Actually won some bonus online points by finishing within x-amount of time. Thanks to BD and to Moeraki, who is new to me as a setter, but do come back soon!

  16. Unfortunately, this was not included in the electronic version when I downloaded this early this morning, so I have missed out. Is there any way of accessing this now?

      1. If the only option is to uninstall the App and then re-install it, I won’t bother. The DT have made too many technical cock-ups recently.

        1. As a former developer I can tell you that they are dealing with very complicated software which, since there are (stupidly) no industry standards, getting anything to work on all devices across all platforms is almost impossible – then, just when they get it right some new update or other screws it all up again
          It is spirit-crushingly futile and the main reason I gave up on it
          All trades encounter problems so give them a break; you know they will be tearing their hair out trying to resolve problems
          ps if you think DT is bad, try the Graun! :smile:

  17. Great entertainment from Moeraki.

    Never mind Number Six … I thought the clue containing 7d was very clever.

  18. I’m in the “splendid crossword” camp this afternoon. Most enjoyable and well within my limited solving ability. Favourite was 19a, which I was glued to at the time, with a lot of others coming a close second. Many thanks to Moeraki and BD.

  19. LROK, commenting on the ordinary puzzle on this site, suggested that as this one wasn’t available on my iPad today I should uninstall the app and reload, which I did successfully. Glad I did because I found it fairly straightforward and worthy of a few asides to my wife ( who doesn’t do cryptic but likes me to be happy) about the quality and cleverness of several of the clues. Didn’t get the reference to Number Six ( I remember the cigarettes, though as a juvenile smoker in the early sixties) but that apart it was a thoroughly enjoyable jaunt. **/*****

  20. I thought this was a great puzzle. I was held up for a long while by the central part of the left hand side. The delay was largely of my own making – it took me far longer than it should have to tumble to what was going in with 3d (very clever clue), but 19a was my last in never having heard of the TV series. Many thanks to Moeraki and Big Dave.

  21. Enjoyed this a lot, quite quirky in parts definitely a Toughie level puzzle in my book. Just couldn’t see 24d so looked at the hints, this giving enough checkers to get 29a and complete the puzzle.
    Like LBR I’d never heard of the series at 19a but had enough checkers and “inside man” to see the solution if not the parsing.
    I particularly liked 20,22&27a plus the clever 3d.
    Many thanks to Moeraki and BD for the entertainment.

  22. We correctly guessed 19a from checkers and definition but had totally forgotten the GK needed for the wordplay.
    An enjoyable solve for us from a setter who has chosen to use a NZ place name as his alias. How could we not love his puzzles?
    Thanks Moeraki and BD.

  23. I must admit I enjoyed this.
    With regards to 19a, you can imagine why, on returning to England after 3 years in Toronto, I was completely bemused by adverts asking me to release the prisoner accompanied by a bicycle! I’ve stayed at the magical Portmeirion several times since so, tell me, why are the episodes on the in-house TV always ones I’ve see before?
    My biggest problem was thinking the bread/pain of 3d referred to Francophils. Took me ages to give up on that one,
    Now come on, be honest, who was able to solve 11a without thinking of Celia Imrie and Julie Walters?
    I like this setter!

    1. JB. I’m not entirely sure what you’re getting at, but maybe you’ve seen them before because only 17 episodes were made. Could that be the reason?

  24. I thought this was at least 3* difficulty having been held up on NW corner big time. 19a no problem for me, but could imagine younger solvers struggling. Nice CW though.

  25. I’m another who found this more enjoyable than the back pager. I just don’t remember Moeraki as a setter, but must have done some of his puzzles as I’ve been a toughie fan since its inception.
    Was going along very nicely til the NW corner. 3d was the hold up, on the right wavelength, but wanted France in there somewhere. When this penny dropped the rest fell into place.
    Thanks to Moeraki, I look forward to your next one; and to BD

  26. Loved this, solved in 3* time – was plumping for 3d as favourite until I read the hint for 24d, the working out of which I’d completely missed, so that is now favourite. Back to 3d – we seem to have had quite a lot of French words in our crosswords recently. O-level French has come in handy after all! Thanks to Moeraki and BD.

  27. I think that Moeraki has been a big hit today: 54 comments so far, a big number for a Toughie, right?

  28. I really enjoyed this. For once, I managed without help.

    Finished it off before going to sleep. In the morning, looked at the two clues I’d question marked, then remembered the sewing term “baste” and worked out “7 down”.


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